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The Abbott Form of Social Engineering

In recent weeks I have written on three subjects relating to what I shall loosely call “The Psychology of Politics.” The first was titled Hidden Persuaders, the second You’re Being Manipulated and the third Political Lies and Who Tells Them. This one deals with Social Engineering.

This week I posted on Facebook the following statement.

“I have seen many governments come and go in my lifetime. All incoming governments naturally implement their policies within the constraints that exist within the two Australian Houses of Parliament.

The Abbott Government, however, seems to have embarked on some form of social engineering.”

I was taken to task for this statement by one person in particular and I told him I was writing an extended piece this week. To put my piece in some sort of context I begin with some quotes.

In one of his most influential essays, (Milton) Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that:

“Only a crisis – actual or PERCEIVED – produces real change”. . . A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once” – Naomi Klein, “Shock Doctrine”

In other words, manufacture a sense of crisis and you can get away with anything starting with maximum harm. Therefore, the conservatives are manufacturing a non-existent debt crisis.

Margret Thatcher said this (paraphrased):

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.

Abraham Lincoln said this:

“Labor came before capital and is not related to it. Capital is what’s acquired from labour, and would never have come about if it were not for labour. Therefore, labour is superior to capital and deserves the higher significance.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said this:

They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers . . . call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”

This is one of mine:

“The GST burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc”.

Before addressing the issue of Social Engineering I should say exactly what I think a Government should be regardless of its ideology.

Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.

What is ‘Social (political) Engineering?’

Social Engineering is when a political party seeks to use selective deceptive, manipulative and insidious psychological techniques to influence and bring about a change in the attitudes of masses of people to its point of view.

Now let’s get to the crux of the matter. You cannot possibly believe in democracy if you believe that your party is the only one who should win. Therefore, any party who wins an election is entitled to govern.

My problem with the Abbott Government is that it has embarked on a programme that is ideologically targeted at changing the way we think. This is social engineering.

Tony Abbott, for six years in Opposition created a negative image of our nation. He has never had a positive word to say about his country. He uses simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and in doing so suggests he has answers when he doesn’t. He has spread negativity like rust throughout the community. This is because he sees a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything. Everything is wrong and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster and people will believe the perception is in fact a reality. And of course keep on doing it when you attain government.

Another form of social engineering is making the people feel threatened. Tell them that the poor souls seeking asylum are below humanity, demonise them so that the people hate them. Take away all their rights and appeal to the base instincts of ordinary people and the racists. Apply a code of conduct and treat them like animals. Even take away the basic human right of association. Tell the people the absurd lie that their borders are under threat. And keep repeating the same slogans in government. Perpetuate the lie that you have stopped the boats when in all probability it was the other party’s policies that were responsible. It’s called social engineering.

The conservative Abbott Government has taken away from middle and low income earners, the School bonus and a superannuation discount to low income earners, mainly women. In addition they have blocked a pay rise to low income Child Care Workers. The annual small lump sum to pensioners to pay for unexpected bills was also abolished. And when the commission of audit reports I should think the assault on the middle and lower income earners will be on in earnest. The abandonment of all these benefits in the name of austerity is a smoke screen. It is taking from one group to give to another. The Paid Parental Leave Scheme comes to mind. Also the 15% tax rebate for the highest wage earners. This is not equity, it is social engineering. If the budget truly demands cuts, they should be equitable.

When a Government seeks to backtrack on election promises like the Gonski reforms and reimpose its own elitist inequitable policy with not the slightest thought for those who can least afford a better education: it is practising social engineering.

When it deliberately downgrades a policy like the NDIS on the basis of unaffordability but at the same time gives tax breaks to the wealthy industrialists including the richest women in the world: it is applying social engineering.

This Government came to office saying they were adult and trustworthy. That there would be no surprises. Yet what we have seen is an attack on the less well-off. It is making it very clear that there are untouchable cohorts and there are those that will have to support the untouchables.

The refusal to pay a miserly pay increase to Child Care Workers was an attack on Unionism. Taking money from aged care workers by dumping the Workforce Compact which provided a $1.2 billion fund to give aged care workers a much-needed 1% pay rise is another example.

The very premeditated, deliberate government induced exodus of GMH is not just the expulsion of the car industry but also a government attempt to rid the country of unions. There will be no government assistance for companies with union shops. It’s called social engineering.

If there were just a few instances of stamping a Governments ideological philosophy on the community you would say, fair enough. But there is a have, have-not form of serfdom running through this government’s work. They came to government without any policies and are more intent on destroying Labor’s legacy than governing for the common good.

We now have a Prime Minister for undoing, not for doing.

It seems the Abbott Government is attempting to socially engineer the minds of people. Nowhere is this more evident than its willingness to downgrade education and in particular, science. Any pretext to the scientific understanding of environmental impacts has been thrown out the window to appease the sponge of capitalism. We have seen in the past few days the reversal of Australia’s ocean reserves. A policy hailed throughout the world. God only knows what they intend for the Murray Darling.

To belittle science in order to create doubt in the community is social engineering of the very worst kind. And to suggest that excellent learning should only be available to the well-off is yet another example of social engineering.

In the area of communications we have a concerted attempt to eliminate the reasoned voice of opposing views. The dual attack on the ABC by the Murdoch Empire is an attempt to stifle debate. When a government condemns a perceived bias of one outlet without acknowledging the bias of another it is practicing social engineering

And when it appoints a person like Tim Wilson from the right wing think tank, IPA to the position of Australian Human Rights Commissioner at $330,000 a year (an institution that he and the IPA advocate eliminating) they are saying loud and clear that they are intent on telling you how to think. It’s called social engineering.

