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After the spin

After a week which saw Tony Abbott’s government berated by both Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, The Australian has joined the chorus of discontent saying

“Limply, the Prime Minister is losing the battle to define core issues and to explain to voters what he is doing and why.”

What did they expect from a man who counts off his policies on his fingers as he presents three word slogans that Mark Textor wrote for him?

What did they expect from a man who said “I have never been as excited about economics as some of my colleagues; you know, I find economics is not for nothing known as the dismal science”?

What did they expect from a man who said “I’m no tech head” as he explained to us why we didn’t need a National Broadband Network?

What did they expect from a man who thinks that “climate change is crap” and that Ebola is due to the carbon tax?

Ok… he may not have directly said that last one but if it wasn’t the carbon tax then it was the mining tax, or the debt and deficit disaster, or something Labor did, as Abbott was at pains to point out to the assembled leaders of the world at the G20.

The truth of the matter is that Tony Abbott has no idea of why they are doing what they are doing other than to reward their friends, to wipe any Labor reforms off the books, and to do what lobby and focus groups tell him to.

Let’s take “stop the boats” as an example.

We were told that we must stop the boats to stop deaths at sea, to break the people smuggler’s business model, and to stop supposed queue jumping.

Having achieved success in this at huge cost (reputational, financial and humanitarian), we are now stopping refugees registered with the UNHCR from coming – you know, the ones that are in the queue. We have also closed our doors to anyone coming from West Africa because they might have germs (fingers crossed no return).

In his campaign launch, Tony Abbott said “we won’t increase the humanitarian migrant intake until such time as it’s no longer being filled by people smugglers.”

Far from increasing the intake now that the people smugglers are apparently out of business, he cut it from 20,000 to 13,750 and ‘resettled’ 29 unaccompanied minors on Nauru. Unfortunately, the locals are beating them up.

And who could forget the high fives when they “axed the taxes”.

Tony warned the carbon and mining taxes would cripple industry and wipe out investment. In fact, as reported in The Australian Financial Review, corporate Australia paid out a record $53 billion to shareholders in 2013, despite the carbon and mining taxes, with fund manager Perpetual calculating dividend payments rose 6.1% in 2013 from 2012.

AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said “ the [2013] results have been impressive”.

“So far 55% of companies have exceeded expectations (compared to a norm of 43%); 73% of companies have seen their profits rise from a year ago (compared to a norm of 66%); a whopping 78% of companies have increased their dividends from a year ago (compared to an average of around 62% in the last two years)… Key themes are a massive turnaround for the resources stocks (notably Rio), banks doing very well (with great results from CBA and ANZ), help coming through from the lower $A, ongoing cost control, improved outlook comments from cyclicals (like Boral) and soaring dividends.”

In February Tony Abbott said ‘‘We are all mourning the closedown of the Alcoa plant at Point Henry near Geelong but I regret to say that’s the carbon tax doing its job’’.

What he failed to mention was that, in the first year of the carbon price, the industry was eligible for maximum compensation. This meant 94.5 per cent of the industry’s average emissions were paid for by the government, reducing by 1.3% each year.

Alcoa Inc recorded a $53 million gain in its annual report. That document, which dealt with the year to December 2013, contained the following declaration: “… a favorable [sic] change of $53 [million] in prepaid expenses and other current assets, mostly caused by the sale of excess carbon credits in Australia”. Ironically, removing the carbon tax not only cost the government revenue, it also cost the aluminium industry.

But what can we expect from a Prime Minister who admitted he didn’t read the company reports that stated the taxing regime in Australia had nothing to do with their decisions to close mines or smelters?

How can we believe Abbott wants to “cut the waste” when he spends hundreds of millions on new planes big enough for his press contingent, or fleets of bomb proof cars, or who decides to live in Kirribilli House rather than Canberra, or who keeps caucus waiting while he has a photo shoot to justify claiming overnight accommodation and flights to a private function, or who spends millions on his ‘‘Strategic Communications Branch’’ to monitor social media?

And I would suggest that Hockey’s upcoming MYEFO will put pay to any talk of debt and deficit repair. After all, he has a war to pay for and all the toys that go with it.

