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The Decline and Fall of ‘Team Australia’

As much as I struggled to agree with anything John Howard said or did when he was Prime Minister, there is one thing I had to give him credit for and that was his willingness to compromise; not that he did it very often. I don’t see the same attribute in Tony Abbott. He seems too obsessed with achieving a desired outcome and too ideologically driven to admit error.

Not surprisingly, these were classic characteristics of his mentor, Bob Santamaria. To illustrate the point, take his response to the little girl’s question when visiting Seaforth Public School in Sydney last week. The little girl’s question was, “What happens when people don’t agree with your point of view?” Abbott’s answer was so drawn out it became boring, but at no stage did he use the word ‘compromise’. He should have given the class a one word answer, i.e. compromise. He couldn’t do it.

Lenore Taylor reinforced this view when she wrote in The Guardian that he appears unwilling to listen and how this is perceived both in the cabinet and by the rest his parliamentary colleagues.

“In the final sitting weeks of the winter session,” Lenore wrote, “Tony Abbott held an unusual meeting of his full ministry during which he was asked by a junior minister how the government was intending to deal with the widespread view that it had broken election promises. The prime minister’s response was forceful and absolute. The government had not broken a single promise, he insisted. There was nothing to deal with, no case to answer.”

It is this refusal to acknowledge the bleeding obvious that we can identify as the beginning of Abbott’s demise. If he is unwilling to even consider that he has broken election promises, one can only draw the conclusion that he has become the problem. No government party will tolerate that for long. If they can’t get him to change his approach on the issues they know will certainly bring them all down, they will get rid of him.

Joe Hockey (image from afr.com)

Joe Hockey (image from afr.com)

Now, let’s look at Joe Hockey and the state of the May budget. Between Labor, the Greens and the PUP and other independent Senators, the main thrust of what was delivered on budget night looks almost certain to become dead meat, precipitating a rewrite. Even Peter Costello has weighed in with some free advice. A rewrite of the budget would necessarily see an end to the Medicare co-payment proposal, so too Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme, the deregulation of university fees as well as a revision of the quite brutal attack on the unemployed. When coupled with the abandonment of the proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, this represents collectively, a failure of leadership.

Hockey has rejected Costello’s advice which tells us that he, like Abbott, is not listening either, despite travelling the country trying to convince the cross bench Senators to pass his budget. This is not all that surprising given his public display of defiance but as the pressure builds for a major rewrite, ultimately he will almost certainly be forced into a humiliating back down.

This will not just be seen as a defeat, it will further diminish his leadership aspirations and cause a groundswell of antagonism among different members of the parliamentary party, further dividing the pro-Abbott camp from the Hockey camp. That’s a recipe for self- destruction.

If anyone doubts that, think Rudd/Gillard, Howard/Costello, Hawke/Keating, Fraser/Peacock, Whitlam/Cairns and Gorton/McMahon. Such internal disunity has been the driving factor in the defeat of five of the last six administrations. That this should be occurring to the Abbott government just one year after winning the election must count as a staggering piece of mismanagement on their part and a refusal to learn from history.

More significantly, these self-inflicted wounds place the government in a parlous position. All current polling tells them they will lose the next election and that Tony Abbott is a major reason for their decline. More recently, support for Joe Hockey has also fallen dramatically from an earlier high, precipitated by a budget that has become a millstone around his neck. Jovial, genial Joe now finds himself being portrayed as uncaring, heartless Joe. Hardly the preferred image for a future leader.

So, where to from team1 here? The likelihood is, nowhere, precisely because they are not listening and because their performance thus far, has been a train wreck. It has exposed the inequality evident in their ideology. It has further exposed the absence of an alternative leader. Whoever they chose would prove to be just as divisive as Abbott. The only two that come to mind are Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull. We all know how unpopular Turnbull is within the party and Bishop has convinced many that she has struggled as Foreign Affairs minister and has, at times, appeared out of her depth. Expecting her to present as a viable prime minister is pushing the envelope. Having said that, she is the likely choice. The rank outsider would be Kevin Andrews but it is difficult to see someone further to the right of Tony Abbott ever being elected leader in the foreseeable future.

And therein lies the dilemma for Team Australia. Furthermore, when your most ardent supporter starts to criticise your performance, you know the end is near. The Murdoch camp is already starting to back pedal.

