By Callen Sorensen – Karklis
Australia has had it pretty good with Aussie leaders. No matter which party you follow, love them or hate them many have left a mark on history. The Abbott era of government will surely be a memorable one but not in a good historical sense. A testament to flawed outdated neo – liberal ideology, spin, micromanagement, and tea party driven conservatism fuelled by populist rage. So why did somebody like Tony Abbott who made out he was the next bringer of the Howard Era 2.0 an epic dud with Turnbull at the helm of the Coalition. What made this seemingly successful opposition leader end in a Shakespearean tragedy as our nation’s Prime Minister?
It is arguable that Abbott’s rise to power began as an accident when rebelling against Rudd and Turnbull’s planned bipartisanship over the ETS issue in 2009, and winning by one vote in a Liberal party spill. Since then, as much as it is painful to admit, but Abbott ran a successful campaign of party unity and critique against a deeply disunified Rudd/Gillard Labor government at war with itself. Abbott promised a time for unity and stability in the wake of recent times.
Abbott did fulfil his promise to end the mining tax, (allegedly) stop the boats, repeal the ‘carbon tax’, and he did secure an agreements on the Trans pacific partnership, and free trade deals with Japan, China, and Korea, and stood his ground well on the issue of the MH17 disaster. But the buck stops there. What followed was what really disappointed many Australians and international observers was his willingness to lead but not to listen beyond spin. A man greatly out of touch in modern times.
Tony Abbott failed to act sooner on the issue of marriage equality; pandering to the far right. He failed dramatically on his attempt to return to the dame and knights honour system. He didn’t act as he said he would by being a Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Women. His direct action policy on climate change is a dud with scientific evidence at large pointing to a resurgent rise in carbon emissions. His Northern Australia plan was a grand idea but lacked scope. He generally lacked any legislative agenda. He allowed the choppergate scandal to run too far. His harsh austerity budgets of course didn’t help, and painted him as a puppet not a leader beholden to captain’s pick calls, but to his Chief of Staff.
Tony Abbott is no doubt a good man. As a progressive this may be hard for some others on the progressive side of politics to care to admit. His spiritual connection and his sports and community connections are somewhat admirable, yet how he plays his cards on these issues where no doubt flawed in a 21st century Australia. Maybe in the 1950s or in Howard’s Australia where a neverending mining boom was still set in motion, who knows? He was no doubt a courageous Howard Minister who did at least look at initiatives to improve Indigenous health; help Bali bombing victims; and youth employment initiatives. Abbott may have been a great quarterback in politics with his former boxing days showing through, but he was never a leader ready for the top job in uncertain times.
About the author: Callen is a proud member of the ALP and an executive member of the QLD Fabians Society, and his local Crime Stoppers branch, he has strong connections to North Stradbroke Island as a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person. Callen has worked for various unions, distributing, sales companies and market research briefly and has worked in retail for over 6 years. Callen is currently a university student.
52 total views, 2 views today