Scott Morrison may (finally) be back in the country, but more than 100,000 Australians have picketed the Governor-General in order to remove him from power.
More than 100,000 Australians have signed a petition to ask the Governor-General to dissolve parliament.
The change.org petition asserts that the federal government has exhibited a ‘disregard’ for the rules governing the conduct of its own ministers, as well as ignored their corrupt behaviour.
It also raises questions about the government’s failure to deal with a range of important issues, including climate change, and says that the reign of the Liberal National Party (LNP) has contributed to a range of issues affecting the nation, including:
- Robodebt and resulting damage, including depression and suicides
- Aged people on unrealistic waiting lists for Home Care services
- Failing to properly deal with devastating bushfires across the nation
- Continuing deaths in custody, and
- Continuing mistreatment of asylum seekers, including sexual assaults and suicides
It also lists as grievances a number of ‘questionable decisions’, including the repeal of medevac laws.
The petition is a signal of the groundswell of dissatisfaction that’s been growing around Australia for some time, exacerbated in recent weeks by a number of headline issues, including the medevac repeal, the axing of federal arts funding and Australia’s pitiful score in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index and Economic indexes, announced at the same time as the country dries up, the flames get bigger, and the air more difficult to breathe.
To many, it’s unacceptable that, while the Prime Minister has gone on record saying he accepts the science of climate change, he’s engaged in public stunts like holding lumps of coal in parliament, mocking the innovative Tesla big battery, and making the alarming decision to do nothing about emissions reduction.
In March, the government released its foreign ownership of water entitlement register, showing that one in 10 water entitlements are foreign-owned investors.
And then this week, embarrassing footage surfaced of the PM, who is reported to be on holiday overseas, lash out in 2009 at the then Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon for going out to dinner during the Black Saturday fire of 2009. At the time Mr Morrison was just an MP, but as a guest on ABC’s Q&A said it was ‘incumbent’ on all public officials to show good judgement during times of national crisis.
So, can the government be sacked?
If you know your Australian history you’ll know that in 1975 Australia faced the largest constitutional and political crisis in its history. On November 11, 1975, then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam – head of the Labour Party, was sacked by the Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party, as caretaker Prime Minister.
The events surrounding the sacking of Gough Whitlam have been debated over and over, with conflicting reports and polarising commentary. Not long after the event, Sir John Kerr resigned and left Australia, spending most of his life overseas. But to this day, the Governor-General retains the power to dismiss government ministers, including the Prime Minister despite the fact that these powers have not since been used to force a government from office since.
Whether the change.org petition will actually have an impact, only time will tell.
We must not forget that it should be perfectly normal for Australians to engage in healthy political reflection – it is, after all, a hallmark of democracy, our greatest freedom. For years it has been the domain over over-the-fence neighbourhood banter, and the topic of choice for taxi drivers and their passengers. These days healthy and robust debate has found a voice on social media.
But much of the discussion on local groups, personal pages and other public forums suggests a growing ‘disquiet’ amongst a significant number of Australians who are completely dissatisfied about the performance of the Morrison government.
His legacy will speak for itself, but in the meantime, there’s emerging concern from many sections of the community about the immediate and potentially long-term damage being caused by a number of government policies, government inaction on serious issues as well as government decisions, in particular, those that have been enshrined into law.