On 7th September, Australia elected a Liberal Government (that’s Liberal with a large ‘L” – NOT to be confused with liberal with a small ‘l’). And for the last three weeks, they’ve done everything they can to stem the flow of information to the Australian people and to tamper with our democracy.
Tony Abbott appointed a Cabinet with only one woman – Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. He says that he wishes to make appointments on merit, rather than on gender. Fair enough but more than a little insulting to his female Parliamentary colleagues whom he would appear to hold in such low esteem. (It’s been pointed out that Afghanistan has more females in their Cabinet).
For the first time in 30 years, we haven’t got a Minister of Science.
He’s abolished the Climate Change Commission – a body set up to provide information and advice. In other words, what we’re now told will be totally in the hands of the Government. Fortunately the Commission has vowed to continue – they just won’t get paid. (Thank you, Tim Flannery).
He immediately rescinded the appointment of Steve Bracks to the Australian Consulate in New York. He was appointed months ago and was days away from moving to the USA. Apparently this was a “political appointment” (he was previously the Labor Premier of Victoria). Of course it was a political appointment ….. does Abbott think that we really believe appointments to Embassies and Consulates are made just on merit?
He’s decreed that the public won’t be given information about the number of boats arriving here with refugees and asylum seekers. Nor will we be told how many are turned back or sink. As they claimed that from Day One they’d be “Stopping the Boats” this decision would appear to be a bit disingenuous. I’m hoping that every Prime Minister’s Question Time will include the question, and that weekly requests are submitted under the Freedom of Information Act. And I hope (and believe) that there will be enough people in the know who will pass on this information anyway.
Tony Abbott has been banging on for months about how he’s “ready to govern”. But he’s not recalling Parliament until November so none of these decisions – and other ill-thought-out ones to come, no doubt – can be challenged on the floor of the House.
I find this all a bit frightening. Keep the peasants in ignorance and we’ll all think he’s doing a great job?