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Backbench Revolt Looming

The Prime Minister has lost the respect of some of his colleagues and has only a few months to turn things around or his position is terminal. These are the messages coming from senior liberals now.

Surely Tony Abbott’s days as Prime Minister are numbered. That is the conclusion political commentators, watchers and back room deal makers are drawing following the backflip on the Medicare rebate, last week.

But make no mistake, it isn’t just the Medicare calamity.

There are too many self-inflicted wounds in the PM’s office. It has been a litany of verbal slip-ups, miss-stepping, confusion, lack of proper consideration for the consequences of his actions, other ministerial stuff-ups and an overall performance that has consistently demonstrated how much better Labor were at governing the country, no matter how bad they were at governing themselves.

The Abbott bleed has seeped and spread out across the floor along the corridors and into the offices of the collaterally damaged marginal seat holders. Twelve months ago, they thought they had at least a six year tenure in the bag. Everywhere in Liberal Town the anguished cries of despair are now so loud, passers-by are rushing to and fro wondering how contagious is death-by-despair.

Mainstream media commentators are now scathing in their condemnation of the government’s performance and its inability to cut deals in the senate, citing the absence of consultation and poor public relations. But it goes well beyond that.

They are lambasting Abbott’s leadership capabilities, his communications chaos and the anxiety fumbling that has surfaced so early into a new year, a time that was supposed to be the beginning of a new approach, a turn-around in all their political fortunes.

Back downs have been a hallmark of this government in its short history. From the GP co-payment, Higher Education, the Racial Discrimination Act, the Burqa ban, the Paid Parental Leave scheme, all of which in football parlance have been a coach’s nightmare. Team Australia has become a laughing stock.

As much as his opponents would like to see Tony Abbott stay, only because he is Labor’s best advertisement, his own party are now resigned to doing a Kevin Rudd number on him. So who will play the Julia Gillard role and tap him on the shoulder? Who else but the woman who will replace him. But when?

The irony is that none of those policy decisions were necessary in the first place. The government could have marked time for three years, gained the trust of the people, ensured themselves a second term before doing anything drastic. Their first mistake when gaining government was to blame Labor for everything.

It propelled them into action of the ideological kind, not the smart politics kind. In their haste they started to believe in their own rhetoric and ran down the cost-cutting road too quickly and too eagerly. They could have waited and taken some unpopular policy proposals to the next election and still won. But the ‘debt and deficit’ mantra rang in their ears like jingle bells.

Almost immediately this Jeckle and Hyde rabble demonstrated a contempt for climate change as well as science generally. They engaged in quite brutal treatment of asylum seekers and went on a trade union witch hunt. But worst of all, they thought they could bring down a harsh and unfair budget replete with spending cuts that would hurt the old, the poor and the sick and get away with it by blaming Labor.

It hasn’t worked.

They rushed headlong into the mire, desperate to display their ideology and convert it into practical action, but forgot to take the people with them. Now, after a plethora of rash decisions born of poor management, they have been caught out.

Those who voted them into office (the 4% that decide elections), have seen something quite different from what they saw when the government was in opposition.

The minority swinging voters weren’t expecting that; not after all the promises that were made. Now, they have had a change of heart and seen this gang of misfits for what they really are. The government are rattled, dysfunctional and in panic mode. And that means one thing: more mistakes to come.

Getting rid of Abbott will achieve little. It will not reverse their fortunes. They could also get rid of Hockey, Morrison, Dutton and Pyne, but that won’t help them either. The damage has been done and it’s all their own doing. Labor haven’t contributed beyond a defiant stand in the senate. What a sorry tale it is.

So, the big question now is when, but even that doesn’t matter. Now, what matters is that Bill Shorten and Labor start acting like an alternative government releasing sound policies and demonstrating superior leadership skills.

It is time for their best people, Albanese, Bowen, Plibersek, Clare, Butler, Dreyfus and co. to take command of the news cameras with articulate messages of direction on the economy, the environment, on education and health and make sure they take the people with them.

It’s theirs for the taking.


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  1. Keith

    Another insightful and outstanding article from John Kelly, and seen in other AIM articles written by other authors.

    Paul Keating made an astute comment in relation to Abbott when he stated something like “God help Australia if Abbott becomes Prime Minister”. We have witnessed stuff up after stuff up since the last election. Cruelty, manipulation and being sneaky are features we are continually observing from the abbott gang.

  2. Roswell

    Agree wholeheartedly on all points, Keith.

  3. miriamenglish

    Trouble is, Labour are really no genuine alternative. Significantly, on most environmental issues Labour hardly differ at all from LibNat. Both want to increase coal exports and dredge in the Great Barrier Reef. While the LibNats are fundamentally opposed to renewable energy, Labour are in a muddle about it and seem still to be keen on fossil fuels. But at least Labour don’t want to pay one of the world’s wealthiest billionaires to make an environmentally nightmarish coal mine.

    Okay, on many social issues Labour are quite a bit better than LibNats, but that’s not really difficult is it? Labour are still tainted with corruption, happy to hand off money and power to the wealthiest few. Labour is more right-wing today that the Libs were some decades back. The LibNats are so irrationally extreme that they’d almost fit right into a fascist dictatorship, with their lies, secrecy obsession, and their war on the common-folk and refugees. Being the lesser of two evils in comparison to the LibNats is hardly a compliment.

