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Tony Abbott has again succeeded in getting us to focus on what’s unimportant

Some politicians – Tony Abbott an expert among them – realise the importance of dictating the terms of public discourse. That is, to get us talking on issues they want us to talk about, which are usually to avoid the public engaging on issues that might actually be important to them. A recent and telling example; the aforementioned had large numbers of the voting public satisfied their family would be $550 a year better off under a Coalition Government after the dastardly ‘carbon tax’ was repealed. You may recall it was never mentioned that many of those same families would annually lose $1,400 with the Coalition’s scrapping of the Schoolkids Bonus. The $550 saving was mentioned by Tony Abbott how many times?

Tony Abbott had succeeded in getting people to focus on the unimportant, and he was successful for doing so.

He has now done it again, though not with any intent.

Every important issue his government needs to address; be it social, economic or environmental has slipped off the public lip since Prince Philip’s bizarre knighthood was announced. The widening gap of equality in this country, and one for which the government was damned for, seems to only be an issue of importance pre January 26.

Three days later we are not only still talking about Prince Philip’s knighthood, but also the immediate fate of the man who bestowed the knighthood upon him. These, naturally, make delicious talking points but they are a deflection from what might appeal to us on voting day. Namely, the messes this government has made (which I’m sure they’d be happy not to have us mumble about them).

AIMN reader Colin thinks the same way. A friend commented to him:

“I’m amazed at how quickly we as Australians jump on something so trivial, yet we sit by silently on some of society’s biggest challenges with nothing more than a whimper for fear of upsetting the perceived public majority or being branded alternative, or even worse, a bigot! I guess I’m just disillusioned with people and I think what we really rate as important in life these days are those which cater to our selfishness”.

Which leads me to the point of this article, Colin’s response, which he sent to The AIMN and has approved its publication:

I agree that you have every right to feel disillusioned and I think many Australians have been feeling the same way for a very long time. However; for this issue not to be a political debate is a tall order, because it is our Prime Minister who has opened this ridiculous can of worms.

On the surface it may appear to be “trivial”, and let’s be honest, how many of us really care about knights and dames (an award discontinued by the Hawke Labor Government) – I think that this is the very reason that everyone is so pissed off – ‘knights and dames’ are simply not an important or relevant national issue that should be high on the Prime Minister’s to do list!

It was a brazen Abbott that declared during the pre-election campaign that he wanted “to be known as the Prime Minister who keeps commitments” and who went on to pleadge “we will be a no-surprises, no-excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future”. Yet since coming into power the Coalition have surprised us by, for eample:

  • doubling the deficit by changes to government spending and changes to government assumptions. Blown the deficit out to $40.4 Billion by 15 December 2014.
  • providing us with the highest official jobless rate in more than a decade.
  • defunding peak organisations that advocate for the poor and oppressed, including Homelessness Australia, Financial Counselling Australia and National Shelter.
  • abolishing ‘Medicare locals’, despite a promise to not cut the health budget.
  • breaking the election promise of no cuts to education by cutting funding for trade training centres in schools.

The list of cuts and broken promises goes on, and on, and on (and despite the regression of government services – the deficit just goes up, and up, and up). Everybody should acquaint themselves with the list Sally McManus keeps of the wreckage and broken promises. It is worth a look.

As far as the list of broken promises and wreckage goes, you simply can’t make this stuff up. It contains documented, undeniable FACTS (just like the evidence of Climate Change).

But ‘credit’ where ‘credit’ is due – they have ‘stopped the boats’ of course, however, at an enormous cost. The deaths of two young men (Reza Berati 23yo and Hamid Kehazaei 24yo) plus scores more being physically injured, the ongoing mental anguish suffered by men, women and children at the hands of our ‘successful’ government. And how much are they spending on all this?

Furthermore; the serious and internationally damaging claims that laws have been broken by the government while jeopardising the lives and safety of asylum seekers. It is beyond human decency to treat people this way. From separating a mother from her 4 day old baby; leaving a baby with a defective pacemaker on Christmas Island for 2 months; refugees being forced to queue up to 4 hours for toilets and food on Manus Island; and claims of a cover-up of violent PNG police-army clash with refugees on Manus Island. The shameful list is extensive. You can see a list of these ‘shame files’ here.

