How to respond to Abbott

On all recent polls, it appears that the Coalition is still unbeatable. But Newspoll suggests that Abbott’s leadership of the Liberal party is viewed with suspicion by the electorate – for good reasons.

First, Abbott has still to reveal how he is going to close the budget black hole of $50 to $70b, without creating a mini-depression and abandoning most of the big handouts to low income and middle income earners. .

Secondly, Abbott is clutching at straws when he says that, under Howard, Australia had a lower public debt than it now has. That is true but it is our relative debt levels which count. Since the financial collapse in 2007, Australia’s public debt has risen much less than in Europe, UK and USA, while the economy is still showing stronger growth and lower unemployment and inflation. And we are still aiming for a budget surplus in a year’s time.

Thirdly, it should be relatively easy to address Abbott’s principal objections to the Government’s minerals and carbon tax. The Government can stress that the minerals resource rent tax is helping to spread the welfare benefits of the mining doom across the nation (giving everyone a fair go) and that the carbon tax will help to minimise welfare losses for future generations (inter-generational equity).

These counter arguments can at least narrow the gap which now exists between the two parties.

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86 Responses to How to respond to Abbott

    • Peter Mariani says:

      The Gittens article seems basically to observe/approve the Howard approach of spend on nothing, keep a pretty surplus and use it for tax cuts when you need to buy an election win. Yep I’m pretty sure Abbott will go back to that as soon as he gets a chance. Whether its the best approach may be another thing to debate though in the light of what was never even attempted in a decade of Howard Government and what was privatised or passed over as too hard like selling off Telstra rather than providing good infrastructure from day 1.

      • conrad says:

        “Yep I’m pretty sure Abbott will go back to that as soon as he gets a chance”

        I don’t, since you simply can’t go back to that now, since we are not living in times where there are huge increases in the amount of money coming in for reasons that have nothing to do with government performance. This is one of the big problems for the states now — it’s interesting to see how quickly they are becoming unpopular because of the divide between what they can do and public expectations.

      • john walker says:

        Felt that gittens identified a real schizophrenia- a one step forward and two steps sideways sort of dance- about their approach to policy and spending and also by implication raised the question about how much has been spent on evaluating and beginning policy initiatives(like education, and the Henry review) that somehow have not been quite real.

  1. Simon Musgrave says:

    ‘mining doom’ – Freudian slip?

  2. grputland says:

    To say nothing of Abbott’s selective indignation on “reverse tariffs“.

  3. JB Cairns says:

    It will change a lot after July.

    you can put fear into people about what may happen.

    however after it happens and the Abbott hyperbole is seen for what it is then perceptions may change.

    For example the GST will have has three times the impact on plane fares the ETS wil have

  4. desipis says:

    These counter arguments can at least narrow the gap which now exists between the two parties.

    You seem to be making the assumption that voters make decisions based on rational analysis of proposed or implemented policy.

  5. Peter Patton says:

    Since the financial collapse in 2007, Australia’s public debt has risen much less than in Europe, UK and USA, while the economy is still showing stronger growth and lower unemployment and inflation.

    Er, there was no financial collapse in Australia in 2007, or at any time in my lifetime.

    • emess says:

      Those who had money in shares and balanced superannuation may beg to differ.

      Of course, for those who neither invested in the share market nor superannuation, your comments would seem fair enough.

  6. JB Cairns says:

    That’s Peter for you.

    too many latte’s and he completely forgets.

  7. Mel says:

    Good points, Fred. The best we can hope for is a one term Abbott Government and Labor getting its act together under a new leader while in opposition.

  8. Yobbo says:

    Why would anyone want Labor to narrow the gap? This government has been the worst in Australian history. What the country needs is 25 years of Liberal government.

  9. Katz says:

    Appeals to reason have played only a minor role in Abbott’s currently highly successful populist assault upon the Labor government.

    Perhaps appeals to reason may in the end cut through the Liberals’ spooking of the herd. But before that can happen the herd have to resolve to begin to listen to argument.

    Thus far, the Gillard government has not found a way to persuade voters to listen engage with debate over policy.

    Perhaps a imminent election may induce significant numbers of voters to begin to address issues.

  10. Yobbo says:

    Thus far, the Gillard government has not found a way to persuade voters to listen engage with debate over policy.

    Why would anyone want to engage with a bunch of high functioning retards who don’t have a clue what they are doing?

    The kneejerk reaction to a biased ABC documentary destroyed a successful Australian industry with 1 stroke of a pen. That’s the kind of action you’d expect from a 16 year old girl, not a group of adults.

