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“Battlelines” by Tony Abbott; my computer thinks even the title is wrong!

As many of you are aware, before becoming Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott put his brain to work penning a manifesto which he published under the name “Battlelines”, which according to the spell check on my comuputer is incorrectly spelt because it should be two words.

Apart from that, there’s nothing wrong with the title. except that it does suggest a rather combative approach for someone who wants to us all to be on “Team Australia”. And it does tend to suggest some sort of class warfare. Flicking through the book in 2015, there are some interesting little snippets of how our beloved leader’s brain works.

For example:

“Last October’s notorious leaked phone call had a savvy Prime Minister Rudd browbeating an ignorant President Bush. There’s something unsettling about an Australian prime minister who needs to big-note himself by appearing to ‘verbal’ the American president.”

Unless, of course, the American President happens to suggest that we should do all we can to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Well, them’s fighting words, because clearly that Obama guy is suggesting that we’re not managing the Reef well. Yeah, yeah, he never said so, but we all know that he’s hinting that dumping crap into the ocean near the Reef will somehow have a negative effect!

Of course, Abbott’s views on Climate Change are interesting too:

“Finally, (in 2020) there will have been bigger fires, more extensive floods and more ferocious storms because records are always being broken. But sea levels will be much the same, desert boundaries will not have changed much, and technology, rather than economic self-denial, will be starting to cut down atmospheric pollution.”

Mm, bigger fires and floods and storms can’t be used as evidence of climate change because, “records are always being broken” and “sea levels will be much the same” because… um… ah… well, they just will, ok. Like the deserts – their boundaries won’t change either, because well, nothing changes, does it?

We get an inkling of his attitude to pensions with this:

“Given that people invariably earn more working than on the pension and can access other forms of social security if they can’t work, delaying access to the pension does not raise issues of fairness comparable to those potentially involved in changes to existing superannuation entitlements.”

And, as for education, parents are in the best position to judge what works because they care about their children.

“As with public hospitals, better public schools are likely to emerge when local teachers and parents have more say over how their schools are run. It’s especially important to give parents a direct say in the running of schools rather than just an advisory role. Even though classroom teachers are often among the highest-minded of people, the one group to whom the interests of children are invariably paramount is those children’s parents.”

Does this mean that the families of patients should have final say over the treatment, because even though doctors might be high-minded, it’s the families who have the patient’s best interest at heart, and nobody should worry about their decision to use leeches because traditional methods are best?

But it’s his statements on economics which are truly troubling:

“Quite soon, the Rudd Government’s attempts to stave off a recession by fiscal sugar hits and propping up uncompetitive businesses will come to seem like putting off the inevitable at unsustainable cost.”

Putting off the inevitable, eh? Yeah, “inevitably” the Liberals will win government and then we’ll “inevitably” have the recession, because:

“The real question is how much damage will be done in the process of trying to avoid the recession that is almost inevitable. My instinct is that Australians who were dismayed by the seeming harshness of the original Work Choices legislation could be much less sentimental about ‘hard-won conditions’ when businesses are struggling to survive and jobs are disappearing”

So, they do have a plan – stifle economic growth, reduce jobs in the public service and manufacturing by buying submarines and cars from overseas, and use the economic conditions to make us less “sentimental” about things like a minimum wage and work safety! Still perhaps this next quote will end up being more profound than he realised at the time:

“If Australia had large and growing gaps between rich and poor, if minorities were persecuted, if we were struggling to meet an existential challenge, there’d be every reason to want fundamental change.”

There many other interesting little ideas that Abbott, the backbencher, shared with his readership. But they’re not so interesting that I’d recommend buyiing the book. Even at the cut price of $2.95!


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  1. mars08

    You bet you are. You bet I am…

  2. edward eastwood

    So, they do have a plan – stifle economic growth, reduce jobs in the public service and manufacturing by buying submarines and cars from overseas, and use the economic conditions to make us less “sentimental” about things like a minimum wage and work safety!

    Nailed it in one Rossleigh!

  3. Annie B

    Interesting Rossleigh …….

    A creditable author he ain’t. …….. A creditable anything, he ain’t.

