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Abbott’s Position Unsustainable

To the keen political observer, Leadership speculation about Tony Abbott first began in social media memes literally from the day the Coalition formed government in 2013 and quickly spread to a number of respected political blog sites.

It has now become a full blown mainstream media circus where this week and last speculation has been rife. Just look at where the disaster-prone Liberal leadership has taken the country and how the electorate has responded.

What began as a brutal economic assault on the average Australian’s hip pocket resulted in an across the board rejection of the 2013-14 budget has since morphed into a cacophony of missteps, a multiplicity of misjudgements, crazy captain’s calls and a Royal Commission now clearly seen as politically motivated.

All of this in just two years.

The story of Tony Abbott’s ‘near-death experience’ last February was but a trailer compared with what will be an extended director’s cut version that includes the fallout from Bronwyn Bishop’s demise, the Dyson Heydon crisis and the upcoming Canning by-election to be held on the 19th of September.

Should the polls be right and Canning produces a knife-edge result and a lost seat, that director’s cut will include a vindictive leadership challenge that will surely result in Abbott’s subsequent demise.

When Abbott goes (not if), what will be his legacy? The economy will be in worse shape than when he took over. The Liberal Party’s criticism of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd dysfunction will be totally discredited. The party’s perceived economic credentials will be a distant memory and Abbott will go down in history as serving the shortest ever term of an elected Prime Minister.

All of this will be capped off with the perception that, in failing to produce his renunciation certificate to show that he is no longer a British citizen, legally he should never have been in parliament in the first place.

The Coalition is now in survival mode desperately looking for ways to arrest the ever declining support of voters. The back bench is livid. The issue of same-sex marriage, while not considered a priority by the electorate, has set off a panic within the Coalition comparable to a fox in a hen house.

The Trade Union Royal Commission is now seen for what it has always been with another captain’s call in Dyson Heydon likely to bite the dust. Alternatively, the findings will be compromised and Abbott’s credibility further damaged.

And these people had the audacity to suggest that the adults were back in charge.

Meanwhile Labor sits quietly waiting, watching and wondering how all their Christmases could have come at once. They would, however, be better advised to arise from their euphoria and start punching out a few strong, popular policy directions.

It’s a sad indictment of the Australian political scene that a less than charismatic alternative Prime Minister wins the position by default. That’s how Tony Abbott got the job. That is likely to be the way Bill Shorten will get the job too.

Winning the job because you are seen to be less hopeless than your rival is not a commanding endorsement. Shorten needs to step up.


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  1. kizhmet

    ALP are really between a rock and a hard place. A mere whiff of leadership instabiity is untenable. Abbott would have a field day.

  2. keerti

    Step up or get stood on!

  3. corvus boreus

    I accept that.
    Sometimes my overwhelming desire for a little actual integrity in political conduct blindsides my usual acceptance of the overwhelmingly cynical pragmatic nature of party politics.
    Labor should persevere with the 3rd place option as leader(in recent polls, Albo and Plibbers were much preferred). Better to be led by an unpopular shonk than to appear ‘unstable’.
    Besides, Bill and Tony have worked comfortably together (‘in a bipartisan fashion’) whenever the subjects of political corruption or entitlement rorts have been raised, and they make such a photogenically cute couple.×349.11zxnc.png/1417687577819.jpg

  4. Kaye Lee

    In judging the sustainability of a business enterprise, in simple terms, you look at people, planet and profit.

    The list of people who are under attack from this government, one way or another, comprises the vast majority of citizens; we have a government who tries to tell us that coal is good for humanity, the highest lawmaker in the land thinking environmental laws are vexatious, and an environment minister who isn’t allowed to attend climate change talks and who measures his success by the potential output of the mines he fast tracks; growth has slowed, unemployment has risen, as have debt and deficit.

    These people are trying to convince us that the Adani coal mine is sustainable. All experts, including investors, think otherwise and did a long time before our reptiles came up. Adani’s own experts have admitted the figures Abbott uses about potential benefits are highly exaggerated.

    Verdict: The Carmichael coal mine and the Abbott government are not sustainable.

  5. kerri

    Excellent article John Kelly!
    I feel a smile creep across my face every time I read an article such as this.
    Watching Abbott self destruct through sheer arrogance and incompetance has been delightful.
    But I would seriously love to see Abbott forfeit all privileges normally accorded a retired PM as a punishment for his ruination of this country’s economy, social cohesion, international reputation, morals, conduct, environment, hope and future!
    Please feel free to add to my list and pass this on to any lawyer who believes they can prosecute the country’s case!