    We need to teach both the big parties that it’s time they started representing the people for a change. That requires giving them a real shock. Something to pull them back to the centre, away from extreme right-wing policies they’ve been inexorably moving toward. We need to vote the Greens in.

    Look how the Greens helped Germany embrace alternative energy and so many other environmentally and socially successful programs. Germany is now a world leader in so many areas. The other socially progressive northern European countries have the highest standard of living in the world and have got there via environmentally and socially moral governments. It is about time we got a clue and started following the real winners on the planet, not the socially disintegrating, slowly imploding USA.

  4. Kaye Lee

    I agree that now is the time for Labor to start presenting alternative ideas and changing the narrative. Abbott, Hockey, Pyne, Ley, Cormann, Frydenberg, Morrison….they are all telling us that they have “no choice” but to decimate the conditions we worked hard to achieve. As we all know, there are many choices and it is time to make that very clear by pointing out a few of them. They do not have to have detailed policies to release but they MUST take over the conversation.

    They must stress the importance of education and investing in research. They have the government beat hands down there. At a recent renewable energy conference the delegates said Australia was dead to investment – we have lost billions. NO new renewable energy projects have been approved under the Abbott government in the supposed $1 trillion worth of projects they have approved. Newman and Baird are way too close to the mining lobby and are fine examples of why approval must NOT be in the hands of the state alone.

    They must start talking about health while Abbott fumbles so badly. There they should have a real plan worked out with doctors, the Greens and Independents. They should be co-operating so they can say we have a better way that has the support of the rest of Parliament.

    And the world is doing the advertising for action on climate change. Really keep that pressure up.

    Speak about revenue rather than spending.

    And for pity’s sake, is no-one game enough to cut defence spending? We don’t need 58 lemon fighter jets or 12 submarines whose only purpose is to take part in war games. Defence has an enormous amount of money stashed away and a huge and increasing budget every year. Last year they blew up $400 million worth of missiles that they never used that don’t fit their new planes. If we are talking waste lets start there!

  5. corvus boreus

    It has been a significant time since I heard the phrases ‘adult government’ or ‘grown-ups in charge’ bandied about.

  6. lawrencewinder

    Considering the viciousness of their treatment of “Slippery” Pete, they’ll eviscerate Rabid-the-Hun. And I wouldn’t wonder too, if “Le Jongleur” Roskam comes in for some treatment, after all, it’s “The-Coots-With-Queer-Ideas-From-a-Parallel-Universe” who have created the head space for this shambles and for the LIarbrils to exhibit their complete ineptness and incompetence as civilized beings.
    I think “Le Jongleur” was also a major factor in Naptimes demise in “The Tardis” State loss.
    Interesting times ahead, particularly for Labor who have to enunciate a real vision for this rapidly diminishing and listless country.

  7. Kaye Lee

    TONY ABBOTT: The previous government wasted billions, it jeopardised relationships with important neighbours, it restarted the people smuggling trade.

    Our main failing is that we’ve had some difficulties with the Senate, now I reckon that’s a pretty good record.

    Look at the record, look at the record. Now I’m very proud of the work that my ministers have done.

    In the end, all of that reflects well on the Government and it reflects well on the Prime Minister.”

    Ya think?

  8. Tony Rabbit

    The abbot government have put front and centre things like corporate tax avoidance, superannuation perks for the wealthy, private health insurance rebate, other unfair policies, carbon tax and the MRRT.

    Hopefully, the Labor party are learning and when in government, they will fix up these thing despite it personally affecting them.

    They also need to revert back to some of their previous policies on solar and renewables that the abbot government have dismantled.

    Basically, they need to listen to what we, the people, are complaining about.

  9. corvus boreus

    I intend to diminish my input of (oft hyper-)critical analysis of Labor as the Qld ballot looms.
    I deem the stated and implemented agenda of Cambell Newman to be so patently immoral and malevolent that Qld Labor would have to openly espouse policies that trumped ‘Nike’ in terms of corruption and repression(like appointment of public positions and tenders by blind auction, full privatisation of judicial function or an active program aiming to cull 25% of the states’ biodiversity to simplify processes of environmental administration) for me to wish to do anything to harm their prospects.
    Go the lady with the Eastern European sounding surname(preponderance of consonants from the tail end of the alphabet) and a fondness for walking her poodle (invaluable informational input courtesy of the murdoch media).
    Annastacia Palaszczuk for premier. She will help educate Queensland in matters of pronunciation.

  10. Peter Ball

    Abbott is a fool , and now the Liberal can’t help themselves , they are going after wages and conditions again , obviously big business wants a wage cut for Australians and the Liberals think this will cure their economic problems . what a pathetic Government we have

  11. corvus boreus

    In immediate breach of the prior stated resolution(what worth ones own word?),
    Bill Shorten was John Roskams best man. Is he going to vigorously pursue the investigation and possible prosecution of a close personal friend?

  12. Richard Leggatt

    Like Kay, I agree that Labor needs to step up big-time, In my opinion, they should be naming & shaming Abbotts ideas as Thatcher/Reaganism and point out as loudly as possible that it’s 40 years out of date and that it’s those same ridiculous ideas that destroyed the American middle class and caused the GFC. Stop fighting with the Greens and work out how to win middle Australia (the swingers). Labor can do that if they apply FORCEFUL INTEGRITY, AND…. they may get those swinging (Labor to Green) progressives to start voting for them again!