On his appointment he tweets this.

“To those who have welcomed my appointment, I give thanks. To those that have not, I welcome the chance to defend your free speech.”

Lying of course is the Social Engineers most effective tool. Throughout his career Tony Abbott has used this tool most effectively. He admits it and the people accept it but its effectiveness is in its persistency and continuity. Abbott has reached a stage in his Social Engineering where he is convincing people that truth is what he convinces us to believe rather than truth based on fact.

Here is an example:

“Let’s be under no illusion. The carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

The statement has no basis in fact.

Another tool of Social Engineering is secrecy and the Abbott Government has displayed a propensity for it. It’s called lying by omission.

We also see Social Engineering in policy and decision making. Here are a few:

  • The broken promise on the NBN will effectively mean that those who can afford it will become information rich and those who cannot will remain information poor.

  • Done deals with every state and territory government to gut and downgrade national environment laws by giving approval powers to state premiers further erodes the public’s capacity to disagree. It removes the community’s right to challenge decisions where the government has ignored expert advice. By removing funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia it has taken away the participatory role of the people in government.

  • By challenging the ACT Marriage Equality laws in the High Court it has ensured the ongoing discrimination against same-sex couples despite the vast majority agreeing with the proposition. By moving to repeal protections in the Racial Discrimination Act it is flaunting public opinion. By scrapping the Advisory Panel on Positive Aging, established to help address the challenges we will face in coming years as the number of older Australians grows it has taken away the voice of the people. And in abolishing the Climate Commission it has sought to silence science.

All of these things contribute to how we think act and feel. By manipulating society into thinking that the entire realm and ownership of knowledge is found in one ideology, one individual or cohort of individuals is a form of Social Engineering.

Collectively I believe these four pieces make a solid case that Abbott in Opposition and in Government is embarking on a course of Social Engineering. A course of inequality, of privilege and serfdom. Of manipulating society into believing that if the rich become richer their lot will advance at the same rate.

I remember Peter Costello being asked at the end of his tenure as Treasurer about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. His answer was to say “but at least the poor have not become poorer.”

I will leave you to ponder that.

PS: And I didn’t even mention the malevolent treatment of women. Yet another example of Social Engineering.

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  1. M. R.

    This sets it all out, so clearly that even an infuriated old fart like me can take it in. And wonder why it is that I haven’t been advised by Centrelink about losing some of my pension. But there! – I’m being totally subjective. And all the gods know that if we’re to rid ourselves of these appalling, APPALLING rabble who call themselves a government, we must be truly objective about most things … but not all.

  2. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    Thank you so much for your very eloquent article. This is such a distressing subject to have to point out to the general public. Can you somehow get the Age to publish it in the weekend papers?
    I would think that they might relish the thought of actually helping to get the truth of what is currently happening with this government. SOCIAL ENGINEERING IS THE WAY THAT HITLER GAINED POWER IN GERMANY.

  3. Fed up

    It seems now to some, and this government, work is not an entitlement, but a privilege.

    Does that mean, one should be grateful for any low paying job going.

    That a fair days work, for a fair days wage, is long back in the past.

    That one is not only not entitled to a job, but one cannot expect to see safety and health measures in place.

    That business must be freed of all regulations and responsibilities.

    The level playground when it comes to employer and worker, must be tilted completely in the favour of the boss.

    Workers have no rights to anything, except to perform the tasks the boss puts before them.

  4. Fed up

    I do like this article. We need more reminding, that this government is into social engineering on all fronts.

  5. cordannao

    The opposition is not opposing much and it scares me to death, that this government is getting away with harming our country. Even the Greens are leaving me wondering. I think a DD would be the only thing that might save us and put things back on track. LNP will not get through again, even their own members are cringing in shame. Thanks so much for this article.

  6. Lucette Bailliet.

    Thank you for spelling it out. Too many people dismiss Abbott as Simplistic idiot when in fact he is backed by a complete systematic machinery well oiled destroying every thing in its way. Australian society is really in danger.

  7. patsy

    wonderful article……..I am amazed that so many people were taken in….but of course he and his cronies and attack dogs have the poorer people scared….shame on him…abbott is an ugly human…..hiding behind pells cloth…….and he is a religious man….bulls twaddle.

  8. joy cooper

    Thank you John. Top post yet again & so on the mark.

    This Coalition government has been even worse than I thought it would be & that’s saying something!! It has beaten my wildest imaginings hands down & in a far shorter time frame than I thought possible. What is coming next fills me with sheer, unadulterated horror. Do not believe the Abbott government can be underestimated as regards their meanness & malignity. Shudder.

  9. Marcella Pyke

    I follow your blog with admiration and, further to the social engineering we are enduring, the TPP ISDS (also known as Corporate Sovereignty) provisions will increase the secrecy, lack of information flow and subjugation of individuals and Governments. It truly frightens me. Strict regulation of the internet, appointing internet service providers as police to monitor, report on and disconnect users at the behest of government and criminalisation of currently common sharing information practises may well have impacts on your own blog, as well as my ability to freely access it. This government has already demonstrated its attitude towards us citizens. They’ll throw our freedom to the corporate wolves. We must increase awareness to fight the damned thing. Sorry to rattle on but you have a wide readership and your heart and mind are in the right place, so I brought it to your attention.

