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The Gospel According to Bolt

The Abbott Government must now change or die.

Following on from the grilling Alan Jones gave Tony Abbott on his talkback program. Andrew Bolt decided on Tuesday to weigh into the discussion about the poor performance of the government. At first glance one might say, fair enough. Putting aside the fact that Bolt and Jones write on the basis of payment for controversy, Bolt does make some valid points. He covers a wide range of topics from foreign policy to media bias. I think I agree more often than not. Did I just say that?

But there is one glaring omission. The Prime Minister seems to be responsible for nothing. It’s everyone’s  fault but Abbott’s. How can this be?

What follows is a transcript from Bolt’s blog. My comments are in italics.

The Abbott Government falls further behind in Newspoll:

In two-party-preferred terms, based on preference flows from last year’s election, Labor leads by 55 per cent to 45 per cent. The ALP’s third consecutive rise in two-party terms means the opposition has been in front of the -Coalition on this measure for 14 successive Newspolls.

I still believe this overstates the margin, and the reality is somewhere between Newspoll and Essential Media’s 48 to 52 per cent. But there is no disputing the Government has a serious problem.

At this stage in the election cycle polls are meaningless as to a pointer to who might win. However as a current form guide of performance they are illuminating. Why all of a sudden Newspoll is shadowing Morgan is a mystery. Perhaps they are calling mobiles. Given there will not be much joy in any LNP future announcements these figures will continue for months to come.

So to repeat:

– the Government’s foreign policy successes don’t much impress voters. They are important, some critical, but they will increasingly look to voters like evasive action. A smokescreen from what they’d consider their most immediate concerns.

Bolt is correct here. Abbott has looked as though he has vacated domestic policy in favour of the perception he is some sort of international statesman. Which he aint. THE G20 meeting gave him a powerful stage to articulate his vision for Australia. So he spoke about his inability to pass his unfair budget. Now that’s statesmanship for you.
And what intelligent Prime Minister PM would say.

“As for Australia, I’m focusing not on what might happen in 16 years’ time, I’m focusing on what we’re

doing now and we’re not talking, we’re acting,”

 

What would an intelligent 18-year-old about to vote for the first time think of this statement by the PM.

 

As Malcolm Farr said on insiders. ‘’He shouldn’t be left in charge of his own mouth’’

the domestic issues, especially Budget cuts and broken promises, continue to kill the Government.

In trying to sell the perception that the budget was in crisis while adding to the deficit (they are still doing it) themselves only served to highlight Abbott’s capacity for lying. If things continue the deficit will double by the time of next year’s budget. Whatever spin Abbott and his ministers put on it, he told lies to gain power and is now suffering credibility deficiency syndrome.

– weak economic growth and Budget blowouts undermine the Government’s entire argument for being.

There are reasons for the weak economic growth resulting in a drop in revenues. These could be addressed but for Abbott’s blind ideological political philosophy. Its better that the poor should pay.

– a ferocious onslaught by the media Left, especially the ABC behemoth, against the Government generally and Abbott personally, means the Government struggles to sell even its strengths.

What a ridiculously incoherent argument. The right control the vast bulk of media influence. The left have no shock jocks like Jones, Hadley, Smith and others. They have no journalists of the venom of Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny and Tom Switzer.Gerard Henderson Paul Sheehan, Miranda Divine.
They control 70% of the distribution of newspapers in the major cities. The ABC is not biased. It has a charter to uphold and is always under scrutiny to do so. Commercial stations don’t have one. It is but one TV channel against many. Given that the commercial media has vacated truthful reporting in favour of biased opinion. It is a bit rich for the most biased journalist in Australia to accuse the ABC of anything let alone bias. In any case 70% of Australians think it trustworthy. Ever watched the Bolt report?

– the Government’s media strategy is poor, too often defensive and reactive. Abbott still lacks a senior media strategist in his office – a critical and telling absence.

A media strategist will not resolve the issue of Abbott’s lying directly and by omission. Here is an example from Wednesday. When asked about the Green Fund at a joint press conference with French President Hollande the PM said that we already had a Direct Action fund of 2.5 Billion and a Clean Energy Finance Corp 10 Billion fund. The only thing wrong with the answer was that the first won’t work and it is Government policy to abolish the second. His lying knows no bounds.

