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Day to Day Politics: Abbott’s role in the demise of our democracy.

Thursday 12 October 2017

In the recipe of what a democracy is there are many ingredients, but simply explained it is a political system where like-minded people come together to form ideas that become a philosophy. They then become the foundation of political parties. These ideologies pull in different directions in a quest for majority approval by the people. It is a far from perfect system that has variations all around the world. It is elastically flexible,(we even have democratic dictatorships), unpredictable and at its worst, violent and extremely combative.

At its best it is noble, constructive and generally serves society well. It is very much better than the next best thing and accommodates diagonally opposed ideas, extreme or otherwise. All in all it’s an imperfect beast that has served us well. Yes, it’s government for the people by the people.

Common to most Western Democracies (and in the absence of anything better) it has a capitalistic economic system. In Australia the right to vote is the gift that democracy gives and people are free to vote for whichever party (or individual) they support but overriding this is the fact that people cannot possibly believe in democracy, if at the same time they think their party is the only one that should ever win.

A clear indication of an Australian Democracy in decline is the fact that people are giving up this voting gift, literally saying: “A pox on both your houses”. Three million do so by not voting. Our political system is in crisis because our politicians fail to speak with any clarity on issues that concern people.

Moreover, an enlightened democracy should provide the people with a sense of purposeful participation. It should forever be open to regular improvement in its methodology and its implementation. Its constitutional framework should be exposed to periodical revision and renewal, compromise and bi-partisanship when the common good cries out for it.
But above all its function should be, that regardless of ideology the common good should be served first and foremost. A common good healthy democracy serves the collective from the ground up rather than a top down democracy that exists to serve secular interests.

One that is enforced by an elite of business leaders, politicians and media interests who have the power to enforce their version is fundamentally anti-democratic.

Every facet of society including the democratic process needs constant and thoughtful renewal and change. Otherwise we become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see better ways of doing things.

Unfortunately, Australia’s particular version of the democratic process has none of these things inherent in it and is currently sinking in a quagmire of American Tea Party Republicanism.

I am not a political scientist, historian or a trained journalist. I write this as a disgruntled and concerned citizen because it seems to me that the Australian democracy I grew up with no longer exists. The demise of Australian Democracy has its origins in a monumental shift by both major parties to the right with the result that neither seem to know exactly what it is they stands for. They are now tainted with sameness.

The Liberal Party has been replaced by neo-conservatism, actively asserting individual identity against a collective one and old style Liberalism no longer has a voice. There is little or no difference between the Liberals and the National Party who seem irrelevant as a political force.

Conservatives have gone down the path of inequality with a born to rule mentality that favours the rich. “The whole logic of the “lifters” and “leaners” rhetoric so favoured by the current Government is a distillation of the idea that there is no such thing as society, that we and only we are responsible for our own circumstances”. (Tim Dunlop, The Drum, 4/7/2014).

The Labor Party needs to rid itself of an outdated social objectives and invest in a social philosophical common good instead. And recognise that the elimination of growing inequality is a worthwhile pursuit. The major parties have become fragmented with Labor losing a large segment of its supporters to the Greens whilst the LNP is being undermined by rich populist extremists on the far right.

In terms of talent both parties are represented by party hacks of dubious intellectual lability without enough female representation and worldly work life experience. Both parties have pre-selection processes rooted in factional power struggles that often see the best candidates miss out. Both need to select people with broader life experience. Not just people who have come out of the Union Movement or in the case of the LNP, staffers who have come up through the party machine.

Our Parliament, its institutions and conventions, have been so trashed by Tony Abbott in particular that people have lost faith in the political process and their representatives. Ministerial responsibility has become a thing of the past.

Question time is just an excuse for mediocre minds who are unable to win an argument with factual intellect, charm or debating skills, to act deplorably toward each other. The public might be forgiven for thinking that the chamber has descended into a chamber of hate where respect for the others view is seen as a weakness. Where light frivolity and wit has been replaced with smut and sarcasm. And in doing so they debase the parliament and themselves as moronic imbecilic individuals.

Question time is the showcase of the Parliament and is badly in need of an overhaul and an independent Speaker. Our democracy suffers because no one has the guts to give away the slightest political advantage.