  10. diannaart

    Thanks John.

    The Abbottoir expects Aged Care workers to hand back their miserly pay increase – yet still believe it is acceptable to claim for attending colleagues’ weddings – their sense of entitlement set well above those who care for the most vulnerable is all a part of their own personal social engineering.

  11. kathysutherland2013

    Great article! But what is the Opposition doing? Haven’t heard a peep out of Bill!

  12. diannaart


    Maybe Bill got socially engineered while travelling with Tony.

  13. leighton8

    Good synopsis of where Australia stands about 105 days into this current government. Hopefully it doesn’t go its full three years. Perhaps the final straw will be IF Abbott appoints John Howard as the next GG early next year …..

  14. Dan Rowden

    We’re all social engineers. Labor engages in social engineering as much as anyone. It all depends on one’s socio-political ideology as to whether we like it or not.

  15. Ricardo29

    Great post John, again. I find it amazing that across the blogosphere there are coalition supporters who, even when faced with such clear and clearly expressed information, are still prepared to defend the indefensible and demand that they be given a go. How much longer do the mugs who were sucked into electing this rabble need before they realise they’ve been dudded?

    I just hope some of those on the Opposition benches are reading these posts, and others like them, and taking note of the outrage they represent.

  16. gumleafdi

    This is an important article. I think, John that you have been gobsmacked, insulted and horrified with the Coalition in the last few years, especially after Gillard assumed the leadership. Many, many of us feel the same. And I think you are trying to analyse what techniques they have used to great effect. As stated above, Hitler was doing a similar thing, Propaganda, manipulation, crisis-mongering all equal social engineering of the worst kind. This is a conversation we need to have. worth sendling to the Opposition.

  17. Blake

    F#cking excellent article!
    I’m so glad that many others see what’s really happening. Hopefully the rest of Australia will follow and fix this gigantic mistake.

  18. TimePasser

    Thank you once again John. Your recent articles have had interesting threads which also brought forth comments with useful terminology such as Gaslighting and Psychological Warfare – all relevant to the current political climate. For those who might have missed the discussions, here are two Wikipedia links:

    “GASLIGHTING is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity….. It describes efforts to manipulate someone’s sense of reality. Sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics.”

    If a government deliberately engages in large scale ‘Gaslighting’ tactics through the National media, it might then be regarded as engaging in ‘PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE’ upon its own population.

    “Various techniques are used, and are aimed at influencing a target audience’s value system, belief system, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior. It is used to…… reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator’s objectives….. a form of indirect aggression in place of military aggression. This type of propaganda drains the public opinion of an opposing regime by stripping away its power on public opinion…. The only defense is using the same means of psychological warfare…..”

    Combining the two – Gaslighting and Psychological Warfare – we have a fairly clear picture of the propaganda tactics currently in play by the coalition in Australia – aided by its media supporters – and the destructive Social Engineering that John speaks about.

  19. johnlord2013

    True Dan. It is however a question of degree and intent and of course what serves the common good. I think one has to search ones conscience to find where that is.

  20. Dan Rowden


    True Dan. It is however a question of degree and intent and of course what serves the common good. I think one has to search ones conscience to find where that is.

    Oh, I agree with that totally. Complications arise, however, with respect to things like the notion of “common good”. There being no objective way to define such a thing, there will always be a battleground on which differences of perspective will fight for supremacy. Life is, in many respects, a battle of values. Questions of ethics of engagement with regard to “war” have always haunted humanity and will continue to do so forever, I suspect. What we’re seeing from the Coalition currently gives us a bit of an insight into how far they’ll go to win.

  21. Roswell

    Wow. What a great article. I’m almost shaking from the realisation of what is happening to us.

  22. trevor vivian

    the australian electorate votes for whoever tickles its hip pocket and does not stand up for any issue, as the hangover from times past of control by government agencies which prosecute malicious allegations and various untruths against those individuals who speak out (witness whistleblowers)so as to invigorate a culture of defiant indiffererence in the populace and sufficient headlines in a complicit media to show what happens to the those who threaten the narrative of the government of the day( Commonwealth,State&Local). And so we have the “adults” of Abbott et al proffessing to create monstrous lies, deceptions, and narrative to feed the collective indifference of the australian electorate. Abbott is a lying Cu*t of the worst traditions and a direct throwback to the torturous regimes of the feelgood past of australian political masters with the various rules that delay(30yr) publication of real facts so that the people may take action to punish deceptive malicious politics . But alas its all too comfortable in Oz and fu*k nose how change will effect in this indifferent society.. And the Abbott adults are in charge.

  23. Kim Wright

    Distressing but very well written and pulled together. Can I encourage everyone to share this widely. Risk sending it to friends who may support Abbott. Lets try to get this out to the non converted. No amount of comments and posts here is going to open the minds of those “out there”

  24. rossleighbrisbane

    I can’t help notice the lack of trolls lately. In fact, I have trouble remembering ANYONE writing a comment on an AIMN blog supporting Abbott for the past coule of weeks!

  25. Carol Taylor

    Abbott recently stated that he didn’t take anything to the election which he hasn’t already said, and unfortunately this is true. Abbott said that he wanted to return Australia to the halcyon days of John Howard, this is presumably the elitism mentioned in this article plus perhaps one whole lot more. An example comes from Abbott’s book where he suggested suggested a return to “faults based divorce” which doubtless would win the approval of his mentor Pell.

