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Day to Day Politics. We have two Prime Ministers. Get used to it.

Friday 11 December

1 Tony Abbott as opposition leader was considered by many commentators as the best ever. What criteria they used for making this judgement is beyond my comprehension. He was however, successful at grabbing headlines with slogans.

How anyone could be judged efficacious by being constantly negative, sexist, ill-mannered and devoid of any policies is difficult to understand.

For me his negativity and lying made him unfit for public service.

That said, he did become Prime Minister. Then something truly remarkable happened in Australian politics. The Australian Prime Minister who was as opposition leader a person devoid of character, attempted a personality conversion to rival nothing hitherto seen in an Australian leader.

During his tenure as opposition leader he used colourful aggressive language. He was bullish in his attitude to others, particularly to the female Prime Minister of the day. His negativity was legendary. He was a repetitive liar by evidence and by his own admission. He held in contempt procedures of the House of Representatives and the conventions it upheld.

Prior to becoming opposition leader his reputation was of someone with a gutter mentality determined to obtain power at any cost.

One month into his term of office we were expected to believe that he had transformed into a mild-mannered, cultured man of some distinction. Walking the global stage as a gentleman with noble intent.

We were expected to put to one side the old Tony Abbott and embrace the new one with unbridled fondness.

We now know the attempt was an abysmal failure.

So lacking in leadership skills was his performance that his party did something it had never done before. They sacked him.

In his farewell speech he indicated that there would be no recriminations, no back stabbing or gossip. In true Abbott style he was just telling more lies. Just laying the groundwork for a future comeback. Well in his eyes anyway.

Every utterance since gives every indication that rather than exit the door of public service with dignity and grace, he plans to hang around, write opinion pieces, make speeches and generally make life as hard for Turnbull as he possibly can.

He intends to be himself, offering an alternative, probably negative view on everything. It almost seems like he has elected himself as the de facto PM in waiting for a bunch of weird right-wing supporters whose world view is a relic of a time long past.

From now on we should become used to Turnbull promoting his and his government’s views followed by Abbott’s conservative version of the same thing.

And I don’t think it will be just the occasional comment. He will adopt his opposition style of gutterish, in your face politics. He will say that we play our politics hard and in his own deluded way pretend that in some strange way it is legitimate.

Should make for exciting times. Andrew Bolt will of course appoint himself to the position of media advisor.

2 Australia wins ‘fossil of the day’ for Julie Bishop’s coal speech at Paris climate talks.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has told a sideline event at the climate talks in Paris that there is a long future ahead for fossil fuels.

At an Indonesian event on transitioning to a low-carbon economy, Ms Bishop indicated long-term change would come not through immediate action, but through as-yet-undiscovered or undeveloped technologies.

Technological breakthroughs and innovation will drive much of the change that will underpin the transition to a low-carbon economy.

That means coal-fired power generation is here to stay,” she said.

Ms Bishop went on to underline the importance of fossil fuels for economic growth.

Fossil fuels will remain critical to promoting prosperity, growing economies, alleviating hunger for years to come,” she said.

It is a fact that energy is a mainstay of our respective countries’ export markets and underpins economic growth.

3 As if to empathise the so-called ‘Broad church’ absurdity of the Liberal Party, Bronwyn Bishop says she will recontest her seat of Mackellar, telling Liberal Party supporters on Sydney’s northern beaches that the “threat of terrorism” had convinced her she needs to remain in Parliament.

The 73 year-old former Speaker told guests at a Christmas drinks party at her Newport home on Tuesday evening that she had been “exonerated” over the “choppergate” expenses scandal and was energised to serve another three-year term as an MP.

4 Diagnosed with early onset dementia young Wyatt Roy says he can’t recall asking Peter Slipper’s staffer James Ashby to illegally copy his official diaries.

5 In Victoria the acting Auditor-General Peter Frost found the business case for the East West Link:

. . . did not provide a sound basis for the government’s decision to commit to the investment.

