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Tony Abbott builds: a road

imageThe Liberals went to the election with a few slogans; they would cut the waste, they would then start to build things with this being achieved by “cutting the waste”. This according to yet more sloganeering, would be Real Solutions.

Sparse indeed were questions from our mainstream media such as which waste?  And what are your alternatives? But most especially how are you, the Liberals planning to pay for extreme policies such as $75,000 for millionaire moms? A few dollars saved by sacking a swag load of government employees served as window dressing; populist in the extreme.

A cynic might suggest that if you have few policies to implement, then you don’t need nearly as many people to do the non-existent work.

Goals were to cancel, demolish, defer and ultimately to do very little whatsoever.

However as “waste” seems to be a priority, here is but one example of Abbott’s idea of waste:

The Coalition will also begin unwinding key “nanny state” agencies such as the Australian National Preventative Health Agency, established to lead the national fight against obesity, alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Comment from “Livsh“:

“That’s not the half of it . . . there are a large number of other pretty bloody essential agencies that are up for the chop.

Including the flaming AIHW . . . this blows my mind, how the HELL are we supposed to improve the health of Australians if we DON’T KNOW WHAT THEIR HEALTH STATUS IS NOW”.

If one discounts Abbott’s Liberals and assorted barrackers in mainstream, once in a rare while there appears a few who are prepared to seriously look at issues – who are prepared to look at policy not politics. As such, Ross Gittins quotes Ian McAuley, an economist at the University of Canberra:

McAuley argues that, after another round of good luck with the resources boom, we need to secure our long-term prosperity by building a more resilient economy.

McAuley suggests:

”Capital in the form of a row of machines or a fleet of trucks is less important than the capital in the form of ideas, skills and education, capacities to communicate and to work with others – human capital, in other words. It is the knowledge worker who is emerging as the capitalist of our day, but we are a long way from recognising this.”

”We pay far too little attention to our human capital. We still see education expenditure as an expense, or even as a welfare entitlement. And we pay even less attention to our environmental, social and institutional capital.”

Ross Gittins adds, “It’s hard to imagine Abbott has any of these in his field of vision”.

To date Tony Abbott’s investment in human capital has consisted of the promised sacking of tens of thousands of public servants, including those who work in close collaboration with enlisted defence personnel, promises of cuts in funding to universities, under the guise of what he perceives to be “futile research”. The latter in spite of Abbott’s previous statement that he “gets it”, that he gets the idea of universities being “an independent community of scholars“.

Tony Abbott: “Well intentioned outsiders should not be trying to micromanage universities . . .”. Yet hypocritically, it will be he, Tony Abbott who decides that which constitutes “wasteful research”. As reported by University World News,

Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, elected in a landslide victory in Saturday’s election, has promised to reverse many of the policies implemented by the defeated Labor government over the past six years – including those intended to lessen the impact of climate change.

The National Tertiary Education Union condemned the plan, with president Jeannie Rea describing it as “a direct attack on the academic freedom of researchers working in Australian universities”, a far cry from Abbott’s pre-election promise that “he gets it”.

The answer came to Tony in a mere flash, and that answer was . . . ROADS!

This was in spite of Abbott stating that all projects would be “in close collaboration with Infrastructure Australia”.

We will require all Commonwealth-funded projects worth more than $100 million to undergo a cost-benefit analysis by Infrastructure Australia to ensure the best use of available taxpayer monies.

For Tony, trains are bad:

TONY Abbott has slapped down Denis Napthine, insisting the states will have to fund their own commuter rail infrastructure and leave nation building projects to the commonwealth . . . he rejected Dr Napthine’s claim he had softened his position on funding public transport infrastructure such as the Metro tunnel.

But on the other hand, roads are good:

ROADS are “good for the environment” because cars are able to work efficiently, Tony Abbott has declared while pledging financial support for the Gateway Motorway extension in northern Brisbane.

Roads are not just good, they’re super-splendid:

  • “Better roads means better communities; better roads are good for our economy; they’re good for our society,” he said.
  • “They’re good for our physical and mental health.
  • “They’re even good for the environment because cars that are moving spew out far less pollution than cars that are standing still.”

