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Andrew Bolt one man out in critiquing Abbott’s first year

As is usual when a Government celebrates the first birthday of its first term a media frenzy of judgement scrambles to make comment its performance. I have done so myself.

What follows here is a random selection of comments from both mainstream media, web sites, journals and blogs. I advise the reading the full text of any article that interests you least you accuse me of selective bias. Having said that I think the reader will find a common thread in all the pieces but you be the judge. What I did find astonishing, but perhaps not surprising was that syndicated Murdoch commentator and writer Andrew Bolt couldn’t find a word of criticism about Abbott and the governments first year in office.

Peter Hartcher writing for The Sydney Morning Herald; “Abbott unmasked: ideological warrior marches to the right”:

“Abbott and Hockey intend not just to end the ‘age of entitlement’ but to intensify market forces in Australian life and to shrink the government. The Prime Minister intends to move Australia decisively to the right”.

“The government promotes this project as pro-growth; it also carries the unspoken social cost of being pro-inequality”.

“But in two essentials Abbott is still Abbott. First, he remains unpopular. Indeed, he is Australia’s uniquely unpopular prime minister of the past 40 years”.

Michael Gordon of The Melbourne Age; “Happy birthday, Prime Minister?”:

“So what happened? How did the Abbott government end up having the worst start of any new government in 40 years? And what prospect is there of the tentative recovery of recent weeks transforming its fortunes?”

Peter Van Onselen from The Australian; “Tony Abbott must be careful not to become another Malcolm Fraser (it has a paywall so I couldn’t read the full text):

“HISTORY has a way of repeating itself, but there are always departures from the script. There have been tangible similarities between the prosperity and longevity of the Howard years as a precursor to the dysfunction of the Rudd and Gillard governments, and the Menzies years, which predated the Whitlam -government. Gough Whitlam was soon replaced by a Fraser administration that underwhelmed many. Will Abbott’s government depart from the historical comparison or will it also underwhelm?”

Lenore Taylor for The Guardian;Tony Abbott one year on: how the trust was won and lost”:

“But we do have even more evidence that voters react viciously when they feel they have been deceived. The question now is whether it is possible for a leader, and a party, to recover after breaching the trust of the electorate, whether voters, faced with an underwhelming opposition, can be persuaded to take untrustworthiness as a given”.

Jessica Sier and Vanessa Desloires writing for The Financial Review; “Abbott government breaks more promises than it keeps”:

“The Abbott government has broken more key promises than it has kept during the Coalition’s first year of power, an analysis by The Australian Financial Review has found”.

“The government has delivered on 13 promises and is making progress on 11 others – but has broken its word on 14 pre-election pledges”.

“Nielsen pollster John Stirton has pointed out that the Coalition enjoyed no honeymoon after the election and got off to the worst start, in polling terms, of any government in the last 40 years”.

“Voters were not happy with the May budget either, rating it the least popular budget in two decades”.

The Conversation:

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker and Professorial Fellow Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics and the year in review for Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Has he shown his true colors or is there more to the ‘real’ Tony?

Niki Savva for The Australian; “Tony Abbott’s early report card doesn’t quite match John Howard’s”:

“TONY Abbott was not responsible for the timing or the nature of the latest security threats, but his actions have shown he is both up for it and has risen to the challenge. A conservative government has to reign supreme on national security, so it is just as well the Prime Minister has demonstrated the strength and aptitude to deal first with the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, then the threats posed by the Islamic State. He must continue to explain fully what Australia is doing and why, and to tread carefully”.

And this from Buzz feed; “The 30 Most Important Moments Of Tony Abbott’s First Year As Prime Minister”.

abbott bolt

Tony Abbott has arrived as a true leader, says Andrew Bolt (image from news.com.au)

Andrew Bolt writing for Melbourne’s Herald Sun; “Tony Abbott has arrived as a true leader”:

“In fact, a brake is just what Abbott promised a year ago next Sunday in claiming victory: I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments”.

Writing for the Union blog Working Life, Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President, Australian Education Union had this to say:

“The Abbott Government has chosen to spend its first year entrenching inequality in schools by abandoning needs-based Gonski funding agreements with the states”.

“Schools will miss out on two-thirds of the extra funding that would have been provided under Gonski and all schools will get a cut in real terms from 2018”.

“That means fewer teachers, less support for students and bigger gaps between rich and poor schools”.