  6. lawrencewinder

    Isn’t hubris a dangerous element?
    I’m so pleased to see this IPA inspired ruling rabble being torn to electoral shreds…. but where is the vision for the nation to come from?

  7. John Hermann

    This is certainly the worst Australian government, and the most incompetent Australian prime minister, that I have seen, and I well remember the years of Menzies, Holt, Gorton and McMahon. This lot have even turned on Malcom Fraser, who was a genuine liberal, quite different to the neo-liberal crazies that now inhabit the Liberal party. And the grounds for their disaffection with Fraser was that he was no where near conservative enough for their taste. Almost precisely the same reason for their disaffection with the other Malcolm who currently holds a cabinet post, and who might well end up being the next PM if the opinion polls continue turning downward for his party taken in conjunction with Malcolm’s high personal poll ratings. If it comes to a decision between holding on to power or going out of office on a matter of principle, one can be certain that principle will be abandoned. If the opposition Labor party had possessed an effective leader and had stood for a few things worth supporting, it would be game, set and match — whoever replaced Abbott as the new PM — with a huge majority guaranteed for Labor at the next election.

  8. Kaye Lee

    He is resorting to threats.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told his joint party room that ministers have been “read the riot act” for having public spats in the wake of last week’s messy gay marriage debate.

    Admitting it had been a scrappy fortnight for the Government, Mr Abbott told the joint-party room meeting this morning that ministers had been warned there “would be consequences” for any who did not maintain discipline in future.

    “The party room guided by the Prime Minister has drawn a line under this issue,” Barnaby Joyce told ABC’s Capital Hill program.

    “So the issue, therefore, is dealt with, we will not be changing policy during this term of government.

    “Whether it’s a plebiscite or a referendum, that will be discussed in the future.”

  9. M-R

    I agree about Shorten, as I’ve made clear from day 1 of his ‘leadership’. I cannot bring myself to hold any truck at all for the man who is responsible for all the ALP’s recent woes – a man so driven by ambition as to be almost alarming.
    However, as they’re not going to rissole him and replace him with Tanya, I shall be voting Green for the very first time. Even there I could wish for a different choice of leader: Scott Ludlam is not only respectable but appealing !

  10. jimhaz

    More from the Plutocracy Criminals:

    Environment groups will be forbidden from challenging large developments in court as the Abbott government responds to the controversial decision that stopped Australia’s largest coal project – Adani’s Carmichael coal mine – in its tracks.

    Attorney-General George Brandis will move to repeal a section of Australia’s environment laws that allows conservationists to challenge environment approvals for mining projects and other large developments.”

  11. OzFenric

    Agree with the analysis of the bind that the Coalition is in, but I wonder if we on the left are starting to contribute to the problem with our continual criticism of Shorten. You ask Labor to come out with strong, popular (or potentially popular) policies. They have already done so. That they get limited coverage in the media is partly because of media bias, and partly because people like us are not out there spruiking them. How many people in the electorate remember the “clever country” policies in Shorten’s budget reply speech? The 100,000 HECS write-offs in STEM, and it focus on technology training in the curriculum? In the budget reply speech and a dozen other occasions since, Labor has raised strong and positive policies, further in advance of the next election than any other Opposition in my experience. We need to see these policies celebrated and promoted, not ignored. Every time we complain about “small-target Shorten” we’re contributing to Abbott’s narrative of an Opposition with no ideas beyond saying “no” to everything (which is so ironic it hurts).

  12. Pingback: Abbott’s Position Unsustainable. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  13. eli nes

    kerrigan has words for kelly – tell him he’s dreaming – the rabbutt is an avoider and this is another case. Why not let the individual pollie work their electorate to decide then vote. What a waste of a plebiscite costing millions. Why why why because he has billions in reserve and has no credibility problems with his debt lies blaming labor still in the minds of the poor!!!
    As for canning for christ’s sake the man died, Labor voters are still caring people, as gillard and caucus shows by protecting mary jo fisher when the rabbutt and the media was vilifying thomson and slipper and the current ‘colleaugiate’ protection of depression ravaged robb and the character flaws of the rabbutt(check keating’s 1994 assessment of tone and bronnie)there will be a swing TOWARDS the rabbutt and unless labor is circumspect in the lead up the rabbutt will get a huge boost. ps euphoria? perhaps acquiescent torpor as far as the MSM is concerned????

