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The Right think we are Governed by the Left but we elected the Right

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Tony Abbott became Prime Minister of Australia on September 7 2013. His leadership, and indeed his government has been so dreadful that less than half way through his three year term, a spill motion was moved against him. It was an election he won handsomely.

The only obstruction in his way was the appointment of a bunch of senators who in normal circumstances would never have been elected.

After surviving the spill he announced that good government would start the next day.

Since then there has been an attempt by the MSM to absurdly paint Labor as being responsible for the Coalition’s failures. But prior to this ridiculous notion its incapacity to govern with the slightest semblance of authority was blamed on “first term blues” which of course is a nonsense when you consider that most of the ministers are from Howards ministry. They should have been prepared.

And as Miranda Devine pointed out, the most academically qualified government ever. They had all the experience necessary to govern why then do they now blame Labor for all their woes.

On Andrew Bolt’s blog this week one could be forgiven for thinking that the right actually wanted the left to bail them out. To govern for them.

Try these for example.

Bolt:

“There are actually two governments in Australia. The main one controls the House of Representatives and is trying to cut spending – now – before the country gets smashed.’’
“The other government is a loose coalition in the Senate, comprising Labor, the Greens, Clive Palmer’s Senators and Jacqie Lambie. This coalition believes there is no financial disaster to fix and is blocking spending cuts and reforms to our welfare culture.”

Alan Mitchell:

“The Australian public should now demand Labor plays its part in resolving the nation’s fiscal problem.”

“Labor is content to let the Senate crossbenchers exercise the balance of power, but Labor has 25 seats in the Senate. Acting in concert with the government, the Labor senators could pass a package of measures to bring the structural budget back into surplus by the end of the decade…

If Labor can happily announce what it won’t pass, surely it can indicate the kind of measures it would vote for. That, voters might reasonably think, is a pretty basic responsibility of any alternative government that is using its numbers to hold up a significant part of a much-needed fiscal repair program.”

Janet Albrechtsen:

“According to record low polls for the government, we, the ¬people, have told the Abbott government it will be obliterated at the next election for aiming for a budget that spends only as much as it earns….
A modest Medicare co-payment with carve-outs for the needy and the young? No thanks.
A sustainable university funding model? No thanks.
A fairer pension system to better fund those in need as the ageing population grows? No thanks.
Reining in disability payments so those in genuine need are better cared for? No thanks.
Fewer middle-class perks — think baby bonuses, family benefits, childcare rebates — so money can be better directed to the poorest? No thanks…
And if voters continue to rebuff these efforts, what then? … [Labor leader Bill] Shorten will be handsomely rewarded for being irresponsible about budget reform, let alone the economy … “

Are these writers seriously suggesting that the Labor party should put lay long held ideological beliefs to appease a party who created a false economic spending crisis and the when it came to power, doubled it. All in the cause of bi-partisanship.

Bullshitting is bad enough but when people believe their own. That is intellectual dishonesty.

Middle class perks that Howard created every three years to get re-elected. Just forget that the LNP has never done a thing for pensioners and support an ill founded policy that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. A co-payment doctors fee that could be the pre curser to an American style health care system and a University funding scheme that reeks of inequality. In other words give up all that it stands for.

Putting aside the political naivety of all that rubbish for a moment, and the stupidity of it, one is entitled to remind the Prime Minister that it was he that was elected to govern and not Bill Shorten.

We might even remind him that incumbency gives government enormous powers and it’s not necessarily the job of the opposition to always take a bi partisan approach.

There are numerous reasons for the Coalitions inability to govern but the three main ones are, poor leadership, an ideology based on unfairness and a hostile senate. None of which the Labor Party is responsible for.

The first is a result of their own selection, the second, unfairness is anathema to the Australian public and the third is Abbott’s inherent stubbiness for compromise, or persuasion. It’s the captain’s choice or abandon ship. Take your pick.

Compromise or bi partisanship can and has been practiced in this country for as long as I can remember. Very rarely has a government controlled both houses. But not at the expense of the first rule of politics ‘’gain power’’ or indeed the second rule “retain power.”

“There are still people in my party who believe in consensus. I regard them as quislings, as traitors … I mean it.”
Margaret Thatcher.

Too much bi partisanship can negatively result in a blurring of ideological demarcation between the parties, even discouraging agreement between more than one party. It can also prevent people not thinking beyond a two-party system.

Just because a party is finding it difficult having its way, it doesn’t follow, as the media and the government seem to want, that the opposition should, compromise and rescue every situation.