Roads doubtless also make your whites whiter than white and also act as a preventative for many known causes of tooth decay.

It’s as if Tony Abbott believes that by the Liberals returning to power, this will in itself, solve most of our problems. Build a road, and everything will be fine again. Education, health and indeed our entire human capital are going to rank lowly with this, an Abbott-led government.

At least ‘building a road’ is a policy. Let’s see if he builds it.

19 comments

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  1. Adam Smith

    Carol Taylor, I liked your article, exposing Mr Tony Abbott as man, elected to govern, without a vision for the Australian people. He pretends by announcing road building projects that somehow he understands an implied connectivity. But demonstrates daily in interviews that he cannot see. He resembles Margaret Thatchers famous statement “there is no such thing as Society. There are individual men and women, and there are families”. Mr Abbott is on the public record, he worshipped Margaret Thatcher. I know his kind very well. His kind believe in absolute individualism, rather than society. His kind believes that only the individual is pivotal to society, the pivotal point of human endeavours and progress. Only individuals can drive a car. Society can sit in second class public transport. I think you get Abbott’s mindset. He will dismantle social infrastructure wherever he can get away with it. He doesn’t believe that his government has an extended role in social issues, hence the nature of his concocted child-care plan. Everything must be left to the individual, government has no role in meddling in a “free-market”. He will completely rework the redistribution policies that current drive taxpayer-funded benefits to the disadvantaged, and come down very heavily on organised labour which he considers as an obstacle to Australia’s economic growth rather than as guarantees of an equitable distribution of wealth.

  2. Gilly

    Malcolm Turnbull is the only current politician I can recall using the term “social capital”, that was very early in his stint in parliament. Some has put a flee in his ear, as I don’t recall him using the term since.
    Now we have the term “job creators” being bandied about, in an effort to promote business as the basis for an economy. Shhhhh, but apparently there is some sort of national security problem with letting it be known that the people create the market.

  3. Gilly

    Oops typo, should be “someone has put a flee in his ear”.

  4. terence

    flea, thats F-L-E-A

  5. Aaron Press

    Yep not much going on between those ears of his

  6. writtenmad

    I duns not trust dem academias, dey be dun live in de real world. Dey be talking wid dem words, claim education make being smart. Me no need nones of dem educations of dem academias.

    Road good, me drive fast good. Better fast quicker work. Train? Me dun know what do. Read book? Book for dem pansy academias.

    No trust dem lefts, ain’t seen no evendance of words they say. Science ain’t help no one, ain’t no scientist do nuthin’ for me.

    Roads good, help make faster drive.

    What good people smarter make? Just more dem academias, no need.

    (Said dripping in sarcasm. Good article, well written. I don’t comment much, but this is one of my favourite news blogs. It’s somewhere that I link a lot of my friends to, as the writers say it much better than I could.)

  7. Fed up

    Carol, what has Abbott achieved. What document has he signed.

    All I see, is him going around like a seven year girl, telling them, they are all his bested friends.

    Once again, nothing but motherhood statements. What is so clever about talking to world leaders at both gathering.

    What is so special, that thy have spoken to him. I thought that was what it is all about.

    Drum has got it wrong They said Rudd could not vote, because he is overseas.

    Wrong, Swan is also abroad.

    It appears for this one, postal votes are allowed.

    I wonder if the Indonesian and other close leaders fee the same as I do, listening to Abbott say he will always be respectful, and treat the Independents with respect.

    Yes, makes one feel sick.

    On the Drum, they are making comments, then proceed as their words are set in stone. One, this will be at least a two term government, Why?

  8. Fed up

    Carol, I believe that Labor doubled the spending on roads, during their six years.

  9. Möbius Ecko

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/168/441399283_c65e12fccc_o.gif

    Sydney has something very rare, a significant national park within its bounds, yet Abbott’s funding of the East/West link will destroy one third of it. One third of the park above will be lost to the link and when confronted Abbott all but shrugged his shoulders and intimated the park was unimportant compared to a road that will be packed and turn into a parking lot within a few short years as they all do.

