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The calamitous Abbott lies in wait

By Ad astra

You may wonder why anyone would waste time writing about this man, erased from the top job by his own party, and discredited in multiple ways by commentator after commentator. For me, the reason is twofold. First, he is still confronting us day after day in the media, and just as importantly his successor is doing so poorly that some want Abbott to return.

He lies in wait hoping to do so. All the while his appalling legacy hangs like a dark cloud over his party.

I looked for an adjective to place in the title. Some of you might have chosen: catastrophic or disastrous or dreadful or tragic or devastating or destructive or ruinous or shocking or scandalous or appalling or dreadful or outrageous or deplorable or shameful or contemptible or despicable or disgraceful or woeful or even loathsome. While any or all might be applicable, ‘calamitous’ seemed to me to be the most appropriate. The Free Dictionary defines ‘calamitous’ as “having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; causing ruin or destruction”. That description seemed to me to fit Abbott better than any of the others.

Abbott’s calamitous legacy is everywhere to be seen.

We need go no further back than the recent COAG meeting to feel the drag of the Abbott legacy on deliberations at that forum. PM Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison are encumbered by the ball and chain of Abbott’s decision, at the time of the 2014 Budget, to cut around $80 billion of funding to the states: $30 billion from schools and $50 billion from hospitals. I will not burden you with the convoluted arguments around this except to say that Labor claimed $80 billion was removed, while the LNP claimed it was never in Julia Gillard’s budget anyway. Despite denying the Budget had been cut, Abbott claimed he would achieve $80 billion in ‘savings’ over 10 years by reducing forward spending on schools and hospitals. Work that out if you can. If you want to probe deeper into this sorry tale, read the ABC’s Fact check: Does the federal budget cut $80 billion from hospitals and schools?, and look at the conclusion: The debate over the $80 billion figure – whether a cut or a saving – is hot air.”

Hot air or not, the premiers and first ministers are livid that this money, needed to run their schools and hospitals in the coming years, will not be forthcoming from the federal government, leaving them in a dire situation. Turnbull decided on the risky strategy of offering them the capacity to raise tax themselves to fund these essential services, announced it just a few days before COAG, provided no documentation for this momentous change before or at the meeting, and received the anticipated thumbs down. Now Morrison is out declaring that the PM ‘called the premiers’ bluff’, and they chickened out! Believe that if you can. The premiers are insulted and furious. What a way to encourage consensus!

All this serves to reinforce the sad fact that Abbott’s calamitous budgetary legacy hangs like a rotting albatross around the government’s neck.

And it’s not as if Abbott regrets any of his actions; indeed he is out and about insisting that he was right in his decisions, all of them, and that Turnbull is now following his policies and taking them to the election. This has forced Turnbull onto the back foot, declaring that his government is all about ‘Continuity and Change’on which subject 2353NM has written such cutting satire.

Let’s look deeper into budgetary matters.

Abbott’s fiscal legacy is the aftermath of his 2014 Budget, which is still causing anguish for the Turnbull government. Several measures designed to reduce spending are still held up in the Senate and are unlikely to be passed. The unfairness of that budget still hangs like a bad smell around the Coalition, even among its supporters. Hockey’s bluster about ‘ending the age of entitlement’ for those on ‘welfare’, while puffing Cuban cigars, still sticks in people’s craw.

Yet Abbott tells an audience in Japan that he wears that budget as ‘a badge of honour’! He is unrepentant; he would do the same budgetary damage again.

And he lies in wait to do so.

This week we saw the re-emergence of the Hockey/Abbott ‘we must live within our means’ mantra. Turnbull and Morrison, hoping this homely metaphor would resonate with voters, didn’t bother to explain how that applies to the federal budget. Perhaps they hope it will remind voters of the old virtue of saving before buying, or of using old-fashioned lay–by, notwithstanding the fact that homeowners certainly do not use this approach to purchase the new home. They borrow heavily and pay it off of later, just as governments ought to do.

The LNP wants voters to believe ‘living within our means’ equates with cutting expenditure, assiduously avoiding any hint that ‘means’ = income = revenue, and that increasing revenue would have the same result.

