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Turnbull may be standing in front of the orchestra pit but Abbott composed the cacophony they are playing

Tony Abbott is being widely dismissed in the media as having little influence in the Liberal Party today but I beg to differ.

Abbott is, in fact, very much the architect of today’s Liberal Party strategy.

Malcolm had a go at telling us there was never a more exciting time to be us and that innovation would solve all our problems.

But he failed dismally to excite the nation.  Talk of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and innovation hubs meant nothing to an electorate struggling to get by with stagnant wages, insecure employment and inadequate welfare.

So Malcolm ripped up the science playbook and adopted the well-honed Abbott strategy of going for character assassination instead, with a fishing expedition hoping to find some mud that would stick.

After all, Tony got Pauline sent to jail when she first posed a threat to siphon off the bigot vote.  He destroyed Thomson and Slipper, and did his durnedest to get something on Rudd, Gillard and Shorten at his royal commissions.

Turnbull, thinking he’d try his hand, sets Michaelia Cash the task to Kill Bill.  Except that didn’t go so well as it is now her office under investigation for illegally tipping off the media about police raids.

In a gutsy play today, Michaelia said testily that she was “not a party to the proceedings, not under investigation.” But she “would like to know why the AWU does not want to show the Australian people, but in particular the members of the AWU, that the money they were spending on their behalf was properly authorised.”

Considering the questions being asked about the gift of almost half a billion dollars to the GBRF, Michaelia is on very shaky ground to try to keep flogging that dead horse.

Page 2 of Tony’s playbook was what his chief of staff called “brutal retail politics” where he adopted a deliberate strategy to fire up anger about power prices by lying about the nature of the carbon price and the impact of renewable energy on price increases.

After several years of rising prices, Malcolm has come up with his own version of Direct Inaction, now known as the NEG.  And by coincidence, we will all save just as much as Tony promised us when he axed the tax.

Tony’s other big one was “stop the boats”.

Since we now turn them around, Malcolm has to find some other way to make us scared of foreigners so he has opted for African gangs, Muslims not integrating, and flags being waved about reducing immigration.

But someone always takes it just that bit too far, trying to be the loudest dog whistler, which makes it hard to push that one now though I am sure Dutton will give it his best shot.

Today in QT, P Duddy was smiling and upbeat – always a worrying sign because it usually means he has one of his excruciatingly weird jokes to tell or some personal slur he thinks is particularly clever.  This time it was directed at Shayne Neumann:

He has been the Shadow Minister for immigration for 120 question times. Now, Mr Speaker, he has not asked any questions on boats or immigration. Mr Speaker, I have got a soft spot for the Member for Blair and, Mr Speaker, I have got to say I have just been advised that after all of this period of time, the Member for Blair has asked for his first briefing from my department on operation sovereign borders. I feel almost, Mr Speaker, like a proud father, you know when your child takes a first step or milestone. Is not yet speaking, he is a little slow at speaking but he has taken one baby step.”

Which is interesting since Perth Now reported Dutton’s time as shadow health minister this way:

Like a commando in deep camouflage entering enemy territory, Peter Dutton’s first task as opposition health spokesman was to shut the health debate down. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek lampooned him for not asking a single question about health in question time.

“Lower company taxes” doesn’t quite have the same punch as “axe the tax”, but Scott is doing his best with “jobs and growth” after they took “debt and deficit disaster” off the play list.

(For the record, gross debt is now over $530 billion and net debt at the end of May was over $336.5 billion)

Turnbull may be standing in front of the orchestra pit but Abbott composed the cacophony they are playing.


33 comments

  1. Alpo

    “Abbott is, in fact, very much the architect of today’s Liberal Party strategy”…. Yes, because many of the policies adopted by Turnbull were originally Abbott’s, and regarding the new ones Abbott has dramatically conditioned their shape and content…. In addition, Abbott is waiting, in the shadows, with his well organised contingent of Hard Conservatives, ready to take over the leadership of the Liberal party in opposition. His strategy now is that of using the federal election to clean the field of as many Turnbullites as possible, so that the balance of power will fall squarely in the hands of his Conservatives, post-election…. After that, he will push a hard Conservative agenda, with broadly Neoliberal economics, only softened with sprinkles of populism (he said that he has “learned”, probably meaning that a harsh treatment such as his infamous Budget from Hell of 2014 may not be repeated).

  2. New England Cocky

    The LNP misgovernment under the joint leadership of RAbbott, Morriscum and Benito Dutto have Muddles Turdball dancing to their tune to save his ego. If Muddles was seriously concerned about the welfare of Australian citizens, then he would resign immediately forcing a motion of no confidence on the floor of Parliament and fresh elections before the Liarbral Party had organised their funding, naturally minus a million plus donation from Turdball to save RAbbott. But Gorton style courage does NOT appear to be in his character.