    It is the equivalent of New York allowing a freeway to be built through this, http://i.sabah.com.tr/sbh/2013/04/25/425406308572.jpg, destroying one third of it. They would never do it, so why are we allowing Abbott to destroy one third of our national gem.

  10. Deborah Harris

    I agree with Aaron Press and Fed up. There is just something wrong about him being Prime Minister. He is just not up to the job. He looks out of his depth or something like a big school kid. I don’t now what to say about him except he’s just wrong, its embarrassing that he’s our Prime Minister. When he speaks its about nothing it seems like he doesn’t have a brain.

    Oh and the article above was really good, especially the quote from Ian McAuley the economist.

  11. zwetschgen

    should we be surprised at his tunnel vision? he was after all, we are told he as a Rhodes Scholar

  12. Kaye Lee

    Tony hasn’t realised that the superhighway of the future is FttP NBN. He wants to get the jackhammers out to dig up the most important highway we could build. A little man with little ideas fed to him by his spin doctors.

  13. CMMC

    Abbott is channelling the NSW Labor Right insanity that involves Civil Engineering behemoths like Transfield, John Holland…etc taking control of public assets.

  14. Marion Ivanic

    I cannot see how people are not getting the fact that his plans for the maternity allowance is about women being discriminated against in the workplace – in other words they will not be favoured for promotion they will be passed over for men – what he did to the women in his own party has to be a prime example !

  15. Gina

    Wtf were Australians thinking when they placed a vote for Abbott? All because they didn’t like hearing about the disunity of the ALP and ignoring the achievements, the things that matter.

    For those Liberal voters, If you voted for someone that isn’t a progressive thinker and doer, then don’t lose any sleep over it, cause it’s too late!

  16. doctorrob54

    A great article,Thank you.

  17. Jan Dobson

    Like them or loathe them, the Libs are in power. Don’t whine to me. I’m still so angry with the feuding, not just within the ALP, but from those who knew they had the most to lose if Abbott became PM.

    Who was it who ran a “don’t like the university cuts campaign” when the Gillard government slowed the rate of spending increase? Who was it who wouldn’t support passing of the ETS when the opportunity arose, because of idealogical differences? Who didn’t run a campaign in appreciation of NDIS, NBN, Gonski, Murray Darling ….

    No one with any access to independent media could have possibly believed Tony Abbott and his cohorts would make decisions that put the good of Australians before his dogma, his backers, his ambition.

    For the love of heaven, did you not see the Kerry O’Brien interview. Or the ‘statesmanship’ shown in the Mark Riley interview? Were you not watching the last 6 years when the shadow ministry, almost to a person, asked almost no policy questions? When was the last time a Coalition member has fronted a ‘hard’ interview and performed adequately? When, or rather, did you see a fully detailed, fully costed policy from the LNP?

    No more whinging, we’re stuck with this mob for at least the next couple of years. Suck it up….. then do something productive to curtail the damage and ensure that it’s for one term only. Let’s not reproduce the hateful campaign of the LNP and supporters but let’s engage with the voters and convince them that there is a better way.

  18. Geoff Of Epping

    What I want to know is this…….what are the rest of the ministry doing. Is Tony the government. Are his ministers figments of our imagination. Considering they squealed, screeched and shouted every day of every week of every one of the last 6 years,,,why so silent now. Are they hiding under their beds afraid because they caught the car they were chasing?

  19. Adam Smith

    @ Geoff of Epping, as I read your question, the implicit “Motive” immediately shines its light upon the triumvirate of the LNP-Mogul Media-Elites. JohnLord 2013 has published a new essay and it teases out what I think your question asks. As I see it, historically individual people have always sought to control their neighbours, their townsfolk and so on. In other words individuals go out to obtain “absolute” power. Look up the word Catholic and connect it to individualism and connect it to absolutism with the final word being despotism. But in our globalised economy it cannot be an in your face kind of despotism. it has to be a veiled form of despotism. So how will the Australian Public Service under an Abbott regime operate? We’ve already been told that only a Three Star General can fight the war on Boat People, to stop the boats. What about the sacking of Scientists vis-a’-vis global environmental pollution-no science ministry and so on. Everything is connected to everything else and we are now on a slippery-slope downhill without brakes.

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