Rightly or wrongly we have an adversarial form of government. The Coalition is the government with everything at its power to form policy and implement it. The opposition is there to hold the government to account.

Abbott as Opposition leader said that “Oppositions oppose, that’s what they are there for”. He was called Dr No because of his blatant hostility to everything proposed by the Gillard and Rudd governments.

The reason put forward for Labor to reveal its economic policies is the current state of the budget, and in particular, spending, yet in 2010, in Tony Abbott’s first term as Opposition leader, he failed to produce anything like a detailed plan to curb spending, even in his Budget reply speech attacking debt and deficit just months out from the scheduled election. Abbott told Parliament that shadow treasurer Hockey would unveil measures to reduce spending and increase productivity at the National Press Club the following week. Joe hand balled it to Andrew Robb and the whole thing became a balls up.

The government doesn’t need bi partisanship to resolve these issues. It simply needs to come to its senses and admit it delivered an unfair budget and that revenue is as much a part of the problem as is spending.

I am yet to hear an economist say that the budgetary problems are beyond repair. It simply needs a strategy that takes into account an equitable fairness. Not a lifters and leaners approach that rewards the rich and privileged and condemns all others to some degree of poverty.

As Shadow Treasure Chris Bowen said in the Financial Review on Thursday. The Government could sell its fiscal reform message, but not when they are: (a) dishonest (b) inconsistent (c) flogging ill thought out policies and (d) not up to the task anyway.

The call for bi partisanship in this case is politically motivated and immature.
Having said that, there is a strong case, generally speaking, for less confrontational politics in this country and I have argued the case for openness, transparency and the common good many times.

We saw in the UK a very unique and rare example of bi partisanship when the three political leaders, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, have this month signed a pledge to tackle climate change. The closest we come to this is on National Security where it is in the Oppositions best interests to be bi-partisan.

Our system requires vigorous debate with a better, more civil and open exchange of ideas. But politics by its very nature cannot be devoid of opportunism and the pursuit of power. We can only ever hope for the better practice of it.

If you want otherwise then invent another system.

Bill Shorten has promised that this year will be a year of “ideas”. He will not be taking the small target approach that has been the norm for some time. “We are prepared to work on the big policies that go beyond parliamentary terms”, he told the National Press Club in November.

Let’s hope they are creatively sound, relevant for the times, the future, and economically affordable. That they have public support and don’t require political bi partisanship. The last recourse for bad ideas.

Tony Abbott said good government started on Tuesday 10 Feb. If he’s fair dinkum he doesn’t need Labor to get him out of a hole.

“The whole point about corruption in politics is that it can’t be done, or done properly, without a bipartisan consensus.”
Christopher Hitchens.

“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”
George Carlin.

39 comments

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  1. Pingback: The Right think we are Governed by the Left but we elected the Right. – » The Australian Independent Media Network | winstonclose

  2. stephentardrew

    John appreciate the article though sometimes I am left bemused wondering what the hell to do. Can we do anything?. The pit gets deeper yet we must rise up to challenge the day with decency, consideration and moral probity.

    Why the hell is goodness so hard for those who believe in a the great Gombo in the sky?

    It seems love, virtue and goodness are just labels to wave in the face of an indiscriminate media who have lost the distinction between good and bad, love and hate.

    To love and care is not a complex subject when so much of life is, for many, thrust upon them through no fault of their own.
    I wonder if bleating on about love and justice is no more than an idealist dream lost in the clouds of my own making.

    Yet I cannot afford to think that way for the sake of my children and those yet to come. One hopes things will get better while the right rule the world sending it towards dark days of environmental degradation and gross inequality.

    I just don’t understand why we can’t join together to make a better and less cruel wold.

    Oh well I am not a defeatist so fight them we will knowing that, in the end, goodness must prevail.

  3. John Lord

    Stephen.

    Hope

    I had taken the plunge
    My past became irrelevant
    Faith, truth and love had no complaint
    The intensity of gratitude overwhelmed me
    It wasn’t as a result of
    But it had a rich reward, a by product
    Unquantifiable in its essence of love
    I had been bequeathed with
    Life’s great defiance
    I had inherited an understanding of
    The unwinnable struggles only possible victory
    Hope
    I had been given hope

  4. Rossleigh

    Yep, strange that the Senate only becomes something that’s an unnecessary impediment to democracy when the Liberals are in power; where were the calls to let through the ETS and the articles talking about mandates when Abbott blocked it after the 2007 election?

