Okay, this will be short: Who votes in favour of legislation they haven’t been allowed to see — legislation the other main party, the one you’re supposed to be competing with, has been given on the sly to read. And by your own Prime Minister, no less?
Think about that.
People laughed at the Democrats in the US when they found out they had voted for Obama’s ‘Affordable Care Act’, aka ‘Obamacare’, without having seen the draft law. That’s pretty bad but, on the other hand, President Obama didn’t quietly slip the legislation to the Republicans so they could have a good gander at it, while expecting his own side to do as he commanded.
Yet that’s precisely what Mr. Turnbull and his Black Hand praetorian guard did this past week. Frankly, it beggars belief. I’ve never before heard anything like it happening in any other Westminster country.
You’d think any Coalition MP with even a trace element of self-respect would go ballistic at this act of contemptuous treachery against the Liberal Party by its own leader. Well, if there’s been much of that they’re keeping it to themselves. For my money I’d have thought that, at some point, pride and the belief that some things are more important than your nice big Canberra salary would require you to say ‘Enough is enough!’
Apparently not. I understand the power of the Biblical injunction that pride goeth before destruction. But in this case the total lack of pride, and the unwillingness of these MPs to do anything about it, seems overwhelmingly likely to ensure their political destruction.
Chuck in the astounding willingness of Team Turnbull to throw almost half a billion dollars of taxpayers money, yours and mine, in the direction of a pro-Paris Accord Barrier Reef Foundation which hadn’t even asked for the money — no tenders necessary — and we’re at the beyond-parody stage.
Anyone else share my view that this is the worst Liberal government in the nation’s history?
For ineptitude, lack of tactical nous, arrogance, incompetence, and habitual treachery, he leaves all of history’s other dim-bulb contenders in the shade.
James Allan is Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland and the author of Democracy in Decline