Monday, October 21, 2013

Invisible government

In the months leading up to the federal election you couldn't keep them out of the media. Tony Abbott was there every day in a fluoro vest or hairnet, driving trucks, 'inspecting' pie factories, visiting towns which, he said, would disappear from the face of the earth due to the 'carbon 'tax'.

The then Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey was in the media almost as much, as were Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison.

There were endless crises they kept screeching about. There was a national emergency because we'd lost control of our borders, there was a budget crisis, there was a crisis of confidence.

Then they won the election and it went eerily silent.

Parliament hasn't been recalled and won't sit until mid-November. Ministers seem to be gagged. Abbott hasn't been seen in his high visibility gear since election day. Hockey could have been abducted by aliens, he's simply disappeared. As has Pyne.

So much for emergencies and crises.

When they have made it into the media it's been bad news. Scott Morrison, Immigration Minister, is getting coverage because he's directed his department to call asylum seekers 'illegals', which is getting a lot of criticism.

Boat arrivals have disappeared from the media because there's a government blackout on the subject. In opposition they made it a daily news feature, now they won't talk about it except at a weekly
'briefing'. Other than establishing their ludicrously titled ' Operation Sovereign Borders'  office they've done nothing but implement the previous government's policies.

Hockey made the news only when he continued his attack on the economy, seeming to forget he's now in government. He continued his tricks from his Opposition days, using old IMF figures to warn us that growth rates had been revised downwards and unemployment forecasts had worsened.

And a quarter of the Cabinet has managed a dishonourable mention because they've been ripping us off with fraudulent expense claims. One of the worst offenders is Abbott himself, claiming for trips to friends' weddings and to take part in or watch sporting events.

He and some of the others have paid back some of the expenses, although Abbott is digging his heels in by insisting that the sporting events were legitimate political business. Naturally, he's refusing to put a stop to the rorting.

For the rest of us a claim for business expenses for such blatantly private events would see us in big trouble with the tax office.

There's another lie - Abbott said it was an election about trust, and we could trust him and his government.

They conti9nue to lie about the benefits of their plan to repeal the carbon ' tax' too. They're still saying each household will be $550 a year better off as a result of the ' tax'  being removed. Environment Minister Greg Hunt is trying to make it sound even more, claiming that each family would save $3,000 over the next six years.

The Coalition's election ads talked about the supermarket saving's we'd make due to their policy of removing the carbon ' tax' . In fact, as Woolworth reported, prices went down 2.9% in the year after carbon pricing was introduced. And the horrendous electricity price increases we've been seeing over the past few years had little or nothing to do with carbon pricing.

So there's yet another lie because we're not going to see a saving of $550 a year for each family.

Abbott had a quick trip to Asia, where he tried to mend fences by explaining away his derogatory remarks about our neighbours as simply part of our 'robust' political scene.

Being Abbott he couldn't bring himself to apologise. Yet he surely owes us an apology for the hysterical lies he and his team fed us pre-election. Unfortunately, inevitably, a lot of people fell for it and believed the rubbish.

What an inauspicious start.

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