    Then in the political slogan stakes the National$ preferring Adulterers have “Women supporting Adulterers support National$”. OK, it is five words, but shows the integrity of the party mouthing “family values” while ripping off the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme.

  3. Shaun Newman

    The Turnbull L’NP government continues to disintegrate before our eyes with Dutton now being urged to challenge Turnbull for the leadership, and let’s face it the Turnbull government is just as much extreme right wing as the Abbott government was, only the Prime Minister is different, not the policies.

  4. Kaye Lee

    That’s another attack weapon off the table – disunity. The Liberals are tearing themselves apart.

    Open hostility has marked the internal debate, with Mr ­Turnbull and Mr Abbott reported to have clashed during a backbench committee meeting on Monday night.

    When Mr Abbott attempted to interrupt Mr Turnbull during a presentation, he drew a sharp response from the Prime Minister, who is understood to have said: “Could you please do me the courtesy of allowing me to finish my sentence.”

    Colleagues of Mr Abbott said the former prime minister responded with a retort heard by up to 10 MPs: “I would have, if you had allowed me the courtesy of finishing my term.”

    I would also highly recommend this article.
    “As small men reduce us all to a small nation, we must decide who we want to be”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/16/as-small-men-reduce-us-all-to-a-small-nation-we-must-decide-who-we-want-to-be

  5. Matters Not

    Re:

    Tony got Pauline sent to jail when she first posed a threat to siphon off the bigot vote.

    An urban myth that both Hanson and Abbott like to promote or at least choose not to contest. The truth however is a bit (much) more complicated. The forces ranged against Hanson were way above the powers of Abbott and far beyond Hanson’s capacity to comprehend.

    This link provides some detail but, like any history, it’s open to considerable debate

    http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AltLawJl/2003/83.html#Heading4

  6. Kaye Lee

    I dunno about that MN. Abbott was hugely instrumental in rallying and funding those forces to bring about her demise.

    From your link…

    Unable or unwilling to combat One Nation politically, the Howard Government adopted a two-track strategy. On the one hand, it set about implementing One Nation’s agenda in order to win back the constituency that had shifted to Hanson, notably small business and rural voters – traditional Liberal and National party supporters-who had become disaffected with the government’s program. The government adopted many of Hanson’s policies: refugee rights were reduced, welfare programs subjected to ‘mutual obligation’ impositions and Aboriginal funding cut.

    On the other hand, Abbott turned to more secretive manoeuvres, meeting disgruntled ex-One Nation members to solicit litigation. At one point, he supported a former One Nation candidate, Gold Coast accountant Terry Sharples, to spearhead a deregistration case, personally guaranteeing that Sharples would not be ‘out of pocket’.

    Abbott worked with ex-New South Wales Liberal leader, Peter Coleman-who is also Treasurer Peter Costello’s father-in-law – and a former Labor federal minister, John Wheeldon, to set up a secretive ‘Australians for Honest Politics’ fund of at least $100,000 to finance legal bids to de-register the party. Liberal Party state president Paul Everingham, National Party leader Tim Fischer, National Party Senate leader Ron Boswell and Senator Bill O’Chee were also involved in encouraging or assisting ex-One Nation members to take legal action.

  7. Zathras

    Actually the architect of Liberal Party Policy is more the IPA than from any leader.

    Leaders are just the shop front and snake oil salesmen for the vested interests that own them.

    The map to take Australia to that new Nirvana on the horizon has already been drawn up for them and is mainly free market capitalism via total deregulation, private ownership, low taxes and with no unions.
    Everything else, they believe, will follow and The Market will fix everything.

    The difference is how far each leader is prepared to go plus their chance of successful implementation – in conjunction with their electoral appeal to maintain power.

  8. Matters Not

    KL, it was the Queensland Government (no names) who put pressure on the DPP to pursue Hanson and did so on somewhat dubious legal grounds. It was a decision of a Queensland Court that put Hanson into jail. Patsy Wolfe presiding. Abbott wasn’t within a country mile of those legal proceedings and had absolutely no power to effect or affect the decision to prosecute. Remember also Hanson won her appeal (three judges unanimous decision) and were somewhat critical about the whole process, including legal interpretations.