Despite the evidence that this appalling government is rotten to the core, and has not even remotely delivered what it has promised; we have a Prime Minister preoccupied with dragging the country back 30 years with trivial matters such as knights and dames!

So yes, the Australia Day announcement of a non-Aussie as our newest knight may seem ‘trivial’ compared with the real issues we face, however, when considered in full context with the current state of affairs rolled out by the Liberals (and the ongoing bizarre and patronising priorities of Abbott), then we all have every right to be angry and concerned about this latest gaffe.

The alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear!

Before January 26 the alarm bells were ringing loud and clear. Tony Abbott made them stop. It’s time to ring them again.



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  1. paul walter

    Am glad Michael Taylor has had the wit to put this up.

    Re “diversions”, just here fresh from reading some urgent Naomi Wolf stuff at FB, on a creeping movement toward blanket censorship/surveillance in many places across the globe.

    Is this the sort of thing people like Murdoch and Abbott want obscured??

  2. Kaye Lee

    Most people just aren’t interested in politics but they love reality tv. Even here, with the thousands of articles we have published, by far the most popular was Victoria’s article about Francis Abbott’s scholarship. The interest in Abbott’s dual citizenship is another example. These things are important to know but are they as important as our inaction on climate change, our persecution of asylum seekers, the attacks on our hard won workplace and welfare entitlements, the loss of billions of dollars investment in renewable energy, the cuts to research and education, the winding back of universal healthcare, the demonization of unions, the facilitation of corporate tax avoidance and a very long list of other things that should concern us greatly.

    The scariest part of Prince Philip’s knighthood is that it shows our PM thinks he is a dictator who has the power to do as he pleases.

  3. Kaye Lee

    As an aside, Abbott said he didn’t consult Peta Credlin about the knighthood. Well THAT would be a first since she has, for years, been telling him what he may say, when and how. Has anyone ever seen Tony Abbott anywhere without Peta firmly attached to his side – doing his make-up, gluing his hair down, helping him with small talk about mountains?

  4. Owen

    He needs to focus on the being fair

  5. paul walter

    That’s like asking a rock to dance.

  6. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, probably being easier for most to concentrate on specifics rather than that requires the person to imagine the bigger picture. I remember not that many years ago, we in the alternative media called it The Great Dumbing Down, something which has been encouraged in bucket loads by the (lazy) msm.

    And on Credlin..that was a surprise. Tony must have had to go home to the missus for a while. Just shows you what happens when Peta’s not there to direct him. Yet there are calls for Credlin to fall on her sword. Why? If Credlin has as much power as many think she has, is this a reflection on her or a reflection on the weakest Prime Minister in Australia’s history. Will Credlin go quietly? Will Abbott sack her? And will she spill the beans if forced out?

  7. paul walter

    They want him out and someone less rambunctious’s starting to spook the horses this late in the electoral cycle.
    Although, if they can defuse the resentment toward Abbott, it would be a win also.

  8. Steve

    The dumbing down of the electorate has been spectacular. But its how the wealthy want it. Its why they want to make education unaffordable to the majority, because smart people from a disadvantaged background can turn into progressive politicians. And we can’t be encouraging that, can we.

  9. Blanik

    I kind of agree, but I do think that we’re still focused. It will take more than a good belly laugh to forget what swine (sorry swine of the world) he and his supporters are.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    But Michael, where does one begin. Do we alert Abbott to the dangers in his new overseas adoption programme. Point out, that the present regulations are there for good purpose. That ignoring the experts is indeed dangerous policy. Maybe point out, his inquiry into DV would be better placed, if he included the many experts working in the field. Remind him, he has added to the problem by all the cuts made to organisation already set up to deal with DV. Just reverse some of his repeals and money for DV support programmes.

    Michael, the problem is, Abbott keeps producing new problems on a daily basis. One cannot keep up with him.

    The biggest problem I have with Abbott, is he sees all his missteps as a big joke. Like not being able to tell the truth, and his brain farts. Believes all he has to do, is say sorry and move on.

    How do we priories all his errors?