– the Government has bought the myth that deeds speak for themselves and playing nice wins respect. A cameo: Tony Abbott in welcoming President Xi Jinping to Parliament yesterday praised Labor leaders Gough Whitlam and Neville Wran for fostering China ties; Bill Shorten in his welcome praised Whitlam, noted Labor leaders had worked on the free trade deal before Abbott and praised China for its global warming “deal” and the sending of doctors to treat ebola patients – all digs at bipartisan Abbott and his policies. The Government is getting killed in bare-knuckle politics.

What gratuitous nonsense. Trying to make out that Abbott is the personification of niceness when in fact he is a gutter politician of many years standing. A political thug who the pubic, it would seem, have finally woken up to. A man who has broken every parliamentary convention when it comes to the niceties of diplomacy. For a person such as Abbott, with his record, to solicit bipartisan cooperation is hypocrisy in the extreme.

– Treasurer Joe Hockey isn’t getting cut-through in the most important portfolio. A Treasurer who can’t dominate the agenda leaves a Government fatally weakened.

Totality correct Andrew. What a terrible indictment of the Treasurer of the country. Of course when he said that Global Warming and Economics don’t co-exist it was like saying blood has nothing to do with bodily function .He has no creditability what so ever. On the plus side you have to give him credit for owning up to the fact that the GFC did actually happen.

– the Government doesn’t have an effective headkicker. It lacks mongrel. Another cameo: Barack Obama won huge and positive coverage in the media for belting Abbott over global warming. The Government looked properly reprimanded, a punching bag, when it should have blasted back and won points for at least seeming tough.

The headkicker they had as Opposition Leader was good at it. As PM it is now not the done thing. All Obama did was to raise an issue of vital importance to the world. He was supported by the President of the world’s most populous nation. I think they made their point. Is Andrew suggesting our PM should have shirtfronted both of them.

– internal jealousies mean the Government’s most successful minister, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, has been given not a single new problem to solve since stopping the boats, while strugglers are pushed in front of the TV cameras week after week.

(a single new problem to solve) Is there a daily list? Morrison’s appeal is to those in the community who are sympathetic to the demonization of people and would probably favor no immigration at all. There is nothing to suggest he would be popular in another ministry. Maybe Tourism, or perhaps I’d better not go there.

– the Government’s second most successor minister, Julie Bishop, is in a portfolio which lets her shine but does not win the government any votes.
True. Remember she had another portfolio once and got the sack for incompetence.

– the minister most admired by the Left-wing media, Malcolm Turnbull, is in a portfolio in which there is little call for him to use his undoubted influence and charm to sell the Government to its media critics. Instead, as Communications Minister he is more likely to protect the media critics from the Government.
Malcolm might have made a decent Treasurer but he is unlikely to be given the job because it comes with too much influence and power. Consequently it would make Abbott vulnerable.

– the Government has not developed a moral message – an inspiring cause – other than the constitutional recognition of Aborigines, which will actually prove marginal and divisive, not least with its own base. That agenda will also be thankless: witness Mick Dodson’s mean-spirited attack on Abbott last week. Where is the evangelism?

There he goes on the aboriginal thing again. The rotating writer. Global warming, asylum seekers, Muslims and Labor in whatever order. Abbott was the most successful Opposition Leader this country has ever seen.(depending on your mode of measurement) He won office by lying and barking negativity like a mad dog for four years. During that time he never ventured into the formulation of good public policy. As a consequence he came to power with a zeal for undoing, not doing.

– the Government has been poor in developing the “Greek chorus” effect that collectivists like Labor do so well. Too often it seems friendless. Business is slow to support it, and too rarely are the Prime Minister and his ministers seen surrounded by happy supporters. Obvious example?: the Government couldn’t or wouldn’t find hundreds of scientists and medicos to even back its huge medical research fund.

The ‘’Greek Chorus’’ or collective voices saw the total unfairness of everything conservative. Why would you expect scientists to support a medical research program while he was denouncing science with a vengeance and ridiculing it in terms of the Climate? A determination by government to limit the amount of sugar, fat and salt in processed food would achieve a similar outcome as a research fund.

– the Government can’t or won’t even energize its base with some signature campaigns and successes. It gave up the free speech fight, gave up on workplace reform and dares not challenge the global warming hysteria (indeed, its lacks the people, conviction and strategy to even attempt it). Where are the inspiring reforms – ones that its supporters will gladly man the election booths to defend?