In last week’s Crikey Bernard Keane points out:

“…there’s been no talk at all of ‘living within your means’ while government spending as a proportion of GDP went from 24.1% of GDP in Labor’s last full year to 25.6% of GDP in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and then to 25.9% this year. Nor was there talk of ‘living within your means’ when the Abbott repealed the carbon price (cost: $6.2 billion over four years), the mining tax (cost: $3.4 billion over four years) or tax and superannuation changes announced by Labor but abandoned in December 2013 ($3.6 billion over four years, and much more over the long term), significantly exacerbating not merely the government’s short-term fiscal position but crimping long-term revenue growth as well.”

It’s simply rhetorical claptrap designed to frighten voters into believing that Coalition members are prudent and ever-reliable stewards of the economy who will not waste taxpayers’ money, while Labor members are profligate spenders determined to tax us to the hilt to give the community the healthcare and education it needs: “Every time Bill Shorten opens his mouth it will be to tax you more”. Obviously, this will be an election slogan.

Since we began with the COAG skirmish on healthcare and schools funding, let’s look at Abbott’s legacy there. It still blights the Coalition.

New health minister Sussan Ley is still grappling with Abbott’s intention to emasculate Medicare, to introduce a co-payment, and to reduce spending in an area that inevitably will demand more as the population ages and as medicine offers more treatment options. Her introduction of ‘health care homes’ has puzzled doctors. Professor Brian Owler commented: “I’m president of the AMA, I’m a brain surgeon with a PhD, but I can’t keep up with the government’s planning process”.

In response to Bill Shorten’s promise to improve and properly fund healthcare, Ley is sounding desperate as she shouts at him telling him that he must “put up or shut up”.

The cost of the NDIS frightens the LNP, so their response is to restrict its development, always looking for ‘savings’ instead of doing what is required: raising more revenue to support this essential service that the people want and need.

After assuring us that he was on the same page as Labor over the Gonski reforms, Abbott’s legacy has been to obfuscate about the funding of years five and six, a position recently adopted by Turnbull, who is now talking about abandoning the funding of public schools and focusing federal funding on private schools!

Abbott’s legacy lingers, and he lies in wait.

Let’s look now at Abbott’s calamitous legacy in the vexed area of immigration policy.

Abbott (or was it Peta Credlin) thought that political capital could be accrued by demonising asylum seekers who came uninvited by boat. He learned that from John Howard. ‘Stop the boats’ became one of his infamous three word slogans, with which he flogged Labor mercilessly, claiming throughout that this would solve the problem of boat arrivals created by Labor. Not wanting to be seen as encouraging the arrivals, Labor allowed itself to become entangled in a web of derogatory dialogue about people smugglers and ‘illegals’, as Abbott termed boat people.

Abbott’s legacy is continuing antagonism towards asylum seekers among a significant proportion of the electorate. This has spilled over into anti-Muslim sentiment and the formation of Anti-Muslim groups such as the far right-wing United Patriots Front, who unveiled a “Stop the mosques” banner at the Collingwood AFL game last weekend, and a political group calling themselves Party For Freedom, which is opposed to multiculturalism and open borders, which was responsible for picketing and riots at the Halal expo in Melbourne this week.

Abbott’s extravagant language directed at Islamic State, his incendiary use of the term ‘Team Australia’ to divide Australians into them and us, and his provocative stance towards Muslim leaders accentuated the antagonism. He set a fire of hatred that still burns in the heart of many Australians. He could have taken an accommodating line, as did Malcolm Fraser who had to manage thousands of boat people from Vietnam. Fraser’s approach resulted in the cheerful integration of these Vietnamese immigrants into our society. Instead, Abbott preferred hostility, antagonism and the divisiveness this entails.

This is Abbott’s calamitous legacy. Yet he lies in wait.

He not only defends his divisive ‘stop the boats’ immigration policy, he has been abroad promoting it to anyone in the Eurozone who will listen as the way to solve the immigration crisis in Europe and the Middle East. The misery that so many asylum seekers suffer in detention is testimony to Abbott’s hard-hearted, punitive policies, but politics keep him on this hateful track.

Take now his calamitous attitude to climate change.

