5 December 2022
Following the inquiry by Judge Virginia Bell, Anthony Albanese has done the obvious political thing and moved to censure the former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, for assuming additional portfolios during the Covid ‘pandemic’, more or less without telling anyone. It was passed 86 votes to 50.
As the Guardian reports:
We now have three new adjectives for the saga of Scott Morrison’s secret, multiple ministries: ‘unnecessary’, ‘exorbitant’, and ‘bizarre’.
Those are the words of former High Court Justice, Virginia Bell, whose meticulous report lays waste to Morrison’s justifications for his break-glass-in-case-of-emergency powers.
Bell was able to pull it all together despite only perfunctory communication with Morrison through his lawyers – who mostly pointed to his public comments on the matter and added the improbable claim that he thought the ministries would be announced on the government gazette.
Bell found that ‘difficult to reconcile’ with Morrison’s choice not to inform his ministers of the appointments because he didn’t want them to think he was second-guessing them.
Doesn’t Albanese look suitably somber?
Mr Albanese said the report was a ‘scathing’ indictment of Mr Morrison and his actions were ‘extraordinary, unprecedented and wrong’.
‘We’re shining sunlight on a shadow government that preferred to operate in darkness, a government that operated in a cult of secrecy and a culture of cover-up, which arrogantly dismissed scrutiny from the parliament and the public as a mere inconvenience,’ Mr Albanese said.
This exercise is absurd. Or is it?
Hang the former government for a minor crime made to sound like a major crime, and so avoid having them and we-the-then-Opposition face a real inquiry into the actual Covid crimes of the government, of the National Cabinet, and of the state and territory tinpot dictatorships which would include Albo’s Labor mates in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Darwin. They were Covid totalitarians all and with far greater crimes on their records than ScoMo.
Considered this way, it is a classic ‘look over there’ feint. Morrison, yesterday’s man, will escape the wrath of the Covid State’s victims and sail off into the sunset with a slap on the wrist for a relatively minor offence. Albanese will look (for a moment) ‘prime ministerial’. No one will notice his own culpability in the Covid affair.
Equally absurd is the Opposition’s ‘defence’ of its Covid policy responses, including Morrison’s frankly weird portfolio gambit. We were stressed. Once in a century pandemic. Fog of ignorance. Novel virus. All of this is self-serving, baseless tosh…
There is no defence of Morrison’s many Covid sins. None whatsoever. To attempt this defence, as a few Liberals like Dan Tehan have done, is to insult our intelligence. (Although, given the apparently low intelligence of the average Australian voter, it might wellwork.)
Morrison’s crime isn’t a storm in a teacup. There is something called due process in our government, and that is important. It was ignored by Morrison. This is not the problem with the censure motion. Nor is it the case that Morrison and his appalling government don’t have anything over which to be censured, Covid policy-wise. God help us – where to start?
We could start with the ban on Australian citizens from leaving their country. Or returning. We could mention the disastrous creation of the National Cabinet – a far greater breach of governance norms than ScoMo’s piddling portfolio play. We might mention ScoMo’s slithering over vaccine mandates. Or his endorsement of Daniel Andrews, whose police shot innocent people in the back with rubber bullets, arrested mothers who had put dissident views on Facebook, closed playgrounds to prevent adults from congregating, and oversaw police overreach that included smashing heads on concrete floors. Or the Morrison government’s acceptance of his bureaucrats’ banning of effective Covid treatments that would have saved lives. Or his secretive deals with Big Pharma. Or his government’s use of the vile Biosecurity Act that caused at least some ministers brief pause. Or his funding support for Covid camps. Or his silence when an enormous protest urned up in Canberra in February 2022 to plead for release from our lockdown and vaccine bondage.
None of these sins are mentioned in the ritualistic execution of him for the much lesser crime of secretly taking on extra ministries.
Albanese’s Covid sins are monumental. Like most oppositions across the globe during Covid, the Australian Labor Partystood against the people to score easy political points, doing nothing to defendindividual freedom and rights. They were just as much part of the Covid establishment as the governments of the day. Convenient. Self-serving. Cowardly.
