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I have a mandate

In 1963, when Martin Luther King articulated his dream for the future of his children, he touched the hearts and minds of people around the world. He spoke of a world of equal opportunity for all, a world where children would be nurtured, a world where people would be safe and free from hatred and intolerance.

He spoke of the shameful situation where, 100 years after emancipation, “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

As I listened to this speech again, I could not help but compare it to the vision, or lack thereof, from our current government. “I have a mandate” does not quite have the same ring to it. Aiming to leave our children debt free seems such a paltry goal, one that is naively unattainable and questionably desirable.

Where is the plan for the country we want to be? Where is the path to the world Martin Luther King dreamed of?

Tony’s dream seems to change daily. Early in the piece, stopping the boats was his main aim. Endless hours in Parliament were devoted to a count of boat arrivals and deaths at sea. Countless headlines told us how a few thousand asylum seekers were destroying our way of life.

Since taking office, Operation Sovereign Borders has been the one policy that has an open-ended budget – whatever it takes. Everything is sacrificed to stop the boats – tens of billions of dollars, our relationship with our neighbours, our international reputation and the reputation of our Navy. We are even prepared to sacrifice the lives of those people who have come to us seeking safe haven, and risk the mental and physical health of asylum seekers and their children by incarcerating them indefinitely, even though they are the victims and have committed no crime other than to ask for our help.

In an attempt to appeal to female voters, Tony took an awkward foray into the world of feminism by promising a generous paid parental leave scheme to encourage “women of calibre” to have babies. His caring new persona was backed up by interviews with his female relatives and uncomfortably private revelations from his female Chief of Staff. This very costly and widely unpopular scheme remains in the budget after a slight trim which barely affects its cost.

Closer to election time, it once again became a referendum on the carbon tax. This great big new tax on everything was wrecking our economy and driving up the cost of living for ordinary Australians. Tony promised to save us $550 a year from our power bills because pensioners were having to choose between eating and being warm.

When the carbon tax was shown to be working in reducing demand, and the economy kept growing with low inflation, the focus shifted more to integrity and trust.

“So my pledge to you is that I won’t say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards because fibbing your way into office is what’s brought our public life into disrepute.” – January 31, 2013

“We will be a no-surprises, no-excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future.” – August 25, 2013

Despite alarmist rhetoric warning of a budget emergency, an economic crisis, and a debt and deficit disaster, Tony promised repeatedly in that simplistic manner he has of counting off on his fingers, no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions, no changes to the GST and no cuts to the ABC and SBS.

During one of a million election doorstops a reporter asked him: ”The condition of the budget will not be an excuse for breaking promises?”

”Exactly right” replied Tony. ”We will keep our commitments that we make …” he went on to say for the umpteenth time in the campaign.

I have a mandate! (image by

I have a mandate! (image by

Buoyed by an overwhelming victory in the election and being handed the keys to the safe, each Minister seemed to go off on their own path to glory.

Warren Truss was the warm-up act, re-announcing funding for roads that had previously been funded. Apparently, if you close off funding from one source and then fund it from a different source then you can claim it as your own initiative, a strategy they are also using in education.

We then have spokesmodel Jamie Briggs with the big introduction…”It really gives me pleasure to introduce to you, the indescribable, the incompatible, the unadorable…..Prime Minister for Infrastructure.”

Tony has gone on a flurry of spending on roads that have not had the appropriate studies done. They are not high on the list of priorities carefully constructed by Infrastructure Australia. Rather than making voters happy, many of these roads are striking opposition from residents and businesses who are demanding more information. One of the main criticisms is that these bits of roads do not link up to integrated public transport networks. They may provide routes for freight trucks but they are not helping commuters get to work. Endless kilometres of bitumen carrying thousands of cars to nowhere.

Roads seem to be the only plan to address the growing unemployment situation. How many people can it employ? What do these people do when the road is finished? What assets are we selling to build these roads? What employment plans are there for people not suited to building roads?

