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Promises, promises

Near the end of August in 2013 Tony Abbott launched the Liberal Party Campaign with a rousing speech full of pithy one-liners and simply jam-packed with heartfelt promises. But so much has happened in the last 31 months that most people have entirely forgotten the raft of promises that were made and the sense of anticipation that we all felt on the change of government.

Of course we were all destined to be disappointed.

In the intervening 31 months Tony Abbot was unceremoniously dumped from office and a new and shinier incumbent has been installed. But does this obviate all the promises made before the last election? Does a change of leader mean that all the prior promises are suddenly off the table?

Certainly we normally take the promises made before an election with a degree of scepticism but at the last election the feeling of scepticism within the community was palpable enough to cut with a knife. All of us were dead sick of political chicanery and we were united only in our wish for a stable government that would do as it promised and would not be constantly enveloped in a permanent sense of crisis and disorder.

So the Abbott opposition was all about promising that the tenor and ethic of government would change, as well as the policies. Everything would be different. Cautiously made promises would be fulfilled in their entirety. No excuses would be entertained. The adults would be back in charge.

Yet while we all suspected that some of the promises that were being made would likely be a little difficult to accomplish – very few of us anticipated a train wreck.

However, since the Liberal Party in opposition spent so much time decrying the dishonesty of the Labor incumbency, and was so eternally ready and willing to make heartfelt promises regarding how their efforts would be so different, I thought it might be informative and enlightening if we all took a trip down memory lane to remember what it was we bought when we elected the LNP government.

Before the election the Liberal Party promised us all that:

  • We’ll scrap the carbon tax so your family will be $550 a year better off.
  • We’ll abolish the carbon tax so power prices and gas prices will go down.
  • We’ll abolish the mining tax so investment and employment will go up.
  • We’ll cut the company tax rate because, as the former Treasury Chief has said, the main beneficiaries will be workers.
  • We’ll move the workplace relations pendulum back to the sensible centre, restore a strong cop-on-the-beat in the construction industry, and hit dodgy union officials with the same penalties as corporate crooks.
  • I want our workers to be the best paid in the world and for that to happen, we have to be amongst the most productive in the world.
  • And the motor industry will be saved from Mr Rudd’s $1.8 billion tax on company cars.
  • The Australian Building and Construction Commission will be running again, and the true state of Labor’s books will be revealed.
  • The NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor.
  • By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, the budget will be on-track to a believable surplus.
  • And the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be operating in large parts of every state.
  • We won’t shirk hard decisions.
  • There will be no new spending under a Coalition government that’s not fully-costed and fully-funded.
  • That way, we can be confident that the budget will return to surplus as quickly as possible.
  • By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, working with the states, teacher standards will be rising and teaching programmes will be improving.
  • People who are capable of working will be working, preferably for a wage but if not, for the dole.
  • And there will be a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme in place, because factory workers and shop assistants deserve to get their actual wage while they are on leave – just like public servants do.
  • There will be two million more jobs, in manufacturing as well as in agriculture, services, education and a still buoyant resources sector.
  • Public schools and hospitals will have far more freedom to be as good as their private rivals.
  • Childcare will be more affordable and more available to families who need more than one income and who have to cope in a 24/7 economy.
  • Within a decade, the budget surplus will be 1 per cent of GDP, defence spending will be 2 per cent of GDP, the private health insurance rebate will be fully restored, and each year, government will be a smaller percentage of our economy.
  • You could trust us in opposition and you will be able to trust us in government.
  • You don’t expect miracles; just a government that is competent and trustworthy and a prime minister who doesn’t talk down to you.
  • And I’m confident that your expectations can be more than met.
  • An incoming Coalition cabinet will respect the limits of government as well as its potential and will never seek to divide Australian against Australian on the basis of class, gender, or where people were born.
  • When I look at workers and managers, I don’t see people trying to rip each other off but people trying to get ahead together as a team.
  • When I look at the benefits that all Australians rightly enjoy such as Medicare and good public schools and hospitals, I don’t see “middle class welfare” but the hallmarks of a society that gives families a fair go.
  • This election is all about trust.
  • Who do you trust to reduce power prices and gas prices?
  • Who do you trust to get debt and deficit under control?
  • I make this pledge to you the Australian people.
  • I will govern for all Australians.
  • I want to lift everyone’s standard of living.
  • I want to see wages and benefits rise in line with a growing economy.
  • I want to see our hospitals and schools improving as we invest the proceeds of a well-run economy into the things that really count.
  • -I won’t let you down.
  • This is my pledge to you.
  • The last time Mr Rudd was prime minister, his own party sacked him.
  • When a desperate party put him back, one third of the cabinet resigned rather than serve with him.
  • So my question is this: if the people who’ve worked with Mr Rudd don’t trust him, why should you?
  • We can’t go on like this.
  • As you know from bitter experience, if you reward bad behaviour, you get more of it.
  • If you reward failure, you just get more failure…
  • To Labor voters wondering why your party has sold its soul to the Greens; to Green voters wondering why your party has embraced socialism over environmentalism; to independent voters wondering why your MP has sided with a bad government, to everyone who has been let down and embarrassed by the circus in Canberra,
  • I say: give my team a chance.
  • I’m confident that our best years are ahead of us, but not if we have another three years like the last six.
  • Choose change, and the last six years will soon seem like an aberration.
  • Choose change, and we’ll send a signal to people in authority that we can forgive honest mistakes but not persistent incompetence and deception.
  • Choose change, and there are few problems that cannot be improved.
  • But the only way to choose change is to vote for your Liberal and National candidate.
  • We have the plan, we have the team and we are ready.