At times climate change skeptic, sometimes outright denier, always coal and oil advocate and renewables opponent, Abbott has gifted his do-nothing-to-curb-the-use-of-fossil-fuels legacy to Turnbull, who accepts the reality of anthropogenic global warming and knows what ought to be done about it, but is lumbered with the Abbott/Hunt Direct Action Plan that holds little promise of reducing our carbon footprint or meeting our emissions targets. Yet there is Turnbull lamely advocating it. Meanwhile, one thousand kilometres of the Great Barrier Reef has already been bleached, and more is threatened.

Turnbull knows that if he puts a foot wrong, Abbott is lying in wait, aided and abetted by a coterie of deniers, who would have this man back in a flash.

Abbott’s calamitous legacy in the field of communications is legend.

Look at what he’s done to the NBN. ‘Demolish the NBN’ was his command to Turnbull, not given because we did not need fast broadband for a myriad of reasons, commerce and health care to name but two, but because it was a Labor initiative.

Excruciatingly, Turnbull put himself through fiery hoops to placate Abbott but still save the NBN. As a result we now have a substandard multi-technology FTTN system that uses outdated equipment and ageing copper wire, that is not as fast as promised, is rolling out slower, and looks like being more expensive than Labor’s FTTP system, which experts insist should have been the target from the beginning.

Abbot’s destructive NBN legacy is still playing out, and is inhibiting what Liberals repeatedly insist our economy needs: ‘jobs and growth’.

I could go on for many more pages, so let’s conclude with Abbott’s legacy on two social issues: marriage equality and the Safe Schools program. He remains opposed to them both.

Although in favour of marriage equality, Turnbull has meekly gone along with Abbott’s delaying tactic of a post-election plebiscite, which he knows is Abbott’s way of maiming it, and perhaps killing it off altogether.

Abbott, always lurking in the background, has announced that Safe Schools, which is already doing so much to reduce gender-related bullying, should be defunded.

Abbott’s calamitous legacy on social issues haunts Turnbull. Abbott lurks on the backbench where he lies in wait.

When he’s not sitting on the backbench, he’s overseas soliciting photo-ops with such celebrities as Japan’s Shinzo Abe, Britian’s David Cameron, President Poroshenko of the Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and even Henry Kissinger. Back home, he’s all over the place, never averse to a pic with group after group, and now he’s on his annual Pollie Pedal. He’s not sitting back like a vanquished leader: he’s promoting Abbott wherever he can! Take a look at his Facebook page.

Among the conservative clique that still supports Abbott, he talks about ‘the second Abbott government’, which he insists ‘will be better than the first’!

Although an Abbott comeback still seems fanciful, he certainly believes in it, notwithstanding the recent ReachTel poll of 743 voters in his Warringah electorate, where almost two-thirds of respondents, including half of all LNP voters, said he should quit parliament at the coming election.

The calamitous Abbott lies in wait, ready to attack. His storm troopers are ready. They know that a winning strategy is to first weaken the enemy, then mount a surprise attack.

The commercial shock jocks, incensed by PM Turnbull’s refusal to appear on their programs, are spreading adverse publicity about him, which is weakening him. Several of the LNP’s traditional supporters in the media are writing columns critical of Turnbull. Softening him for an attack is proceeding apace.

Close to Abbott is a group of offended conservatives. These men meet in the so-called ‘monkey pod room’. They are urging his return and planning for it. Eric Abetz is still angry about his demotion. He says he has so much to offer. Kevin Andrews is angry and again has offered to stand should the party wish to replace Turnbull. Cory Bernardi is so angry about how the conservative clique is being treated by Turnbull that he is talking of forming a new conservative party. George Christensen is angry about the Safe Schools program and is echoing Abbott’s hostility. Government House Whip Andrew Nikolic remains a fervent Abbott supporter. Although Turnbull won the leadership contest 44 to 34, when Andrews stood against Julie Bishop for deputy, he garnered 30 votes, an indication of the strength of the conservatives in the Liberal party.

Following a discordant week for Turnbull and with the latest Newspoll of 51/49 TPP to Labor reflecting voter discontent with the LNP, the troops are contemplating an attack on Turnbull.

Meanwhile, Abbott lies in wait, believing he is the man for the top job, while still mouthing sanctimonious words of support for his adversary.

