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Abbott’s wobbly reboot

Today Tony Abbott addressed the National Press Club with what his colleagues were describing as a make or break speech. It was his chance to outline his plan for the future and to make his pitch as to why he is the best man to lead us into that future.

He then proceeded to spend the majority of the speech talking about the “Rudd/Gillard/Rudd catastrophe”. He obviously has a different idea of what future means than I do, or is it that that is all Tony can do?

His speech was just a collection of all the trite phrases we have heard him repeat ad nauseum. He persisted with counting on his fingers that same old stuff about axing taxes, stopping boats and building the roads of the 21st century.

He promised, for the umpteenth time, to be a more “consultative collegial government”. He also backed off from his captain’s picks of Paid Parental Leave and deciding who gets knighthoods. On PPL he said he had listened to the Productivity Commission and his colleagues – pity it took him five years to do so.

But perhaps the most interesting line for me was when he said

“I hope that in 2015 we will see a much more honest national conversation.”

And so say all of us.

Unfortunately that hope lasted about two seconds as he told us that Labor had left him with a $667 billion debt. As we have pointed out countless times on these pages, the only place that number appears is in Hockey’s MYEFO from December 2013 and it was a projection for ten years’ time based on Coalition spending and revenue cutting decisions.

When asked about his broken pre-election promises Tony said that it was necessary because Labor had lied about the real state of the books.

“We went into the campaign believing the deficit was $18 billion. When we saw the books it was actually $48 billion so Labor left a $30 billion deficit black hole”.

Except Chris Bowen and Penny Wong produced an economic update in early August showing the deficit to be $30 billion, a figure backed up a couple of weeks later by Treasury and Finance in PEFO. Apparently Tony didn’t read those documents, or chooses to ignore them.

The changes in projected deficits were once again due to Coalition decisions

Tony boasted that his government had created hundreds of thousands of jobs. When it was pointed out to him that there are about 70,000 more people unemployed than we he came to office he completely ignored the question. I don’t think Tony realises that with population growth of 364,900 in 2013-14, we need over 30,000 new jobs per month just to keep up. From December 2013 to December 2014 employed persons rose by 1.4% while unemployed persons rose by 7.7%

Tony didn’t mention Medicare’s future or higher education reforms or Indigenous recognition. He ignored domestic violence despite Australian of the Year Rosie Batty’s impassioned plea for action. And his much anticipated family package degenerated into the government would have a “better childcare policy” and “consult widely”.

A poll in the Brisbane Times asking “Do you think Tony Abbott’s speech will help him remain in the top job?” was, at time of writing, showing 81% of votes saying “No it was awful.”

If Tony’s colleagues were looking for some inspiration from their leader they must be echoing Paul Keating – is that all there is?

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  1. CMMC

    Robert Allenby gave a more lucid and contrite public confession, recently.

  2. Griceman

    I like to give anyone a chance but how many, and this clearly did not do it for most people. Has repeatedly broken trust and says “Trust me I’ll be good”. Does not get it at ll … Queenslanders just absent minded .. nothing to do with LNP.

  3. DanDark

    Tones” make or break it speech” was mainly directed at his own, his not so loyal team, Team LNP that is.
    But his speech just highlighted the disunity in his feral gov, his deputy leader seemed to be missing in action,
    She was busy doing pressers with a couple of non important Americans ,,, tooo funny lol
    but the usual head nodders Morriscum and Conman were in the audience showing their supposed support for the poor hard done by Tones, it was a warm and fuzzy, cathartic experience for them, but that’s all it was a speech directed at his team more than the voting public…

  4. Bernie Radel

    Well Tony Abbott states that the people of Australia hired him as Prime Minister and only the people of Australia should have the right to fire him. I do not recall ever having voted for a Prime Minister or a Premier.I have voted for a member to represent me in the Parliament, and that member has voted for the person to be Prime minister or Premier. Therefore that member, as my representative, also has the right to vote the said person out of that position. I saw Kevin Rudd put forward that same inaccurate argument when he was replaced. Tony, that statement was another foolish and incorrect decision you have made. When is enough, enough ? Then you insult your own Australians when you announce that we only elect an ALP Government in a moment of absent mindedness. Thank you for that you Pommy outcast.