“The Abbott Government also broke its election promise to introduce extra funding for students with disabilities in 2015, and will effectively cut $100 million from disability education next year”.

 

Stephanie Anderson from the SBS on line site says:

‘”It’s been a year of both triumph and trouble for the Abbott Government”.

Dennis Atkins in The Courier-Mail; “One year in office: Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s mixed fortunes”:

“What Abbott didn’t do was reinvent himself as PM, use the office and its bully pulpit to reintroduce himself and colour in the other side of his character, the governing Abbott who had a vision for where he wanted the country to go and an explanation for how he would take it there”.

 

Mark Kenny of The Sydney Morning Herald;Tony Abbott has two weeks to fix 12 months”:

“Over the next two weeks, leading to his September 7 anniversary, he must find the right tone for communicating his government’s economic plan – and build the parliamentary case needed to make it happen”.

Webb site Green Life:

“In its first year in office, the Abbott Government has failed its responsibility as steward of our natural environment,” said ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy”.

“It has taken Australia in the wrong direction, damaging nature and our fragile climate”.

“It has thrown out our most effective measures for cutting pollution, letting mining and energy companies pollute for free, causing climate change and ill health”.

“It has weakened our environmental laws – nature’s vital safeguards – to pave the way for big business profits”.

The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy said this; “Report card: strong ambassador, dud budget”:

“That record ensures that while for a time the polls demonstrated the new Government was one of the most unpopular in modern times, it has bounced back and remains in touch”.

“The downside is obvious. The Government botched the budget and the way back won’t be easy”.

“Despite delusional claims to the contrary, the problem was not the salesman; well, not entirely. The major problem is the product. The country has made up its collective mind. It’s unfair. DiCaprio couldn’t sell it”.

News.com.au: Tony Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister: Report card on Canberra’s politicians”:

“On its first birthday the Abbott Government will be pondering its most painful lesson: Voters grateful for removal of the Labor turmoil don’t stay grateful forever”.

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott — and in particular his Treasurer Joe Hockey — have been chastened by this crash course in the difference between Opposition and Government”.

“The Coalition changed roles without changing behaviour”.

“The new Government ditched promises — such as a pledge for wide consultation on matters, and introduced new measures — such as the revival of knighthoods, with the arrogance of a big election winner”.

Macro Business reports; “A stocktake of Abbott’s first year”:

“Tony Abbott promised a government of no surprises but has delivered a year chock-full of them”.

“A prime minister expected to lean to caution has thrown it to the winds. A leader without a cushion of popularity has taken big political risks. A man who campaigned on trust has squandered much of that precious political commodity”.

“Tribal, ideological, arrogant and over-centralised – these have been Abbott government faults in its first 12 months. It has often presented an unattractive canvas, desperately needing more subtle hues”.

YOU BE THE JUDGE. That’s about the best cross section of commentary I could find.

 

38 comments

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  1. babyjewels10

    I’m surprised how lenient these comentators are on Abbott. Perhaps my assessment has been too harsh? I thought everything about this Government has been a disaster and a crime against Australia.

  2. Steve M

    How lenient some scribes have been is either a sign ofhaving a bet each way for fear of being cut of the supply of the PM and ministers for interviews and questioning if they are too strong in their statements in taking them to task over what they have said or done or rather in most cases what they have not done compared to their original promises.

  3. Kaye Lee

    The sheer number of promises broken by the government this year has also lessened their individual impact. While it has given Labor more to choose from, it has also served to scatter their attack. And it has given the rest of us broken promise fatigue.

    This is a handy asset for the government trying to live down a bumpy first year. But it will be an increasing liability as it begins the process of selling plans for its second one.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/prime-minister-tony-abbott-governments-year-of-promises-promises-20140905-10d1y4.html#ixzz3CZkVs6b8

  4. billly moir

    The opinion of people, in my circle, who voted for the rabbott (or against gillard) are unchanged by broken promises. They are still seduced by the debt crisis, believe that the rabbott’s borrowing was forced by labor and that the broken promises were forced by labor debt. Who thinks little billy was nearly competent in opposition?

  5. davidgrayling

    In times past, they would’ve beheaded a public official who so deceived those who elected him.

    Phoney is living on borrowed time!

  6. All's Not Lost

    I wonder if Victoria Rollison has read this article.