  5. Phi

    Another excellent article John,

    Abbott and his cronies dug the hole they are in and they can can bloody well get themselves out – or simply rot.

    I have come to so detest all that the Abbott ideology espouses that I would be happy to let the system of government grind to a halt if he won’t loosen up and govern for us all.

    I’m tired of Abbott’s negativism and authoritarianism – I’m tired of his militarism and pugilism – my instincts tell me his call for bi-partisanhip if it were to succeed will give him the opportunity to screw the ALP until they scream for mercy – and none will be forthcoming – Abbott would merely sneer saying “sucked in” such is his nature.

    Abbott cannot be and should not be trusted – ever.

  6. corvus boreus

    Another ‘bipartisan’ quote;
    “I have indicated, publicly on the record to Tony Abbott, that we are happy to sit down with him and work constructively in a bipartisan fashion to ensure we have the strongest possible defences against any perception of corruption full stop.”
    W Shorten (Sept 2014) denying the need for a federal ICAC.

  7. Cynical

    The liberals have no interest in a surplus, they are content to spend 50Billion of our funds on wasteful defence procurement. If that spending were abandoned, there could be a surplus in the near term. Who was bribed, how much were they given, and what did the AusJPN FTA have to do with it?

  8. diannaart

    Pack of whingers.

  9. Wun Farlung

    John
    As always salient points put forward for thought and discussion.
    stephentadrew
    Stay true to your convictions mate.

  10. stephentardrew

    As it must be John, as it must be.

    Thanks for the great poem.

  11. olddavey

    All Labor has to do is release policies and say, “Here they are, do you agree?”, and Abbott and co. will say “No!” and the ball will be firmly in their court..
    Then they will have to start governing and stop blaming others for their halfwittedness.

  12. corvus boreus

    All Labor (in my opinion) has to do is prepare for the probability that they will not be opposing an unpopular incompetent in a month’s time, and start clearing the decks of some seriously rotten wood then preparing some viable policies for the future.
    Re-opening meaningful diplomatic dialogue with the Greens (and reasonable independents) would probably not hurt, either.

  13. Graham Houghton

    You all realise, don’t you, that this entire discussion is pointless because the democratic system has failed? You all realise, don’t you, that the democratic system is the most manipulated political system? You all realise, don’t you, that the current Australian government is working for capital and not for society? You all realise,don’t you, that the current government front bench is populated by either a group of ill-educated, partisan louts, or an agency of traitors? I prefer the former because effective treachery requires intelligence. You all realise, don’t you, that Australia does not have a working government? What do you do when you do not have a government? It’s a very simple question with a very simple answer.

  14. RosemaryJ36

    Hope springs eternal . . .Roll on election 2016!
    We elected the right – more fool we!

  15. Harquebus

    Tony Abbott did not win handsomely, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard lost miserably.
    Bipartisanship can be guaranteed when it comes to feathering their own nests.
    I agree, a temporary wealth tax while permanently bashing the poor who can least afford is despicable and the majority of Australian people recognize it as such.
    Both the Coalition and Labor have fatally flawed ideology and that ideology is perpetual compound growth. It is an absurd ideology that poisons and destroys our environment, depletes resources, creates scarcity and increases poverty and inequality.
    Overall though, a pretty good article.
    What I would do is something like take the top 300 businesses and proportionally levy them a once only sum of $300billion. That will take care of the debt and then I would remove all business welfare, subsidies and tax breaks. Subsidies and such like the proposed child care benefit only distort markets and increase prices.
    If a business can not survive without a constant hand out then, it is not a viable business. The only truly free market left is the black market.

  16. Graeme Henchel

    History is littered with the regimes of despots and powerful elites that have willingly sacrificed the lives and wellbeing of ordinary people in order to pursue their ideological beliefs and protect their personal interests. This is exactly what is happening now as multinational oligarchs and the puppet governments they sponsor delay effective action on climate change. Their ideological belief is in “free” markets, small governments, low taxes and above all the fiction of endless economic growth. Their personal interests are the billion dollar lifestyles and political influence they are so eager to maintain. The tools of tyranny are the mountains of disinformation peddled by secretly funded “think tanks” and their own media monkeys. Australia has become a prime example of this with the Abbott government’s open hostility to the environmental movement and protection of the fossil fuel industry. The much touted free trade agreements will further give up our sovereignty to the interests of multinational corporations. The oligarchs know the science is real but they also know the solutions require reimagining how our societies and economies work. A society based on community, equality, human needs and sustainability is the antithesis of one based on competition, wealth disparity, exploitation and greed. The labor party is developing a new slogan “inclusive growth” and this is certainly better than the current Coalition mantra of growth through meanness, unfairness and austerity. However neither of the major parties are questioning that the idea of continuos growth ( inclusive or not ) is incompatible with an appropriate response to climate change. The greens talk about “sustainable growth”. This may itself be an oxymoron. The right know that an effective response to climate change most likely involves policies completely at odds with their world view. Hence their very effective work at every level to delay action.