  5. iggy648

    No arrests! Even the Victoria Police seem to have figured out he’s incompetent.

  6. David

    Loved your choice of poll Kaye Lee Brisbane Times…after last Saturday wouldn’t be too many fans willing to raise the flag in support, mmm a white one maybe?

  7. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Tony’s mentor, Howard, lost his seat through hubris. Tony will do likewise. How members of the coalition ever saw Tony as the best choice for leader has me beat. I am an agnostic but my ethics would be essentially based on those espoused by genuine Christians. The trouble with Catholics is that they can lie and commit loads of sins non-stop as long as they confess and do penance weekly, And attending a seminary would not be a good place to learn to respect women.

  8. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Oh – and by the way – has he not yet discovered that the tax he so proudly abolished did not save us $550 a household – far from! Its abolition will cost us far more than that in the long run!

  9. Douglas Evans

    Well said. I wonder if any of the media luminaries present will pick up on the discrepancies you pointed out. They might. I sensed plenty of hostility behind the questions. Lenore Taylor’s response in the Guardian was pretty muted I thought.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Main impressions from the audience was Morrison = smug with only enthusiasm coming from Joe Hockey. The Libs of course know that the real problem is Hockey’s wretched kick-the-poor budget and so old Joe is just as much at fault as Abbott for the dire state of the party. If Abbott goes, Hockey has to go as well..they OWN the problem. Note how Hockey is just about the only LNP member who hasn’t been asked for his opinion about replacing Abbott as leader.

  11. paul walter

    And still no mention of secretive Defence procurements and the costly asylum seeker policy.

  12. Möbius Ecko

    I saw Channel 7 News do a real snow job for Abbott’s woeful press club performance. They only showed favourable bites done to make Abbott look strong and resolute, they didn’t mention his failures and blamed his predicament on nervous backbenchers after the Queensland election. Abbott was not apportioned an iota of fault and blaming it on backbenchers due to a recent event completely ignored the fact Abbott has been in deep shit from about 3 months after the election.

  13. Matters Not

    The trouble with Catholics is that they can lie and commit loads of sins non-stop as long as they confess and do penance weekly

    Not a ‘useful’ comment. And that’s from an atheist.

    By the way, being ‘strong’ at the moment is political poison. Even Abbott’s dropped that from his current spiel.

    It was the ‘strong’ stench coming from the corrupt Newman government that contributed heavily to his downfall.

  14. CMMC

    A few Fairfax business columnists are implying the RBA has another indeterminate to consider as regards interest rates.

    Let us try to guess the name they give this factor;



  15. Glenn

    Very poor performance from the journo’s during questions. Abbott offered no policy other than cutting small business tax by 1.5% (borderline if this was really policy anyways), but no cutting questions on policy. Where’s the policy Tony? And none of them challenged his blantantly false assertions. Pathetic.

  16. Matters Not

    His speech was just a collection of all the trite phrases we have heard him repeat ad nauseum.

    Yep. The ‘reboot’ is nothing but a ‘repeat’. And I hope he continues to do just that! (Seriously, how dumb is this bastard?)

    But keep quiet with any criticism and simply shout.

    Great speech Tony! Ignore your critics. Plough on! Persist! You ought to be congratulated. More power to your arm!

    Note also he’s being advised by Crosby Textor, the same mob who drove Newman’s campaign here in Queensland.

    He must retain them at all costs. Not that they are cheap. But who cares.

  17. Matters Not

    And none of them challenged his blantantly false assertions.

    Yes! But be fair. They didn’t have the luxury of ‘follow-up’ questions.
    to answer the questions actually asked. Besides he didn’t even answer, or attempt

    It was an Abbott show and as usual it was farce writ large. But it was consistent. Not that’s any justification.

    We all ought to rejoice. The inmates are in charge. It matters not whether they are adults or not.

  18. stephentardrew

    Snore is it over yet.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Q&A should be good this evening….9:35 ABC

    Panellists: Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture; Wayne Swan, Former Treasurer; Larissa Waters, Queensland Greens Senator; John Madigan, Independent Senator for Victoria; and Jacqui Lambie, Independent Senator for Tasmania.