  14. Phil

    John Kelly – I have no argument with your opinions on Abbott and his government. However I think your article unreasonably denigrates Bill Shorten without giving us any sound basis as to why. I’d be interested in what exactly it is you think Shorten should have done thus far and how he was going to achieve what it is you wish of him, and if you do respond you should factor in the strangle hold the Murdoch media machine has on setting the nation’s daily news agenda, and the fact that it is demonstrably against giving any oxygen to the ALP and is routinely antagonistic toward Shorten.

  15. Bilal

    The Tea Party of arrogance and white supremacy is about to bite the dust we hope. The Bernardi anti-halal inquisition, Brandis and his love for bigotry, Abetz and his unionophobia, Dutton and his jail terms for those who expose sexual abuse of children, smiley daddy Scott Morrison of concentration camp fame, Dr Haneef’s jailer, Pyne the educationist and Abbott the admirer of B.A. Santamaria and the brave Japanese who blew up Sydney Harbour, will, with the aid of a mass awakening of the Australian people, be living on their inflated parliamentary pensions in a few short months. Partly thanks to Kerosene Bronnie and the performance of Dyson, the agenda has been exposed.

  16. John Kelly

    PHIL, I think Shorten is hamstrung by the fear of being wedged. If you believe in something strongly enough, you don’t compromise your position to avoid controversy. Rather, you should welcome it to gain the political momentum that enables you to prosecute your case. If you do that the media will zone in and milk the matter for whatever they can get out of it. Abbott in opposition, was constantly negative and the media loved it because it represented ‘conflict’. Conflict is one of the 8 principle drivers of news.
    Bill needs to get controversial with policies that will attract media attention. If he is confident of his position he should welcome the attention and press home the benefits and advantages of Labor’s policies. He is not doing that. The media find him boring. He has to step up and grab the initiative. If he does that, the Murdoch press will have no option but to give him the exposure because it will be newsworthy.

  17. John Kelly

    ELI NES, Last night the Abbott ministry duck shoved the issue of marriage equality because it is too divisive. They are shutting it down. Forget a peoples’ vote or a party vote. Canning will go down to the wire and will do so over a dead man’s body. That’s politics.

  18. Michael Taylor

    Is Shorten hamstrung on the fear of being wedged? Yes indeed. Him and most of his team are.

  19. virtualnonsense

    I too can almost allow a smile when I think that Abbott could be in his final days/weeks as leader. I have a few concerns though:

    * If not Abbott, then who? The LNP don’t want Turnbull and I am fearful of Morrison who I believe would be worse than Abbott.

    * What if the next LNP leader continues in the ever right direction? Maybe even mean more secrecy?

    * With the 24 hour media cycle we now have, will there ever be a time that governments will be able to govern and not be caught up in polling results, knee-jerk reactions and trivialities? Is it the product of the new news cycle, or the product of this and previous governments?

    I would so love to see some vision for a brighter, better, more clever Australia, one that is innovative as Australia once was.

    Thanks for this post. Great article.

  20. mars08

    Is Shorten hamstrung on the fear of being wedged? Yes indeed….

    Oh, but the sad reality is that Labor IS ALREADY wedged. It’s been wedged for at least 15 years. Wedged well and truly on the right and not showing any inclination to shift. Their policies and actions are not those of a leftist party. They show no interest in earning progressive votes.

  21. corvus boreus

    John Kelly,
    Please, what are the other 7 principle drivers of news?
    Google failed, curiosity itches, and my own assumptions can be…somewhat imaginative.

  22. Graeme Henchel

    Why is Abbott a Dead man Walking?

