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Abbott’s Caveat; Caveat Emptor! (Buyer Beware!)


caveat (ˈkeɪvɪˌæt; ˈkæv-)
1. (Law) law a formal notice requesting the court or officer to refrain from taking some specified action without giving prior notice to the person lodging the caveat
2. a warning; caution

In a statement, Mr Abbott will vow to keep his election promises with a caveat that his biggest pledge was to repair the budget: “The government will make a range of decisions which are important for Australia’s long-term economic strength, because the most fundamental commitment that we gave at the election was to build a strong and prosperous economy.’’ The Daily Telegraph

Really? I thought the most fundamental commitment was the repeal of the so-called Carbon Tax. Or should that be Carbon Levy? No? What’s the difference? A tax was something that the Liberals promised they wouldn’t increase, but they didn’t say anything about “levies”…

Still I rather like the idea of the warning about some promises being more important than other promises. It’s really a rather intriguing concept. I wonder how my wife would react to the following:


“Yes, dear.”

“You remember that day when I pledged that I was taking you to be my lawfully wedded wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, forsaking all others as long as we both shall live.”

“Of course, I do.”

“Well, I’d just like reaffirm my vows with the caveat that most fundamental commitment was the one about for better, closely followed by for richer.”

“What are you saying?”

“Don’t get me wrong, I still intend to keep my vows, but you’ve been a little ill lately and, well, I’m thinking of I’m thinking that perhaps that bit about ‘forsaking all others’ may not apply for the next couple of weeks.”

“I see.”

“Nothing definite, but I still intend to keep my vows if possible. And certainly, I’ll keep the one about ‘for richer’ should that Tattslotto ticket on the fridge end up worth anything.”

You’re right. There’s no way my wife would buy a Tattslotto ticket. She’s too sensible. The only gamble she even took was marrying me, and she’s certainly learned from that.

Still, as far as Abbott’s caveat is concerned, I would have thought the time for a caveat on election pledges is before the election – just like a prenuptial agreement should be before the wedding. I mean it’s sort of a bit late to say after the election – or wedding – that my promises had the following caveat, given that a caveat is a warning. Call me old school, but I tend to think that warnings should happen before one does something, otherwise it’s not actually a warning it’s more an “I told you so”.

Except that in Abbott’s case, he didn’t tell us so. And that sort of makes the “caveat” a little silly. Sort of like: “Ok, I know I promised not to raise tax or cut services, to abolish the Carbon and Mining Taxes, stimulate the economy, end world poverty, cure cancer, turn water into wine walk across Lake Burley Griffin AND balance the Budget. And I still will try, but the most important one was balance the Budget so you can’t blame me if I drop most of the others so long as I keep the important one.”

Whatever, it makes Howard’s famous core and non-core promises seem almost reasonable.



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