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Grossly conceited and out of their league.

Tony Abbott’s recent comments comparing himself with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and John Howard prompt some interesting afterthoughts. Without commenting on either Reagan or Thatcher’s credentials, they are still strange bedfellows with whom he chooses to be associated.

“This is not the first government to have a rough patch in the polls,” Mr Abbott told Channel 7’s Sunrise program. “The Howard government, the Thatcher government, the Reagan government all had rough patches in the polls.”

Firstly, to have the gall to compare himself in any context with either Thatcher or Reagan is a grossly conceited act and not just ignores the political climate for both leaders at the time, but fails to see the vastly different economic world we live in today. And trying to claim some comparison with John Howard sounds like a vain attempt to restore some of his own crumbling reputation by association.

Neither of these pathetic efforts will work, even with the most rusted-on Liberal supporters. They may still plan to vote for him, but I can’t see them doing it with any conviction. Abbott has also forgotten how John Howard fared in the1998 election that so nearly made him a one term prime minister.

election In that election Labor gained an additional 18 seats and fell short by just 6 seats of winning even though they won 51.54% of the two part preferred vote. The 2016 election will be more difficult for the LNP. The electoral boundaries will not be as kind to Abbott as they were to Howard.

If the LNP lose just 15 seats they will lose their majority and the independents will have the balance of power. Assuming the 5 independents are returned (unlikely as that is), it is hard to see all of them aligning themselves with the LNP. However, if Labor win 21 seats they will win government in their own right; not a huge ask if the present polls are any indication.

Upcoming state elections due in Queensland and New South Wales will doubtless restore the balance for Labor in both states after their previous disastrous results, even if they don’t win. This will place additional pressure on Abbott and will likely result in him making more mistakes, more gaffes, more blunders.

But even before that, Abbott needs to take a closer look at what the Howard government achieved after they scraped home in 1998. As economic managers their record is not very flattering.

telstra They sold off highly profitable and productive assets including, Telstra, our remaining share of the Commonwealth Bank, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Airports and Dasfleet together with a litany of others. They ignored glaring infrastructure projects that could have been financed with the windfall of money pouring in from the mining boom.

They chose not to increase compulsory superannuation contributions at a time when salaries were going through the roof. They sold off 167 tonnes of our gold reserves at ridiculously low prices compared with what happened subsequently.

Between 1997 and 2002 they lost $4.5 billion gambling on foreign exchange markets. They squandered vast amounts of revenue that could have been used for projects that contributed to growth (GDP) and spent it buying votes with middle class welfare handouts that no one needed.

Peter Hartcher wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald in March 2009, The big picture of Howard fiscal policy was much worse. As the Treasury reported last year, from the 2004-05 budget to the 2007 election the China boom and a robust economy added $334 billion in windfall gains to the budget surplus. Of this, the Howard government spent, or gave away in tax cuts, $314 billion, or 94 per cent.”

Another comprehensive article on the fiscally irresponsible behaviour of the Howard government can be found here. Yet despite this damning evidence, the general population still believes those wasted years represented good financial management. And, even today they rate the LNP as better financial managers.

If this is what Tony Abbott wants to be compared with, a government where he and Joe Hockey were ministerial members, he has overlooked one crucial factor.

HC Abbott and Hockey do not have a truckload of money to waste. They are in the opposite position to John Howard and Peter Costello.

It’s only going to get worse from here and compared with Howard, Thatcher and Reagan, he and his treasurer are out of their league and dropping further behind each day.

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19 comments

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  1. Wun Farlung

    It’s all good John.
    After watching the clown trying to explain the medicare co-payment that is going to be collected by GP’s last night , I reckon it was like putting a wooden stake through his heart. Hopefully the GP’s will nail the coffin shut for us.

  2. Kerri

    I just like the way Abbott compares himself to two sufferers of Altzheimer’s!!! One of them showing signs whilst in office!! Many are questioning his mental acuity.

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  4. Gregory T

    Who can forget, that Reagan had “Just say no” Nancy to cover for him. I doubt that Margie will be stepping in, but then again, there’s always Peta.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Next he’ll be comparing himself to GW Bush. And why not? Everybody else does. 😉

  6. corvus boreus

    A leader worthy of Nixon.
    Tony Abbott, an honorary Dick.

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    His hero from far in the past, that most have moved on from

  8. Möbius Ecko

    Did anyone else the highly embarrassing presser with Abbott and the Ukrainian president? I squirmed in my lounge watching it and thought how did this fool become our PM.

  9. stephentardrew

    Mobius:

    I thought it was a comedy skit you mean that debacle was for real?

  10. DanDark

    ME….Yes I saw it, I ended up turning the TV over, when the bullshit about Tones being popular in Ukraine, lol I couldn’t contain myself from laughing at this bumbling baboon we call a PM
    how much did Tones pay Him to say that, omg it’s past funny now,
    paying other presidents to comment on Tones non popularity in the country, the libs are despeeeerate 🙂

    we got another basting on Impact BBC last night for repealing the carbon tax, and putting a measly 200 mill to green fund, compared our pittance to other countries and noted we took it out of the aid budget
    the woman also said, Australia is reliant on Fossil fuel and mine a lot of mineral resources to sell off to other countries, half the population are still thinking in the 20 the century and think coal and mineral sources etc is good, but the other half of population are more progressive and forward thinking and live in the 21 st century and support renewable energy and want to combat climate change and are becoming more vocal.. 🙂

  11. DanDark

    ROFL , a “debacle” is exactly what it was, apparently no one much from UK or New Zealand want to come and live here anymore, the rate of Aussies looking to get out of country has sky rocketed, I am one of the ones who wants out,
    I am over being embarrassed and ashamed of this gov on a daily basis, we are the piranha of the world because of Tones and His pack of degenerative misfits we call our Gov…

  12. My Halo Broke

    I think you mean “pariah”. A piranha would be more positive.

  13. DanDark

    My Halo broke, I ment piranha…
    Tony and Co reminds me of one of those nasty little suckers they are slimy, friggin’ ugly,
    they have sharp teeth and will rip anything it can apart and very quickly…

  14. eli nes

    Congratulations my family bombarded gillard with letters and posts begging them to provide the grass roots with ammo against the howard/abbott bulldust but you are the first journalist to articulate howard’s wasteful selling of assets.
    Well, want to be popular? Find a bogan who hates the labor ABC, thinks gillard and swan did nothing but ruin the economy and believes howard was a great prime minister? Spread a little butter and ask for three things howard did for Australia. Give him a hint GST, weapons of mass destruction wars and, depending on his size, either children overboard or wheat board bribes.

  15. Bob Parker

    Apart from ultra right wing views, both Thatcher and Regean were demented and I’m fairly sure Abbott is too. Were there a King George III medallion for being the biggest lunatic to lead an English speaking nation it would have been held jointly by Reagan and Thatcher, then passed to Dubya Bush and then in turn to Abbott.

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  17. townsvilleblog

    Abbott seems to have this er ah um inflated sense of his own importance and a belief that hurting low to middle income families is the only way to go. Thankfully an investigation through the ATO has snared approximately $4 billion (not million) in unpaid taxes from the wealthy at a very opportune time.

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