    Was it justice, was it Karma?
    Was it Murdoch, was it Palmer?
    Was it lying and conceit?
    Was it backbenchers fear of defeat?
    Was it Mathias and Joe’s cigars?
    Was it because we’ve stopped making cars?
    Was it climate change denial?
    Was it putting Julia on trial?
    Was it the daughter’s scholarship prize?
    Was it debt and deficit lies?
    Was it removing the Carbon Tax?
    Was it trying to give the RET the axe?
    Was it cutting Foreign aid?
    Was it being so retrograde?
    Was it the Minister for Women joke?
    Was it all the promises broke?
    Was it Brandis’s bigots rights?
    Was it prancing around in lycra tights?
    Was it cutting the SBS and the ABC?
    Was it costing more for university?
    Was it imposing a GP tax?
    Was it the disregard of facts?
    Was it the ridiculous Dames and Knights?
    Was it the threats and talk of fights?
    Was it Joe’s “lifters and leaners”?
    Was it cutting the pay of parliament’s cleaners?
    Was it punishing pensioners and the unemployed?
    Was it the total moral void?
    Was it the embarrassing G20 address?
    Was it the ongoing budget mess?
    Was it the book-launch travel rort?
    Was it knighting the Queen’s consort?
    Was it use of the sham inquiry stunt?
    Was it the weasel words of Hunt?
    Was it the 800 Million given to News?
    Was it longer unemployment queues?
    Was it a budget most unfair?
    Was it too much body hair?
    Was it nobbling the NBN?
    Was it lying again and again?
    Was it exploiting terrorist threats?
    Was it job applications of Eric Abetz?
    Was it the sex worker wink?
    Was it being too slow to think?
    Was it Joe’s “poor people don’t drive”
    Was it the polls taking a dive?
    Was it the surprises and constant excuses?
    Was it asylum seeker abuses?
    Was it the work of Peta and the IPA?
    Was it repeating slogans day after day?
    Was it the dog whistle of “Team Australia”?
    Was it the pungent smell of failure?
    Was it wimping Putin’s shirt front?
    Was it because Christopher Pyne is a pain?
    Was it Arthur’s memory at ICAC?
    Was it giving Mr Burns the sack?
    Was it ever declining polls?
    Was it funding Internet trolls?
    Was it Newman’s election loss?
    Was it the submarine double cross?
    Was it saying the “Adults are in charge”?
    Was it making the deficit more large?
    Was it the whole damn useless crew?
    Was it the ties of bogus blue?
    Was it the hubris and the swagger?
    Was it Malcolm and Julie’s dagger?
    Was it saying he would change?
    Was it becoming even more deranged?
    Was it eating an onion raw?
    Was it the data-retention law?
    Was it exploiting Dr Karl?
    Was it frequent smirking snarls?
    Was it the daughter’s low rent at Kirribilli?
    Was it “Fixer” Pyne being silly?
    Was it acting like a bar room yob?
    Was it offering Bjorn Lomborg a job?
    Was it saying “I suppose we must grieve”
    Was it the constant attempts to deceive?
    Was it ditching his gold plated PPL mess?
    Was it then making Labor’s PPL less?
    Was it saying the deficit is no longer trouble?
    Was it increasing your own deficit double?
    Was it a second budget based on deception?
    Was it threatening to call an early election?
    Was it trying to get Gillian Triggs out?
    Was it Dutton acting like a Brussel sprout?
    Was it “get a good job that pays good money”
    Was it laughing at things that just weren’t funny?
    Was it all the talk of double dipping?
    Was it cabinet leaks a constant dripping?
    Was it denying marriage equality?
    Was it Brandis reading poetry ?
    Was it paying people smugglers to turn around?
    Was it the dead cat bounce the polls have found?
    Was it saying how much he hated wind farms?
    Was it lying each day without any qualms?
    Was it Brandis controlling the Arts?
    Was it the emission of smelly brain farts?
    Was it the false outrage at QandA?
    Was it telling ministers to stay away?
    Was it Bishop’s ride in a chopper?
    Was it cos Abbott did nothing to stop her?
    Was it Shorten’s conference revival?
    Was it party room fears for their own survival?
    Was it because we never got the 550 bucks?
    Was it that proposing a GST sucks?
    Was it Dyson being a party pooper?
    Was it trying to nobble industry super?
    Why will Abbott get the shove?
    The answer is, all of the above.

  23. Jexpat

    ^ Once again, sung to the tune of:

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Bill Shorten has too much baggage to hold the trust of the majority of Australian people. His polling is dismal, while Labor is up 2pp.

    Bill has strong ties to the IPA and big business. He is firmly of the right. Wikileaks showed us that Bill was telling the yanks ages beforehand that Rudd was going to be rolled – making false claims by Julia that it was a last minute thing.

    Bill Shorten is boring, untrustworthy, but still better than Abbott.Bill needs to go, because if they replace Abbott, as they must, Shorten may find himself still in opposition after the next election.

