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Day to Day Politics: Abbott tells Turnbull how to govern. Seriously.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Before Tony Abbott came along Australia had never elected a Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, so ill informed of science, so oblivious of the needs and aspirations of women, and so ideologically out of touch with a modern pluralist society.

Both his party and the electorate witnessed his dreadful leadership and concluded that it was fundamentally flawed. It was that appalling that his party decided to replace him. They knew that if they retained him they would have lost the 2016 election by the length of the Flemington straight.

Turnbull took over the reins and a win of gigantic proportion was forecast because of his alluring reputation for moderation and reason. That turned out to be an illusion.

It was only the remaining residue of a tarnished reputation that saved them from defeat. All that Australia has gained from governments lead by Turnbull/Abbott could be recorded on a postage stamp. They were wasted years. Nothing of consequence has been accomplished by Abbott or is likely to be by Turnbull.

Parliament starts again next week and the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, will outline the Government’s second term agenda. The joke doing the rounds of the conservative MPs offices is that the speech writer got writer’s block after the first paragraph.

In other words the agenda they are putting forward is the same one they took to the election. You could argue that they won but the more obvious argument is that in winning by such a small majority, the electorate well and truly told them what they thought of their policies.

Tony Abbott in a speech to the Victorian Master Builders Association continued to rebut any suggestion of criticism of his government’s achievements and urged the Prime Minister to pursue his policies.

I am at a loss to explain how a rejected PM so intently disliked, who led arguably Australia’s worst ever Government, who had he stayed in the job would have led his party to a calamitous defeat, could have the egotistical effrontery to declare that his successor should follow his achievements is beyond me.

Be that as it may, and discounting his continuing attempts to undermine the PM, the fact is that Turnbull is continuing to follow his policies. The Treasurer made that clear in his Tax speech. As Abbott made clear in his now infamous 2014 Budget. We expect the poor and less well-off to take the brunt of savings measures. Unfairness and social consequence is not a consideration. It’s called neoliberalism.

Abbott said “budget repair, national security and respect for values and institutions that have stood the test of time”.

“I’m sure the government will resist pressure to increase the renewable energy target”.

“I’m sure the government will strongly support the coal industry which will provide baseload power here and abroad for decades to come – and continue to employ tens of thousands of Australians”.

In Abbott-speak that was code for, “we will continue to support the haves so long as they support us, we should scare the hell out of the bastards as I was doing and the poofters can get stuffed. Coal is good and Climate Change is a Socialist plot”.

All of which has been rejected by those enlightened enough to exercise their cognitive logic.

Richard Dennis in an illuminating article for Fairfax yesterday pointed out that “a retired bank CEO with $10 million in his super pays zero tax each year. Nada. Zip. He wouldn’t even pay the Medicare levy. But I suspect that when Treasurer Scott Morrison talks about the “taxed and the taxed nots’ he wasn’t thinking about rich retired leaners. He probably wasn’t even talking about the fact that Chevron, who made $1.7 billion selling our oil and gas, paid no tax either”.

“Having lost the public debate about the need to give $50 billion in tax cuts to big business, it didn’t take Morrison long to dust off his predecessor’s playbook on attacking the poor. Given how badly Joe Hockey performed some might think that aping his approach was a strange choice for Morrison, but, as Hockey’s posting to Washington shows, the modern conservative party rewards rhetoric over results”.

Why are we not taking advantage of the once in a life time low-interest rates on offer?

Tony Abbott during his term as opposition leader made debt anathema in the public mind and in doing so painted all budgets without a surplus, as being tainted with incompetency. He made out that it was only Coalition Governments that were capable of delivering surpluses. It was of course stupid and made it more difficult to manage the economy.

All his talk about the need for budget surpluses doesn’t register with the historical facts.

Since 1945, significant budget surpluses have been achieved only rarely: once by Ben Chifley, three times by Bob Hawke, and eight times by John Howard, who shared another with Rudd, who was elected during the 2007-08 fiscal year. That is, the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser governments managed only a few small surpluses. So much for the claim about the Coalition’s fiscal management.

Dennis goes on:

“Locking in record low-interest rates for 30 years makes building them now a bargain. But it seems the “great economic managers” in the Coalition would rather make pariahs of the poor than construct the cities we will need”.

Dennis concludes

“It’s not the budget that needs repair, it’s the way we think and talk about it. History and international experience tells us that economic benefits do not “trickle down” to the people who need them. But history does show that if we target our resources well, we can solve big problems”.

