Government politicising daily business of government

Comment by Peter Roberts

Since the recent federal election there has been a subtle and disturbing shift in rhetoric coming from Canberra.

Press releases from industry minister, Karen Andrews always begin with the phrase ‘the Morrison Government’ is backing industry, or announcing grants or similar.

On Friday ‘the Morrison government’ announced $30 million in Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants.

The Morrison Government is mentioned three times in the release, and in every other release from Andrews, effectively politicising what are routine government announcements.

The grants are national policy and the announcement should be made on behalf of the Australian government, not that of Scott Morrison.

I can remember no previous government from Gough Whitlam through Malcom Fraser and John Howard to Julia Gillard that considered they personified the Australian government.

The grants (see below) were worthy, but it is the associating of routine government business with a politician, and linking that to what are effectively political slogans, that I find objectionable.

These grants, we are led to believe, are ‘part of the Morrison Government’s plan to grow the economy and create 1.25 million jobs over the next five years’.

The jobs goal is a political slogan and the CRC grants existed under previous governments, long before the Coalition developed its election-winning narrative.

The grants have absolutely nothing to do with the jobs goal, and moreover, this is not Morrison’s money being given away.

This sort of behaviour comes on top of occasions during the election campaign when candidates, not even members of Parliament, were doling out cheques on behalf of the taxpayer.

Enough is enough.

Please Karen Andrews, can you govern on behalf of all Australians, and not run some sort of endless election campaign from your publicly funded position in the Ministry?

That said, 16 projects are funded that will bring together 77 industry and research partners to develop research with industry outcomes.

Grants include:

# $3 million to create solar farms with advanced energy storage, similar to lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

# $3 million to develop advanced hybrid batteries for affordable and fast response energy storage.

# $3 million towards the development of glass fibre dental materials to replace current materials containing toxic mercury.

# $2.9 million to design and manufacture an electric bus for the global market.

# $800,000 for the development of a new process for producing high purity graphite for application in the battery manufacturing industry.

# $700,000 to further test an antibiotic that is effective against all classes of drug-resistant bacteria.

Picture: Karen Andrews

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