    The only way this government deserves to be engaged with is by voting them out in the biggest electoral landslide in Australian history, and good riddance.

    • jennifer says:

      Agree regarding the cattle industry (presume that is what you are referring to) – and hopefully the damage to the cattlemen will be exposed and inspected and to an extent mitigated through the courts.

      But as to the rest, Julia Gillard is proving to be a great administrator (can’t believe I agree with Germaine Greer on this). Why? The government is getting legislation through the parliament. Even though it is embroiled in a nightmarish and relentless election campaign. Legislation is usually suspended during election campaigns but this one is a three year douzy.
      But it is obvious the campaign is not going all that well because developing policy and getting legislation passed is clearly distracting the government from more effectively pandering to approval ratings and public perceptions.
      Still, back to Gillard; I can’t help but admire the steely resolve it must take to take care of business in such a volatile political climate – and take care of it pretty well too.
      …a glasshouse like never before – have to love Tony the sprinter.

      • Yobbo says:

        But as to the rest, Julia Gillard is proving to be a great administrator (can’t believe I agree with Germaine Greer on this). Why? The government is getting legislation through the parliament.

        Getting terrible legislation through parliament is nothing to be proud of. In fact, it’s a mark of shame for the many ALP MPs who obviously don’t support the policies but vote for them anyway because party solidarity is more important to them than good policy.

        • jennifer says:

          … the skill of a administration is just that – getting people to things they might not want to do.
          Good God! From Germaine Greer to Sir Humphrey Appleby – Rumple must be next.

    • Trevor says:

      I always appreciate a well thought out argument Yobbo – yours is a refreshing departure from the usual ultra-right drivel that pops up from time to time during political discussions.

  11. Tel says:

    Responding to Abbott won’t change anything, the ALP are doing it to themselves.

  12. Katz says:

    Yobbo appears to agree with me that the electorate hasn’t so far engaged with the Carbon Tax on the level of policy.

    Perhaps Australian voters never will. I’m quite prepared to acknowledge that possibility. On the other hand, those who are prone to the mind projection fallacy would likely be more certain on this point than I am.

    • Yobbo says:

      The carbon tax is only one of half a dozen incredibly bad policies that this government has saddled us with. There is no need to engage it on a policy level when you can quite easily condemn them for their performance as a whole.

      Just a quick recap for those who have forgotten.

      Carbon Tax – terrible implementation of an unneccessary and ineffective ta
      NBN – outrageous waste of money and destruction of an industry
      Live Export ban – destroyed a successful Australian industry to satisfy a few animal rights extremists
      Mining Tax – pure class warfare designed to punish Australia’s only remaining growth industry.

      Worst government ever, thankfully we won’t have to see them in power again for decades.

      • emess says:

        Worst government ever?

        Ok, so decades under the Coalition using high tariffs and subsidies in the fifties and sixties doesn’t count?

        Under these Coalition policies, Australia became the poster child for the damage that tariff ‘protection’ and subsidies can cause an economy.

        Australia was still producing valve radios at Hendon in SA while the Japanese were exporting transistors. No matter how high the subsidy and tariff by this time, everybody was purchasing Japanese products, and our industry was stuffed. Then came MacMahon – the assertion that the present government is bad (let alone the worst) becomes laughable when compared to Gorton and MacMahon.

        I guess that is what happens when people start mistaking entertainment products like the Australian for actual news media.

  13. Katz says:

    This political struggle is still interesting because Abbott reveals himself as a person who is perhaps unsuitable for national leadership.

    His behaviour in parliament grows daily more bizarre one is reminded of John Hewson and the unlovable election, which Hewson lost. Hewson lost it be an immoderate display of personality defects in the final week of the 1993 campaign.

    And in comparison with Abbott, Hewson was much more statesmanlike in 1993 than Abbott is in 2012. One can only guess at Abbott’s public demeanour come 2013.

    Perhaps if the Libs turned to Turnbull…

  14. Katz says:

    Damned iPhone. Unlovable = unloseable.

  15. Yobbo says:

    You might be surprised to hear this Katz, but people who aren’t rusted on lefties don’t understand what you mean when you say Abbott’s behaviour is “bizarre”. He seems like a normal person to me.

    Of course you haven’t bothered to list any examples, and never will because there really aren’t any.

  16. Katz says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that you appear to think that Abbott’s abortive attempt to scurry from the chamber of parliament appears to you to be the act of a balanced individual.

    On a more quantifiable level, despite the dominance in the polls of the Coalition, Abbott’s approval numbers remain stubbornly low. The voters smell a mad bastard.