    Advance propaganda before the events by the author of Battle Lines ? …… he should have kept his mouth shut, ( but that’s an impossibilty ) because it’s all backfired, and come back to bite him in the bum … hasn’t it ?

    I wonder if he used a crystal ball of some kind ? … without seeing his own name all over the word ‘recession’.

    Um – I wouldn’t pick the book up for 5c – frankly. ….. Might see quite a few copies of it for sale in the Op Shops in the future.

    A good article though, and well written – as usual Rossleigh.

  4. Eldred

    There’s a quote from Tony Abbott’s ‘grande oeuvre’ that best reflects (as in a mirror image) his government’s spear tackle of the ordinary players in Team Australia.

    “Its time for battlelines to be drawn. The Liberal Party certainly has to maintain its credibility as the best party to manage the economy[Fail], but also has to be clear about the society it wants[Fail]. A society where politicians can less easily make excuses for failing to address problems [Fail]; where more responsive health and education services are available to everyone[Fail], where government is in sympathy with the individual and families trying to get ahead[Fail]; and where the values and the institutions that have stood the test of time are respected should always be the goal to which our party is committed[Fail].” P182

    (My edits)
    and this :
    On Liberal Party direction:
    “There are essentially two types of conservative: those who fear change and instinctively resist it, and those who respect the society that’s made them and want the future to reflect the best aspects of the past.”

  5. Ricardo29

    Thanks elders for the Abbott insight, didn’t actually need your annotations we all know each is a fail but one can’t help wondering at the disconnect between what he wrote (or was it Peta?) and his actions today. Cognitive dissonance is a term that springs to mind (thanks Bill Bailey on QI)

  6. Kaye Lee

    From Battylines

    after pointing out just how much of the Commonwealth budget was spent on health and education, Abbott concluded that nevertheless:

    “…any withdrawal of Commonwealth involvement or spending in these areas would rightly be seen as a cop-out.”

    and Tony’s views about hospitals….

    “Hours after the Prime Minister unveiled a plan to underwrite a community-based takeover of the Mersey Hospital in the Tasmanian town of Devonport yesterday, Health Minister Tony Abbott invited communities across the nation to contact him if they wanted similar treatment.

    Anyone who felt their local public hospital was being mismanaged by the relevant state Labor government should “say so loud and clear”, Mr Abbott told The Australian.”

    At the time of its publication, Battlelines was notable for offering an unqualified case for central power from the conservative side of politics. Abbott advocated constitutional reform that would give the Commonwealth a free hand to intervene in any area of state responsibility as it saw fit.

    The Federal reform white paper will no doubt give us endless examples of backflip Tony at work. It must be very confusing to be a populist ideologue.

  7. Michael Taylor

    Battylines. Love it.

  8. David Miller

    Battlelines was Tony’s second choice after he was informed by his publisher that “Mein Kampf” was already taken.

  9. Ross

    A well-known German title from the 20s and 30s is usually translated “My Struggle” although the word :”Kampf” in German also denotes a military struggle or campaign. There is not a lot of difference in meaning between this title and “Battlelines”.

  10. Graham Houghton

    The man is clearly intellectually challenged as he isn’t capable of any thought without it being ideologically derived and governed. I suspect he’s also well within the autism spectrum as his confusion with pronouns, his meaningless repetition of phrases, his continuous licking of his lips and mouth-gaping, and his confrontational stonewalling of an interviewer last year (clearly he was trying to control himself from taking a swing at him) could indicate. Nothing wrong with autism per se, but if it affects your ability to perform a job you’re appointed to do, then you really should be reconsidering your position, or seeking counselling.

  11. Damo451

    wow $ 2.95 ,that makes it a viable option for Sorbent
    Must get a couple of copies

  12. eli nes

    he doesn’t need to be creditable just credible. He is inept and is struggling. His ministers, especially hockey, have been rivaling shorten for invisibility so time is on their side to find the credible line for abbutt that he needs to keep his job.
    As for the gap between the rich and the poor, we are rich and greedy so anyone who isn’t has themselves to blame. Except some whom the coalition will issue with a food stamp system ala septics.

