PUTTING THE MAN IN ‘MANDATE’

Scout’s getting nervous: a quick look on how newly sworn-in Prime Minister Tony Abbott is doing the political equivalent of a time warp to Cold War era.

1. One female cabinet minister out of nineteen positions.

Julie Bishop’s ferocity and persistence in politics have stood her in good stead as Deputy Opposition Leader. She will be remember for three things: (1) a death stare that would have paralysed Thatcher; (2) violating Indonesian sovereignty with a policy to “turn back” asylum seeker vessels in the Timor Sea; (3) being the only high-profile female political role model in the Coalition’s government.

Australia’s parliament has no shortage of strong female contenders elsewhere. Tanya Plibersek, eloquent and passionate member for Sydney since 1998, is tipped as a potential frontrunner for deputy Labor leader. Penny Wong is Australia’s first Asian-born and openly lesbian Senator for South Australia. She has been a leader in marriage equality, climate change action and maintaining the hardline in response to impertinent questions from shock jocks and rumour-mongering about Labor’s continued internal division.

Recently retired former Howard government minister Judi Moylan, has voiced concerns about the lack of Liberal women in the party’s senior ranks. “We’ve got good women – I would like to see them promoted.”

Abbott has justified the paucity of women by explaining the need to ensure a fair balance between states and the upper/lower houses. He has also said that many women are “knocking on the door” of party seniority. It’s only a matter of time.

Key takeout: Abbott is secretly training Amazonian female representatives and senators in an underground military-grade facility with a reinforced, bullet-proof glass ceiling for a gendered coup-d’état in the near future.

2. Omission of a Science Ministry.

For the first time since 1931 (with the exception of four weeks during World War II, when the world’s impending destruction required all hands on deck), our government will not have a portfolio dedicated to science. Science will be subsumed into Ian MacFarlane’s Industry portfolio. CSIRO is under MacFarlane’s jurisdiction. In the last twelve hours, he has dismissed coal seam gas protests as –

“noisy protesters, minority groups, with no interest in the development of regional Australia and the economic progress of agriculture and mining together”.

He has warned that Tasmania will become a “welfare state”, if environmental lobby groups oppose mining in the Tarkine region. Already twice blocked by state and federal governments, the Tarkine projects require open cut mining with projected life spans of two to three years. In short, we permanently decimate our natural environment for a short-term job injection for local residents, but a big pay-off to mining conglomerates. MacFarlane supports “streamlining” (read: “expediting”) the process to approve mining operations. He might be fairly and squarely supporting Australian industry and mining innovation. In the same breath, he has silenced scientific and environmental opposition (objective or otherwise) to the same issues.

Key takeout: Positioning Australia as a good investment opportunity > preserving scientific autonomy and our natural environment.

3. Climate change scepticism.

He has also promised to scrap the Carbon Tax, claiming that his election victory constitutes a mandate for the new Labor opposition to fall into line to appease the apparently enraged Australian people. On Q&A 9 September, Guardian chief political correspondent Lenore Taylor noted that the election wasn’t a referendum on the carbon pricing mechanism. “The Australian people need to reconsider what they define as their mandate for this government.”

As manoeuvres from MacFarland suggest, Abbott’s government plans to encourage investment in energy-intensive mining projects. Meanwhile, Abbott has pointedly omitted the words Climate Change from any governmental offices or cabinet letterheads.

Key takeout: Perhaps is we ignore it, it’ll go away.

4. Revolutionising the-

(error>>>/function(){var aa=encodeURIComponent,ba=Infinity,ca=setTimeout,da=isNaN,m=Math,ea=decodeURIComponent;function ha(a,b){return a.name=b} f5_for-progress, ea=thedailyspread

Sorry, that was the sound of Abbott’s/Turnbull’s internet trying to deal with a twenty-first century caseload.

We will all be waiting with baited breath for the Coalition’s broadband plan. Sadly, one of the Coalition’s more switched on senior figures, Turnbull has been saddled with the most unpopular innovative policy since someone suggested going back to slicing bread by hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmD-uFgcvbU

Takeout: If the opt-out filter fails to pass government, at least it’ll be harder for adolescent boys to download inappropriate material without getting frustrated by buffering.

To survive, here’s a pocket-sized guide by Ben Pobjie.

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