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Tony’s A New Man, But Then So Was Campbell!

Increasingly irrelevant (image from skynews.com.au)

Increasingly irrelevant (image from skynews.com.au)

Over my morning breakfast, I perused an article in The Age about Tony Abbott’s reboot, where Michael Gordon told us:

“Finally, he’s done it. Tony Abbott this week pressed the reboot button on his leadership in a manner that gives him a genuine prospect of the political recovery that seemed utterly beyond him only a week ago.

“The changes in style, substance and direction are real. Whether they will endure is something else. Whether they result in a reappraisal by voters will become clear in the months ahead.”

 

Later on Mr Gordon also assured us:

And there’s more. Joe Hockey appears to have emerged from a horror run that began around this time last year; Scott Morrison has completed his metamorphosis from partisan saboteur of Labor’s border protection policies to consensus champion on welfare reform; and Malcolm Turnbull is just the same – the charming alternative”

 

Mm, the phrase, “but wait there’s more” is ringing in my head and I can’t help thinking of those ridiculous ads. But then the taxpayer funded “information” ads on Higher Education, where it assured us that we paid nothing upfront seemed to be uncannily similar to Harvey Norman assuring me that I could have interest free terms on anything I wished to purchase. Of course, that’s unfair, because the Government is still intending to charge interest on the HECS debt, whereas Harvey Norman doesn’t on the interest-free purchases

But before I start picking on Mr Gordon’s assessment, I must say that I have noticed that there have been many articles saying how well the Liberals are doing this week, and how this gives them a great chance of recovery. While not wishing to appear too harsh, it does seem to me that they’ve been involved in so many car wrecks, that a week without a noticeable bingle may be something for which the driver should breathe a sigh of relief. However, it doesn’t mean that I’ll want to lend him my car, and I hardly feel that it qualifies to be a competitor in the upcoming Grand Prix.

Many articles put the success down to a bounce in two polls. And by bounce, it means that the Liberals returned from the disastrous polling of late January/early February to the poor polling of the previous few months. This is the sort of logic where one announces that while one usually loses five hundred bucks every week on the pokies, last week was excellent because one only lost two hundred.

But apparently this bounce – and no, I’m not going to make the point again that a poll by itself is useless, two polls are a little more accurate, but I’d want to see a third before I attach any meaning to a poll – has made Mr Abbott more confident, more assured, better able to go on the attack…

Gee, perhaps I don’t pay enough attention, but I wouldn’t have thought that there was anyone out there saying, “That’s the trouble with our PM – he lacks self-assurance, he really needs to go on the attack a bit more. He’s just too much of a nice guy and takes far too much advice.” Certainly, I didn’t get the impression that the backbench was saying anything like that when the spill motion was moved.

But let’s put Tony aside for a moment. (Mm, should I refer to him as Tony, or is that disrespectful… I did read a letter to the editor where someone was arguing that he IS our Prime Minister and we should show him respect even if we disagree with him. I presume that writer wrote a similar letter during the “chaff bags” and vegemite sandwiches of Julia Gillard’s term in office, but for some reason it wasn’t published.) Where was I? Ah, that’s right I was putting Tony aside, and that’s something I’m sure a large number of people would like to do. Mm, reminds me of an old joke:

“Your majesty, the good news is that the Revolutionary Council was talked out of beheading you by a very persuasive argument from one of its members. The bad news is that he convinced them that it would be better to have you pulled apart by horses!”

Moving onto Joe Hockey, who according to Mr Gordon “appears to have emerged from his horror run”, I can’t help but wonder at what point he’ll make a public utterance without talking about Labor. As I suggested once before, if you’ve been convinced that a tradesman’s work isn’t good enough, and you decide to call a different tradesman, you hope you aren’t being charged by the hour when he spends all his time telling you how bad the previous tradesman was and how, if you hadn’t called him in, you’d be in a lot of trouble now, and he’d start fixing the problem but unfortunately the Senate’s put an embargo on his tools so all he can do is give the thing a couple of kicks and tell you what a great job he’s doing under the circumstances.

I guess the first problem I have is the assessment that Smokin’ Joe has had a horror run. To me a “horror run” suggests a series of events that were outside one’s control – such as the car and the washing machine both ceasing to work in the week where you get the sack… Or coming into power as a financial crisis grips the world. Announcing stupid policies, then finding them unpopular, but asserting that you could have done a better job explaining them, sounds more to me like it’s one’s own incompetence at understanding politics than a “horror run” – in much the same way that someone who continually sticks his knife in the toaster and uses the hair dryer in the bath can’t be considered to be having a run of bad luck when they keep getting electric shocks.

