Back in the golden years of history, the role of leader was an easier one. If the Christian’s gave you trouble, throw them to the lions. War mongers had an easier time convincing their fellow leaders that the sub-humans (anyone not them) were easily taken over; their riches ripe for the picking.
The other day I tried to imagine how Brutus and Julius Ceaser would have coped had there been social media available in ancient Rome. Do you think Brutus’ backers would have been counting numbers, waiting to see #idesofmarch trending? Would their fellow Senators have been following #senatespill and #suckitceaser? Would it have been a gladiatorial match between observers; #TeamBrutus v #TeamJulius?
Today our leaders need to deal with the incessant intrusion of the “people.” We tweet politicians the instant things are going against our own political grain. If you’re not an LNP or Green supporter you’ve probably already been blocked by several of each.
I personally think being blocked by Julia Bishop and Joe Hockey on the same day was a bit of a social media highlight. I haven’t – as far as I know – been blocked by any Australian Labor members although this political seasons must have – a block from Malcolm Roberts – has already been achieved.
If social media isn’t bad enough; when the Patrician unleashes in the ‘house of the people’ he’s got journalists live-tweeting his ‘spray’ against the opposition leader. Malcolm Turnbull, the everyman, self-made millionaire who used to wear a leather jacket and has been known to harass complete strangers into taking selfies with him on public transport, decided the other day to distract from policy – let’s face it not this Governments strong point – and launched an attack on the personality failings (as he saw them) of the Opposition Leader.
Beyond the media, very few people seemed impressed with the Earl of Wentworth’s attack on the ‘social-climbing sycophant,’ the sycophant ‘blowing hard in the House of Representatives, sucking hard in the lounge rooms of Melbourne,’ the ‘hypocrite’ who drank expensive champagne with a billionaire, a billionaire who is now eight years in his grave.
It was one of the most pathetic responses I’ve witnessed from a government with absolutely no clue what to do or where it’s going. Beyond trying to instill trickle-down economics into the general public’s mind as the only way to fix the cost of living issues, the Government spends its time pointing its finger at the past Government 3 and a half years after it lost office. Seriously, treat is as challenge. Count every time Turnbull, one of his Ministers or any other member of the Liberal or National Coalition blame Labor. Do it for 1 week.
All that said, my problem with Turnbull’s failed attempt to generate a PJK moment is his crack about the Opposition Leader trying to be a tribune of the people.I don’t know who wrote that ‘speech’ but I’ll tell you this, that line told the Australian people all it needed to know. Turnbull sees himself as socially superior to the ‘plebs’ in our nation. There is no doubt, in my mind, the word was deliberately used.
Malcolm Turnbull, safe made millionaire. Let’s take a quick look at that shall we. While it’s a given he’s made his own money, Mal started off inheriting millions from his father at a young age. He went to a school that in today’s money costs $33,000+ per year. He was hardly living on bread and dripping while making do with welfare to keep a roof over him and his father’s heads.
A multi-million dollar loan from Australian billionaire, Kerry Packer also didn’t hurt Turnbull’s chances of becoming filthy rich. Hell, I’d say anyone could do it with that sort of loan. Someone loan me a few million and we’ll put that to the test.
What I don’t like about our elitest, born to rule, leader’s comment is simple. By calling the Opposition Leader a ‘would be tribune of the people,’ Turnbull is telling the young people in Australia not to even try to better their circumstances.
If they do, they’re trying desperately to reach a level in which they don’t belong.
The term Tribune-of-the-People is one that comes from ancient Rome. Tribunus plebis, as it is known in Latin, was one of the most important checks and balances in the Roman Empire. The role of Tribune of the Plebs was the highest office in the land the poor could aspire to. While the Senate was filled with the rich and powerful, by birth if not deed, the Tribunes of the Plebs were there to protect the interests of the poor from the ruling class.
Prime Minister Turnbull, by his use of the particular terminology, was stating the Opposition Leader was nothing but a peasant who had risen as high as he was allowed in society. That the desire to lead the nation was beyond his reach due to his unfortunate birthright.
In doing so he managed to insult not just the Opposition Leader – although honestly, Bill Shorten looked more amused than anything else – but also the vast majority of people in this country who are workers.
It is worth noting, in the political classes, the only party in Australia that has been able to form Government on its own has been the Australian Labor party. The Liberals have never been able to secure the numbers needed without the coalition between themselves and The Nationals. The current situation in Western Australia where the state Liberals will be giving their preferences to One Nation over their traditional partners is a sign of both the Nationals growing irrelevance and the Liberals ‘win at all cost, damn the consequences’ attitude.
There are more workers, more plebs, in this country Mr Prime Minister than you could snarl your thin top lip at.
While you are attempting to give $50 billion in tax cuts to Australia’s richest businesses the workers whose families are losing their aged pensions, and their social security safety nets to fund your generosity to the top end of town, are struggling to put food on the table. While the children of our country are unable to find work you and your party strive to further reduce their ability to feed, clothe and house themselves by removing funding from Newstart; and hold the NDIS to ransom creating fear and uncertainty in the community of disabled Australians.
And today your Treasurer, Scott Morrison, has released a report screaming 90% of personal income tax is going to cover the annual welfare bill. Despite this ‘shocking revelation’ having been roundly smacked-down when Morrison first waved it about in March 2016 when he claimed it was 80%, it seems recycling is something the Turnbull Government approves of. Just not where it actually might benefit anyone but themselves. For further information on the last time this was attempted, please click the link below.
In closing, I would like to address two points to the Patrician of Australia. Firstly, throwing a tantrum in the House of Representatives because your back is to the ropes and your backbenchers are circling is beneath the role you play in our national discourse. If you get that rattled by a being called “Mr. Harbourside Mansion,” it’s no surprise the Right Wing of your party have you jumping at the snap of their talons.
And, secondly, you were once the most respected and trusted politician in Australia. Granted most of that was because you were seen as a wounded ‘heir apparent’ who would have brought the Liberals to the centre, who could have been the next ‘Menzies’. Instead, you flipped on every single commitment you made to the people and lost the respect and trust of the Australian people. Well, when I say that I mean the ones who only knew your public image. From those who know you in person that image seems as fake as your promises were.
Stick to the policy, Prime Minister Turnbull.
Remember those who voted for you, even if you only got a 1 seat return for your personal investment in the election. We, the People of Australia, are sick of the tantrums, the games, the props. We are sick of our elected representatives clowning for the press gallery and performing for the backbench.
Your time as our Prime Minister is limited. Whether your own team kicks you out, or the Australian public does, make the the most of the time you have left. You’re on borrowed time already; surprise us and do something valuable with the power you wield while you still can.