    The Opposition families spokesman (Abbott 2009) is touting the return to fault-based divorce as a way to shore up traditional values..

  26. Kaye Makovec

    “And I didn’t even mention the malevolent treatment of women.” Think you would need a lot more time to spend on that one and more than one page 🙂

  27. Paolo Soprani

    I agree with your article and argument entirely, Mr Lord. These men in The Coalition are dangerous. I have never fely so unsettled in 65 years. Surely, others must feel the same but a quick look at the Herald Sun Melbourne makes no mention of anything contentious. We the Australian people are being taken for a ride. The standout for me was the pre-election ‘budget emergency’ which I knew for a fact was a blatant lie.

  28. Marg

    Fantastic article . I wonder whether the Herald Sun would print it?

  29. Kaye Lee

    Wonderful article, thank you John.


    “Complications arise, however, with respect to things like the notion of “common good”. ”

    It’s hard for me to agree but you are no doubt right. I will let the words of others far wiser than me explain why I find it hard to even fathom the notion of common good that this government and its supporters seem to hold.

    Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.~Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973), My Several Worlds [1954].

    The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
    ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization.
    ~Samuel Johnson, Boswell: Life of Johnson

    The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.~John E. E. Dalberg, Lord Acton, The History of Freedom in Antiquity, [1877].

    “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ” ~ Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

    “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

    “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
    ~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

    The greatness of America is in how it treats its weakest members: the elderly, the infirm, the handicapped, the underprivileged, the unborn. ~Bill Federer

    “A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members and among the most vulnerable are surely the unborn and the dying,”
    ~Pope John Paul II

  30. allenmcmahon

    We all know that Abbott is a tool, unfortunately he is a useful tool for corporations and banks.

  31. Colleen Mcgregor

    Fantastic,insightful piece John,but frightening as well – he also has powerful ppl behind him& this support enhances his self seeking need to destroy sound reforms & social programs that aid poorer ppl…how do we rid Aust of Abbott & his mob intent on evil?

  32. Calypso Cool

    Abbott is a dangerous politician. Yes, he is an idiot, but he is also attempting (without success in our case) to manipulate people through his lies, to believe that the country is in dire straits when it isn’t. He wants to abolish Labor’s legacy, not supposedly improve the country.

  33. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    We may share a social philosophy, but in the end, quoting people isn’t an argument. Those quotes echo sentiments we share; they are not arguments for a socio-political viewpoint.

  34. helen

    I do not like or support Abbot,but I see some parallels with the Labour Govt when in Power.Not convinced yet that there is much difference in the shades of Grey Yet?

  35. Pingback: The Abbott form of Social Engineering | Café Whispers

  36. hi2lea

    I have been outraged about Abbott and his base slogans before he even came to “power”. Ever since he came in, I have become more and more upset by what he is doing to this country. You have summed it all up so succintly under “social engineering”. What a great article. If anyone feels as strongly as I do about getting rid of the Abbott government before he tears up Australia, privatises everything and destroys our reputation worldwide, please sign this petition that is going on All signatures will hopefully help.

  37. helen

    Dan Rowden I agree with your supposition the all Govts Socially engineer as do many corporate bodies.As you say it depends on ones ideology as to what is acceptable.

  38. Pingback: The Abbott Form of Social Engineering | hi2lea

  39. kathysutherland2013

    Diannaart, that’s a scary scenario, particularly as Tanya is currently travelling with Julie!

  40. Ebonie

    Thank you so much for writing this John! I have been saying these things for weeks!! It’s heartening to see in the comments as well that there are still enlightened people in this country willing to fight for what’s right. With the anti-demonstration and anti-speak ill of the government laws in the media we are certainly heading towards a par with early 1930’s Germany.

  41. Robyne Chamberlain

    Great article…frighteningly clear

  42. Steve

    “This is because he sees a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything. Everything is wrong and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster and people will believe the perception is in fact a reality. And of course keep on doing it when you attain government.”
    – which is EXACTLY what Hitler did before convincing the rest of Germany it needed to exterminate ALL the Jews and then take over Europe. Abbott may not have the ambition of taking over Europe, but since wanting to be PM as a kid, you can sure as hell bet he want’s (and means) to be PM for as long as he possibly can. He means to take over Australia and in doing so simply do the complete opposite of everything ALP did, even if just to spite the ALP… Even if it means doing what Mussolini did. (Read wiki: Mussolini). I am scared for our country and it’s people.

  43. lawrencewinder

    Very, very interesting is the lack of Liarbril objection/refutation to this article….are their nostrils finally filling with the stench of a rotting body which was once a social entity?

  44. Steve

    p.s. Great article John! Without a doubt, the BEST and BRIGHTEST piece of political literature I have EVER read. If this article can’t hit home, then there is quite possibly more wrong with our society than just social engineering.
    The problem remains, the people most susceptible to the LNP’s fear-mongering, are those that are under-educated and possibly apathetic to politics. It is these people that fell for the lies leading up to election, and it is these people that need to understand why Abbott is so unhealthy for our democracy.. yet it is these people who will not read this article because they will deem it “too long” and they will “get bored” because they haven’t even read a book since high-school (when they were made to). And this is not a generalization.. this is the response I have received from people in conversation over the previous 4 months. It seems that many Australians are now lazy and complacent, and they simply want to be told what to do or how to do it… Not all of course (that was a generalization). But I digress, it is these under-educated misinformed voters that need to read these types of things.. that is the conundrum.
    Also, people seem to be ill-informed on how to vote. The majority of damage was done with secondary votes. So voting reform is in order.. another thing that many people won’t embrace due to it being “boring”. Unfortunately, as most of us will understand, it is a necessary “boring”.

