So it is done.
The Coalition government has admitted defeat.
Scott Morrison is not there to save the furniture. He’s there to steer his party direct to electoral oblivion.
The ineptitude of the Wentworth by-election put on display just how deeply the rot and incompetence of this ineffectual government runs.
They have clearly learnt absolutely nothing.
The excruciating fiasco of the Our Oceans Our Legacy conference in Bali exemplifies that.
Sometime in the next couple of days, at our expense, the worst Prime Minister in Australian history Malcolm Turnbull will be chauffeur driven from his $60 million mansion to the airport.
He will be escorted by AFP officers serving if not as his private valets then as his private security firm.
God forbid one of those pesky conduits to the public, journalists, should try and speak to him.
Malcolm will sit in First Class, that is if he deigns to fly commercial rather than having a government plane whisk him away in private luxury.
Once in Bali, unwinding in the five star accommodation we’re stupid enough to pay for, he’ll meet up with his old mates at the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
That’s the mining industry linked mob he gifted $444 million to in the dying days of his reign.
It was one of the most blatant plunderings of the public purse ever seen, akin to stealing the candelabras as you are kicked into the street.
As bureaucrats and delegates soak up yet another junket under the ruse of saving the planet, we’re expected to believe all this is in the national interest.
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop claims: “Malcolm Turnbull has a deep and abiding interest in the oceans, in the environment, in climate change.”
A pariah to the rank and file of the Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull is utterly unlamented by the broader public.
For ordinary citizens, the mugs who get up and go to work, everything got worse under his ramshackle prime ministership.
Education levels fell as Australia sank down the world rankings.
The ponzi scheme of mass immigration blew out.
The oft repeated claim that Australia is the most successful multicultural society on earth was exposed as the threadbare piece of propaganda it always was.
Australians are used to being lied to.
Their defence has been to switch off the narrative altogether.
Australians are more parochial than they have ever been, more concerned with the trivia of their own lives for the simple reason that the larger world no longer makes sense.
You hear it all the time now: “Nothing in this country works.”
All politics is local.
An adage this inept government has forgotten.
It is what is happening in people’s lounge rooms that matters the most.
Perhaps the conspiracy theorists are right.
If you deliberately set out to destroy a country you would:
Attack its energy markets.
With sky high petrol prices and some of the most expensive and unreliable electricity in the world, both individuals and businesses are suffering.
Destroy any sense of unity or national pride.
The Australian government mismanages everything and has, to the great detriment of the citizenry and the future of the country, mismanaged immigration. Significant social tensions , profound resentment, crowded cities and overwhelmed infrastructure are all a result.
Attack its communication systems.
In a government engineered fiasco, Australia has amongst the slowest, most expensive and most unreliable internet in the world.
Undermine faith in government.
Done. “A catastrophic loss of faith in democracy” read one recent headline.
Unless you can find someone who’s just had a lobotomy, in the Australia of 2018 you cannot find a single person with a good word to say about any of them.
They’ve all failed upwards, this rabble.
Christopher Pyne as Defence Minister. Marise Payne as Foreign Minister.
Give us a break.
Why should anyone pay taxes to support this hapless political class?
Destroy the professionalism of the public service.
As Bernard Keane writes in his latest book The Mess We’re In, there has been “a growing problem of sheer incompetence — so much so that it is difficult to know where to start on the long list of major bungles of recent years.”
Destroy a vibrant media environment where conflicting ideas are cheerfully and intensely debated.
There is not enough room here to detail the government’s manipulation and misuse of both the ABC and the Murdoch rags.
Destroy the health and morale of your working classes.
Obesity ravages the underclass just as assuredly as typhoid ravaged their forebears.
Demoralised boys, overweight girls, every day we see this scenario played out on suburban streets.
Devise a family law and social welfare system which creates conflict and discourages family formation.
Disrespect its indigenous peoples.
Done. Just think: Tony Abbott as indigenous envoy.
Drug Policy: Ignore all professional advice and devise a system which criminalises millions of ordinary Australians while creating the perfect conditions for an ice epidemic, including lack of national pride, high welfare dependency and zero social cohesion.
Secede sovereignty to major world powers, including foreign policy to the US and strategic infrastructure to the Chinese.
Under Turnbull, the once magisterial import of Prime Ministerial announcements was lost in the daily welter of self-aggrandising “my government” announcements.
What will pour kerosine on this situation in the coming years is if, as various experts predict, millions of jobs are lost to robots, artificial intelligence and increasingly clever computer software.
As Scott Morrison repeats the mistakes of his predecessor and the Coalition prepares for defeat, the most interesting question on the conservative side of politics has become the fate of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
If he survives the inevitable swing against the government in the coming election, the surprisingly strong performance in his bid against Malcolm Turnbull has positioned him as heir apparent to the socially and economically conservative Liberal Party base.
The more the blathering classes try to demonise him, the more the public will be drawn to him.
It’s the exact conundrum now playing out in American politics.
John Stapleton worked as a staff reporter on The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian for more than 20 years and is a contributor to The New Daily.
A collection of his journalism is being constructed here.