1. Why is it that the Murdoch Press is the main agitator for more free speech? They are the pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty .The most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongerers like Bolt seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded. 2. workplace reform is happening. Wages are in reverse. 3. You can believe the likes of Abbott and Bolt on Climate Change but I will stick with the evidence. 4. If Andrew can name a conservative reform in the name of the common good then do so.

– the Government too often radiates a lack of conviction. It often dares not dare name the cause in which it fights: it cuts (barely) the ABC without explaining that it’s too big and biased; it slashes at global warming programs without explaining why they are a useless fix to a non-problem, it resists Obama’s global warming evangelism without explaining he’s a fraud.

Perhaps the facts get in the road and are difficult to move.

– the Government has picked too many fights it cannot win, not just with the Senate but more especially with the public. It must ditch the undoable, argue only for what it can win and avoid the Senate bloc wherever possible. Bye-bye Medicare co-payment and parental leave scheme.

It was only Tuesday that Abbott told the Indian PM that he, Abbott, was a ‘’can do’’ person. And yes he should consign the co-payment and PPL to the rubbish bin. But there will be a residual price to pay for his ineptness.

– the Government seems out of synch with the times. Younger and fresher faces – women particularly – are needed in the lineup. Some of the Coalition’s most appealing talent is not in the Ministry.

Ah women. That’s always been the problem. Hasn’t it. The polls show that women and young people loath the man.

– the Liberals have never prospered without senior ministers in Victoria arguing the case, leading the charge, imposing themselves on the debate. Where are they?

That’s true. Victorians seem to have always been the more level-headed and of the ‘’small L’’ variety.

– a small point now, but why do Ministers go onto big set-piece interviews, especially with the ABC, without something new to reveal or announce? Why sit there passively while the interviewer asks the gotcha questions they’ve been working on for hours, hoping to have found the weakness?

What a silly question. The answer is obvious. There aren’t any.

Enough.

True, I have listed here the Government’s shortcomings but not its strengths and virtues. And if I were to list Labor’s failings, the list would be much longer.

But the Government cannot just motor on as Julia Gillard fatally tried, arguing that voters will eventually come around and see the gain for the pain, or see through the Opposition’s alleged failings. The polls today have a reality. Something is not working and must be fixed.

Labor lost the last election principally because of its leadership problems but the Gillard minority government never defeated on the floor of the house while at the same time passing some major reforms. Gillard could negotiate, Abbott cannot.

That fixing must start over the Christmas break. The planned minor reshuffle must be expanded. A new start must be signaled with new faces and an act of repentance. An aggressive, positive and confident media strategy must be adopted.
Get sharp. Get tough. Get assertive. Get confident. Offer inspiration. And fight.

One could argue that the damage has already been done. The electorate has labelled the Prime Minister a liar.

As I said at the start. Andrew Bolt raised a number of issues that are relevant to the LNP’s current predicament. He does not seem to apportion blame for anything to the party leader.

20 comments

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  1. DanDark

    Next Tones will be saying ” It’s all Bolts Fault”

  2. Rob031

    @DanDark said: Next Tones will be saying ” It’s all Bolts Fault”

    We can only hope so 🙂

  3. Colin

    “Ever watched the Bolt Report?”

    Er, no, not intentionally anyway. I was channel surfing and came across it for about 2 seconds, but I managed to escape with my intelligence unscathed.

  4. Bilal

    The drivel of Dolt is hardly worthy of an AIMN article. His opinion is as worthy of respect as that of his mate Alan Jones.
    If he attacks the “Liberals” it will be from the right, like the bulk of the Murdoch faux “journalists”. Like the nasty trolls who try to distract analysis in comments on many websites, they should be ignored by those who are interested in the development of ideas.

  5. stephentardrew

    Great article John:

    Got the nasty little right wing extremist running with his tail between nasty crooked legs.

    Showing his vulnerability by running away from his, can’t do no wrong, Dear Leader by attempting to seem like the doyen of reasonableness is hilarious.

    Comedy Central just keeps on giving so it’s important to pick the cracks and use them against these mugs of thugs.

    After years of this fool polluting Insiders and now that other unmentionable putrid thing on TV let him squirm.

    Dumber and dumbest just get dumber. Now they are frightened dummy bullies heavens knows what will come next.

    The driving force behind right wing radicalism saying its, not me, its not me, its not me it’s the other bloke, you know the one with the big ears, who is stuffing up.