Recent times have demonstrated just how corrupt our democracy has become. We have witnessed a plethora of inquiries all focusing on illegal sickening behaviour. There is no reason to doubt that the stench of corruption wanders aimlessly through the corridors of the National Parliament and into the highest offices. Corruption weaves it way through all sections of society including Unions, Business and Politics.

And our democracy lacks leadership because our current leaders and their followers have so debased the Parliament that there is no compelling reason to be a politician. Well, at least for people with decency, integrity and compassion.

I cannot remember a time when my country has been so devoid of political leadership. In recent times we have had potential but it was lost in power struggles, undignified self-interest and narcissistic personality.

The pursuit of power for power’s sake and the retention of it has so engulfed political thinking that the people have become secondary and the common good dwells somewhere in the recesses of small minds lacking the capacity for good public policy that achieves social equity.

Our voting system is badly in need of an overhaul. When one party, The Greens attracts near enough to the same primary votes as The Nationals but can only win one seat in the House of Representatives, as opposed to eight there is something wrong with the system. Added to that is the ludicrous Senate situation where people are elected on virtually no primary votes, just preferences. It is also a system that allows the election of people with vested business interests with no public disclosure.

One cannot begin to discuss the decline of Australian democracy without at the same time aligning it to the collapse in journalistic standards and its conversion from reporting to opinion. Murdoch and his majority owned newspapers with blatant support for right-wing politics have done nothing to advance Australia as a modern enlightened democratic society. On the contrary it has damaged it, perhaps irreparably.

The advent of social media has sent the mainstream media into free fall. Declining newspaper sales have resulted in lost revenue and profits. It is losing its authority, real or imagined. Bloggers  more reflect the feelings of grass-roots society. Writers with whom they can agree or differ but have the luxury of doing so. As a result newspapers in particular have degenerated into gutter political trash in the hope that they might survive. Shock jocks shout the most outrageous lies and vilify people’s character with impunity and in the process do nothing to promote decent democratic illumination. They even promote free speech as if they are the sole custodian of it.

There are three final things that have contributed to the decline in our democracy. Firstly, the Abbott ingredient and the death of truth as a principle of democratic necessity has made a major contribution.

I am convinced Tony Abbott and others who have followed believe that the effect of lying diminishes over time and therefore is a legitimate political tool. So much so that his words and actions have brought into question the very worthiness of the word truth. Or he has at least devalued it to the point of obsolescence.

The 2014 budget will be remembered for one thing. That it gave approval for and overwhelmingly legitimised lying as a political apparatus and election contrivance.
Tony Abbott set a high standard when it comes to keeping promises. On August 22, 2011 he said:

“It is an absolute principle of democracy that governments should not and must not say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Nothing could be more calculated to bring our democracy into disrepute and alienate the citizenry of Australia from their government than if governments were to establish by precedent that they could say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards.”

We should never forget that, after crucifying Prime Minister Julia Gillard daily for three years, Abbott made this solemn promise:

“There will be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”.

This was unambiguous statement that cannot be interpreted any differently than what the words mean. To do so is telling one lie in defence of another.

In that budget he broke them all. As a result, a rising stench of hypocrisy and dishonesty engulfed the Abbott prime minister-ship. When you throw mud in politics some of it inevitably sticks but there is a residue that adheres to the chucker. That was Abbott’s dilemma but the real loser was our democracy.

In Australian political history Abbott’s legacy will be that he empowered a period emblematic of a nasty and ugly period in our politics. Abbott’s contribution to the decline of the Australian body politic is unmeasurable.

Tony Abbott for six years in Opposition created a negative image of our nation. He never had a positive word to say about his country. He used simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and in doing so suggested he had answers when he didn’t. He spread negativity like rust throughout the community.

This was because he sew a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything. Everything is wrong and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster and people will believe the perception is in fact a reality. And of course keep on doing it when you attain government.

His recent speech in London where he contradicted himself with lie after lie was the final nail in the coffin that contains his inadequacy as a human being. When eventually he leaves politics he will do so with the blessing of a nation that now realises the terrible mistake they made and the cost we have had to endure.

Our democracy is nothing more or nothing less than what the people make of it. The power is with the people and it is incumbent on the people to voice with unmistakable anger the decline in our democracy.

People need to wake up to the fact that government affects every part of their life (other than what they do in bed) and should be more concerned. But there is a political malaise that is deep-seated. Politicians of all persuasions must be made to pay for their wilful destruction of our democracy.

