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11 March 2015
by John Lord

At the Risk of Repeating Myself: Abbott’s Gone

Good Government, he said, would begin again after 17 months of mediocrity and find its way out of the dark hole it had been hiding in. The adults would grow up and all would be right with the political world.

How is it that when a demonstrably unpopular, lying Prime Minister, devoid of any qualities of leadership, who has been so universally condemned in the media and by both supporter and foe alike for his deplorable governance, wasted 18 months of the life of the nation and survived a leadership spill – in the space of two weeks taken his party from a hopeless position to a winning one in the polls?

Abbott’s recovery was because the punters had factored in a belief that Abbott would not lead the Coalition to the next election and at some time he would be replaced by Malcolm Turnbull. The polls actually showed figures for a Turnbull lead government.

So at the risk of repeating myself, and when added to last week’s Essential correcting poll, today’s March 10 Newspoll suggests I was right. Even allowing for poll fluctuations a return to Labor of 55 and Coalition 45 suggests that voters now realise that despite his inevitable demise, we will have to suffer the Prime Minister’s ineptitude, incompetence and trustworthiness a smidgen longer.

As it stands Labor dominates all the polls and in the case of Newspoll it has led the Coalition on 19 consecutive surveys and it is difficult to imagine that the Liberals will countenance the situation for very much longer.
ony Abbott’s personal approval rating despite a slight improvement remain desperately low. Shorten leads him 44-33 as preferred Prime Minister.

When a government is on the nose with the electorate, as this one undeniably is, it is difficult to recover. Bad government leaves behind it a residue of not being trusted. A cohort of unforgiving voters who, never forget and never forgive. Ask Labor.

The statement about “Good government starts now” has proven to be wide off the mark.

Good government under Abbott, never was and never will be. He was never suited, nor had the character for it.

He has not changed one iota and still displays the leadership of opposition which some say he was eminently suited for.

Abbott has this innate habit of saying things that just don’t gel with the electorate. Things that grate even if you half support them. Like his over the top attack on Professor Triggs. The vitriol he showed toward her bordered on misogyny. Even if he thought he had a good case of bias against the Government he just reinforced people’s perception of a nasty, negative bitter man.

The same can be said of his assault on the United Nations. Some people might support his ‘stop the boats’ policy but at the same time draw the line on the cruel and unnecessary incarceration of minors.

Abbott says Australians are ‘sick of being lectured to’ by the United Nations but Australia signed up to the Convention against Torture 30 years ago. We did so because as a nation we agreed with the important minimum standards of treatment it guaranteed. Yet here we are 30 years on, knowingly breaching those standards and causing serious damage to our reputation. As it stands we may as well not even be a signatory to the Convention.

If there is one thing, besides all the lying, that annoys people it is the continual backflips Abbott performs – and we surely haven’t seen the end of them yet. There is the co-payment backflip. And there’s more to come on that one.

Last Thursday in Question Time Catherine King asked Sussan Ley to explain how ‘direct billing’ actually works. It was a train wreck of an answer where the Minister spent the entire time not admitting to what became clear to everyone in the Parliament: she has no idea how it works.

Other backflips include the PPL, Army pay and now money for the car industry closures. People consciously or sub consciously ask “why?”. And the question arises in the case of more troops for Iraq. Why 300 more troops to train Iraq solders? They must be slow learners. We have been doing that for 10 years. Sorry, but the government shows little understanding of the underlying causes of terrorism.

Then came the Intergenerational Report. There are many, many, things wrong with it, unambiguously so. But possibly the most disturbing thing is the Government trying to proclaim the benefits of climate change. That’s right, this report describes climate change as “beneficial”. I’m not sure what’s worse, Tony Abbott claiming the climate isn’t changing, or his new claim that climate change is good.

Confusing isn’t it, but the biggest lie this government perpetuates is that it believes global warming is occurring. The Intergenerational Report proves it beyond doubt.

Did you know that the Intergenerational Report fails to detail any post-2020 emission reduction goals or the long-term costs of climate change? No wonder people are skeptical.

“We have a clear…we have a strong and effective policy to deal with climate change.”

So said the PM. When you tell lies you deprive others of the truth.

The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment – not the other way around.

Now with the budget only weeks away, and the previous one still a work in progress Joe Hockey wants to have a conversation with the people about the issues. Well that’s fine except that it’s hard to have a conversation with people who lie all the time.

They certainly find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The budget will have to be a soft one that appeases the last one. They cannot afford even the perception of unfairness. But how to do it. No matter which way they go they are open to all sorts of accusations of mismanagement both economically and morally.

Even now the conversation they want to have is with the poor, not the rich. They want to align pensions with inflation and not as it currently is, with average weekly earnings.

Everyone knows that the result will be a major reduction in the pension. They say it won’t happen until 2017 but they have legislation ready to go. Why? Every time Abbott says there won’t be a reduction in pensions, pensioners know he is lying. And the silly thing is that the elderly are his greatest supporters even though conservatives have never done a thing for them.

In the same way people know he is lying when he says that every family got $550 off their power bills when the Carbon Tax was repealed.

The conversation they won’t have, that they should have, though is about superannuation and the tax discounts given to the rich and privileged. Concessions that impose on the budget a cost equal to the provision of an old age pension.

On the surface it might be said that people pay scant interest in politics until polling day every three years. That maybe so but they are not blind to unfairness and bad government when they witness it.

As one of my Facebook followers put it:

“No longer am I surprised by this man who, is quite literally capable of saying and doing anything daily. “Adults in charge” captain call” Team Australia” “minister for woman” “coal humanitarian”…. sigh… If a government and its leader is elected on the pretence of dishonesty, how can we be surprised when they act any other way as they vindictively gloat a mandate of legitimized deceit?”

At the risk of repeating myself . . .

The inevitable is almost upon us: Abbott’s gone.

Oh, I forgot. There is one barnacle that the Abbott Government needs to get rid of immediately: the rule that any director on a government board who was appointed by the previous Labor government will not be reappointed.