  7. James Cook

    In the lead up to the next election Tony and his band of merry liars will make more promises, re-emphasise the idea that Labor are economical morons and run a terrorist scare campaign. And the MSM will largely go along with it. We’re stuffed!

  8. Ricardo29

    If the MSM won’t detail the scumbags deceit in the way commentators here do, then the great, ignorant public will never visit their just deserts on them. I mean if even Barrie Cassidy is giving him a boost over his offshore adventurism then we are truly stuffed.

  9. randalstella

    The gutlessness of Cassidy’s ‘assessment’ is so blatant. And yet Cassidy goes on, and on, as if it does not register with him – while it is beyond the cringe to anyone with any sort of fairness.
    That Abbott the DLP boofhead could be summarised as “strong ambassador” beggars belief that Cassidy cares to pay any attention to facts, even casually. As James Cook says, it is all a set-up for an anti-terrorist election, with Labor ‘soft-on-borders’ regurgitated.
    This sort of active cowardice is the set piece for all those in the ABC.- who are not outright Tories. The Breakfast Show duo literally writhe and contort with Good-Humoured abjectness.
    The job of the MSM has been to normalise this mob of gangster-freaks.The daily stunning doses of equivocation will carry these vicious crooks to the next election – when a blitzkrieg of lies on Labor will be revved up again.
    If only there were a real Opposition Leader.

  10. David Cann

    These people are missing the point. Primeminister ship is about good governance in a modern world, not about playing good politics. These guys have not shown the skills of good governance.

  11. Pingback: If it wasn’t serious you’d think it was a script from Chaser | olddogthoughts

  12. Anomander

    John, you can temporarily snip the wire in the Oz firewall by doing a Google search on the exact headline; i.e. “Tony Abbott must be careful not to become another Malcolm Fraser”. For some reason this leads you to the full page text, whereas a hyperlink from another site leads you only to the firewalled first paragraph.

    Not that I really recommend people should have their intelligence and soul sucked-away reading the Oz, but I also wouldn’t want to pay them a cent for their obnoxious, extremist, right-wing waffle.

  13. corvus boreus

    I understand that there are complexities to the operation of politics that are outside my range of acquired comprehension, but the levels that information is passed to ‘we the public’ insults and offends my brain.
    The continued repetition of the kindy-slogans of the last crayon-colouring contest of an election is being reinforced by cutesy P.R. jargon based on word association, applied as a mental water torture to our minds, as the nation learns by rote to conduct our political discourse using the unthinking diction of reactive simpletons.
    ‘Labor…debt…deficit…disaster…fix…debt…stop…boats…axe…tax…drip…drip…drip…’
    Phrases of meaning with negative association, like “privatisation” are replaced with meaningless euphemisms with positive associations, like “asset recycling”. Assets are the goods, and who would oppose recycling?
    This donkey-bray is mindlessly megaphoned by most of our media representatives.
    They may, in their defense, be under some editorial pressure.
    Many work for an interfering old American citizen who, at best, is dodderingly oblivious to issues of incompetence and criminality regularly occurring within his organisation.
    Others work for a street-brawling Australian heir who juggles media ownership with gambling interests.
    Some work for a group being gradually acquired by another Aussie, this one the heiress to a genocidally inclined mining magnate.
    There are those who work for our national broadcaster. They work bound by a covenant of balance and fairness, under editorial pressure from a political administration that resents and opposes their very existence and appoints overseers like ‘Dame’ Jane Albrechson and Gerald ‘gimp’ Henderson, the institute of one.
    They also operate under attack, often personal, from their commercial rivals, including accusations of treason.
    I , to a limited extent, understand and sympathise with the dilemma of the career journalist in this climate.
    Even so, Barrie Cassidy’s piece, fawning over Abbott’s ”exemplary” conduct of international affairs, was a nauseatingly quisling piece.

  14. William (Bill) Miller

    Abbott is a consumate salesman; priestly even..
    In 1960, unemployed at age 18, I joined a team of them selling Hoover washing machines on a house to house basis in Inala, perhaps Brisbane’s poorest suburb. The head saleman showed me how to do it; the subject was a young married mum with a toddler, and another forthcoming; the house was very basic cheap speculative builder job and hugely uncomfortable; there was a very good l;ooking Simpson washing machine in the laundry at the back door; it was in very good nick, and worked well; she didnt need a washing machine she said, the Simpson worked perfectly; the Salesman pressed on with false comparisons, arguing with cacth phrases and colour words, promising cheaper running, longert lasting clothes etc and she succombed and signed up to his hire-purchase plan.