Joe Hockey devoted his time to strategies to make himself look good. He immediately borrowed $8.8 billion to give to the RBA. He then pulled off the most amazing sleight of hand by convincing people that the figures in MYEFO were Labor’s debt and deficit. Ignore the fact that this document was actually the debt and deficit using Coalition policies, lie about the debt by quoting a possible debt in ten years’ time and attribute it to Labor, inflate the deficit with your own spending and assumptions, and then produce a Budget that reduces your own inflated deficit by taking money from the most vulnerable in our society.

Joe is also future-proofing himself by getting sick people to contribute $20 billion to reduce the deficit. Do not be fooled into thinking this money is going to medical research. It is not. The interest earned by the money is to go to research but the principal will sit there untouched to make Joe’s bottom line healthier, courtesy once again, of our most vulnerable.

Scott Morrison enjoyed the limelight as he went on his relentless campaign of showing just how big a bastard this country could be, spending money hand over fist.

Christopher Pyne immediately began remoulding education to his priorities which seem to focus on our Judeo-Christian heritage and the ANZAC legacy. He also wants more mention of Conservative politicians and the role of big corporations in shaping our identity. Rote learning and teacher-based instruction will replace research, discovery, initiative and creativity.

When you hear Christopher say he has put an extra $1.2 billion into education to sign up the remaining States to the Gonski reforms, he got that $1.2 billion by ripping almost $1 billion out of the trades training centres programme and the rest of it by abolishing the before and after school care program. And now we find that they have ripped a further $80 billion out of funding to the States for health and education.

Andrew Robb has been signing Free Trade Agreements quicker than they can be printed. The reason other countries are willing to sign so quickly after years of negotiation is because this government is prepared to give up so much for so little in return purely so they can say we got the job done.

Our Health Minister is busily dismantling Medicare and our Environment Minister is getting rid of all environmental protections in his haste to approve more coal mines and more logging. Our Social Services Minister is removing gambling reforms, cutting welfare and pensions, and encouraging people to stay married regardless of how bad it is.

Our communications Minister is unravelling arguably the greatest potential boost to productivity this country would have seen, and breaking his promise to protect our National Broadcaster.

The rhetoric has now changed. The main promise was apparently to fix the budget. All other election promises can be sacrificed to achieve this one. I do believe that governments have to be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances but I do not believe that the situation has changed so drastically as to warrant the attack we have seen in this budget.

As Hugh Mackay says

“this is a profoundly disappointing budget. It’s not the economics; it’s not the politics; it’s the clear sign that this government has young people, the sick, the poor, the unemployed, the elderly and the marginalised in its sights.”

A joint press release by the cigar-smoking duo of destruction says

“Gross government debt is now forecast to be $389 billion in 2023-24, compared with the $667 billion left behind by the former Government.”

In his MYEFO document produced in December, which included Coalition spending, Joe Hockey said:

“Net debt is expected to be $191.5 billion (12.1 per cent of GDP) in 2013‑14 and is expected to reach $280.5 billion (15.7 per cent of GDP) in 2016‑17.”

I always impressed on my children the importance of telling the truth, especially if something bad had happened. “If I know the truth then I can work out how to best help you.” I would say to this government, you have a mandate to tell the truth. If you are honest with us and prepared to listen to advice, let’s work together to first of all determine what sort of future we want and then how to best achieve it. You need to start from scratch.


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  1. sandrasearle

    It is now too late for this government to go back to the start. Too many lies, misinformation etc have taken ordinary people down a path they thought they would never have to go down.
    They never had a mandate to do any of what they have stated in the budget, Abbott lied before the election & he is lying now about saying he did not lie. We will not ever believe him or any of his people/front bench/senators who are trying to peddle & spin their IPA/American Tea Party doctrine.
    Supply needs to be blocked, totally, so that Abbott will be forced to call a DD. It is the only way that we will get rid of this most disgraceful pack of lying imbeciles.