  20. Paul McDonald

    are you all playing humble possum, or is no one aware of what is really happening with all this circularity ? : )

  21. Wei-Sern Chong

    Don’t forget about the NBN.

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    What type of idiot keeps rebooting the PC without repairing the registry or running a virus check after the first couple of failures.

  23. Hyper Bollocks

    The trouble with Catholics is that they can lie and commit loads of sins non-stop as long as they confess and do penance weekly,

    This statement is beyond ridiculous. It demonstrates a complete absence of understanding of the sacrament of the confessional. No person even passingly conversant with Catholic theology would ever say anything as silly as this.

  24. Hyper Bollocks

    Barnaby Joyce and Jacqui Lambie.

    Wow, there’s a meeting of minds. I think my money’s on Barnaby…no, Jacqui…no, Barnaby…no…oh shit I can’t chose..

  25. Humphrey Hollins

    Where’s my NBN Turnbull you bastard!

  26. Carol Taylor

    Humphrey @9.55pm 😆 😆 😆

  27. stephentardrew

    Wayne Swan sliced and diced Bubble Head.

    Barnaby looking a bit lost. Unusual that.

    Lambie packed a punch.

    Larissa Waters was great.

    Madigan warmed up at the end.

    Swan got a good response from the audience.

    Swan could be a real asset to Labor before the election.

  28. David

    Matters Not I was going to respond to Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)February 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm comment but as it was so absurd I refrained. As a Catholic who doesn’t use Confession for that very reason, hypocrisy is not in my ‘adult’ Catholic life.
    Sadly for some ignorance is bliss.

  29. Ricardo29

    You Catholics don’t understand, it’s the principle of being able to commit a sin and then by confessing and saying a Hail Mary and three our fathers have it all put right. Simplistic, yeah but fundamental to AbbotS ideology? yeah again. Anyone want to discuss the role of the confessional in the protection of pedophile priests?

  30. Kerri

    Regarding the journos pulling Abbott up on his lies? Could it be the questions or at least questioners are vetted! Mark Riley made a air go of it by citing how many times Abbott has said consultative and collegial
    Over the last 6 years. He even persisted when Abbott tried to make a joke and stop him! No one laughed!

  31. Matters Not

    You Catholics don’t understand, it’s the principle of being able to commit a sin and then by confessing and saying a Hail Mary and three our fathers have it all put right. Simplistic

    Ricardo29, I think you have the ‘Simplistic’ bit just about right.

    Simply, it’s not useful or helpful to make such an ignorant attack on Catholics.

  32. Hyper Bollocks

    You Catholics don’t understand, it’s the principle of being able to commit a sin and then by confessing and saying a Hail Mary and three our fathers have it all put right. Simplistic

    Oh, it’s not Catholics that are in a state of intellectual deficit here. This caricaturisation of the confessional is not fact, nor established belief nor anything other than ignorance. Do some Catholics actually think this way? Probably. But let’s avoid needless composition fallacies, ok?

  33. Robert W Gough

    Thank you for your critique of Abbotts worthless speech to the Press Club today.

    No one has taken Abbott up on the fact that even though he has backed down on his PPL scheme, there is already such a scheme in place because of legislation passed during the Gillard Labor government.

  34. Terry2

    Abbott has said that only the Australian people could remove a Prime Minister. Well, that is factually incorrect as the Liberal party elect a leader and he/she becomes Prime Minister.

    As with everything that Abbott says , he has been misleading and deceptive implying that we can only replace him at the next election.

    The way it works, Mr Abbott is that when you have reached the stage of irredeemable incompetence your party will replace you ; we only get to replace your government at an election.

  35. Anomander

    I loved the quip about voters being “absent minded” when they voted out Liberal governments in Victoria and Queensland, as though not voting for our Liberal masters is an aberration or a mistake. It’s almost as if Tony believes we are too stupid to be allowed to vote.

    As a supposed “make or break” speech it was telling in so much as it showed Abbott’s inability to recognise any fault within himself or his ideologically driven agenda.

