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30-November 2013

Credibility shot after three months: Australians Pyne for good Government

After less than three months in power, Australia's "adult" Abbott Government is already making good on its tacit pre-election promise to wreck the place.

WHAT SORT of Federal Government do we have?

Apparently one with 'so called' mandates and a commitment to its promises to the Australian people, who will at the same time happily tell bold-faced lies about its pre-election commitments to the future of Australian and that of our children.

This is yet another low for a government full of bottom dwellers, who continue to cover themselves with further shame at break-neck speed. They are rightly being criticised by state premiers from both sides of the political fence for 'breaking a major election promise'.

But somehow, according to Abbott, it's all the previous Government's fault.

The explanation is not as confusing as the apparent behaviour of the Abbott government. This government is only committed to destroying things.

They have turned us into international pariahs of climate action by moving swiftly to try to remove a price on carbon; by trying to sabotage recent talks in Warsaw; and by dismantling all the structures, such as the climate commission, the RET and Clean Energy Finance Corporation, that have led to emissions reductions. Indeed, it is uncertain they are even willing to commit to their 'Direct Action' policy, which appears to have been specifically designed to have no meaningful effect on emissions.

They have moved to dismantle the MRRT, a tax which will deliver much bigger revenue streams should it survive, as mining operations move from construction, where they get large tax write offs, to the production phase, where all the income will flow.

They have us on the verge of having our international relations with Indonesia completely trashed. If a letter can reverse all the damage Abbott has done with his ineptitude, it must be a bloody good letter and someone other than Abbott must have written it.

The Abbott government have also moved very quickly to destroy the ACT's same sex marriage laws, while moving to weaken the Racial Vilification laws to protect their mate Andrew Bolt. Both socially destructive moves.

Hockey has been going through the budget 'line by line' in an apparent attempt to destroy our AAA credit ratings. According to Joe we need to almost double debt limits in order to fix the budget emergency, but he won't tell anyone why ... other than to repeat some silly statement about "spiders in every cupboard" ... whatever that means.

And as for Pyne.

To be fair, the man has never had any significant level of credibility.

To back up yet more empty rhetoric about it being all Labor's fault, Pyne has resorted to saying that really this isn't a broken promise because the media reported it wrong. Certainly a novel approach to re-writing history, claiming history was written wrong in the first place. But where was Pyne correcting the record prior to the election? Nowhere of course.

Laura Tingle describes this approach to policy and election commitments as calamitous and indicates that such moves run a high risk of facing a high court challenge.

She goes on to say that the biggest problem with this kind of behaviour is reputational; that it:

'...could even be raising questions of sovereign risk.'

Sovereign risk doesn't come from, as the Coalition would have you believe, implementing a mining tax. It comes from a government whose word is worth nothing. Abbott and Pyne are not just trashing the government's reputation, they putting at risk the trust others place in us as a nation.

Laura comes to only one possible conclusion about Abbott's pre-election promises:

'It now seems the Coalition neutralised a positive issue for Labor by lying about its intentions. This is the only possible conclusion you can draw from Mr Pyne's attempts to rewrite the history of what he said before the election at a fiery Canberra press conference on Tuesday. The government's attempt to hide behind suggestions of a 'budget shortfall' left by Labor only makes the politics of this look even more tawdry.'

On Pyne's side of politics, NSW Education minister Adrian Piccoli was reported in The Guardian as saying Pyne must be "the only person in Australia" who believed in the model created by the Howard government, which seems likely to form the template for Pyne's new model, to be implemented in 2015.

In the same report, Carmen Lawrence, member of the Gonski panel, said Christopher Pyne has not given himself enough time to create a fair and equal new school funding model and will come up with something 'quick and dirty'. She added:

It's hard to anticipate the direction he is going in but if by a 'flatter' funding model he means the same amount of money going to schools regardless of need then it is a step backwards.

Fellow panel member Kathryn Greiner warned against a return to the "unaccountable, opaque, confusing" system the committee had wrestled to reform.

Greiner added:

"We're in a different paradigm now, we are not in that late 19th-century, early 20th-century thinking any more where states look after one thing and the commonwealth looks after another .... The states and the commonwealth have to work together."

Asked whether Pyne understood how bad the social inequality in Australia's school system was, Greiner said: "I'm beginning to think he doesn't".

This government has already been labelled the most inept, the most secretive, the most unaccountable, the most dishonest, and the most illegitimate in history.

Looking at their track record after less than three months in power, it's hard to argue with any of that.

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