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Thus Spake Mungo: Matt Kean

Scott Morrison’s puerile sneer that most of his cabinet ministers wouldn’t even know who (NSW Environment Minister) Matt Kean was actually contains a grain of truth.

Not just because most of his ministers are pig-ignorant (well, not all of them, and not entirely) but because they realise that there is no point in their knowing anything that their glorious leader has not ordained.

Most of his ministers almost certainly know that Kean is the rational Liberal in the broad church, and if they didn’t before, ScoMo has thoughtfully drawn it to their attention.

Kean is the one who accepts the science, acknowledges the urgency of the situation and wants to do something about it. Morrison equivocates on the first proposition, plays down and dismisses the second, and summarily rejects the third.

So even if his ministers disagreed with him (and despite Morrison’s indignant denials, some of them do, and would desperately like to change to a more sensible policy) they can’t actually say so – blind obedience to their leader is part of their job description.

There are those who do not know what day of the week it is until it has been confirmed by Big Brother and his talking points. So they might as well move on and get on to the more important business of rorting public money to preserve the votes in the marginal electorates.

The prime minister likes to make a great play about frank and fearless discussion, consultation, consensus; but in fact his ruling clique, or often just he personally, makes the decisions and announces them

Similarly, Morrison also claims that Kean does not know what is going on in the federal cabinet; again true, but nor does anyone else, and that includes more than a few of his ministers. The prime minister likes to make a great play about frank and fearless discussion, consultation, consensus; but in fact his ruling clique, or often just he personally, makes the decisions and announces them, leaving it to the rest of the cabinet and through them the rest of the party to defend them as best they can – and if they can’t, or find them insupportable, to piss off.

Before the last election, he boasted on national television that he would be the one to call the shots, and his autocratic style has only hardened since his unexpected victory. This is government from the leader, by the leader, for the leader. Not quite democracy as we know it, and certainly not the egalitarian and transparent system that Morrison and his sycophants like to spruik (see talking point 101) but just the way it is, and the way it is going to be.

So as his claims of success in reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to within and below the Paris targets become ever wilder and less credible, there is no-one in the cabinet room willing to refute him, and even fellow Liberals like Kean have to be crushed and demeaned.

As the man said, treason doth never prosper. Here’s the reason: for if it prosper, none dare call it treason. Kean is for the tower, and thence to the chopping block.

The utterly shameless Bridget McKenzie in her earlier career as Sports Minister elevated the fine old National Party pastime of pork-barrelling into an art form, if not beyond

Not so but far otherwise has been the reaction to the utterly shameless Bridget McKenzie, who in her earlier career as Sports Minister elevated the fine old National Party pastime of pork-barrelling into an art form, if not beyond. Here Morrison was happy to defend the theft of public funds, offering, among other risible justifications, the line that since those who trousered the ill-gotten loot were happy about it, this meant it was good policy. Well, surprise, surprise.

Even some of the rusted-on supporters of the Morrison mafia found this a trifle over the top. McKenzie herself insisted that she had done nothing wrong, and from her perspective as a deputy leader of the party of handouts, subsidies, privileges and rorts, she can make a case.

When the Nationals were formed as the old Country Party, the whole idea was to provide special treatment for the rural and now regional voters at the expense of the wider polity

After all when the Nationals were formed as the old Country Party, the whole idea was to provide special treatment for the rural and now regional voters at the expense of the wider polity. It was felt by such seasoned pork barrellers as Earle Page that the bush was getting a raw deal from city-based politicians, so no effort was to be spared to redress, or even reverse, the supposed bias.

At times this was fair enough; the tyranny of distance meant that there were times extra money and resources needed to be provided to produce reasonably equitable outcomes for those in the remote backblocks of the sprawling nation. But once the coalition with the majority Liberal Party was set in stone, the heavyweights – Page, and then, particularly, Arthur Fadden and John McEwen – realised that the possibilities of blackmail and extortion could be exploited to the limit if not further.

The threat of leaving the coalition, although seldom if ever a serious one, cowed successive Liberals into submission. Even when Liberal Prime Ministers like Malcolm Fraser and John Howard were in a position to govern in their own right, they regarded the bond between the two disparate forces as sacred.

Thus the Nats (they wisely avoided the abbreviation of the appellation of their former members) could and did get away with malfeasance that would have sunk Libs guilty of the same offences. Labor ministers, of course, would have been and were hung out to dry.

Morrison desperately clung on to McKenzie; his latest anodyne remedy was an inquiry to be initiated from one of his favourite bureaucrats Cabinet Secretary Phil Gaetjens, formerly an apparatchik in Morrison’s own office, a crony and a supporter. Gaetjens will look at Morrison’s ministerial code of conduct, a document devised to include loopholes which can absolve minsters of even the most egregious breaches which would never be permitted by private employees.

