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We have delivered power to the delegates of corporate wealth

In February this year, Tony Abbott addressed a hostile party room to explain why he should not only lead them, but the nation.

Did he outline a grand vision for the future? No.

Did he argue the soundness of his policy direction? No.

So how did Tony convince them that he was the right man for the job?

“I can beat Shorten,’’ he said.

And there we have it. The attack dog, the sledger, the guy who throws the first punch.

Mr Abbott pleaded with his MPs that he “can fight the Labor Party but I’m not very good at fighting the Liberal Party’’.

Abbott’s only raison d’etre is to beat his political opponents.

And we can’t say we weren’t warned.

Paul Keating described Abbott as “an intellectual nobody” with “no policy ambition.”

“Where is the thought-out position? Turnbull had an articulated, intellectual, moderate, thought-out conservative position,” he said. “The fact is that Abbott does not have this.”

“If you want to go round telling lies all your life, historical lies like Abbott does, fine,” he said.

Not only did Tony avoid any discussion of policy, he promised not to put any more budget measures to the Senate until they were accepted by the community.

Rather than informed, innovative leadership, reactionary pandering to focus groups will determine our direction.

In 2011, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was interviewed by Melbourne University political scientist Professor Robyn Eckersley.

Eckersley: The famous German sociologist Max Weber talked about leadership in a lecture he gave on politics as vocation back in 1919.

He said good leadership required ethics of conviction and ethics of responsibility, which he understood to mean having policies the consequences of which were in line with your convictions.

Which is the opposite of political leaders bending with the wind.

Fraser: Yes it is, but as you describe it, I would agree with that.

Eckersley: How do you reconcile leadership with a democracy where a leader is supposed to be responsive to public opinion, which suggests politicians should bend. So where does conviction end and responsiveness to the electorate begin?

Fraser: I think you are mixing up somebody who is representative of the people and somebody who is a delegate. If you are a delegate, the people who have delegated power to you tell you what to do, tell you what policies to have.

If you are a representative, you are there to exercise your judgement, to learn about an issue, then make up your mind, that is what a representative is.

Eckersley: In political science we call that the delegate-trustee distinction. So you’re appealing there to the role of the politician as the trustee who makes judgements on behalf of the electorate where the delegate is simply a mouthpiece for those they represent.

So that means a trustee must learn how to stare down opposition?

Fraser: Stare down, maybe. But if your policies are right and you think they are important to the nation then you have got to have enough confidence that you can carry the argument.

All a poll can do, or all a focus group should do, is tell you whether you have got an easy job or a hard job to carry an argument.

This describes the malaise that now afflicts our country. We are run by delegates. There can be no nuanced debate about policy because it has already been directed by those who delegated the power.

What finer example of this could we have than Ian MacDonald wearing a personalised high-vis mining vest, emblazoned with “australiansforcoal.com.au”, in the Senate?  Or the Social Services Minister repealing gambling reform laws?  Or the repeal of Labor’s legislation to stop global profit-shifting and introduce financial sector laws? Or the reduction of the renewable energy target and the direction to the CEFC that they may not invest in wind or small-scale solar?  Or the approval of mines in prime farming land and dredging for coal ports in the Great Barrier Reef?

Murdoch delights in his power to dictate public opinion. Gina spends millions on advertising campaigns. The ABC gives a platform to the IPA and Gerard Henderson and his wife (?) while Alan Jones and Ray Hadley go on personal vendettas. For some unknown reason, Rowan Dean and Nick Cater are dragged out to rubber stamp all things Abbott though personally, having fools like them on my side would make me question my direction.  The propaganda machine convinces the public and Tony does the photo shoots.  He doesn’t need to listen to experts or read reports or understand policy.

Rather than being trustees of the common wealth and public interest, we have delivered power to the delegates of corporate wealth and Christian fundamentalism whose personal ambition and obligation to their backers supercedes their duty to the people of Australia and their responsibility as a global citizen.

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13 comments

  1. Glenn K

    Kaye, you have so completely hit the bullseye with this piece. If only every person of voting age could have this as a manditory read……

  2. John Kelly

    That Abbott does not have a thought-out position plays perfectly into the hands of the IPA and Rupert Murdoch. For them, he is a blank canvas.

  3. Harquebus

    Corporations rely on the ignorance of their delegates.

    “He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.” — George Bernard Shaw

  4. brickbob

    This is a very good article and you state the truth.””

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    These self-serving thiefdoms can only exist with the support of weak-spined subordinates who see a dollar for themselves too by supporting the likes of Rinehardt and Murdoch.

    Not only do I want us to target the Rinehardt and Murdoch when Rabid bites the dust, but I want these lesser important functionaries to be exposed and ex-communicated from the benefits of lucrative public or private life. Then, they might understand contrition.

  6. Florence nee Fedup

    Well at least we hear very little about polls anymore. I wonder why?

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    How wide open is he in that boxing picture above?

  8. Harquebus

    “The rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot.”
    “Men like Cameron, Tony Abbott and Stephen Harper won’t engage in generational struggles with real existential threats – climate breakdown first among them – for fear of alienating their sponsors.”
    http://www.monbiot.com/2015/07/21/danger-mice/

  9. corvus boreus

    Florence nee Fedup,
    The illustration in the bar below the article (for Mr Lord’s ‘character’ article) well illustrates anecdotes of Tony’s boxing exploits; a wild flurry of haymakers with no footwork or posture of defense.
    Easily dealt with by anyone with a foundation in the fundamentals.

    Abbott on cricket; “I could not bat, I could not bowl, I could not field, but I could sledge”.

    No skills or assets bar the brain of a rabid pit-bull.

  10. eli nes

    He and most of the boys in this parliament are:
    delegates of their religion
    representatives of their party electors
    Their ethics are winnowed by the polls/public opinion/media and driven by personal greed disguised as rights.
    They are neither delegates nor representatives of the voters and therefore free from obligation.
    As sheridan seems to say about his mate, the rabbutt, it is the union communists that have shaped the rabbutt’s negativity and the negativity of labor drives the rabbutt even now. By this time I was having a laugh and missed the drum’s/sheridan’s conclusion but presumably the rabbutt has been given a mithril vest to go with his invisability ring and charging in his armoured mercs is of to slay the communist smaug and his union orcs.

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    One query I have eli nes,

    is that despite Sheridan’s unfortunate and misguided choice of politics, he appears to be a reasonably learned and astute person.

    My question is why would such a person hold a degenerate like rabid, effing Abbott as a friend and a champion of a brand of politics that he supports?

    Rabid must have some magic either personally or by the associations that he makes – and people like Sheridan see there’s a buck or an advantage to be made by keeping his association with Rabid.

  12. Halfbreeder

    Abbott passes off political strategy as policy. His policy is his strategy – defeat his opponent by any means. Last night on the ABCs Drum programme the talking head guests were asked why Australians were disillussioned with their politiciams and political system. The best answer from these dunderhead guests was the standard reply that ‘politicians aren’t listening’. ‘Listening’ is easy & can always be feigned by baby kissing, a few visits to workplaces and shopping centres. The ABC ‘experts’ were incapable of answering the question put to.them. The real reason for the discontent is that the politicians are, as Kaye says, ‘delegates’ of a wealthy class and of a globalist agenda that is destroying local communities and environments for multinational corporate profits. The strategies used to bring this destruction is free trade as opposed to fair trade, neo conservative economics and unemployment. These weaken the political power of local communities and local individuals and create circumstances for the propagation of the myth that investment not consumption creates jobs and facilitates the reliance upon capital and investment to create jobs thus handing power to the wealthy. The whole arrangment is concoction and can be changed.

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