And of course all of these aspirations were garnished with:

  • “no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS”

So how do you think the Liberal party has fared?

How many of these promises were fulfilled?

Can we ever again trust anything that any professional politician might ever say?

Should we?

In recent years it seems that every time a politician has promised the Australian public the moon, all they have delivered are moon-shadows. So maybe this list of promises is as much an indictment of the gullibility of the Australian voting public as it is of our facile political leaders?

But then it does seem a bit harsh to blame the voting public for the woeful quality of our politicians of recent years. After all it’s a hard to imagine what we could all have done that could be so outrageously wrong that we could possibly deserve the sort of political leadership we have been provided with during the last two incumbencies.

Anyway: here we go again…


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  1. Max Gross

    Meh… They ARE LIEbrals, after all

  2. Garth

    Thanks James for the timely reminder of the coalitions manifesto prior to the last election. But, please please please, don’t put Labor in the same category as these current degenerates. Yes, Labor had internal stability problems, and I’m still pissed at them for their constant navel gazing that gave the corrupt Murdoch MSM and Abbott too much material to bash them with but the last Labor parliament craps all over this current mob. Not only do the coalition have the same internal squabbles as Labor had (remember ‘we aren’t the Labor party’.. yeah right!) but they have no policy direction, are degenerate liars and have absolutely no respect for the electorate. In no way is the last Labor parliament in the same class of degeneracy as this current mob.

  3. Rossleigh

    Yes, well the saved the car industry from Mr Rudd’s $1.8 billion tax on company cars! Once you close down an industry it’s completely saved from any taxes!

  4. Catherine Wallace

    Voters and the party wre charmed by Kev’s “charisma” The pollies should have known better.
    I hope people wont fall for the same trick a econd time. At least Rudd was.honest.

  5. Carol Taylor

    As far as promising to have the best paid workers in the world, presumably one achieves this by trying to cut weekend penalty rates from some of the lowest paid workers.

  6. Wayne Turner

    Remember: Abbott spoke for the party.NOT just him.So the LIES still stand.

    Most of the public are ignorant and gullible.Either not paying attention,or if they do,believing the BIASED pro-Liberal party MSM.

    Imagine if all these LIES were done by the previous Labor government,how the MSM would be carrying on eg: How they and the Libs carried on about 1 alleged Gillard lie that wasn’t a lie eg: We had a carbon price

    .Instead we have the silence by the MSM on the LIBS LIES.IE: The silence = endorsement,by NOT questioning and pointing the LIES out.

    It’s a shame all of the MSM can’t be voted out forever.

  7. Wayne Turner

    Spot on Garth. Labor were far superior to this NON-STOP LYING Libs mob.

    Labor changing leaders and infighting was bad.But,they helped us starve off the GFC,and had other good policies like a carbon price that was working. Also,Labor had to put up with the MSM,who turned on Labor the moment Rudd fell out with Murdoch,cause of wanting a mining tax.Then,of course Labor dumped Rudd,for Gillard,etc,etc…

    Labor were NOT serial LIARS,like this current mob.Alot of the Libs LIES were listed.Where are Labor’s lies before 2007 election for example,if Labor were so bad? – THEY WEREN’T. This LYING mob of course have the MSM promoting them too.

  8. Kaye Lee

    My favourite part of that speech:

    “Over the next three years, should we win the election, an incoming Coalition government will do exactly what we’ve said we’ll do.

    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…

    It’s performance, not promises, that will earn your respect; it’s actions, not words, that you are looking for.”

    Another interesting bit, considering the marriage equality debate:

    “Government’s job is rarely to tell people what to do; mostly, it’s to make it easier for people to make their own choices.” – (unless you are gay or an asylum seeker or living in a remote community or are unemployed or don’t want your child indoctrinated by a school chaplain from some happy clappy church)

  9. Kaye Lee

    “An incoming Coalition cabinet will respect the limits of government as well as its potential and will never seek to divide Australian against Australian on the basis of class, gender, or where people were born.”

    “After the previous Liberal and National party government gave you the four largest surpluses in our history the current government has given you the five largest deficits in our history.”

    Under Labor, the deficit blew out in 2009-10 due to stimulus action to avoid the GFC. Each year after that the deficit reduced as a percentage of GDP until Tony took over. Both budgets brought down by Hockey had larger deficits than 2013. (2013 1.2%, 2014 3.1%, 2015 2.4%)

    “But the worst deficit is not the budget deficit but the trust deficit.”