  13. lawrencewinder

    Oh, my goodness …even “Mien Kampf” was a better read… the primary Fascist at least had passion for his own nation (albiet, through himself only) but this wanker can only regurgitate Murdoch “The ugly American’s” prosletysing through the “Coot’s-With-Queer-Ideas-From-a-Parallel-Universe”…. pathetic.

  14. Michael Taylor

    I’d rather read the Bible than Abbott’s book. And that’s saying something.

  15. Roswell

    The Bible is Abbott’s book, didn’t you know?

  16. Michael Taylor

    Silly me. Where’s my mind?

  17. Trevor

    A book of Abbott brain farts. And those farts are just about illiterate in context, language and grammar. Rhodes scholar, pigs arse. Small minded Sydney Northern Suburban Wanna be.

  18. stephentardrew

    Reading a toilet roll is much more interesting

  19. oldfart

    “I wouldn’t pick the book up for 5c”
    I always thought Rhodes Scholars were supposed to be intelligent. indeed, One would think that would be a primary requirement.
    I might put my dog up for a Rhodes scholarship. At least she has the good sense to learn from her mistakes and she has a perfectly valid reason to have her nose in someone else’s arse. Neither of which Daft Evader has yet mastered or validated.

  20. paul walter

    Not so. A title like “Battlelines” really tells much more about this disturbed,mulish, aggressive, reactive individual than anything you will ever get from his own deceitful mouth.

  21. Erotic Moustache

    The title doesn’t tell us much of anything. It’s a title. If Bob Hawke had written a leftist manifesto about unions and right wingers and called it “Battlelines” not one person here would have an issue with it. Some perspective, please.

  22. Wayne Turner

    I think Idiot Abbott ONLY wrote the title of his book.Hence,why he couldn’t even get that correct.

    Idiot LYING Abbott is too stupid and too lazy to write a whole book.I’m sure he um,eh,um,eh,um,eh got someone else to write it,while Abbott was interviewed by the “real writer” for it.With lots and lots of editing needed.

  23. oldfart

    I’m not biased, it’s patently obvious that his intellect is in sync with his shoe size.

  24. Erotic Moustache

    The title is not a mistake. Battlelines as one word is commonplace usage.

  25. Loz

    The title doesn’t tell us much of anything. It’s a title. If Bob Hawke had written a leftist manifesto about unions and right wingers and called it “Battlelines” not one person here would have an issue with it.

    But he didn’t.

  26. Möbius Ecko

    Maybe a somewhat more objective analysis Erotic Moustache but still a flawed analysis.

    One of Ralph Cullen premises is that Abbott is an intellect because he’s a Rhodes Scholar. That premise has been shown to be unsound here, but BlackIncal, the second poster in the comments, also manages it. Plus Abbott’s academic reports are available and have been posted here to show a very average or below average intellect, nothing like the hidden intellect Cullen alludes to.

    If Cullen gets it wrong on attributing intellect on the achievement of getting a Rhodes scholarship then you have to wonder about the rest of his analysis.

    On top of that Cullen makes contradictory assertions on Abbott’s intelligence and intellect, just like the contradiction that is Abbott himself.

    Finally how much was actually penned by Abbott or was proofed and altered by others?

  27. abbienoiraude

    I would not have read one word of it by choice, but seeing some of the quotes being rewritten here for our enjoyment shocks me.

    Like others I am totally gobsmacked by the child like formation of his sentences let alone the arguments lacking insight and facts.

    I have seen better arguments written by year 8 high school students than this garbage.
    It is pathetic.

    How could anyone of any intellect, interest or inquiry into what this politician imparts as his vision ever think he could be a good leader of anything let alone a Country!

    Thank you Rossleigh for exposing this dullard’s poverty of communicating any of his ideas and observations (aka opinions).

    I think he makes a better bike rider than writer, a better fire-fighter than thinker, and that is saying something!

    Proof that having money does not make you better, smarter, intelligent or worthwhile despite having been ‘educated’ by private school, university and the Jesuits (let alone Oxford Uni). Spoon-fed comes to mind in how he got through Sydney University.

    What a dangerous unthinking anti-intellectual incompetent arsehole we have as PM.