    And one more thing if I may… there seems to be many people “fence-sitting” in this debate. Not just here, but in the country. Many people applying Abbotts own concept of “let’s sit and see where we end up”. Make NO MISTAKES about it people, unfortunately, WE are at WAR. This is now a fight for our freedoms and democracy. For civil liberties and freedom of existence. For a right and chance to get ahead in this life, no matter our social standing. We are at war with totalitarianism… with despotism even… and as such, if you sit in the middle of a war, all you will do is attract cross-fire. As in any war, whether it be real or implied, YOU MUST choose a side. There can be no middle ground. if you want to win a war, you NEED NUMBERS. Troops on the ground. Complacent fence-sitting will achieve just as much as those doing the damage. You either stand for something, or you fall for anything. Pick a side. Pick the side that benefits the majority of the regular population.. the children, the aged, the infirm. pick a side, then begin your recruiting of other soldiers. Do you want to win this war..? You want your freedoms intact? Or you want to just sit back and say.. “well.. how can we say what is what?”. What is happening here is wrong. Plain and simple. YOU must be the change you wish to see.. so, stand up and change. Change into battle fatigues.

    Metta to you all, and have a merry and safe Christmas.

  45. Michael

    Great, logically presented, brilliantly written article.
    Presumably will be met with that infallible statement “Oh you’re just a lefty do gooder” which of course trumps logic and proves that everything you have said is wrong.

  46. jasonblog

    The Abbott Form of Social Engineering?

    It has much in common with classical fascism

    In particular the ever-present sense of doom & gloom & mayhem and the over-running of the social hierarchy.

    The negativity that haunts Mr Abbott is reminiscent of what Erich Fromm wrote of in Anatomy of Destruction.

  47. nadine

    I am not Pro coalition, however I do not believe I have read anything which poses the very real possibility that Abbott is not lying -at least he may honestly believe in what he is doing and that what he is planning is right and good for the country. I have not seen any evidence yet that he is deliberately lying either to himself or anyone else. AND THIS MAKES HIM VERY, VERY DANGEROUS. Because he is a man of religious faith and he has transposed the ability to have deep faith in a religious entity into having deep faith in his capacity to be right, and the only problem with the Australian people is that they too have not seen that he is right. Just as a religious argument is built around the power or oration, staying on focus and insisting that those that cannot see the truth will eventually see it as it is revealed, so too is the political rhetoric of the coalition govt being expressed in faith-based rhetoric.
    For those who think now I hate religious establishments, I have no problem with most people of faith, I do, however, have problems with people of faith who use that faith as a source of salvation from the trials of the everyday, the promise of a better world after death, and the route to that better world being via tithing, attention to the information in one book and even worse one version of that book, the conformity of lifestyles, and the maintenance of an underclass because how can one feel good about oneself by giving to the poor, if there are no poor?

    Hatred, the pure unadulterated hatred shown towards Julia Gillard and asylum seekers to name the obvious two comes from a hatred so real it can only exist if the speaker truly believes in it. No fake hatred here, no falsehood is necessary, this is not lying by Abbott, and possibly some of his colleagues, it is like Palmer and what’s her face from the Australia First party, put them on polygraphs, pump them full of sodium phentanol, they will not change their tune. They are sadly the true believers and therefore their message is so very difficult to overturn until they are found to be living a life counter to that they advocate for the rest of their society. More Animal Farm than Mein Kampf. Who will be able to show the emperor that indeed he has no new clothes at all?

  48. Nerrilyn Diefenbach

    Thank you for a very succinct and well written article John. As someone who has more than a passing interest in American history I can’t help but draw the parallels between the reality of what we are now facing as a nation and what America suffered through the Bush era. At the time I was appalled by what Bush and his evil cronies managed to achieve. I use the word “evil” deliberately as this neoconservative ideology deliberately sought to hurt, diminish and demonise the most vulnerable so the affluent could continue to prosper out of all proportion to what was fair and reasonable in any just and honest society. It was ugly. Truly ugly. Even though I didn’t agree with much of what Howard did I reassured my self that at least we, as a Nation, were nowhere near as bad as America. However, I am appalled at how low our country has been brought, how quickly it has been accomplished and how accepting and silent the majority appear to be.

  49. Murray Barnard

    and doesn’t it remind you of something…Hitler’s rise to power, same tactics, same social re-engineering to maintain power!

  50. diannaart


    For a moment my heart was pounding, then I remembered Tanya in QT, her speeches and listened to a recent edifying interview with her on ABCRN.

    I believe Tanya has something Bill doesn’t – a backbone. Julie is powerless around her – sort of Dungeons and Dragons style – while Tanya is around evil has no power. (Yes, I am a nerd).

  51. Dan Rowden


    You make a really pertinent and important point with this:

    all Govts Socially engineer as do many corporate bodies

    Governments can at least argue they have public support (a “mandate”, if you like) to perform their particular type of social engineering. They were, after all, voted into office, in part because of their socio-economic ideology. Corporations can make no such argument. The shenanigans they get up to are entirely motivated by self-interest and can be argued to be anti-social, based on the premise that society has given them no mandate to act as they do.

