Multiple Ministers Scoring ‘Own Goals’ - » The Australian Independent Media Network
Over the past week
or so we have witnessed examples of possibly the most mistake prone
bunch of ministerial amateurs we have seen in the past 60 years. Each in
their own way would qualify as a contender for the title, “Own Goal of
the Year” award, should such a title ever become a reality.
Joe Hockey is claiming that Australia’s gold plated credit rating will be at risk
if parliament fails to approve a path back to surplus. Joe is starting
to sound desperate but I’m not sure if it has more to do with sharpening
his leadership aspirations than his concern for the health of the
His comments to New Zealanders that our economy is in good shape are
in stark contrast to what he has been telling us. His suggestion that
our credit rating is at risk is simply laughable.
But now he is fighting off allegations that he was deliberately hiding budget papers prepared by Treasury that show low income earners to be bearing the brunt of the budget cuts. Did he not realise that we would see through that in a flash? One own goal.
Then, there is the Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz,
who announced a revised work for the dole scheme requiring unemployed
people to apply for 40 jobs a month if they want to receive benefits.
That is spectacular in its absurdity. Professor Jeff Borland from Melbourne University says, “The
international evidence is overwhelming. It’s hard to believe that the
government couldn’t understand that this isn’t the best way to improve
Professor Boland conducted an empirical study of the Howard
government’s work for the dole scheme and concluded that such schemes
are unlikely to help people looking for work. That’s hardly surprising. I
could apply for 40 jobs in one week if I put my mind to it. Just how
many replies I would receive is another matter. Just how many interviews
I could attend if given the opportunity is questionable. Just how I
would do all this while trying to fit in 25 hours of work for the dole
is to question my capacity to replicate Superman. Abetz has even upset
the business community. Collectively, they have voiced their concern
that companies will be overwhelmed by job applications that could amount
to 32 million a month. Pity the bulk of them couldn’t find their way to
the office of the minister. I can’t believe Abetz didn’t see that one
coming. Two own goals.
Now, we know that Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews,
wants to scrap the 90 minute rule that is used to determine how long is
too long for someone to travel to work each day. Now, he is attempting
to influence those couples in de facto relationships
to get married for their own protection. Why the sudden concern now, or
are his comments that de facto couples are more likely to separate,
masking nothing more than Catholic Church teaching? His call is unlikely
to result in any sudden rush to the altar though. His $200 coupons for
marriage guidance have attracted just 1400 applicants from a budget of
100,000. Three own goals.
Attorney General, George Brandis and Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull are at odds over piracy laws.
Brandis says that internet service providers were not ”innocent
bystanders” and should contribute to the costs of an anti-piracy
Malcolm says that rights holders concerned about copyright
infringement should sue those who illegally download material. One
would have thought that such senior government ministers would have
consulted one another before releasing statements that contradict each
other. Neither seems to understand the internet very well. Four own goals.
Last week, Environment minister, Greg Hunt
approved the multibillion dollar Carmichael Coal Mine development by
Indian company Adani, which threatens the Great Barrier Reef. Hunt has
incurred the wrath of Greenpeace which now plans to mount a campaign
targeting any Australian bank that might be inclined to provide finance
for the project. Putting aside Adani’s woeful environmental track
record, Kate O Callaghan’s expose
on the potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef and the dubious
economic benefits to Australians spells out, all too clearly, that this
decision will haunt Hunt for the foreseeable future. Five own goals.
But the “Own goal of the Week” must surely go to Tony Abbott for his ‘Leadership Call’ on the shelving of plans
to alter Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. It’s another
broken promise and has even drawn criticism from trusted friends (Bolt,
et al.). It has also caused great distress
among Liberal party members who have flocked to their beloved Institute
of Public Affairs (IPA), threatening to quit the party. Wow! Six own goals.
What a mesmerising collection of mixed messages that these utterly
rattled and hopelessly confused people are sending out to the good folks
in voter land; all of them, it would appear, determined to lead the
charge to electoral disaster. I guess we can only hope that they will be
spectacularly successful in achieving that.