    As we walked away back to his car, he said thats how it’s done son and drove off.

    I walked back to the street corner to beignin selling, but deeply troubled questioning myself: “should I or should I not?” I decided I should not; I could not lie like that, could not cheat and spin even to put a meal in my belly. There had to be abetter way. With my last few shilings left I caught the next train out of there. And have never looked back, until that is, I saw Tony at work.

    And every time I see Tony I see that Hoover Salesman and and that poor housewife and her husband returnung from a hard days work and being shocked at what had been done to his wife and child.

    Bill Miller

  15. Kath Malcom

    Barrie Cassidy is a fool with a bad haircut 🙂

  16. CMMC

    Have they even passed the damned Budget yet?

    BTW the media nongs will not cease their flattery (its almost like ‘damning them with faint praise’) because they all want a seat on Tone’s super-luxury Jumbo liner.

  17. kerrilmail

    ‘’In fact, a brake is just what Abbott promised a year ago next Sunday in claiming victory: “I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments.”
    When ever the Government or their acolytes use the terms “methodically” “purposefully” thesaurus equvalents….. Etc. I immediately translate that to mean. “We don’t have a policy”
    Abbott has already taken this country backwards with his Santamaria ideology the damage will take decades to repair.
    And ….. Why is it that the media believe his efforts with wars and plane crashes negates the fact that he is seriously screwing the environment for EVERY other country on earth????

  18. Terry Charlton

    has anyone noticed the unprecedented coverage given to Rabbotts trips by the media. ABC included. Lateline cancelled for a cross to the NATO meeting?? really. Did this happen last time they met? A speech by the Malaysian prime minister licking the Rabbotts foot.
    Has the ABC already been taken over. Is it now part of the rabbot packs propaganda machine. Worrying times?? Why isn’t Shorten doing a whistle stop tour of the states and shaking up the trade unions. The streets should be packed with protestors. Labour needs a leader!!

  19. bjkelly1958

    Nicely balanced, John. Some of the commentary, particularly the like from Barrie Cassidy are appallingly fawning, to the point of being truly incredible.

  20. Kaye Lee

    A source from inside the ABC told me a few rumours.

    Firstly, 3 or 4 programs look like being cut, Foreign Correspondent among them. That’s probably not news.

    And if you are wondering why Chris Uhlman had a stint on 7:30 report, rumour has it that Leigh Sales made that call because she didn’t want a direct comparison with Sarah Ferguson.

    Apparently it was suggested that perhaps a woman should have hosted last week’s Q&A since the panel was made up of women from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Tony Jones refused to entertain the idea.

    When I asked about recent board appointee Janet Albrechtsen, I was greeted with “I knoooowwww” accompanied by an incredulous shrug.

    Funding cut fear, prima donas, and a board takeover may have something to do with the ABC’s performance. Toe the line or you don’t get a gig.

  21. stephentardrew

    John what the hell are you trying to do ruin my day. I keep away from the mainstream just to keep my sanity then this. My last few forays to The Insiders was cringe worthy, at the least, so I keep a wary eye out to avoid the festering sore that was Aunty. Am I too extreme? Every fiber of my being says no, no, no these fools are as bad as has been demonstrated on this site. The vice around the media is at least broken to some extent by Fairfax and The Guardian however it is often the comments that are more thoughtful than the articles. The main issue is the obvious and demonstrable irrationality of the mainstream brought to you by the logically and scientifically illiterate. Political opinion over the hard facts of experimental science and the important findings of sociological investigation. That so little empirical evidence finds it way into media commentary is really frightening as we watch the poor suffer and the planet burn. They make science out to look like the big scary intellectual knowy thing that only boffins should show any interest in. You ordinary blokes and girls just listen to the protestations of a bunch of ignorant religious ideologues and she’ll be right mate. The MSM is complicit in widening the gap between rational and logical reasoning and magical thinkers (an oxymoron in itself) because they fear telling the truth to their masters. They cannot all be that dumb surely.

    The thought then arises what if they lack courage and are, in essence, being cowardly just to save their jobs. Doesn’t sound like the third estate to me.

