What do we know about the Morrison government on the eve of the federal election?

Bestinau got that-

South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas has just won an election. Rather convincing. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is trying to win one. Given the help he’s been getting from his own side of politics lately, he’d probably settle for an inconclusive win.

Malinauskas is full of new enthusiasm and big ideas. Scott Morrison, like his government, just looks tired and, very often, cranky.

The South Australian Prime Minister came to the National Press Club in Canberra this week, eager to get some fresh ideas on the national agenda before we all disappear into the maelstrom of an election campaign.

The prime minister toured the country again announcing exceptionally large bundles of money for infrastructure in target voters, while apparently having to be dragged kicking and screaming to give more money to people whose lives have been devastated by floods.

Voters would like to see a boldness in the policy, a vision for the future, said Peter Malinauskas this week.ABC news

The contrast in the Prime Minister’s approach between infrastructure and flooding is one of those mysteries of modern Australian politics.

Malinauskas spoke of the role of governments, noting that while he was “reluctant to make comparisons between World War II and the pandemic because they are very different things”, Australia had not had a moment like this – when “a global shock turned the way we think about things” – since 1945. Malinauskas said:

“Think of the thousands of companies that voluntarily closed their doors during the pandemic, not knowing what happened next. Think of all the workers who gave up their income, not for their sake but for the sake of others. These are people who made great sacrifices in the course of the pandemic.”

People want to know what the legacy of COVID will be, he said. “Is it going to be more of the same, just going back to where we were before – wage stagnation and a less fair economy? An incredibly tumultuous state of affairs in our politics? Or is it actually going to be a legacy that will lead to a brighter future?” he said.

“There is a hunger – in my opinion – a hunger for ambition and audacity in policy, a vision for the future of the country.”

The Trillion Dollar Question

Morrison seems to have a different view of time. He says the elections are “a choice, not a referendum”. (Subtext: It shouldn’t be a referendum on his government.)

“It is a choice between the Liberal Party and the Nationals and Labor backed by the Greens,” he said on Friday.

†[A choice between] our plans for the future and our record of economics and national security, and plans that we know nothing about from Labor and the Greens. They are unknown. It’s a choice between what you know and what you don’t know.”

Scott Morrison holds a cap in his hand during a press conference
Many members of the government and coalition have recently been willing to give unflattering character assessments of the prime minister.MONKEY: Phat Nguyen

The trillion dollar question of the election is whether voters want more of “what we know”: whether it will indeed be a referendum on the Morrison administration.

So, what do we know about this government on the eve of the election?

We know it stems from a dysfunctional political party, so divided that it was willing to risk going into the election without a mass of candidates in NSW. And we know that quite a few members of the government and the party have been willing to give an unflattering character assessment of the Prime Minister on the eve of an election.

We have a tendency to use taxpayers’ money for targeted voters, which is quite staggering.

Prime Minister’s stubbornness about funding for flood victims

The Financial Review reported this week that more than $1.3 billion of the $3.3 billion in infrastructure spending allocated to NSW — of the $17.9 billion announced nationally in the budget — has been allocated to Dobell, to the central coast of NSW, held by Labor by a margin of only 1 percent.

Are the people at Dobell grateful for that? Morrison faced some rather hostile questions from reporters when he showed up there this week. They pointed out that locals were still waiting for the delivery of promises from the last election, including parking spaces for commuting. And they wondered why a billion-dollar pledge for faster trains “covers 10 miles of track in this region,” but they didn’t address other slower sections of the route that previously undermined the goal of faster commutes.

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