    On the issue of Tony Abbotts demise, oh please, please, please! I would like to thank the Germans for the lovely word Schadenfreude as It seems it has never been more appropriate, and I (and I’m sure many others) will be wallowing in it!!

  13. corvus boreus

    Richard Leggatt,
    The teutonic tongue also gave us the beautiful term “backpfeiffen-gerschikt”.
    A rough literal translation is ‘back-whistling face’ or, more colloquially, ‘a face badly in need of a slap/punch’.
    Joyous German.

  14. Richard Leggatt

    I really don’t want you to imagine Abbott as James Bond, but thinking of Sherriff J.W. as a disgruntled Liberal voter works for me!

  15. RosemaryJ36

    And do not forget Mark Dreyfus as another ALP asset.

  16. Matthew

    Nice article.

    We can all agree, by his record, that Abbott is just woeful but what alternatives are being thrown out there? I’m not saying stay with Abbott but rather no party or person in parliament is representative of myself or people i know.

    I would go even further and say voting is mostly pointless in a two party system (Lab-iberal party) where after an election you can expect your MP to meekly tow their party line like a “good” little career pollie. You can say “that’s how it works” but clearly it isn’t working well and hasn’t for some time.

  17. eli nes

    Will the Sunrise, Today or in 2016? Yes, but only if little billy drives the questions on them.
    The dark continues to be as simple as abc????

  18. roaminruin

    Who’s seeing something different now to what they saw in Opposition? Come on – they have carried over their Opposition tactics of finger pointing, blame shifting, negative vision-free antagonism, aggressive neo-liberalism.

    What was on sale was plain to see. Their lies were obvious, their hypocrisy breathtaking.

    Abbott’s personal style and character were manifest. Credlin’s short leash on the run up to the election could not hide Abbott’s personality. The Staccato cackle, the lip-licking creepiness, the stuttering inarticulateness and the sleazy winks. We knew what we were going to get.

    Those 4% who regret their choice? Stiff cheddar – suck it up.

  19. Paul G. Dellit

    Another great article, John. Your summary of the political naivete of the LNP in forgetting historical Australian real politic in their rush to implement neocon ideology hits all the points. Naivete is an essential component of the ideologically obsessed personality and character.

    How the ALP plays it from here, as you say, is now the issue. It used to be that the rusted-on voters for the two major parties were pretty evenly divided and together comprised about 90% of the vote. Swingers never got much above 10% of the electorate. That 10% decided who would occupy the Treasury benches. But now the swingers are around 30%. In spite of all the examples of Abbott’s incompetence, now widely acknowledged across the MSM and social media left/right spectrum, Shorten, in recent polling, leads Abbott by only 2% and the ALP does not lead the LNP in its own right but requires the preferences of the Greens and independents to achieve its 8% lead. But these figures only reflect the current intentions of those who have have one. That polling does not include the 30% undecided. That 30% will progressively diminish as the election draws near, but it does show that current polling should not be considered as meaningfully indicative for some time yet.

    Reasons advanced for this factorial rise in the swinging vote often settle upon voter perceptions of changes within the two major parties. Rusted-on voters no longer recognise the Party they used to vote for because both Parties have move significantly to the right and out of their supporters’ comfort zone.

    The current LNP stands far to the neocon right of any of its predecessors. The current ALP gives the impression that it stands anywhere polling tells them will make them popular, which means even pandering to misconceptions created in the broader electorate by the Murdoch press.

    The LNP, in my view, could turn their current parlous state around, even in the final 12 months leading up to the next election. The old aphorism “A week is a long time in politics” is now out of date in the current 24 hour news cycle environment. If the LNP decide to change leader, change direction, court the middle ground and find out what bugs most of the 30% swingers, a Shorten-led ALP would be up against it.

    I agree with the proposition that the ALP must lose no time in marking out what it stands for, and it has to be more than second-guessing what they think will make them popular. But I don’t agree that releasing policies early is the best strategy for achieving that. The ALP suffers at the moment not from its failure to release policies. Lack of enthusiasm for the ALP stems from the belief that it stands for nothing much of anything. Declarative statements outlining the principles the ALP would apply and the general direction it would take, with some examples, to fix each LNP stuff up as it arises would do wonders for the spirits of the ALP predisposed who are now swinging. This does not mean that the ALP has to release its policy each time, which would only provide a target for the LNP, and it does not mean the the ALP has to turn into an Abbott attack dog – as Tanya Plibersek commented, the LNP don’t need any help from the ALP when it comes to creating a bad image in the public mind.

    So, the ALP has everything to play for, thanks to the marvelous preparation of the ground by Tony Abbott. But we can’t be sure that he will be the groundsman for much longer, and it could be that the pitch will take much more spin after it has been worked on by his replacement.

  20. Lee

    “It is about time we got a clue and started following the real winners on the planet, not the socially disintegrating, slowly imploding USA.”

    Amen! Unfortunately too many people are all too willing to adopt every dumb idea the Americans ever had. The USA is not the greatest nation on earth. They can’t even cope with SI units FFS!

  21. stephentardrew

    Completely agree John.

    The real point is how deep does the political rot go. I don’t think our work here will be completed until there is a federal ICAC similar to the Fitzgerald inquiry to flesh out the moral obligations of government. Yes the moral obligations because corruption does just that it breads liars and crooks. It is time to ask some serious questions about supply side economics and absurd wealth alongside unjustifiable poverty. We must overcome our heightened fear and work towards rational solutions. Without the continual critique of AIMN I think nothing much will change. If Labor wins the fight has only just begun. We have a serious case of primitive emotional victim blame encouraged by dysfunctional irrational religions and unsupportable ideology. If we continue to base our future on this nonsense we are in trouble. Scientific evaluation must be at the forefront of progressive thinking.

