SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Cue the laugh track for the latest episodes of the grim sitcom that is Albanese’s Government

Simon Birmingham
The Nightly
4 Min Read
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: At this rate, the Albanese Government is spoon-feeding plotlines to satirical sitcom writers. If only this comedy of errors had a plucky theme and not real-world consequences for Australians.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: At this rate, the Albanese Government is spoon-feeding plotlines to satirical sitcom writers. If only this comedy of errors had a plucky theme and not real-world consequences for Australians. Credit: The Nightly/Supplied

The travails of the Albanese Government are starting to read like scripts for a slightly unbelievable sitcom.

Consider just three episodes, taken from the last week of Albanese Government chaos.

In one, a minister sees imaginary drones in the sky. In another, a defence minister invites potential adversaries to join our defence forces. Finally, the disability minister finds himself the accidental attendee at a peace summit.

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The comic geniuses who created Utopia must be wetting themselves at the new material Anthony Albanese and his ministers are bowling up. New season coming soon!

If these acts of Labor ministers weren’t serious and consequential they might be funny. But each goes to the safety of Australians and our nation, which is being weakened by this Government.

Episode one: Dreaming of drones.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles reacts during Question Time
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles backtracked on his statement that drones were monitoring ex-detainee foreign nationals. Credit: Lukas Coch./AAP

The hapless Immigration Minister who, as I wrote last week, should already have been dispatched to the backbench, has had another disaster of a week — again of his own making.

Andrew Giles assured Australians they were safe from convicted criminals released from immigration detention because they were being monitored by drones.

Giles then had to backtrack and admit the drones were a figment of his imagination, crumbling any reassurances Australians were seeking as to their safety.

It would seem at this point in the series, lurching from one disaster to the next, that when our Immigration Minister isn’t dreaming of drones he is wondering, just like the rest of Australia, as to how he remains in the job.

Episode two: It’s all in the (lack of) detail.

Defence Minister Richard Marles and Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh take the stand for a public hearing of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide in Sydney on March 7, 2024.
Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh (left) and Defence Minister Richard Marles (right) couldn’t agree on which foreign nationals could be recruited to the ADF. Credit: Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

More like a mystery than a comedy, as we try to work out who in the Government knows what the details are over the plan to allow foreign nationals to serve in the Australian Defence Force.

Defence Personnel Minister, Matt Keogh, announced defence force recruitment would be open to people from all countries from January. But Defence Minister, Richard Marles said it would only be New Zealanders, then later those from Five Eyes nations and in what sounded like a thought bubble, maybe later to Pacific Islanders.

So, who is eligible to wear the Australian uniform? Who knows!

This would be one of the biggest changes to defence recruitment in Australian history. Even the Utopia writers would be dedicating some time to getting the details right before going out and telling Australians about their plans. You’d think.

Episode three: The Bill Australia can’t afford.

Bill Shorten, the minister with a penchant for delivering expensive speeches as was discovered through Senate estimates hearings this week.

Quite expensive. Services Australia is paying a speech writer $600,000 over two years to write his tomes about what a great job he’s doing reigning in the ballooning and ever-growing fraudulent spending in the NDIS.

Now, under pressure from global partners, the Prime Minister has been forced to send poor old Bill to Switzerland to represent Australia at the Ukraine peace summit.

French President Macron will be there, as well as German Chancellor Scholz and of course Ukrainian President Zelensky.

The Prime Minister doesn’t think it’s important enough to go himself or send one of his national security ministers — one with an international relations role in their job like the Foreign Minister or Defence Minister or even any other minister who has a chair at the table of the National Security Committee.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (left) and Australian Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten arrive to speak to media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, July 7, 2023. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Instead of representing Australia himself, or sending a relevant minister, Anthony Albanese is set to send Government Services Minister Bill Shorten to Ukrain for a peace summit. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAPIMAGE

Instead, he’s decided the NDIS Minister should carry the flag for Australia. It’s in keeping with the trend of a Government slow to deliver Ukraine promised support and even the desperately needed coal it has requested.

And don’t worry, everything is going so well in Bill’s own portfolio that he has the time to pursue peace in Ukraine as $2 billion of the NDIS is being used to pay for holidays, cars and illicit drugs.

At least we can hope that Bill will be delivering an impressive speech in Switzerland — an expensive speech, written by someone else at quite some cost to the taxpayer.

Unfortunately, unlike a sitcom. The scene doesn’t end there.

As the credits roll with the long list of hapless ministers, the Prime Minister gets a special mention for directing this dysfunctional production.

It would almost certainly be a hit as the next series for Utopia or a remake of Yes, Minister if the reality of it wasn’t so real for Australians.

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