REMEMBER WHEN THIS HAPPENED?
In November 2018 Christopher Pyne announced the Parliamentary sitting days for 2019. While there were to be 22 of them until June 2019 we all knew that would be reduced because the Government would be prorogued at some stage to allow for a General Election. That meant we expected around 10 sitting days.
This sudden reduction in our Parliamentary system meant that the system of Government by degree which the Coalition had been working towards for six years had been extended. Not that we worried, Bill Shorten would soon be PM and everything would return to normal.
THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN!
Instead we have had a continuation of the Morrison/Dutton-led reduction of Parliamentary responsibility. More and more, the Nation is being governed by decree and regulation rather than by properly publicly debated and voted-on Laws.
Sadly, for the IPA-led Coalition, there were still estimates committees which asked difficult questions, still the occasional Question Times in open Parliament where the truth may accidentally be exposed to the electorate.
Still it was so much better than before when the Government was fully accountable.
THEN COVID-19 HAPPENED
Suddenly Australia, and the rest of the world, was in the middle of a huge crisis of World War proportions. Suddenly a wartime-like emergency cabinet was formed which included the Morrison inner cabinet and their advisors along with the State Premiers. Significantly, the Federal ALP leadership was excluded.
The Parliament sat for a day to formalise the first of a series of emergency relief programs the, in an apparent panic of self-preservation, closed down until August.
Suddenly there were no Estimates Committee Hearings, no embarrassing Question Times to worry about or to be accountable for. Just a daily round of press conferences where the commandments de jour were handed down by our Ruler by Divine Decree.
AND WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
The Prime Minister announced on 25th March 2020 (and I include it in full here despite it having been shared all across the main Stream Media until we have become sick of hearing it. You HAVEN’T heard, read, seen this? Where have you been? In some sort of Murdoch news vacuum?) :-
Today I announce the creation of a new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) that will coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission will ensure the Government receives the most comprehensive advice to meet the challenges ahead to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus and help build a bridge to recovery.
This is about working cooperatively across private-to-private and public-to-private networks to unlock resources, break bottlenecks and fix problems so Australian families, businesses and communities are supported through the challenging months ahead.
Mr Neville Power has been appointed Chairman and brings both high level business expertise and a strong commitment to social issues.
An Executive Board of Commissioners, will advise the Prime Minister on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response. The Board will work in tandem with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Brendan Murphy, who continues to lead the Commonwealth’s health response.
The National COVID-19 Commission Executive Board includes leaders across the private and not-for-profit sectors: Mr Greg Combet AM, Ms Jane Halton AO, Mr Paul Little AO, Ms Catherine Tanna and Mr David Thodey AO (Deputy Chair).
They will be joined by the Secretaries of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Philip Gaetjens and Home Affairs, Mr Mike Pezzullo.
The National Cabinet, comprising State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers, continues to lead the national response at a government level. The Australian Government’s National Security Committee of Cabinet’s COVID-19 Taskforce and the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet continue to take decisions that determine the Commonwealth’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is about mobilising a whole-of-society and whole-of-economy effort so we come through this unprecedented health crisis. The Commission will assist the Government to ensure all resources are marshalled to this vital task in a coordinated and effective manner.
At all times, our actions are guided by the best possible medical advice, while putting the economic and social wellbeing of all Australians front and centre of our response.
The NCCC will be based in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The existing National Coordination Mechanism based in the Department of Home Affairs, which coordinates the cross jurisdictional response to non-health aspects of the pandemic, will report to the Commission, as will the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit based in the Treasury Department.
So we are now being governed by a Junta of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Home Affairs and the Treasury Department. In other words, by Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Christian Porter.
No Opposition, no public scrutiny, no accountability.
The process begun by Christopher Pyne in 2018 has now been completed. Our Parliament has been made redundant.
The Conservative Leopards may have begun handing out largesse to the masses in a desperate attempt to forestall a repeat of the French or Russian Revolutions but they have NOT changed their spots!