    Abbott must go and the motley band of greed infested narcissists, and I say that with no recourse to hatred because objectively that is the behavior they have demonstrated, and any replacement will be tared with the same brush. A wink and a smile and a change of dear leader is not going to cut it.

    Labor must now take up the ethical banner or fall into the same dysfunction and continued irrationality inculcated by victim blame, self-interest and warped ideology. There is much yet to be done.

    We must be in it for the long march.

  22. David

    I wonder, I really wonder do the Libturds have the courage to put Bishop into the Lodge? After 3 years of all out gutter attacks on Julia Gillard, during which ‘Asbestos Bish’ was one of the leading perpetrators, she will be a huge target for all out criticism.
    That, plus what leadership qualities has the woman displayed. A leader of Tory men? Her record as a Minister is hardly one of standout achievement. A cosy ride around the world multiple times, as Foreign Minister going to world forums, wow big deal. I find it very difficult to recall anything of real substance to justify her trips. Plenty of nice new clothes of course. No stranger to the boutiques of London, New York and Paris obviously.
    As Deputy leader of the Libs in the Parliament, a pseudo title, she has sat on the coat tails of so many leaders over the last 9 or so years with barely a whimper, I have my doubts the majority of her caucus would reward her for merely looking like a has been, aging window dummy.
    I cannot recall in many years observing politics, this absurdly named ‘Liberal’ Party showing any inclination to give real authority to their female colleagues.
    I appreciate desperate times call for desperation measures, but the blue tie brigade even in desperation I doubt, have the courage to put a woman in charge of clearing up the disaster they have brought upon themselves.
    My tea leaves are saying…beware Morrison!!!

  23. corvus boreus

    The combination of Bishop/Morrison seems favoured by ‘player and pundit’ Graham Richardson, the man whose direct machinations and ‘sound judgement’ gave NSW politics the incomparable Eddie Obeid.
    ‘Richo’ took a break from using his spot on Sky ‘news’ to call for urgent investigation into the NSW ICAC (who have named him as a ‘person of interest’), to endorse Morrison and Bishop as the standout performers in the current cabinet.
    The kiss of grace from a leprous toad.

  24. gangey1959

    Great article John. Once again.
    It is time for “The other side” of politics to step up. Not to the plate, and just start swinging wildly, but to every microphone, megaphone, soapbox and streetcorner, and give the rest of us some reasons. True reasons as to why we are in the mess we are in, not just “Tony Done it”, and a real and practical path forward .
    I agree with the replies above. We are a smart bunch on here. Myself excluded.
    Matthew has hit the nail on the head. 2 party preferred voting is getting us nowhere, and there is no practical alternative.
    It is time that all of our politicians realised that if they gave the 1%ers just ONE decent hit tho their hip pockets we would all climb aboard in droves.
    Our biggest problem is the IPA and the money they throw at getting the LNP elected, as evidenced by the advertising in QLD now and at the last Vic election.

  25. guest

    That Liberal voter, who told Abbott how much he did not like him, had quite an impact. Abbott’s smugness changed to embarrassment very quickly. He tried to claim he has a plan, and a “good” one, which is plainly not the case. He also tried to claim that a PM should not b changed, as if a PM is indispensable, unassailable – whereas, of course, he became Leader of the Coalition at the expense of Turnbull.

    A barrage of complaints to all available media would have considerable effect. Radio has an immediate effect. See also the notice taken of Alan Jones’s criticism of Newman in Qld. (Amazing how even shock-jocks can be swayed when the issues are closer to home for them.)

    So, when is the next march in the streets? Are we creating a deluge of calls to radio stations, deluges of emails to MPs offices, deluges of statements on social media, people in the suburbs talking and listening? .

    As stated above, Abbott and his “team” has created plenty of dissatisfaction which can be used. Add to that the good Labor policies which we know are of benefit to the nation. We need to remind the electorate what has been lost under Abbott.

    And, yes, some general statements about the directions Labor would want to take as a Government: directions which would be contrary to the muddled mess presented by the Coalition.

    Has Labor been consulting with the medical people? Has Labor been consulting with the education people? Has Labor been consulting with the workers who will lose their jobs when the car industry goes? Has Labor been consulting with the mining industry as resource prices fall? Has Labor been looking again at the Henry tax recommendations – or any other ideas on taxation and revenue? Has Labor been consulting on renewable energy providers? Has Labor been looking at the role of Science in our society? Has Labor been consulting with business people who have ideas about future directions?

    At present we do not know exactly what Labor thinks. But it has to be about more than avoiding disunity or whether or not they might need to depose their own leader. Tell us, Labor, even just a little bit at a time. Let us see the light on the hill!

    And it seems there might even be MSMs at last willing to provide a platform for the airing of Labor initiatives and joining with the independents who have been labouring so long for the Labor cause and the demise of Abbott’s “adults”. .

  26. DanDark

    Great article, yes Tones is bleeding out, it’s terminal alright, but I am not surprised by their self destruction,
    By the end of Feb Tones will get his just deserts and as for the rest of the men and 2 women what a pack of idiots for going along with Tones and his backers plans, to screw the aussie public and think you will coming out smelling like roses just shows how stupid they all really are,,, geee this has to be the best week of my life
    By the middle of the year it will be curtains for the Tony and Co Horror Show…….yippee yippe yay….