  25. John Kelly

    Corvus Boreus, as best I remember them from Uni:

    Human interest

  26. Pingback: Abbott’s Position Unsustainable. – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  27. corvus boreus

    Thanks, John Kelly,
    Cynical me was thinking along the lines of; Sex, death, fame, fortune…
    Might be something to do with the ad bar for Rupert’s Daily Tellcrap at the bottom of the page.

  28. Winston

    Australian Conservation Foundation President Geoffrey Cousins is the voice of absolutely quality of understanding on the environment. Just heard him on Radio National.Geoffrey a former conservative is a wonderful stick in the mud.

  29. Adrianne Haddow

    This farce of a pm (doesn’t deserve capital letters) has proven he is not governing for Australians, apart from those who formulated the IPA agenda.

    His legacy of collusion with the right wing puppet masters in turning our country into the world’s quarry, his attempts to change laws and institutions to suit that agenda, his inability to see the beauty of this country that needs to be preserved rather than destroyed by foreign greed, his attempts to divide the people of this country, show his remarkable ineptitude for the office he clings to so desperately.

    One wonders just what was offered to those LNP members who went to India courtesy of Gina, Adani and taxpayer funded entitlements to attend the Adani daughters wedding prior to the election of this miserable government. It must have been attractive because our laws are being changed to suit the Adani vision. ( Maybe a good topic for investigation?)

  30. virtualnonsense

    @ Graeme Henchel – Why is Abbott Dead man Walking? BRILLIANT!!!

  31. Ross in Gippsland

    John, I suggest a read of “Hack Attack” Nick Davies book on the workings of the vile Murdock Media for a reason why bustling Billy and Labor don’t stick their collective head up too high.

    Labor has been a very tight ship, no cock ups that the Murdochians can exploit, why change.

    It’s best to remember, “Touch not the flute when drums are sounding around, when fools have the word the wise will be silent”.

    In light of the downward trajectory of the curiously uniformed nasty tories in our government I am starting to wonder if Bill has had an audience yet. Rupes has been down our way lately.

  32. Mercurial

    “Winning the job because you are seen to be less hopeless than your rival is not a commanding endorsement.”

    Then how do we change the way politicians (prime ministers in particular) look at getting into power, John? If it works for Shorten, won’t it become even more strongly the accepted way of becoming PM?

  33. crypt0

    abbott recently said there “would be consequences” for any who did not maintain discipline in future.
    By discipline I think he meant secrecy … you know … as in “on water matters”
    Not a happy ship, the ol’ LNP …
    This qualifies as a deja vu moment !
    Remember back when Wyatt Roy, the LNP’s youngest MP, spoke up “suggesting that broken promises were one of the reasons why the government was struggling. He suggested Abbott apologise to voters so the government could move on.
    Abbott was furious. He rounded on Roy, yelled at him, then directed his remarks to all of them that there were no effing broken promises and no one should concede there had been.”
    Not that anyone should conclude that this constitutes work place bullying or even lying about lying … perish the thought !
    That’s just the kind of bloke he is.
    Doesn’t say much for the rest of them.
    But then, we already knew that.

  34. John Kelly

    Ross, no politician ever worth his/her salt would be intimidated by a media mogul. The reality is they are not that powerful. Politicians just think they are. Labor’s tight ship is being misinterpreted as weakness by a media starved of conflict. Murdoch is as much despised by the electorate as he is by the Labor Party and the Greens. The difference is that the Greens are neither frightened nor intimidated by Murdoch. Labor could learn something there.

  35. John Kelly

    Mercurial, I wish I knew. Perhaps by first banning corporate donations to political parties and have them subject to rigorous auditing would help. Perhaps by having all campaign advertising submitted to one central authority who would vet them for accuracy before approving them.

  36. Jeanette

    Could not agree more, yes Bill needs to stand up and be counted. Labor needs to start their own narrative to confuse Abbott even more, while he is opposing Labor he’s not getting anything done on his side. But may I ask what positive things has this government done? No carbon tax, my power bill went up not down because the service fee doubled.

  37. Neil of Sydney

    Abbott is doing a good job. He has not trashed anything like the Rudd/Gillard govt did. Abbott is having trouble cleaning up the mess Labor left but that would create trouble for anybody.

  38. Graeme Henchel

    @neil of Sydney Brilliant Satire, my sides are splitting.

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