Brown Study

Brown study

18 August 2018

9:00 AM

18 August 2018

9:00 AM

There are a few things I want to get off my chest about politics. Starting at the top, I have been thinking about the Turnbull government and its malaise. What I am left with is a question and I am damned if I can find the answer to it. When we all know that they are in a parlous position, why do they let it go on, with no apparent plan to arrest its decline? At the moment they seem like sleep walkers, staggering towards an abyss, intent on going over the edge like Thelma and Louise. Perhaps they are extreme optimists, deluded by the false hope that something will turn up to save them. Perhaps it is the ritual of politics, an underrated feature of politics since it became part of the entertainment industry, where the actors are now self-directed into walking through and mouthing their parts until the final curtain. And this conundrum I face concerning the Turnbull government is made the more intractable by the fact that we, and presumably they, are well aware of the problems that have to be solved if they are to have any hope of winning the next election. The obvious and most pressing one, of course, is energy policy, where we do not know in plain, simple terms what the new policy is, if it will work, how it will work, and in particular how it will lower prices for the consumer. Unfortunately for the government, it is a policy that gives the people no confidence, because they know it can be reversed and will forever be hostage to the climate change extremists. And it is not helped by being called a guarantee: government schemes that are claimed so blithely to be guarantees are more likely to be received by the public with a hollow laugh than any other response I can think of. It was the same government, after all, that guaranteed there was no need for a royal commission into the banks because our corporate regulators were so effective.

But the problem goes deeper. There seems to be no pursuit of any underlying principle or objective. I thought the Liberal party believed in free enterprise and less government and that is why I joined it. Its indifference to, and virtual abandonment of any commitment to those principles is why I left it. I have not seen anything to the contrary that might induce me to reverse that decision. If I am wrong, I wish someone would tell me where and how I am wrong. Everywhere I look I see a new government body popping up to solve every so-called problem, while private enterprise and personal responsibility are given little if any role. And isn’t it ironic that a free enterprise government has three major national programs on foot, the National Energy Guarantee, the National Broadband Network, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme which are all expensive, none of them seems to work, all of them sap personal responsibility, all generate headaches for the government, and all are government schemes. True it is that some of these headaches were inherited from previous Labor governments, but nothing has been done to reverse the pro-government essence that they all have at their core. And it seems to be the same wherever you look; the classic example of course is the ABC, where the government stands mute, apparently unconcerned that the organisation grows into a giant state-owned corporation, expanding far beyond its proper role and into every form of communications, which should be the province of private enterprise. Government spending as a whole has become scandalous; not just the budget extravagance, and not just the bribery involved in so-called community grants that were ridiculed last week, but the drip-feed to an ever-lengthening line-up of beneficiaries. It is another irony that the Turnbull government has one claim to fame when it comes to government spending: it has invented a new form of hand-out. Until now, you had to ask for government money, compete for it, tender for it, argue you were entitled to it and fight for it every inch of the way. But now, as we have seen from the reckless grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the government will force money onto you even if you don’t want it, don’t need it, don’t ask for it and will have trouble spending it.


And let us not forget the unmentionable subject I am convinced people want the government to tackle more seriously: our intake of refugees, the strain it is placing on the coherence of our society and price we are paying by being called racist whenever we draw attention to its shortcomings. A few days ago, the mayors of some of our more enlightened inner suburbs in Melbourne got together and held a press conference to debunk the myth that Melbourne has a problem with African gangs. It is racist to say so, our betters tell us. It is all a media beat up, egged on by the luvvies’ bête noire, Peter Dutton, who has shown more skill in getting under the skin of the Left than the rest of the cabinet combined.

It seems there are no African gangs, no crimes committed by them and no-one is in fear. This, of course, is despite the overwhelming evidence of repeated rampages, the abnormally high percentage of crimes committed by Africans, together with police warnings, house invasions, at least one death and a whole succession of incidents like my local one, where an armed African group smashed up a shop with sledge hammers and traumatised the staff. People want the federal government to stop the flow of African refugees, as they expect more restraint on migration in general, and they expect to hear some official defence of citizens being abused as racists whenever they draw attention to this obvious problem. But on present indications, will they receive it? Not likely.

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