Key decisions during the project’s planning, development and procurement phases were driven by an overriding sense of urgency to sign the contract before the November 2014 state election. Signing the contract in these circumstances was imprudent and exposed the state to significant cost and risk.

6 I quite liked these lines, amongst others from Bernard Keane on the Abbott prescription from Islam:

“Islam never had its own version of the Reformation and the Enlightenment,” Abbott wrote in the Telegraph.

“It’s commendably broad-minded of Abbott to suggest that the two signal anti-Catholic events of the last 500 years were such good things that Islam should ape them. But perhaps Muslims in the Mediaeval era were too busy developing algebra, inventing effective surgical techniques, revolutionising optical theory, understanding that the Earth revolved around the sun, trading with China, discovering coffee and keeping key classical texts that the West had lost so they could be rediscovered in later centuries, to fit in a Reformation.”

“Oh, and the Reformation had a death toll in the millions as Europe tore itself apart over nuances in superstition, including perhaps 11 million casualties in the Thirty Years’ War, during which the population of many German states was reduced by up to 40%. Is that what Abbott has in mind for Muslims?”

And on that subject the Grand Mufti says Tony Abbott’s call for Islamic Reformation plays into extremists’ hands by conflating Islam with terror. He is correct of course.

7 The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent in November after the jobs market added another 71,400 positions to October’s extraordinary gain of almost 60,000.

The only negative is that the ABS is still working on its methodology. These don’t add up.

Read this summary by John Kelly.


“Our lives should be subject to constant reflection, otherwise the way forward is locked into the constraints of today’s thoughts”.




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  1. Umberto Ledfooti

    Point of order:

    Abbott wasn’t the first PM of their own that the LNP wingnuts had chopped – they also cut down Gorton.

  2. Joe Eisman

    Abbott as best opposition leader ever? Depends on the criteria. We talking his contribution to his party, or his contribution to the country? On contribution to his party, with the help of Murdoch et al, he was outstanding, and possibly the best ever. But how anyone can judge his contribution to good governance of our country as best ever must mean that they were not watching. Truckloads of words have argued the point, but any objective judgment must surely conclude that Abbott was abysmal as opposition leader, and destructive as PM. His statements since even the Libs had had too much of him, prove that he lives in a different reality than the rest of us. I personally am glad that he is still there, making those ridiculous pronouncements. He serves as a constant warning of what happens when a country drifts too far to the political right. Surely most Australians would never elect another government like Abbotts.

  3. Andrew

    This is not quite the same. Gorton voted himself out of office, not his party room, that was split and he cast the deciding vote.

  4. John Lord

    Umberto. Andrew is correct.

  5. Terry2

    There is no bigger mistake that an older person can make than to consider that they are irreplaceable and Bronwyn is falling into that trap. At 73 – we’re the same age – she should understand that we must at some point stand aside and make space for a younger generation – it’s called renewal.

    Pre-selection for Mackellar is not guaranteed and to go out with dignity means retiring in 2016. Bronwyn, we all have our time in the sun but the time comes to move to the shade ; nobody is indispensable.

  6. Chris

    Today(or possibly a day or 2 ago) is International Human Rights Day, which commemorates the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Mary Robinson on Int’l Human Rights Day: Climate Change is the Biggest Human Rights Issue There Is….

  7. Chris

    Australia good do with a Mary Robinson or perhaps a Helen Clark as a PM…….Julia Gillard was never that for Australia.
    That is a good comment from Bernard Keane but it ‘paraphrases’ an article from a while back ( a few years even) but it has become hard to find with all this reformation stuff from various sources and I can’t remember its exact title or where it was published now. This reformation trope has been going on since at least 2002. There is this one from Mehdi Hasan http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/17/islam-reformation-extremism-muslim-martin-luther-europe but it is not the one i mean that concentrated far more on historical contexts.
    I always like referring people to this one “The Western Tradition”. It was produced in Boston in 1989 and hosted by Prof. Eugen Joseph Weber.