    No person not wedded to a desired political outcome could have failed to notice these phenomena.

  17. conrad says:

    “we won’t have to see them in power again for decades.”

    That’s what they said about Krudd and co. too, and at the state level, Baillieu is already on the nose (somewhat unfairly), and it looks like that even the Libs in NSW are just beggining to hit reality. So I think we’ve long past the time when electorates are willing to have the same government for decades, and, for that matter, have any sense of reality in understanding what governments can get done.

    Actually, like you, I don’t think Abbott is too abnormal (things like running from the chamber is just silly boy-stuff to me). However, I think in the long term, he is damaging to the Liberal party because the first thing he is going to have to do is cancel a whole bunch of promises, and unless he’s lucky and the economy suddenly perks up when he gets in, which is certainly not guaranteed given the state of the world, it is going to be exceptionally difficult for him to produce any decent budget surplus. So you are going to have a party with a great bunch of broken promises that can’t do exactly what it thinks is most important.

  18. Katz says:

    If anyone wishes to debate the degree to which Abbott’s personal bizarreness is influencing his low personal approval poll ratings, it might be polite to address Fred Argy’s O/P comments on the subject:

    But Newspoll suggests that Abbott’s leadership of the Liberal party is viewed with suspicion by the electorate – for good reasons.

    FA suggests that these poor numbers are linked to his poor handling of policy positions. However, it is arguable that these shortcomings should also undermine the popularity of the Opposition. Yet the poll numbers suggest the opposite. Therefore, it is more arguable that The voters’ low esteem of Abbott arises from Abbott’s personality — to wit, his mad behaviour.

  19. conrad says:

    Katz,

    I don’t think Abbott’s behavior is personally bizarre. I assume the reason he has such a low personal ranking is because of a number of things, none of which are really personally bizarre – the non-political ones would be commonly distributed across the normal population and the political ones I assume he thinks are simply tactics that work well (and evidentally they do), so I doubt they have too much to do with his personality.

    These include: he often makes thoughtless comments, he does what I called above silly boy-stuff (which is common — just ask Alexander Downer who was obviously afflicted by a similar and commonly found mindset), he is obviously dishonest, he is using the tactic of disgreeing with anything and everything the government does, and he is wiling to promise anything to anyone to get into power. These may well all be dislikable to different sections of the community and compared to other people like Turnbull who doesn’t do any of these things to the extent Abbott does, he probably really is causing the Libs to lose votes.

    Apart from that, if it was just electoral appeal, then he gets similar numbers to Gillard, and no-one is claiming she has bizarre personal behavior, so just numbers are not a good indication of personality.

  20. Katz says:

    Apart from that, if it was just electoral appeal, then he gets similar numbers to Gillard, and no-one is claiming she has bizarre personal behavior, so just numbers are not a good indication of personality.

    “Silly boy” behaviour is an indicator or personality. A chap who waggles his willie in public demonstrates an inability to recognise the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.

    Gillard’s ratings are low for a variety of reasons. One is the dire performance of her government. Another is bitterness over the handling of Rudd. Another (but not the only other) is personality. Her delivery is wooden and maladroit because she has not married her message to a credible mode of delivering her message. Gillard isn’t bizarre, but she is inarticulate at the level of emotional self-expression.

  21. conrad says:

    “recognise the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.”

    Given that many parliament sessions often look like a bunch of idiots heckling each other, I doubt people really care about acceptable vs. unacceptable (cf. bizarre or uncommon).

  22. Fred Argy says:

    Thanks John. I have read Gittins. What he is saying is that tax and spending decisions (in the budget years ahead) will be hard to control and may have to rise. But he is not disputing next year’s budget deficit or the one after that. The Opposition is committed to running a bigger budget surplus (or smaller deficit) than Swan. How will he deliver this promise. He won’t tell the rest of Australia until a couple of days before the election!

    On a different issue, the Rudd-Gillard governments face a much lower level of PRIVATE debt than in Howard years. So it has been forced to run a larger PUBLIC debt to keep the economy on an even keel. It has been very successful at it – the decline of private debt has been met with larger public debt and this has kept unemployment and inflation fairly stable (contrast this with the rest of the world).

    Thanks Simon. I meant to say mining boom (which is fading but not quite spent out).

  23. Katz says:

    I doubt people really care about acceptable vs. unacceptable (cf. bizarre or uncommon).

    Incorrect.

    Folks can readily perceive that standard Polly antics in parliament are unacceptable and yet draw no conclusions about the suitability of these politicians as national leaders. 

    However, once behaviour of a polly in a position of responsibility is perceived as bizarre, he becomes an electoral liability.

