Friday, 16 September 2016

Turnbull's First Year

So, apparently as of yesterday Malcolm Turnbull has been Australian Prime Minister for a full year.  As a result the media is full of stories assessing what he has achieved in that time.  Everyone is struggling.  Even the man himself nominated his greatest achievement as "having a clear economic plan for Australia".  A plan is not an achievement. It is a plan.

It seems to me that all this is beside the point.  Political leaders want us to think it's all about us, but really it's all about them.  So here's the real list of Malcolm Turnbull's goals and achievements from the past 12 months.

1. Become Prime Minister
You alienated lots of people in your stint as Opposition Leader by sticking to your principles, especially on climate change.  You need to convince people it won't happen again.  It will take lots of secret meetings and clandestine phone calls.  You will have to hope the previous occupant of the job makes some catastrophic mistakes.  Fortunately the previous occupant is Tony Abbott.

2. Don't Say Or Do Anything Really Stupid
Like making Prince Philip a knight.  Or threatening to shirtfront powerful foreign leaders.  Or claiming the abolition of the carbon tax as your greatest achievement in the role of Minster for Women (hint: domestic violence is a thing).  Or suggesting that the provision of aid to our most populous neighbours might be conditional on them not following their own laws.  Best to stick to generalities.  "There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian".

3. Appoint Some Women To Cabinet
Like Susan Ley, Michaela Cash and Marise Payne.  These women turn out to be no less right wing than their male counterparts.  Who knew, right?

4. Be Polite To Journalists
Don't blackball the ones who criticise you.  Whatever they ask you, respond in your "calm and reasonable" voice with a wry smile.  Imply that you are a lot more intelligent than they are and that you have all the answers.  Be regal and condescending.  They really hate that.

5. Keep Your Enemies Close
Make Scott Morrison Treasurer.  Allow Peter Dutton to stay on as Minister for Overseas Torture Camps.  Let George Brandis keep on pontificating pompously.  Do one of the mad things George Christenson is advocating.  Refrain from commenting on anything Tony Abbott says.  Sooner or later they'll shoot themselves in the foot if given enough ammunition.

6. Win The Election
If you win the election you get to stay Prime Minister, which is of course the point of the exercise.  Doesn't matter if it's only by one seat.  No-one disputes that the Cowboys are the 2015 NRL Premiers because they won by a single point in extra time.  A win is a win.

7. Induce Deja Vu
Study everything that went on between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.  Repeat it as closely as possible.  You are Gillard.  Tony Abbott is Rudd.  The Liberal Party is the Labor Party.  Pauline Hanson is Clive Palmer.  Bob Katter is himself.  If you do it well enough voters will be so confused that they may vote for you by mistake in 2019, or whenever the next election happens.

What's most amazing is that Malcolm has achieved every one of these goals despite getting minimal assistance from his party.  He even won the election.  All on his own.

So, on to the next 12 months.  Given he has shown himself to be such a talented leader, here's some things he might like to try in the coming year.

1. Fix The Asylum Seeker Mess
Dutton has shot himself in the foot plenty of times now.  No-one feels sorry for him any more.  It's costing Australia over $3b per year to make people suffer.  We can repair the budget and become more humane at the same time.  There has never been a more exciting time to become an Australian!

2. Make the Taxation System Fairer
Reduce concessions for the super-wealthy.  Get multi-nationals to pay some tax - any amount will do for starters.  Quarantine negative gearing on residential property investments. Humane budget repair. Innovative concept.  There has never been a more exciting time to pay tax!

3. Climate Change Is A Thing
Significantly increase the emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.  Work out a strategy that will actually help us to meet those targets.  You may have heard the interesting theory that getting polluters to pay for the right to pollute incentivises them to reduce pollution.  It also helps repair the budget.  There has never been a more exciting time to invest in wind farms!

4. Make Love, Not War
Instead of bombing the crap out of people who frighten us, we could try diplomacy.  It's amazing how much less angry people feel when they're not being shot at.  Also, bombs are expensive. There has never been a more exciting time to restore foreign aid!

5. Ask Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander People What They Want To Do.  Give Them Resources To Do It.
Some people call this "self-determination".  Other people call it "compensation".  Others call it "common sense".  There has never been a more exciting time to be a First Australian!

I'm excited about what might happen in the next 12 months!

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