Tony Abbott became Prime Minister of Australia on September 7 2013. His leadership, and indeed his government has been so dreadful that less than half way through his three year term, a spill motion was moved against him. It was an election he won handsomely.
The only obstruction in his way was the appointment of a bunch of senators who in normal circumstances would never have been elected.
After surviving the spill he announced that good government would start the next day.
Since then there has been an attempt by the MSM to absurdly paint Labor as being responsible for the Coalition’s failures. But prior to this ridiculous notion its incapacity to govern with the slightest semblance of authority was blamed on “first term blues” which of course is a nonsense when you consider that most of the ministers are from Howards ministry. They should have been prepared.
And as Miranda Devine pointed out, the most academically qualified government ever. They had all the experience necessary to govern why then do they now blame Labor for all their woes.
On Andrew Bolt’s blog this week one could be forgiven for thinking that the right actually wanted the left to bail them out. To govern for them.
Try these for example.
“There are actually two governments in Australia. The main one controls the House of Representatives and is trying to cut spending – now – before the country gets smashed.’’
“The other government is a loose coalition in the Senate, comprising Labor, the Greens, Clive Palmer’s Senators and Jacqie Lambie. This coalition believes there is no financial disaster to fix and is blocking spending cuts and reforms to our welfare culture.”
“The Australian public should now demand Labor plays its part in resolving the nation’s fiscal problem.”
“Labor is content to let the Senate crossbenchers exercise the balance of power, but Labor has 25 seats in the Senate. Acting in concert with the government, the Labor senators could pass a package of measures to bring the structural budget back into surplus by the end of the decade…
If Labor can happily announce what it won’t pass, surely it can indicate the kind of measures it would vote for. That, voters might reasonably think, is a pretty basic responsibility of any alternative government that is using its numbers to hold up a significant part of a much-needed fiscal repair program.”
“According to record low polls for the government, we, the ¬people, have told the Abbott government it will be obliterated at the next election for aiming for a budget that spends only as much as it earns….
A modest Medicare co-payment with carve-outs for the needy and the young? No thanks.
A sustainable university funding model? No thanks.
A fairer pension system to better fund those in need as the ageing population grows? No thanks.
Reining in disability payments so those in genuine need are better cared for? No thanks.
Fewer middle-class perks — think baby bonuses, family benefits, childcare rebates — so money can be better directed to the poorest? No thanks…
And if voters continue to rebuff these efforts, what then? … [Labor leader Bill] Shorten will be handsomely rewarded for being irresponsible about budget reform, let alone the economy … “
Are these writers seriously suggesting that the Labor party should put lay long held ideological beliefs to appease a party who created a false economic spending crisis and the when it came to power, doubled it. All in the cause of bi-partisanship.
Bullshitting is bad enough but when people believe their own. That is intellectual dishonesty.
Middle class perks that Howard created every three years to get re-elected. Just forget that the LNP has never done a thing for pensioners and support an ill founded policy that takes from the poor and gives to the rich. A co-payment doctors fee that could be the pre curser to an American style health care system and a University funding scheme that reeks of inequality. In other words give up all that it stands for.
Putting aside the political naivety of all that rubbish for a moment, and the stupidity of it, one is entitled to remind the Prime Minister that it was he that was elected to govern and not Bill Shorten.
We might even remind him that incumbency gives government enormous powers and it’s not necessarily the job of the opposition to always take a bi partisan approach.
There are numerous reasons for the Coalitions inability to govern but the three main ones are, poor leadership, an ideology based on unfairness and a hostile senate. None of which the Labor Party is responsible for.
The first is a result of their own selection, the second, unfairness is anathema to the Australian public and the third is Abbott’s inherent stubbiness for compromise, or persuasion. It’s the captain’s choice or abandon ship. Take your pick.
Compromise or bi partisanship can and has been practiced in this country for as long as I can remember. Very rarely has a government controlled both houses. But not at the expense of the first rule of politics ‘’gain power’’ or indeed the second rule “retain power.”
“There are still people in my party who believe in consensus. I regard them as quislings, as traitors … I mean it.”
Too much bi partisanship can negatively result in a blurring of ideological demarcation between the parties, even discouraging agreement between more than one party. It can also prevent people not thinking beyond a two-party system.
Just because a party is finding it difficult having its way, it doesn’t follow, as the media and the government seem to want, that the opposition should, compromise and rescue every situation.
Rightly or wrongly we have an adversarial form of government. The Coalition is the government with everything at its power to form policy and implement it. The opposition is there to hold the government to account.
Abbott as Opposition leader said that “Oppositions oppose, that’s what they are there for”. He was called Dr No because of his blatant hostility to everything proposed by the Gillard and Rudd governments.
The reason put forward for Labor to reveal its economic policies is the current state of the budget, and in particular, spending, yet in 2010, in Tony Abbott’s first term as Opposition leader, he failed to produce anything like a detailed plan to curb spending, even in his Budget reply speech attacking debt and deficit just months out from the scheduled election. Abbott told Parliament that shadow treasurer Hockey would unveil measures to reduce spending and increase productivity at the National Press Club the following week. Joe hand balled it to Andrew Robb and the whole thing became a balls up.
The government doesn’t need bi partisanship to resolve these issues. It simply needs to come to its senses and admit it delivered an unfair budget and that revenue is as much a part of the problem as is spending.
I am yet to hear an economist say that the budgetary problems are beyond repair. It simply needs a strategy that takes into account an equitable fairness. Not a lifters and leaners approach that rewards the rich and privileged and condemns all others to some degree of poverty.
As Shadow Treasure Chris Bowen said in the Financial Review on Thursday. The Government could sell its fiscal reform message, but not when they are: (a) dishonest (b) inconsistent (c) flogging ill thought out policies and (d) not up to the task anyway.
The call for bi partisanship in this case is politically motivated and immature.
Having said that, there is a strong case, generally speaking, for less confrontational politics in this country and I have argued the case for openness, transparency and the common good many times.
We saw in the UK a very unique and rare example of bi partisanship when the three political leaders, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg, have this month signed a pledge to tackle climate change. The closest we come to this is on National Security where it is in the Oppositions best interests to be bi-partisan.
Our system requires vigorous debate with a better, more civil and open exchange of ideas. But politics by its very nature cannot be devoid of opportunism and the pursuit of power. We can only ever hope for the better practice of it.
If you want otherwise then invent another system.
Bill Shorten has promised that this year will be a year of “ideas”. He will not be taking the small target approach that has been the norm for some time. “We are prepared to work on the big policies that go beyond parliamentary terms”, he told the National Press Club in November.
Let’s hope they are creatively sound, relevant for the times, the future, and economically affordable. That they have public support and don’t require political bi partisanship. The last recourse for bad ideas.
Tony Abbott said good government started on Tuesday 10 Feb. If he’s fair dinkum he doesn’t need Labor to get him out of a hole.
“The whole point about corruption in politics is that it can’t be done, or done properly, without a bipartisan consensus.”
“Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.”