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60 responses to “What is Abbott up to?”

  1. Mindy

    Strangely I haven’t seen much about this in the papers Brian 😉

  2. Iain Hall

    You answer your own opening Question Brian:

    The purpose of Abbott’s speech was to assure us that the adults would soon be in charge and we could all be relaxed and comfortable. Largely it seems to have worked on the commentariat.

    Both the commentariat and the general public want more than anything a change from Gillard and Swan making grand promises that are inevitability never delivered and if anything is delivered it always disappoints.

  3. Katz

    Razor Gangs are de rigueur for incoming Tory ascendancies.

    Kim Beazley gave Peter Costello a free kick back in 1996 with his lies about the state of public finances.

    Will Swan be any more truthful?

  4. Robert Merkel

    Abbott’s speech was a campaign ad free of anything other than platitudes playing to the ignorance of the low-information voters he’s targeting.

    It annoys the hell out of me (as does much of the crap that comes out of Labor and the Greens) but it clearly works or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

  5. Graham Bell

    Brian and all’

    Nah. I’ll go for Occam’s Razor myself.

    I don’t think he is up to anything much myself – other than to be a very good boy and just do exactly as he is told.

    Conservative governments in the 1950s and 1960s had more vision than that.

    My oath!

    Iain Hall @ 3

    Commentariat? They have been thoroughly discredited over the past decade. If their proverbials were on fire and the fire-alarm bell was ringing, they would think it was the ice-cream van and ask for a strawberry or a vanilla one. The commentariat are so far out touch with ordinary Australian voters that any babbling they commit in public can – and should – be ignored.

  6. Salient Green

    @ 5, Robert, I would be interested in what you deem as “crap” that comes out of the Greens and annoys the hell out of you.

  7. Jumpy

    Can anyone access the Treasury analysis and forecasts over the forward estimates of the green policies that was done ?
    If not, ” what is Milne up to ? “

  8. Sceptic

    I read the Max Gillies Smith piece with interest. I share his views and he was able to clarify much for me. Moving a little away from the content of Abbott’s budget reply speech I have been disturbed but unsurprised to read this morning that the Victorian Libs are pushing for the privatization of the ABC and SBS. Abbott has responded with weasel words about it not being liberal policy. Malcolm Turnbull on the other had offered a direct statement on the matter several weeks ago when he said that in this time of media upheaval we needed the ABC more than ever. Of course privatizing the ABC and SBS is a policy of the Institute of Public Affairs and a fervent wish of Rupert Murdoch. Abbott recently sang the praises of the right wing think tank at a dinner in Melbourne at which Murdoch was an honored guest. I think ‘conservative’ politics in this country as well as the UK and the US is under siege by people with very strong ideological views. What I can’t work out is this: is Abbott a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a sheep dressed as a wolf? If he is elected and I don’t think he will be and yet I fear he will, if that makes any sense, then the pressure will be on from the rabid right to sell off the ABC. Gina Rinehart has a lot of money. Andrew Bolt could run it.

  9. akn

    Well, he’s up to no good but exactly what types of no good remain to be seen if he is elected. While I’m no fan of Gillard I’ve backed her on the basis that long odds are sometimes good odds. I got on Keating at 6/1 for the impossible election. Kazaa!

    Abbott is a nutter. Relax, bunker down as best as possible and be prepared to defend what you love as best you can.

  10. FFranklin

    Abbott said that the carbon tax would wipe Whyalla off the map. Does anyone know how much the Whyalla steelworks would be expected to pay for Abbott’s PPL viz-a-viz the carbon tax especially with the carbon compensation involved?

  11. Liz

    I believe that you can get $9.60 for Labor. Way over the odds and maybe a spot to place a lazy hundred.

  12. Ootz

    akn @13 “Abbott is a nutter. Relax, bunker down as best as possible and be prepared to defend what you love as best you can.”

    It is not just between Abbot and Gillard, we also have a choice between their cabinet, party organisation and associated corporate/mafia power and lobby, or not?

  13. BilB

    Once you realise that Abbott is sociopathic and you understand how these people think, Abbott’s approach is a textbook pathic reaction.

