Malcolm Turnbull

Why I can’t vote for Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition

I live in the Federal electorate of Wentworth.

I am a gay man. I live with my same-sex partner, and the great love story of my life, of 18 years.

I am an ex-asylum seeker, from then communist Hungary, who settled in Australia, via a refugee camp in Traiskirchen, Austria.

I look forward to the double dissolution election on 2 July, so I can have my say.

I won’t be voting for Malcolm Turnbull, and the Coalition (and polls indicate I am not alone in feeling that way).

I cannot do so in good conscience, as a gay man, as an ex-asylum seeker, or as a human.

Frankly, Malcolm Turnbull is my biggest political disappointment since Paul Keating in the mid 1990s.

Paul Keating was such a huge disappointment to me, in 1996 I voted for … John Howard, and the Liberal Party – this fact is a great source of amusement to those who know me.

I may have regretted doing so later, in light of much of what happened under the Howard Coalition government, but my crushing disappointment in Keating was significant enough to make me consider the unpalatable alternative acceptable.

Turnbull emoji mood boardIn my eyes Malcolm Turnbull already exhausted his political capital, and destroyed his brand, by selling out his principles for the leadership of his party, as demonstrated by his actions over the past nine months.

Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull – the same difference

Tony Abbott is a right-wing reactionary by any definition of those terms, and his government will rightly be remembered as one of the worst in Australia’s history, which is quite an achievement considering the tragic circus performances the Labor governments that had preceded him had treated us to.

Tony Abbott had caused more damage to our nation’s social cohesion, and economic wellbeing, than any other Prime Minister in living memory.

Related stories:
The NBN – the single biggest failure of our ‘infrastructure Prime Minister’? (25 August 2015)
‘An incompetent and chaotic government’ (19 August 2015)
The Coalition stays true to form on emissions (13 August 2015)
I am calling it on Tony Abbott’s government (4 August 2016)
Tony Abbott’s war on renewable energy kicks into high gear (13 July 2015)
When the ends justify the means … (16 June 2015)
Tony Abbott vs wind turbines (13 June 2015)
Politics, paid parental leave and migraines (18 May 2015)

His removal from office didn’t mellow Mr Abbott, and he continues to be an embarrassment to many Australians.

Admittedly, Tony Abbott is just a reflection of the Coalition itself, and that same Coalition is now remaking Malcolm Turnbull in its own image. If the Coalition is the ‘broad church‘ it fancies itself to be, the emphasis is surely on the … ‘church’.

The night Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister we popped open a bottle of champagne, anticipating a new era of light, humanity, and balance in Australian politics.

Sadly, we have been bitterly disappointed, because the Malcolm Turnbull Coalition government is largely the same as the Tony Abbott Coalition government, with a different figurehead. The public reactionary rhetoric had been toned down, but the reactionary substance largely remains.

Related stories:
Coalition under a cloud (3 December 2015)
The Turnbull report (3 October 2015)
Turnbull pleases no one on day one (16 September 2015)
It was on! And then it was over. (15 September 2015)

The current government’s position on asylum seekers, the environment, and marriage equality are the same appalling policies that were put in place by Tony Abbott in his 1950s style rampage against our liberal, progressive, and secular values, assaulting common sense, humanity, and science in the process.

Malcolm Turnbull bafflingly discarded his three biggest selling points to the electorate:

  • he wasn’t a hardcore, right-wing reactionary, religious conservative clone;
  • he was a socially moderate conservative, a so-called ‘small l’ Liberal; and
  • he had strong principles that resonated with a wide spectrum of voters, across ideological and party divides.

Turnbull may be flying high on the wings of public popularity, and the Coalition may enjoy a consistent election winning lead in the polls, but the harsh reality is that the change in leadership was largely cosmetic.

The more refined and intellectual approach taken by Turnbull when discussing a range of issues is preferable, but his warm and fuzzy words are not supported by tangible action, nor do they offer a departure from the flawed policies of his failed predecessor.

The polls maybe shining on the Coalition, for now, but clouds are gathering on the horizon with a chance of showers, and the possibility of a storm …
Coalition under a cloud (The Vue Post, 3 December 2015)

Asylum seekers

The so-called offshore processing of asylum seekers remains inhumane, grossly offensive, and arguably in breach of our international obligations. The manner in which our Immigration Minister Peter Dutton behaves, a behaviour repeatedly endorsed by Malcolm Turnbull, is beyond the pale.

Related stories:
Our national asylum seekers shame rolls on unabated (18 April 2016)
Children in detention (9 February 2016)
Dutton – just keeps digging that proverbial hole (30 October 2015)
Sack Dutton now! (18 October 2015)

While I understand the desire of the Australian public for secure borders in these troubling times, the manner in which we conduct ourselves and treat our refugees causes untold harm to people who already suffered immeasurably, and demeans us in the process.