Good democracies can deliver good governments and outcomes only if the electorate demands it.

‘You get what you vote for’ rings true.

Lastly but importantly we need to educate our final year school leavers (the voters of tomorrow) with an indebtedness and fundamental appreciation of democracy. A focus group I held recently at a nearby college revealed two things. One was that our young people are conversant with societal issues and have strong opinions grounded in clear observation. They cannot however place them into a logical political framework because (two) they are not adequately informed about political dogma and its place in the workings of a democracy.

We deserve better than what we have at the moment. However, if we are not prepared to raise our voices then our democracy will continue to decline and the nation and its people will suffer the consequences.

Three books have recently been published that address the state of our democracy. The first ‘Triumph and Demise’ is by The Australian’s editor-at-large, Paul Kelly. In the final chapter Kelly suggests that our political system is in trouble and that, if that is the case, then by definition so are we. Then Prime Minister Abbott launched the book, and at the time, fundamentally disagreed with the authors assertions.

“Paul suggests that the relentless negativity of our contemporary conversation, the culture of entitlement that he thinks has sprung up over the last decade or so, means that good government has become difficult, perhaps impossible’’

“It’s not the system which is the problem, it is the people who from time-to-time inhabit it. Our challenge at every level is to be our best selves.”

In the first quote two words, negativity and entitlement jump out at you. Not necessarily in the context of the difficulty of governance, he was alluding to, but rather as self-descriptive character analysis. He could not have chosen two better words to describe his own footprint on the path to our democratic demise.

The second is a disingenuous, even sarcastic swipe at his opponents that leaves no room for self-examination or blame for his own period as opposition leader and later as Prime Minister in particular. And in another indignant self-righteous swipe he said that Labor was “much better at politics than government.”

Three quotes from Kelly at the book’s launch are worth repeating. Kelly said he increasingly felt there were “real problems” with the mechanics of the political system as he worked on his book.

“I have always believed in the quality of leadership. I have always felt that leadership was fundamental … to the success of the country,” Kelly said.

“I do think the system today makes governing, and in particular serious reform, more difficult, and I think the record does show that.”

I have not read the book but I agree entirely with his diagnosis. In the first quote I believe he is referring to a breakdown in the conventions and institutional arrangements of our democracy.

The second is a general commentary on the dearth of leadership over the past decade or so. Although he was a Howard supporter and he said this of Abbott prior to his sacking..
“Abbott is governing yet he is not persuading. So far. As Prime Minister he seems unable to replicate his success as Opposition leader: mobilising opinion behind his causes. The forces arrayed against Abbott, on issue after issue, seem more formidable than the weight the prime minister can muster.”

The third quote is a direct reference to the 24/7 News cycle and negativity as a means of obtaining power.

The second book ‘The Political Bubble’ by Mark Latham also addresses the state of our democracy:

“Australians once trusted the democratic process. While we got on with our lives, we assumed our politicians had our best interests at heart”.

He suggests that trust has collapsed. In this book, he freely explores and travels up and down every road of our democratic map. On the journey he talks about how democracy has lost touch with the people it’s supposed to represent. Like a fast talking cab driver he gives view on how politics has become more tribal with left and right-wing politics being dominated by fanatical extremists.

An entire chapter is devoted to how Tony Abbott promised to restore trust in Australian politics and how he failed to keep his promises. Another chapter is devoted to what can be done about fixing the democratic deficit as he calls it.

“Can our parliamentary system realign itself with community expectations or has politics become one long race to the bottom?”

The third, and more recent book, by Nick Bryant (BBC correspondent and author) aptly titled ‘The Rise and Fall of Australia: How a great Nation lost its way’ takes a forensic look at the lucky country from inside and out. The most impressive thing about this book, besides the directness of his observations and astuteness of his writing, is that what is being said is an outsider’s point of view. He is not constrained by the provincial restrictions of self-analysis. Instead he offers his take on what he calls:

“The great paradox of modern-day Australian life: of how the country has got richer at a time when its politics have become more impoverished.”

Another important contribution to the democracy debate is this piece by Joseph Camilleri ‘Democracy in crisis’ I highly recommend this thoughtful article for a comprehensive outline of what ails our democracy.

