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Abbott’s legacy of destruction

By Ad astra

Do you sometimes wonder how the Turnbull government has managed to get itself into such a mess?

Of course Malcolm Turnbull must shoulder much of the blame himself. A piece that I will post next week: Thirty pieces of silver attests to this. By sacrificing his long-held principles and values on the altar of his enduring ambition to be Prime Minister no matter what the cost, he has brought about many of the vicissitudes he is now enduring.

A look further back though uncovers a set of circumstances and decisions that were made before Turnbull assumed leadership, made by just one man – the malevolent Tony Abbott – who masqueraded as Prime Minister from 18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015, three days short of two years. Yet in that short time he managed to destroy so much of what this nation needs, leaving an untidy mess for his successor, who still struggles to repair the damage.

Abbott has not changed. Just a few days ago he once more exhibited his destructive nature when he publicly attacked Turnbull’s leadership and policies, which he predicted would lead the LNP to electoral defeat if it “didn’t lift its game”. This time his destructiveness was aimed at his leader and his party.

If you need any persuasion, it will not take too many examples to convince you of Abbott’s destructiveness. Here they are.

Deliberately ineffectual action on climate change
There is no more disastrous area than this to illustrate Abbott’s destructiveness.

It was well before his election as PM that Abbott exposed his denial of the reality of global warming. In July 2009, he told the 7:30 Report he thought the science of climate change was “highly contentious” and the economics of an ETS “a bit dodgy…”.

Then he let it slip at a meeting in Beaufort in October of that year that “The argument is absolute crap … However, the politics of this are tough for us. 80% of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.” He toyed with the idea of supporting Rudd’s ETS proposal, as he thought it would not be “a good look for the Opposition to be browner than Howard going into the next election”. He habitually thinks politically.

Quizzed about his Beaufort remarks by Laurie Oakes, Abbott said: “I think that the science is far from settled on all of this. But there are good prudential reasons for taking reasonable precautions against significant potential threats. That’s why I think there is a strong case for an ETS but it’s got to be the right ETS. It’s got to be an ETS that protects Australian jobs and protects Australian industries… I am confronted by a hostile Liberal audience on this particular issue; I am trying to bring them around to support the position of the leader and the shadow cabinet.” When challenged about his Beaufort meeting statement, Abbott said he had used “a bit of hyperbole” at the meeting rather than it being his “considered position”. Later, he conceded that on climate change he was a bit of a ‘weathervane’.

Clearly, Abbott saw political advantage in opposing action on climate change.

We all knew back then what Abbott’s climate change tactics really were, but just a few days ago Peta Credlin publically exposed Abbott’s political chicanery. An article reporting this in BuzzFeedNEWS began: “Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin has let slip that one of the most damaging political campaigns in recent Australian political history was based on bullshit.”

Credlin made her comments during an episode of Sky’s Sunday Agenda: “Along comes a carbon tax. It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.”

The article continued wirh Credlin’s comments:

“It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know.

“Okay, okay, okay. Let’s just provide some context. Australia has a complicated history in trying to do what many countries have already done – put a price on carbon emissions.

“Emissions trading scheme proposals contributed to the demise of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010. Julia Gillard finally introduced a carbon-pricing scheme in 2011.

“It was Tony Abbott who re-framed Gillard’s scheme as a “carbon tax”, even though after the first year the price on carbon emissions was no longer fixed, and was instead set by the market.

“Abbott rode the anti-carbon tax movement all the way into The Lodge and eventually had everyone, including Labor and the media, calling it a carbon tax”.

There it is – the brutal truth – straight out of the horse’s mouth!

‘Direct Action’ fraud
To placate voters who believed that Australia ought to take some action to combat carbon pollution and global warming, Abbott invented the Coalition’s ‘Direct Action Plan’. From the beginning it was a hoax. This is how Turnbull described it: “Direct Action is “a con, an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing” and “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”.

As part of the DAP, Abbott created his ‘Green Army’ that was supposed to employ lots of young people in conservation pursuits, but we will never know how big or effective it was because it was axed by PM Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison before a review of it had been undertaken. We certainly didn’t hear much of what it was doing. Another ‘fig leaf’.

