Ca Scott Morrison really bring Parliament back in February when he can not control his own agenda? A crazy or crowded last run for the summer postponement is not unusual, but the government’s faltering towards goals represented the prime minister’s worst political fourteen days since his secret run to Hawaii amid the bushfires.
The government had to park its controversial religious discrimination package – a piece of legislation that it very much wanted through the House. Same for the voter ID package that the coalition wanted in place before the 2022 campaign. The National Integrity Commission, which Morrison has promised for three years, was not even introduced.
Crashing and burning in the last fourteen days was largely blue-on-blue warfare. Morrison’s own MPs just would not play ball. Liberal senators refused to vote for the government’s proposal. Liberal moderates made it clear that they wanted a genuine anti-corruption commission rather than the government’s blatant proposal, and a group went on strike over a proposal on religious discrimination that they feared was a sword pointing at gay children and teachers. not a shield.
There was all that. Then Jenkin’s review hit. It was as bad as you might have expected. Australia’s Commissioner for Gender Discrimination, Kate Jenkins, told us that more than half of the people (51%) currently working in Parliament had experienced at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault, while 77% had experienced, witnessed or heard of such. behavior.
Right at the tip, which exacerbated the scale of the cultural problem – the day the victims of misconduct were re-traumatized by having to deal with Jenkins’ catalog of their worst experiences – Parliament’s brothers marked the insights by dizzying like a bunch of schoolyard thugs. Are these guys getting taller so no one hears women cry? Some days I wonder.
Christian Porter confirmed his long-awaited departure from public life – reminding people that he was still there. Rachelle Miller, the former government official who was a prominent role in the Four Corners episode that predicted Parliament’s #MeToo moment, reappeared and made new accusations against Alan Tudge, her former boss, a man with whom she had an extramarital affair to. Morrison must have finally reached his limit by that time, because at closing time on Thursday, Tudge, who denies the allegations, stood aside from his ministerial duties while awaiting an investigation.
There was more, but the basic retelling dur, for my goal this weekend is not to look back. We must look ahead.
Things are obviously quite challenging for the Prime Minister right now and he is on the clock for an election. Morrison has for weeks looked like a leader in search of a knockout blow.
The Prime Minister wants a fight with Labor that helps his chances of re-election. Anthony Albanese has spent the best part of three years refusing to give him one. Morrison has had to box imaginary alternative scenarios. But the fighting season is now upon us.
Given that reality, Albanese on Friday took its biggest political risk as Labor leader. It is a safe prediction to say that if Labor loses the election next year, Friday’s policy will be offered as one of the reasons.
Progressive people do not like to hear this, but climate policy has been part of the reason Labor has lost all federal elections since 2013. There has been a lot of internal torture over what to do. Labor people have asked themselves how they can keep the line of ambition when the party is to win seats in Queensland, and hold the current seats, including the voters in the coal region of Hunter Valley.
After revolving around these issues for much of this period in opposition, Albanese and Chris Bowen landed the jumbo jet last Friday. Last election, the 2030 target was 45%. This time, the target will be 43% – and unlike before, there are economic analyzes to better explain the measures.
Climate science clearly tells us that a medium-term goal of reducing emissions is greater than a 43% reduction is needed. But the previous election result tells us that not all Australians are ready to accept the accelerated transition that science requires. So 43% is the agreed landing point.
Morrison, of course, went straight to war. The war on climate ambition remains what it has always been: hyperbolic, dumb as a bag of hammers, destructive to national interest and corrosive to Australia’s status internationally.
But Morrison showed Friday that he is ready to wage war anyway, just to grab something. Anything, really.
Do not forget that the Prime Minister in the run-up to Cop26 in Glasgow even tried to work out a higher emission reduction target by 2030 (although not as high as 43%) only to be thwarted by Barnaby Joyce. Everything that is the focal point of the climate is so pre-Glasgow.
Before Labor even revealed his number, Morrison split up in Parliament and dusted off one of the coalition’s favorite referees. If you vote for Anthony Albanese next year, you will have a Labor / Green coalition. Spooky. Kooky. Daunting.
Now before anyone rolls their eyes, I urge you to explore the path Morrison has mapped, for post-election coalitions are pretty interesting thought experiments if you spend a few minutes putting together scenarios.
Let’s start with observation one. Both the government and Labor believe it is entirely possible that the next election will deliver a hung parliament.
So it is not just the Albanians who may be fighting for cross-bench agreements on trust and supply shortly after the Australians cast their votes. It is very possible that Morrison will also be on that hunt.
Now I’m obviously a journalist, not a clairvoyant. I do not know how the next few months will go. But I can observe the following: Liberal moderates are clearly worried enough about the competition from the “green-green” independents – the networked group of climate-focused rebels running in seats held by the Liberals – to make a fuss in Canberra.
The Climate 200 group, which supports these independents, has managed to raise more than $ 4 million from 6,000 plus donors in less than four months. Money does not buy the love of a young political movement, or competent campaigns, or fork-free candidates, but it does help. Perhaps some of these rebels will take the place of liberals. Maybe the whole adventure will be a monumental bust.
Let us return to the resumption of the climate ambition war for a moment. You really have to wonder if Morrison’s choosing a fight with Labor over his new 2030 goal actually increases the chances of independents winning some of these competitions – increasing the risk of a minority government expelling penalties.
Choosing the old stupid match might still work in Gladstone, but I’m not convinced it’s positive in these big city seats. As they say in the classics, only time will tell. If some of these independents succeed in breaking through, it is worth remembering that they will represent liberal constituencies.
I suppose independents like Zali Stegall or Allegra Spender (in Wentworth) or Zoe Daniel (in Goldstein) would be pressured locally in a minority government scenario to try to reach an agreement with Morrison first, rather than back in a Labor government. .
It is unlikely that we will see a repeat of the detailed minority government agreements reached with the then Gillard government in the 43rd Parliament. But I suppose the locals would want their newly-appointed independents to determine whether Morrison was open to a better climate policy or not, or an anti-corruption body with teeth, in return for a simple guarantee of trust and supply.
Would Morrison be prepared to strengthen the coalition’s climate policy to stay in government? That’s a really interesting question when you turn to it. What would he do?
More importantly, what would the Nationals do? There is a core group in National’s party room that is completely against ambitions in the short and medium term. But when faced with a choice between staying on government benches and doing more, what impulse is so prevalent?
So just know this. When Morrison turns on in the weeks or months between now and the day he leaves to see the Governor General on secret Labor / Green coalitions – understand that there may be more than one side making a deal.
Also understand that the agreements may revolve around the same set of issues.
From now until election day, there is a lot at stake, no matter what heated shit you may hear.