    These people first up have no empathy so they have to mimic relating to people, and they always either don’t bother or agressively over do it. Women are either captivated by the “lie” that paths put forward or they instantly detect the insincerity.

    Sociopaths have no connection with the truth and are free to say whatever they believe will achieve their objective. There is at least a three volume novel of Abbott’s fantasies. Greg Combet has a very impressive list.

    Socipaths are given to excessive repetition to bully their objective forward.

    Sociopaths are never to blame for anything. Everything that goes wrong is someone elses fault.

    Sociopaths are intensely focussed on manipulating others, and those people under their power have to be seen as victims (read Coalition front bench).

    When you view Abbott in this way you can immediately understand his budget reply. It has absolutely nothing to do with reality, it is all about discrediting the opponent, the government budget. Forget about making sense of it.

    Any realistic purpose from Abbott is entirely accidental.

  14. Graham Bell

    Brian @ 10

    She doesn’t seem to be aware of the term “human capital” or the fact that the Productivity Commission found that the NDIS expenditure would actually save money in the long run.

    Yippee! Thanks a lot. Best of luck with trying to drag these people into the 21st Century – a herculean task if ever there was one.

    akn @13

    Well, he’s up to no good but exactly what types of no good remain to be seen if he is elected.

    If I may rephrase this as : Whatever it is that he is up to – or appears to be up to – it can only do us harm.

    Do you agree?

  15. BilB

    Brian, I advise you to look up the definition and traits of a Sociopath.

    I began developing this realisation about Abbott when I heard him interviewed on ABC radio about the Howard govts backing down on the free health care for the over 75’s. Having used the promise to match Labour’s gold card scheme to dilute Latham, just months after the election Abbott who had put the proposal forward was claiming that at the time before the election when the claim was made he was not aware of cost blowouts. The just three sentences later after probing by Oakes he said “well we were aware of the cost blowouts but we are not going ahead with the scheme”.

    This demonstrated that truth for Abbott is a non existent concept.

    So here was Abbott in full swing applying premeditated lying to win an election, so a normal person with that track record would avoid accusing others of doing the same think.

    Not a Sociopath. A louder lie is their stock and trade.

    I know that you prefer a concilliatory approach, Brian, but read the warnings about Sociopaths before you carry that approach forward with this man.

  16. Iain Hall

    Brian @19
    Lets be real here Gonski will not survive the election so we can dismiss that, The NDIS is rather ephemeral and we still don’t have much of an idea what precisely it will deliver or to whom, the NBN is a real can of worms for Labor sure the would be internet entrepreneurs love it, but the public who will be expected to buy its services are more cautious and they are not so sure that the huge cost of the Labor scheme will be a good use of public money. Personally I don’t rate increasing university places as being something that is intrinsically good (unless you think employing more people to teach them is a good thing.

    All of Labor’s big ticket infrastructure projects are predicated on the states chipping in a substantial percentage of the cost and given the budget problems of the states like Queensland you can forget “cross river rail ” which would not make much difference to traffic anyway. The fact of the matter is that people don’t want to use public transport if they can have their autonomous mobility which allows then to travel when and where they want. Personally I think that the future of urban transport is machine like this which would see commuters, both safe, dry in the rain and each taking up less than a quarter of the road-space of a conventional car.

  17. Russell

    “Well NDIS, Gonski, the NBN, 50% increase in university places …”

    Sorry Brian, but mention of NBN is like a red rag to a bull. There was an item in Saturday’s West Australian that said that not one existing house in W.A. had been connected to the NBN. Not one. Several new subdivisions had been connected, so 4000 new houses had it. But that was the key policy in the 2007 election, and in 2013 – not one existing house connected. So, a flop.

    Gonsksi is nothing at present and may remain nothing after September. The NDIS, which is still a trial may be their best legacy, in that it will remain because of bipartisan support, but the success of it will ultimately depend on how much money goes in. W.A. is still recalcitrant because we already have the best system and why should we give control of it to very, very distant Canberra?

  18. Russell

    … and university places. In what areas has this 50% increase been achieved? Medicine, law, engineering ….. or cultural studies? Are the students, saddled with debt, going to get good jobs out of these qualifications?