I have alluded to these works, not as a review of each, but rather to highlight a growing concern over the state of our democracy.

There is no doubt in my mind if one looks at all the ingredients that go into forming a strong democracy, and you make a list of ingredients, the traditional recipe is no longer working. Or it has been corrupted by inferior ingredients.

At the risk of repeating myself, take for example the seemingly uncontrollable bias and market share of Murdoch. A desire for unaccountable free speech that is weighted toward, extremism.

The attack on the conventions and institutions of parliament by Tony Abbott. The precedent of invoking Royal Commissions into anything as a means of retribution. The rise of fanatical right-wing partisan politics and media. The decline in parliamentary respect and behavior. Add to that the right wings dismissive contempt for feminism.

Corporate sway and the pressure of the lobbyist can also be added to the mix, together with the voice of the rich that shouts the voice of inequality. The idea that with political servitude comes entitlement via financial benefit and privilege. And you can throw in the power of personalities over policy within the mainstream parties. Then there is the uninhibited corruption from both major parties. Then there is the acceptance by both sides that negativity is the only means of obtaining power.

But at the top of the list is the malaise of the population. Although we have compulsory voting 3 million people at the last election felt so disgusted with our democracy that they felt more inclined to have a beer at the pub, or mow the lawn than cast a vote for Australian democracy.

My thought for the day.

“If we are to save our democracy we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should tell the truth”.

 


44 comments

  1. Henry Rodrigues

    Mr Lord, that is one of the best and most accurate analyses of our present political mire, I have ever read. We often forget that we are the makers and the guarantors of our own survival as a healthy thriving enlightened democracy. But money and the corruption that money affords to the rich and powerful people in public media is gradually destroying the very democracy we strive for. Once lost or corrupted, it will be irreversible. We will be left with a hollow veneer and no substance.
    Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are facilitating the decline in public standards and morals.

  2. Mick

    A bloody good read John, thank you.

  3. helvityni

    “The great paradox of modern-day Australian life: of how the country has got richer at a time when its politics have become more impoverished.”

    How true, Nick Bryant.

    Also agree with Henry Rodrigues:
    “Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull are facilitating the decline in public standards and morals”.

    We can now detain children as young as 10 years old for fourteen days, what about the Human Rights of the children…?
    Are we sparing a thought for the drowning Rohingya children…?

  4. Terry2

    As Winston Churchill noted “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It’s a fact, that our system of democracy is not perfect and it will throw up aberrations from time to time but the safety valves need to be sufficiently robust to provide balance.

    Abbott managed to reach the pinnacle of political power in this country and the only red-flags that ultimately checked his excesses and incompetence were the Opinion Polls that consistently pointed to the fact that the electorate were not happy with the man that his Party and the Murdoch media had anointed as leader [or in the case of News Corp, as a Messiah].
    It makes the role of opinion polls, their veracity and independence absolutely critical to the proper functioning of a democracy. It also points to the need for our mainstream media to be balanced whether they are privately or publicly owned.
    I have no problem with the constant and unrelenting scrutiny on the alleged impartiality of the ABC although at times it does seem excessive but I am concerned that there is no scrutiny whatsoever of the privately owned media : balance is after all balance, isn’t it ?

    It is becoming increasingly apparent that the checks and balances of the US democratic system have failed them and it seems that their constitutional arrangements have left them exposed to defects and excesses of unchecked presidential power : that’s their problem to sort out but I’m not sure that their constitution gives them the answers they are looking for – perhaps a reason why the Americans from time to time resort to presidential assassination as a remedy ?

  5. Frank Smith

    John, you have very elegantly put my thoughts into words. Thank You!!

    I will add one thought. Abbott’s elevation to Liberal Party leadership was championed at the time by one Nick Minchin. Minchin seems to have disappeared from the scene, but should be relentlessly pursued for daring to inflict the rAbbott on Australian democracy. He should not be allowed to get away with the immense damage that his action back in 2009 has wrought on our country.

  6. Jan

    Great piece John I also agree with Henry Rodrigues on Abbott and Turnbull.They are pathetic.

  7. Jagger

    This all started with John Howard, weapons of mass destruction, children overboard, never be a GST etc, let’s hope it all ends next election, though with those on the left who continue to focus on each other instead of the enemy I have some doubts.