Abbott tried to convince voters that his DAP would cut emissions with little cost. Turnbull’s assessment was blunt: “First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money. To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money. Somebody has to pay.

“So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, “bullshit.” Moreover he knows it.”

Abbott engineered an LNP party room vote against an ETS, challenged Turnbull over his support for it (known then as a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) and defeated him as leader by a single party room vote. But in the end it was Kevin Rudd who put the final nail in the ETS coffin by shamefully reneging on action to combat climate change which he had pompously proclaimed was: “The greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”.

Enough said. Climate change denial, abolition of the ‘carbon tax’, deliberate inaction via the DAP, opposition to an ETS and to existing renewable energy targets, together expose Abbott’s careless and destructive approach to the problem of global warming, which left unchecked will destroy our planet.

And in the process, Abbott injected his own brand of personal invective against his arch enemy, Julia Gilliard.

Demolition of the NBN
Here is another stark example of Abbott’s destructiveness. I hardly need remind you of Abbott’s infamous instruction to then Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “Demolish the NBN” after Labour had launched its groundbreaking Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network, which would have given this nation a competitive advantage in a globally-wired world.

Instead, Turnbull’s multi-technology mix, combined with a second rate Fibre to the Node (FTTN) scheme has left us languishing 45th in the world of Internet speeds, behind schedule in rollout, and likely even more expensive than Labor’s plan. You know the distressing details of a good system ruined by Abbott’s malevolent interference, all in pursuit of destroying what his opponents had created.

In the process, he has set this nation back, damaged our competitiveness, left individuals and businesses struggling with an inadequate, fault-ridden system, and all this from a Liberal leader, who ought to have embraced the NBN as essential to our nation’s prosperity.

Abbott sacrificed his Liberal principles in pursuit of destructive vengeance against his political opponents. Shameful! Disgraceful!

Strangling marriage equality
Abbott wishes the status quo on marriage to remain. Whilst conceding that a relationship other than between a man and a woman can be legitimate, he maintains that “…however deeply affectionate or long lasting it may be, the relationship between two people of the same sex cannot be a marriage because a marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman…

Whilst most people would concede that he is entitled to his opinion on this issue, the question is whether he is entitled to impose his views on the whole electorate. We know that his religious affiliation governs his attitude, which is understandable. But it is his devious way of engineering a decision on this matter that is so despicable and destructive of social cohesion.

He knows full well that the elected members of parliament are entitled and indeed competent to reach a decision on this matter, but fearing that this might result in a positive vote for marriage equality, he has deviously pushed the decision to a plebiscite under the pretence that this is the most democratic approach. He pushes this line despite a clear majority of the electorate being in favour of marriage equality, and also in favour of a parliamentary vote deciding the matter. While they are not objecting to a plebiscite, they see it as unnecessary, a waste of taxpayers’ money with a price tag of $160 million, and a pointless delaying tactic. The Coalition’s hard right inveigled Turnbull into agreeing to a plebiscite in return for their vote for him to topple Abbott.

Abbott knows that opponents of marriage equality will use the debate leading up to the plebiscite to unleash their venom on LGBTI people who are already vulnerable. The so-called Australian Christian Lobby, which does not represent any church or religious group, is ready and well funded to launch destructive opposition that will upset, damage and threaten the mental health of LGBTI folk. There is fear that those already on the edge may take their own life, so fragile are they.

Shortly after becoming PM, when the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, a bill to allow same-sex couples to legally marry, Abbott mounted a federal government challenge to this decision in the High Court, which ruled that the Act be dismantled as it clashed with the Federal Marriage Act 1961. This was Abbott’s first win; he is determined to have another, and kill off marriage equality once and for all.

Does Abbott care? No. A man with such destructive predilections is more concerned about political triumph than he is about the feelings and wellbeing of LGBTI folk. This issue is redolent with his mix of deviousness and destructiveness.