  27. miriamenglish

    We can expect the LibNats to continue their deluded neocon program of destroying the fabric of our society in the hope that it will boost profits for the most wealthy. That’s a foregone conclusion. What can we expect from Labour? I think by their silence we can be assured they will be almost as bad.

    I used to be a Labour voter, and I know many Labour voters and former Labour voters who bemoan Labour’s move to the right of centre over the years. “But what can we do about it?” they wail. “We can’t vote for the LibNats — that’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

    That’s true, but there is something you can do to pull Labour back to where they should be: vote Greens… even if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Labour voter — especially if you are. The vote isn’t lost as it gets passed on to Labour in preferences anyway. (Preferences are very powerful — Abbott got into power on preferences; he was not directly voted in.) And voting for the Greens will have the effect of forcing Labour to listen to the people. It will help return them to leftward politics where they should be. And with Labour no longer occupying the standard right-wing position the LibNats will be able to jettison their ugly neocon bullshit and go back to being ordinary pricks instead of being total evil bastards. It will restore some much needed balance to politics.

    Otherwise we will just watch helplessly as this corrupt insanity spirals further and further out of control.

  28. Graeme Henchel

    Abbott may be the captain but he is only one of this ship of fools. None of them have a shred of credibility.

    Twas on the good ship Tony
    Where all the crew were phoney
    They had no clue of what to do
    But make up more baloney

    Blaming and lying
    Always porky pie’n
    These lying pricks had no more tricks
    Twas all that they could do

    Captain Tony kept on lying
    Distracting and denying
    Into your eye, he’d tell a lie
    Then lie that he was lying

    The first mates name was PETA
    You wouldn’t want to meet her
    She kept tight reign on Tony’s brain
    And no one could unseat her

    Old Bronwyn had the speaker’s chair
    School ma’am looks and beehive hair
    She’d get her lines from Perfidious Pyne
    treated labor most unfair

    The treasurer’s name was Hockey
    A big buffoon, quite stocky
    His budget plan, went in the can
    And now he’s not so cocky

    And then there was perfidious Pyne
    An odious man most prone to whine
    This silly smuck has his head stuck
    Up where the sun don’t shine

    There was a nasty man called Scott
    Who’d let asylum seekers rot
    A Christian jerk with a vicious smirk
    Like Christ, he sure was not

    The foreign officer was Julie
    Treated asbestos claims quite cruelly
    With her coiffured hair and deadly stare
    She’d plagiarise unduly

    The richest guy was Mal
    He’d play up to lefties well
    But his polished prose got on the nose
    When he backed his lying pal

    George Brandis was the legal man
    Though twas pretty hard to tell
    he set his sights on bigots rights
    Now his ego’s not so well.

    The Climate guy was Hunt
    A receding little runt
    His climate stance was left to chance
    A “stuff the planet” punt

    No one forgets that fool Abetz
    He really is a shocker
    He screws with joy the unemployed
    That man is off his rocker

    The medical man was Peter Dutton
    His GP Tax is best forgotten
    Access to health based on your wealth
    A policy that’s more than rotten

    There was a lass, Fiona Nash
    Could block a website in a flash
    Said twas her staff that made the gaff
    And nought to do with donors’ cash

    McFarlane was the industry bloke
    in strange robotic tones he spoke
    Car industry rooted, renewables neutered
    hundreds of companies going broke

    Sinodinos was the Finance wonder
    ICAC saw him moved asunder
    Was he Arthur or was he Martha
    Dodgy donors, major blunder

    Bernadi was the religious nutter
    he had his thoughts down in the gutter
    gay rights would creep onward to sheep
    This utter nutter uttered

    Then there is Mathias
    He’s one of the best liars
    He helped the banks but gets no thanks
    Cos his FOFA laws were biased

    This mendacious ship had run aground
    Their lying powers diminished
    The Murdoch press couldn’t fix the mess
    And Tony’s time was finished


  29. roaminruin


  30. corvus boreus

    ‘For the record…good record…if you look at our record,…our record,…broken record,…our record of promises,…broken record…broken promises…this is a recording…broken,..of promises…broken…a broken record of records of broken promises…for the record…good record…’
    “Change the tune, that track is scratched.”

  31. mludowyk

    The Libs had no policies, only three word slogans, because they didn’t want us to know what they planned to do. The only plan the Libs have is the IPA’s policy agenda, i.e. Rupert Murdoch and Gina Reinhardt’s agenda. They are ticking them off one by one.
    Here’s a few:
    1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

    2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

    3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

    4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

    5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

    6 Repeal the renewable energy target

    7 Return income taxing powers to the states

    8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

    9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

    10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

    11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

    12 Repeal the National Curriculum

    13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

    14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

    15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

    and more at

  32. John Kelly

    Graeme, the quality of your prose never ceases to astound me.

  33. DanDark

    Corvus LOL
    The only record Tones holds is the record of the worst PM this country has seen,
    and how many broken promises a gov can make and break

    What happened to all them unity tickets they were on with Labor before election
    No cuts to health, education, no fiddling with superannuation, no cuts to the abc and SBS
    I could go on, but they had the scissors sharpened before the election, and Rudd
    Did warn us about “cuts to the bone” and Phony Tony told him to shut up if I remember correctly
    And the people who voted for them are whinging the loudest on radio, it’s too funny now 🙂

  34. Paul G. Dellit

    Graeme, back in the day, in an article he wrote for Nation Review, Mungo MacCallum christened Greg’s father “Ralph Rhyming Slang”. Something for your next outing as the AIMN resident bard.