    If he even had a modicum of insight, vision or intelligence we would realise that creating jobs and developing new industries and initiatives is crucial to our future, as we wind down from the insanity of the destructive mining boom. With commodity prices plummeting and demand for our fossil fuels diminishing, we should be actively planning for a smarter future based on science, technology and education.

    Unfortunately that’s never going to happen under a government hell bent on slashing public departments, eroding services, debasing science and denying the world is rapidly changing. Typical of Tony – he’s so backward looking he is incapable of seeing a future for our nation beyond digging-up resources and selling them overseas.

    We already have a major structural problem with job creation that without decisive government intervention is likely to become even worse.

  36. corvus boreus

    There was a revealing little linguistic shift in Abbotts obfuscation in response to one of the post-speech questions.
    He did a partial mea culpa on his ‘no cuts to ABC and SBS’ proclamation, citing the justification of unexpectedly different circumstances (an excuse he had directly pledged never to use in pre-election promises).
    Aside from the aspect of Abbott breaking a promise to explain breaking a promise, it was interesting that he kept referring to the theoretically unconscionable funding reductions as “cuts” (repeatedly), then when he shifted to his implemented policy, those same funding reductions became “efficiency dividends” (repeatedly) in his waffling excuses.
    I swear I saw him falter and cringe visibly the first time he ‘surreptitiously’ replaced “cut” with “efficiency dividend”.
    ‘Will they notice the sudden addition of an extra six and a half syllables to describe exactly the same thing?’.
    It seems that, by their responses, the assembled galleriazzi were, indeed, totally oblivious or indifferent to the fact that ‘daisies’ suddenly became ‘dicotyledonous asteraceae’ the moment Tony plucked them.
    The wise scribes were too busy nodding seriously whilst processing bubbly and single malt.

  37. Möbius Ecko

    From what I saw this morning, including the reading of the newspaper front pages by TV news, it seems the MSM as one have painted Abbott being strong and resolute.

    Not a single mention anywhere of the repeated slogans, fractured policies, obvious lies and deceits littered throughout his speech.

  38. Kaye Lee


    Why did Abbott’s speech sound like someone in his office took a dozen common sound bites and threw them up on the wall in random order?


    Tony Abbott’s press club speech had little to do with charting a path forward and everything to do with circling the wagons around his prime ministership.

    But a path forward – a way out of its political mess – is the only thing that can save the prime minister and his government. Circling the wagons might hold his critics off for a while, but it doesn’t address the cause of their concern.

    Abbott’s political message was obvious – he isn’t going anywhere.

  39. corvus boreus

    In his defense though, Abbott did do a very effective dirt dump on ‘Rudd-Gillard-Rudd’. I think Tony has seriously damaged the future prime-ministerial prospects of all three, and fondly reminded the press corpse why they group-thought that he was so ‘brutally effective’ in opposition.

  40. Kaye Lee

    I bet the Liberal Party are going doh this morning as the NT show you can and perhaps should dump a leader who is not performing. Terry Mills tweeted a photo of himself laughing his head off.

  41. Möbius Ecko

    Yes Kaye but those stories were inside the papers, the TV news only shows the front page, which is the message that gets to a greater audience. The front pages and TV commentary on them was overwhelmingly of a strong and resolute Abbott.

  42. Kaye Lee

    Strong didn’t work so well for Newman. I don’t consider arrogant self-belief regardless of results resolute. This fool thinks he is “entitled” to be PM and he can do whatever he pleases for three years.

  43. Aortic

    Groundhog Day. Heard all the trite cliches before. For goodness sake sort this mess lnp. You are going to get hammered at the next election. But get rid of this clown before any further damage is done.

  44. rikda

    Tony Abbott is intellectually moribund. He has a bully mentality & because it has elevated him, he thinks it has made him popular.
    Gillard was right. He CAN’T change.
    He can’t change because mentally, there is nothing that needs changing with him. Hence the “Ship has got a good Captain” dribble.
    He is simply intellectually abnormal & should not be the PM & the LNP are weak to have allowed him to win.

