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Day to Day Politics: The beat of a challenge comes nearer.

Saturday 1 July 2017

1 As sure as light follows day Tony Abbott is moving to place himself in a position to challenge Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of our country. All the familiar signs are there and it only needs a moment in history for it to happen.

It must be for a reason of revenge that he would do so. All the other factors, like being a failed leader and proven liar on the wrong side of history, who was and remains deeply unpopular, would suggest he is wasting his time.

Or is he? The audaciousness of him laying out his own alternative policy program has shown beyond doubt that a challenge is on and he intends to deliver it when he triumphantly returns to power on the back of a white horse symbolically slaying his enemies with drawn sword.

The recent example of Rudd’s comeback to defeat Julia Gillard bares some similarities, the only difference being that Rudd remained popular.

Other than that the same inner cravings for revenge and supremacy that motivated Rudd also motivates Abbott. They were both, according to the judgement of many, brilliant opposition leaders who were unable to transfer their brilliance into leadership. Rudd was a formidable intellect but was hated by his party. Abbott was such a negative person that the people could never envisage the sun shining through him.

Both proved to be incompetent and were replaced in their first term. Both signed out with a promise of loyalty and servitude to the party and immediately commenced to do otherwise. Rudd, after years of leeks, general trouble-making and obvious slurs eventually replaced Gillard who left with her dignity intact. It remains so.

Can Abbott replace Turnbull? Well there is a school of thought that says he can.

Sean Kelly writing for the Monthly suggests that there are three reasons why he can. They are worth considering.

”The first is that he’s a strong campaigner. In fact, unlike Turnbull, he has convincingly won an election – and he wasn’t popular then, either. There’s a logical argument against this – Labor tore itself down, and Abbott was incidental – but when you’re looking for a reason to do something you already want to do the excuse doesn’t have to be perfect.

So the weakness that Abbott has when compared to Rudd isn’t as important as it seems. Moreover, Abbott has advantages that Rudd did not.

The second reason, then, is that Abbott is seen internally as a natural creature of his party. Rudd (like Turnbull) never had that – and in fact had to overcome its lack (and did so, twice).

The third is that Abbott is fighting for a particular cause, that of conservatism within the Liberal Party. As Paul Kelly said yesterday, “The fact that Tony Abbott is not popular in the community doesn’t matter. He is the banner-carrier for the conservatives …” The Rudd–Gillard war was never about ideology. Abbott’s war against Turnbull is.”

Personally, I feel that a return to Abbott would be political suicide. The world has moved on and men like Abbott are of an obsolete breed. With the young likely to make their presence felt at the next election they will be looking for fresh ideas. Abbott has proven that he is devoid of any and his slogans are now held in mistrust.

He wants to freeze the RET at 15%, have a moratorium on wind farms, build our own coal-fired power stations and slash immigration. He also advocates the banning all new spending except on defence and infrastructure. He advocates now what he rejected as leader believing that when Labor moves you move further away.

An observation

”Power is a malevolent possession when you are prepared to forgo your principles and your country’s wellbeing for the sake of it.”

2 Chrissy has fixed it with an apology … like water of a ducks back. When you next see him at Question Time you will see the same obnoxious personality berating others as fools and hypocrites while prancing around like the poodle Julia Gillard once named him after.

He has always had a certain flair for the drama of politics with inflated, often exaggerated language that always comes back to smack him in the face. But he never seems to take any notice.

Certainly his comments regarding gay marriage have hurt his party both internally and externally by highlighting just how deep the ideological wars run within the party and just how much the Gonski legislation would have offended the conservatives.

Not to mention just how much harm this plebiscite to find out, at a cost of $200 million, what is already known, is doing. They surely cannot take it to the next election. They will have to do what we elected them to do: Vote.

With an election likely to happen in little over a year the Coalition are in an internal nasty war. Deep shit, some might say. Just who will win is anyone’s guess. It’s left versus right with Abbott in the middle stirring the pot.

3 Simon Benson writing in The Australian:

“Malcolm Turnbull has six weeks to decide how to unite a divided party or accept one of two possibilities.” (??)

4 Who said this?

”The issue for us is that we need to move on before all of this stuff consumes us because I honestly believe with all of my heart that the worst thing for our country is for Bill Shorten to get in there, to become prime minister and to wreck the economy, to run up debt.”

A clue. PD.

My thought for the day.

Every day I write my opinions on a variety of subjects. They are my own thoughts based on my political philosophy, many individual and collective influences, and my worldview based on 77 years of a living experience.

On some Facebook pages it’s astonishing just how many on the right of politics swear blind they never read would never contemplate reading my work, so abhorrent it is to them. Then they go on to opine about it.