  35. silkworm

    Mr Rabbit is a lame duck.


  36. O'Bleak

    Personally I’ll be disappointed if the Libs do remove Sir Pository. I dream of seeing his ‘arse for rent ‘being kicked clean out of the ball park by the Australian public. I’ve no wish to see this grub given a chance to claim he was knifed or betrayed or any other such tripe. He sowed the wind, let him reap the whirlwind.

  37. Olivia Manor

    While no fan of Bill Shorten, I do get regular email / bulletins re what they are planning to do regarding the more contentious issues the LibNats are proposing. I think that given the minute amount of traction the mainstream media gives him, he has chosen to contact the people via social media and “personal” messages. Even if he came out fighting, publicly, you wouldn’t know it, as the Lib rags and the cowed ABC pretend he doesn’t exist or deride his stance. The last Leigh Sayles interview comes to mind.

  38. Kerri

    Lets get one thing clear every time Abbott comments that what can be learned from the previous Government is not to change leaders this is not a message for the voters!!!
    This is a loud and clear and desperate message to the cabinet and party alike “please don’t dump me?”
    Labor needs to take advantage of this nervousness and instability NOT by doing an Abbott (as Shorten is currently doing on TV as I write) but by presenting a clear and consistent set of policies across the board and well known to ALL members of Labor in case any one of them happens to be near a microphone.
    If Labor hopes to run the country in a more positive way it is going to have to have an extraordinary swing and a fairly outright win to be able to pass progressive legislation easily.
    At the moment, given their actions are so close to the right, that is unlikely.
    The first thing they need to do is step far, far away from the LNP policies.
    This would mean getting closer to the Greens policies. Especially regarding Asylum seekers, renewable energy, education, and A FEDERAL ICAC,! etc. Many of the policies clearly stated by The Greens are what we have historically come to expect from Labor and their exclusion from Labors public commentary is what leaves many of us to lose faith in the left. Labor needs to avoid the LNP line of “We have a plan” in favour of actually stating “listen THIS is our plan!” This transparency would reignite voter confidence in what a Government will actually do after years of LNP “we will do what we coyly lied that we wouldn’t and then changed once we got in and told you you misinterpreted us”. To do this they need to have plans so far from the LNP policies that the LNP would be totally hypocritical to copy them. (See Abbott’s comments to wit “well you come up with a better plan!”)
    An added benefit would be the agreement and preferences of the Greens who well know they are too small as yet to Govern outright.
    Daniel Andrews ran his campaign less on criticism of Napthine and more on clear statements of intent. Anastacia Palasczuk is doing the same. Less microphone time on criticism and more microphone time on clear, fair policies. I agree with “guest” above. Talk more about what has been lost and what will be restored.
    Talking to the Automotive Industry and establishing what is needed to restart and prevent the loss of jobs would be an immediate assurance of many, many votes. The now lower $A could help here.
    The renewable industry needs to be encouraged and spoken of favourably under a Labor Government. Again this would win many votes as well as moving our economy away from the dead end obsession with fossil fuels and into a brighter more innovative future. A future we have been robbed of and are inherently good at.
    On the issue of asylum seekers we need to stop pandering to the redneck, Murdoch inspired, noisy, minority and take a more pro active, cheaper and on shore approach. One simple way to stop the boats would be to send Australian authorities to Indonesia to assess refugees and grant them refugee status and bring them back to Australia to be resettled in rural communities or wherever workers are needed. Maybe the Navy could help with transporting successful refugees. Offshore processing is proving an unmitigated disaster no matter who administrates it. This too has the added benefit of creating better relations with Indonesia. This may even help with requests for clemency for death row Australian criminals. Heavens! If we are pro active enough we could send teams to Syria to assist with refugees that WE choose to resettle.
    An opportunity lost was reported in the NY Times today. The European Central Bank is looking to purchase bonds to stimulate the flagging european economies. Watch Hockey miss the boat on this one while he is busy obsessing about a co payment??
    Anyway that’s just my opinion as a housewife and avid AIMN reader.

  39. mars08

    @Olivia Manor… you assume that Shorten would get little attention if he clearly and proudly announced some solidly PROGRESSIVE agenda. Well how on earth do we know? He’s faded into the scenery and only spouts the rare inane populist zinger.

    As for getting “regular email / bulletins re what they are planning to do regarding the more contentious issues the LibNats are proposing” … this seems very much like targeting sections of his audience with what THEY want to hear. He is playing it safe by compartmentalising his potential vote.

    I suspect that Shorten is trying hard to to publicly and loudly commit to a progressive path. He’s worried about spooking the nervous herd. He doesn’t want to back himself into a corner.

    Imagine if the spoke out about the cruel, inhumane, nasty treatment of asylum seekers… Good grief … if elected… some people might actually expect the ALP to deliver.

    I am judging Shorten by what he is NOT saying. He will not get my vote.