 

43 comments

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  1. Pingback: The Decline and Fall of ‘Team Australia’ | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  2. aravis1

    Good summary. Hard to say whether pleasure at the probable outcome of all this incompetence and malevolent stupidity, or utter bewilderment at a party that has shown itself to be so far out of its league that it cannot govern, is uppermost in my mind. One thing I do know, without any doubt whatsoever, is that I CANNOT WAIT (metaphorically speaking) for the end of the trainwreck. I would enjoy researching the proposition that, as “birds of a feather flock together”, so do narcissist/psychopaths. Never seen so many in one place before.

  3. Keitha Granville

    It is hard to fathom how a group of supposedly intelligent men could be so unutterably foolish, or so incredibly vain, to allow themselves to fall so far so quickly. And how the rest of the party is just letting it happen without doing a thing to stop it. I am delighted of course, being a human being who believes in fairness, equality, social values, and basic human decency – all qualities which this mob seems to have total disregard for, and which will ultimately be the reason for their demise. I wonder if they will ever know and understand that. It is greatly heartening to see John Howard, Malcolm Fraser and now even Peter Costello coming out in opposition to many of the budget policies. Perhaps one of those need to take TA and friends aside and have a quiet word ?

  4. Wayne Turner

    The sooner they go the better…

  5. Dan Dark

    Yep what a gaggle of geese they are, their arrogance and their air of entitlement is so offensive it wants to make me puke..
    To contribute or contaminate is their dilemma and all they have managed to do is contaminate anything within cooee of them useless selves,
    a gov pfffftt….. 7 useless bits of legislation in nearly 12 months, if they were looking after a baby it would of died by now due to laziness, inaction and incompetence, and they are looking after the country supposedly what a joke
    the whole lot of them should be put on little yellow boats and towed out to middle of the sea and let them find their way to India, I cant wait till I see the back of every last one of the idiots 😉

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Here is an example of Abbott’s never willing to admit wrongdoing by anybody in the Liberals. In relation to a question asked to him on ICAC and Liberal politicians involved in corruption.

    PM: I think you should withdraw (corrupt allegation) and apologise because there is no evidence whatsoever for that.”

    Tim Owen admits lying to ICAC.

    Oh, yet Abbott is never hesitant to level wrongdoing on Labor, Greens or anybody else he’s ideologically opposed to without any evidence whatsoever. Indeed he’s willing to make things up, lie and even hold deliberately stacked enquiries to fabricate wrongdoings against them.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    Here’s another response on questioning of Liberal ministers’ corruption.

    “Let me not mince my words, madam,an entirely unjustified smear & frankly,I think you should withdraw”-Abbott

  8. Dan Dark

    I saw that one too, “withdraw”, withdraw what a question that she was entitled to ask , and there was how he tried to avoid Bernie Banton, but was quick to smear Bernie in a very unjust way sneaking in the back door to avoid Bernie…..Tone’s is a bone head no other way to put it, Phony Tony is screwed in the head, and has no shame when it comes to smearing and accusing and demonising and dividing, and vilify the most vulnerable, what makes a bloke so f*cked like him and his enforcers?
    “please explain” somebody, cos I am just gob smacked at the excuse of a human he even is, let alone being a PM.

  9. Rob031

    For all you Terry Pratchet readers –

    To paraphrase one of his asides (about Alchemists):

    Tony Abbott would cut his head off if he thought it would help him survive longer as PM

    (Oh, and by the way, it seems that Costello has just had another swipe at the Government – this time about ‘Team Australia’ – in the SMH I think)

  10. Dan Dark

    Goooo Costello, thanks Rob I will go have a look

  11. Dan Dark

    Thanks I couldn’t find it, but there is a lot of talk generally about how the gov are going to survive and a new election already might fix it, all under 12 months, you have to give it to them the worst opposition and now worst gov in Aussies history, and he wanted to be remembered as the infrastructure prime minister, it will be how he destroyed any structure in this country, goooo Costello Oi Oi Oi give it your best shot 🙂

  12. Dan Dark

    Costello got shafted back then, so maybe he us doing a bit of shafting himself now 🙂

  13. Dan Dark

    Lol thanks Rob, most entertaining
    the chickens are coming home too roost, for this gaggle of geese and it’s fun to watch, joe nearly couldn’t keep the smile off it’s face when explaining, now that tells you something, he knows his lying and holding back smiling is a sure sign, old Smokin joe, the smoke and mirror, rabbits in hats, or is that taxes is not working, never really did, what a toe tapping dreamer he is 😉

  14. Anomander

    Thanks John. I too think Abbott’s response to that little girl was particularly telling. Not once did he ever acknowledge that sometime you may be wrong or that other people may be right. No comment about needing to reassess your own opinion or that it is OK for people to have differing opinions. No, instead his advice was simply to persuade the other person to change their mind.