  28. Erotic Moustache


    One of Ralph Cullen premises is that Abbott is an intellect because he’s a Rhodes Scholar. That premise has been shown to be unsound here,

    Did you read past the first 2 paragraphs?

  29. Kaye Lee

    Battylines was launched by Sarah Murdoch

  30. Erotic Moustache

    Not only that! Sarah Murdoch is – wait for it – ENGLISH BORN! Yeah, you know what that means …

  31. Kaye Lee

    No I’m not sure what that means. I do however find the very close relationship between Abbott and the Murdochs worrying.

  32. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, I think EM is trying to lure you in to suggesting some conspiracy theory.

  33. diannaart

    Thanks, Rossleigh.

    “Battlelines, Battle Lines, Battle-Lines – a perfectly acceptable title for a book – from a military leader. WTF has such a title to do with governing for a nation?

  34. Rob031

    ‘battylines’ is pretty funny. Perhaps it was mostly written while under the affluence of incohol, in which case it could have been titled ‘Bottlelines
    A total off-topic anecdote told to me by one of my old uni lecturers:
    An article appeared in a US paper about Veterans Day (a US version of Anzac day) included the gem about the .. bottle-scarred veterans …. This elicited quite an uproar. Next day the paper issued an apology and said that the phrase should have read: .. battle-scared veterans … 🙂

  35. mars08


    …he makes a better bike rider than writer, a better fire-fighter than thinker…

    “…the budget is the fire brigade. And sure, sometimes the fire brigade knocks over a few fences in order to put out the fire. But if you’ve got a fire you’ve got to put it out…”

    And that’s fine! Unless! Unless you go out of your way to FIND fences to knock down, or you try to extinguish the fire with kerosene!

  36. John O

    Some of those statements sounded like they were written by a 7 yr old. He appears to use words just because they exist and points within the same sentence were contradictory. Yet, this imbecile was elected as PM….. WTF are the LNP thinking?

  37. corvus boreus

    Battlelines(Add to dictionary) or Battle-lines, the primary meaning is a front of war.
    The primary usage is generally “a line of scared or angry people with lots of weapons intending to kill other people”.
    This is why it is a foolishly inappropriate title by a political leader to describe the debate and decision inherent in commonly beneficial representational governance (Much what diannaart said).

    This applies whether it is a real book by a current Prime Minister or a fictitious hypotheses about a once was ex-leader(also possibly brain damaged at Oxford, by excessive drinking rather than boxing) from long ago.

    Were battlelines just the title of a book, the usage could be put down to desire for drama/controversy to increase the profile of the product and thus increase sales, and could be called a publishing decision, but the violence-jargon does not stop at a book title.

    Mr Abbott often chooses to use language that is pseudo-military(political debate, campaign speech=”verbal combat”) or divisive and defamatory (legislative negotiation with another party representing over 1 in 10 of population=”make deals with the devil[mythological anti-deity of ultimate malevolent purpose in some Christian mythologies]).
    Such language does not indicate or express an attitude willing to even consider the input of opinions contrary to his own, but one following a pattern(lots of occurrences in sequence) of adversarial absolutism.

    Language of expression is the basis of broader communication.
    If I say “I disagree with your opinion because…”, it indicates an attitude willing to listen and think before reacting.
    If I say “you are wrong because you are a …” it suggests a closed mind talking trash.

    If you draw a verbal line of violence down the middle of our nation, you diminish the claim to call on it a “Team”.

  38. abbienoiraude

    Oh how scary is that!

    Like putting an idiot in charge of a surgical operation.
    “The operation was a success. However, the patient died.”


  39. diannaart

    Absolutely, corvus boreus.

    I guess our PM’s response to such analysis would be “shit happens” – trying to appear tough and one of the ‘boys’ when visiting our troops. We have a PM who has a completely warped idea of what a leader of a nation is supposed to be – arrested development at age 7 – those dastardly Jesuits.

  40. oldfart

    And now with Morrison at the helm of human services(ironic in itself) we will have a new three word slogan from the Daft Evader so we forget about the need for penalty rates etc.
    “Arbeit Macht frei”

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