As a result,there has been a critical, possibly permanent, breach of trust between the state and the citizenry. The social contract has been broken, and broken inexorably. Nothing in our lifetimes comes close. The governing class has proven that it cares not for the rights, freedoms, and welfare of its people. That many of the governed in Australia were sufficiently frightened to seem to be quite willing to submit to totalitarian control in order to benefit from the State’s false promise of protection from the ‘deadly’ virus is quite beside the point.
A most eloquent and erudite analysis of how this breach occurred was delivered in the recent Menzies Oration by Lord Jonathan Sumption, the retired British Supreme Court Judge, and history scholar.
Sumption’s speech was titled State of Fear. It was a tour de force that provided a perceptive explanation of the emergence of the Covid State, delivered (not ironically) in Danistan. What the democratic state inflicted on its people should never be forgiven, or forgotten.
Sumption’s account of previously ‘unthinkable’ impositions on the citizenry during Covid, in what amounted to a Hobbesian police state where citizens became mere instruments of state control, says everything that needs to be said about the sheer emptiness of Albanese’s convenient and cynical gesture in the Australian Parliament this week. Our sense of the rule of law has been trashed. I fearthat few if any of theparliamentarians excoriating ScoMo will have the remotest sense of the damage than has been done to the polity during the Covid hysteria. Our parliamentary democracy lies in ruins. Will anyone in Canberra even have noticed?
If you thought the Covid theatre was over, just watch this farce unfold. Serving the needs of the political class. Certainly not those of the people.
Other nations might be disposed to hunt down the Covid policy villains and punish them in the courts. As the legendary American economist and policy analyst David Stockman at the Brownstone Institute says (in relation to his own country):
Let the real investigations begin.
Yes, please. Stockman states:
Now that the GOP has taken control of the US House investigative committees, we must pray that they will have the courage of their convictions and the intellectual clarity and steadfastness to pursue the nation’s god-forsaken descent into public health totalitarianism to the very bottom of this great folly. So doing, they need to name names.
Stated differently, the unspeakable stain of the Covid tyranny requires the very opposite of the ‘pandemic amnesty’ that the craven poltroons at the Atlantic suggested recently. That’s because the precedent was such a grave affront to constitutional liberty and capitalist prosperity that those responsible should be exposed, hounded and shamed, and prosecuted where warranted, so that future power-grabbers will forever be reminded that tyranny cannot be imposed with impunity.
Indeed, we can all hope that the once mighty United States does what we seem palpably unable to do. Instead, down under, we have a tepid, feeble attempt to skirt the big issue, to ignore the elephant in the room, while castigating mice. Yes, we have named a name – Scott Morrison. Whoop-de-do. But we still seem unable or unwilling to nail the perpetrators of the greatest crimes against liberty in modern history. Just the opposite, in fact. One of our populous states, that unspeakable place south of the Murray, has just rewarded the worst dictator of them all by re-electing him to a third term of office. Go figure.
The only censure motion during Covid in the Australian Parliament was against one of the very, very few freedom fighters in the Parliament, George Christensen. One of the lone public figures in this country who actually recognised how sinister the Covid responses were, and had the clear-headedness and courage to call it out. That was a national disgrace. That the Liberal Party – the party of the same Menzies honoured by Lord Sumption – and the National Party joyously joined in the attack on Christensen suggests either that they had no comprehensionof what they were doing to the people of Australia and its institutions, or they simply did not care.
This speaks volumes for just how little our politicians think of us. They act like this was just another issue, just another policy. Nothing to see here.
That a whole generation of parliamentarians, with virtually no honourable exceptions, cannot see the damage that has been done to the polity through their own malfeasance – the kindest word I can find for their behaviour – should cause voters and the media to shake their heads in disbelief. Lord Sumption calls it ‘corrosive’ of democracy and sees the damage as permanent. It is that serious. Instead, the gnomes of The Guardian start laying into Morrison (via Twitter) for his defence of his portfolios putsch. Possibly they also cannot see that the current censure exercise is a farce and a distraction and that we need a real inquiry into the Covid madness. Or possibly they choose not to, since they too are implicated in the self-same hysteria. Indeed, they themselves generated much of it.
This cabal of politicians has silenced their people. They have neutered us. They no longer deserve our collaboration, let alone our respect. In trashing the social contract on which our system of liberal democracy is based, they have, unwittingly, released us from our bond of political obligation. Such an environment is highly charged and potentially dangerous.
And they have the gall to bang on about ‘voices’.