  19. Katz

    Brian, in 1996 Beazley was DPM and Finance Minister. He had much to say about the state of government finances which later proved to be inaccurate, much to Costello’s confected outrage.

  20. Katz

    I now recall Costello’s slogan: “Beazley’s Black Hole”.

  21. akn

    Ootz, of course you’re right. Not that it will matter where I park my vote in my electorate! However, the Libs are real swill and I’ll do as always which is put them last on any upper or lower house ticket.

  22. David Irving (no relation)

    Bilb @ 21, I’ve said this before I think, but Abbott fits Harry Frankfurt’s definition of a bullshitter to a T.

    Liars (like, say, Howard) care deeply about the truth, but bullshitters will say whatever the occassion demands to attain their short-term goals.

    So yes, he’s a sociopath.

  23. Katz

    Brian @9.

    Yes, Martin Parkinson was courageous in his explanation of Treasury’s methodology.

    Abbott and Hockey should be pursued by the media until they have made a definitive statement in response to Parkinson.

    Will the media do their professional duty? Don’t hold your breath.

  24. Jumpy

    Will the media do their professional duty?

    Perhaps the media just googled Martin Parkinson and decided he’s a long time ALP flunky appointed by ALP ( repeatedly )
    From wiki;

    Dr Martin Lee Parkinson PSM is the current Secretary of the Department of the Treasury of Australia effective March 2011.[1] He had previously worked as the inaugural Secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Deputy Treasury Secretary, an International Monetary Fund official, and an advisor to Australian Treasurer John Dawkins.

    Not fair maybe but understandable.

  25. Sceptic

    I think Abbott is loose with the truth because he is stepping carefully in the minefield which is his own party. He is beholden to the right wing powerbrokers who got rid of Turnbull. If elected he will be under enormous pressure to bring back Work Choices, to drop the parental leave scheme and sell off the ABC. He will do everything he is told otherwise he will be dumped as leader.

  26. Ootz

    AKN, it is beyond who we are voting for, the lunatics are already in charge of the asylum. Even on local government level here in the newly to be de-amalgamated Shire of Mareeba in deep FNQ. Where the local equivalent to the mafia bought our LNP state rep and the Premier, at the last election, then hoodwinked the great unwashed with “there wont be any rates increases” and are calling the shots now.

    It is not always a disadvantage to have a sociopath as a leader, some interests appear to think, as long he can be bought or press ganged.

  27. Katz

    OK Jumpmeister, why not seek out a Treasury whistleblower to contradict Parkinson?

    Surely, given the likely demise of the ALP, someone must be prepared to blab for the good of his career the country.

    What, no one coming forward? Maybe Parky is telling the truth. Where does that leave Abbott and Hockey?

  28. Jumpy

    OK Jumpmeister,

    That’s twice you’ve played silly buggers with my name, once more and I’ll consider it an invitation to play with yours Katz.

    I saw a survey today on Australian journalists voting intentions, and your right, them not crucifying Abbott on this is baffling.

  29. GregM

    OK Jumpmeister, why not seek out a Treasury whistleblower to contradict Parkinson?

    Not another Godwin Grech, though. The Libs wouldn’t survive the ensuing embarrassment and general hilarity.

  30. akn

    Ok then, back to tors. What is Abbott up to?

    I predict a wholesale onslaught on what is left of Australia’s natural capital. That means, in NSW, logging and shooting in NP’s, grazing cattle in Qld NP’s, probably grazing in Vic Alpine NP’s, god only knows what for Tasmania, a very predictable outcome for the wild rivers reserves in Qld and I don’t know what at all for the other states and territory.

    I think Abbott may subscribe to the “hot earth = god’s will” theory in which case its not his problem, its up to Him.

    Either that or the Libs still have the faith in Locke’s enthusiasm for the natural abundance of North America which is at the core of liberalism’s political philosophy: nature provides, wealth is a sign of grace (I know, a Protestant notion but hey, the Popes seem to be keen on public display of wealth), and Malthus will look after the rest.

    I reckon that the state Libs have been waiting for the Messiah to arrive. When he does, they’re gonna let rip. We’re in the end game for the planet and they know it. Their game is to look after their own, get in for their chop and eff the rest.