    Mark Latham is a leading example. Who can forget The Handshake? This gesture forever labelled him as a nutter. It is possible that “Run Abbott. Run Abbott. Run, run, run!” may do the same to the Member for Manly.

  24. conrad says:

    Katz, I think you are hanging around left-wing intellectuals too much, who believe the sort of stuff you are saying here and end up preaching to the converted (who are going to vote for Gillard anyway). Personally, I work in a university where there are lots of left-wing intellectuals, and that’s what some of them say and think also. Alternatively, I do have many friends that are from entirely different backgrounds, and I don’t think they care less about things like Mark Lathams handshake (believing he was just a thug was far worse for him). I doubt they even remember it and nor would they be aware of the “Run Rabbit etc..” stuff (I don’t even know where that slogan actually comes from either). It certainly isn’t what comes to my mind when I think of Abbott. Perhaps this is a Sydney thing. So if you think people like Yobbo are somehow exceptional or extreme in their beliefs, I think you’re wrong. A few silly antics like running away from Thompson the “bad smell”, are not going to bother most people.

    • Patrick says:

      Amen. Do left-wing types and journalists actually think a statistically significant part of the population watches question time, or pays attention to the news between 6:05 and 6:15?

      Or, incredible as it may seem, that Gillard or Shorten or Rudd are more ‘normal’ to most Australians than Abbott??

      Personally, I don’t think I’ve watched ‘news’, except the occasional largely inadvertent glimpses on SBS, for several years now.

  25. Thomas the Tout says:

    Dear Fred,
    It would be much better if the ALP got on with governing, rather than opposing the opposition.
    A better question might be – “How to respond to Gillard”?
    To which I would answer – “just keep her warm until the election – then vote Labor into oblivion”

  26. JB Cairns says:

    we have the lowest ever misery index.
    give me yobbo’s worst government ever anytime.

  27. Fyodor says:

    we have the lowest ever misery index.

    No, we don’t – check your data. By that mean actual data, not shit you make up.

    Yobbo is right: the best way for the ALP to respond to Abbott is to keep up the good work of ensuring this terminally incompetent government is annihilated at the next election, which can’t come too fucking soon, IMNSHO.

  28. Katz says:

    Unlike you Conrad, I do not habitually consort with university-cosseted lefties.

    My point of entry here isn’t acting out some kind of hatred fetish against my fellow employees.

    On the contrary, my point of entry is the yawning gulf between the approval ratings of the Abbott-led Coalition and Abbott himself. These polls tap the opinions of your apolitical mums and dads who you allege pay hardly any attention at all to the theatre bouffe of politics.

    Yet, extraordinarily, these very mums and dads place Abbott several standard deviations below the party he leads.

    You have offered no credible explanation for this phenomenon. Your myth-making looks suspiciously like leftie-hating irrationality. Have you missed out on a promotion recently?

  29. Katz says:

    Unlike you Conrad, I do not habitually consort with university-cosseted Tlefties.

    My point of entry here isn’t acting out some kind of hatred fetish against my fellow employees.

    On the contrary, my point of entry is the yawning gulf between the approval ratings of the Abbott-led Coalition and Abbott himself. These polls tap the opinions of your apolitical mums and dads who you allege pay hardly any attention at all to the theatre bouffe of politics.

    Yet, extraordinarily, these very mums and dads place Abbott several standard deviations below the party he leads.

    You have offered no credible explanation for this phenomenon. Your myth-making looks suspiciously like leftie-hating irrationality. Have you missed out on a promotion recently?

  30. conrad says:

    Katz, as it happens, I find my colleagues fine — I’m not sure why you think I don’t — I was just pointing out that your view is well correlated with a certain group, and I’m surprised people believe it. I didn’t say whether I generally agreed/disagreed/liked/disliked etc. that group at all (excluding this particular issue). Anyway, rather than just throw abuse around like you obviously enjoy doing (you’re very like a Catallaxy commentator in reverse — Perhaps you should argue with them more!!), I’ll just note that I said the following about why people dislike Abbott, none of which includes especially bizarre behavior as response to “you have offered no credible explanation for this phenomenon”:

    “These include: he often makes thoughtless comments……and he is wiling to promise anything to anyone to get into power….These may well all be dislikable to different sections of the community and compared to other people like Turnbull…”

    To this you actually did respond before, so perhaps your memory failed you on this occasion. In addition, as far as I can tell, since you must have realized none of it is particulary bizarre behavior, you then suggested that it was antics and acceptable behavior that mattered (presumably instead of the initial claim). So you are now contradicting yourself within a small number of posts.