  2. Kerri

    Oh. Kaye Lee! Please don’t offer to help them? That would be the first step to accepting this lying traitorous pack of glind Idealogues.
    Has anyone made a comprhensive list of the many groups in our society that the LNP Government have successfully p**sed off?

  3. Mic

    I’m so glad that Tony Abbott has finally come out of the closet. I hope he enjoys his Man-Date.

  4. The Trees

    Thank you again KL.
    Some of your readers who want another balanced,non-hysterical article on the debt issue would do well to read Mike Keating’s article on John Menadue’s blog.

  5. Kaye Lee


    My offer of help has the conditions that they tell the truth and be willing to listen to advice. As I am not a member of the Business Council, and they couldn’t lie straight in bed, I’m not rearranging my schedule just yet.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Thank you The Trees. Here is the link to the article you recommended. It’s all about sharing information and the people here do that very well.

    “In the current financial year, 2012-13, government payments are expected to represent 24.1 per cent of GDP; a bit less than their long term average over the previous twelve years since 2000-01 of 24.5 per cent. By comparison, government revenue represents only 23.1 per cent of GDP compared to an average of 24.3 per cent over the previous twelve years. In other words if we have a fiscal problem it does not seem to have been caused by excessive expenditure, but by a drop in taxation revenue, and the prime cause of that was miscalculations by the Howard/Costello Government when they embarked on their 2001 tax reforms, which have turned out to cost more than expected at the time.”

  7. Kaye Lee

    Australians have passed a severe judgment on the Abbott-Joe Hockey formula, branding it unfair, bad for the country and based on broken promises.

    The findings suggest the government has made a potentially catastrophic error in gambling that voters would overlook harsh treatment of welfare recipients and lower-paid families if it led to a balanced budget – even if it meant breaking promises.

    That decision has instead trashed Mr Abbott’s standing and relationship of trust with voters and energised opponents across the political divide, and potentially within his own party.

  8. edward eastwood

    “Leaving our children debt free seems such a paltry goal.” That’s because it is Kaye. This is the most pernicious and utterly vicious lie of all Abbott and Hockey’s lies.

    Any Year 11 student studying economics will tell you that this is absolutely impossible as each generation can only consume the goods they create. There is no such thing as inter-generation debt!

    If it were the case then Australians would still be paying off Malcolm Fraser’s agistment fees!

    Yet, Hockey delivered this utter bullshit with trembling lips while piping his eye! What a performance! Worthy of an Oscar or at least a BAFTA or Golden Globe.

    The real worry is that the stupid fat bastard actually believes it.

    The real debt for out children lies in the changes to the HECS system and the lowering of income thresholds for the repayment of student loans in the same manner of the US system.

    It is estimated that it will take the average Arts degree student at least forty years to make repayment under this system.

    Similarly to the US this means that they will be unable to apply for a housing loan and will be seriously restricted in their capacity to borrow.

    This is the genuine danger to our children and we cannot let these utter ‘grubs’ (substitute word Pyne used to describe Shorten in Parliament last week) get away with it!

  9. CMMC

    Australian Ballet School gets $1 million dollar grant. Wife of Howard government minister David Kemp is on the board.

  10. jimhaz

    Recall the hesitancy in responses when the LNP hitsquad were asked about Gonski and NIDS during the election campaign.

    Now we know why for certain (rather than just suspecting) – they had to work out the best lie. I think this budget was formed well over 12 months ago.

    Last week I wasn’t sure if this would be enough for them to lose the next election. I now think it is. I have no dependent family – so wasn’t sure of the affects on the 50-100k income range, but now I know more it is too hard a hit and will not be forgotten by anything they do in terms of election bribes.

  11. DanDark

    The only man date Tony has got now
    Is the one he will have with Satin
    In the halls off hell

  12. john921fraser


    "I have a dream" …. Martin Luther King.


    "I have a lie" ….. Abbott.

    Is closer to the truth.

    Ever notice that Abbott has not made one memorable speech …. one that a Statesmen would be remembered by.

