Now I don’t trust the opinion polls. After all, a poll is only as good as the person taking it and as I don’t trust the media who keep telling me that I should vaccinate my kids and worry about climate change, I’ve been conducting my own poll on the Abbott Government every week for the past few months. I usually don’t bother to publish the results because, as I only poll five people at random, the results are usually within the margin of error. You know, one week 2 out of 5 approve of the Government, the next week it’s 3 out of 5. Which tells us nothing beyond with the week where it’s two out of five, I may have accidentally asked asked an actually Labor supporter, but with the three out of five, I’ve obviously accidentally stumbled into ministers leaving a Cabinet meeting.
However, at the start of this year something very significant happened. The Abbott Government’s approval rating dropped to 1 in 5 or 20% in one of the polls I did.
Now, I’m not going to suggest that this was the poll that led to the leadership spill, but I think that it’s fair to say that if only one person in five approves of the direction the government is heading, that would be a pretty big wipeout if that one person was the only person who voted for the Liberals.
But, in my most recent poll, the figure had lept to two out of five, meaning that support for the government had doubled in just a week. If we allow a three percent margin of error, then it completely wrecks my case for saying that the government is now back on track and Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey are once more able to get their message across to the electorate with the sort of rhetorical flourish of someone like that Martin Luther King Jnr.
And haven’t they been impressive lately. Not just them, but the whole front bench. When Josh Fryed Egg Burger (possibly misspelt, but autocorrect must know something!) said that this government was the best friend that superannuation ever had, his speech had echoes of when Abbott said this government was the best friend that Medicare ever had, or when John Howard said that his government was the best friend that workers ever had.
Highlights of their impressive rhetoirc include:
- Abbott saying that he was sick of being lectured to by the UN, just before sticking his fingers in his ears, shaking his head from side to side and repeating, “I’m not listening, I’m not listening!”
- Joe Hockey’s performance in court where he insisted that even though Australia was open for business, he wasn’t for sale and that when Fairfax printed that terrible headline his father burst into tears on the phone and his daughter wanted to know if someone was going to buy him. Which simple logic would tell you is a ridiculous idea.
- Tony Abbott’s explanation that aboriginal people living in the same place they’d lived for generations was a “lifestyle choice” and if there’s one thing his government stands for it’s choice. And when people make a good choice then they’ll find the govenment behind them 100%. Just like Prince Phillip’s lifestyle choice leading to his knighthood.
- Hockey’s suggestion that as the housing market is incredibly overheated, one way to help first home buyers would be to give them access to their superannuation so these finds could find their way into the real estate market and help to ease the overheating.
- Malcolm Turnbull, in giving as a rare insight into how MPs relax in Canberra when there’s nothing to do: “It’s important to put that issue on the table, talk about it rationally without turning it into a let’s-give-Tony-Abbott-a-belting occasion, as often people like to do.”
- Christopher Pyne’s almost total silence.
- Scott Morrison, when suggesting that Centrelink’s computer system needed to be upgraded: “The system we’re working off was developed in the 80s at a time when frankly the internet and things like … smart phones and so on were dreams”. And now, of course, we have an NBN which can run off the same copper wires that helped make those dreams a reality.
- And finally, Tony Abbott’s wonderful response to the announcement that the International Women’s Day Lunch was to be held at a Men Only Club:
“This is just how wonderful this broad church that I lead is … obviously they’ve just broken down the last barrier and they’ve made the men-only club admit women, Admit women! Isn’t that fantastic? At last, this bastion of chauvinism has admitted women and they’ve done it on International Women’s Day because of the Liberal National Party. Good on the Liberal National Party, smashing the glass ceiling yet again. I say congratulations and thank God that bastion of old-fashioned chauvinism has finally collapsed like the walls of Jericho at the trumpet cry of the Liberal National Party.”
When it was pointed out that the invitations said “Ladies bring a plate”, Abbott was reported to have said, “Bring a plate? Isn’t that great? We live in a country where women can afford plates. And I understand that some of them will be allowed to stay in this so-called Men Only club to help with the washing up.”
Yep, it’s pretty clear. The government’s right back to the sort of form that saw them so successful in the opinion polls last year. As one newspaper put it, Abbott has been given a tick with the latest poll with his approval rating rising to 28%. Now, I know some of you may not think that 28% is much, but if the Reserve Bank were to raise interest rates to 28%, then houses would be affordable for everyone who could afford to pay an interest rate of 28%
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