  31. Ken Parish says:

    I agree with Thomas the Tout. PM Gillard is fixated on Mr Abbott like a rabbit caught in a spotlight. Obsessing about how to respond to Abbott is part of the problem not part of the solution.

  32. JB Cairns says:

    Yes we do Fyodor, ever since 1978 ,when the current labour market statistics came out.

    Why am I nor surprised that the genius who believes monetary policy is instantaneous cannot read simple statistics.

  33. Fyodor says:

    Yes we do Fyodor, ever since 1978 ,when the current labour market statistics came out.

    You said “lowest ever”, Homerkles, not “since 1978”. Unemployment data is available pre-1978, as is CPI data.

    Admit you fucked up your sources again and move on.

    Why am I nor surprised that the genius who believes monetary policy is instantaneous cannot read simple statistics.

    Why are you not surprised? Possibly because you’re a deluded numpty whose utterly biased torture of “simple statistics” is legendarily incompetent.

    Not only, but also: “believes monetary policy is instantaneous”? Where am I supposed to have written that? Produce the quotation or admit you lied. Again.

  34. JB Cairns says:

    Fyodor ,

    Wrong AGAIN.

    There is a reason I said 1978 as anyone who understands labour statistics would understand.

    Oh dear our forgetful person doesn’t remember his reasons why retail trade turnover rose substantially in December 2008 and a little later.

    Certainly Central Banks around the world, economics lecturers and writers of monetary textbooks were astonished at how quickly Fyodor thought monetary policy could affect an economy.

    Why for only two months wee affected he never explained.

    The Journal of economic literature is awaiting your script in breathless anticipation.

  35. Fyodor says:

    Wrong AGAIN.

    There is a reason I said 1978 as anyone who understands labour statistics would understand.

    Nope. Linking to Grog’s Gamut does not in any way prove your earlier assertion, as he likewise only captures the “misery index” from 1978. Why you chose that point as the commencement of Australia’s economic history is painfully obvious, Homerkles, but does not prove your point. The reality is that the unemployment rate and CPI inflation were regularly – and often materially – lower than today in the decades before stagflation in the 1970s.

    Your assertion is thus simply, factually wrong.

    Oh dear our forgetful person doesn’t remember his reasons why retail trade turnover rose substantially in December 2008 and a little later.

    Certainly Central Banks around the world, economics lecturers and writers of monetary textbooks were astonished at how quickly Fyodor thought monetary policy could affect an economy.

    Why for only two months wee affected he never explained.

    The Journal of economic literature is awaiting your script in breathless anticipation.

    Squib. Quotation, please. You know how this game works, Homerkles. You can make it a short or a long process, but the end result is always the same because, well, you know.

  36. JB Cairns says:

    yes I know how it works,

    you make a stupid statement , then runaway from it pretending to have alzheimer’s just like now.

    Actually I am wrong with regard to the misery index.

    It should start at either 1992 or 1996 depending whether you want to compare apples with apples with regard to inflation and whether you regard to change to the labour survey in 1996 a better survey methodology.

  37. Fyodor says:

    yes I know how it works,

    you make a stupid statement , then runaway from it pretending to have alzheimer’s just like now.

    You’re the one running away from your own “stupid statement”. You claim I said something, then refuse to substantiate the claim. Either prove your claim or concede. Simple.

    Actually I am wrong with regard to the misery index.

    Of course you are. But you couldn’t leave it at that, could you?

    It should start at either 1992 or 1996 depending whether you want to compare apples with apples with regard to inflation and whether you regard to change to the labour survey in 1996 a better survey methodology.

    Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. The data shows you’re wrong. Get over it.

  38. JC says:

    Not only, but also: “believes monetary policy is instantaneous”? Where am I supposed to have written that? Produce the quotation or admit you lied. Again.

    Homes, I think you’re confused here, as to may have said something like that. Was it possibly me you’re thinking of?

    What I said is that if you follow gradualist monetary policy you get gradualist responses. We’ve seen quite good evidence that when the markets believe a central bank such as the Fed means serious business the discounting impact is instantaneous.

    You obviously have other… ideas.. right?

    That’s from me, but it basically echoes Scott Sumner’s thesis on NGDP targeting.

  39. JB Cairns says:

    er no it doesn’t.

    Using the better labour market data and of course the RBA underlying inflation data we are at the lowest we have seen.

    gosh Fyodor you can’t even remember saying at this blog the elephant in the room about 2008 was the cut in rates.

    I said at the time you made that stupid statement it would mean the shortest lag in the history of the world.