    This is not the kind of lesson I want our kids to be learning. I want children to acknowledge other people’s opinions are equally valid and to question their own interpretations and opinions. The last thing we need is a generation of ignorant, blinkered idiots like this government, hell-bent on bludgeoning the populace until the finally yield.

  15. Kaye Lee

    He didn’t use the word compromise, nor did he use the word negotiate, let alone any idea that maybe you need to listen to opposing views and assess their merit.

    ”There’s a commitment that I want to give you … There will not be deals done with independents and minor parties under any political movement that I lead,”

  16. Dan Dark

    Lol yea now he is trying his hardest to make a deal, what a goose, see not so easy in the hot seat Smokin Joe,,

  17. aravis1

    Yes, Kaye, I sat waiting for him to even hint that debate should contain a willingness to listen to the other’s views. But this is textbook narcissism, and I was not surprised at his answer. That we have a person of this lack of calibre or even intellectual capacity, running – or not – our country, is extremely worrying.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Tony’s unwillingness to listen or compromise and his absolute certainty that he is right is a trait he has shown all his life. This is from an article he wrote in the Bulletin about why he left the seminary. The arrogance has always been there.

    “Looking back, it seems that I was seeking a spiritual and human excellence to which the Church is no longer sure she aspires. My feeble attempts to recall her to her duty — as I saw it — betrayed a fathomless disappointment at the collapse of a cherished ideal.

    In addition, a “cooperative” style of management ran counter to the Church’s age-old hierarchical structure.

    The more they played up lay ministry and ecumenism and played down the unique role of the priest in the one true Church, the more the struggle seemed pointless.

    l felt “had” by a seminary that so stressed ”empathy” with sinners and “dialogue” with the Church’s enemies that the priesthood seemed to have lost its point.

    I think I had subconsciously stipulated that the Church needed to forget the usual considerations of prudent caution and simply agree, just once, to what I wanted.”

  19. DanDark

    Kaye as I read it he even tried to bully the church, gob smacking, he is delusional and has been all his irrelevant life…

  20. John Fraser

    <

    Gotta love technology.

    Ever since "Team Abbott" decided unemployed had to do 40 job applications a month I have been advising people to apply for jobs in Liberal M.Ps offices ….. why should small business have all the "fun".

    I tell them it will take about 6 weeks to get a response from an M.P. and to just keep applying.

    Now there is a phone APP to assist :

    http://applyforthedole.com.au/

    Lets see how Abbott the TechTool handles this.

  21. guest

    As people have pointed out frequently, Abbott has a history which did not augur well and so it has turned out .

    For anyone aspiring to be PM, his endless bike riding and photo ops wearing other people’s uniforms and hard hats, or his Putinesque macho parading in red budgie smugglers, looked rather strange.

    As well, his political party lost two elections and has now been recycled. We had a good idea that they would struggle. None of them have any form in economic matters, and it shows in the May Budget, still not ratified. They were not well prepared for government. They have relied too much on thought bubbles from the IPA/Tea Party and on an ideological desire to obliterate anything achieved by Labor and supporting politicians.

    Labor in power tore itself apart with internal faction fighting. Voters will remember that. Labor has to make sure it gets it right next time and is able to articulate policies which are meaningful and acceptable. And has to show it can repair what many see as a problem with debt.

    It might be stating the obvious, but if both Labor and the Coalition are seen to be incompetent, then the kind of Parliament we get next could be a rabble of a different kind.

  22. Shevill Mathers

    And in the school interview session about compromise, Abbott had to still lie, he said “Well, that does not happen very often”, what utter twaddle, a few nuts & bolts have come seriously loose or missing.

