I quite like the Sydney Morning Herald journalist with the acid wit, Mike Carlton. He’s one of the only journalists left in the country in touch with us common folk and besides, any journalist who refers to Andrew Bolt as Melbourne’s village idiot is worth listening to.
Yesterday he asked that we give Tony Abbott a chance to prove himself as Prime Minister. Suggesting that Tony Abbott entered the job the least credentialed of any in living memory he reminds us that:
. . . history shows that the prime ministership can sometimes have transformative powers, elevating those who attain it. Bob Hawke abandoned his boozy larrikin ways to become Labor’s most electorally successful leader. Paul Keating, with no formal education beyond the age of 15, rose to a dazzling command of the policy heights. John Howard, like Abbott also once seen as unelectable, was the towering conservative figure of his generation for nearly 12 years.
It seems only reasonable to wait and see what Abbott makes of it.
It’s a valid point.
I’ve waited four days. He’s the same idiot. Even the Irish have recognised four days of failure with the Irish Times reporting:
Australia’s new prime minister Tony Abbott spent the last past three years destabilising the Labor administration at every opportunity, saying it was the country’s “worst government ever”.
For a thousand days there was no respite from the Abbott attacks, which made it seem like the longest election campaign to date. But when the actual campaign began, Abbott suddenly shifted gear.
The tough campaigner who said the Labor carbon tax would ruin the economy (it didn’t), and whose scare tactics warned of Labor’s “debt and deficit”, accused Rudd of being “so negative”.
The Australian public could have been forgiven for saying, “Mr Pot, let me introduce you to Mr Kettle”. But they didn’t notice, or were way past caring.
Days before the election, the “budget crisis” Abbott said was Labor’s legacy was forgotten. Knowing the election was in the bag, he backed away from his promise to balance the budget within one term. Now it was “within 10 years” (by which time the Liberal-National coalition will be on its fourth term of government if it is still in power).
Having secured victory with a 32-seat majority, Abbott and his cabinet were not sworn in until 11 days after the election. The supposed budget crisis was now just a memory and the asylum-seeker boats he had pledged to stop from day one of winning power kept on coming. Seven of them in fact, containing more than 500 men, women and children from Iran, Afghanistan and other troubled regions of Asia.
But the Liberal Party chief has been true to his view that climate change is “crap”. The climate commission, an independent body set up by the previous government “to provide reliable and authoritative” information has been abolished.
Former chief commissioner Prof Tim Flannery is disillusioned: “We’ve just seen one of the earliest ever starts to the bush-fire season in Sydney following the hottest 12 months on record,” he said.
Not only an idiot but a powerful one.
But let’s not be candid. Give Tony Abbott a chance and he’ll do what?
In his election victory speech, Mr Abbott promised no surprises. He’s had the chance to prove his word is true but that has already been broken to the detriment of at least one set of disadvantaged Australians. He has also broken his word by not following through with his pre-election commitment to Indigenous Australians.
But it is even more frightening if he doesn’t break his word. True to his form will he succumb to the wishes of the IPA and:
Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 back to $6000. This will drag more than one million low-income earners back into the tax system. It will also increase the taxes for 6 million Australians earning less than $80,000.
Save families $300 dollars a year of Carbon Tax but cost them $2,300 per year in reinstated tax.
Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme.
Privatise Australia Post.
Privatise the SBS.
Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function.
Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport.
End all public subsidies to sport and the arts.
Privatise the CSIRO.
Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built.
Abolish the means-tested Schoolkids Bonus that benefits 1.3 million families by providing up to $410 for each primary school child and up to $820 for each high school child.
Abolish the Baby Bonus.
Repeal the mining tax.
Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol.
Repeal the Fair Work Act.
Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it.
Repeal the marine park Legislation.
Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution.
Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling.
Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784.
Abolish the Clean Energy Fund (done already).
Repeal the renewable energy target.
Introduce voluntary voting.
End mandatory disclosures on political donations.
End media blackout in final days of election campaigns.
End public funding to political parties.
Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency.
Abolish the means test on the private health insurance rebate.
Repeal the Alcopops tax.
Cease subsidising the car industry.
End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia.
Remove anti-dumping laws.
Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification.
Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced ‘.
Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law.
End local content requirements for Australian television stations.
Eliminate media ownership restrictions.
Give Tony Abbott a chance and he’ll also risk the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. According to The Huffington Post:
“Australia is facing a hard choice right now whether to make a quick buck from coal exports or whether to preserve an economically, long-standing national treasure.
” . . . Tony Abbott could overturn all the steps that have been taken domestically to protect the environment, to instead fast track coal export developments and drastically weaken environmental laws that were created to protect the country”.
Give Tony a chance! You’re kidding me!
Mike, it’s insulting to Hawke, Keating and Howard to be compared in some small way with Abbott. Even Howard waited a few years before unleashing his hunger for power and his pandering to the big end of town. Those three men are intellectual giants compared to our new Prime Minister. They also believed, rightly or wrongly (with the exception of Howard on occasions) that most of their actions were in the best interests of the country. Give Tony Abbott a chance and he’ll show us the complete opposite.
Mike, I also think it’s irrelevant if the prime ministership makes a good man out of Tony Abbott. He won’t be remembered for it. Instead, he’ll be remembered as the bloke we gave a chance to run this country and who blew it. Spectacularly.
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