The Prime Minister’s call for Australians to heed the advice of his government’s experts may fall on deaf ears because the experts and elites have let this country down so many times before,
In his press conference last Wednesday, Scott Morrison said “if you hear it from me, if you hear it from a Premier, if you hear it from [Chief Medical Officer] Dr[Brendan] Murphy, if you hear it from those official sources and websites, that’s the information you should follow.” This is likely wise advice in the current health panic. But Australians may instead reflect on the many times the government experts and elites have been flat out wrong or misleading.
In April 2019, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the country was “back in the black”, meaning the Budget would be brought back into surplus for the first time in a decade. Except a surplus was never delivered, and now never will be by this Government.
In May 2012, then Treasurer Wayne Swan said that the Labor government had “delivered” a Budget surplus. But by December the surplus was abandoned, and an expected $2.5 billion surplus became an $18.8 billion deficit.
In August 2010, five days before the national election, then prime minister Julia Gillard said there would be “no carbon tax under the government I lead”. But then proceeded to implement a carbon tax after Labor secured minority-government following the election.
We were told as recently as 2013 by the then Labor government that the National Broadband Network would cost $37.4 billion. But that cost has now ballooned out to $90 billion-plus – for a service that is inferior to that which many Australians previously enjoyed.
Our government told us in February 2019 that the new submarine program would “protect Australia’s security and prosperity”. Instead, the program will cost at least $50 billion and won’t deliver one single operational submarine until at least 2036.
We were told the new green jobs would replace the old manufacturing jobs. Instead, we have lost close to 100,000 jobs in the energy-intensive manufacturing alone in the past two decades, and the best estimate from the left-leaning The Australia Instituteis that we might see just 60,000 green jobs in a decade’s time.
Morrison told us that Angus Taylor would be the “Minister for getting Electricity Prices Down”. But Australia remains in the Paris Climate Agreement and Australia has the fourth highest electricity prices in the developed world.
We were told that superannuation was needed to provide for a sustainable income retirement system. But instead, at least 9.5 per cent of workers’ wages are confiscated by the government and passed onto financiers who charge a cumulative total of $35 billion in fees every year.
We were told that mass migration would be good for our economy. Instead, GDP per capita grew by just 0.7 per cent over the past year, which is about one-third over the overall economic growth rate, and wages growth in the private sector are stagnant.
On top of these economic and financial failures, Australians are today more divided than ever.
The most significant moment in the Prime Minister’s press conference was when he said “stop it!” to people who were hoarding supplies. The Prime Minister went on to say that “this is not who we are as a people”. Except, perhaps it is.
After spending two decades of thinking of new ways to divide this country, such as through identity politics, the elites now seem surprised that our social fabric is weak and fragile.
The most obvious manifestation of this is the unwillingness of some to get to the back of the queue and wait their turn – which is one of the most important practical expressions of the egalitarian ethos of this country. It is little wonder why this egalitarian spirit has been crushed when one of the biggest ideas of the political class is to permanently divide Australians by race through an Indigenous-only body embedded in the constitution.
Our collective panic, social fragmentation and weak and vulnerable economy is laid at the feet of the elites and the courtier class that surrounds them.
It will not be the public servants, the bureaucrats, the university administrators, and those employed in quasi-government institutions like the Australian Human Rights Commission who will suffer. Instead, many will emerge wealthier and more powerful than ever before as new laws create new powers to be conferred upon the experts.
It will be the small business owners, the labourers, the front-line staff, the families with a mortgage, small-land owning farmers, and the self-funded retirees who will suffer first and suffer most.
In the United States, the global financial crisis and the government’s response created the Tea Party revolt which ultimately gave the world President Trump.
The first shot was fired when the unknown David Brat defeated Eric Cantor who was the Republican House Majority Leader in the Republican Primary in 2014. No one in the political establishment saw it coming.
Whether the economic fallout from the coronavirus will create the same febrility in Australia is a question that cannot yet be answered.
But the constantly wrong, and, at worst, misleading predictions by the elites and the experts has created a culture of mistrust that will take longer to fix than the economy.