  52. Thomas Britz

    Really great post, laying out the many incredible and an incredibly damaging acts of the Abbott government! I agree with almost all particular points and like the general argument about social engineering. However, I agree with Dan Rowden to some extent: most governments try to social engineer, in various degrees. In fact, this is perfectly ok when populations are led gently by government to improved behaviour or attitudes. The Scandinavians have done this very well in most respects and this is not seen there as anything negative; in fact, the Scandinavians often call on their governments to make [propaganda] campaigns for improving civic virtues, whether it be taking better care of each other in the traffic, being friendly and happy on the busses, not cheating on [everyone’s] taxes, and so forth. The Scandinavian assumption is however that politics and population are two sides of the same coin and that everyone has goodwill towards common good, and mostly towards each other.
    Abbott’s assumptions are very different and although I am not sure exactly what they are, it is clear that goodwill towards common people is not something that he has or is fond of. He might just possibly have a vision for an Australia that he deems better for Australians than the present one, and if so, then I would really love to hear about it. Until I hear more about that vision, however, I can’t help but think that he just doesn’t have goodwill at all, neither towards Australians as individuals nor towards Australia as a society. All I can see is that he has fought enemies so long that he will do anything to win and crush them, regardless of subsequent outcome or value for Australia. I’m probably wrong but it’s hard to see otherwise.
    In any event, look forward to more destruction, more fear, less social cohesion, less happiness, less prosperity, less productivity, and a slide down most other international rankings as well.

  53. diannaart


    In any event, look forward to more destruction, more fear, less social cohesion, less happiness, less prosperity, less productivity, and a slide down most other international rankings as well.

    Indeed. Conservatives by fear, progressives by hope. Unfortunately ‘fear’ headlines harder than ‘hope’.

  54. Bryony

    Thank you and this is without mentioning also that Tony Abbott is easing rules regarding federal ministers’ business interests by reversing previous code of conduct terms which prevented them from holding company shares – . How and where can the public follow what shares they might invest in? It strikes me that being a Government minister gives someone insider knowledge and this could transpire into something that would parallel ‘insider trading’ (in fact one could speculate that was the point….), obviously a most undesirable position to create.

  55. johnlord2013

    If I might clear one thing up. The title of the piece is “Abbots Form of Social Engineering” . The title itself acknowledges other forms.Dan is correct in saying it is practiced by other political ideologies. Ourselves and even the advertising industry. I used the term “Common Good” as a thought of demarcation. If Labor’s form results in National Health, Superannuation. Marbo, Equal pay for women, an apology to our indigenous people, equality in education, sexual equality and Disability Insurance. Policies that serve the common good. Then that form of social engineering is worthwhile.

  56. TimePasser

    diannaart & kathysutherland2013 Re. Bill & Tanya…..

    Yes, I agree with Diannart that Tanya Plibersek will not be negatively affected by the trip with Julie Bishop. In fact, I think Tanya would be the more powerful influence on those she comes into contact with.

    We are focussed on the bad influences currently in politics but shouldn’t underestimate the positive effect that good people such as Tanya, Bill and many others inevitably have on other people.
    Keeping good company is important, it helps to cultivate good qualities just to be in the presence of steady, sincere people who set a good example by their staunch character and concern for others.

    A huge problem for many of the coalition MPs is the company they keep…. Bolt, Jones etc…. and others within their own party. In recent years, the nasty, deceitful, destructive attitude and behaviour of the LNP has been reinforced and promoted as ‘acceptable’ in their associations with shock jocks and other vile members of the media and then rewarded with political victory. However, moral victory eludes them.

    Their participation in a tight-knit consortium of ‘plotters and planners’ over their last six years in opposition has distanced them from persons of high moral character and much that is good in our society. They are constantly being influenced to bring out the meanest streaks rather than the springs of goodness and compassion.

    If some of them can be separated from the pack long enough to actually encounter decency at close quarters, they might then realise how far they have allowed themselves to deviate from basic human values due to ‘pack mentality’. Yes, the more they mix individually with Labor & Greens MPs, the better it will be for all of us!

  57. Fed up

    “the australian electorate votes for whoever tickles its hip pocket and does ”

    If this was true, Gillard would still be PM.

  58. Mitch

    Is this article not a piece of social engineering unto itself?

    Stating that social engineering is a realm confined only to that of politicians/political parties is the first piece of misinformation you are enacting that reinforces the notion that this article is indeed your own (somewhat limited attempt)at social engineering. More over social engineering is a tool often associated with those seeking to use psychological manipulation to commit fraudulent acts. Quite fitting when reading this article. For mine this article reeks of hypocrisy as ideologically it seems evident that you feel that your political stance (extrême-gauche) is the only one that holds true to modern Australia. I’m not too sure how this fits into your definition of “democratic”.

    Why is it so irresponsible for the government of the day to discuss the notion that debt, in an uncertain global economic climate is something that they ideologically believe might leave Australia vulnerable structurally to changing headwinds? Why is it so offensive to mention boat arrivals and border security in the same sentence? Why can’t we have a discussion about cost of living pressures and seeking to implement measure to ease such pressures (if you don’t feel there are cost burdens on families these days then I am afraid you are simply a pseudo academic who is not in touch with reality)? Seemingly your point of view is the only one that has any merit moving forward, all the while implementing rhetoric to reinforce this and perpetuate your gross manipulation. The phrase social engineering springs to mind.