Nobody knows what the weeks ahead will bring. Despite the improbability of a second Abbott government, in the crazy and unpredictable world that federal politics has become, nothing is impossible. The vengeful wrecker intends to show that this is so.

All the time the calamitous Abbott lies in wait.

What do you think? What are your views about Abbott’s desire to return to the top job? Will there be a second Abbott government?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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40 comments

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  1. helvityni

    I welcome Abbott’s antics, hopefully they do a lot damage to Mal…
    Good riddens, both of them.

  2. John Kelly

    I think he still believes he is his God’s choice to be Australia’s national saviour. The ultimate delusion of grandeur.

  3. Lawrence S. Roberts

    Nah! It’s Kevin Andrews turn next.

  4. indigo

    On the Insiders this morning they planted Abbott in the Turnball team; re video photoshop. Abbott looked like a circling shark. Abbott is in his element when he’s hearling mud or manipulating revenge.Abbott is the killer who’s difficult to stop.He’ll never give up.Abbott is only ever a deluded and ignorant fundamentalist soldier.

  5. Kaye Lee

    As Greg Jericho points out…

    “on Friday the Australian Government borrowed $800 million at an average rate of 2.04 per cent – that is a rate below the current underlying rate of inflation of 2.1 per cent.

    If you could borrow a home loan at less than inflation would you turn it down because “you have to live within your means”?”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-06/jericho-we-must-expose-the-'living-within-your-means'-spin/7300400

    The messaging is paradoxical. “Governments are like households, they must live within their means” but we can’t adjust negative gearing concessions because all those “mum and dad investors” and all those nurses who seem to have huge investment portfolios will be disadvantaged. The government can’t borrow money but they want people to borrow and invest.

    On one hand, we have Greg Hunt using the ERF to pay farmers to run smaller herds while the FTAs will see an increase in herd size (plus an increase in domestic meat prices).

    Hunt was also yesterday exhorting Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to “just say yes” to matching reannounced government funding for infrastructure (frozen by Abbott in a fit of pique about the unprofitable east-west link) when the state government has already committed funding to all the projects announced.

    The lies infuriate me and the lack of a coherent plan, completely subsumed to ideology, is sending this country to hell.

  6. rossleighbrisbane

    Even if Turnbull lost, or just limped over the line at the next election and they had to choose a new leader, they’d have to have a very poor grip on reality to return to Abbott. Apart from the fact that he demonstrated no capacity to negotiate with independents in 2010 to form minority government, as well as being unable to persuade the cross-bench senators to back his legislation, he’s never been electorally popular and he’s be even more arrogant and boastful if he were to regain the leadership. They’d have to be stupid to do it…

    So, obviously, it’s extremely likely to happen!

  7. JEANETTE

    There is nothing nice about Abbott, I still feel personally insulted in the manner he attacked Julia Gillard and some of the press as well. Our 1st female Prime Minister was not held up in the mantra that a woman could overcome all odds in a predominately male institution, rather every part of her was dissected and ridiculed. As a woman who worked for 50 years in all sorts of industries having to deal with sexual abuse and bullying in the workplace and public transport, every time Julia Gillard was insulted by Abbott, I relived these incidents. The LNP as a party portrays itself as elitists serving the rich, when they are nothing but a bunch of grubby elitist unintelligent bullies. The Safe School programme should be required for the LNP as the Safe Party instruction.

    Poor sad Abbott, if he had a brain it would be lonely, he is governed by nothing but an overactive ego. As for his sad following henchmen, all too gutless to challenge for anything themselves, rather stupid is as stupid does and with encourgaging Abbott all the time is really only for their own interests.

    In my last position before retiring in a position of managing staff, there was not a day that went by that a suggestion was put to me to take to the boss on how something could be changed, but when I suggested they take responsibility of the suggestion, they had an instant change of mind. Sad Abbott still can’t see the real picture. Better to retire, pick up his whopping big pension and play golf.

    Nothing has changed, Morrisson making comments about Shorten’s ill fitting suit….what a complete grub.

    Every time Abbott is on TV I want to vomit, I remote him, if only my remote was a vapouriser.

  8. Aortic

    I’m with Tony Windsor to Abbott in Parliament, ” you are a disgrace. Best thing would be for the country would be for his electorate to tell him to go jump.