    Why people with a mortgage would splurge out in only two months you never fully explained

  40. Fyodor says:

    er no it doesn’t.

    Using the better labour market data and of course the RBA underlying inflation data we are at the lowest we have seen.

    Continually asserting that later data proves your point does not prove your point.

    Post-WWII data to the ’70’s shows you are simply and factually wrong. Prove otherwise or concede.

    gosh Fyodor you can’t even remember saying at this blog the elephant in the room about 2008 was the cut in rates.

    I said at the time you made that stupid statement it would mean the shortest lag in the history of the world.

    Why people with a mortgage would splurge out in only two months you never fully explained

    First it’s “instantaneous monetary policy”, then it’s “retail sales” and now it’s “the elephant”. FFFS get your story straight, find the actual quotation and quit this pathetic squibbage.

    As for memory, the last time you tried that line on me it ended with another of your public humiliations as you squibbed yet again. The irony is that you’re probably too stupid and forgetful to remember it. As I proved then and will keep proving to you, my memory is vastly superior to yours. Thus every time we take a walk down memory lane you’ll find me there laughing at you.

  41. JB Cairns says:

    up to the 70s that is when there is no RBA underlying rate only a headline CPI to work with.

    kinds misses the point , just like your vacuous argument!

    your stupidity is all over the place. you said it not me and here .

    Gee your memory loss is always convenient

  42. Fyodor says:

    up to the 70s that is when there is no RBA underlying rate only a headline CPI to work with.

    Irrelevant. As the ABS’ headline CPI inflation was not particularly volatile during a large chunk of the period before 1978, notably the 1960s, the absence of RBA’s various “underlying” measures makes no difference to the question at hand.

    You’re just clutching at straws. Pathetic.

    kinds misses the point , just like your vacuous argument!

    Oh, the irony.

    your stupidity is all over the place. you said it not me and here .

    Incoherent babble. And you’re accusing me of stupidity? Just laughable.

    Gee your memory loss is always convenient

    This from a bloke who can’t back up his own “memory”. Comedy gold.

  43. paul walter says:

    Having read the thread, I confirm the diagnosis of other reasonable commenters here, that Abbott is as daft as cut snake.
    Although my reading is that the actual problem is more in the form of a personality disorder that renders him devoid of empathy with others, rather than something like bipolarity or neurosis that indicates a wholly formed entity under stress.
    With Abbott, that elusive spark that defines “humanity” is what’s missing, the entity, was never completed in the first place.

  44. Pedro says:

    You know the guy do you Paul? Made those observations at first hand? You might as well have “sorry, I’m a bit dim” tattooed on your forehead.

    There are genuine questions about Abbott, but those are not remotely valid claims. On the bright side, he hasn’t yet proved himself a cowardly liar like the PM. Or a stupid and mendacious fuck like the treasurer for that matter.

    It seems to bear repeating the list because some people can’t get past wish-fulfillment:
    Carbon tax – pointless hair-shirt
    RSPT/MRRT – a policy delivery fuck up of grand proportions embodied in a bag of lies about the facts of the constitution
    NBN – money is apparently no object in the face of a global recession
    FWA – the repudiation of the modern work place
    Thomson – morals, what morals
    Stimulus program – if the RBA is raising rates then it’s face-cutting for nose-spiting.

    And let’s not forget the triumphs of honesty and policy like the Timor announcement, the billionaire bashing.

    What I find remarkable is the number of time recently when talking to people I barely know, or have just met, and they swing the conversation around to just how crap the govt is.

  45. jennifer says:

    Carbon tax – pointless hair-shirt or the beginning of a new paradigm regarding energy use and awareness
    RSPT/MRRT – a policy delivery fuck up of grand proportions embodied in a bag of lies about the facts of the constitution or an opportunity to share the proceeds of a national resource.
    NBN – money is apparently no object in the face of a global recession or fibre is an infrastructure investment that will support communications technology for at least another 20 years.
    FWA – the repudiation of the modern work place – yes, but vulnerable citizens should be protected from unfair dismissal and I agree small business should not be strangled by regulation.
    Thomson – morals, what morals or it will only matter if he is convicted and still sitting.
    Stimulus program – if the RBA is raising rates then it’s face-cutting for nose-spiting but I think the RBA have cut interest rates….

    You see there is a bright side too!