Imposing his moral views on others.
We know that Abbott has strong views grounded in his religious upbringing as a Roman Catholic. But he is intolerant of the views of others. Here are a few examples:

He is a trenchant opponent of embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia, and is uneasy about abortion, which he insists should be “safe, legal and rare”. You will remember that in 2006, as Health Minister, he opposed access to the abortion drug RU486 so strongly that an angry Parliament voted to strip health ministers of the power to regulate this area of policy. Religious conviction overrode any vestigial concern Abbott might have had for women with unwanted pregnancies.

In his 2009 book Battlelines, he advocated at-fault divorce agreements between couples, which would require spouses to prove offences like adultery, habitual drunkenness, cruelty, desertion, or a five-year separation before a divorce would be granted. He argued that this would be a way of “providing additional recognition to what might be thought of as traditional marriage”.

Abbott harbours hard line moral attitudes. He is unconcerned about what others believe. He will not change his beliefs to accommodate others, no matter how damaging his position might be to them..

This piece is already long enough. I could mention the 2014 Abbott/Hockey Budget that brutalized the less well off, and his punitive attitude to asylum seekers, but there is no need here to elaborate further on Abbott’s legacy of destruction. If you need any more detail, I recommend Wikipedia’s account of Abbott’s career.

Abbott is politically combative, adversarial, vengeful, and pitilessly destructive.

His dictum is that if an opponent develops a policy framework, it must be destroyed, simply because it is not his or his party’s. No matter how beneficial it might be to the prosperity, competitiveness or security of this nation it must be destroyed. No matter how beneficial it might be to groups or individuals, it must be destroyed.

It is Abbott who has shaped so many of the adversarial policies with which Turnbull has now to grapple. It is Abbott’s destructiveness that has left a trail of damage and distress that will take years to rectify, if indeed they ever can be.

This man, who promised ‘There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping’ after he was overturned by Turnbull, after lurking in the shadows for years has finally come out into the open with a clear intent to destroy his nemesis, and his party with him.

Last Friday he launched an all-out assault on Turnbull and his government, even suggesting another set of Abbott slogans: ““In short, why not say to the people of Australia: we’ll cut the RET, to help with your power bills; we’ll cut immigration to make housing more affordable; we’ll scrap the Human Rights Commission to stop official bullying; we’ll stop all new spending to end ripping off our grandkids; and we’ll reform the Senate to have government, not gridlock.”

It is now obvious to everyone that Abbott’s destructive hand is around the throat of his party and its leader. Writing in The New Daily, Paula Matthewson put it this way: “The increasing intensity and destructiveness of Mr Abbott’s behaviour belies his claim to be interested only in protecting the Liberal Party’s conservative ethos. His behaviour is not one of protection but of destruction; a flagrant display of smashing the bat and ball, then setting both alight to prevent anyone else from playing.”

What a destructive blight on this fair nation Abbott has been, and continues to be. Has there ever been anyone worse?

What do you think?

What are your views about Tony Abbott?

Have you other examples of his destructiveness?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Zathras

    Abbott is little more than a political thug who bullied his way to the top.
    In addition, his religious background has made him a self-righteous political thug, incapable of taking advice from others or seeing a different view of how the world may be.

    Add the notion that “the end always justifies the means” and it’s a heady and destructive mix – lies and false bravado triumphing over morality.

    History will remember him, not as a great leader but as an example of how not to get things done.

  2. Keitha Granville

    Tony Abbott worst PM in Australian History is stilla FB page, and it’s not the only one. The LNP knows how disliked he is, how he would be the death knell for the party in government. As a Labor supporter I say bring him back. But Mal is going to do everything, anything he can to keep the party onside even if it means, as he has done, to go back on every commitment he has ever made as a politician, as an Australian. I am perplexed at how he can look himself in the mirror every day – money can’t give you back your self respect.
    Tony will never change – he is the mst important person in his life and he truly believes he is the god given leader for the country

  3. Johno

    Tony Abbott is a power hungry political bully.