In asking Shorten to walk the sensible middle road to resolve the country’s problems Turnbull has to understand the anger Abbott caused when he deliberately trashed parliamentary conventions and institutions. To expect Labor to turn the other cheek now is unreasonable.

If he is serious about bipartisanship then he might just have to for once drop the alter ego born to rule mentality and shake hands.

As for Abbott I can only suggest that he go back to where he belongs. I’m not sure where he fits in the annals of time but Jesus comes to mind.

My thought for the day.

“We should never assume that an answer is revealed and then we seek evidence to support it. It is in fact the reverse”.


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  1. Jaquix

    Yesterday’s NT election result is proof that disunity is death. Adam Giles recognises that, while refusing to countenance that Lib-like policies may be the root cause. Including selling the Port of Darwin (OK 99yr lease) to foreign interests. Refreshing change to have a result on the night, bar a few seats. Must have made Turnbull and the conservative cronies turn ashen. Great result for Labor, and Bill Shorten must be pleased. A lot of hard work ahead of them but all power to the new team on its decisive trouncing of the CLP.

  2. michael lacey

    Neoliberal dogma and that includes the people in the Labor Party who are affected by the disease need to vaccinated!

  3. Miriam English

    The problem Abbott has? It’s called the Dunning–Kruger effect — when someone is so stupid they don’t know they are stupid. It means a person who has little ability to do something greatly over-estimates their ability. Yep, that’s Abbott to a tee.

  4. z

    NT election indicates the next F. election

  5. Stephen

    They were wasted years. Nothing of consequence has been accomplished by Abbott or is likely to be by Turnbull.
    This comment while accurate as it stands for most Australians. Never the less things of consequence for the people they want to help did occur. Taxes were done away with that would have benefited all and the future equally, and billions giving instead of collected from the same polluters to “clean up”. Tax concessions such as Super, negative gearing, fuel subsidies, still stand and are even attempted to be increased, tax cuts to benefit businesses and the better off, while still waiting for the trickle down theory to start working. Social progress is being strangled and entrenched positions of entitlement are strengthened, by the haves through education and income control of others while as with the long standing Liberal policy weak and powerless groups are being identified for blame and scorn.

  6. Shazz

    a rigged backyard chook raffle would have been a fairer outcome than the election ….. at least they would have tried to disguise the corruption …nudge wink …. JMHO!!!

  7. Graeme Henchel

    The Thug from Northern Beaches

    There was movement in the party, for the word had passed around
    The Thug from Northern Beaches could not stay
    He had told so many lies, that the punters had surmised
    They could not believe a thing, he had to say

    So the politicians plotted from locations near and far
    As the centre fought against the rabid right
    They all agreed the thug was becoming more bizarre
    but they knew he’d not go down without a fight

    Turnbull had made his score from banking and the law
    But he’d lost out to the thug some years ago
    His plan was just to wait, for the thug to meet his fate
    He did not quite have the numbers yet to show

    And Bishop from the west, played at sitting on the fence
    Though she thought to throw her own hat in the ring
    She was quick to take offence as the thug became more tense
    And with Malcolm she would stay on a good thing

    Some others liked their chance so they jockeyed to advance
    Scott Morrison and perfidious poodle Pyne
    They gave the Thug some space but in case he’d run his race
    They positioned to survive in Turnbull’s line

    Others from the right, thought the Thug must win the fight
    Andrews, Corman, Brandis, Hockey and Robb
    But by far their biggest fear was for their own career
    As Turnbull might relieve them of their job

    As the leaks came in a flood you could smell the scent of blood
    Even Murdoch’s mob were calling for the end
    The Thug was sticking fast but his fate it seemed was cast
    It was not a case of if, but only when

    The party had a spill but they couldn’t make the kill
    Though the Thug was nearly beaten by a chair
    With hand upon his heart good government would start
    But still the smell of failure filled the air

    As the time flew past the thug kept up the farce
    With help from Smokin Joe and his big mouth
    With a blunder every week they went further up shit creek
    And the polls just kept on trending further south

    When Bronwyn got caught out, the public had no doubt
    The Thug and all his crew were on the take
    They tried to drag in Bourke but it really didn’t work
    And another captains call was a mistake

    Then six months on the Thug looked to be gone
    As lies and bad decisions took their toll
    The public had concluded the Thug is quite deluded
    They knew that the Thug’s head was going to roll

    Did the party have the guts to remove someone who’s nuts
    Or would the Thug just take them to the grave
    disunity is death but then in the same breath
    to keep the Thug was surely crazy brave.