But it’s the idea that Joe has emerged from his past and won’t spend any more time with hairdryers, knives and toasters that I find puzzling.

Quoting Mr Gordon again:

“…the Intergenerational Report released by Treasurer Hockey, and the picture it paints of a nation where the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to double over the next four decades.

“While the Coalition will use the report to justify last year’s budget and pre-sell the one to be revealed in May, one of the biggest challenges will be to provide the incentives, flexibility and protections for people to work longer.”

 

So, we need to get more people to work way past 65? Of course, we also need to get those lazy bludgers of the dole and encourage those in wheelchairs to stand on their own two feet, because the Age of Enlightment is over… Sorry that should be “entitlement”. Although it works both ways. I was interested to hear that Gina Rinehart thinks the age of entitlement is over too. I guess she doesn’t mean the entitlement to take things out of the ground while only giving a fraction of their worth to the people who actually own them, but that’s a whole other issue.

The thing is we don’t have enough jobs to go around even with those lazy 65 year olds deciding to quit because they can afford to. Encouraging people to work longer may be good for some personally, and not so good for others, but the whole problem is about the way in which resources and wealth are shared around. And I use the word “shared” deliberately.

When we – both as a society and a government – make decisions which alter the way sections of the economy work, we’re making decisions which have consequences, but far too often we respond as though those affected by the consequences are wilfully choosing to be victims, rather than an inevitable result of our decisions. While last year, “we” were sympathetic to car industry workers losing their jobs as a result of the Federal Government’s belief that a free trade agreement was more important than sustaining the auto industry in Australia, “we” are less than sympathetic to all the workers who don’t have jobs because of decisions made in the past. The people who are unemployed in ten years time, because they would have been working in the automobile industry and who never manage to find consistent employment won’t receive as much sympathy as those who lose their job now.

There are many difficult economic questions facing Australia as the mining boom winds down and the population ages. but was nothing in Mr Hockey’s performance this week that seemed to suggest that he had even the slightest handle on the real questions, let alone anything approaching answers.

“We have a plan,” say the Liberals; I still ask, “When do we see it?”

 

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13 comments

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  1. eli nes

    How scary is your ‘fact’ that the rabbott and his joey are still living the labor economic crisis lie and using it as the basis of their budgets whilst having selective understanding of Australian society. Sadly, the press also love and live the same lie(The ABC gave abbutt a boost with an analysis of the labor ‘debt’ in 2055.) little billy is building on sand with no economic foundations????

  2. Möbius Ecko

    Yet again with this government the incongruity is inanely arrant. Whilst saying they have a plan and the answers without actually revealing a plan and only giving at best vague transitory answers, the demand the oppositions and Senate state their plan and give comprehensive answers.

    Watching Hockey on a door stop interview this morning was revealing in displaying his arrogance. Just about every question, and they were soft, was greeted with a screw of his expression as if saying why are you asking me this, just take my word for it.

  3. Ricardo29

    It saddens me that so many in the commentariat, such as Gordon, Cassidy seem so keen for Abbott to have been given a poll boost and a revitalisation of prospects, especially on the basis of these meagre figures. In doing so they give succour to the supporters of this inept mob and there will be the inevitable flow-on to the great unwashed disinterested in realities, encouraged only by thin smoke and dim mirrors. Expect to see more poll support for a rejuvenated and energised thug.

  4. John O

    I know I shouldn’t have been surprised at Joe’s intergenerational report, but I was taken aback by the continued attacks on Labor after they have been so long out of government. The LNP do not seem to understand that we don’t care how things would be if Labor were in power. They aren’t in power, you are Joe. Stop wrecking the country and do your friggin job and stop screaming about Labor.

  5. Ruth L

    Sorry,i have searched through the Media for evidence of these ‘changed men’ ,all I see are the same old two -faced mental LNP maggots with more of the same old lies!

  6. Loz

    Blaming Labour constantly is like their three word slogans that brought them into office. They know that by repeating it over and over again many of the electorate will be again brainwashed. This government has no respect for the Australian people and treat us like idiots. As for the sudden turnaround in the polls something definitely is amiss. I suspect it is the upcoming NSW election. They want the LNP looking good and whether this is in someones interest to bend the poll who knows.

