Is Do-nothing Malcolm fit to govern?

How can a prime minister declare a national security crisis then do nothing about it? That’s what Malcolm Turnbull just did regarding the east coast energy crisis. In his own words:

“security is the first responsibility of every government. That is, national security and energy security…What Australians want is a result. They want energy security, energy that is affordable, and we need to meet what we agreed to in Paris.”

Then, after a month of doing nothing we got this:

I have directed the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission to monitor the wholesale gas market in eastern Australia using its inquiry powers.

Barely were these words out of our discombobulated PM’s mouth yesterday when the perpetrator of the great energy steal, Santos and GLNG, confessed to the market that it is ripping gas and cash from Australia at far higher rates than previously thought.

Australians are entitled to expect some consistency from their leader. A sense or proportionality is surely required too. If the energy crisis is one of national security – and it is given gas powers everything from hospitals to tanks – then how can the issue be palmed off to a withdrawn bureaucracy to sit on like some monstrous egg?

It can’t. Not if one has a full grasp of one’s faculties.  It’s roughly the economic equivalent of declaring a national emergency to manage an infectious disease outbreak then appointing the Health Department to study it for three years before issuing any vaccine.

This pattern of behavior has defined the Do-nothing Malcolm Government. On virtually every issue it promises reform then backtracks just as quickly, courting and raising expectations then dropping stakeholders cold, leaving the act of governing a twisted and bloodied mess.

We’re rich and can afford to make these mistakes. So we’ve become inured to them in the past seven years as the caliber of government has deteriorated.

But we’ve now reached such consistent levels of dysfunction that we look past just about anything.

Yet the level of ineptitude on display in the gas crisis is not simply the result of institutional constraints or perversity. It also derives from the individuals that lead the nation. On that basis, what’s going on here is so far short of “normal” that it might be considered pathological.

Either Do-nothing Malcolm is knowingly an accessory to grand resource kleptocracy or his judgement is so impaired that he simply should not be in charge.

If I were a Coalition strategist, I would be plotting for a new leader post haste, one that at least approximates having what we might roughly call a moral centre.


  1. “one that at least approximates having what we might roughly call a moral centre.”

    Err…. any suggestions?

    • Just finished watching Trumble explain Australian property values to Leigh not for Sales. Sick-making.

      Prior to that just finished watching Clarke and Dawe reflect on society and it’s moving parts for the final time. Priceless. We were blessed. Truly the lucky country to have had John appear on its national stage so well for so long.

      • Can’t come from the current political crop with those sorts of requirements, must be an outsider.

        Dick Smith?

    • Talent in local politics is at mother hubbard levels. It is clearly one occupation where there is an obvious and ongoing shortage. Maybe we need a new visa class for political,ethical, economic, social and moral leadership.

      Not sure which conservative could be brought in: maybe Nigel Farage seeing how he has decided not to run for election in the UK. On the progressive side I would give support for Elizabeth Warren to be brought in. I cannot remember the last time I heard a local progressive polly speak so passionately on the need to apply the principles of social democracy as Ms Warren is doing.

  2. ceteris paribus

    What? Tampa Turnbull is on fire! And any man about to stop some many foreign children being thrown overboard is a shoe-in for the mext election. Just you wait. He’s learnt from the master.

  3. “Either Do-nothing Malcolm is knowingly an accessory to grand resource kleptocracy or his judgement is so impaired that he simply should not be in charge.”

    The former.

    It’s class warfare pure and simple.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      “No it isn’t”

      Yes it is!,…because the solution is Government taking back control of OUR (the peoples) natural resources and energy supply.

      The current gouging of the Australian people by these National and international Coporations is straight out of the Plutocratic/kleptocratic Neoliberal play book. Infiltrate Government, dominate economic philosophy and always be looking to steal more.

      Why the fuck does anybody think Goldman Sachs appointed him chief lord, or princeling of their Australian operations? Mmm?
      Business partner and friend of Nevil Wran, Goughs son and other established and rising political stars, including Bob Car, who he insisted help him plot and execute a marriage of convince with the Daughter of a former liberal MP and,….Attorney General of Australia!
      If Turnbull wasn’t a class warrior, then he wouldn’t have been worth a pinch of shit to Goldman Sachs.

      Neoliberalism has already won and “do nothing” Sachs man Turnbull is doing just as he should be,…leaving nothing changed and nothing challenged.

      All for the sake of his Class

      • While we are on the topic of class…..

        “In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.”

        The above piece reminds me of Philip Soos excellent piece on the real lifters and leaners.,9060

      • A special degree of irony from the “small business party”.
        All that will left FIRE & resource extraction (with a smattering of bed pan cleaning) with the rest killed by energy, land costs.d

  4. proofreadersMEMBER

    Another playdate this weekend for Do-nothing with VP Mike Pence coming to Sydney town.

  5. Some actual decent policy from Labor this morning in the afr:

    – Ban SMSF property investment (about bloody time)
    – National vacant residential property tax, to prevent land banking
    – Double FIRB screening fees and fines
    – Nick the government’s bond aggregator idea

  6. Jake GittesMEMBER

    David Cameron was described by Peter Hitchens as a man without qualities, without vision, but who wanted power because he believed he was entitled to it as a natural course in his career. The same can be said of Turnbull.