  8. nurses1968

    Would Tony Abbott be eligible to take the title “Human Headline” from Hinch
    From a casual glance it seems about 4 or the last 6 AIMN articles featured Tony.as well as mentions in others
    Hinch doesn’t come close and Tony would be loving all the attention the old saying “any publicity is good publicity” keeps his name right up there
    I just wish he was the failed forgotten man of politics and ignored

  9. Michael Taylor

    Nurses, our most popular articles (most ever read) feature Tony Abbott.

  10. Reg Gillingham

    An excellent article on the state of our Australian democracy – and it isn’t good is it. However, I think your emphasise the ‘Abbott factor’ too much, although he clearly contributed with his lack of truthfulness, his aggresive demeanour and delusional behaviour. What about the apathy of many electors such as the ‘rusted on’ and the many others who make no attempt to understand important issues even when it is explained in everyday language ? Abbott is merely playing to such apathy and lack of understanding. The quality of our democracy is actually determined by the electorate and ours seems to be very disengaged and dare I say very uninformed, perhaps not realising that a remorseless erosion in the quality of governance is occurring. And don’t forget local government where corruption has been entrenched for yonks.

  11. Robert

    Agreeing with nurses here. What is Tony doing today? Who cares? Mainstream media use his antiquated speeches as a distraction from finding sound policies to improve things. The public needs to be party to intelligent debate, following Abbott around will not get us there.

  12. Jagger

    Yes Michael, Abbott articles attract us even though we’ve heard and read it all before, it must make us feel better, a sad lot aren’t we.

  13. Möbius Ecko

    Then again, during Café Whispers era it was Howard. For me I rate Howard is the most evil and worst of all Australian leaders. Abbott pales in comparison and is only a very weak and failed Howard protégé.

  14. ace Jones

    Its a great peice J.L. , … and what Australia needs is education for the 60% of people who are fooled and mugged by australia’s grossly egotistical politicians.

    when will there be random Alcohol & Drug testing of these people who have alcohol served in the ‘lunchroom’ at workplace Parliament House?

  15. wam

    Thanks, Lord for your thought. making my day, as is often the case with posts that reflect your truth.
    .
    Although nicole hasham smh mentions 1.4 million did not vote a bit short of your 3 million but, depending on circumstances, neither of you are lying and both could be telling the truth.,

    This is a poor turn out but if the 1922 voting was repeated ‘6 million would have said a pox …’ Happily, Lord, that would still be a better turnout than the septics last year.

    My understanding of the Australian westminister system is 150 electorates who select a representative by preferential voting.

    My truth, on the loonies vs the nationals, there are a group of 10% Australians who are ‘green’. At the 2016 federal election, each first preference vote was worth 262.784 cents. The greens stand candidates in every seat and spend money on Adam but minimal on the rest. Nothing wrong with that, Lord, why not go for the money? 10% is worth millions. But nobody seriously thinks the loonies deserve more than they have in canberra?

    The quality of candidates are the responsibility of the local party, Lord. We vote on their selection. A simple ways to double the selection to increase the choice for us non-party people is to ban by-elections and use the existing preferences in the electorate to select the succession.

    Beauty Terry2 scrutiny is hidden by instigating ‘reviews’ It would be so effective (and enlightening if my NT experiences in the 90s are indicative of serial rorting of Aboriginal grant money by governments) if Aboriginal projects were EVALUATED and the money trail investigated.

    ps Frank minchin was open and honest in ‘I can change your mind….’ Surely the greens gave the rabbott legitimacy for his stance against howard’s pro-climate climate change policy? They deserve your pursuit.

    For those xstian friends who are vacillating over Y/N:
    “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place,” Archbishop Tutu said at …

  16. nurses1968

    Michael TaylorOctober 12, 2017 at 10:43 am

    “Nurses, our most popular articles (most ever read) feature Tony Abbott.”

    There has to be some sort of message there
    BUT, I’m struggling to find it 😀

  17. axel

    Yes John, in 2010, twenty percent of people voted for the Greens and Independents. Yet this only resulted 5 seats in the House of Representatives which is about 3 per cent of the seats.

  18. Michael Taylor

    It’s simple, nurses … people like reading and commenting about him ?.

  19. Kaye Lee

    I make a promise. If the people of Warringah stop voting for him, I will never mention Abbott again. As it stands, he represents a clear and present danger to our country which should be exposed and opposed.