  4. kristapet

    I just hope the voting public, are well, and truly awake, about this, very destructive man, Tony Abbott, and, not only, that, are also awake to the destructiveness of the combined Liberal-PHON Party, and how the players in this political quagmire are poison to the well being of ordinary Australians and the general well being of this country as a functioning economy
    This country has nearly been brought to its knees by all the dismantling of services, in all areas such as: law and legal supports, medicine and health, environmental, educational, and welfare, for all vulnerable members of the community, at the same time, rupturing and making redundant social welfare bodies that research and monitor the needs and provide services for the old, the youth, immigrants, asylum seekers, and Indigenous Australians.
    What has happened since 2013 is unbearable, shameful, disquietening, reprehensible, irresponsible and I am speaking as a 67 year old pensioner with very little, and, I am sure, everyone, who is similar circumstances feels the same.
    I have never felt more unsafe under any government before, as I feel under this one!
    Life has become too expensive on every level

  5. longwhitekid

    “(Abbott) leaving an untidy mess for his successor, who still struggles to repair the damage.” This makes the assumption that Turnbull struggles to do something, let alone does ANYTHING at all. Which he hasn’t, doesn’t, and never will. History will attest these has not been a less interested leader since McMahon who couldn’t give two shits. Truffles could maybe only give one.

  6. history repeats

    Everything Abbott has done is in the same vein as the historical reputation and actions of the Jesuit Order from which he arose.

    There are quite a few Jesuit educated politicians in the LNP.

  7. havanaliedown

    Shorten was educated at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Malvern East, Xavier College…”

    “Xavier College is a Roman Catholic, day and boarding school predominantly for boys, founded in 1872 by the Society of Jesus, with its main campus located in Kew, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Classes started in 1878.

    The college is part of the international network of Jesuit schools begun in Messina, Sicily in 1548”

  8. Red Leaf

    I have no words to describe Tony Abbott. I still wonder how anyone could have elected him and how he could possibly have been elected by his party to be PM? Beggars belief.

  9. jim

    Cut $ millions from Aboriginal affairs cut $millions from legal aid services across the board sacked ADF scientific personal, he called it a dividend.

  10. Steve Laing -

    What is even more astonishing are the number of ministers who are railing against Abbott, conveniently forgetting that they were cabinet ministers at the time, and thus share responsibility for his disaster! Yes. They really are that stupid, and think that somehow we might forget they were entirely complicit in the Abbott disaster. Pyne, Cormann, Turnbull – you were all part of Tony’s government. But will the MSM pick up on this hypocrisy? Unlikely.

  11. Pete Petrass

    I think someone needs to stand up and remind all of our politicians that they are elected by the people to represent THEIR views. Many of the current lot of politicians, particularly those of the Lieberal variety, seem to think getting elected is an opportunity to push their own private agendas on the general population. Just have a look at Abbott and his little band of followers, Bernardi, Christensen, Hanson and all the resto of them – does anyone really think they are representing the views of their constituents???

  12. astra5

    What a perspicious set of comments you have added. Thank you.

    Abbott is a thug, and a bully. He is also a suicide bomber, prepared to blow up himself as he blows up his party and its leader. He is a fanatic.

    Turnbull seems unwilling or powerless to counter him. He has sold his soul to grasp power. Next week I will post a piece ‘Thirty pieces of silver’ that spells out the extent of Turnbull’s abandonment of his long-held principles for thirty pieces of silver. It is a companion to this piece. It describes the other side of the same tarnished coin.

  13. Michael

    kristapet, “I just hope the voting public,….”
    Abbott = Warringah = 44,759 of 92,277 (51.65%) received first preference, a further 8,587 preferenced subsequently to a total of 55,346 (61.55%) = my peripheral vision is on permanent alert!

  14. Max Gross

    Evil. That’s all. Just evil.

  15. lawrencesroberts

    Abbott still polls more than 50% in Warringah his well educated electorate on the northern beaches of Sydney. Its a bit of a worry.

  16. Percy

    Will someone please get this MENTAL F*cK a DOCTOR he was not placed on this PLANET to protect us

  17. Phil Atkinson

    Good article, but a small pickup – it’s “publicly”, not “publically”.