  9. guest

    The argument about whether there was or was not money of the order of $80bn available for schools and hospitals is rather disheartening. Labor says it was there, the Coalition says it was not. So we might well ask the Coalition about their plan to spend on armaments. Where is the money? And the next question is: Why?

    It seems extraordinary that the answer given so far is: For security. And when we ask: Against whom?, the answer is: China! Our security is threatened, apparently, by a country upon which we depend for our continuing existence.

    Which brings us to the matter of cheap steel. With an FTA now signed with China, how secure is our steel industry in the face of China’s huge steel industry which produces half the world’s steel? There is great concern about the loss of jobs by the closure of the Arrium company in SA. The claim is that there are external circumstances, such as lower commodity prices and reduced demand, but management of the company – its poor decisions – is also under fire. How does it come to this, billions of dollars owed?

    The fact is that managers do not always manage well. So when the Coalition talks itself up as the best economic managers, we can take it with a grain of salt. The present Coalition government has not managed the economy well, having spent way above Labor, increasing the debt considerably in short time and with no clear plan in view.

    So much for merchant bankers managing the national economy. Yet the Coalition place great store by the idea that politicians need to have had life experiences in the ‘real’ world in order to manage an economy. The idea is betrayed by the reality of their failure.

    Next year we see the last of the car industry and the resulting job losses, some 200 000 all up.

    And in the economic scene we see far greater harm being done by some big business than that achieved by a union or two determined to secure jobs and safety on building sites. We see abroad considerable rorting in non-payment of taxes, cheating on salaries, false management of financial services, ponzi schemes, bullying of suppliers…

    So it comes down to a matter of ideology. We see it in attitudes towards the environment, towards how we fund learning needs, the place of the disabled, health care, how we reduce carbon emissions, how we tax super profits or any kind of revenue-raising tax, how we deal with immigration, communications and other infrastructure, diplomacy safe schools…

    Your last line here, Kaye, sums it up: the bankrupt ideology, the lies, the internal bickering and sniping, and the lack of a coherent plan.

    Vote for the Coalition? Why would anyone?

  10. Backyard Bob

    Will there be a second Abbott government?

    No. Even though Turnbull may not be doing much of anything, that has to be measured and judged against the far greater set of expectations of him. Even Turnbull’s nothing is far better than Abbott’s something. I would rate Abbott’s chances of returning to the PM-ship before the election as less than zero. I’m 120% certain of it.

    However, a second Abbott Opposition is possible.

  11. ImagiNation

    Jeanette your observation of Abbott’s behavior towards our 1st female PM is spot on. Abbott is a human chihuahua, an ankle biter who continually attacks from behind. Garrett is another one. Like him or hate him he was and is the only Environmental Minister who actually gave a damn about the environment and was destroyed by Abbott’s me, me, me, I want, I want, I want. Shoddy labour is an issue the Builders Licensing Board was allegedly established to deal with, not federal politicians. Jeanette like you, I welcomed Julia as was disgusted with Abbott’s behavior towards her. She was falsely condemned by a compulsive liar who cares only for himself and his religious agendas. I’ve said all along Abbott will be back, that Turnbull’s insertion was strategic.

    Vote below the line. Make liberals liable.

  12. ImagiNation

    ‘However, a second Abbott Opposition is possible.’

    Backyard Bob I suspect you may have just predicted where Abbott’s re-insertion will be. As the opposition Abbott can destroy with impunity. As PM he cannot. Is Shorten strong enough to cope?

  13. Backyard Bob

    ImagiNation,

    Interesting question. I think Shorten will be fine. He knows Abbott quite well; maybe too well, actually. Abbott will have a couple of things working against him in the event of his return to Coalition leadership: 1) His utter failure as Prime Minister and the legacy of that, and 2) Labor – and Australia – now has significant experience in terms of how Abbott operates. We’ve all seen him in action now and I think that will cause his antics to have far less traction than they once did. Shorten will be ready for him, armed with that experience and the hindsighted wisdom it brings.

    Basically, I think for Abbott, the jig is sort of, up.