  20. Roswell

    If I see just one more comment complaining about an Abbott article, I’ll scream.

    If you don’t like Abbott articles the simple solution is to ignore them.

    Yes, MO, Howard tops the list. He’s an Abbott with a few more brains.

  21. Abu Seme Alakat

    Villains are the most popular characters. I enjoy reading the vindictive comments of far lesser individuals.

  22. Terry2

    Nurses

    It’s a bit like the days when duffers and miscreants were put in stocks on the village green and all and sundry would throw a tomato or rotten apple as they passed.

    We keep on passing Tony and can’t resist just one more tomato as long as he’s there.

  23. stephentardrew

    Spot on John.

  24. helvityni

    Terry2, I would not waste one edible tomato on him, maybe one of those huge tasteless ones the greengrocers were proud to sell us in the past, but not any of the tastier smaller ones we are lucky to have today…

    Abu Seme Alakat, Mal is happy to shout many vindictive comments about Bill and Labor, but never an unkind word about Tones, obviously he’s more afraid of him than of Bill.

    When will we see the promised civil Mal….?

  25. Aortic

    Great Article John, you are so on the money. I and I am sure thousands upon thousands of others have stopped listening since this present mob sadly came to power. I think it was Gore Vidal who said if the politicians thought voting would ,make a scrap of difference, they wouldn’t allow us to do it. Seen them all since Menzies but cannot recall a greater disassociation between our elected representatives and the people who put them there. Question Time has gravitated into an unruly and unedifying rabble for which they should be thoruoghly ashamed. You are so correct when you say it is only the apparatchiks who make it through the system and this has to change. I had a good mate who religiously attended the local Labor Party meetings for years, but even he in the end gave up in despair and sadness for the way things had deteriorated.so badly. Long overdue for Turnbull to get some spine, stand up to his maniacal Tea Party nuts and get the VISION thing going..

  26. nurses1968

    Roswell
    It was a simple question as I’m curious about the fixation on Abbott,
    I do skip the articles I just wish he would be forgotten as the has been failure that wrecked Australian politics
    Starving him of the publicity he seeks might just have him throw in the towel
    Now, scream away

  27. John Lord

    With respect Nurses. Are you suggesting that people who have done immense damage to society should never be mentioned again. It’s not a fixation but rather a constant reminder of what damage fools can do. I’d give him a soapbox to stand on for all to see and listen to.

  28. nurses1968

    OK no need for the AIMN cavalry to assemble

  29. Roswell

    So there you go, John. Neither can you write about Abbott, but you can’t comment either.

  30. David Stakes

    Just about your finest piece of writing to date. Spot on analysis.

  31. Freetasman

    Nurses, I guess that are hundred of people that read this site and do not make any comments and IMHO it is good to keep mention the names of Abbott, Howard, etc, so less people are going to make the mistake to vote for them again or their policies.
    This site provides a very constructive information and we should support his writers and people that contribute on it.

  32. Abu Seme Alakat

    This type of blog only attracts political “tragics”. Most people aren’t that interested in politics or government until the policies actually cost them money or leave them in the dark with no air-conditioning in summer, or annoy them enough in some specific way as to seemingly beg for electoral punishment. Many decide which way they will vote when they are on the steps of the polling place on election day. Ideological “clumping” around a media organ of choice just serves to provide a bond of fellowship. Policy makers rarely have any interest in what their “rusted on” supporters want.

  33. diannaart

    Abbott remains in parliament, until he leaves (which will never be soon enough), it is wiser to keep track of such a destructive and divisive man.

  34. Tony Webster

    Thanks for putting my thoughts into words John. I think the issue here is there is no accountability for any decisions made or laws past or donations taken or presents received or corruption seen and heard and conspiring in, but never reported. NSW has managed to put 2 corrupt ministers in gaol in Obede and Macdonald, but many others of the same ministery have gotten away with it. All these polititians need the threat of very long gaol time hanging over their heads and to be made accountable through fines and repayments for bad decisions made. We urgently need a Federal ICAC

  35. Roswell

    We must remember that it was the MSM that threw its weight behind Abbott and to this day still fails to hold him to account. It’s people like John and Kaye who show Abbott for what he really is. We need them.