    The unfortunate reality is that at this point in time any party that starts talking about “inclusive de-growth towards a sustainable steady state economy” will be pilloried.

  17. mars08

    I am sooo tired of rich, influential, white, middle-aged men portraying themselves as “victims” of minority groups.

    The issue is that they are cruel, arrogant tools… THEY ARE NOT the victims. They are the aggressors!

  18. paul walter

    Bullshitting?

    You people should have seen the antics of Morrison and even worse, Gerard Henderson,a good example of Mars’ comment just above, on Backsliders this morning.

  19. mars08

    @Paul Walter … sadly I see this sort of thing around me almost every day. The influential, comfortable and privileged moaning about how unfair life is…. for THEM!

    I suspect that attitude makes them very susceptible to right-wing talking points.

  20. diannaart

    mars08 & Paul

    There is actually a word for this – yep such behaviour is unfortunately common enough in the human race for it to be labelled.

    Projection:

    Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against unpleasant impulses by denying their existence in themselves, while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

  21. paul walter

    dianaart, none ruder than people like Morrison and Henderson. Henderson was pitiful as well as rude, his comments were way over the irrational line… a dancing bear, like Akerman and like the Bloated Billy Bunter last year, clearly off his meds.

  22. paul walter

    As for Morrison, he vies with Abbott himself, for blackshirt of the year

  23. diannaart

    Paul

    People who are truly confident and comfortable with themselves as much as with other people do not need to project. This government is the biggest collection of arrogant tossers I have ever witnessed in this country.

    I used to feel sorry for the USA – what with the Tea-party & the impossible to govern with Republicans – why did our own conservatives feel they should emulate their American cousins?

  24. lawrencewinder

    We must not fail to congratulate the IPA for much of this shambles as it is their crude “Free-Market ” Ideology’s imposition that is being attempted. Unfortunately, the actors in this play are not very competent and keep forgetting their lines which then allows the audience to jeer a lot. Next: the rotten fruit will be thrown and having lost all ability to regain respect the tumbrils could well follow.

  25. paul walter

    diannaart, money and vested interests determined that..

  26. DC

    Like most of you I talk to a lot of right wingers from time to time. From the ignorant slogan bogans to the smug well to do type who worship malcolm Turnbull, and to a lesser extent, the frightened little bunnies who still cling onto Abbott. Its never usually me who raises any political discussion but when I do get drawn into one by the second type, they usually resort to a condescending tone where they act like they are the only “adults”in the room who understand the harsh realities in life, ‘the budget’, ‘whos going to pay for it’, ‘cruel to be kind’ etc. They are stuck on this narrative it works extremely well on them because it suits their interests and helps them sleep at night. None of them have ever demonstrated any understanding of politics or economics and its unlikely that they ever will because this narrative will support them in every outcome. When History shows how much the Libs mismanaged the budget it will always be Labours fault for blocking the “sensible measures” the adults of the Liberal party put forward. When Australia gets left behind because we failed to divest from fossil fuels, failed to tax international mining companies, failed to entice innovation in the energy sector by pricing carbon and failed to build a modern NBN or build infrastructure (apart from the roads the mining industry want built), it will all be labours fault because they “wasted” the surplus on stimulating the economy to avoid recession. Its like they think that once upon a time they (or their parents) became rich in a world before taxes or public spending was a thing and now they are being persecuted for having to pay more tax in absolute terms than people who earn much less. I guess it must be really tough being exposed to more tax because of your high earnings.

  27. Kaye Lee

    My father always said he aspired to having a tax problem but, as a teacher, that was never going to happen. Those who take advantage of the many concessions available to the wealthy fail to realise that the vast majority of people just pay the tax they are supposed to – no dodgy deals, no hiding income, no offshore tax havens, no spare money to buy investment property or to pile into superannuation – they just pay their share. But ask the rich to pay their share and they squeal like stuck pigs.

  28. paul walter

    Classic..truly classic.