    As things came to pass, they gave the Thug the arse
    And the thug said he’d not snipe or undermine
    Turnbull got the vote but the right still held his scrote
    And the Thug set out to snipe and undermine

    Turnbull started high as the nation gave a sigh
    Of relief that the thug had now departed
    Turnbull seemed able, everything upon the table
    But it wasn’t long before the troubles started

    Turnbull had won the fight by sucking to the right
    and the public saw that nothing much had changed
    Even worse the ex banker was now seen as a wanker
    A snake oil man for a Thug had been exchanged

    Turnbull’s great solution was a double dissolution
    A master stroke the media said for sure
    They had a pyrrhic win as they only scraped back in
    With Senate now even worse than before

    Since the election Turnbull’s given no direction
    and he has got no capital to burn
    The enemies inside are out to tan his hide
    and the Thug is surely plotting his return

    To be continued

  8. wam

    jacquix turnball did alright in disunity??
    As for the territory, in today’s world, no female input, means no credibility. These clp dinosaurs, wallow in their ‘boys club, with tokens’ to keep ‘wags’ happy. The diludbrans should take note of the loonies results.
    Perhaps the best outcome was the proof that the ratbag canadian compass pushed by the abc and the smarmy green that shows nobody is labor, is a crock.

  9. Joan Day

    Tony Abbott has certainly left a deep imprint on politics, editors, journalist, reporters and bloggers, if he is that newsworthy, to this very day, to have lengthy, defaming articles, written about him. ….. Move on!

  10. Michael Taylor

    Joan, we need Abbott to do that first. But he is a politician in the current government and we have every right to talk about him.

  11. Matters Not

    Tony should not be forgotten. Never ever! He serves as an ongoing warning as to what can happen when the electorate is not paying attention. A bit like Billy McMahon.

    Besides he wants to be remembered. Go Tony! But continue as well. (Sort of).

  12. Carol Taylor

    Joan, I disagree due to the fact that Abbott is still an active player in his attempts to influence the Turnbull government. Just recently Abbott (the designated ‘leader’ of the Far Right) called upon his followers to ‘stand firm’ against any attempts made by the Turnbull government to moderate his (Abbott’s) extremist agenda. Turnbull knows that if he cannot placate the Far Right, that Tony is there ready to regain the leadership. Move on..would love to, as soon as Abbott does, so can the rest of us.

  13. helvityni

    As Turnbull has not come up with better policies than Abbott, we now have TWO Billy McMahon clones…

  14. Sam

    I am fully in favour of Turnbull listening to an inept nutbag with no credibility.

    If we can’t have Abbott steering the liberal party into that iceberg on the horizon, at least we can have him as the navigator directing the ship into that same iceberg.

  15. bobrafto

    As for Abbott I can only suggest that he go back to where he belongs. I’m not sure where he fits in the annals of time but Jesus comes to mind.

    yea, let’s crucify him and someone has to be on guard in case he opens a couple of eyelids.

  16. nexusxyz

    In some ways Turnip is worse than Tony Robot. Unfortunately to the electorate Turnip delivers a veneer of acceptability but in reality he has no idea and his government is populated by psychopathic intellectual lightweights that spout the neoliberal and globalist crap that is failing everywhere. This government will be just as muddled an inept as the previous one.

  17. Florence nee Fedup

    It was the Masters Builders Abbott addressed this week. Worse he made a speech that sounded OK, not his usual madness. Didn’t agree with one word though. A speech that sounded reasonable, given to undermine Turnbull. Listening to Turnbull yesterday and today, Abbott hit the spot.

    We ignore Abbott at our peril. He sadly ain’t yesterday’s man yet.

  18. Andy

    Pathetic news article. While Abbott was by no means perfect i don’t think he came anywhere near as close as J. Gillard. A chronic liar with a split personality who attempted to fool us with “forget the old julia this is the new Julia”. Perhaps she had a twin sister who usurped the elected one, got rid of her and made herself PM. And we didn’t even blink.
    Then there was the hypocrite Julia (the second Julia or the first Julia?) who went around comforting, sympathising, empathising and offering advice to Abbott after he was deposed by Turnbull. She forgot to tell Abbott that she stabbed Rudd first. Oh, that was the ‘old’ Julia not the ‘new’. And the list goes on and on and on….
    What a short memory society has, and i have a feeling stupidity and ignorance plays a big part too. That’s why we replace govts so fast. Perhaps a pair of good vision glasses would help a society that suffers from severe myopia.
    But i guess this article was written by labor supporters so one cannot expect much

  19. Michael Taylor

    Andy, I’m guessing that your comment was satire. No one can sit there with a straight face and call Julia Gillard a “chronic liar” while waving Abbott’s flag. You almost had me fooled. Thanks for the laughs.