Whatever intelligence I might have affords me no understanding of this.”


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  1. Terry2

    Malcolm Turnbull has something working in his favour and that is the right wing nut jobs who are coming out from under rocks to show their support for Tony Abbott.

    The latest is that most awful of right-wing nut jobs, the egregious Campbell Newman, a man who somehow inveigled himself into a prominent position in the Queensland LNP and then in a massive failure of our democratic system actually achieved office as Premier of Queensland – but just for one term.

    Newman says Malcolm Turnbull should “do the right thing” and resign as Prime Minister to avoid another leadership showdown.

    Speaking on ABC Radio Brisbane Mr Newman accused Mr Turnbull of dividing the Liberal Party, turning it left and driving away its base.

    This outburst from the former Queensland Premier will give Turnbull a significant boost as the alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.

  2. bearbrooke

    It’s odd that ‘now here’ is ‘nowhere’. Now here we are again discussing the nowhere man.

  3. Gerard

    Tony has a lot of life left in him and has much to give this country.

  4. Joseph Carli

    The right-wing of politics never acts on its own volition..There is a hierarchy of money, business and religion behind all the decisions..If we recall, Turnbull was all set to give politics away after Tony Abbott rolled him back in his shining “ute-gate” days…the fact that he stayed gave social media conversation a “Uh-oh” moment for the future..and so it came to pass..Turnbull was convinced to stay in politics to await the right moment for his reward..Now, we have Tony Abbott, after a time in the wilderness, coming back as the new prophet for the conservatives just when the Turnbull “moderates” are hitting the banks for bigger taxes and companies with more regulation…Is this the cynical business world just picking and placing its chosen one for the time and place?

  5. stephengb2014

    I have to admit that I thought that Abbott could not recover from his humiliation as a failed Prime Minister and then his sacking by the dithering, waffling Turbull.

    But here I am fully expecting a challenge from Abbott, to retake the leadership, wow!

    These people are actually highly educated men, yet both Abbott and Turnbull have displayed such gross incompetence that I have to wonder about the level of competence of the whole of the LNP. Certainly the Cabinet (with some exception) constantly display a remarkable lack of capability other than verbal bullying. How these people remain in their seats is beyond my comprehension.

    It is also incomprehensible to me why the rank and file of the LNP would risk a leadership spill, and thus almost certainly scuttle any chance that they retain government, and in the process it is probably that 20% of them will lose their places in the parliamentary golden money trough.

    Maybe I have answered myself – perhaps the LNP rank and file MPs realise they are doomed anyway under Turnbull and that their only chance of keeping their snoughts in the trough is to go for the biggest bully boy in the playground. Perhaps their one hope is that he will scare the other gang in the yard and the electorate will see this and vote for them again – after all Abbott was formidable as an opposition leader and with Shorten doing well in the polls perhaps Abbott’s opposition fight exerience might just keep the rank and file from losing their place at the trough even if he doesnt win government back.

    I can see that logic in the minds of those that see themselves as the chosen ones (99% of them).

    S G B

  6. Terry2

    The disturbing thing is that Peter Dutton, from his 2GB soapbox, has been portraying himself as the voice of reason and common-sense : that is quite alarming as he sees himself as the Liberal Messiah……..!

  7. Jaquix

    When the Libs are trounced at the next election, they might want Abbott as their Opposition Leader.

  8. helvityni

    ” Certainly the Cabinet (with some exception) constantly display a remarkable lack of capability other than verbal bullying. How these people remain in their seats is beyond my comprehension”

    Spot on, S G B.

    …..whilst in France, Macron has managed to bring freshness , enthusiasm to French politics, whilst in Germany wise old Angela allows a conscience vote to the believers of SSM,( even though she does not personally believe in it), we in Oz keep bullying and bumbling, and giving our poorly performing politicians pay rises, but forgetting the jobless…

    No wonder people are losing interest in politics…’.what about us…???’

  9. Ricardo29

    In my household, we would love to see Abbott back as leader of the Libs and thus PM. His persona is so negative and abrasive, and his attacks on the Opposition would be so outrageous that he would only bring contempt on himself and his party. Can you imagine the ridicule Albo, Plibersek, Bowen et al would use against him, and them, in QT. I don’t think he would get any clear air. Besides his policies are so outdated they would only have traction with a minority in the electorate. Sadly. I don’t think the Libs are actually stupid enough to drop Turnbull for Abbott. As for Dutton, his ego is many orders of magnitude bigger than his intelligence. The idea that some people think he is PM material is gobsmacking.