  18. Harquebus

    Prime Ministers past, present and their governments have and all future ones will fail because of fundamentally flawed ideology. Growth.
    An ETS will not solve the carbon pollution problem. It will only hurt the poor.
    What is required is that we all use a lot less energy but, that will destroy our economy and is why we won’t do it.

    “There is no point in saving the planet if we ruin the economy doing it.” — former NSW Premier Morris Iemma


  19. astra5

    Phil Atkinson
    Thank for your kind comment and the correction, which I’ve made on the original piece on The Political Sword.

  20. The AIM Network

    Phil/Ad astra, the error has been amended.

  21. paulwalter

    Look, he’s a crank, but no worse than Turnbull, just noisier.

  22. Michael

    I guess it will be a adaption choice, not ruin economy and die or adapt economy and live! – very difficult.

  23. ozbrays2

    Abbott is a psychopath and a not very socialised one. He always exacts revenge and never forgets a slight. Opus Dei…he’s the best example of why everyone standing for election should have a psychiatric evaluation first and the result be made public.

  24. astra5

    If your idea was implemented, would there be any eligible candidates?

  25. jimhaz

    Abbott has a problem some other hasbeen pollies might not have.

    Who would want to employ him? He is not interested in business – he want to rule like the pommie abbotts did for a dozen or more centuries. The born to rule idea is ingrained culturally in his blood, same for the bishops. They had a combined church/political role – living parasitically off the community.

    So he hangs around spitefully longing for a return to what he sees as his rightful place in society.

  26. Sandra Birdsall

    I despair when I read articles like this . . . it is all so obvious, yet so many people cannot see it. The nastiest, most destructive and pugilistic politician, to my mind, this country has ever had. Yet he is still there . . . his electorate of Warringah comfortably returns him to the parliament every election.

  27. helvityni

    astra5, wot, wot, Dutton ???…bring me a bucket, just an idea of Mutton as our PM makes me sick… If this were ever to eventuate, I’d be out of here in a flash, have we not suffered enough already….!

  28. Keith

    The sooner the LNP calls an election the better. We can do without the sneaky, manipulative LNP. Dutton would be a disaster.

  29. Michael

    Sandra Birdsall – since 1994 – what does it say about 2/3rds of Warringah voters – 55,346 of them have some explaining to do? – heeeelp?!?!?!

  30. Michael Taylor

    I heard a rumour over the weekend that Labor is expecting a Dutton challenge. I don’t know how they’d know, but the word is obviously spreading.

    Rumour or not, challenge or not, I can only shudder at the thought of Dutton as our PM. It’s horrific enough just having him in parliament.

    Dutton PM. Joyce DPM. Oh hell.

  31. nurses1968

    Michael Taylor
    reading the bosses emails from the source who raised the Lib spill that I mentioned on AIMN yesterday, it sees that a large section of Libs/religious right and some of the Nats still hold Morrison out as the golden child
    “I don’t know how they’d know, ”
    It seems some Libs can’t wait to blab to certain Labor MPs especially when bucketing Turnbull

  32. Matters Not

    Entertain the thought that Labor is spreading these stories to fuel dissent within the Liberal Party ranks. And having a laugh as well.

    In similar vein, I have heard on good authority that Turnbull will promote Pauline to an Assistant Ministerial position at the expense of Alex Hawke MP. She will become the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection against Muslims.

  33. ozbrays2

    That would depend on the criteria. There are many psychopaths at the top of business, government and the church. All of them work for their own benefit but only some are deliberately destructive. Abbott is unusual because he is so vindictive even when it is not in his own interest. Howard always could see that if he did something for the voters it would be to his benefit but Abbott is always blinded by his need for revenge.

  34. Freethinker

    IMHO we need Abbott and Abetz to make sure that the coalition does not win next election or have control of the senate with the help on One Nation.
    I would encourage him to keep doing what is have done.
    Once we not need them any more will be Ok to not see them any more in public office.

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