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Still Governed by Fools

Three months ago, Laura Tingle wrote a stinging critique of the Abbott government in the Australian Financial Review entitled, ‘Being Governed by Fools is not funny’. It was recently shared on Facebook and deserves to be re-visited.

It was written prior to the 2015 fiscal statement (the Budget), but if one ignores the time factor, the main body of the content could have been written yesterday.

The Coalition were swept into power in 2013 on a platform of lies and deception that weren’t even needed. Labor were going to lose anyhow. Not because they governed the country badly, but because they governed themselves in such a reckless and destructive way publicly, defeat was inevitable. The ABC’s The Killing Season has reinforced that view beyond doubt.

The LNP could have promised the voters nothing during the election campaign and they still would have won. Instead, they promised so much, even their own people knew they could not deliver.

On gaining power they acted as if it were the good old days when John Howard was at the helm. Even though they had falsely trashed the state of the economy in opposition, they believed the private sector would rally behind them and perform sufficient miracles to guide them to prosperity.

For the previous six years Australia and the world had been dealing with the aftermath of the greatest threat to world order since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It wasn’t a war, or even a cold war; it was a world economy on the brink of collapse.

Decades of irresponsible financial oversight, corporate and personal greed had enabled financial institutions to gamble recklessly with other peoples’ money. And when the collapse came, it was brutal, particularly in Europe and the United States.

In Australia the same Labor Government that was in the early stages of internal meltdown acted quickly. They went hard on stimulus and they went straight to households. The average person’s bank deposits were guaranteed and taxpayers received a $900 bonus.

The LNP opposition criticised this as excessive over-reaction. But it kept the country on a continuous growth trajectory. We were the only OECD country not to slip into recession.

It should have been obvious then that the LNP did not know how to manage an economy under these circumstances. Their record looked good when awash with money but in difficult times they were untried and untested.

Their only attack plan was to highlight the rising national debt, itself a pittance and easily managed, but the media gave them oxygen and Labor faulted in selling its case. Perhaps Labor were so distracted internally, they took their eyes off the ball and let the opposition run amok.

Even then, it should have been obvious that the LNP’s blueprint for debt reduction was flawed but the media either failed to do its job, or didn’t want to.

And so, in 2013 a poorly informed electorate voted this untested and unqualified rabble in, not by a huge margin, but sufficient for the LNP to think they were the nation’s favourite.

And so, what have we today is the result of that poorly informed choice.

A prime minister without a vision and a glaring lack of communication and oratorical skills living off a handful of three word slogans. A man with no respect for our Constitution or the rule of law.

A prime minister who has attracted the world’s attention for all the wrong reasons: hideously stupid gaffes, a 19th century approach to climate change, a 1950s approach to Trade Unionism, a dark ages approach to social equality and obsessively secret on matters of public interest.

We have a treasurer who clearly has no real answers to the questions he asked of the previous government, the one the voters removed. A man who, for all his bluster, has demonstrated a gift for verbal gaffes to rival his leader.

We have a government whose ideology blinds them not only to good government, which began, apparently, only last February, but to basic economic principles that Year 12 students could easily recognise.

Little wonder therefore, that has a petition asking for his resignation.

While that will be ignored no matter how many sign it, it is a true reflection of the feeling within the community generally. Anecdotal evidence and polls consistently show a majority of Australians will not support the LNP at the next election.

Whether one’s disgust at this government’s performance over less than two years is because of their economic ineptitude, their immoral approach toward asylum seekers, their disregard for the rule of law, their disregard for health and education outcomes or just the incompetence of several ministers, the polls are unequivocal.

Their most recent foray, i.e. defaulting to national security issues has been exposed as nothing more than an attempt to wedge the opposition.

Were this a Labor government, one can only imagine what the LNP-friendly media cohorts would be writing. Their collusion with the current state of affairs is appalling.

For those old enough to remember, we can compare the Menzies, Holt, Gorton, MacMahon and Fraser governments with this Liberal National Party and conclude that a treachery of monumental proportions has occurred; an abandonment of morality that began with the Howard government and which has become progressively more tragic today.

George W Bush took the United States down a similar path in the early 2000s and America is still recovering. Sometime soon, we will have to go through similar pain to restore our pride, our dignity and world image, but more importantly our self-respect.

That time can’t come soon enough.