  23. O'Bleak

    Abbott appears to possess a unique ability to lie and believe his own lie. Interesting conundrum this, for if you believe you don’t lie then you aren’t a liar because even if you lie you’re convinced you don’t lie because you believe you aren’t a liar because you believe the lie you didn’t tell because you don’t lie. Hope that’s cleared it up for you. I think I’m going to lie down for a while now , I have a headache.

  24. Hotspringer

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!
    Nothing could induce me to become a part of Team Australia that includes such loathsome despicable creatures as A bott and his maggots.

  25. Rob031

    A copy of a comments post I put up on The Age: “New election mooted to bust budget impasse” by James Massola. Just some of my own thought-bubbles really…

    Unless the ALP put together a more balanced budget plan that involves introducing/raising taxes as well as reducing expenditures they’ll find themselves making the deficit worse. And it’ll all wind up a hell of a mess again. It appears that few are willing to do anything on the income side of the equation. The current wisdom is that taxation is political poison/suicide.

    I’d dearly like to see Abbott and Co booted out ASAP. However I don’t think this would be a very good idea. What we need is for the current mob to progressively go down the gurgler of incompetence with as much negative publicity as possible. Only if their UNpopularity ratings go through the roof and stay there; only if they wind up so on the nose that any political party would be seen as a dead set improvement; perhaps only then could we count on the ALP developing a set of really decent policies that will bite the bullet and improve things for all.

    So: NO to DD or early election. No premature adjudication at the polls. But… if they did all this and got back in in 2016 we’d still have a Senate with lots of anti-taxation senators. Oh boy.

  26. Anne Byam

    Kaye pointed out statements made by Abbott :

    – – – – – – – – ”There’s a commitment that I want to give you … There will not be deals done
    – – – – – – – – with independents and minor parties under any political movement that I lead.”

    Apart from the dealing of cards ( and what a crap hand we’ve been dealt !! ) …. another definition of ‘deal’ is :

    ” an agreement entered into by two or more parties for their mutual benefit, especially in a business or political context.”

    That statement alone by Abbott, ( along with dozens of others he’s made ) has to make one think ” DICTATOR ” … and dictators establish fascist totalitarian regimes. They don’t deal, compromise or discuss – it is beneath their self-perceived ‘supremacy’.

    As for his wanting to “recall ( the Catholic Church ) to her duty” ??? . AGAIN a pompous authoritarian statement. What truly shows where his stony heart lies, is his obvious disgust at the Church having ’empathy’ with sinners ??? Perhaps he seriously believes he is ‘without sin’. Well – he’s cast a lot of stones … and they are about to ricochet right back at him and bite him in the bum – big time.

    The absolute arrogance of this bloke !!

    Who on this EARTH did he really ‘think’ he was destined to be ? Or WHAT he was destined to be ?

    Would really like to make a few suggestions ( and maybe predictions ) as to what this PMs’ destiny REALLY is ?

  27. Dan Dark

    The next 20 years behind bars we can hope that is where Conman Tones will be 😉

  28. Rob031

    O’Bleak: “Abbott appears to possess a unique ability to lie and believe his own lie.

    It’s difficult to understand the kinds of mental gyrations involved that may be going on in the mind of a person like Tony Abbott. How does he “make the pieces fit” – assuming here that he actually tries? But he may actually be trying – as in expending some mental effort.

    I know an experienced art teacher. One of the young boys is sprung with a lump of clay that he’s about to hurl at another kid. When confronted: “No Miss. I’m not about to do that.” “So, what is that you’ve got in your right hand?” “Nothing miss.” “Open your hand.” “What’s that then?” “How did that get there!”

    The kid is genuinely surprised. This, I was told, is quite common with year 7/8 kids. Saying it makes it real in their own minds. Most grow out of this as they get older.

    Could it be that Tony Abbott has remained stuck at this level/stage of mental development? That this is what we are seeing playing out in his very public ‘adult’ life?

  29. Rob031

    Forgive me for this self-indulgent video-post. But Irony is a powerful weapon. In it we see Bob Hawke who is different but also similar to Mr Abbott in a kinda bizarre juxtapositional kind of way. Anyway if you’re an old fart like me you may appreciate how the ABC has progressively been emasculated since 1983 or so – at least.