    Nor will I be led towards complacency by some absurd notion of media balance when most of it is completely unbalanced journalism imbued with a good dose of irrationality and psychological dysfunction. Meanwhile our paid thinkers hide within their academic institutions presenting research papers to their peers while ignoring the masses. You only get to a situation like this when those who are responsible advocates of reason fail to express their voices openly and strongly. AIMN and other sights struggle on with little resources trying to expose the hard facts only to be ignored by our intellectuals, government and opposition. So am I too extreme. Damn I am just too logical to accept such an erroneous label when the environment and peoples lives are going to hell in a hand basket for absolutely no logically demonstrable reason at all. It is never enough for these greed infested ideologues and if you think that the LNP don’t want to take an axe to penalty rates then think again. What to do about these lying and deceptive scumbags.

    Be positive and keep on fighting people. Drop the negativity and self doubt. We must be convinced we can beat em since our environment and the future of our kids depend upon it.

  22. Peter McAllister

    Cassidy….sellout….perceived previously as a competent commentator has lost his left indicator.
    He is veering further right daily!

  23. Florence nee Fedup

    How was the HIP scheme a complete disaster. Even if it was hastily introduced, leading to four deaths, which by the way, is lower than usual in this industry of over a century It left behind 1.25 million or more roofs insulated.

    Each saving electricity, summer and winter. Quite a achievement. It employed many thousands that would have been unemployed.

    It did help divert calamity during the GFC.

    Yes, and thinks to the regulations introduced during that time, is now a safer industry.

    If the employers had followed normal OH&S as they promised to do in their contracts with the Federal Government, those lives might have been saved,

    To say it was a complete flop is just plain wrong.

    As for Gillard and the so called carbon tax, she did promised she would be dealing with carbon emissions. In fact said so in the missing half of that video that was played over and lover. In that video, PM Gillard was responding to Abbott’s quip of why not just have a carbon tax, not a emission trading scheme. When put in context, the PM did not lie.

    Yes, owing to the government, the voters deliberate, she did it sooner than she promised.

    To say that some action was not planed, once again is just plain wrong.

    The trouble with the likes of Cassidy and MSM, they just cannot admit they were wrong.

    Yes, there is much rewriting of history occurring, More is to come, with the mining industry spending millions to prove that the GFC did not exist. That Swan was a failure as a treasures. They have even involved university research.

    Why the need to destroy Labor’s effort.

    We should heed words that were uttered at budget time. Yes, they said this is only the beginning.

    Abbott, this day is full of hubris, believes he has achieved what he set out to do. I suspect in this regard, he is correct.

    What we have seen in the last year, will be a pale shadow of what is coming in the next.

    We ain’t seen anything yet.

  24. Eva Whybrow

    If the RAbbott Rabble get voted in again, I’m leaving!

  25. James Cook

    We have a daughter living, temporarily, in Sweden who says she is not returning until Abbott is voted out. And she bases her opinion on news she gets from the Swedish media. Abbott is regarded as a fool in Scandinavia. At least letter-writers to the SMH are anti-Abbott, almost 100%. Gives one some hope!

  26. brickbob

    If Abbott gets relected i will be instructing my doctor to place me into a self induced coma for 3 years.

  27. lawrencewinder

    A vindictive, lying rabble who would rather destroy the country for an ideological whim promulgated by the IPA. The worst mongrel bunch we have ever had in Canberra (it’s impossible to call them a government) ruling only for a few industrialists.
    This is a sadly stupid nation.

  28. Darren

    I total agree Lawrence hit the nail on the head. If we want equality and save humanity we have to fight and take back what is ours. Our freedom. And a future for our kids. Murdoch is behind this and we have to get independent news papers and reporters to tell how it really is. We have to put, Abbott,hockey, and all his front bench and there ideology ideas in a row boat and set them adrift from this great country with a one way ticket.

  29. All's Not Lost

    Ah crap. Mungo Mccallum is dead.

  30. mark delmege

    I often wondered if Mungo was JJ McRoach

  31. All's Not Lost

    Ok, so Mungo is apparently not dead. Stupid journalists reporting it. Can’t get anything right.

  32. mark delmege

    and he wasn’t JJ either

  33. Lee

    Andrew Dolt’s comment (“Tony Abbott has arrived as a true leader’’) proves that nothing he writes is worth reading.

  34. SteveB

    Bolt is a boofhead.

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