  8. Chris

    *could do

  9. Carol Taylor

    Joe Eisman, I too disliked the description given to Abbott of the best Leader of the Opposition. Best at what? Best at aggression, best at lying and getting away with it, best at being delusional? Abbott in Opposition achieved nothing, no amendments, no stopping of legislation. In fact, under Gillard, parliament was able to get a record number of bills passed, while in a minority situation and while having to negotiate with an assortment of Independents. Abbott as PM retained his record, he achieved nothing except a few laughable Captain’s Calls such as reintroducing Knights and Dames and knighting Prince Phillip.

    If it can be said that Abbott achieved at least something, then he bought to the fore that Boys’ Club style governance is a disaster for Australia..after all, you have disenfranchised over 50% of the population.

  10. Kaye Lee


    You forget that women of calibre nearly had a brief moment in the sun – until we realised that they were fraudulent double dippers who not only should not get better paid parental leave, they should give up their current entitlements. All that stuff about the benefits of staying at home nurturing was apparently crap – they should be working and employing a nanny! It’s their own fault if they don’t end up with enough superannuation. It’s up to the women of Team Australia to work, save and invest just like our First Lady.

  11. lawrencewinder

    Best opposition leader…. crap! Incompetent as PM. And now we have Malcon lurching around this Ruling Rabble spinning fantasy tales about innovation whilst rhey all lie to each other…What a mess they have made in their IPA inspired lunacy.

  12. mars08

    In 21st century Australia, where the ruling class believes that the end justifies the means…. Abbott WAS the greatest opposition leader.

    By hook or by crook.

  13. jim

    Your on the money Lawrence like when in opposition the Liberals were ranting the more boats that arrive in Australia the better, yea right better for them not good for Australia, sick bastards. And ;The action by Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison in association with the Greens triggered this dramatic increase in boat arrivals. Both Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison made it abundantly clear that they did not want to stop the boats with an arrangement such as that with Malaysia. They wanted to stop Labor stopping the boats. Their political intentions were revealed by WikiLeaks that reported that ‘a key Liberal Party strategist told the US embassy in 2009 that the more boats that come the better’. (SMH 10 December 2010). Scott Morrison became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship in December 2009.

  14. Do Youself a favour

    @ Chris – re Human Rights Day..

    “Today happens to be Human Rights Day, and this article celebrates the fact that one thousand signatures have now been obtained for the sake of Martin Bryant “and all our sakes.” The person who organized it is Cherri Bonney of Perth.”

    gumshoenews (dot) com/2015/12/10/a-singer-with-a-conscience-cherri-bonneys-petition-for-martin-bryant

  15. Domenic

    Abbott is the opposition leader. Polling seems to be all that matters and voters remain as dumb as ever to policy and the lies. With Shorten being undeservedly invisible to them, voters only seem to register with “anyone but tony” as preferred PM. So sexy Mal can use the Abbott madness to his advantage to differentiate himself. Abbott is his opponent. Poor Shorten gets left in the dark.. again.

  16. David

    I can’t recall Bernard Keane ever having a good word for Julia Gillard in fact I recall writing on twitter ‘Keane borders on the misogyny such is his dislike of Australias first female PM’….and I wasn’t alone, The Political Sword reported this of Keane writing in Crikey about Julia Gillard: “She has given Australians too many conflicting signals about her vision and political persona; in the absence of a clear understanding of just who she is and what she stands for, all voters really know about her is that she knifed Kevin Rudd to get the top job and the government is run by spinmasters and focus groups.”

    Had Bernard not been listening to her, or are the things she was saying not what he wanted to hear, or does he hear different things from what others hear, or did he align himself with most other journalists in virtually writing her off as a competent PM lest he be the odd man out? For me the last option fits the bill.
    As a regular listener and reader to and of the ABC morning shows from breakfast to noon, as time allows, Keane who is used often, comes across as a 2 edged sword. One for his readers in Crikey and the other his other utterances. the two rarely the same.

    Chris you wrote ‘Climate Change is the Biggest Human Rights Issue there Is….insert….then.. ‘Australia (good) do with a Mary Robinson or perhaps a Helen Clark as a PM…….Julia Gillard was never that for Australia.’