    Ootz: the greed is nowhere more nasty for its pettiness than at the Municipal level. Here in drastic the joint is run by the descendants of the Australian Agricultural Company who were granted a million wild acres, from Port Stephens over to Scone, in one of the greatest acts of land theft in the history of English imperialism. Patrick white’s relatives participated in some local massacres. We’re talking real old white money, people who know that their money and privilege come from theft and murder right at the start of colonial Australia, in the Hunter Valley.

    At the local level they’re about as subtle and sophisticated as the Rum Corps but all wrapped up in Chamber of Commerce propriety.

    So: more coal mines, CSG everywhere, the whole scale industrialization of the landscape, a dead Barrier Reef and so on.

    We’ll have to figure out how to fight back. Satire would be best. I mean, really, it’ll be like having a set of gonads running the place!

  31. Ootz

    Yup AKN, chamber of commerce (lawyers, real estate, developers) are in it here too. And noone appears to be able to stand up to them. And kind of in a proto-fascist way, shout everyone down in the local papers and radio stations, and plaster their blatand lies on every toilet door, bumper sticker mailout and KFC musak. While the ‘great unwashed’ lapps it up in order to participate in ‘baseball bat’ politics.

    Abbott is just a tool, on a national level, for the new 21st century squattocracy. Brian says he is good on indigenous issues, well where does he stand in relation to the European settlement of this continent? Because in my eyes anyone which finds the need to deny that the first people were ‘ripped off’, has no scruples to let the same injustice to occur again on the people of today.

  32. Katz

    Brian, politically the direction and rate of change in the federal deficit in 1996 were irrelevant. The fact that Beazley claimed a surplus in the context of an election struggle that the Coalition were almost certain to win provided ostensible cause for what Costello did next.

    My two points here are that Beazley’s lie allowed Costello during the campaign to avoid stating what he would do after winning government. Beazley’s lie also gave Costello a pretext for dumping promises after the Coalition won.

    We appear to agree that Costello was mendacious. My argument is that in the mind of the marginal voter Beazley’s mendacity excused Costello’s dumping of Coalition promises.

  33. Sceptic

    I am going to find myself a copy of Fritz Lang’s German Expressionist film futuristic Metropolis which I saw years ago. Made during the Weimar period it shows a dystopia in which the rich live in towering edifices and the poor toil like ants underground to provide energy for the glittering city. Has the future arrived?

  34. Matt in the Springs

    “Brian says he is good on indigenous issues”. Brian, I’m not sure if you really think this but I am not so sure. By this I don’t mean that he might not intend to “do good”, it is just that there is nothing I have seen or heard from TA that indicates that he really understands the substance of what it means to work effectively in the inter-cultural space that exists between the myriad Indigenous groups and the issues that concern them. Actually being serious about engagement means more than mouthing words; and each government that has mouthed them thus far has had real trouble walking the walk on the ground out here in (dare I say it) the real world. I hope I’m wrong…

  35. Lefty E

    Yes, Abbott will just come and represent old school vested interests, not the interests of a modern innovative economy. It’ll just be a form of state protectionism for outdated dirty tech.

    As the article says, both the opposition to carbon pricing and to the NBN indicate this strongly.

    The reality is that Australian innovative entrepreneurs seeking to shift the economy to hi-tech industry need Abbott like they need a hole in the head. Let alone those seeking jobs in that new economy.

    Has the contemporary right completely forgotten that the original economic liberals were a creative and radical bunch?

    Look at you now – just a bunch of old sticks in the mud. “Steam powered rail made this country great. lets keep it!”

    No wodner no one takes your policy prescriptions seriously – and you have to literally threaten the ABC to get anyone at all to publish them. Private sector media is not interested. Bunch of mendicants living on state handouts, like Quadrant. That the intellectual right of today. LOL!

  36. Jumpy


    This is what he said.
    (I won’t cherry pick a paragraph) RTWT.

  37. akn

    Ootz @ 38:

    …chamber of commerce (lawyers, real estate, developers) are in it here too. And noone appears to be able to stand up to them. And kind of in a proto-fascist way, shout everyone down in the local papers and radio stations…

    Front bar bullies and no more, usually shit scared of being exposed. For example, here in Drastic where the roads are fatally under maintained and not one single road gets enough traffic for Federal funding, the drastic Council recently purchased a vacant block in the main street from a local car dealer. Questions as to why the Council needed to buy a vacant block, and for how much, have been met with either stony silence or suggestions that my health would prosper with less interest in the matter.

