Voted very strongly against

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Words || James Booth

It is the afternoon of the 24th of August, Australia has endured what would be our eighth leadership spill in eight years, and now must welcome Scott Morrison as our 30th Prime Minister of Australia. A collective sigh of relief washed over Australians as we thanked the heavens “it wasn’t Peter Dutton”, however Scott Morrison and his historical politics offer a lot to unpack within this article. I could explore his reinforcement of “traditional family values” and evangelical morality into his public persona, despite the secular separation of church and legal morality he should be following. I could talk about the time he took a physical lump of coal into parliament and asked the opposition why they were “afraid of coal”, and how this demonstration is reflective of Morrison’s opposition to environmental law and climate change action. I could even explore the absurd notion that a politician on a base salary of $682,071 understands what life is like for working-class families because he “struggles with a mortgage, too”.  However I am going to let Mr. Morrison’s voice take the lead here, his voting record says more than I ever could about his beliefs.

Voted Very Strongly Against

  • Same Sex Marriage Equality
  • Extending Government benefits to same-sex couples
  • A Royal Commission into Violence and Abuse against People with Disability
  • Increasing Aboriginal land rights

It wouldn’t be the queer issue if we didn’t reflect upon Scott Morrison’s historical anti-queer stance, especially given his recent comments that Gay conversion therapy isn’t an issue to him. Scomo voted against the wishes of his electorate Cook (55% in favour of marriage equality) in providing same sex couples with the legal right to marriage. However it is important to note that Morrison has also voted very strongly against protecting the rights of people with disability and our indigenous Australians, and therefore seems to have a historical bias against multiple equity groups within Australia.

Voted Very Strongly Against

  • Ending illegal logging
  • Increasing fishing restrictions
  • Protecting the Great Barrier Reef
  • Ending illegal logging
  • The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme 
  • Increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water 
  • Increasing investment in renewable energy
  • Letting environmental groups challenge the legality of certain government decisions

Now this is the man who brought a lump of coal into the Australian parliament, so it seems hardly surprising that at every moment possible Morrison has voted very strongly against environmental reforms and protections for our native ecosystems. Moreover we are looking into the voting record of a man who obtains leadership of the liberal party following disagreements regarding the National Energy Guarantee. A particular vote which should be noted is the vote strongly against letting environmental organisations challenge the legality of government decisions, highlighting an intention for the government to not be held accountable for illegal actions they undertake in regards to the environment. In light of recent comments that Australia will meet its Paris climate agreement targets “at a canter”, it is unclear how committed Mr. Morrison’s government will be to combating environmental issues.

Voted Very Strongly Against

  • Increasing restrictions on gambling
  • Stopping tax avoidance or aggressive tax minimisation
  • Increasing trade unions’ powers in the workplace
  • Increasing transparency of big business by making information public
  • Decreasing the private health insurance rebate

For this section, I think we should reflect on the new ‘Bob-Hawke-esque’ image which Morrison is trying to portray to the media. It is interesting to see the “working class Australian Battler” image which Scomo has started to portray in interviews, despite his historic opposition to legislation that would be of incredible benefit to working class Australians. If big businesses are not required to be public about their information in Mr. Morrison’s eyes, tax avoidance and minimisation shouldn’t be regulated, and private health insurance rebates not lowered – it could be reasoned that he genuinely isn’t looking out for everyday working class Australians paying tax, and rather is fond of benefiting big businesses to their detriment. I think we see this continued in his views on gambling restrictions, when gambling disproportionately affects lower socio-economic individuals, and moreover when he showing strong opposition to strengthening the unions that look out for the rights of these working class people.

Voted Very Strongly Against

  • Increasing funding for university education
  • Restricting Donations to Political Parties
  • Restricting Foreign Ownership
  • Increasing the diversity of media ownership

As young people it is really frustrating to see that regulation which would benefit our future socio-economic Australia is not being supported by Mr. Morrison. Let us not forget that in his role as treasurer Morrison cute Sunday penalty rates and lowered the threshold required to pay off HECS debts, despite the fact that Morrison attended university during the period where tertiary education was free. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Morrison is strongly opposed to restricting the power of big businesses granting political donations and also that he is against any increase to media ownership, but it is surprising that someone “with a mortgage too” would be opposed to regulations on the foreign ownership partly responsible for the ever-increasing housing prices in Sydney. What these policy views highlight is that a Morrison government is concerned with money, that is securing more money and political control for the media moguls and big business leaders of Australia.

Voted Strongly Against

  • Ending immigration detention on Manus Island
  • Ending immigration detention on Nauru
  • Removing children from immigration detention
  • Increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management

This final assessment doesn’t really need much more of an introduction, this is the man who keeps a boat shaped trophy in his office stating “I stopped these”.

The unsettling truth is; Scott Morrison is the man instrumental in designing the operation sovereign border policy, for reducing weekly media briefings to being issued on an “as-needs basis”, and the man who said that Save the Children workers were coaching children to self-harm; Scott Morrison is the man who was responsible for 2018 budget which lowered the HECS threshold, slashed penalty rates, and cut our only publicly funded broadcasters budget by $84million; Scott Morrison is the man who resisted issuing a royal commission into the banking sector; and Scott Morrison is the man who in 2016 stated that as a Homophobe he’s faced the same bigotry and discrimination faced by LGBTIQ+ people.

Mr. Morrison has a track record of pushing for policy which seeks to benefit the powerful, and that his voting record is a clear example of this in action. It is yet to become clear what future policy our supreme leader will seek to enact, however what is clear is that (should Morrison even survive to the next election) we will be voting strongly against his policy in the next election.