The Australian went on to say “Voters are left with the impression that Mr Hockey’s May budget was a litany of broken promises, designed to inflict severe pain on low-income workers and the poor, and that the deficit crisis was not as acute as the Coalition presented it.”

I would suggest that is an accurate appraisal backed up by the figures rather than an impression.

The Australian further suggests that “The Abbott government is doomed without narrative”, but sooner or later, spin with no substance gets found out.

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  1. my say

    Its going to be no difference when Bishop is in the chair,just a different captain in charge of the ship

  2. Peter Ball

    Abbott is a proven liar and deserves all he gets , I’m wondering when Asbestos Julie is going to make a tilt at the PM’s job , all the Lib back benches must be getting nervous , the Liberal Polling has not been good . Plus Victoria does not want Abbott , and here in Queensland Newman is on the nose due to his unparalleled arrogance. The current Brand peddled by the Liberals is all Spin, Lies and nothing else , all I see are wall to wall bad Liberal Governments

  3. Terry2

    Abbott squirmed in the parliament today as he could not or would not admit to making promises on the eve of the election which have now been so blatantly and obviously broken.

    He could say ‘I made a mistake’, ‘I spoke out of turn’, ‘I was wrong and I apologise’.

    But he just keeps digging and the support within his own party is clearly dropping away – sad to watch but inevitable.

    Hockey, Corman, Pyne and Turnbull have been trying to sell their dog of a budget but Abbott has made no attempt to support them and it is being noticed by even the most rusted on and blinkered Liberal apologists.

    The ship of state is without a captain – this cannot go on.

  4. stephentardrew

    Great summary as usual Kaye thanks once again for your input. Mud stick and by heavens there is more than enough
    to go around the whole front bench. Social media has been exploding and though the trolls are around there are a substantial number of really pissed people out there. I think Labor are going to have a weighty lot of material to throw back in the righties faces. Most importantly it is proven fact. Good luck with that LNP. Lots of great footage being stored in memory I would say.

    Bring it on Dear Bleeder.

  5. DanDark

  6. John Kelly

    Hockey’s upcoming MYEFO is going to be a doozie. Just wait for the blame game to start. It will boil down to: I can’t run the economy because Labor won’t let me”.

  7. Kaye Lee

    REPORTER: “The condition of the budget will not be an excuse for breaking promises?”

    TONY ABBOTT: “Exactly right. We will keep the commitments that we make. All of the commitments that we make will be commitments that are carefully costed.”

    –Joint press conference, Colo Heights, NSW, 13 August 2013

    “I’ve seen the disaster that this government has done for itself by saying one thing and doing another, Jon. I don’t want to be like that. I really don’t. If we do win the election and we immediately say, oh, we got it all wrong, we’ve now got to do all these different things, we will instantly be just as bad as the current government has been and I just refuse to be like that… Before polling day you’ll know exactly what we’re going to spend, exactly what we’re going to save, and exactly how much better the budget bottom line will be under the Coalition.”

    -Interviewed by Jon Faine, ABC Radio 774, Melbourne, 30 August 2013

    “The government knew going into the election that we didn’t support any spending associated with the mining tax. So, she knew that we were going to be opposing this because we said we were going to oppose it. Now, she shouldn’t have made a promise that she couldn’t keep.”

    -Joint doorstop interview with Craig Laundy, Auburn, 4 March 2013

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    It’s a sorry day for the LNP Degenerates when even The Australian is pointing out this government’s loss of kudos.

  9. Angie

    Abbott went to the election with a deliberate intent to deceive the voters with multiple lies.

    He lied then, he lies now and he WILL LIE NEXT TIME….he’s no role model for our young kids watching this disgraceful human being attempting to get away with ‘haha – catch me – I don’t care if I lied, I won’ attitude because he’s still got 2 years to wreck what was once a well-respected country around the world….now we’re a laughing stock thanks to Abbott govt.