  20. jim

    I was gobbed smacked when I heard mrabbitt giving advice on the economy I couldn’t believe it but there it is WTF!. But hey the more Mrabbit talks the better for Labor I guess.
    Last week’s announcement shows that our government is still committed to carbon capture and storage. They’ve slashed $100 million from the CSIRO, much of it from climate change mitigation and adaptation programs, and spent $24 million on an unproven, expensive technology.

  21. John Lord

    Andy. If you want I can provide you with indisputable evidence that Abbott is the biggest liar to ever have walked the corridors of Parliament. But I guess you wouldn’t believe it anyway.

  22. Harquebus

    John, could you let us know who you think are the place getters. Wayne Swan has to be in there somewhere.

  23. Möbius Ecko

    Andy you do know that Abbott also did an old/new Abbott thing?

  24. Florence nee Fedup

    Not sure what Swan’s lies were. Found Gillard probably too truthful for her own sake. Suspect Turnbull might be ahead of Abbott when it comes to lying.

    Many will disagree but I asked them to give examples when they do.

  25. Annie B

    Turnbull …. the ever smiling giver of much rhetoric, with absolutely no substance, or believability.

    Abbott … the pugilist faced deliverer of constant fear mongering to the population ( in his short time )… added to a plethora of whopping great lies, before, during and no doubt, now.

    Morrison … knows only how any dollar relates to what is in his own wallet. Knows nil about economics or financial management and adaptation.

    Dutton … dwells at the bottom of the ladder. …. has not one redeeming feature and delights in demonstrable cruelty – to human kind, not of his ilk. ( Ugh ).

    Pyne …. has a dirty and loud mouth, and is a bad tempered irritant in this ‘noble’ ( ??? ) government. Never to be trusted.

    The rest of the LNP ? ……. all plod along as though nothing is wrong.

    Ah – but there’s more. …. There is very MUCH wrong with the current government, not only for us – but internally to themselves. They will implode or explode … will bring themselves down completely with their in-fighting. … especially with the little street-fighter in budgie smugglers, making waves.

    What a wonderful day it will be, when the LNP collapses. …. the beginnings of which happened in the NT this very weekend.

    Might get some sense out of politics and politicians, from this point on ? ( maybe ).


    Graeme Henchel …… enjoyed reading your cleverly devised verses about this current rabid mob.

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    Frightening when Pyne presents as having more political nous than rest of government.

  27. Alan Baird

    At the end of a lovely line of comments on the current LNP clusterfick there’s always a knuckledragger that wanders in with some mind numbingly fick observations. I say mind numbing because that’s the effect that occurs when somebody like Morrison makes yet another statement which in essence says that the govt is AGAIN going to STUDIOUSLY IGNORE the tax rorts of the wealthy and focus yet again on the poor the try to extract money from the diminishing resources they have. I wait in breathless anticipation on the same gentleman or any of his confreres berating the poor for holding back the economy for not spending enough, That will top it off.

  28. win

    What REALLY annoys me is that we are grossly overpaying these incompetents both now and over their lifetimes, merely so they can feather the nests of their in group. In many professions. such behaviour would result in expulsion with dishonor. and it should here too. Too many decent citizens can’t get work or fair pay, yet these vultures can thrive. Shame on our media who replace news with lying propaganda and fool too many .

  29. Freethinker

    Reading articles in newspapers like the one by Richard Dennis, articles and comments by political forum and blog members it appears to me that many people and journalists cannot see what it is the agenda of the conservative movement in the coalition.
    Abbott was put there as “a tool” to achieve the plans in line with his and the extreme right group ideology, Abbott is not ignorant he read the electorate during his two negative campaigns and won the election.
    He governed with a cabinet that shared his plans and which members are now in government to continuing with their agenda.
    I do not believe that they are ignorant, they behave like narcissists and in same cases psychopaths that are trying to bulldozing their agend regardless of the wishing of the people.
    Winston Churchill once said: “You have enemies? Good. That means you have stood up for something in your life.”
    Well the Coalition governments has their enemies and you can bet that the right faction members are proud because they have stood for something regardless if it was not the wishing of the people. They do not count, they are wrong.

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