Nov 3, 2017

We are now numb to a government that has normalised chaos

The actions of Stephen Parry betray something deeply wrong within the Turnbull government -- but the PM is too weak to take action.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The citizenship fiasco stopped being a mere "distraction" a long time ago, probably around the time Barnaby Joyce admitted he was a Kiwi. And last Friday the High Court escalated it to a major problem. But until Stephen Parry this week, it wasn't a problem that reflected on the government's internal stability and competence. Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash should have resigned or at least stood aside immediately, but the decision that they remain in place was a political one. Stephen Parry, however, has exposed something very, very wrong within the government. And it revolves around this statement about Parry from Malcolm Turnbull earlier in the week at the, in retrospect, aptly named Grove of Nations in Jerusalem:

"I learnt about it probably about the same time you did on Tuesday, yesterday."

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64 thoughts on “We are now numb to a government that has normalised chaos

  1. Itsarort

    While many of the MP’s do not have Law degrees, they are surrounded by a whole bunch of MP’s that do. Frydenburg’s excuse that it would be “absolutely absurd” is in itself, absolutely absurd! It doesn’t matter what he thinks, it only matters what is constitutional law. He knows that his mum is Hungarian. So, unless he’s one of the “galactically stupid”, he should have checked it out.

    1. Wayne Cusick

      Frydenberg seems to have done the homework, being able to state that his mother and grandparents arrived in Australia as stateless immigrants.

      1. tonysee

        But that doesn’t preclude, at a later date, Hungary granting citizenship to those who left as ‘stateless’ which, apparently, is what is in question. Again, you’d think a lawyer would dot these ‘eyes’ and cross these ‘tees’ or that a big party management structure would be across it.
        “That cabinet ministers left the PM and the AG in the dark about the Parry issue is simply extraordinary.”
        Not really. When your leader, a lawyer of ‘unassailable’ reputation, asserts without hesitation and with thunderous conviction, that his deputy’s legitimacy is so strong that the High Court will ‘so uphold’, then why not wait?
        This just fits the pattern of incompetence and, in Turnbull’s case, enormous arrogance.
        As for the electorate being ‘numb’, I think the now-intractable low poll results for this government may tell another story.

        1. bushby jane

          The outrage from Morrison and the PM is an amazing double standard; a poor stateless child and her parents fleeing persecution and arriving in Australia as refugees sounds a bit like the refugees on those outer islands doesn’t it?

          1. mike westerman

            We would all join in decrying the horror of WWII but surely a lawyer would realise that the actions of the Nazi and Fascist governments were judged illegal at the subsequent trials, so those people were not stateless: stripping of their citizenship was void.

          2. seriously?

            I too am amazed by the response of Turnbull and Morrison. The outrage that questioning an MPs right to sit in parliament is somehow a with-hunt sounds like he’s lost the plot now. Following his lead, all Australians should now shriek in outrage at any branch of government seeking to investigate them for any matter (eg have you paid the right amount of tax?) as a witch hunt and we should let all citizens just voluntarily put their hand up when they are in breach. What a stupid f&$#ing thing to say.

          3. Bob Weis

            Absolutely right and Turncoat is alt right and living in a parallel universe where coal is king.

        2. AR

          TonyS – you pinged both aspects, the ignorance and arrogance of Talcum.
          He’ll become a meme, perhaps even Macquarie’s phrase of the year “BULLTURN = insouciance without self awareness.

      2. Bill Hilliger

        The way Josh Frydenberg was ducking and weaving when asked a direct yes or no question on the ABC this morning, I’m not so sure that he has done his homework so well to be able to give a direct “no” for an answer.

  2. swimming the Hellespont

    Clusterfuck, omnishambles … make up your own word when necessary as each day unfolds because the dictionary, any dictionary you like, proper or street, can no longer keep up.
    Things may get better, events may allow us to resurrect that fine Keatingism, Unrepresentative Swill, if Ian Macdonald gets hold of the spoon – as it were.

  3. klewso

    That old Born to Rule mentality – they think rules binding we plebs don’t apply to them; look at the open slather, and who was involved, in rorting parliamentary allowances, “on the hole”.
    … Anyway what do you expect when you elect a hedgehog to the Senate, to represent you?

  4. mike westerman

    We must be close to peak shambles, with an election within a year. Unless all the LNP MPs are as stupid as they are incompetent, the axe should fall on Turnbull very shortly – maybe someone could tell him not to get off the plane?

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      “Peak shambles”!
      I like that Mike, might use it myself some day. Of course you can only know if we have hit peak shambles looking back, and this government has proven their ability to hit new heights of shambledom, week in and week out. I wouldn’t call it just yet.