Climate change

The Coalition government’s response to climate change continues to be worthy of the legendary comedy duo of Abbott and Costello, although nobody will be laughing when the economic, social and environmental effects of climate change begin to strike at our wallets, and potentially our very existence.

Related stories:
CSIRO funding cuts (9 February 2016)
A really inconvenient truth (10 November 2015)
The CSIRO reveals why we can’t have nice things, such as a liveable planet (5 November 2015)
Our Minister for Energy makes a ‘strong moral case’ for … coal?! (19 October 2015)

Apparently polls show that 63% of Australians want carbon pricing back, and 74% support more government action on climate change. One can only hope these desires will factor at the ballot box on 2 July. If not, Australians can only blame themselves for the future consequences of climate inaction.

Marriage equality and the LGBTI community

The proposed marriage equality plebiscite is a $160 million monument to Malcolm Turnbull’s inability to lead and affect change for the social good.

Related stories:
To boycott, or not to boycott, that is the question … (24 February 2016)
Australia’s marriage equality plebiscite farce (1 February 2016)
The Senate to Parliament: Do your job! (18 September 2015)
The great gay plebiscite and referendum confusion of 2015 (14 August 2015)
The Coalition’s marriage equality fiasco (11 June 2015)
Is this why the Liberal Party’s running scared from a conscience vote on marriage equality? (26 March 2015)

By continuing to insist on an unnecessary and completely illogical plebiscite process, Malcolm Turnbull is exhibiting political cowardice, and personally contributing to harmful lies being peddled as facts, damaging our social fabric and the mental wellbeing of an entire community.

Related stories:
Did the Catholic Church exorcise Telstra’s support for marriage equality? (15 April 2016)
The ‘Marriage Alliance’ rainbow noose (9 February 2016)
Freedom of religion does not include a right to make things up (4 December 2015)
Bigots upset over being called bigots (13 November 2015)
An unhinged Marriage Alliance loses it again (7 September 2015)
Wear it Purple, wear it proud! (28 August 201)
The growing fire inside me (12 August 2015)
An unholy ‘alliance’ and Foxtel (10 August 2015)
‘Welcome’ Marriage Alliance (6 August 2015)
Gays cause [insert natural disaster of your choice] … (1 July 2015)
Catholic Church ‘warns’ businesses over public support for marriage equality (25 June 2015)

The government’s recent handling of the religious opposition to the Safe Schools anti-bullying program had already set a disgraceful tone for the ‘debate’:

Related stories:
A poignant question answered with brutal clarity (25 March 2016)
The Coalition’s Safe Schools debacle (17 March 2016)

The most recent example of the dangerous intellectual nonsense the proposed plebiscite unleashed on the LGBTI community was a blog article by Lyle Shelton of the so-called Australian Christian Lobby, in which he drew a parallel between marriage equality and the Safe Schools program and the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany. Yes, Nazi Germany! This is a particularly offensive subject matter to the LGBTI community, given the countless homosexuals who perished in Nazi concentration camps.

And we shouldn’t overlook the fact that Malcolm Turnbull is now officially on the record raising funds for the pride of the Liberal Party, who said this in Parliament:

Economy

As for the economy, while the Coalition paint themselves as the superior economic managers, the facts don’t bear out that assertion.

The Howard Coalition government largely wasted a significant opportunity to turn Australia’s economic windfall from the mining boom into major infrastructure investments. The two years of the Abbott Coalition government was an economic waste-zone, characterised by economic stagnation, resulting in plummeting business and consumer confidence.

The Coalition had not just wasted valuable time in transitioning Australia’s economy from mining and resources to innovation and technology, but set the nation back by enacting policies that harmed Australia’s renewable energy sector.

The Turnbull Coalition government had done nothing of substance to address these festering cultural, economic, political and social sores. Malcolm Turnbull’s economic management to date has been limited to meaningless slogans.

Malcolm Turnbull – captive to the most ignorant conservative faction of the Coalition

The above issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Education, health, workplace relations, and a myriad of other significant issues are in play at this election.

Malcolm Turnbull cannot be trusted on any of these issues, because his ‘leadership’ to date proved captive, and subservient, to the most ignorant, right-wing, conservative ‘Christian’ faction of the Coalition partners, whose main concerns appear focused on:

  • continuing to ignore and deny the scientific consensus on climate change;
  • supporting the ongoing mistreatment of asylum seekers in our offshore facilities;
  • eradicating homosexual and transgender people from the public sphere;
  • destroying Medicare;
  • compromising the wage conditions of the working class; and
  • eliminating women’s reproductive rights.

I can’t see anything on that list that would appeal to me in the slightest. Can you?!

And last, but definitely not least, we must also acknowledge that the return of the Coalition government would also bring with it the ever-present threat of Tony Abbott’s return to Cabinet. Just thinking about that possibility sends a chill down my spine …

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