  29. mars08

    @Kaye Lee… “the vast majority of people just pay the tax they are supposed to – no dodgy deals, no hiding income, no offshore tax havens, no spare money to buy investment property or to pile into superannuation”

    I’d suggest that the vast majority of the very wealth also pay the tax they are supposed to. It the rotten, unfair system that provides them with those useful loopholes.

  30. diannaart

    Indeed, mars08, when confronted, these parasites always state that what they have done is legal – not right, not ethical, but legal.

  31. Harquebus

    @Graeme Henchel
    That is the one of the best posts that I have read here so far. Would you mind if I used some of it? Will give credit where credit is due.
    Cheers.

    @lawrencewinder
    “The IPA was set up around the ideas of two leading Synarchists, the “rightwing” founder of the Mont Pelerin Society, Friedrich von Hayek (l.), and the “leftwing” economist John Maynard Keynes. Both insisted on world rule by private bankers. Von Hayek despised the notion of the “Common Good”, and is revered by the Big Business crowd which owns the Liberal Party.”
    “The IPA founded the Liberal Party. But the ideological leader of the IPA, as the latter frequently proclaimed, was the Austrian nobleman and economist Friedrich von Hayek, founder of the radical “free market” Mont Pelerin Society (MPS). The MPS, in turn, has been the flagship institution for all privatisation, deregulation, and globalisation policies, since its founding in 1947 in Switzerland. Von Hayek later took a personal interest in Australia, traveling here for several days in 1976 to help set up MPS front organisations. He served on the board of one of these, the CIS, until his death.”
    https://cecaust.com.au/pubs/pdfs/Section3b.pdf

  32. Jexpat

    Corvus:

    Regarding the “clearing the decks of some seriously rotten wood” bit.

    That may not be enough.

    Former premier Morris Iemma has recently been making the rounds with his Liberal counterpart Greiner, rather loudly touting the “benefits” of their privitisation scams.

  33. Matters Not

    Can anyone tell me what are these Australian ‘values’ that Abbott keeps referring to?

    You know, ‘values’ that are particular and peculiar to Australians.

    Three or four would be helpful.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Harquebus,

    Maurice Newman, the man hand-picked by Tony Abbott to be the government’s top business advisor, has been a Mont Pelerin member since 1976. Newman was responsible for bringing Friedman to Australia in the mid-1970s, at a time when Newman was helping to set up the Centre for Independent Studies. \

    Among the notable members is Charles Koch, the US oil billionaire who has been a Mont Pelerin Society member since 1970.

    Charles and his brother David have used their charitable foundations to funnel tens of millions of dollars into free market think tanks which fight environmental protection and deny the dangers of human-caused climate change.

    In Australia, Mont Pelerin Society members include John Roskam, executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs; Greg Lindsay, executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies; and mining magnate Ron Manners, executive director of the pro-mining think tank the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acQi2yTWAy4

  35. Graeme Henchel

    Please use what you like Harqebus. I’m in the middle of reading “This changes everything” by Naomi Klein. It has fired me up a bit. Highly recommended book

  36. paul walter

    You could say Maurice Newman is the man reponsible for the undoing of the ABC.

    He was Chairman of the ABC Board during the Howard era and Rudd was too scared of him to return the ABC Staff Member to the ABC Board, despite promising that it would happen during 2007.

    A rabid zionist, he is also conected with hgh finance, through Deutsche Bank, one of the biggest European banks, but was suspected of being involved in unusual dealings re a gas frcking project in NSW.

    I cant think of an individual less constructive in the life of this nation, beyond the likes of Murdoch himself.

  37. paul walter

    As for the Koch Bothers, it is difficult to conceive of two more destructive individuals to US Democracy, involving crippling sane environmental policy, than these mega rich petrochemical industry John Birchers, who financed the Tea Party and other obstructive and corrupting formations to do with the Right of the Republican party, to the tune of perhaps hundreds of millions of $ dollars.

  38. Harquebus

    @Graeme Henchel
    Many thanks.

    @Kaye Lee.
    Don’t know if you are as surprised about this as much as I am that, I am starting to really like you.
    Thanks for that.

    I am for the second time watching this and also recommend. Don’t want to take up space with the picture so, just repair the url.
    Four Horsemen – Feature Documentary – Official Version
    https://www.–utube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

  39. CMMC

    Brian Loughnane, husband of Peta Credlin, is an former Shell executive.

    Shell is mighty pissed off at losing so many oil wells to Islamic State.

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