Australia’s new dictatorship
Even before Tony Abbott took over as prime minister he was already exercising autocratic power, says Torin Peel, but now he’s really starting to turn the screws.
(Caricature by John Graham / johngraham.alphalink.com.au)
Now in high office, Tony Abbott has full power to do whatever he chooses.
He has the power to control his members of parliament and the party in which he leads. Not only that, but he now has control of the country, giving him the room to do as he pleases.
In his first weeks, he has already exercised his right to do so.
Some of these things include shutting down numerous bodies, such as the Climate Commission. He has also merged AusAid into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, giving him more power to control international aid. These two manoeuvres alone will most likely cost hundreds of jobs in the public service.
During the campaign, as leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott had the power to tell his party what to do and what not to do. He swiftly put a block on his candidates talking to the media without permission from him after the Jaymes Diaz incident. This meant that dozens of candidates from the Liberal party were unable to attend debates across the country.
Tony Abbott once described Kevin Rudd as a ‘hyper-control freak’. It has now emerged that Abbott himself is gagging his own cabinet from the right to talk to media without prior approval from his office. This might spell the end of members of the Liberal party appearing on television programs like Q&A and 7:30, which are fundamental to our democracy.
With so much control, you could almost say that Tony Abbott is now running our country as a dictatorship. His one-woman cabinet will no longer have a voice and will be unable to speak up about important issues in the public domain, which we weren’t expecting much of, anyway.
The media-ban decision was made after Christopher Pyne revealed in an interview the government’s agenda to take an axe to the university sector. Seems a bit like the Diaz slip-up, doesn’t it?
These aren’t the only media bans Tony Abbott has enforced. It was revealed recently that the government would attempt to cover-up boat arrival information, taking away our knowledge on how many boats are arriving. This decision has a huge impact on our democracy, taking away transparency.
The Greens have stated they will use their senate powers to try and reveal boat numbers, which will help us to hold the Abbott government accountable on their promise to stop the boats.
All of this hiding of information, blockade from media appearances and extreme use of government powers really makes you wonder whether we live in democracy anymore. Of course, the people of Australia did vote for the Coalition and Tony Abbott, but did we really expect everything to happen so quickly and so