It began with allegations that the Deputy Prime Minister considered the Prime Minister to be a “hypocrite,” “a liar,” and that he had “never trusted him.”
It’s often difficult to keep up, so let’s take a look back at the political week. There was the mad day of a flurry of announcements, regardless of policy merit, aimed at bolstering the government’s standing in specific electorates or calming political tensions: international borders would be open in a matter of weeks (rather than Easter, as had been predicted); a better funding deal for the ABC; rapid antigen tests would not be free, but they would be tax-deductible.
Then there was the issue of coping with the aging population. Yes, despite the Prime Minister’s angry assurance that they wouldn’t, the defence forces would be brought in to assist — but the Prime Minister was still correct, he continued, because they would only be brought in in very narrow and limited circumstances.
“The idea that the defense forces could suddenly come in and fill that vacuum is just not realistic,” he said again on Monday. “It was never a scenario or an option that was under discussion, because it’s just not practicable.”
“However, they can and have provided very specific support to the aged care sector in some of the most difficult circumstances.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton had a slightly different perspective on it, claiming that the government had “stated from the start that we will do whatever is required to provide support to what is a very challenging sector” in two separate breakfast television interviews.
Then there was the problem of combating corruption. The Financial Review reported on Monday that Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said a federal integrity commission would have to wait until after the election because the government was too preoccupied with religious discrimination legislation and combating online trolling — a telling reflection on priorities.
“We’ll do more if we need to,” he continued, “but we’ve sent planners in to stabilize the situation.”
“The Australian Defence Force is known for a variety of things, but I believe their capacity to organize, to get things done, and to ensure that we can treat people with decency is one of them, and I’m extremely proud of the work that they do.”