    A theme of this article appears to be that Abbott Co are seeking to implement some form of class warfare aimed at breaking the backs of lower and middle income earners through adjustments to various mechanisms of social welfare whilst ensuring high income earners are given tax benefits that would befit the tea party. Further to this noting “when the commission of audit reports I should think the assault on the middle and lower income earners will be on in earnest” A blatant attempt to create a perceived fear of something that may never occur. Social Engineering?

    Commentators such as you seem determined to spell out a yawning divide in the Australian political spectrum, when in fact I think any informed/rational individual would take a more moderate approach that in general terms we all sit slightly left or right of centre. But invariably are open to crossing the floor depending on the subject matter, personally for me gay marriage is a “no brainer” and should be legislated ASAP as to move on to other pressing issues. Individuals such as yourself however seem adamant that Armageddon is about to ensue because a moderate conservative is our prime minister and you are more than happy to use misinformation and deception to convey your opinion. This is social engineering.

    Your most blatant and insidious manipulation of the truth is “The very premeditated, deliberate government induced exodus of GMH”. This is by far the most unashamed attempt at Social Engineering by trying to influence the attitudes of the masses through pure fallacy. This statement is simply not true but further to this why is it our responsibility as tax payers to prop up an industry that has not and in all likelihood will never be profitable? I would have thought these funds would be better used to initiate structural change to ensure the viability of our economy on a holistic level as well as creating sustainable industry meaning improved job security for an entire nation. Not throw good money after bad so the saying goes. But more importantly this was clearly not the decision of the government. This aside you seem to be very forgetful of what the previous government did with Ford and Mitsubishi.

    I think an underlying life principle that you do not seem not to understand is that if you cannot afford something, you simply can’t afford it. NBN is a prime example of this. It was poorly costed, poorly implemented and poorly run. Why is it so shocking when something that is going to cost as much as the NBN does for the government to say “wait a minute this is too much we can’t afford this”? This in comparison to the “there will be no carbon tax” lie is comparing apples with oranges. The former being an honest appraisal and to say otherwise is to go to the fraudulent nature of this article. This is social engineering.

    The final insult you throw us is to put your name alongside and truly great minds like Thatcher, Lincoln and Roosevelt indicating that you are nothing but an ill informed narcissist seeking to spread fallacy and singular opinion in your own vain attempt at social engineering. It would appear that you are indeed a hypocrite.

    I will leave you to ponder

  59. Graham Funkle

    You people need to open your blinkered eyes and look at what has happened over the last 8 years. You are being brain washed, what about the 300 Billion the unions are sitting on with super funds and the way Steve Bracks organised the lucrative deal for C Bus that now blackmails the Victorian public with the desalination plant, not to mention who got the money with MYKI. Your hate and vitriol is sad and WILL make you sick. It is also obvious that you have never put anything on the line and genuinely contributed to society by trying to run a business or employe people and help others on their journey through life. Just keep sticking your hand out and winge about those who seem to get more.

  60. Louise

    We see and agree now what can we do about it, how do we get rid of him??

  61. susanai

    Reblogged this on SUSAN'S SPACE and commented:
    My only thought is ‘why did the voters fall for his crap, it was so blatant!’

  62. Pingback: The Abbott form of Social Engineering | PNCAU

  63. helen

    Graham Funkle I have not see Hate or Vitriol on these posts. All has been discussion debate and ideological viewpoint. Your comments appear to be emotive and not conducive to any intellectual discourse.

  64. helen

    Mitch after reading your analysis and taking on board certain valid points I have to wonder why one finds it necessary to stoop to the insult and denigration of anothers view point when your own were made so succinctly. Just seems to detract too much from the body of the posted work and weakens the respect one might have for your point of view.

  65. johnlord2013

    The Decal plant was first proposed by the Liberal Party.

  66. Kaye Lee

    “Stating that social engineering is a realm confined only to that of politicians/political parties is the first piece of misinformation you are enacting that reinforces the notion that this article is indeed your own (somewhat limited attempt)at social engineering. More over social engineering is a tool often associated with those seeking to use psychological manipulation to commit fraudulent acts. Quite fitting when reading this article. For mine this article reeks of hypocrisy as ideologically it seems evident that you feel that your political stance (extrême-gauche) is the only one that holds true to modern Australia. I’m not too sure how this fits into your definition of “democratic”.”

    What a load of nothingness mitch. This is, to me, an attempt to look intellectual with no actual basis in fact or comment on specifics. Your brackets sound like some snooty nosed disdainful kid, dismissing others just because…no argument…just cause. Back up what you are saying.

    If the Coalition believe ” might leave Australia vulnerable structurally to changing headwinds” why increase it?

    “Why is it so offensive to mention boat arrivals and border security in the same sentence?” Speaking for myself, I do not consider a few thousand asylum seekers a threat.

    “(if you don’t feel there are cost burdens on families these days then I am afraid you are simply a pseudo academic who is not in touch with reality)”
    The average household is taking home $17,250 a year more in after tax income than in late 2007, paying $6,100 a year less in mortgage repayments and their cost of living has risen by $9,240. Netting this out means a gain of over $14,000 a year.