  40. John Kelly

    Paul G. Dellit, I agree with you that the percentage of neutral voters has ballooned over the past 20 years. It may be 30% as you say but our Federal elections are usually decided by a 3-6% swing one way or the other. That 30% does contract as the polling day gets closer and I suspect one of the reasons is sound policies that have been out there for some time that have stood up to scrutiny over that period. I’m all for being a small target but an opposition has to have something substantial to offer the undecided. Abbott had the carbon tax. As pathetic as that was, it resonated and held firm all through the last three years. Shorten could do something similar, perhaps vowing to raise the medicare levy for all those over $180.000. It’ simple, easy to understand and will resonate with 90% of the electorate.

  41. Pingback: Backbench Revolt Looming | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  42. Paul G. Dellit

    Agree with you, John, about the early release of a couple of signature policies that are sure to gain broad electoral acceptance. On the question of numbers, the average swing at election time is usually in the range you suggest, but the undecideds midterm is currently about 30% when once it was 10%. That means that strategies have to be much more carefully thought through than once they were and it would be unwise to roll out the full platform of policies long before the election as Gough was able to do against McMahon who was as popular as Abbott is today. Gough scraped in. It was not the landslide of legend. Abbott is the quintessential attack dog and he’s good at it. McMahon was just a figure of fun whenever he opened his mouth. I believe it is far too early to celebrate, and in the absence of a convincing leader and a convincing market differentiating policy agenda, ALP victory is not assured.

  43. Robert W Gough

    Tony Kelly, I like your article. Don’t forget, however, that just 3 months prior to an election, Kim Beasley was 10 percentage points ahead of John Howard and then came Tampa and children overboard. At the election, Beasley won the majority but Howard won the most seats and took government. You shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch. Abbort is a master liar. He took the Australian people in once and all he needs now is his Tampa and children overboard to snag another term

  44. mars08

    The Tampa election changed Australian politics forever

  45. David

    Robert he may have found his Tampa….Manus Island. It is like a festering sore at the moment, not ready to burst. When he is desperate enough he has his weakest Minister in Dutton ready on the sidelines to wield the scalpel and be his puppet, giving the orders as Abbott sits back ready to move in and administer the final incision taking the credit as a strong no nonsense leader putting an end to the rebellious ‘detainees’.(Duttons description, not mine).
    Should there be serious injuries and/or death so much the better to suit his comeback. I fear he is fully capable of such barbaric action.

  46. miriamenglish

    Yeah, the horrible Tampa-children-overboard racist bullshit was what stopped me being a Labour voter. When Beasley stabbed us all in the back and scurrilously condemned the asylum seekers he showed his true colours. Up until then I’d thought he had some morals. Apparently a lot of other people felt the same disappointment. The green vote jumped massively at that election. They were the only party standing for honesty and morality. I’ve always felt that Howard didn’t win that election; Beasley gave it to him.

    Indications are the Green vote will jump again this year here in QLD, and perhaps even more next year when Australians finally dispose of that nasty ratbag Abbott (I hope).

    The Green vote will continue to climb until they either gain office or Labour grows some spine and stands for what their constituents want. Labour have been surviving on the hope by its faithful that they can become a good and honest party again. But they’re wrong. They’re too tainted and lacking on morality. They’re still only the lesser of too evils… and when you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil.

    We all know politicians rate lower than used car salesmen in people’s trust and that everybody would love to have someone in power that they can believe. So why it is that almost all politicians think that a quick lie or pandering to vested interests will get them the job? Australians are well known for voting people out of office, not voting them in, yet every halfwit who ends up with power says they have a mandate to do such-and-such horrible things. Why is it that when someone finally does their job properly (e.g. Gough, or Jim Cairns, or Barry Jones, or Julia Gillard) the rest of the pack of bastards turn on them, kicking and biting til they’re booted out or silenced?

  47. Terry2

    Let’s not forget that we have yet to see his Australia day Honours : would he dare to make John Winston Howard a Knight : would Howard accept : would this finally cook his goose ?

    In the meantime, Malcolm is furtively counting the numbers.

    Almost too much excitement for one weekend !

  48. Faye

    I agree that it’s “all there for the taking” but why should Labor do anything at all at the moment ? Bill Shorten is not my preferred Leader of the Labor Party, but having seen a rabid Tony Abbott in full negative mode when in Opposition, perhaps Shorten is the best option after all.
    I’d rather see the Liberal Party implode all of it’s own accord.

  49. stephentardrew

    Agree John and Paul however it’s so good to see the dunderheads looking at their backs because while they are focused upon infighting we might get some reprieve from their draconian neocon policies. One can only dream. Dear Leader’s forced grin is starting to wear thin and it is a great subconscious message to send to the masses. The bully is on the edge of anger or tears. Who cares which one as long as he flips. Even his followers are calling him useless. Back benches freaking out as surely they must.

    Shorten is a worry. Not much more need be said. We will just have to keep Greening or independently moving on.

    I think Credlin maybe in for a shafting.

  50. mars08

    @Faye …“… but why should Labor do anything at all at the moment…”

    Like declaring openly and loudly that it will push a progressive agenda? Like restoring justice and compassion to government?

    Well if they decline to announce a REAL social justice course and commit to it… that’s fine. If they want to make a grab for the self absorbed, socially conservative, disengaged aspirational and dumb redneck vote… then go for it. I’m sure their number crunchers have done their homework.

    I suspect that they don’t want, or need my vote. So they won’t be getting it.