  13. Fair Go Aussie

    ‘In 1963, when Martin Luther King articulated his dream for the future of his children, he touched the hearts and minds of people around the world. He spoke of a world of equal opportunity for all, a world where children would be nurtured, a world where people would be safe and free from hatred and intolerance.’

    This will never be the case here in Australia while the LibNat-zi government’s mantra is to make the rich a lot more richer and leaving the poorer classes with the burden …

  14. Kaye Lee

    well perhaps not a statesman, but Tony is collecting a lot of quotable quotes:

    “They’re young, feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal”

    “Well, um….climbing mountains is a marvellous thing”

    “No one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced … is the suppository of all wisdom.”

    “Climate change is crap.”

    “Let’s have a bloke’s question, okay.”

    I could go on but it’s too humiliating

  15. elizabethboustead

    It’s a dangerous situation when our Prime Minister, our Treasurer, our Finance minister all have a very wobbly understanding of economics, arithmetic and ethics. Not to mention logic. We are being governed by narcissistic ignoramuses. No wonder they making education access more difficult. An educated society is a threat to them. Training is safer. They need well trained low wage workers, not opinionated upstarts.

  16. rossleighbrisbane

    Tony seems to confuse the concept of a “mandate” with “power of attorney”.

  17. Noely 56

    To the detriment of the general population the Multinational Corporations, Oil&Gas, Mining, Banks and their puppets ie Governments and MSM have no empathy,soul nor regard for anything bar the Dollar!!! Their total neglect for the Enviroment, Peoples welfare and social agendas is Evil!!! Add to this Monsanto and the Western Military and our future forebodes grimly let alone Australia’s Budget! “This is a Cold War you better know what you fighting for” ( Janette Monae ) Both Liberal@ Labor are prepared to sign the Trans-Pacific-Partnership which will do away with Australia’s Sovereignty LOOK OUT hear comes the NWO !!!!

  18. Kaye Lee

    Their findings, published by Fairfax Media on Monday, show Australians on benefits suffer far more from the budget than those on high incomes.

    The worst off is an unemployed 23-year-old whose income will slide 18.3 per cent as a result of the budget. A single parent on the parenting payment with a child aged six will be 10.2 per cent worse off.

    In contrast, an Australian earning three times the average wage will lose just 0.9 per cent of their take-home income. A high-income childless couple earning $360,000 a year will lose nothing whatsoever.

  19. Stephen Tardrew

    It is but class warfare of the most cynical kind. The figures speak for themselves. We can now legitimately post in lights on any medium that Tony Abbott and his cabinet are Liars.

    Julia a Mere Beginner: Tony the Virtuoso.

  20. Fed up

    Tony seems to confuse the concept of a “mandate” with “power of attorney”.

    No dictator. I am boss, I will used my hob nail boots to walk all over, all of you.

  21. Fed up

    Yes, Mr Abbott, the voters have given you a mandate, to form government., Yes, they have given you enough individual MPs to garner the number necessary on the floor of the lower house to form government.

    Mr Abbot, the MPs voted in by their electorate can quickly take that mandate away from you.

    That mandate, obligates you to govern on behalf of all the nations citizens Yes, not only for those in your party, not only big business. No., for the good of all.

    Mr Abbott, from now on, you have to gave the skills and abilities to get your legalisation through. Yes, Mr Abbott, politics is the art of the possible.

    This is how the system works, always has worked.

    Yes, Mr Abbott, at this time, you are the PM. No, that does ot mean all have to bow to your slightest wish.

    The Constitution tells us, that new law is formed, by having legalisation passed on the floor of both houses. Mr Abbott, do you have the guts to take that challenge on. If not, move over and let someone else get on with the job.

  22. Fed up

    Mr Abbott, this is not a tough budget. It is a weak budget that hits the wean. It leads to a more inequitable society,. It is a mean and vindictive3 budget.