  46. Pedro says:

    Sorry Jen, but no sign of that new paradigm setting in around the world and nobody can deny that it will result in lower growth in this country for nil effect of world GHGs. On the mining tax, I didn’t say mineral profits shouldn’t be taxed higher, there are arguments both ways, I said the delivery of the tax has been a complete fuck up. On the NBN, you’ve completely missed the point about whether costs matter. Your response to FWA is irrelevant to the point I made, and hey, what’s the dole for anyway. The conviction or otherwise of Thomson is irrelevant to the question of whether the ALP should have worked so hard to protect him given the evidence against him. The RBA raised rates when the stimulus was really starting to kick in and only recently started to ease again.

    • jennifer says:

      Regarding the ‘delivery fuck-up’ are you referring to a lack of consultation with the states? – You know what the states are like – the premiers, especially the WA premiers will baulk at any Cth incursion on what they regard as their jurisdiction.
      Regarding the unconstitutionality of the tax – the minerals, once out of the ground become the property of the corporation – and as such are taxable by the Cth. The reason Twiggy hasn’t run the case is because he could never win.

      • Pedro says:

        Yes, the lack of consultation was a complete fuck up. The claim that the resources belong to all australians, they belong to the states and this is a federation, and that is the constitutional point. I think the original settings proposed for the RSPT were wrong, but that is an arguable point and plenty here will disagree.

  47. Yobbo says:

    Pretty much every left-wingers response when asked about Abbott is “I just don’t like him/personality problems/the vibe”.

    Of course you don’t like him – he’s a liberal. But really, are there any actual examples of things he’s done badly that you’d like to share? (apart from joining the liberal party).

  48. conrad says:

    Yobbo, if I had to choose one factor for the reason that people don’t like him, even in comparison to other Libs (I think there a number of factors noted above), then it is because he runs a very aggressive negative campaign. This looks bad for him but is obviously works and is worse for the Labor party (although it’s hard to work out what the balance is — obviously Labor is pretty bad for itself). I very much doubt this is reflective of his own personality, and I assume he just does it based on the best advice to win the election, and he is obviously willing to modulate his behavior based on this and his awareness of how some people perceive him.

    A good example of this behavior modulation was the sudden change in his attitude to boat-people. He went from all out attack mode to suddenly not saying much, and I assume that this is because some advisor had decided that scoring points on that issue was making him look too nasty, and it’s not like Labor hadn’t created any number of other issues on which he could score points that didn’t involve vulnerable people and hence wouldn’t look so bad for him (e.g., carbon tax etc.).

  49. Yobbo says:

    What do you expect him to do Conrad, come out and say he agrees with Labor policies?

    The thing is that the Gillard government has seen terrible policy after terrible policy. Any liberal leader would have been just as negative.

    The only good thing this government has done in 4 and 1/2 years in power is raise the tax free threshold for low income earners. Everything else has been an unmitigated disaster. Of course the opposition is going to say bad things about bad policies.

    Really, you are just blaming Abbott for the Labor party’s failures.

  50. conrad says:

    No — I think Abbott is successful as well as Labor being unsuccessful. Negative campaigns work very well against people like Gillard that people get sick of listening to after 2-3 sentences. Perhaps Labor really do have good responses to Abbott, but no-one can bare listening. I can’t, and as you well know, I’m not exactly a great fan of the Libs.

    Incidentally, back on the topic of personalities — if people really were able to tell the personalities of politicians and were willing to act upon it, then clearly Rudd would have a very low rating. People who know him appear to hate him so much they are willing to lose their jobs rather than work with him, but the public doesn’t care. I’m sure Abbott doesn’t even come close to that.

    • Left blank says:

      Been told that Rudd behaved like an adult ADH … every shiny-thing crossing his desk got his total attention …until the next shiny-thing crossed his desk.

  51. Yobbo says:

    I don’t see how the libs have any choice except to run a negative campaign. The country was running very well under Howard, and then they came along and fucked everything up.

    If an Abbott-led Liberal government came to power and did nothing except roll back every decision made by this government since they came to power, they’d be doing a sterling job.

    • Tel says:

      They could probably run no campaign at all (low profile strategy) and might even get a win out of it. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to match Abbott’s personality to just sit back and let things happen.

      By the way, I thought the banging on the door business was a perfectly legitimate creative protest action, very theatrical, got onto every news outlet, much more elegant than people chaining themselves to fences. The beauty of it is that the more the ALP go around making a bit deal out of the event, the more the public eye is drawn back the the Craig Thomson affair, so in effect the ALP end up working hard to make Abbott’s point for him.