  36. Matters Not

    Can’t see why so many people wish for Abbott’s early departure. At this stage of the political cycle, Abbott’s contribution is immeasurable. He’s at his political peak. May he remain the Member for Warringah for years and years to come.

    Shorten hopes so too.

  37. john Cranmer

    ODE TO AN EX PRIME MINISTER

    Here’s to an Ex PM known as Tony
    who really is a bit of a Phoney
    To Coal he is wedded
    Renewables he has shredded
    Of his legacy we will shout “BALONEY”!!!,

    Tony the political hack
    Opens his big mouth with a smack!
    He opens it wide
    So there’s no place to hide
    The boot that is covered with plaque

  38. Johno

    Diaannart… not hard to keep track of abbott, he loooves the attention.

  39. diannaart

    Johno

    Sad but true, however, would you take your eyes off a circling shark?

  40. wam

    axel ‘Menzies but cannot recall a greater disassociation between our elected representatives and the people who put them there?
    Do you think the Lord or anyone else here put them in canberra?
    How many people here have friends and relatives ‘who put them there’ and are satisfied with the job they are doing, who are glad labor is not in power and voted no?

    Granted some of us are disaffected with the labor people ‘we put there’ but not me my labor man is great after his first year and good start. But blackout bill is right up there with kim and arthur. Not PM material.

    Look at the senate and declare you want the reps to take proportional representation? Look at SHY vs Hansen on sunrise.

    Sorry axel only those who get support from 50% of the electorate get a seat and even bandt needs the lib preference to get his 50%.

    As for the rabbott. to allocate truth or lies to this man is disingenuous because he is certain in his beliefs. The Lord would have some success with the word ‘honest’ in relation to pollies because ‘truth’ is merely what is believed.
    The lord’s truth 3 million did not vote the aec truth 1,4 million did not vote the real truth 1.6 million of the lord’s truth could not vote.

    Is the lord being honest in his truth?

    ps axel more people voted for ‘other’ than labor in SA.

  41. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    no real solutions offered here. ‘the common good’ is too fuzzy and contested a concept to base any pragmatic sutions on. aust democracy has always been a weak thing. no bill of rights, no mechanisms of impeachment of politicians, no laws against corruption or against conflicts of interest by politicians. generally there has always been a lack of accountability of politicians in the system. up until the late 60s and early 70s only men who had title to land were entitled to vote in the upper houses of states! the Constitution was accepted by only 19% of the people due to gerimandas and limited sufferage. the system hasn’t evolved and is still rudimentry. its always been inadequate but the inadequacies have hitherto been concealed beneath a tokenistic welfare state. i mean politicians sit in parliament voting on tax laws when they have vested interests in negatively geared property and the tax laws that make negative gearing possible. do you think politicians who negatively gear will vote to get rid of the tax laws that make negative gearing possible? if thats not a conflict of interest what is? the system has never worked but its failings are only now more obvious than they have been in the past due to extreme economic inequality and corrupt self interested politicians and political parties. change starts by OPPOSING THE MAJOUR PARTIES because its they that have caused the problem and who have no solutions to the problems they have created.

  42. LOVO

    At least while we’re talking about Tony we’re leaving Pauline alone; we’re leaving Adani (NAIF) alone; we’re leaving the NBN debacle alone (thanx Mal); we’re leaving the last week of Holden alone (thanx Tony) ; we’re leaving the ‘Yes’ alone…etc…..oh and did I mention “the last week of Holden” …..one wonders why anyone would keep bringing Tony up (Lord, Nurses and commentators)…his decisions and influence are soo yesterday 😯 😯 ……oh and did I mention “the last week of Holden” ? …… THANKS TONY ???

  43. Harquebus

    The deterioration in politics is, in my opinion, more to do with changing physical circumstances rather than the changing of philosophical views. Our world of plenty has long gone and the rules have changed but, the political mindset has not.

    BTW: Is this moderation thingy now permanent? Jus’ wunderin is all.

  44. Jack

    Both major parties have not drifted to the right, they have drifted towards each other. This article started off as a great summation of what we have to work with from both parties, both ruled by corruption and factions from within.
    But the Abbott reference doesn’t add anything to what we all already know. Yes he said things and acted differently. Gillard did that too(that’s how he got to be PM) and so did pollies and PM’s before her.

    I second the above Churchill quote

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