      1. blenda

        I like peak shambles but I also like what Michelle Grattan wrote, “The Turnbull Government has become like a plane with its engines stalled, hurtling groundwards, with hopes of repowering frustrated at every turn.”

  5. Electric Lardyland

    So, essentially, the current Minister for Communications, failed to communicate with the former Minister for Communications.

    1. Mike Smith

      We can only hope it is as successful as’Cool hand Luke’

    2. zut alors

      Or, to put it another way, nobody wants to play with Malcolm.

      1. Electric Lardyland

        Yes, I wonder how many of the current front bench, had on their school reports, “Does not play well with the other children”?

  6. Paul

    I agree with the article, there is a serious consequence though.
    With a few exceptions the Australian media is biased, this is pretty self evident to all but politicians and self serving journalists and commentators. So because the stuff ups are so regular and the media both incompetent and biased the fact that Turnbull’s government is actually more dysfunctional than even Abbott’s, simply gets ignored.
    It is true Fairfax and Guardian report each event but what they do not do is draw the obvious conclusion, that Turnbull is close to the worst PM we have ever had, and, as a consequence, Australians are experiencing actions that are seriously damaging our confidence in government, transparency and that are also destroying our economy and our social structure, including our reputation internationally.

    1. Woopwoop

      Be fair. Turnbull, although terminally incompetent, is not as viciously so as Abbott.

      1. AR

        To quote WestWing – “not quite as mean spirited as the other guy”. Quite a selling point.

      2. mike westerman

        But what a waste of the twinkle in someone’s eye they both have turned out to be!

  7. graybul

    Bernard, your premise that we the great unwashed are some how at fault for becoming numbed by repetitive incompetence of government, is no more than a diversionary gimmick. The plight of the Australian electorate is not numbness. Rather we have few effective, powerful mediums available whereby real pressure can be exerted upon corporate, political, media and public servants. Thus we are broadly viewed by a loose gaggle of self interested (i.e. ego, power, money, money, money) elites; as by- standers to those who are actually recognised as having a credible stake in desired outcomes. We unwashed on the other hand, fully recognise the pervasive corruption, lies, obfuscation etc etc regularly doled out by the powerful to we powerless.

    One recent, so rare event however, sustains and retains hope that things may, might change. I refer to the intervention by a group of retired senior legals who have ‘called out’ embedded national governmental corruption. They seek to establish a federal anti corruption authority to oversee all current entities struggling to fulfil responsibilities with limited powers.

    In the meantime, in between time the unengaged electorate, through no fault of our own, fume, rage and endure the residual impact of lies, deceit, obfuscation and victimisation dealt out directly, or as collateral damage, by political cadres of disrepute. Show us Bernard . . . a mainstream media, including a progressively dumbed down ABC; that is fully committed to holding government to account?

    1. CML

      Well said, Graybul…we can but hope that someone…ANYONE…listens to those ‘retired senior legals’ as soon as possible!!

      1. graybul

        To see interview, hear their conviction and proposed action . . . possibly strongest, potentially most influential initiative in last twenty years CML. Let’s hope. Thought media would be all over it. Sadly not so . . .

      2. AR

        There is probably a good reason that they are retired – as Nebuchadnezzar they saw the Finger, perhaps not writing (Righting?) but sticking up.

  8. Syd Thomas

    I would also be very concerned at a rumour that the govt is about to rush through a bill to give APRA the power to allow banks to activate the dreaded “bail-in”. This legislation would allow the banks to swipe a percentage of bank deposits from mum & dad deposit holders to assist their liquidity in times of a crisis.

    If this rumour is true, it would be one the most sneaky and under-handed pieces of legislation ever enacted.

    1. Marlo Inaustralia

      When ever I see ” if the rumour is true” it’s a long bow you draw Robin.
      I did a quick search and the only thing I could see was from one of those fringe groups, the CEC and a handful of independent bloggers. So, if true, then why is it always these so called fringe groups who are the first to alert the public? Instead of reporting the issue, the MSM convinces us that these groups are whacko conspiracy theorists and not to be listen to. We shall see.

  9. Susan Anderson

    I don’t think the voters have normalised this chaos but the journalists have, particularly the Nat. Press club, talking about this governments policies is a complete nonsense, they have announcements not policies, but the politics editors and writers keep talking them up

    1. zut alors

      Meantime the electorate has become acclimatised to the dysfunction. We are like the frogs in slowly boiling water.

    2. klewso

      Isn’t that what politics is for – to amuse the media sub-class?

  10. Peter Wileman

    This ridiculous situation of bouncing from one crisis to the next, week in, week out, results in no action being taken against the perps. Cash’s recent stuff-up is forgotten. Malcolm isn’t/can’t/won’t do anything. There should at least have been a vote of no confidence from Shorten’s mob, but they appear to be running in circles trying to identify a target in the LNP shooting gallery.

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