Kevin Rudd got elected in 2007 by convincing people that he was a slightly younger and more vigorous version of nerdy John Howard, with similar conservative policies except that he would abolish that nasty Work Choices legislation and introduce some fairly meaningless warm and fuzzy window-dressing like apologising to the Stolen Generations and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.
Tony Abbott just got elected by similarly convincing people that he was merely a more disciplined, authoritative version of Rudd/Gillard with very similar conservative policies and a handful of meaningless but macho slogans like stop the boats, stop the waste and build the roads of the 21st century. ((which actually seems to mean spending pretty much the same amount as Labor on infrastructure but diverting it from railways to roads so we can move the traffic jams a couple of kilometres further up the road. ~ KP))
It now emerges that the rather more practically significant macho slogan that Tony failed to mention was “stop the Westies from going to uni“. Good job too! Manifestly the only way to restore flagging academic standards is to reserve university places for all those thoroughly decent chaps and chapettes from Shore, Riverview, MLC and Scotch College, while relegating the Westies to their ordained social place in TAFE- certified occupations, burger-flipping and waiting in dole queues. Ill-considered resentment on the part of the lumpen proletariat is to be avoided through early implementation of time-honoured tactics of mass distraction like firing up the Culture Wars and History Wars to get them hating arty- farty and intellectual “elites” instead of their real enemies.
Meanwhile, the vanquished Australian Labor Party is busily experimenting with pseudo-democracy by staging a rank-and-file ballot for parliamentary leadership between two almost equally shop-soiled union/factional heavyweights. I think I might go out and buy one of those Aussie Pride T-shirts and find a quiet pub in which to reflect on my good fortune.