    Yes Abbott, Howard and many others including Queensland politicians with significant local influence (read Peter Beattie who wanted her killed off politically) made lots of noise but it was mere background noise. ‘Twas the law that put her in jail. And Beattie was driving the political (and indirectly the legal) bus at the time.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Zathras,

    True. And the IPA are just the creche of aging Young Liberals waiting for preselection who repeat the mantra fed to them by the owners of the capital.

    MN,

    I doubt Abbott could achieve anything by himself including making a salad. I haven’t ever heard him express an original idea. I agree he is only a clumsy cog.

  10. diannaart

    I have definitive proof Abbott cannot make a salad; on Kitchen Cabinet or whatever that cooking show was with wotshername, oh, Annabelle Crab.

    Tony slapped his pound of steak on the backyard barbie (metaphor?) and Annabelle’s fish in foil on the side where it “wouldn’t burn”. Annabelle hoping for more than just fish, was assured by Tony “the girls” had made salad for them.

    Need I say more?

  11. New England Cocky

    Bring on the spill, I say. Muddles Turdball has served his purpose as a hamstrung muppet who abandoned personal values for politics and now it is time for the “real men” to step in and face the electorate. Naturally the now Minister for Xenophobia, Racism, Fascism, Bigotry and Illegal Detention is the logical choice for a far right leaning branch office of the IPA. With his unaccounted multi-millionaire wealth gained during his too long career as a Queensland policeman, his obvious interpersonal talents and caring persona make him absolutely the ideal candidate.

    There is little chance that Muddles has the Gorton style courage to resign and leave the Liarbral Party to their own devices, minus of course, the $1.75 MILLION personal donation to the LIarbrals from Muddles to save/retain Toxic Abbott in Parliament in 2016. Did that backfire??? But Auntie Gina will make up the difference from her personal coffers, just as in 2016 she gave $50,000 in a correctly documented political donation to Barnyard Joke in New England. Now was that for water access or family consultations??

    Bring on the spill, and then bring on the Federal election in summer 2018 so that the voters of Australia may confirm the appointment.

  12. Harry

    diannaart: Abbott would probably make really good smashed avocados on (burnt) toast.

  13. Harry

    The way events re unfolding we could soon have an election when voters will have to decide the fundamental direction of our society:

    Do we continue the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for an economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides universal health care and education for all?

    Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the entitled class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.

    Everything else is just political noise, entertaining though it may be.

  14. diannaart

    No, not Dutton! Not any of ’em.

    Thought Abbott was beyond execrable, then along came Turnbull. OK no more raw onions and really dumb comments to and about women, Turnbull pretends he cares and he does; about himself.

    But Dutton? Aspirational megalomaniac?

    This shall not happen.

    PS

    @ Harry – yes but, they would literally be smashed avos – nothing you’d want to spread on toast.

  15. Kronomex

    Oh, if only this was true. With Trembles as PM = a defeat at the next election.
    With Duttonuci as PM = a massacre at the next election.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/senior-cabinet-ministers-move-to-quell-talk-of-peter-dutton-leadership-challenge-20180817-p4zy12.html

    “The speculation came after Mr Dutton acknowledged in a radio interview on Thursday that if he did not support a government policy he would have to quit the ministry and move to the backbench.” I call bullshit on this, there is no way Heinrich is going to walk away from his nightmare inducing department and become a “humble” backbencher.

    If Ray Hadley says it’s a 100% fact that Potatoman is going to knife the Truffle soon then it’s gospel truth. Snort, snigger.

  16. Henry Rodrigues

    Remind me, someone. Is this the same leather jacket wearing hustler with the permanent rictus smile, blowing thought bubbles about 15 GST, state income taxes, snowy river Mk2 promoter, smarmy spiv with the top hat who garnered 70% approval rating and is now covering his arse from the flashing stilettos of his erstwhile ‘loyal’ colleagues. Ha Ha,Turdball, you’re inadequacies have finally come home to roost. You were always just a rich ponce, with the judgement of a imbecile. Whatever made you think you could be a Prime Minister ????

  17. Matters Not

    Turnbull’s displacing Abbott was an electoral disaster for progressives. Dutton’s bumping Turnbull would be a blessing.

    Dutton ought to ne encouraged. Bring on the LNP’s electoral suicide. Now or even sooner.

  18. Christina Heath

    I live in a rural electorate and during working hours have redneck radio on in the background and though much of the time i feel like smashing a brick through it, it is a reality check and unfortunately it is not good. I realise most people like me are not participants in the talkback but 95% of callers on a daily basis are Abbott and Dutton supporters and their ilk, support coal, want to stop Muslim immigration, etc and many have supported Fraser Anning. The dislike of Turnbull is paramount but more because he is not “one of them” and they would rather see the return of Barnaby. The bi-election in Wagga soon will be interesting, the Liberal candidate is woeful but it is predictable the ‘sheep’ will vote for her in spite of the corruption of Darryl Maguire, as they are locked in to voting for the ‘same old, same old’.

