Karma is a bugger

Photo - ABC

Karma is a Buddhist concept.  Very briefly, the concept is that nothing happens to a person that they don’t deserve. The Buddist website explains it a lot better here in case you are interested.  Others would be more familiar with the concept of ‘paying it forward’ which effectively is the same thing.  The past week in Federal Politics would suggest they can't win a trick.

It’s not the first time we have looked at concepts of karma (or reaping what you sow) on The Political Sword.  In July 2014. we looked at Abbott’s apparent inability to create a sense of responsibility for his actions.  You could suggest that the job that Abbott craved so badly destroyed his political reputation.  Turnbull isn’t doing much better.

Last weekend, people were protesting outside the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane as there was a concern over a young child recovering from accidental burns would be taken back to Nauru in the middle of the night.  The hospital doctors had taken the decision that baby Asha could only be released into a supportive and safe environment – something that didn’t (in the view of the medical professionals) exist on Nauru.  The protestors were in effect picketing every entry to the hospital to ensure that Border Force or Queensland Police did not take Asha and her family from the place of safety.  The was considerable support for the protest and the doctors decision – the organisers at one stage had to ask supporters from around Australia not to send any more pizzas and Queensland Health, rather than arranging for the protestors to be ‘moved on’ was tweeting to ask protestors to respect other patients and staff.

Immigration Minister Dutton finally announced that Asha and her family would be transferred to community detention in Brisbane rather than immediately being returned to Nauru.  The doctors released their patient and everyone was happy.  Well not quite. . .

It seems Dutton didn’t really like The Canberra Times headline of 21 February 2016 ‘Incredible victory’ as Peter Dutton says community detention for baby Asha because news of an investigation into how Asha suffered severe burns was released to The Courier Mail (Murdoch’s daily Brisbane based newspaper).  The claim was that Asha’s mother poured boiling water over her baby so the family could stay in Australia.  Unfortunately for Dutton, the medical records were made public – quickly and effectively calling out the lie.

Dutton suggested that he was taken out of context, which seems to be a common thread for the Federal Government this week. 

Senator Cory Bernardi claimed on Tuesday that the ‘Safe Schools’ program – used in around 500 schools around the country to eliminate bullying within the school community was really a “social engineering agenda that is radically at odds with the aspirations of many parents"The usual collection of conservative politicians fell into line to back up Bernardi, including Senator Abetz on ABCTV’s  The Drum where Abetz was interviewed for eleven minutes to make the point that bullying is wrong if you have red hair or large ears – but perfectly acceptable if you identify as LGBTI.  The Education Minister Simon Birmingham, who weeks before supported the program publically, acknowledged that the program would have been implemented differently if the LNP started it – but the objective was sound.  He will, at Turnbull’s insistence conduct a review. 

Bubbling along under the surface this week is the Government continuing scare campaign over the ALP’s negative gearing proposals.  Regardless of the proposals, all the LNP can muster in reply is that the plan would significantly reduce the prices of houses in Australia.  Well it did until mid-week when the Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer went on morning TV and claimed that the ALP policy would increase housing prices so they would be unaffordable.    Let’s be polite and suggest that O’Dwyer hadn’t read the morning ‘talking points’ email from the PM’s Office.  For the record, her original response on TV was The Labor party has a very irresponsible campaign. They have got a policy that will increase the cost of housing for all Australians, for those people who own a home and for those people who would like to get into the housing market through their negative gearing policy. O’Dwyer ‘clarified’ the remarks using the statement below – which now smacks of gobbledygook rather than logic and fact.

One wonders if Turnbull is regretting putting his hand up to be Prime Minister yet.  The initial glow has tarnished very quickly according to the opinion polls, and his PR people seem to spend most of their time putting out bushfires ignited by his own side of politics.

In July 2014, we observed that Abbott was having trouble getting clear air because he had to defend previous statements that were hyperbole (or if you’re less generous – absolute bollocks).  It seems that Turnbull hasn’t learnt the lessons of recent history and his past decisions on a number of issues – including those who he chose to surround himself with – are coming back to bite him.

You do reap what you sow – or to put it more bluntly - karma is a bugger.

What do you think.

Comments (6) -

  • Bacchus

    2/26/2016 12:22:45 AM |

    What do I think? I think you've nailed it 2353!

    We thought the Abbott government was dysfunctional - Malcolm's is starting to smell even more rank!

  • George Baumann

    2/26/2016 10:06:34 AM |

    A slightly better, and just as simple explanation of Karma, rather than it being "getting what we deserve" which sounds too judgmental, is that it's "getting what we need to learn to enable us to grow". (I realise this can also come across as harsh, especially when applied to people who are disadvantaged, oppressed by others or struck by some natural disaster, but at least it gives us some agency, unless the "lesson" actually kills us which presumably requires further elaboration). Of course, we all make the same mistakes many times before the lesson sinks in. The depressing thing, when we elect people to govern us who are as clueless as this bunch of fools is that they refuse to learn anything useful, though we pay them a lot more generously for bumbling around and ruining our country while they repeat the same mistakes again and again, than most of us are paid for doing something productive.  

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2016 12:56:23 PM |

    What a timely piece!

    Even to political tragics, it must be astonishing how quickly Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership is unravelling.

    The sense of relief, even felt by Labor supporters, at the removal of Tony Abbott (even although they realized that would make it much harder to win the 2106 election), has been replaced by disbelief that this man, who has so many of the attributes of an acceptable prime minister, has turned out to be so indecisive on many matters, so under the thumb of the fifth column in his ranks – the hard right core of Abbott’s reactionaries – so unable to restore order and consistency to his frontbench. The discordant utterances of key ministers on negative gearing are a prime example of disorder, and the derogatory words of those opposed to the Safe Schools program are an example of how oppressed Turnbull is by the residual Abbott men.

    Turnbull has brought this situation upon himself by making too many concessions to the Abbott men to seize leadership. You are right: ‘Karma is a bugger’; Turnbull’s covetous decisions are coming back to bite him, and he’s not secure enough or strong enough to deal with them.

    The disappointment he has engendered is widespread and contagious. Can he control this epidemic of disillusionment?

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2016 12:58:36 PM |

    George Baumann
    It’s good to see you commenting on TPS Extra. Do come again.

    Your comment is noteworthy. There are scores of lessons that Turnbull could have learned from Abbott’s disastrous prime ministership. One he seemed to have grasped was that the nation required sound economic leadership, yet this is the area where he has dithered and where his ministers have been most inconsistent.

    His performance has been as surprising as it has been disappointing. The nation is bewildered.

  • 2353NM

    2/27/2016 2:02:52 PM |


    Thanks for the comment and you're right - karma can be harsh at times.  In some ways Turnbull deserves a dose of harsh karma to a greater extent that Abbott did as Turnbull  claims he observed where Abbott was failing and was going to fix it (I could wax lyrically about better government that would listen to the population - but I digress!).  The thing is Turnbull either didn't see the wood for the trees and it was all lyrical waxing, or he doesn't have the ability to change what he sees is wrong.  Either way, he's failed and he has already seen the public's appetite for failures as leaders in the form of Abbott, Napthine, Newman and so on.

    If he believes that the LNP should remain in power (and any lingering impression he is more moderate than Abbott is probably wrong based on the last 6 months) his actions certainly aren't convincing people that the LNP is now under new management or a better government.  While there are a lot of people around than wouldn't be overly concerned if the LNP disappeared, the pity is that they are taking the country down with them.  That is the problem.

  • Stuart barton

    4/14/2016 8:13:33 PM |

    We cant allow that. Shorten needs to step up NOW!!!!!!

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