  51. gangey1959

    A thought occurred to me while I was helping a 70 year old friend of a friend move her orchid plant today.
    If dear old Tony voted out of his position as leader of the LNP, and therefore Prime Minister, and the LNP is not re-elected as the governing party at the next Federal election, TA does not qualify for a Prime Ministerial Pension.
    Am I correct ?
    I sure as shit hope so.

  52. Rob31

    Excellent article John.
    So much excitement now and coming up:
    – Yesterday and today: 3AW with Andrew the liberal person
    – Next Saturday: the QLD election
    – 2nd Feb: Abbott’s big press conference
    – March: the NSW election
    – May: the 2nd Abbott-Hockey budget
    – plus the white paper on industrial ‘reform’
    The circus continues without a safety net for the high-fliers.

  53. Terry2

    As a Queenslander I am finding this election campaign fascinating.

    On the one hand we have Alan Jones broadcasting in Brisbane and revealing that Campbell Newman went to his home to curry favour before the 2012 state election and evidently lied to Jones about mining approvals in the Acland area of the Darling Downs.
    Now we have Newman and his crew suing Jones for defamation, evidently a strategy to shut down discussion as the matter is now ‘before the courts’ and thus cannot be discussed…that’s cute !

    In the SKY leaders debate – why do theses debates always have to be on pay TV – Newman who has lifted the level of disclosure on political donations (although the Labor Party continues to declare donations over $1000) tried to link Labor Union donations to organised crime and asked Ms Palaszczuk to prove otherwise…….cute again !

    Then we have the claims that there are no longer waiting lists for elective surgery which surprises everybody including the medical fraternity and now it seems that there is another waiting list in the ‘cloud’ where you wait until you get on to the real waiting list which, of course doesn’t exist…..that’s a zinger !

    The greatest charade is the ‘leasing’ of state infrastructure, including electricity distribution, for 99 years which, according to Newman is so much better that selling it off as the public still retain ownership of the assets and get them all back in 2114 at no penalty and in the interim these private investors will maintain and enhance these assets for us (or future generations). It’s just the management that changes and we all benefit from a $38 billion bonanza from these extremely benevolent entrepreneurs and……wait for it…….electricity prices in Queensland will actually go down by about $500 a year.

    It’s all win win in the sunshine state !

  54. Harquebus

    Infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet. This is why politicians all over are failing. They are too stupid to grasp this fact.

  55. roaminruin

    Harquebus – for infinite physical growth that is too true.
    Infinite growth of ideas, knowledge and new concepts is only too possible. Pity that that is a foreign notion to the LNP troglodytes. (“Coal is the future of humanity” FFS!)

  56. Jexpat


    I think you’d benefit a great deal from having a look through the works of Herman Daly.

    You’ll find some insightful material at CASSE (the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy).


  57. Harquebus

    It is actually steady state energy production/consumption that is required. Energy makes money, money does not make energy.
    Thanks for link will follow.

  58. Rob31

    “I turned to Aunt Agatha, whose demeanour was now rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express in the small of the back.” – P.G. Wodehouse

    Now that’s the expression I’d like to see on Abbott’s face when it suddenly dawns on him that he’s lost the PM ship.

  59. miriamenglish

    Rob, you’ll never see that expression on his face because Abbott will always blame other people for his failures. That’s what psychopaths do.

  60. miriamenglish

    An ever-growing economy based on limited, steady-state energy use and the essentially limitless creativity of the human mind is possible, especially if automation, robots, and artificial intelligence are introduced to free humanity from the drudgery of mindless work and to magnify our creativity.

    We already know ways to replace most of the oil we use with simple efficiency. For example, buildings are the most energy-hungry part of our economy and waste most of their energy heating and cooling, but simple insulation, along with redesign, and retrofitting can eliminate almost all that energy; cars use, if I remember this correctly, only 0.3% of their energy to move the human inside (usually only one human), with the other 99.7% lost in waste heat, in accelerating a ton or so of glass and metal, and in overcoming friction in the drive system and wheels, whereas lightweight, stronger, carbon-fibre reinforced electric vehicles (yes, they exist already) are far more efficient and with wind and solar farms can avoid being powered by oil at all. New ARM-based computers use a tiny fraction of the energy that current energy-hungry desktop machines do. Fluorescent, and even better, LED, lighting combined with turning unneeded lights off has already made massive reductions on power demand.

    Managed properly we could be on the verge of a wonderful new level of human endeavour.

    However, mismanaging it, as the current crop of mostly small-minded, unimaginative halfwits are doing, could collapse the world into a truly awful era of humans trampling each other for pitiful remains.

  61. stephentardrew

    Spot on Miriam:

    The science is in the trials are ongoing and the future less dystopian. The science ignoramuses and doom-sayers are simply trying to delay the inevitable. Exponential growth in technologies will bring new, and as yet unknown, inventions on line. We are on the verge of accelerated change. Gotta get rid of the primitive fossilised dumb bumbs though.

  62. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott has not back down on one iota of his policies. All he has done, is throw his hands in the air, blaming all and sundry, whinging while seeking sneaky back door means of getting his own way.

    Tries to portray if he does not succeed, Australia will go down the gurgler, that their way is the only way.

    He has no insight into a inconvenient truth, that he is wrong on all fronts.

  63. Terry2

    So, now we have a British Duke who has been made an Australian Knight. I wonder who does the awarding of the Knighthood …….arise Sir Philip duke of Edinburgh.

    To paraphrase Keith Richards when asked about Mick Jagger’s Knighthood : “I wouldn’t go anywhere near that family when they are wielding swords “.

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