Morrison and his minions had spent so much time and effort defending the indefensible showed that corruption has now become an intrinsic part of the regime

It did not pass the pub test, but it was not meant to: buy time, divert, distract, and hope for the best. And in the meantime find a comfortable sinecure for McKenzie when the public outrage became overwhelming. Hopeless dilemma: if she hung on it would trash the last vestige of integrity left in this morally bankrupt government. But even if she didn’t, the fact that Morrison and his minions had spent so much time and effort defending the indefensible showed that corruption has now become an intrinsic part of the regime.

Our prime minister knows that most of his ministers are past both knowing and caring. The wider party by and large is happy basking in a state of blissful ignorance. The noisy bit of the electorate may carry on, but who cares – as long as the quiet Australians are not roused from their slumbers.

So more sedative talking points – that’s all that’s left.


13 responses to “Thus Spake Mungo: Matt Kean”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Mungo puts Scott on the mat and Matt on the map and cabinet against the wall.

  2. JA Twaddell says:

    Too true Mungo! Absolutely disgraceful & corrupt government. Like the days of Bjelke Petersen’s govt in QLD. Tgey have gotra go. They are ruining thia country as their greed knows no bounds & they do not care about anyone but themselves. Disgusting behaviour! Smirkity Smirk! 🙄😑😏

  3. …I’m sick of saying what the brat ScoMo won’t
    listen to along with his dip-stick followers. An
    Awakened Disobedience is good for the soul.
    The ‘public’ need ‘OUT’ – now!!

  4. Rod says:

    And people voted for these people. That’s why they don’t want a federal ICAC. Better bashing the unions, giving us the right of religious discrimination and don’t mention climate change and it’s effects, and if it all gets to hard start screaming to make it look like your doing something(Littleproud, McCormack and company).

  5. David Brown says:

    Been reading Mathew Condon’s “Three Crooked Kings” trilogy. Can we discern very disturbing parallels between Bjelke-Petersen and Morrison and their respective governments.

  6. Ill fares the land says:

    We are on the same page on this. Anyone who took the trouble to look into Morrison’s sordid history both in business and politically would find, that is apart from a devious, duplicitous backstabber, a person who is implacably incapable of working well with others – unless he has absolute authority. His behaviours point to a person who simply can’t abide being answerable or accountable to anyone. To my mind, this rather neurotic trait drives his lust for absolute power and would most likely account for the virtually self-justifying, verging on irrational reactions to the pressure to which he was subjected over the bushfires. His responses to criticism were puerile and showed a total lack of emotional intelligence and empathy. His return to Australia was, in his estimation, the call to Australia’s beloved leader. His attempts to look like he was “doing stuff” that only he could do and then deflecting blame onto the NSW and Vic governments when his actions were questioned were the acts of a weasel. When the spotlight was shone on him and he was very loudly sent a message that his sympathy was not being seen as authentic and he failed the tests of leadership in a crisis, he resorted to desperate measures to try and shore up his brand, including an utterly pathetic political advertisement – but it was the flailing of a drowning man. How it must now torment Morrison knowing, on some level, that his daggy-dad persona has been so resoundingly shown to be a facade. Then we get to the total coincidence of yet another scandal wracking him and his government. The perversity is that he invested so much in “being the government” because that is what he is compelled to do and what he craves; when the worm turned, the focus, inevitably, turns only to him.

  7. Allan Richardson says:

    I’m a little disappointed that Mungo, my hero, has not employed the diminutive – the gnats.

  8. David Bath says:

    “as long as the quiet Australians are not aroused from their slumbers”

    And THAT is the thing to be gobsmacked and gutted about.

    Where are the archetypal loud-mouthed Australians when you need them?

    • Joachim says:

      …and when they do momentarily awaken from their slumber / coma a fresh cash splash or election bribe will just send them back to sleep again.

  9. A PARADOX [dear ScoMo)

    The early worm
    more caustic
    than no,
    the thread
    to end all
    dreaded clichés
    belted across
    bitumen – mistook
    the cold
    centre line
    as safe passage.

  10. Bob Joyce says:

    There is an haiku

    Scomo is as flash
    As a rat with a gold tooth
    Everyone sees it.

  11. Right on, Bob.

    Ribbit! Calling on
    a citizen’s
    arrest…

  12. Barrow says:

    The once conservative Mungo , oh how time Flys!
    If residing in Australia under a conservative government lead by Morrison is to be so frowned upon!! Never ending moaning!! , no Government is
    Perfect and Morrison and the conservatives are certainly not, nor for that matter are the Greens
    And labor , over governed country, politicians
    Snouts In the troughs and how !! As said many
    Times , would not matter if the Morrison government was in surplus, 100% renewables,
    Open borders, close all coal mines , including base
    Load power stations, would the dislike of the
    Conservatives cease ? Not a chance. Look if life in
    Australia, is so dire under a conservative government , relocate to another country .

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