    Mr Abbott, this budget does nothing about the inbuilt structural defects with in the budget. It does not add to the budget bottom line.

  23. Fed up


  24. Wayne Turner

    If ONLY the masses were awake before the election.I have so much faith in the masses,don’t be surprise they could be stupid enough to vote these Libs back in.

  25. Wayne Turner

    We should go by Abbott’s standards on “mandates” – He ignored Labor’s for an ETS.So,if that’s his standard,we can ignore his.

    The hypocritical liar fav. type of “mandate” is when he RORTS us taxpayers with weddings,parties,anything.

  26. Terry2

    And in the meantime our government is entering into a Faustian agreement with Hun Sen to ship genuine refugees from Nauru to Cambodia at a reported bribe of $40million in Australian taxpayers funds.

    This is being done in our name : it sickens me !

    Our mainstream media, with the exception of the ABC, entirely ignores this act of bastardy.

    Apart from writing to our elected members does anybody have a suggestion as to how we can stop this infamy?

  27. Don S

    The only mandate Tony has is the one he sits on.

  28. Keith

    How can you trust anything Abbott says; on this evenings news he stated Howard was hit hard after their first budget. What actually happened was that Howard had a three point surge.
    What hasn’t been relayed in relation to pensioners is that concessions are going to be lost such as Senior Cards from the beginning of July. Very sneaky, what you’d expect from a con artist.

    The Abbott gang have the creativity of a brick in creating the shambolic budget with a callous/abusive attitude to those who cannot defend themselves. .

  29. Royce Arriso

    ‘I have a dream’ Martin Luther King
    ‘I have a lie’ Tony Abbott
    That one, john921fraser, will run and run! Brilliant.
    Not that I give a toss, but one of the greatest problems for govts of Abbott’s ideological ilk must be the sheer effort needed day in and day out to keep punters from discovering your real intent. This side of a truth serum, what Neoliberal zealot is likely to say, ‘frankly folks, wealth transfer upwards and a corresponding kick in the testemonials to lower-income earners is what we’re about’? In this context, whoppers become less a tool of expediency as an item of policy, along with weasel words, bluff, obfuscation and that old favourite from the Kennett years, commercial in-confidence agreements. The Right depend heavily on language as smokescreen. Dissipate the smoke by calling their language for what it is and you land a decent blow.

  30. DanDark

    Don S
    I am a lady
    but I did think that,
    but thanks for verbalizing it for me
    now I will think of flowers, cos they are pretty and stuff
    unlike tones the lizard. yucky

  31. Cait Wallace

    Why do they disable medicare in order to pay for a medical research centre while robbing the CSIRO and showing complete disdain for science in general?

  32. pvcann

    It would have to be a blind date, and even then I’d leave 🙂

  33. JustMe

    For a man who appears to be such a homophobe, Tony seems to have a serious obsession with men’s dates…

  34. Terry2

    Cait Wallace

    The Americans call it putting lipstick on a pig : in this case the pig is the budget.

  35. Lee

    Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech sends tingles down my spine every time I hear it. If I could go back in time to attend a significant event, I’d like to be a part of the crowd gathered at the Lincoln Memorial listening to King. When Abbortt opens his mouth I go to sleep.

  36. Lee

    I’ll bet supporting research with the Medicare co-payment is a complete lie too. They will probably put the money into some God-bothering project.

  37. silkworm

    We have a mandate to break our promises.

  38. Matthew Oborne

    what mandate would they have had if the said they would give material aid to a war criminal government, that they would cut all forms of social security, that they would no longer fund or heavily reduce all forms of legal aid and aboriginal assistance, that every single wedge issue promise would be broken, had they said no gonski, no NDIS an even crappier and slower broadband network that keeps the old monopolies, and that science, and the enivironment would be targetted as well as unprecedented abuse of the under 30 unemployed and refugees, unprecendented abuse of the senate, would the public have given them government?

    One big con from the Cons. Next election when Tony stands up to make his promises who will believe him?

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