  7. Marcus

    Oh dear, a single “poll boost” & suddenly the press gallery are swooning over these idiots again. Need I remind them that the Librorts Party were in a similar poll position back around October of last year? Around the same time Idiot Boy last pushed the Terrorism/National Security button. It didn’t last long, however, & by Christmas they were back in almost annihilation territory. I personally think the Press Gallery should be disbanded, & reformed from a proper mix of traditional & non-traditional media sources. Then they might be able to properly understand reality.

  8. Anon E Mouse

    They are plotting something.
    I am still tipping that there will be an early election this year.
    If they start chucking personal mud at Shorten, it will be game on – if he stays the mud will get smellier, if he goes they will say ‘well he must be guilty’ etc.
    In an odd way, the good thing about changes to Labor leadership, will mean that change can take ages unless the leader falls on their sword and there is only one contender.

  9. Kerri

    I have noted Abbott’s lack of new ideas as expressed in his being glued to Julie Bishop whenever she talks about Chan and Sukumyran. Abbott claimed Widodo was “carefully considering” his position re the executions. The Jakarta Post reported Widodo saying he was doing nothing of the sort and Abbott was wrong! But in comes JBish looking all graven and concerned and tired from how hard she is working. Nothing against her current efforts but they have been on death row for 10 years and what did Howard do or Rudd or Gillard to get them out? But it seems indicative of Abbott’s “seize any opportunity” mentality that he remains tacked to Julie’s side. It appears Phillip Ruddock was involved in the organisation of the candlelight ceremony. Guess he had nothing to do since Abbott sacked him? But if he does any more to help the Bali two, watch Abbott cling to him. Another indicator that Abbott hasn’t a clue or a care. He will hold fast to the whole execution issue as he sees that as a vote winner and is desperate to prevent Julie from hogging the spotlight! The media are so dense with these blatanly political and transparent performances!!!!
    Save Chan and Sukumyran but poor David Hicks well he was “up to no good” wasn’t he?
    The hypocrisy is breathtaking!!!

  10. Harquebus

    It is not Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten nor even Campbell Newman. It is their common flawed ideology of infinite compound growth in a finite world. It does not matter who governs nor how much we bitch and complain. Whilst this absurd ideology is pursued, they will fail.
    In a couple of years time, we will all be complaining about much worse things are.

  11. Terry2

    As one who has never been polled – I don’t have a landline and haven’t for the last eight years – I get very suspicious of polls of relatively small numbers which are then seized on by the media (read NEWS in particular) to prove that, in this case, Tony’s back.

    If we are going to put so much store in these polls isn’t it about time we set some standards for polling and aim at unambiguous questions and much bigger samplings, spread over a much greater deomographic and not just those who have a landlines. Perhaps the AEC could oversee them.

  12. Annie B

    @ Rossleigh ….. Great writing – as per usual. …. Thank you.

    When first reading your article, the thought came to mind of a partner ( non-specific gender ), begging forgiveness and saying they will never EVER again, beat the crap out of their much loved other half. “Please forgive me, and here’s a bunch of roses to show my genuine sorrow ” ??????

    Well – that’s how the LNP are working at present. ” Pretty please – give us / me / us another chance. ” Foof. … P f f t ……

    ………

    Would someone with insight, please explain to me the inimitable Hockeys’ comment today ( or was it yesterday ) …. ” In order to stay the same, we have to change “. …. Did I dream that, or did he actually say that ? …. Perhaps someone with a PhD in Philosophy ( or something ) could explain. …. That IS what I heard uttered from my TV screen. … Probably glossed over in the MSM on line. ???

    ……….

    So – the aging population is expected to double over the next four decades ? …. Bods are going to live longer ? ( not if they are worried into heart attacks over the lack of money and reduced pensions, they won’t ) …. BUT – – – –

    What happened to the ” we don’t worry about 20 years time – it is NOW we are concerned with “. ( not verbatim but close ) … uttered by the Scabbott some time back ?

    …….

    This recalcitrant mob will change their minds as often as their socks, but still won’t know bee from a bulls’ foot about anything that has to do with governing a country properly. ,,, “It IS time” …. that we should find a way to say … Out damned (de)spot, OUT, OUT, OUT.

  13. Wun Farlung

    Rossliegh
    The poker machine analogy is a beauty

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