    “A theme of this article appears to be that Abbott Co are seeking to implement some form of class warfare aimed at breaking the backs of lower and middle income earners. A blatant attempt to create a perceived fear of something that may never occur ” I note you don’t mention any of the facts that John pointed out in his article. These facts have given me the same perception about Abbott’s priorities.

    You suggest that we are all “open to crossing the floor depending on the subject matter” except when you aren’t allowed to because the leader of your party refuses to allow a conscience vote and insists that you vote the way Pell tells him to.

    “Your most blatant and insidious manipulation of the truth is “The very premeditated, deliberate government induced exodus of GMH”.” Every country subsidises its car industry. We give the mining industry 10 times as much in subsidies even though it only employs about 2% of the population. We give more to private health companies than we do to the car manufacturers. GMH put a proposal on the table – the government rejected it.

    “if you cannot afford something, you simply can’t afford it. NBN is a prime example of this”. I assume then that you paid cash for your house and cars and that you have never borrowed money to invest in a business. Investments in productivity game changers like the NBN are EXACTLY what this country needs.

    “The final insult you throw us is to put your name alongside and truly great minds like Thatcher, Lincoln and Roosevelt” Does this imply that we are never to quote anyone ever again? At least John quoted people of importance…I have just wasted a lot of time quoting someone of no discernible importance at all.

  67. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    A great deconstruction, revealing the the emptiness behind the rhetoric of Mitch and those who share his POV. Without a basis in fact, a foundation of evidence – simply attempting to denigrate… I guess this behaviour works on enough people (how else to explain why we have ended up with such a secretive controlling and neo-con government?).

  68. Michael Sydney Jones

    Mitch, the main thing is perspective. We are losing too much under the Abbott government. It is only 150 years or so that the Peterloo massacre happened in Northern England, where women and children were killed by henchmen on horseback, doing the bidding of the privileged few, and putting the starving, severely downtrodden workers back in ‘their place’. Humanity is not intrinsically good. By some miracle we have built, painful step by painful step real protections workers, without whom the rich would have nothing.

    Thanks to Liberal ideology these protections are being ripped away. I don’t trust people. Period. The ugliness of Peterloo is only a few generations old. We could easily revert to that. Hitler’s Germany is only a couple of generations old. People flee from persecution and oppression in this world on a daily basis. By the law of averages, the Abbott government has to be getting SOME things right. It is the overall trend that we should be worried – very worried – about!

  69. scotchmistery

    One of the things I have noted about the electorate, is that a good percentage are quite stupid. Whilst this is sad, it has an upside. I am having difficulty locating it, outside of the expression “one-term tony”. I can’t even put a capital on it’s name. However the upside I think is that maybe after being phuqued for a couple of years by this social sodomite and his friends, Australians may take a longer look next time.

    I believe hoping for that is all that is left. One point, someone mentioned the “telegraph” printing it. LOL. Most of their “journos” wouldn’t understand the big words. Also, Murdoch won’t let anything referring to his position as the PM’s leash holder go through to the stumps.

  70. Alex Kelly

    I get your point and you make it well. I am however, more interested and concerned with what we do now? How do we counter these narratives? How do we respond to these widespread cuts and how do we ensure that the least amount of damage is done? I am hungry for ideas, solutions!

  71. Billablog

    Although I wonder if you might be attributing to malice that which could be adequately explained as stupidity, you make an excellent case. I do think you give Abbott a bit too much credit. Blaming him for such engineering is like blaming Ronald McDonald for obesity. They’re not really running the show.

    Social engineering required the compliance of a large proportion of the society being engineered. That’s where the oligarchs like Murdoch come in. They’re the ones who are really pulling the strings and Abbott’s team of ideologues are their front.

  72. woodzy

    Unfortunately what people fail to mention in the kgb media that is run by that american oldft called rupert is that the so called “labour waste” which forced the raising of a debt ceilling was actually a liberal party defence strategy……

    In 2003 the then howard government announced it would be spending a then estimated 60 billion on the next generation of fighter planes to replace the F-111, the Joint Strike Fighter ETA 2008……10 years and nearly 300 billion later we are not expected to receive our first ones until 2022 (current estimates)

    In that time:

    >Sukhoi and MiG will have had three or four new generations of fighters (the current generarion makes the specifications of the JSF completely obsolete if that aint scary the fact that china could possibly have 3 or four generations of figjters should we go to war against them means were f’ed)

    >the current generation Eurofighter (planned next gen around 2018) also exceeds the planned specifications of the JSF and has been around for at least 15 years.

    >Brazils order of the as yet untested saab fighter will have been completed

    >the FA18 super hornets that we currently fly will be obsolete and will need replacing.

    What im getting at is for around 60% less of the price of this deal that howard, abbott and costello have signed us up to we could have got brand spanking new planes, been able to manufacture spare parts over here and been able to get hem quicker than the yanks can send a coffee cup holder for the super hornet…..

  73. Pingback: How to rob a bank: A social engineering walkthrough | Ben Mobley on Security

  74. annamccormack3

    great article John. EXCEPT leaving out women (apart from 1 line PS at the end) is itself a form of social engineering. Disappointed.

  75. Richard

    I feel sorry for Australia we are still picking up the pieces from Mrs Thatcher’s reversal of civilisation she set things back about half a century and we are still trying to get back to where we were 30 years ago now i suggest you start the revolution now because once freedom common sense and justice is lost its very very very hard to get back.

  76. Pingback: Will we never change until it gets too uncomfortable to stay the same? - » The Australian Independent Media Network

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