    Well I beg to differ big time and would like you to produce evidence of your claim. I have a list of her achievements longer than anything that can be regarded as negatives

    Julia believed in the reality of anthropogenic global warming and stood for action on climate change, had done so for years. She believed that a market-based trading system that places a price on carbon is the most cost-effective way of doing this, and most economists agreed. In response to Tony Abbott’s attack on what he described as a carbon tax, she said before the election that there would be no tax on carbon by a government she led, and I believe she meant it. As it turned out she could not lead a government without the support of the Greens and Independents, and their support necessitated the introduction of a price on carbon as a preliminary to instituting an ETS. She must wish she had used some other form of words such as ‘my strong preference is an ETS, but that means putting a price on carbon pollution’. Her categorical statement, which she contends was not meant to mislead, left her open to being beaten around the head endlessly by Tony Abbott, the Coalition and the media, which repeated that unfortunate statement endlessly. Further it allowed shock jocks like Alan Jones to coin ‘Ju-liar’, and for Tony Abbott to repeatedly call her a liar and insist that she could not be trusted,. allowed him to seriously erode public confidence in her.

    But whatever the dynamics, she stood for strong action to counter global warming and always has. Despite poor polls that she agrees were related to the ‘carbon tax’ debate, she was determined to bring an ETS in and the comments of those on the parliamentary group on climate change WERE sounding as if that would be achieved.

    To offhandedly dismiss her contribution to the climate change debate as you did, perhaps says more about your dismissal of the person herself, rather than the crux of the debate. Try delving into Hansard during her term, on the topic. Her words were/are her defense.

  17. jim

    My bet is that Australia will eventually get a world class NBN or FTTP but not under a Liberal government who IMOO have completely stuffed the NBN so as to obey Murdoch and Telstra etc..Why? because surely the Liberals can’t be that naive well….

  18. Joe Eisman

    Ah, Jim, you’ve nailed it. They are not that naive. But who owns the L-NP? We have a privatised government, one owing allegiance not to Australians, but to money. But don’t worry, when the ALP wins power, we’ll have another privately owned government, and the same people making the rules. At the next election, if we all vote for independent or minor party candidates, our govt may be messy, but it won’t be as anti Australia as we have at the moment.

  19. RosemaryJ36

    Joe – you echo my sentiments – we do not need either major party to have total control and we need to elect independents like Tony Windsor.

  20. Fiona


    I agree with you. Julia Gillard will one day – I hope in the not too distant future – be regarded as one of Australia’s best ever Prime Ministers. She had vision combined with sensible pragmatism, and more importantly, she had empathy with the needs of ordinary (i.e., not the top 1%) Australians, on all the important issues: health, education, social security, protection against violence . . .

    As Andrew Street puts it:

    This is particularly the case if the person speaking is not someone who is part of the community being discussed. Especially since the majority of opinionated people tend to be pinkish-coloured with a private school education and a penis.

    Yes, yes, I realise the context was different, but it’s still a good *ahem* point.

  21. Chris

    Do Youself a favour, … And what was your point there, I wonder ? No I am not looking up petitions about Martin Bryant….

  22. Chris

    David, I was always very concerned that she could not adequately defend herself about the “No carbon tax..” statement. Which was always a silly thing to say anyway. Why ? I have no idea. I tend to suspect her heart wasn’t actually in it. I have often had to give far better explanations for what she said than she ever has. Supposedly what I have said on that matter was right.
    Gillard did lots of damage to various groups in Australia and that has been discussed ad nauseum. She didn’t even provide the good example to women…. I think she would have put many women off the idea (but that is only my opinion). She was a conservative, really.
    I actually advocated for her ahead of Rudd…..but she turned out to be a disappointment imo.

  23. David

    Chris given where Julia is today and with her reputation intact, I believe your opinions of her are worth diddly squat. Get a life.

  24. mars08

    “…. with her reputation intact… “

    Yes, her reputation intact. But is it in the best condition….?

  25. David

    An expected typical response from you Mars

  26. mars08

    So… my reputation is intact??? How splendid…..!!!

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