  11. Wayne Turner

    It’s the non-thinking sheep public,blindly follow the MSM yet again.The MSM are highlighting the stupid Knight for a pommie (Along with plenty in the Libs too),so the masses follow.

    Whatever the MSM makes headline news,the public then follows (or totally ignores if they do NOT care at all,and ignore the MSM).


  12. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Kaye Lee – I think climate change is incredibly important but unless his own side of politics puts some serious pressure on Abbott we will not be able make him see how stupidly he is behaving.
    I for one have never voted in any way that would have helped him become PM but even so I had not credited how moronic and out of touch with reality he really is.
    And those in his party who have never had to really battle, or experience poverty, been cut off from education, etc do not realise, I suspect, how cruel his policies are. Expecting everyone to be able to make it to the top is to live in a fantasy world and the disabled and many otherwise disadvantaged people will always need help. Carrots are almost always better than sticks!
    We can only hope that all the coalition members in marginal seats will start putting pressure on him to see what is happening in the rest of the world. Europe and the USA are starting to wake up to the fact that Australia under the ALP had a policy direction worth following, but, because Abbott rubbished it non stop and fallaciously threw accusations of lies around, he will never admit to being wrong, wrong, wrong in his approach to the economy.
    Those nations are also forging ahead in developing renewable energy systems and Australia, while having been praised by the world for its economy under the ALP is now the laughing stock of the developed world and beyond – or at least its PM is, and we get the blowback for being stupid enough to elect him!!

  13. doctorrob54

    And rightfully so Rosemary,we deserve to be scorned and laughed at.To let these libturd lying scum get away with what they have already done,is bad enough.But to let him dismantle and destroy everything that is still good is criminal.This nation suffers a terrible illness,it’s called APATHY.

  14. Trev

    Yet,while hes got everyones talking about Sir …..,even this article is focused away from probably the most impotant issue thats been going on here in this land,the First Nations Peoples of this Land.The genocide,dispossession,no treaties made….and before someone says,that happened 200+ years ago,I’m not responsible for something that happened 200= yrs ago.
    Its happening today,Lands being taken,used for mining,children been taken at a rate greater than the stolen generation,deaths in custody,indigenous suicides,a level of living that has been compared to 3rd world conditions,and so on and so on
    “WE”,are proud of our multiculturalism,our inclusiveness and acceptance of just about every other race of people as long as its not the First nations people of this country.
    Australia as a people have a lot to answer for,the previous govts and current govt has a lot to answer for regarding the
    treatment past,present and it seems into the future with regards the first nations peoples of this land
    who Never ceded their Soveriegnty.

  15. Annie B

    The subject of the knighting of the D of E … has been mentioned again, here ……..

    Ummm …. I venture to suggest we may have been looking at the Knighthood given to Prince Philip by the illustrious self appointed ‘king’ of our country, in maybe the wrong way. …

    I further suggest that ( given the number of inappropriate gaffes and ill-informed comments made by the Abbott ) ,,, it was yet another blunder – but in a different way. NOT because it was given to someone who is not Australian ( that’s been done many times in the past ) …. but because it is a ‘gong’ soooo lowly, and sooo far below that of a Dukedom ( in the protocol list of who is who and where they stand in the British heirarchy scheme of things ) that it is quite ludicrous.

    So – our sanctimonious and self-appointed ‘Captain’ ( of all things – in his opinion ) who is a professed monarchist, has succeeded in ………..

    INSULTING to the enth degree, the consort husband of the Queen of England / Queen of Australia. A bit like giving a truck driver who is certified to drive B Doubles, a go-cart to go practice and ride the streets, in !!

    I wonder how THAT went down over dinner at Bucks Palace earlier this week !! ?

    Time to slam the door shut on the grand Knighthood gesture, and get on with finding a way to stop all this nonsense, and ignore – yes IGNORE ….. the ravings of the current ( but not for long ) PM. ….

    How could anyone take him seriously. …. the ‘good works of his team, is because they have a good captain’ ??????????? ….. Give me strength. !!

  16. Blanik

    Betty Windsor aka Queen Elizabeth 2 took it seriously, Annie. She had to approve it, I think. On the other hand, perhaps our Betty is also losing her marbles as is our Captain Catholic.

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