    At least he got THAT right

  10. Kronomex

    I get increasingly annoyed by both sides of the political divide giving “rousing, hearfelt, policy, and general nonsense” speeches to the party faithful at conventions and gatherings. They are, plainly and simply, frightened to talk at the ordinary person because they might ask relevant questions that can’t be covered up with rhetoric and bullshit.

  11. cornlegend

    I think you are being a bit tough on Shorten who has criss crossed the country doing well attended Town Hall meetings for weeks now

  12. Don Winter

    I won’t vote for any government that has Abbott on its team!

    ” Abbotts an Idiot “

  13. jim

    For months before the 2013 election the telly and i assume the papers were blazoned with news or views that the ALP where in dissarray and everyone in Australia was under attack by its own government after the election nothing on politics at all I’d just like to say it is GLARINGLY obvious that the media is right wing biased which if not addressed will continue to impede democracy for ever.

  14. Klaus Petrat

    Hi Kronomex, what is your point? The lying and distorting from everyone in the LNP is breathtaking. If Labor wanted to be that desceiving, they would have trouble keeping up with the crap dished out by Turnbull, Morrison, Pyne, Leys, Dutton, Hunt, Corman, Bishop, Cash…. I hope I didn’t forget anyone in the most stunningly incompetent, lying government assembled. I am actually speechless how they can come up with this mob. I’d like to see the criteria they use to become a Minister.

  15. Athena

    “As far as promising to have the best paid workers in the world, presumably one achieves this by trying to cut weekend penalty rates from some of the lowest paid workers.”

    @ Carol Taylor
    Don’t forget income tax cuts for those with incomes exceeding $80,000 pa. 😉

  16. jim

    These Liberals together with their IPA will throw australians to the wall just so They stay in power………;The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) claims to be an independent think tank. It is funded by corporate and philanthropic donations (see update, 25 August, at end) and individual subscriptions. It is one of the bodies that came together in 1945 to form the Liberal Party of Australia and is rightly seen as an arm of the Liberal party.

    The IPA is disproportionately represented on the ABC’s tv shows The Drum and Q&A, although the ABC denies it and quibbles about who’s who. You may never have heard of the IPA. Before we go into the remainder of this article, here’s an episode of the ABC’s Media Watch, dated 09/04/2001, presented by Stuart Littlemore. It mentions what the IPA is, who some of its members are, its activities and where its main financing comes from.…………..The political agenda of the IPA is no different than the agenda of the Liberal party. In a recent article on the IPA website, Be like Gough:NB Liberals haven’t anyone like Gough, 75 radical ideas to transform Australia, three IPA members wrote about what they see as Australia’s problems and listed 75 changes that should be implemented. See this page from the IPA website for the preamble to the 75-point list.

    The list has since been expanded to 100 items. Why the round figure of 100? I can agree with some of the points, like smaller government and ending vote-buying welfare. For the remainder, it is basically a plan to remove restrictions on business and industry to pillage and plunder resources, the environment and consumers..(all of us)…….

  17. totaram

    Jim: “I can agree with some of the points, like smaller government and ending vote-buying welfare.”

    Please explain “smaller govt.”. The beauty of this two-word slogan is that it can mean almost anything and it does, to different people. To the coalition backers it means “less regulation” of industry and big business so that they are free to plunder the environment and pollute just to make a bigger profit. Do you agree with that? I doubt it.

    Similarly we have “vote buying welfare”. So you think this means pork-barreling perhaps. To the IPA this means the entire “welfare state” and safety net starting from unemployment benefits, disability allowances, medicare, free school education, subsidised tertiary education, and all the way to anything that is not “user pays”. What they want is even worse than already exists in the US and which US citizens can see is a disaster by just going across the border into Canada. The coalition and their IPA would dismantle Medicare and Gonski and NDIS overnight if they could.

    I’m sure you don’t agree with any of that, but if the meaning is not clear, you may easily get conned into thinking you do agree. That is how the whole game works. Take care.

  18. Athena

    “I can agree with some of the points, like smaller government and ending vote-buying welfare. For the remainder, it is basically a plan to remove restrictions on business and industry to pillage and plunder resources, the environment and consumers.”

    Smaller government is a plan to remove restrictions on business and industry so that they may pillage and plunder. The public service performs a lot of essential tasks that are not profitable. The private sector is only interested in the portion that makes money, so people lose important services when government is downsized. We’ve also seen that privatisation of previous public sector work has led to increased expenses and inefficiency. I’ve been working in the public sector for almost 30 years. The massive outsourcing of work in recent years has us hamstrung, is extremely difficult to work with and getting worse by the day. When work is taken away from the public sector and outsourced, I’ve yet to see any contract include all of the work that was done in the public sector. The contracts are half baked and dealing with the contractors is a nightmare. The public sector is also the place where we should have a job guarantee and use it as a training ground.

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