  45. corvus boreus

    “Strong” was the dominant theme for an entire paragraph of yesterdays serve of Captain Abbott’s regurgitated slogan-slaw.
    The word “strong” was uttered around 27 times in about 3 1/2 minutes, mostly as an adjective for “measure” or “economy”.
    It was the bit just before the big “Labor” paragraph.

    “Resolute” may possibly be a (suggested) media soft substitution for words like ‘stubborn’, ‘intransigent’ and ‘pig-headed’.

  46. Hyper Bollocks

    From what I saw this morning, including the reading of the newspaper front pages by TV news, it seems the MSM as one have painted Abbott being strong and resolute.

    I’m not seeing any evidence for that in the Fairfax media.

  47. stuff me

    Corvus, he didnt learn anything from the Queensland situation, all those “strong” Libs turning to mud….

  48. Hyper Bollocks

    But get rid of this clown before any further damage is done.

    Well, as Swanny said on QandA last night, it won’t matter if they replace Abbott. In fact it will potentially be bad. Abbott is a problem for the Coalition, not the nation. The Coalition is the problem for the Nation. They’ll still be there, at least till the next election.

    But who’s going to replace him? It will not be Bishop. She’s a waste of space and the Liberals know it. All the other options, possibly save Turnbull, are either similarly wastes of space or as stinky to the electorate as Abbott.

    I don’t think we’ll see anything happen soon, but then the Qld election result surprised me so what would I know …

  49. DanDark

    I needed a ” strong ” coffee after watching Tones on TV yesterday, something I normally avoid. Tones and “strong” coffee.
    My son and partner came to visit recently and asked why I had a cross hanging from my TV
    I said, “Tones is the anti Christ, it’s for my protection, I am not religious so they thought this was very funny
    I said “if I had a pair of Bolles I would be wearing them for protection too for them unexpected pressers he does that come up on the screen”

  50. DanDark

    Maggie has been revived, pulled out from the moth balls
    she actually spoke at a press conference on child care this morning with her man
    It’s pull the old wife out now because they think it will increase his popularity and well Maggie will tell us on any given day how much a feminist Tones is, oh Maggie it’s too late but good try…
    Thanks for the pic ME priceless….

  51. Anomander

    I’m happy for the Captain Stupid to remain exactly where he is. He’s doing more damage to his party’s chances of re-election than the opposition ever could. He can be the one standing on the prow as his party ploughs headlong into the iceberg.

  52. Hyper Bollocks

    Apt metaphor as it seems the band has already decided to play on.

  53. stuff me

    Hyper B, if you dont mind I’m going to pinch that “Abbott is a problem ect ect” LOL!

  54. Trevr

    Thank you again Kaye Lee. Always on the mark.

    Abbott is Deranged.

    Abbott the Liar, makes more Lies to cover the Lies he’s made and then Lies about those Lies with more Lies.

    So not only is Abbott prepared to hold Australia to ransom, (as terrorists do) for having elected him to Parliament in the first place and lately as the three word sloganeering, sneering global embarrasment of masquerading as a PM of Australia, but on his way out the door Abbott will destroy the last of the Menzian Liberals of my fathers day just to show how tough he hangs!

    The Man Abbott is not only a disgrace and guilty as charged through numerous 1st person desciptions of a brutal history of self preening bully boy and thief of public moneys, now he has set a path for his final act in the Longest Political Dummyspit in Australian History.

    See ya Tony and thanks for nothing you Prick!

  55. stephentardrew

    I forgot to remember to vote for the lot I didn’t vote for because I was thinking of sucking down a VB and puttin a bet on the nags.

  56. Andrew

    Watching One Term trot out his wife (by the way they separated back in July) is the second last desperate act by a drowning man. Put aside for the moment the lunacy of the Knighthood farce, and concentrate on what led to it. He knows he’s gone! What does a leader in that situation do? They try to punish enemies and show their true colors. In Tony’s case, its his utter contempt for his adopted country and it’s people (especially those ‘absent minded’ voters who sometimes elect Labor Governments). In those unguarded moments he reveals his real personality. He’s a punisher, a throw back to Cromwell’s England. However, Tony isn’t alone. This government constantly betrays its underlying ‘Us and Them’ mentality. Reflect on this one fact. The governments own budget papers last year show that Superannuation Tax Concessions to the richest 3% of salaried Australians will cost the bottom line $20 Billion over the forward estimates (Government speak for 4 years). Does this allowance accord with the hysteria about the phony debt crisis? Well of course not, because those 3% are largely hardcore conservative voters. Yet for the vast majority needing the Medicare safety net, there is an attempt at taxation which was never foreshadowed before that last Federal election.

