Self-sabotage for dummies & millionaires

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has the political judgement of a gnat. What the hell was he thinking?

He should have known, going into the unfolding soap-opera of Barnaby Joyce that nothing he could say would end well for him.

He had one job and that was to say nothing and get on with the job of leading the country. Barnaby had already taken leave from his position as Deputy. Turnbull need only have issued a written statement supporting his decision to stand down while he assessed his options, instead of publicly scolding the leader of a party whose tenuous Coalition the government needs to retain power hangs by a thread.

But no, he had to have the last word. Because that has always worked so well for him in the past.

After declaring open season on Australia’s LGBTIQA community, and justifying the creation of not one, not two, but three positions – that he knew nothing about FYI – but that were created special for the now pregnant lover of the deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce on the grounds Vikki Campion was not his wife, Turnbull implemented a puritanical and unenforceable Parliamentary root-ban. To be fair, at least he’s been consistent in making government just small enough to fit into our bedrooms.

The ban somewhat misses the point, in that Joyce’s affair is only a matter of public interest because of his righteous hypocrisy, leading a campaign that forced Australians into a six-week interrogation of the rights of gay people over his concern for the sanctity of marriage and religious freedom, putting their right to marry to a public vote, all the while stepping out on his missus. Frankly, parliamentarians should be allowed to act as immorally as the rest of us, so long as the policies they endorse meet the same standards they hold for themselves.

Now Turnbull is just ruining it for the rest of the public service.

If there is a point to be made at all, it’s this: if you’re going to have an affair, make sure they don’t work for you, and if you’re going to root your side-piece while Parliament is not in sitting, best not charge the taxpayer for 50 nights worth of away-from-home accomodation, along with $16,690 in transport costs. Also, pay your own rent, and if you insist on living a rent-free lifestyle, do try to make sure it’s not in the home of a wealthy party donor, there’s a good chap.

In any case it is as though Turnbull woke up the morning of his press conference and thought ‘You know what I should do? Pick a fight with the political enemies that are keeping me in power. Hmm… let’s think, what can I do to clear the way for Barnaby Joyce & Tony Abbott to declare open season on my leadership? Again.’

And as predictably as the sun does rise, there was Tony Abbott and his allies, waiting to stick the knife in as the man who replaced his one term Prime Ministership lectured Barnaby Joyce from his podium for 45 long minutes, reminding everyone what a lousy and universally despised leader Turnbull has proven to be.

Meanwhile, the number of Indigenous children in care has doubled since Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology to the stolen generation. There are 17,000 Indigenous children now in children’s services, comprising 35% of all kids in care.

More than 13% of the population – roughly 2.9 million people – are living below the poverty line, and hundreds of thousands of victims of domestic violence are being left with nowhere to turn thanks to the closure of shelters around the country, and state and federal cuts to services.

Homelessness has increased by 1.8%, while 30.2% of those desperately needing accomodation are still waiting, a 22.1% increase between 2012-2017.

These are all problems Turnbull has the power to fix, but chooses not to, instead devoting ample time to sabotaging his own leadership while defending corporate tax cuts for companies that don’t pay tax and pillorying anyone who dare disagree with him.

Australia used to be the lucky country, but thanks to 30 years of neoliberal doctrine, it has been reduced to a mediocre backwater with no plan, no ideas and no identity beyond selling weapons to countries intent on turning their population into refugees, driving up property prices, forcing the middle and working class to pay the 1%’s share of tax, and conspiring to clear the market of any competition that could stand in the way of the monopoly business models of Liberal Party donors.

Which, in that sense, makes it a country Turnbull is entirely suited to lead. For now.