And so another day, another LNP scandal.
Michaelia Cash is still under investigation for rank abuse of power in a rather fascist sense, but that isn’t the scandal du jour. Not that it shouldn’t be - over a year has passed since her office tipped off the media to a (baseless) raid on a union office and still nothing has been done, not to mention her total lack of decorum and self-awareness not to resign in the shame she so rightly deserves.
Nor is our scandal the budget prediction that was just released. This will see the deficit, which has nearly quadrupled under the Coalition’s stewardship, erased and turned into a surplus just in time for the election they’re tracking to lose. What a coincidence.
Not that they’ve provided any solid evidence on how they’re going to accomplish this, they never do. I do admit it’s entirely possible they could get the budget into surplus, if not probable, but it would require an immediate 180 on all of their economic policies for the last 6 years in the space of 6 months. I’m not saying they can’t do it, but I am saying that the only way they probably can do it is through the use of some magical goblin who can spin the phrase “fair dinkum” into gold, because that’s the only stock they seem to have in surplus.
Well that and sex pests.
Which brings us to the actual scandal of the day. Andrew Broad and his “sugar daddy” escapades while on the job and representing the nation. I won’t rehash the whole story, you can find it easily enough elsewhere; but in summary Mr Broad has a penchant for the younger ladies, appears to be sexually aroused by his own narcissism, and likes to be referred to as “James Bond”.
I won’t condone nor condemn what Mr Broad did. Is he a creepy, deviant sex freak? Yes he is, but who isn’t? We’re all perverts in someone’s eyes. No, that isn’t the issue. There are two actual issues in play and neither of them are being addressed.
First is the rank hypocrisy.
Andrew Broad, like so so many of the neo-cons before him, has been snared in a web of his own creation. They assume the high ground, the puritanical holier-than-thou stance of moral purity and decry the failings of lesser men. When Barnaby Joyce was outed as a dodgy sex pest, Broad - perhaps acting through his own subconscious - was one of the first and most vocal to pile on and put the boot into Joyce.
Again I won’t rehash old material, but as a small but pertinent insight you can’t go past this - and note here that he’s quoting a puritanical Christian mouthpiece with a questionable past himself:
Like so many tweets, this has not aged well. Broady doth protest too much. It’s like politicians have yet to realise that what goes on the internet is forever. (I’ll add this in before any edits: if this post comes back to haunt me in any way I’ve already considered the irony.)
Australians can tolerate a sex fiend, but we can’t stand hypocrites. You’re a low dog, not a high horse.
Second is, through his own admission and the moral stance of his party, his actions are reprehensible and his position untenable. So he has resigned. From the ministry. He remains a Member of Parliament. And here’s the real problem, what I’ve been building to this whole time. We’re in a position where LNP Members can get away with anything and face little to no repercussions.
The Coalition is a minority government. At their peak they had the slimmest majority possible - any single voice of discontent, any slip up in behaviour could have been disastrous for them. Indeed they lost multiple votes on the floor because they couldn’t manage to keep enough Members at work to ensure they didn’t lose a vote.
Now they’re well and truly a minority government. The Member for Chisholm, Julia Banks, hammered that nail into the coffin. And with a minority comes the true value of a single Member. The balance of power is so tenuous for the government that a slight breeze will see them topple.
So their Members can get away with murder confident that they won’t face any real censure from the party or the Prime Minister. Sure the electorate can clamour, and they will, but they won’t get a say until the election and that’s still a ways off yet.
In the meanwhile it’s a great time to be a sitting member of the Liberal National Coalition. You can take a shit on the lawn of Parliament House and Scott Morrison would be too scared of a vote of no-confidence to do anything other that give you an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Which, as far as metaphors go, could be seen as an accurate way of describing the Abbott-Turnbull-Almost Dutton-Morrison experiment that has failed so spectacularly for the last six years. Please, for the sake of the country, can someone put this circus out of its misery?
Andrew Broad has clearly taken the Red Pill, maybe the rest of us can finally wake up from this horrible nightmare.