    I don’t want my grandchildren growing up thinking it’s a good thing to tell horrific lies which hurt other people… are teachers going to cope with a class full of liars saying if the PM of this country can lie without consequences so can I? How are parents going to cope when kids who steal & cheat then lie they didn’t do it?

    enough is enough…this is not a game of chess, this is OUR lives at risk! Politicians are voted in on their promises to look after all of us in a safe protective way and this government is hurting the people who were cheated into giving their vote to Abbott.

    You know what, you can fool some of the people, some of the time but once they’ve been fooled repeatedly and suffer as a result – they will never forget you….NEVER! ⊱✿◕‿◕✿⊰

  10. Geoffrey England

    I think The Beatles have it all in these words…..

    He’s a real nowhere man,
    Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
    Making all his nowhere plans
    for nobody.

    Doesn’t have a point of view,
    Knows not where he’s going to…

  11. Keith

    Palmer stated that he thought Jacquie Lambie was a plant in PUP; equally it could be argued that Abbott is a plant from the progressive side of politics.
    Abbott scores home goals on a regular basis. Come to think of it; there are several plants in the front bench of the abbott gang.

    Abbott is currently trying to resort to old techniques by blaming Labor for the cuts to ABC and SBS by suggesting Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had been proposing cuts. Whether that is true or not, is immaterial as the Opposition Leader is not in a position to make such cuts; the allegation is nothing but hypothetical hot air. The bottom line is that the abbott gang cannot be trusted.

    It will be interesting at the next election when they try to sell promises, as their promises are worth nothing.

  12. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Spot on Angie. Your concerns about Abbott being a poor role model to young people regarding telling lies is a valid line for opposing political voices to argue.

    This hits people’s emotional consciousness, which when it means their own children, has fundamental impact on their own lives. Like hitting ‘the hip pocket nerve.’

  13. Terry2

    When the motor vehicle industry was shut down by government refusal to provide support or co-investment depending on your take, it was suggested by the Abbott government that this did not mean that the vehicle components industry would suffer, they would continue to operate and export to the world.

    This, as it turns out was silly economics and political spin and the industry knew it : as the components industry have pointed out recently, the FTA’s with S. Korea, Japan, and China will effectively kill their industry which is essentially in the SME category and will throw thousands more into unemployment.

    We are becoming a country that doesn’t make things and this is being facilitated by government policy – look at ship/submarine construction, we won’t even allow Australian companies to tender for government contracts.

    We are evidently putting the future of this country in the hands of miners and we don’t even produce the steel that comes from our iron ore.

    In my area of Queensland we are already seeing coal mines closing as no longer economically viable on current prices – don’t these people realize that coal is good for society – and local councils, employers of last resort in many small communities, are laying off workers.

    Unemployment is starting to spiral and the ABS figures are not accurately reflecting what is happening in regional Australia. I’m no economist but, with Japan slipping back into recession, can we be far behind ?

  14. Paul

    Abbott and Hockey are going to pay for it all by having the Taxation Dept hounding old ladies. Last week my wife had just completed helping a 72 year old friend do her tax after being hounded by the tax dept (the friend does a few small cleaning jobs to help pay the bills) she was seeing the friend off and checked the mailbox to find she herself was being audited. They want all the details back to 2001. (Who keeps paper work for 13 years?) She rang the Tax dept and spoke to a very very hostile and unhelpful woman who eventually extended her time limit to two weeks because my wife was having surgery the next day. Anyway by last night my wife still wasn’t really well enough to do it but time is running out so she sat down with all her paperwork spread everywhere and started. After a while she came across a page in the tax office stuff that said that because she was a disability pensioner she didn’t need to put in a taxation return for the years where she had no income, just a return to say she didn’t need to put in a return. So she did that for each year and put in a return for last year because a small investment matured, already taxed. She will get back a few dollars.
    So all that bullshit and the tax office will actually have to pay, it was the same for the other little old lady too, though her income was just below the tax free limit so she will get a nice sized return.

  15. John Lord


  16. jel31886B

    My slogan is refined to three words, although not original, “ONE TERM TONY”

  17. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Paul, a good ending to your wife’s and her friend’s tax situations.

    I sympathise with any other person who’s facing a similar situation, but who has no out like they had.

    My understanding was that people had to keep their paperwork for 5 years or thereabouts!?!

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