  10. Freethinker

    IMO the only reason to remove Turnbull by the extreme right knowing that will be a political suicide, will be to put in place policies with the support of ON and others which will suit their ideology but will make irreversible damage.
    If they will act in the same manner that the extreme right act in another countries one of the first things in their agenda will be dividing more the electorate to make even weaker the majority.
    It works before and works now in other countries, it is very effective.

  11. bearbrooke

    I’ve forgotten more than I presently know about politics. But I remember what motivates every successful political party — originative intelligence. The minor players who would be our leaders are not in that way intelligent. Turnbull, Shorten, Silveri, Brey, May, et alia … (excluding Abbott and Trump) are simply administrators. We the voters gave them powers they are not qualified to manage. Voters contrive politicians to suit their dreams. Americans dreamt of Big Daddy and got themselves Trump — nasty, dishonest, someone who believes in rule by a wealthy elite.. We got Abbott — nasty, dishonest, someone who believes in rule by a wealthy elite. What does this say about American and Australian electors? As an entertainment I’ve written an unflattering essay about that; in which I argue that it is voters’ aspirations that need to be examined, not so much the dissection of individual incompetents.

  12. Freethinker

    helvityni, Macron is dangerous for the working class, he said that he will not touch the 35 hours a week, however he will introduce further flexibility around a basic legal framework of labour rights and rules, allowing firms to negotiate deals with their staff on hours and pay.
    We lost here the 37 hours a week by allowing “negotiations”
    Once these negotiations taken place the union movement will be weaker.

  13. cartoonmick

    So many egos and so little time.
    What a shame all this competitive energy couldn’t be channelled into actually running the country, after all, that’s what they’re paid for, that’s the pretence under which they were elected.
    Still, whilst disharmony is unsettling the forest dwellers, cartoonists are busy scribbling . . . (who can remember the “Pooh”)

    Editorial / Political


  14. wam

    revenge??? two Royal Commissions unions $46 m and against gillard and the lemon secret but $20+m the rabbott thrives as god’s avenger

    As for peta could a billy’s girl counter by suggest that labor had the GFC to combat for its debt and had a AAA rating what has the coalition done to double the debt and risk AAA rating?

    the only difference rudd was popular to start with, he used slimes like the monkey and carr, and wimps like husic and pumped hype by leaking to the media and influentials like adams whilst keeping his smile
    poor old rabbott has a tlob a few shock jocks and an inane grin and has to do his own hyping

    your thought:
    At bridge there are religious oldies who think I am a nice man but they never read my letters.

    my brain says
    ‘you are a man who cannot see the truth and are from the devil. To read your opinions risks a virus. To read your lies, risk the devil’s virus entering their mind.

    I have no doubt the rabbott does not read any report before it is vetted and if it contains anything against his beliefs he is told the substance minus the threat.

    ps love it Terryaswell the way 2 re new the nowhere man may be through a resurgent new man.

    pps notice the trump is still tweeting about women’s blood makes me wonder why there is gst on the god given ‘women’s physical impediment to equality when the churches don’t even pay tax?

    ppps Any thoughts on the diludbransimkims, Lord?

  15. Wayne Turner

    The COALition created a monster in idiot Abbott.He was and still unfit to lead anything.A delusional,hopeless,serial liar,with no positive qualities of substance.

    If this government was stupid enough to make him PM again,more fool them.It would show and prove the majority of them are NOT of sound mind either.

    How and why would the majority in the public trust and/or like Abbott again – They disliked him the first time.Now he would have the added bonus of “no sniping and no undermining” aka The delusional,moronic serial liar continues….

  16. Johno

    Need something to inspire more than 1,999 people ozwide to march in march. Turnbull didn’t do it, hanson hasn’t, maybe the tones could.

  17. helvityni

    Freethinker, I believe he’s better than the far-right-extremist, Le Pen….

  18. helvityni

    Cartoonmick, I’m a great Winnie The Pooh fan, but I forgive your ‘ Malkie Pooh’, because your cartoon made me smile… 🙂

  19. Roscoe

    ‘The fact that Tony Abbott is not popular in the community doesn’t matter.’ says it all, really. the voters don’t count for one iota

  20. Freethinker

    Yes helvityni but it is the some approach that many people have here, that the moderate neoliberals in the ALP it is better that the Coalition.
    That it is the problem IMO, good enough it is not good.

  21. Terry2

    Derryn Hich has become a perceptive insider reporting on political shenanigans : he noted last week that :

    ‘I actually believe, and I say this quite seriously, that senior people in the Abbott camp are leaking directly to Bill Shorten,’ he said.

    ‘It is so destructive.’

    ‘They want to bring down Malcolm Turnbull, they don’t care if they lose the next election, they’ll start again and they’ll re-group and this is from the Abbott camp.’

    I think he has a point.