  52. paul walter says:

    Why can’t Old Yobbo step up, clearly the new clone is inferior.
    It’s an interesting little observation that Abbott “has to make things happen”, to up-end the barbecue table like a biky or spoiled brat just to induce attention from the rest of us, when considerations of his mental health are raised.
    What IS this need to control with him?
    As he unfeelingly imposes himself on the Australian psyche, for what reason we cant determine yet, consider context: does he ever stop to contemplate the damage his thuggery causes on issues ranging from the human rights of Aborigines, many women, workers (Bernie Banton?) and asylum seekers or dissenters, or in attempts by more rational people to have policy determined by science and rationality rather than the mania of politicians and greed of a few developers.
    Would he have thought of drowning boat people and their surviving fellows sent insane inside concentration camps masquerading as detention centres when he
    spooked Australians just getting over Howard’s fear and loathingm into howling for a timid government to clamp down on them as viciously as Howard did?
    Would the fact that the move to incorporate science, rationality and the question of human need into decision making concerning economics and ecology has been slowed again have anything to do with Abbott’s evocation of medieval theology little better than witchcraft, incorporated from the idiot US rightist think tanks, to scare people away from some thing not out of the dark ages?
    God spare us evil and foolishness on this magnitude.

    • Patrick says:

      Did you know that Abbott used to, and possibly still does, volunteer in remote aborigine communities, Paul?

      It is possible, of course, that he does this in order to seek out sex slaves. It is also possible that he knows more about aborigine human rights than you do about nearly anything at all.

      Also, I’ll give you a quick hint on how to recognise concentration camps: they are far worse than the kind of place that many genuine asylum seekers come from. To the best of my recollection there were no boat people arriving in Nazi Germany or the USSR (there were your imbecilic fellow travellers, but the less said about them the better).

    • Pedro says:

      Hmmm, how about some examples of thuggery and matching damage to human rights or whatever? And your usual ranting is cheating, you have to provide actual facts.

    • Tel says:

      I seem to remember that John Howard ran a fairly large immigration quota (including both refugees and non-refugees) so if you want to bring science and rational decision making into politics you are going to have to deal with some numbers. Overall, Howard was friendly to immigrants (but not every single one of them).

      The quota was about half as big by the time Rudd had a go at it. That’s not entirely unreasonable on Rudd’s part, because he had a GFC to deal with and falling employment, so he didn’t need any extra hands and mouths at the time. All of which goes to show that keeping a thriving economy is the best way to help immigrants, so getting upset over a handful of mistreated people in detention centres is no doubt heartfelt, but no it isn’t scientific and rational.

      John Howard had this thing that he wanted to decide who came here and who did not, didn’t like people bypassing his controls. But then again, controlling the borders is actually part of the Prime Minister’s job, whereas meddling in mineral prices is not.

      • Dan says:

        I don’t think ‘science’ or ‘rationality’ are useful prisms through which to understand the plight of asylum seekers in mandatory detention. Compassion, empathy, respect, and recognition of the right to dignity are.

      • FDB says:

        getting upset over a handful of mistreated people in detention centres is no doubt heartfelt, but no it isn’t scientific and rational

        Way to get the whole thing completely arse about Tel. Shall I fix it for you?

        “Getting upset over a handful of people arriving by boat and claiming asylum and then locking them up in camps is no doubt heartfelt (or something far worse), but no it isn’t scientific, rational or humane.”

  53. paul walter says:

    Its ok Patrick, twice in one year was a shock, anything but above would have been shock-inducing fatal.

  54. JB Cairns says:

    Actually Howard tried to pretend he was reducing immigration whilst he was increasing it greatly and it worked.

    • JC says:

      Homer

      How did he pretend when there are easily accessible ABS stats that show immigration movements from year to year that even you could access without too much difficulty.

      Also he did he pretend. Evidence please.

    • Tel says:

      Are you trying to call the Australian people stupid?

  55. JB Cairns says:

    meddling in mineral prices?

    who has done that?

  56. paul walter says:

    I think there is a rational flaw in Tel’s argument, not so much in the general summary, but in the implication that economic viability must precludes humanity. It’s a false dichotomy- separate , unrelated issues, altho there is a social context. If more humane treatment for a few boat people locked up in detention centres during the snails pace assessment or less of these unfortunates resting at the bottom of the ocean in Davy Jones Locker collapses civilisation as we know it, I’m Don Duck.
    But yes, in general terms I can see where the sentiment comes from- the sense that the bastards are trying to put one over you again, as with secret trade deals.

  57. paul walter says:

    JB Cairns, you “get it”. What’s wrong with some of these other clods?

  58. JB Cairns says:

    Howard went around being very hairy chested about ‘refugees’.
    We know from focus group research people thought this was related to immigration.

    People do not look at ABS statistics JC. you should know that from Catallaxy which is an ABS free zone.

    Howard got the best of both worlds!

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