  57. Olivia Manor

    ” am not going anywhere” Tony, may have uttered prophetic words. As he feels the He is PM by the grace of God ( forget the electorate, they can be absent-minded”) he may well stage a coup before the next election, aided and abetted by his other fascist admirers, Morrison, Cormann Abetz, Dutton and Pyne. And Dutton as an ex policeman, knows how to shoot with a rifle!

  58. Hyper Bollocks


    Watching One Term trot out his wife (by the way they separated back in July)

    Really? Not that it actually matters in the end, but what evidence do you have for this claim? Put up or shut up.

  59. Kaye Lee

    In each of the coming four years, the Australian Government plans to gift around $10 billion of taxpayer’s money to subsidise fossil fuel use.

    Superannuation tax concessions cost the budget around $35 billion in 2013-14 and the Commonwealth bill for these concessions is projected to rise at a staggering 12 per cent annually to be $50.7 billion in 2016-17.

    The Grattan Institute says negative gearing costs the federal government $2.4 billion a year, and there is “little justification for it”.

    When all of these Liberal economic morons come out saying we have no choice but to cut spending, cut pensions and attack medicare etc etc….I say CRAP and I am sick to death of you treating me like an idiot. FFS can’t any of you tell the truth for once?

  60. Kaye Lee


    If you are interested in gossip it has been mentioned in the media. Personally I consider it irrelevant and none of my business.

    Without ever having met Margie my opinion is that she is a decent woman who has had to work hard all her life as a semi-single parent. She isn’t interested in the limelight unlike other partners I could name. I for one am glad I won’t have to watch Lisa Newman suck face anymore.

  61. John Fraser


    More Libs coming out of the closet.

    Half Term Tony looks like the new moniker.

  62. Robert W Gough

    I guess LIB stands for Lackluster, Impotent and Boring. But I hate to hear the word “Liberal” to describe these ratbags currently in government. They are a bunch of conservative torries and are nothing like anything that could be considered liberal.

  63. Terry2

    These superannuation tax concessions are unsustainable and cannot be justified. As a commentator said yesterday, the rationale for these concessions was to encourage people to save for their retirement so that they would not be dependent on the pension. But, as these concessions are largely going to the top end of town – to people who could not normally access the pension – these concessions have turned into a rort and need to be reined in.

  64. mars08

    So comforting to see that “the adults are back in charge”

  65. Andreas Bimba

    Thanks for another valuable contribution Kaye.

    The extravagant super concessions are not just a subsidy for the wealth accumulation predominantly for the rich, but they are a huge subsidy for Australia’s financial services industry which primarily comprises the superannuation funds (~$240 billion revenue for 2012-13), banks (~$230 billion) and insurers (~$140 billion).

    For the year to December 2012, the financial services industry was the second biggest sector of the economy, accounting for 10.3 percent of gross value “added” by industry, only slightly behind mining at 10.7 percent and well ahead of other high value adding industries, such as construction at 7.9 percent and manufacturing at 7.6 per cent.

    The Australian financial services industry has assets of nearly $5.6 trillion which is nearly four times nominal GDP. The industry however only employs about 430,000 which is about 4% of the Australian workforce.

    The Australian financial services industry like in the US, has gone beyond being just a provider of an essential service to the economy but has now through government regulation (eg. compulsory super) and market power become a financial black hole, constantly sucking in an ever increasing share of the nations wealth.

    Is the money being managed efficiently and giving a good rate of return – NO. Is the money safe – NO. Is the industry transparent and ethical – NO. Is the industry well regulated – NO. Are the people in the business earning much more than they deserve – YES.

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