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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 actual 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 leapt 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 rhetoric include:

  1. 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!”
  2. 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.
  3. 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 government behind them 100%. Just like Prince Phillip’s lifestyle choice leading to his knighthood.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.”
  6. Christopher Pyne’s almost total silence.
  7. 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.
  8. 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%

Everything’s relative!


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  1. paul walter

    Was it Bob Ellis who suggested people were pleased about troops being sent to Iraq.. dunnno. Frightened sheep, if so.

    More likely push-polling to salvage NSW based on public ignorance due to dumbing down?

    The alternative can only be something unthinkable,
    that the average Australian has a brain a maggot would be embarrassed with.

  2. Blanik

    The poll is probably correct. Good government will begin tomorrow and scared baby boomers wont be sent to Iraq. Captain Catholic will lead us for ever.

  3. David

    Classy writing Ross, loved the article

  4. Terry2

    what about Greg Hunt – or is it Fred – He ‘s doing his job, going around the world wining & dining UN officials and trying to convince them not to put the Barrier Reef on the endangered list

    He was going to hand out ‘show bags’ to these officials with gifts of Australian products but they had to ditch the Vegemite and the Tim Tams from Arnotts’ as they were US companies and the stuffed Koalas came from China.

  5. Rossleigh

    Thanks, David, but the best bits were written by the Liberals themselves.

    Certainly the funniest bits…

    But only funny to someone standing at a far enough distance. Let’s say, Mars or sometime in the 23rd Century…

  6. Stephen

    Now children soon we will all be seated while Jolly Joe Shonky (have I got a budget for you) will read the next budget story for us won’t that be nice.
    O’h rapturous day I can barely wait.
    Cigars for every one afterwards.


  7. scriptese

    Abbott may be a thing, but he’s certainly not my relative. He comes from a much more primitive branch of the hominid tree. He may not even be a Homo, although I think he probably is (it’s a budgie-smuggler thing. He wouldn’t understand this, of course, because it’s that new-fangled Darwin thing which isn’t real because, as we all know, creation is good for humanity.

  8. CMMC

    Bob Ellis also compared Abbott to a typical South/Central American dictator in that article.

    I think he’s more like an Egyptian President, I thoroughly expect to see weekly military parades of our troops and the latest ordinance taking the salute before Abbotts reptilian glare.

  9. staffordhallstuffme

    Ahhh Ross, you have done it again. I needed a good laugh today, and no one person or thing can supply that like the LNP!

  10. stephentardrew

    It’s all good even when its not quite as bad as crap in a bucket.

    These guys give new meaning to lateral thinking inversion type of ding aling therapy.

    Sorta makes about as much sense.

  11. Jeanette

    Great article highlighting once again the ineptitude of this terrible government. If hear once more about getting rid of the mining tax (although with present revenues doubt that would be paid now and it should have been put into place at the beginning of Labor’s watch) and we stopped the boats war cry I think I’ll vomit. I believe the Guardian reported that if mad monk Abbott doesn’t shut his trap re Bali 9 then Indonesia will unleash all the boats the have held back! What a bloody good movie that would make, a real amarda of boats heading our way, geez we’d have to find another poor desperate island to tent them all or maybe this stupid government would push them all back and “hello” Indonesia would return action or just maybe a full scale war, forget about Isis, the largest Muslim population is right next door. Regarding Abbotts lifestyle comments re indigenous people best we repeat and repeat Abbott’s lifestyle choices, Kirribilli on the harbour v Canberra…wine choices, entertainment costs oh! and was a new plane or refit ordered for him….vomit!

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