    Bolt and Jones are falling into a well of their own making.

    Watch out Tones ya mates are turning on ya.

    Feeling a bit paranoid hey.

    Oh I am so sad.

  6. mars08

    – the minister most admired by the Left-wing media, Malcolm Turnbull, is in a portfolio in which there is little call for him to use his undoubted influence and charm…

    Ah… we HAVE a Left-wing media?? Really? Well that’s just glorious! Such a relief. Now… can someone please tell me where I can buy those particular newspapers or see their TV shows?

  7. corvus boreus

    Anders Blot basically brays that Tony Abbott should be more loud and aggressive(unleash the head-kicking mongrels!) and talk less with people who express reasons for disagreeing with him.
    I think Blot often represents not just his own interests and prejudices, but is also a mouthpiece for a much larger agenda. He was MC at the IPA 70th(Tony, Rupert, Gina et al).
    I suspect the Blot broadside marks an escalation in the push for Tony to start implementing some of the more radical lobbyist desires on the IPA radical agenda(to show strength), as realization of the extent of electoral dissonance starts to hit home and the lizard starts to panic about its’ position and desperately grasp for fixes.

  8. mars08

    Pauline Hanson has announced her return as One Nation party leader and is preparing to contest next year’s Queensland state election.

    Here’s a few words of wisdom I heard her dribble last night… “Tony Abbott needs my help… He should make me his advisor”

    Seriously! She actually said that on TV last night! Politics in this country has reached the bottom of the barrel.

  9. John Fraser

    <

    Channel 10 …………. seriously !

  10. Blanik

    You are all being quite unfair. Captain Catholic and his Canberra Crusaders are doing a fine job that needed a man of vision abd strength to repair our economy and budget, our faulty health and education system and to “stop the boats”. Not to mention involving us in yet another US war,

    A prime minister that will be remembered for decades I hope.

  11. lawrencewinder

    Yep.. Andrew “Blot-on-the-Landscape” Bolt makes a little sense for once except that he doesn’t mention the real elephant in the room. “The Coots-With-Queer-Ideas-from-a-Parallel-Universe”, the IP bloody A! If anything, THEY are the government and “Rabid-the-Hun” and his rabble are just the office boys…and the public are showing they are not too keen on being part of a “Free-Market” free-for-all!

  12. Rob031

    From what I can see Abbott is a dag. Not a lovable one but a pitiable or ‘weak’ one. This kinda came out with the Andy Bolt piece. I believe that this is the case. Abbott reminds me to some extent of Prince Charles – though Charles is a kinder sort of idiot who, while a tad batty, intends well and won’t sell the Poms out.

    As for Abbot: he is a self-defeating kind of dag. A flawed person. The poor bastard wants to be loved and understood. While a bunch of shrinks may understand him (eventually) he’ll never be loved. He’ll be feared, ridiculed, viewed as a political aberration and possibly as a person with a serious personality disorder (DSM V); but he’ll never be respected as a person of integrity such as Gough Whitlam or even Gillard. When he kicks the bucket (not just turns a little pail – sorry about that – Rumpole) his funeral service will be pretty unspectacular. Thatcher’s was a cracker wasn’t it?

    I can only wonder what’s in store for Abbott in the short[-term. On the 29th of November there is the possibility of the Coalition being voted out in Victoria – big time I hope. If it’s a wipe-out what then for Abbott and Co? If so will he and they go into full-on panic mode? Will they do something spectacularly nutso? Hope so.

    Even if the Victorian election is ho-hum we still have the ongoing ‘non-lovable dagginess’ of Abbott to rely on. He’s like the “loaded dog” in that story by whoever it was that wrote it. Tolstoy or was it Barry Fortinbras? Like living next to a fireworks factory where everyone is permitted to smoke we are living in interesting times.

    Too many Vodkas at this time of night and being a tad self-indulgent. Perhaps you understand.

    Nice quote: “Sex is better than logic, but I can’t prove it”

  13. mars08

    Rob31:

    …will he and they go into full-on panic mode? Will they do something spectacularly nutso? Hope so.

    The only areas where Abbott maintains wide public support is foreign policy and the cruel treatment of asylum seekers/Muslims. I do NOT want to see this government (and their clueless MSM mates) give any more “special” attention to these policies. They have hurt enough innocent people already!