  19. Meg

    The scary thing is, we all thought there was no way Trump could win his election. Quite likely most of thought there was no way Abbott could ever win an election way back when, either.

  20. AJ O'Grady

    The L/NP are now looking for a strong leader. That is a strong opposition leader and who was the L/NP’s best attack dog/ opposition leader but Abbott. I feel that those who make the big decisions in the L/NP realise that having an opposition leader of the ilk of Turnbull will have them in opposition for a very long time. Where as if they have a opposition leader of the ilk of Abbott then it may well be a lot shorter time in opposition. The L/NP will then have two opposition attack dogs to defeat Labor, the L/Np opposition leader and the Main Stream Media.

  21. SteveFitz

    Tony Abbott seemed nice enough, once, then he was kicked in the face by his own party so that those pulling the strings could place a corporate flunkey. Tony whimpered away, to the back-bench, brooding and minus his tie as a sign of rebellion. “You bastards, I’m not gunna play”. Well, he appears to have found his dummy and now he just looks plain angry. I think he has reverted back to basic animal instinct and can smell the blood of his colleagues in the train wreck ahead.

    Aplo – I think your right, it’s an opportunity to become the next train driver with no wheels and no track, just the air horn to play with. If thinking Australians have their way there is a long dark tunnel ahead for the Liberal party and anyone else who plays their game of lies and deceit. And thank you “Matters Not” for the insight into a book our children will study in the future called “Australian Political Prisoners”. Hang on, MSM censorship, neoliberal ideology, corruption, political prisoners, spiralling national debt and poverty? HELP!!! Where am I?

  22. Terence Mills

    With acknowledgement to Gazza from Grong Grong and with apologies to Banjo Paterson :

    There was movement in the Party, for the word had passed around
    that The Man from Snowy Hydro was a dud,
    and they’d lose the next election if a saviour wasn’t found
    who could drag their reputation from the mud.

    So they hunkered down in corners and they muttered into phones
    as they polished up their leader-stabbing knives,
    and ignored the gleeful chuckles of the traitor known as Tones
    who was stuffing up their born-to-rule-us lives.

    “Can you save us, Peter Dutton?” was a cry that could be heard,
    or perhaps there were a few who fancied Scott,
    but it didn’t really matter, they were polishing a turd
    that would soon be flushed away and left to rot.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Wonderful Terence!

  24. Michael Taylor

    That was awesome, Terence. Simply awesome.

  25. SteveFitz

    Homeless mother: “I love your new pink heart dressing gown – It’s got princess written all over it”.
    Homeless child: “It’s got dog hair, snot, dried egg and vomit written all over it – But it keeps me warm”.
    Liberal politicians facing social problems: “I can feel myself getting that vacant look”

  26. diannaat

    Terence – very clever, apt and I really want to see this LNP flushed away.

  27. New England Cocky

    To all the thinking patriotic Australians who have posted above; “What have you done recently to ensure that this LNP misgovernment is swept away at the next Federal election”?

  28. Kaye Lee

    NEC,

    I have been typing my fingers to the bone since Julia Gillard was PM, trying to share information and counter the lies. I have attended marches and rallies. I regularly ring and email politicians. I pop around to politicians’ facebook pages and express my view. I talk to whoever will listen, particularly my children, nieces and nephews and their friends, who are in their 20s. I have, on rare occasions, been contacted by politicians and I do my best to come up with constructive ideas (which they never listen to).

    I hope to retire to my verandah with a glass of champagne early next year.

  29. diannaart

    NEC

    I have been campaigning against injustice since Queensland was Belke-land

    Like Kaye Lee, I have marched, assisted mail-outs, talked to any one who would listen, written and phoned local and federal members, been a member of a union when I was employed

    Now, NEC, WTF do you do?

  30. SteveFitz

    I think we are on the same page because we are fighting for what’s right and, we can’t change who we are. I’ve just retired and, with one foot in the grave it’s probably time to think of the future – Not ours idiot… our kids and grand-kids.

    At retirement, you become a member of an exclusive club called “The Elders”. As an elder we look at our life and any social injustice inflicted upon us. What we try to do is make society a better place for our kids one step at a time, one person at a time and one vote at a time.

    To do that we need to engage, to some extent, and see the world as it is. Knowing how the world works makes it easier to navigate and we are more able to push for social change. Anyone with those credentials is rare and special indeed and has a calling.

    SteveFitz

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