Leading article Australia

Exorcising Malcolm

17 February 2018

9:00 AM

17 February 2018

9:00 AM

Those close to the Prime Minister talk of ‘good Malcolm’ versus ‘bad Malcolm’ – the two sides to Mr Turnbull’s volatile and often contradictory temperament. But of more importance to not only the government and conservatives, but to the nation, is the tortuous conflict between ‘principled Malcolm’ and ‘paralysed Malcolm’.

Last week, both Malcolms appeared to occupy the Prime Minister’s soul at the same time, struggling for control of his actions like a couple of demons wrestling with Linda Blair’s bed-bound body in The Exorcist.

On the one hand, Mr Turnbull thrashed around impotently in the face of the demonic fury of the media’s Barnaby Joyce affair. It beggars belief that Mr Turnbull and his so-called media specialists hadn’t prepared for the biologically-inevitable countdown to revelations of both the Deputy Prime Minister’s affair and the related questions surrounding his lover’s chequered job-placement history. (Similarly, one must question just how invaluable all these ‘senior media advisers’ – including the young lass herself – actually are, given their, and her, apparent failure to spot the inevitable media storm this affair would arouse. There is only a hint of irony in the fact that it was Ms Campion’s own former employer which has so salaciously and relentlessly pursued her story.)

Mr Turnbull’s unprincipled response to the affair does him no credit. It is only a few months ago that the PM bathed in the glow of Mr Joyce’s by-election victory, even mimicking his country attire of checked shirt and schooner. (No inner-city yellow jumpers casually draped over the shoulder to be seen in Armidale!) Now, however, the PM has not only tried to distance himself from his former mate, he has turned the government’s own ‘Ministerial Code’ into a laughing stock and treated the public with patronising contempt, with his lawyerly distinctions between a partner, a lover and a pregnant mistress. The public aren’t fooled. It’s clear that Mr Turnbull was either too lazy to question the taxpayer-funded creation of two new media positions, which on the face of it appear to have been fabricated for purely personal reasons, or deliberately chose not to ask.

Taxpayers are entitled to ask that if the PM can’t even handle such a minor ‘administrative’ job in a principled and disciplined manner, how much faith can they have in his judgment and sense of responsibility on the larger issues?

Yet slap bang in the midst of this furious media poltergeist, Mr Turnbull responded decisively, clearly, and in line with core conservative principles when confronted with an even more malevolent demon –  the latest push for an undemocratic indigenous power base. This ‘Voice’, announced last June in the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, is – despite noble intentions – a dangerous step towards a deeply divided and irreconcilable Australia, where race and ‘heritage’ trump all. As we pointed out at the time: ‘Mr Pearson’s calming words about the Voice were quickly replaced with more impassioned talk of sovereignty, legal autonomy, statutory self-determination, treaties, first nations, colonial majorities, genocide, invasion, “my land” and “fighting”.’

This time, Mr Turnbull’s principles are sound. The concept of some ‘elected’ Aboriginal entity capable of ‘advising’ (i.e. instructing, bullying or threatening) our parliamentarians on all matters affecting Aborigines (i.e. every piece of legislation on any topic) is abhorrent and must be opposed outright: all Australians are created equal and must have an equal vote in our system of governance via Parliament.

Twice, the PM has stuck to his guns on this issue. This is reassuring, and in stark contrast to the absolute opportunism and self-contradiction of Mr Bill Shorten on this and much else.

Perhaps Mr Turnbull might care to boost his popularity by adopting a similarly principled and conservative approach to other undemocratic, damaging, leftist cultural projects. The Paris Agreement on climate change with its disastrous impact on our energy bills is the first that springs to mind.

Hastie is right

Andrew Hastie is correct to criticise the ABC for its shameful reporting of the latest flare up in the Middle East (the Australian, 14 Feb), using ‘obfuscation and downright falsehoods to diminish Israel’s standing in Australia’. That the taxpayer funds Justin Milne’s ‘progressive’ empire to the tune of a billion dollars whilst the likes of Fran Kelly abuse the ABC’s reach to spout Islamist anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda is despicable.

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