On the ABC News channel on the evening of the Wentworth by-election the two politicians engaged to commentate on the election were the Liberal member for North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman, and the Labor member for Barton, Linda Burney. As the evening progressed they were called on regularly for comment. While Burney was vaguely sensible, Zimmerman said some things which were at best delusional. They were:
Delusion No. 1: Zimmerman said the Scott Morrison was ‘kicking goals’. When I heard this, I burst out laughing. The only goals Morrison has been kicking have been own goals2. These government own goals include the Ruddock religious freedom backflip3, lying about climate change4, lying about abortion rights5, protecting members from facing the High Court to test their eligibility to sit6, a minister incapable of answering simple questions about their portfolio7, the same minister insulting a former president of Kiribati8, voting for a white supremacist motion in the Senate9, and risking trade deals with Indonesia in a moronic attempt to buy the Jewish vote in Wentworth10.
Delusion No. 2: Zimmerman stated that Scott Morrison is “respected by Australians”11. This only made me roll my eyes. Morrison may be respected by members of his Pentecostal church, and other believers. Most people I suspect will agree with Tony Wright who wrote: “Morrison, as has become clearer by the day, has proved to be a prime minister with the instincts of a door to door salesman, trying to be an everyman for everyone”12. This hasn’t worked and makes him look buffoonish, and anything but a leader.
Delusion No. 3: Zimmerman stated that the Coalition is providing “stable government”13. This was another statement which made me burst out laughing. Apart from all the instances of cock-ups listed above, there still has not been even the vaguest inkling as to why Turnbull was dumped as Prime Minister12, with Morrison only ever stating that it wasn’t his fault. To call the current government stable is just as sensible as calling Trump a stable genius.
Delusion No. 4: Zimmerman stated that Australians are mostly ‘concerned about energy prices’14 and less about global warming. Again this engendered an eye-roll. Funny how electricity prices don’t seem to have been a major concern when polls were taken prior to the Wentworth by-election. Climate change has always been near the top of the heap of concerns, mostly because people can now clearly see it happening15. This was emphasised by the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which stated that we will be lucky to avoid a world in which global average temperature is as low as 1.5 degrees C16. So, for Zimmerman to say that electricity prices are the main concern of most people is simply idiotic.
I realise that Zimmerman is just parroting Coalition talking points, but the dishonesty of these talking points is baffling. All the government members have to do is look at the available facts to see what they are saying is ridiculous. Aren’t they allowed out by themselves without sticking to talking points? Aren’t they allowed to tell the truth? Are they supposed to keep repeating lies? How long do they think they can get away with this? How long do they think they can ignore the completely overwhelming evidence for global warming?
As one wag said after the fiasco of the government in the Senate voting for the white supremacist motion put up by Pauline Hanson9, the government senators and members seemed to have ‘outsourced their thinking’. Maybe that is true of more than just motions in the Senate.