  14. kerrilmail

    Back in 2002 hubby, myself and our 6 and 8 year old daughters took a wonderful trip to Africa. While staying at Kanana Camp in the Okavango Delta, we had finished out main course and were just awaiting dessert when the very audible sounds of lions growling floated theough the main tent. “Sounds like the lions have made a kill!” The manager stated. “Do we want to go and look?” Out in the black dust of the region we crept in landrovers with the engines being frequently cut (to hear) and headlights off until we came unpon the kill. Thankfully bathed in the dust and with the entrails being the first preference for the lionesses, when we arrived the crunching of bones was underway. We whispered among ourselves as our guides aiming hand held spotlights, explained the structure of the pride and their patterns of feeding on the Kudu (antelope) they had chased down. Ever in wait to clean up after the lions, in the background, we could hear, and smell, the presence of the Hyenas. A couple made brief forays howling and grunting at the lions whose snappy reply chased them off until all of the pride were done. The lions decision to leave was abrupt. All 13 adults and cubs of varying ages, took off at a rapid pace and in came the hyenas. In the space of 10 seconds the hyenas took everything from the kill site. Bones, skin, hooves, antlers. Nothing was left. As they whooped and clamoured off into the night my husband commented that their exit was like a gang of soccer hooligans chanting their success at claiming their trophy, the remains left by the proud and mighty lionesses. Their smell and sound was something quite repulsive and described a sharp evolutionary line between themselves and the revered domestic dog. They even made wolves look civilised.
    Every time I see a photo like the one that heads this article, I am reminded of those hyena!

  15. Jaquix

    Like Indigo I loved that clip on Insiders of Abbott superimposed on Turnbull press conference footage. Smirking his special Abbott smirk. While Turnbull valiantly battled on with his mediocre presser, surrounded not by 12 flags as Tones liked to do, but 12 of his annointed ones, all looking bored and very, very superfluous. And then Tones appears, gliding along behind him. Totally brilliant, can we see it again please?

  16. astra5

    Folks
    I thank you all for your comments, so quickly added to this piece.

    There seems to be a strong consensus about the calamitous Abbott.

    What still amazes me is that although this man must hear and read the avalanche of derogatory comments that are made about him, day after day, he still thinks about a ‘second Abbott government’.

    And the deprecatory comments about him come not just from his adversaries; most of his supporters in the media too are critical of him and many believe he should exit politics.

    On the face of it, he seems to have no insight into his own behaviour, nor how his past performance has alienated most of the electorate, who want to see him gone permanently.

    There must be some psychological diagnosis that could categorize his behaviour. Any suggestions?

  17. Jaquix

    I think a psychologist or psychiatrist, if reading these pages, could give us a diagnosis pretty quickly. Brendan Nelson (a doctor) diagnosed Malcolm Turnbull as a “narcissistic personality disorder” some time ago. Abbott would be the same or similar. You also have to realise that despite the many detractors, there are also many who think he’s just the best thing since sliced bread, and obviously he has the ability to filter out the negatives, and just believe the positives. I have read Murdoch’s papers lately (only in the library of course, wouldnt pay for any) and they are quite derogatory about Turnbull. So Tones would be reading those with glee too. The great thing about Abbott is that he is de-stablising the LNP, and that can only be a very good thing. He is truly “doing a Rudd”. And we know what happened to Julia Gillard as a result.

  18. astra5

    kerrilmail
    What a perspicacious comment, with an inspired punch line.

    Hyenas behave as nature has programmed them. For humans, hyena-like behaviour is learned.

  19. PopsieJ

    He is like Ted Cruz, a religious nutter who thinks God has chosen him to be PM

  20. astra5

    Jaquix
    Thank you for your suggested diagnosis, which sounds plausible.

    You are right. Some of Abbott’s supporters, such as Abetz and Andrews, see restoration of their positions should Abbott return to power.

    You are right too about the Turnbull detractors; they are mounting, not just in the Murdoch press, but also more widely.

  21. Backyard Bob

    There must be some psychological diagnosis that could categorize his behaviour. Any suggestions?

    Mine would be to stop encouraging people to think they have some magic ability to diagnose psychiatric disorders in the complete absence of any such ability (and from within the context of politics for Christ’s sake). It’s morally and intellectually bereft.