    Sorry if this comment appears off topic; it may not be because Abbott promises this sort of parish pump politics at a national scale.

  38. Russell

    Brian, I wasn’t arguing the merits of NBN or Gonski, only pointing out that the government still hasn’t really achieved anything much with these policy centrepieces – after 6 years in government.

    Abbott has made it clear that he doesn’t want to continue with either of them, so if they’re scrapped post-September the Rudd/Gillard governments will have a fairly poor record of achieving their major policy ambitions.

  39. Iain Hall

    lefty E @45

    The reality is that Australian innovative entrepreneurs seeking to shift the economy to hi-tech industry need Abbott like they need a hole in the head. Let alone those seeking jobs in that new economy.

    Has the contemporary right completely forgotten that the original economic liberals were a creative and radical bunch?

    Look at you now – just a bunch of old sticks in the mud. “Steam powered rail made this country great. lets keep it!”

    We conservatives are just far more realistic and far less prone to falling for the utopian imaginings of the so called progressives who mistakenly think that all change is good by definition. To be entirely honest I don’t get how in love with “new technology” so many of you “progressives” are or how you can endorse the uber-capitalism that is at the core of internet technology. It would be nice if just for once you would ask some basic questions about the vices as well as the virtues of the progress that you so deify.

    No wonder no one takes your policy prescriptions seriously – and you have to literally threaten the ABC to get anyone at all to publish them. Private sector media is not interested. Bunch of mendicants living on state handouts, like Quadrant. That the intellectual right of today. LOL!

    Hmm and how much of that lack of access can very clearly be attributed to the gatekeepers being of the Latte sipping inclination?

  40. Matt in the Springs

    The speech by TA lined to by Jumpy is instructive I think in terms of what the coalition will (and won’t) actually do. As I read it the sting is in the tail. It says all the right things, and can’t be questioned from that perspective. However, as he gets to the detail of what it all means in practical terms there is little content. What content there is is worrying- on the spot fines etc. I for one am not too hopeful as a result that genuine engagement is any more likely under the (potential) new mob than it is under the current mob. Still, I’ll be happy to eat my words if I’m wrong.

  41. Russell

    Brian – old, un-reconstructed Whitlamites won’t buy that ‘we needed longer’ argument. In less than 3 years the Whitlam government achieved a massive ‘corrective’ to the previous 23 years of Coalition government and made lasting major changes.

  42. Sceptic

    Have a look at Andrew Bolt’s column today and see for yourself the pressure Tony Abbott will come under if elected.

  43. paul burns

    Sceptic @ 53,
    I followed your advice and clicked on Bolt. Not sure which item you were referring to. But I do feel I need another shower.

  44. Sceptic

    I am hopeless Paul. Can’t do links. Right get the shower running …. The article I am referring to is in the printed edition of Herald Sun and no doubt Daily Tele. Headed ‘Abbott’s touch of Rudd’. Bolt sinks the slipper claiming Abbott is Labor-lite just as Rudd was Lib-lite in their campaigning style. Attacks him for refusing to privatize ABC with peculiar accusation that this is despite ABC killing Fairfax. Yep if Abbott wins he will be bald in 12 months trying to fend off right wing zealots.

  45. Sceptic

    Paul @54 if you tap in the heading I provided the Bolt article will come up.

  46. faustusnotes

    I just spent two weeks on a Greek island, trying to work in a hotel with no internet. Their stated excuse: the fibre optic cable stopped 500m down the road. Anyone who thinks the NBN is a waste of money should try doing their job without internet access. For me it is basically impossible, and it created a lot of problems. It really is essential infrastructure and, like most essential infrastructure, it’s going to need govt intervention to make at least the first couple of iterations functional.

  47. ralph

    Abbott – “By cutting tax and regulation, we will boost productivity”. Lower tax would be expected to improve profitability but will not of itself improve productivity. Abbott makes the fundamental mistake of confusing profitability with productivity.