05 October 2015
by Victoria Rollison
The terrier has fangs
Malcolm Turnbull would love voters to think he’s a fluffy white dog who wouldn’t hurt a fly. How can a man who adorably blogs on behalf of his dogs be anything but a harmless, gentle, kind Prime Minister? How can a man who wears a leather jacket on Qanda not be a man of the people? How can a man who wants to stay living in his multimillion dollar mansion on Sydney Harbour to be close to his grandson be anything but compassionate, socially progressive and committed to quality education and healthcare for the whole community? I’m sorry to disappoint the hopeful progressives who really want to believe Turnbull is the messiah. But isn’t it best I tell you now before you give him a chance to do a whole new term of harm? Turnbull definitely is NOT the messiah. Turnbull is a very naughty boy.
It is not entirely Turnbull’s fault that voters don’t realise how extreme his free-market ideology is. I think the problem is that voters assume that it’s OK for Turnbull to be right-wing when it comes to the economy, whilst also being sort of warm and fuzzy in a social sense. But this charade is just that: a charade. In the recent past Turnbull has been busily differentiating himself from Abbott. But when it comes to the free-market-loving part of the values Abbott and Turnbull share, Turnbull would go much harder and faster on the free-market bit, where Abbott spent more of his energy on social conservatism. Remember WorkChoices? Turnbull’s free market values means he believes this attempted assault on workers’ rights didn’t go far enough. You think Howard was scary? You ain’t see nothing yet!
If you were watching the Grand Final on Saturday, you might have missed the idea floated by this cute little terrier of a PM’s Treasurer, Scomo, that the States really should start thinking about letting private companies run hospitals and schools. Shock horror! ‘But wait!’ I hear all the supposably progressive Turnbull lovers say, ‘that’s just Scomo being Scomo and still swinging the Abbott-wrecking-ball. That’s not our cute cuddly Turnbull’. Get real people. Turnbull chose Morrison to be his government’s Treasurer. He made the decision not just because he needed Morrison’s voting block to win the Libspill. Stop the wishful thinking. Turnbull chose Morrison as his Treasurer because they SHARE THE SAME IDEOLOGY. The desired end point for people with these values, values Turnbull has been very up front about, is that the free market solves all social problem, that there should be no government intervention in the economy, including any welfare of any kind, and therefore everything becoming user-pays. In this world, the more money you have, the more healthcare and education you get. See how well this works out for the mega-rich Turnbulls of the world? Funny that. You might be thinking, it’s OK, Turnbull’s never going to get that far. But just imagine the damage he could do if he only gets some of what he wants. Imagine the wreckage strewn in that path!
Don’t be fooled by the idea that Turnbull is centre-right, or, as I’ve even heard some very mistaken lefties say, that he’s ‘left’ on social issues. The truth is, he has to be pro-marriage equality because this position isn’t just electorally desirable in Wentworth, it is electorally 100% necessary. Turnbull might say the right thing about climate change action too, but surely you noticed he never crossed the floor in Abbott’s government and helped to destroy climate action. Instead, he supported expensive and useless Direct Action, which he now plans to keep even though he’s in a position to end it. In fact, Turnbull will say and do whatever he needs to say to make himself look however he needs to look to win votes. Sorry to disappoint, but the tooth fairy isn’t real, Santa is your parents and it’s not possible to be both right-wing-pro-free-market and socially left-wing. Being socially ‘left’ means that schools and hospitals are run for the good of the people, not the good of the market. Turnbull’s free market position means he’d happily let the market rip public hospitals and schools out of the hands of the public and into the hands of the highest bidder for the greatest profit.
When progressives realise what it really means for the country to have a free marketeer in charge, and they realise it’s actually impossible to be economically-right and socially-left at the same time, and when they don’t agree with Turnbull that healthcare and education should be run at a profit, they might realise their progressive vote definitely does not belong to Turnbull. ‘Privately run’ hospitals and schools is a very steep, buttered slope towards the end of free-for-all-and-all-alike hospitals and schools, which quickly leads to hospitals and schools only available to those who have the means to pay. I assume this is not an outcome progressives strive for?
So please, I’m begging you, don’t be fooled by the smarmy exterior and the cheesy grin. Turnbull is giving Australia a hug while stealing our public owned services and workers’ rights from our back pocket. Turnbull is a Prime Minister who looks like a cuddly terrier, but when you get to know him, you see he has fangs. Please be careful with your vote Australia. Turnbull has neo-liberal-sharp-as-diamond fangs. We’ve been bitten badly enough by Abbott. Please don’t now give the Turnbull terrier a chance to bite us even harder.