  14. Kaye Lee

    “Refugee advocates say Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is in “complete denial” about how the global refugee system works, after his decision to block genuine refugees from resettlement in Australia if they arrived in Indonesia after July.

    The chief executive officer of the Refugee Council of Australia, Paul Power, said the government’s decision to prevent asylum seekers found to be owed protection from entering Australia via Indonesia – while claiming that the decision was tied to stopping the boats – was “unconscionable”.

    “The Minister has very little understanding of the global situation for refugees,” Mr Power said. “His perspective that people should not move from one country to another is in complete denial that people are in significant danger who are in countries of first asylum.”

    The Abbott government is also conducting a global internal review into its humanitarian program, which has raised concerns that other genuine refugees who have registered with the UNHCR could also be blocked from applying for resettlement in Australia. ”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/critics-slam-australian-governments-ban-on-some-global-refugees-from-un-20141120-11qh53.html

  15. mars08

    “The Minister has very little understanding of the global situation for refugees,” Mr Power said. “His perspective that people should not move from one country to another is in complete denial that people are in significant danger who are in countries of first asylum.”

    There it is. What the Minister DOES understand (and very well) is that tormenting some innocent, vulnerable, isolated, powerless, brown-skinned people is a vote winner. The number-crunchers in the ALP are also aware of that fact.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Even before this latest draconian development of persecuting refugees that are trying to come through legal channels Wilkie was on their case. I can only hope that this tips them over the edge to actually proceed with prosecution.

    “Andrew Wilkie has written to the international criminal court (ICC) asking it to investigate the Abbott government for crimes against asylum seekers.

    The independent Tasmanian MP has sent the application, naming the prime minister, Tony Abbott, and his 19-member cabinet, including the immigration minister, Scott Morrison.

    “In my application I have particularly named crimes against humanity, such as the forced relocation of people, obviously to the Republic of Nauru or Papua New Guinea,” Wilkie said.

    He also claims that the government’s hardline immigration policies contravene the Refugee Convention, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    It is unclear whether the ICC prosecutor will take up the case but if it proceeds Abbott and Morrison could be called to testify.

    Wilkie said he had hoped not to take such drastic action against the government, but said he was forced to because of an “absence of movement” on the issue.

    “I’ve tried repeatedly in the House of Representatives, refugee advocates have tried and tried and tried,” Wilkie said. “Things have deteriorated, really, as far as the government’s asylum seeker policy goes. This is the next step to take.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/22/asylum-seekers-andrew-wilkie-takes-australia-to-international-criminal-court

  17. mars08

    @kaye Lee…

    Unfortunately I can’t imagine Wilkies move actually improving the plight of asylum seekers. Even if the ICC prosecutes the case, the elecorate’s opinion won’t shift. In fact… many will see it as an attack on our sovereignty and security

    “…will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come. And can I say on this point what a fantastic job Philip Ruddock has done for Australia.

    What a contrast with the Labor Party. The morning, well the day I made the announcement that we had to board the motor vessel Tampa I was told by the Leader of the Opposition that the last thing I wanted or Australia needed was a negative carping opposition. But in four and a half hours he was accusing me of engaging in wedge politics and fanning Hansonism…”

  18. Sydney Riley

    If ASIO ever needed to quickly break someone just tie them to a chair, tape their eyes open and sit them in font of the Dolt Report.
    Should only take a few minutes.

  19. mysay

    Your government is really up s..t street when you have Bolt and Jones turning against ,you,your time is up Tony

  20. xiaoecho

    “….– the Government doesn’t have an effective headkicker. It lacks mongrel.”

    I couldn’t believe this when I read it. It is incredible that Bolt is advocating more nastiness from the nastiest government the country has ever seen.

    The government from day one have been kicking some part of our society or other. The government entire reason for being is to persecute the powerless (give them the kicking these leaners deserve) and entrench their disadvantage by blocking social mobiity…..after that the soft target of science and particularly the science around modern technology (NBN anyone?) and of course all agencies and orgs related to THE INDUSTRY of climate science, global warming, and of course renewable energy.

    ‘The Government lacks mongrel’….???? What is Bolt advocating?? A full fascist dictatorship?………….or just the familiarity of apartheid for the leaners? Something that will be achieved with the introduction of the basics card

    The government is nothing but mongrel – just look at the front bench. Without conscience, to a man (and yes I mean Bishop too)

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