  30. silkworm

    Sociopaths do not believe their own lies. When they lie, they know they are lying. It’s just that when they are caught out or challenged, their first recourse will be to tell another lie. They will lie about lying. And they will keep on lying in order to bamboozle you so that you will give in and accept their lies. So when Tony Abbott said he had never broken any of his promises, he was lying. He knew he had broken many promises.

  31. corvus boreus

    Probably the most telling illustration of Tony Abbott’s attitude to verbal deception was at the hands of Kerry O’Brien (I think).
    He was asked about a recent meeting with Cardinal Pell. He initially denied such a meeting took place. When details of the meeting were given, after a few lizard blinks, he then admitted the meeting and aggressively asked what was wrong with such a meeting. ‘I did not! … oh,..and why shouldn’t I have?’.
    As on so many other occasions, he was clearly lying, and knowingly so.
    I think he applies the platonic notion of the ‘noble lie’ to agendas that do not appear to be implemented for the greater good.
    This is a misapplication.
    A lie can only have any notion of nobility if there is no personal benefit to the teller, otherwise it’s just a common, grubby lie.
    As to the answer to the Seaforth schoolgirl’s tough question, maybe;
    “A good idea is to listen to and examine the validity of differing proposals and objections, re-examine and evaluate the validity of your own standpoint with the additional information.
    Adjust your ideas, then put forward your new proposals, with a view to negotiating an outcome for the greatest common good.”
    Open communication. Rational analysis. Negotiatory compromise. All sadly lacking in that lying grub..

  32. DanDark

    I just rang the NAB bank and gave them a serve after seeing interview with Emma on Lateline last night
    the chairman of the joint Chaney, another old white bloke trying to tell us that the gov are doing right thing with budget,
    but couldn’t answer any questions about his bank, had no figures no numbers on fecking anything she asked him, said he didn’t know ROFL, he does know he knows but didn’t want to tell the TRUTH about NABs scams and late penalty rates

    Soooo I said “Tell Mr Chaney answer all the questions not the ones he wants to, not just cherry pick, he is an idiot and it stood out last night, and he is chairman, what a joke of a bank you are so according to Garp/Chaney the banks and gov can screw the little people, your numbers are up March in August coming to you soon, you pack of arrogant unscrupulous conmen”
    , I said “one word mate Revolution and its coming so you banks better start running I have my mortgage with you so I know how your criminals work at your bank you have taken the crown for the worst bank in the country behind the Commonwealth geee you should be proud of that, out doing your competition lol”

    I did say more but I wont type it all out, I could be typing for a while, but I did comment about Sinodinis and how thick he is in with the NAB as he worked for the NAB and drew up the new legislation to get rid of protections Gillard put in to protect people from banks like you, I did say at the end of convo, have a great day now won’t you sir 🙂

  33. Dan Dark

    ME that would be a no, Phony Tony is lower than a yellow belly snake….

  34. mars08

    Ah… off topic… but did anyone see Peta Credlin at the the table with Major Debacle when he was in “security talks” earlier this week??

  35. Dan Dark

    Yea Herman the Munster you mean, sitting up there like Jacky she was, making sure Major Debacle goes by her script, what a joke, we had Kerry an co here and Tones is over there sitting around tables talking shit…

  36. Max Gross

    It’s really quite simple and doesn’t require further analysis. Abbott are his gang are vicious, demented pigf*ckers

  37. aravis1

    No, Mobius, I don’t believe so. I’m in a particularly vicious mood this morning because of a communication from my own family psychopathic narcissist – but even so, I do not believe he is capable of decent behaviour. Unlike decent people, he embraces his demons, rather than fight them.

  38. Don Winther

    I watched an old Q&A last night May 2013 with Prime Minister Jillia Gilard being questioned by a bunch of school kids, she was really good. It was refreshing to hear clear honest answers, she was OK. Bad luck for Australia that Labor exploded.

    “Abbotts an Idiot”

  39. Trevor

    That Abbott is absolutely corrupt and without any merit to his delusion of grandeur is a high fuluting way of saying what the ex MP FOR NEW ENGLAND stated” that Abbott would sell his arse to get that position”

    Now everyone who cares to look sees that Abbott indeed sold his arse to be PM.

    And now a kind of reckoning is playing out with Abbott stubbornly denying reality.

    When reality strikes Abbott it wont be one fish in his face. Ha, ha, ha, ha,ha.

    The most hated man in the most hated govt.

    Export Abbott not Refugees

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