    Jaquix,

    I think a psychologist or psychiatrist, if reading these pages, could give us a diagnosis pretty quickly.

    I think not. Most would say such a thing would be ridiculous. Any that didn’t ought be thrown out of either of those professions. And it matters not what Nelson once said, GPs don’t have any particular diagnostic skills in psychology.

    Abbott is an arsehole with an enormous ego. For me that’s all that need be said regarding supposed dimensions of his psychology.

    Yes, you’d be right in assuming arm-chair psychologists annoy the f*ck out of me.

  22. Jaquix

    Thanks Backyard Bob for that link, its hilarious! Deserves a larger audience.

  23. Backyard Bob

    Jaquix,

    No sweat. It was pretty damn funny. Mind you, I doubt Turnbull would get the joke. He’s too busy living the nightmare of it.

  24. susan

    It’s time to stop blaming Turnbull’s failure on Abbott. Turnbull was a part of the 2014 budget and seems quite happy to reintroduce it next May. As PM , Turnbull does have power and if he is not changing Abbott’s policies then it is because he does not want to.

  25. kerri

    Astra5 here is a link to an article by Dr Lissa Johnson for New Matilda that gives insight into the psychology of the Abbott government. She has written many good articles psychoanalysing politicians and parties that are available online. This one was originally linked in an article by John Kelly in October 2014.

    What Makes Them Tick: Inside The Mind Of The Abbott Government

  26. stephengb

    What I find incredulous is the number of people that not only support the current version of the LNP, but still regurgitate its rhetoric from Abbott, Morrison, Andrews, Abetz and people like Bolt. It is disappointing to me that the accusations that Labor caused massive deficit and debt and the boats have been stopped, still pervades the Facebook social media!

    Some of the Right Wingers that I initially thought to be reasonably intelligent, still seem to be so convinced that Abbott is the savior of this country and cant wait to have him back.

  27. win jeavons

    As I see it, MT is wishywashy, but TA is the very opposite of all that Christian teaching requires its followers to be . Jesus was NOT wishy washy , he used terms like whited sepulchres and generation of vipers with reference to the ‘establishment “. Little changes.

  28. ImagiNation

    Susan unless of cause neither Abbott nor Turnbull have any say in it at all….

  29. astra5

    kerri
    What a magnificent article, which I have bookmarked. While it doesn’t offer a psychological diagnosis, it does give as good a description of the psychological basis for conservatism that I have read. I like the concluding assessment: “The two ideals most dear to our Government’s extremist ideological heart could be exposed for what they are: change-aversion and inequality.”

  30. maxpowerof1

    Hyenas are not canines.

  31. flyboy48

    Turnbull is a narcissist … Abbott is a sociopath … there is a fine difference …

  32. Jaquix

    Narcissist and sociopath – both are personality disorders.

  33. Royce Arriso

    Last Thursday week, Abbott and Andrews cycled into Orange, NSW. An excited supporter in a ‘Tony Abbott for Waringah’ tee-shirt was among the cheering spectators. She gave this synopsis of Abbott;
    “He’s a good man, a man without an ego, a man who cares.”
    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit that the defining characteristics of an Abbott supporter are self-delusion and little or no insight into human nature.

  34. Random

    @Astra5 thank you for your well written article but I think you give Abbott way too much credit. He can barely string together a coherent sentence, and has a profound lack of maturity and insight. It always surprised me how these traits were either compensated or nurtured by others, so he rose amongst the ranks. Surely someone this inept and aggressive would be turfed aside – in the ‘real world’? My only conclusion is that he was groomed for a purpose (by who would be the intriguing question, but I suspect Murdoch is at the top of that list), and is therefore nothing more than a tool. Like a gun whose sole purpose is to deliver a bullet, to destroy….

    The power brokers who have little regard for those outside of their immediate sphere of influence, and need things moved aside so their goals will be achieved, will continue to use Abbott in this way. This is why his current antics are being encouraged, and Abbott needs little encouragement. I agree with BYBob, for this reason he will never be PM again because the purpose he has been groomed for is to wreck, and he could not transition to anything more useful. Another compliant lackey will be groomed for the position of PM, despite what rifts in causes in Party rooms, but Abbott may (unlikely though) get a reprise as an opposition attack dog.

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