  7. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Turnbull is waiting for the gas crisis to blow up even more. When everyone starts screaming about the rise in gas prices, he will push through legislation to remove all environmental protection on CSG and introduce subsidy for coal. Never let a crisis go to waste, and it won’t solve the gas shortage either, but it will make the anti-environmentalist in his party happy.

      • I agree H&H. He is no strategist. I watched his appearance last night on ABCs 7.30 Report where he was grilled and his performance was pathetic. To me he seemed somewhat delusional when he kept going on and on about his so called accomplishments. He is spineless and incompetant and probably the worst PM in my living memory.

    • Some of the Nats would have kittens. CSG is the issue that unites the Environmental lobby and the Property holders rights wing of the fringe Right.

      • The Nats are now a wholly owned subsidiary of Mining Inc, they stopped represent rural interests many years ago.

    • HadronCollision

      Hmmmm. Maybe, maybe not.

      Sure hope he is ready for a war on the North Coast and with Gladys whatshername if he opens up CSG or runs ramshod over state sovereignty.

      There’ll be war on the North Coast over CSG.

    • I think either :

      • you have ascribed him too much strategic nous; or

      • he’s a product of the current system where the major parties are incapable of reaching a working consensus due to conflicting interests.

      In support of the latter proposition I would say:

      • With Labor it’s obvious – a mix of the far (progressive) Left, the centre Left (partly the rational & moral fraction & partly the Eddit Obeid club) & the power union leaders with their own personal ambitions entirely dictating policy;

      • With the LNP/National mix it’s entirely about the agendas of the dominant business groups to whom the individuals have pledged their allegiance;

      • Forget the Greens. Hanson Young etc may eventually grow out of her teenage years.

      The above is of course is nothing new in a Westminster based system. What makes us different is THE SENATE where the attempts to accumulate a coherent policy from the above groups are judged.
      The senate has become a quagmire:

      • Longstanding lack of an effective majority has made governance a nightmare;

      • The senators themselves have become morally bankrupt. My point here is that, by comparison, the House of Lords in the UK, for example, don’t negotiate policy on the grounds that :
      ”If you allow a particular type of shotgun to be imported I’ll allow your bill (which has NOTHING to do with the issue) to pass.” This sort of totally immoral horse trading is only possible due to the complete lack of professionalism in the Australian media which should instantly & universally condemn this behaviour. The bastards should walk – immediately.

      There are no standards.

      We’re currently ungovernable. That aint just Malcolm. Wait for the next half dozen paralysed leaders to prove my point.

      • “We’re currently ungovernable. That aint just Malcolm. Wait for the next half dozen paralysed leaders to prove my point.”


        20 years from now we will look around and wonder how the hell things got the way they are.
        I expect that Australian voters will flip flop between or altogether abandon the major political parties. They all seem inept, just in different ways.

    • bolstroodMEMBER

      I suspect you are right in this Ronin.
      The announcement yesterday of the funding for the inland Melbourne – Brisbane interstate freight line will enhance the Gas interests.
      I t will be done under the guise of a National Emergency, which is already called.
      I was told yesterday by an industry player (Enova Energy) that they expect electricity prices to rise by 20% or more by next year.
      Turnbull is very aware of community feeling on the CSG issue. The National Emergency will give him special powers to over ride comunity objections and give the NSW govt. the grenn light to use it’s draconian anti protest laws.


    MT to Leigh Sales last night:
    “Freedom, equality of men and women, mutual respect, the rule of law, democracy, a fair go — that’s our Australian values,” he said.”

    As EP (above) suggested so succinctly, the continued uttering of platitudes ad nauseum is the way the kleptocrats have been able to warp this country into complete dysfunction for the citizenry who naïvely think MT is earnest in his ‘promises’.
    The firm handshake and ‘words of sincerity’ (though false and intentionally misleading) have fooled many for decades but the ‘effectiveness’ of this tactic is losing its shine.

    On every continent in the developed world, the people are beginning to realize the depth and extent of the deception. Malcolm’s ‘superiors’ overseas are likely screaming into his iPhone at the moment as their machine begins to malfunction and hence why he behaves so peculiarly.

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’.
    The great…………………and powerful…………………………OZ……………………………….has spoken.

  9. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Malcolm reminds me of Ronald Reagan ……a b grade actor more focused on delivering his lines for maximum effect and playing the role of Prime minister …but not showing a lot of deep considered thought, conviction or substance behind those same lines ..Regan did seem to have some core though and did some good things in soviet relations and left office after two terms with record popularity.
    After being in the job for some time now no one seems really sure what Malcolm’s core is …….which is why his well delivered lines fall so flat .

  10. How is this sustainable? Surely a few gas dependent businesses are LNP donors. As their bottom line shrinks due to increased energy costs, wouldnt they turn to the sitting government they donated to, and ask them to get the thumb out?