“I certainly think it’s important that we try to ensure that over time all levels of government are sovereign in their own sphere,” Mr Abbott told Sky News. “And we shouldn’t be bound by commitments that the former government made that were never affordable.”
Of course, when Tony Abbott made these comments, he was referring to the slashing of government funding for health and education.
But it’s a different story when it comes to the East-West link in Victoria.
After declaring that the weekend’s election would be a referendum on the East West Link, Abbott maintains he is determined to see the East West Link finished – no matter what – and is threatening to withdraw $3 billion of federal funding unless he gets his way.
To satisfy Tony’s wish to be remembered as the Infrastructure Prime Minister (though I suspect there are a few other things that will stick in our minds), he is bribing the states to sell off publicly-owned assets in order to be given billions in co-funding to build his “roads of the 21st century” (finger number 4).
Similarly, Christopher Pyne said the coalition will seek to amend school funding legislation to remove parts that allow the Commonwealth to dictate to the states.
“We’re not for taking over anyone or anything and we don’t subscribe to a command and control philosophy,” he said.
Unless we are talking about school chaplains of course, in which case you won’t get the funding unless you employ religious counsellors as opposed to people trained in welfare and youth counselling.
While Abbott can’t tell the states he is going to raise GST, ripping $80 billion out of agreed future funding and then saying “we don’t run schools or hospitals, it is up to the states to fund them” is a crass attempt at starving them into submission.
Abbott swept to power assuming everyone would just go along with his plans unquestioningly with Coalition governments across the country and a compliant media.
What he didn’t reckon on was people power as a growing number of the electorate are shaking off the political apathy that our easy life has lulled us into.
Abbott’s promise to lead a “co-operative, consultative and collegial” government is proving more ludicrous every day.