July 04, 2012 | Graham

Madness takes control at more levels than one.

Craig Emerson’s Karaoke Kamikaze was insane, but less insane than the argument that he was prosecuting on the carbon tax.

He also had the wrong song.

When I think of this government it’s Rocky Horror that comes to mind, not Horror Movie. 

While the minister’s performance was noteworthy on its own demerits, it is also symptomatic of the collective dysfunction of the government, and has attracted greater attention as a consequence.

As Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia sing:

It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I’ve got to keep control

There might be 15 months to go, but as every day passes the realisation sinks in, at least subliminally, that nothing is really going to change, and that Tony Abbott is in control. This in turn leads to even more extreme attempts by the government to assert control, or to assert that they are in control.

Government members are worried that they’ll be “a jump to the left” followed by a “step to the right”, and might as well never have been. Quelle horreur!

Emerson’s performance may not have been as embarrassing as this NZ politician’s KKK and Black Face one, but he is a senior cabinet minister and advisor to the PM.

And he has staff to keep him out of trouble, at least in theory.

But the dysfunctionality of the Ghetto-Blaster Catastrophe is nothing compared to the irrational argument that the government is running on the Carbon Tax.

One the one hand the tax is said to change everything leading to a future nirvana of green jobs and a move away from “dirty polluting” ones, and on the other it is said to change nothing, leaving cities like Whyalla and Gladstone untouched.

So which is it? If the carbon tax is to work, then heavy industry, including steel and aluminium manufacture (particularly aluminium which consumes so much electricity in its smelting that it has been described as almost “pure electricity”) are destined to close down.

In the absence of a baseload, non-fossil-fuel derived alternative, of which nuclear is the only one likely to be available in any sort of reasonable (say 20 year) time span, that is the point of the carbon tax,.

If it doesn’t close down Whyalla and Gladstone, or at least substantially damage their economies, then carbon emissions will proceed apace.

You can’t have it both ways. A government that knew what it was doing, and was in control would know that. It would be out selling the tax and admitting that Tony Abbott is right – things are going to change, and that is the point.

We all know that is the point. By denying it the message the government broadcasts is that it doesn’t believe in its own policy, surely a sign of madness.

I’m not sure that there is a coherent explanation of the Time Warp lyrics, but when you’re pinned against the next election and Abbott won’t let you out of your corner, and no-one’s going to ring the bell, it must be tempting to want to slip back into another dimension – to “fantasy free me/So you can’t see me…”.

Running a government looked so easy back 2007, 2008 and 2009. Not anymore, and Craig Emerson is not the only one showing the strain.


Posted by Graham at 10:50 pm | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I think the Labor disease is called “cognative dissonance”.

    Their ideology now has no hope of addressing a changing reality.ie Global warming is not happening,the CO2 tax is an economic disaster and blindly sucking up to the Western Oligarchs with their aggression towards China is another disaster.

    As Deek Jackson would say,” Moron this later”.

    Comment by Ross — July 5, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

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