  22. Graeme Henchel

    The dilettante versus the dill
    We can hardly wait for the spill
    Because after round three
    Both these losers will see
    The only winner is Bill

    The fizza versus the Thug
    Oh what a deep hole they’ve dug
    They’ve both been a failure
    They’ve both screwed Australia
    What a torrent of bile they’ll unplug

  23. cartoonmick

    Thanks Helvityni. Extra smiles every day can only make the forest a better place.

  24. cartoonmick

    Some nice work there, Graeme, I like them both, but would give an extra point to the second one.

  25. kristapet

    Appalling and delusional, NOT funny:

    “Tony has a lot of life left in him and has much to give this country.”

    The only thing this Tony has to give to this country is a wrecking ball, because fuelled by revenge, and this, being his prime motivator means the people of Australia will be crushed in the onslaught of his narrow new policies, which will finish off the old, the young, the poor, immigrants and migrants, asylum seekers (annihilated, and worse) and all the welfare, health and education systems, down the economic gurgler!
    All will be undone because:
    He wants to freeze the RET at 15%, have a moratorium on wind farms, build our own coal-fired power stations and slash immigration. He also advocates the banning all new spending except on defence and infrastructure.
    Does he want to be a warmonger like Trump??
    Turn our country into a coal quagmire and finally level the Australian environment with fossil fuel mayhem and cause merry hell with climate change denial on steroids
    Defence toys for what???
    Infrastructure to undo, what, hasn’t been, undone, already??
    Ordinary Australians caught in his revenge eagerness and will be the collateral damage in his reign of power
    Good-bye “You Beaut Country” without even a requiem

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    I noticed Abbott has moved away from white shirts every day. He is calling for members to be given more power, even plebiscites to establish policy. Mightn’t work the way he thinks. Might take the opportunity to clean out neoliberals and ratbags.

  27. Florence nee Fedup

    They are saying they will take plebiscite to next election.

  28. Florence nee Fedup

    The RWN are saying the party is a wide church but they only have respect, demands it rules for neoliberalism. How is that a wide church?

    The same nuts also believe that if elected, Shorten and Labor will muck things up, leaving it open for them to come quickly back to power.

  29. ozibody

    Thank you for another interesting article John.

    Indeed the neocon long game may well be considering their tenure of the Treasury benches is likely drawing to a close . To their way of thinking, Abbott demonstrated previously that he can execute the ‘ no to everything ‘ strategy capably, and, backed vigorously by the Murdoch Media Monopoly, he can destroy a newcomer in short time.

    Much will depend upon the majority factor, and whether the incomer is prepared to clean up deep with a very stiff ( radical ) broom …… e.g. .remove $ $ Money $ $ right out of the ‘ Game ‘ ….. or try the feather duster scam, so as to perpetuate ‘ jobs for the boys ‘ whilst heading for the lucrative spin offs ….. retirement , Super, pension, travel , board positions, working the system… etc. etc.

    It could boil down to ….. can / will / is Australian Labor up for changing Political History and bringing ” The Lucky Country ” into Reality !

  30. Freethinker

    This what Abbott said:
    “For too long the party hierarchy has expected the rank and file to turn up, to pay up and to shut up, Let’s take our party back and then we can win the next election.”

    Turnbull replied: “this is a time for builders, not wreckers”

    There is no question that the internal war have started.

  31. paulwalter

    Tired of the Punch and Judy show, hope they go to it and get themselves tossed out.

  32. RatMatrix

    It takes nothing to notice that Abbott has his heart bent on revenge.

    Expect a Leadership Challenge around September by Abbott to prevent Truffles from gaining the PM pension. Whether he wins or not in inconsequential. Abbott does not want Truffles to get that pension that he himself did not.

    It’s a blatant as that.

  33. Olivia Manor

    Excellent article John. But I had to laugh when I came across this little typo:
    Rudd, after years of leeks……..
    Which leaves me with the question, is this why Abbott moved to onions? To prove another point of difference between himself and the Labor leader?

  34. Florence nee Fedup

    Many including Abbott are ignoring the fact that parliament is acting according to the will op the people who voted last election. PM only has one seat majority. The senate is voting according to the will of the people who voted them in.

    This is how it should be.

    All MPs, including the PM are entitled to one vote. If the PM gets his bills through, he has his so called mandate. If not, no mandate, Same goes for plebiscite. He has kept his promise, lost. Time to move on.

    Our system is not, as Abbott seems to believe, winner takes all. The system has served us well since Federation. Not many times has any PM had majority in both houses. Means government has to convince opposition and people by debate the worthiness of their proposals.

    Abbott and his cronies want unfettered power with no checks and balances.

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