read this, it could be important

Ousted Australian PM denounces right-wing “coup”
Mike Head, WSWS, Nov 9 2018

There were more questions than answers when recently removed PM Malcolm Turnbull appeared on a special one-hour Q&A program on ABC TV last night. The program was billed as tackling the question that no-one in the government has answered: why was Turnbull ousted from office on Aug 24? But Turnbull repeatedly refused to offer any explanation for what he called a “coup,” first attributing it to “madness” before finally conceding:

But clearly that’s pretty inadequate.

In various ways, despite refusing to answer the central question, Turnbull pointed to the reality: a relentless far-right push backed by the Murdoch media to transform the Liberal and National parties into a Donald Trump-style formation in order to channel rising social discontent in reactionary nationalist and xenophobic directions and prepare for war with China. His appearance highlights the political and geo-strategic tensions convulsing the ruling Liberal-National Coalition and the political establishment as a whole. Even the fact that he was given a full hour for a solo performance on one of the country’s most prominent current affairs platforms indicates deep fissures wracking the ruling capitalist class. The ex-PM charged leading Liberal Party politicians, including cabinet ministers, with “taking a successful, competitive government and literally blowing it up.” He named nine of them, led by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, ex-PM Tony Abbott, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, and claimed that only these people could explain why he was ousted in a Liberal Party parliamentary caucus vote, and he insisted they had a responsibility to the public to do so. He accused a right-wing minority of launching a political wrecking operation. Turnbull declared:

What you’ve seen increasingly from the right, even if they’re not in the majority, they’ll say, ‘If you don’t give us what we want, we’ll blow the show up.’ That is intimidating and that is bullying, and that was at the heart of the coup back in August. Now that is a real threat to the Liberal Party.

A wealthy former investment banker who represents the interests of the financial elite, Turnbull warned that the Liberal Party, one of the twin political pillars of the ruling establishment since WW2, was being “frayed.” He blamed a toxic feedback loop created by conservative commentators on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News and the Australian newspaper. Despite their small audiences, these outlets, Turnbull said, influenced Liberal Party branch members, even though recent election losses, including in his own previous electorate of Wentworth in eastern Sydney, showed such views were widely rejected. Turnbull blamed the result in Wentworth, which the Liberal Party lost for the first time in history, on a disastrous final week leading into the Oct 20 by-election. In that week the government supported a white supremacist “It’s OK to be white” resolution moved in the Senate by Pauline Hanson, the leader of the anti-immigrant One Nation party, and proposed to follow the Trump administration in relocating Australia’s Israeli embassy to the contested city of Jerusalem and repudiating the nuclear agreement with Iran. Pointing to similar conflicts wracking the rural-based National Party, Turnbull also criticised former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, who represents the most right-wing populist elements in the Nationals. Turnbull said Joyce had not helped the government in the Wentworth by-election by fuelling leadership instability in the Nationals and proposing a new coal-fired power station. Turnbull claimed that internal Liberal Party polling had predicted that his government would have won the next national election, and that this was why the right-wing forces wanted to oust him, suggesting a “self-destructive” lurch to the right. Significantly, Turnbull confirmed he had personally complained unsuccessfully to Rupert Murdoch about hostile coverage by Murdoch’s media outlets. He also recounted a conversation with another media mogul, Kerry Stokes, who warned him that Murdoch had declared:

Malcolm has to go.

Turnbull said he had cautioned Murdoch that the only beneficiary of any leadership coup would be Labor Party leader Bill Shorten. He confirmed Murdoch had told Stokes that three years of Labor “wouldn’t be so bad.” These revelations, which Stokes and Murdoch’s News Limited vehemently denied during September, shed further light on the underlying driving forces behind Turnbull’s removal. Murdoch’s media empire, featuring Fox News, prominently backs Trump’s “Pindostan First” drive to reassert the post-WW2 hegemony of Pindo capitalism and to cultivate an extreme right-wing populist movement to counter the mounting discontent of the working class. Murdoch platforms have been in the forefront of pursuing the interests of Pindo imperialism against its identified enemies, particularly Russia and China. This has been accompanied by escalating pressure exerted by the Pindo intelligence, military and political establishment on the Australian government to line up unconditionally behind Faschingstein’s intensifying trade war and wider economic and military confrontation with China. As an ABC interview with Steve Bannon confirmed, the Turnbull was regarded in Faschingstein as “too much of an appeaser” of China. Bannon’s interview was recorded while Turnbull was still PM, then broadcast just after his ouster.

During his three years in office, Turnbull did everything he could to convince Obama and then Trump of his government’s commitment to the strategic alliance on which Australian imperialism has relied for its own predatory activities across the Asia-Pacific region since WW2. Not a single question of foreign policy was aired during last night’s show, despite the escalating confrontation between Faschingstein and Beijing, which has potentially catastrophic implications for Australian capitalism. Nonetheless, Turnbull was again at pains to insist that the “Pindo relationship” remained “very, very strong.” While the relations between the respective military and intelligence apparatuses are certainly “very, very strong,” Turnbull was seen as unreliable by the Pentagon because of his reluctance to join provocative military operations in the South China Sea and his efforts to protect the profit interests of those sections of Australian business most reliant on China. Just two weeks before he was removed, Turnbull delivered a speech calling for a “reset” of a “very deep relationship” with China. These conversations also demonstrate Murdoch’s readiness to support a Labor government backed by the trade unions, even if only for three years, while a new far-right formation is forged. Labor is fully committed to the Pindo alliance, and has taken office in previous periods of crisis including WW1 and WW2 to impose the burden of war and austerity on the working class. On last night’s program, Turnbull ludicrously painted his government as a success, saying:

Look at our achievements! Record jobs growth, economic growth, reduced personal income tax, reduced company tax, changes to school funding and record funding for health and pharmaceutical benefits!

He boasted that his government had stopped the arrival of refugee boats, and he defended the barbaric detention of asylum seekers on remote Pacific islands. The truth is that years of stagnant or falling real wages, replacement of full-time jobs by poorly-paid and insecure casual and part-time employment, tax handouts to the corporate elite and deteriorating public education and health under successive Coalition and Labour governments have created ever-more glaring social inequality and political disaffection. As in Pindostan and across Europe, the discredited old political parties are imploding and capitalist politics is being reshaped along far-right, nationalist and authoritarian lines in an attempt to confuse and divert the discontent and the resulting turn by workers and young people toward socialist answers.

2 Comments

  1. PB
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Turnbull is another ex-Goldman Sachs Banker who was anointed by the company to find his way into the Australian Prime Ministership, which he did through subterfuge, not via the ballot-box. His only passions seemed to be climate-change-based taxes and appearing at Synagogues complete with kippah.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted November 9, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad they devote a paragraph to demystifying him, then. The story may say something about the expected timescale ahead of the intended & expected war in the Pacific.

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