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  1. deanyz1

    behave uncontrollably and disruptively.
    “stone-throwing anarchists were running amok”

  2. Harquebus

    And then, we will spend three years bitchin’ and complainin’ about Bill Shorten’s incompetence and broken promises before we throw another one term government onto the scrap heap to stew for another three years until, it is their turn again to stuff things up some more.

  3. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    NO! Recruit some moral and capable independents of the ilk of Tony Windsor and try for a hung parliament. Whichever “major” (= useless) party gets most votes will have to negotiate with independents who are in touch with US! Perhaps we could form a new party – The True Believers!

  4. mmc1949

    Do parents get a say when politicians visit schools? I wouldn’t want any of them anywhere near my children. That clip is from a Catholic school …. if they weren’t angling for a bigger slice of the funding pie, what were they doing allowing Abbott on their premises, especially to talk party politics?

  5. DanDark

    mmc1949 it beggars belief that any politician would speak like that to primary school kids, they were not his front bench in opposition, nor his back bench, they were little kids and he was sledging Gillard and Rudd to little kids…bloody disgraceful yep…

  6. brickbob

    Án apathetic public and a partisan media = a corrupt Govt.”””””

  7. stephentardrew

    Harquebus get over the downers.

  8. Harquebus

    stephentardew, take off the blinkers.

  9. Matters Not

    We were the only OECD country not to slip into recession

    I wonder how many citizens recognize this today? And if they are few and far between, whose fault is that?

    It’s a ‘fact’ that should feature in every press release issued by Shorten, Bowen et al.

    Ken Henry advised Rudd to ‘go hard and go early’ which he did.

    Rudd was very bright. But he was also an arseh#le.

    But he was allowed to be just that because the caucus and his cabinet colleagues were far too timid and then far too brutal.

  10. Ned

    New Lyrics version of Peter “Alien” Song.

    Ive been to Cites that John Howard closed down. From Bagdad to Syria and old Afghan town. But no matter how far or wide i roam. I wonder if Mr Dutton will still let me call Australia Home.

    When my Baby…When my Baby go’s to Riad- i go to ASIO- i go to ASIO.

  11. Matters Not

    mmc1949 asked:

    Do parents get a say when politicians visit schools?

    Good question because there are a number of dimensions worthy of discussion. If it’s a ‘local member’, whether that be from the Council, the State or the Federal Parliament and there’s to be no media involved, then most Principals would readily agree. However, if there is to be media involvement then certain alarm bells should ring.

    Journalist without TV cameras are usually not a problem because individual children are rarely identified. And if they are to be interviewed parental permission should be sought and usually is.

    When Principals allow TV cameras on school sites and involve the filming of students (even of a random nature), then complications can arise because there are any number of children who are ‘on the run’, for example, from a violent parent. In many ways, such children are ‘in hiding’ and their identity should/must be protected.

    While some media networks ‘blur’ the images, crews on the ground are often lax. As are their producers.

    Smart Principals ensure those who are to appear on the ‘box’ are not legally in danger and notify parents as to what might happen.

  12. Matters Not

    By the way, as I understand it, Tony Abbott has never attended a public school speech night in his own electorate.

    Abbott takes ‘class war’ very seriously.

    Can’t understand why we don’t respond in like manner. (Present company excepted.)

  13. Ned

    Even if Hockey did inject a $900 stimulus cheque to every Australian household like Swan did. It would have little effect as Abbott and Hockey have dismantled so much of the economy and vision for Australia that Gillard and Swan had, that it would not work or bring confidence back.

  14. Wayne Turner

    I sadly think these hopeless and dangerous lying Libs will be get back in.

    There is enough gullible fools in voting land,who are always fooled,and of course it’s the Libs/Nats & MSM vs us show.

    The Libs will scare the morons enough,to get back in.
    (More LIES,terrorism and boat people distraction,to Royal commission witch hunt vs Shorten)


    My faith in the majority/enough of the public = zero.


  15. kerri

    Stephen Tardrew. I agree partially with Harquebus. The present ALP “alternative” government, is not really an alternative but a turd by another name. If Labor were to win the next election on their present platform and because the public are so sick of the issues John has outlined in this article, it would become pretty obvious pretty soon that there is very little change. The result would be a still seriously p’d off voter base and the opportunity for the LNP (who will probably be led by Morrison by then) to sledge, mislead and further tarnish the Labor brand. Unless Shorten can present a clear and distinct alternative by having listened to the public rather than the spin doctors we will end up with the status quo as Bill attempts to cling to power by the same means as Abbott is using to trash his power. Labor needs to do much more than “a jump to the left” they need to board a bus and take a serious journey back to the light on the hill and I greatly fear Bill Shorten is not capable of that ride let alone navigating it?? The ALP is exhibiting a tin ear at present.
    Another great article John Kelly.

  16. Harquebus

    Thank you Ned for my first good laugh today.
    Thank you kerry for my second.

  17. Mark Needham

    John, A vegan sandwich mate. Absolutely no meat in sight.
    Abbot, makes “gaffes”, “Lies and deception” is about as serious as your opinion gets.
    Surely there is something, that the man and his Party have seriously done, that is upsetting you.

  18. Lizzie

    My thoughts exactly Kerri. It’s distressing to watch, Labour have completely lost their way. If it were them in Government making all these ludicrous gaffs, Abbott and his mob would be like pigs in mud, lapping up every moment while ripping strips off them – and our pathetic excuse for a media would be right behind them!

    Our main priority at the next election should be in getting rid of this corrupt government and I don’t think just voting Labour is going to cut it. Maybe Rosemary is right and we should focus on our Independent candidates? We need a plan because Australia’s future depends on it. Thoughts anyone??

  19. Lizzie

    Oh and I just looked at the video clip of Abbott reading to primary school kids. I remember George W Bush doing exactly the same thing but in his news report, he was actually holding the book up-side-down! It’s all so spookily familiar!

  20. Morpheus Being

    “And so, in 2013 a poorly informed electorate voted this untested and unqualified rabble in, not by a huge margin, but sufficient for the LNP to think they were the nation’s favourite.

    And so, what have we today is the result of that poorly informed choice.”

    The above quote is the root of the problem, which I hold main stream media responsible for. They did not pursue the LNP hard enough to explain policies and hold them accountable. And they still don’t. They are too soft and let the CMOI get away with not answering questions, just like in the house question time.

  21. kerri

    Lizzie my hope is that Green votes will go up. As The Greens appeal to a younger demographic and as the older “dyed in the wool” voters die off There will be more informed choice via the Internet. The Greens are not yet ready to govern in their own right and the numbers are not quite there yet, but it will force Labor to form a coalition and hopefully something closer to a sympathetic and egalitarian government will result. In general The Greens policies are more humane.
    For those of you ready now to shoot The Greens down in flames let me say 2 things?
    1/ You are clearly sucked in by the right wing and media damnation of The Greens and you need to do some independant research before you do the bidding of the right and Murdochmedia.
    2/ Yes The Greens have made some dubious decisions, but name a party that hasn’t???
    The Greens in coalition with Labor would seem to be the only chance of getting Australia somewhere near to what the country once was before the planet cooks us all to death.
    Morpheous Being
    Absolutely!!! The interview Gillard did with the BBC could easily have been any Australian media outlet!
    Interrogating over 2 percieved lies and ignoring Abbotts (see too many to count lies and broken promises. What is it about this right wing goon that the media find so appealing?? FFS expose the creep? Why is there no “At Home With Tony” on the heavily left biased ABC.? Why are Sales, Alberici, Jones, Uhlmann etc letting him get away with it?? And don’t get me started on Laurie Oakes? Paul Bongiorno writes some good stuff but how many read The Saturday Paper. Why won’t journos badger him until he gives an interview?
    If the ABC is forced to accept RWNJs like Gerard Henderson to “address the imbalance” then why does Abbott only give interviews to the Parrot?? Media bias my donkey!!!

  22. Morpheus Being

    kerrie: ABC right wing? The current LMP are so far to the right that there is no room left on scale. Anyone else has to appear to be left wing if comparing them with the LMP.

    Abbott daily adds to his lies: remember the no cuts to education, pensions, etc etc? Why is the CMOI not reminded of this daily? Or at least weekly?

    I think the ABC is letting the CMOI “get away with it”, because if they do start to do their job properly, there will be more massive cuts to the ABC and they will loose their jobs. IMHO they have been quietly told to back off.

  23. Lizzie

    Kerri for the first time I voted Green in this year’s State elections. Our local candidate was extremely transparent & informative of policies. Personally, I feel that we’re approaching a point where environmental issues will outweigh governments’ economic woes. I live in an area where locals campaigned for years for council de-amalgamation in order to protect the environment we live in, only to re-elect the underworked and grossly overpaid LNP member. I was absolutely horrified. I had no idea what people were thinking – I still dont!

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