During the 2013 election campaign, Joe Hockey was asked “Should you win the election, at what stage will you own the economy and at what stage will it no longer be Labor’s fault?” He responded “We will own the economy from day one, whether it’s Labor’s fault or not… I’m not afraid to accept responsibility…
If you were to ask Malcolm Turnbull to tell you honestly what was his most demanding and persistent political problem, Tony Abbott would most likely be his answer.We are well aware of the legislative issues Turnbull faces, and the exultation he exhibits when finally he achieves a success – the passage of Gonski 2.0 is a recent example. We know too that he has dissention among the hard right elements in his party room. Cory Bernardi has already abandoned the Liberal Party to establish his Australian Conservatives, but Turnbull still has Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Ian Macdonald, Craig Kelly, Andrew Hastie, Chris Back, Rowan Ramsay, Angus Taylor, Tony Pasin, Michael Sukkar and Zed Seselja, regular irritants led by the pernicious and vengeful Tony Abbott.But even without his henchmen, Abbott alone is a destructive force that bursts out into the open whenever an opportunity presents. If Abbott senses that he can make political capital out of anything that Turnbull does, or says, or proposes, he is out there shafting his leader.How can he be stopped?
In memory of Desmond John “Des” Ball AO (20 May 1947 – 12 October 2016) When George H W Bush first publicly coined the phrase New World Order, a term previously proscribed to conspiracy buffs, it came as both a declaration of unilateral power, and a brash ultimatum to anyone who didn’t like the way…
Same-sex marriage now joins serious climate change policy as one of Australian politics’ unachievables, where the machinations of parliament sit entirely at odds with the demonstrated popular will.
Today, the first sitting day of a new parliament, thirteen, yes thirteen coalition backbenchers defied their Prime Minister and called for an amendment to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act that would see the words “insult” and “offend” removed. Thirteen white Liberal backbenchers want to be legally permitted to racially offend and insult. So desperately…
Craig Kelly says he wants wind and solar funding to be redirected to research into ‘technological breakthroughs’ because existing renewables had ‘little effect’
Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to investigate the American healthcare system. Sticking to his …
A Coalition candidate has quit after it emerged he owns a brothel called Paradise Playmates.
Humility is the first step towards redemption, and as a religious man, no one knows this better than Tony Abbott.
The Budget papers reveal an Australian economy in much worse shape than it was under Labor. Alan Austin unpicks the data.
It is fair to say that the revenant candidate for the seat of Indi, Sophie Mirabella, would never win a nation-wide popularity contest. At the end of the 2013, the normally placid independent Tony Windsor bade her farewell from parliament with the salutation: “She is the nastiest – I reckon if you put it to a vote to all politicians, she’d come up number one.”
Source: Knees and elbows | The Monthly
OPINION: The party of safe economic hands? Not so much. It’s time to blow this hard-to-kill myth out of the water, writes Costa Avgoustinos. 1) Bad Social Values Mean Bad Economic Decisions Like everyone, the Liberals’ economic decisions are tied to their social values. And they make bad economic decisions because of that. They seeMore
Income tax for the states. Really? Yes, really. That’s the plan Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is putting to the states and territories at the Council of Australian Governments meeting tomorrow in Canberra. The Coalition has been looking ragged for much of 2016, after walking back from tax reform in the shape of a higher goodsMore
A new book detailing dysfunction within Tony Abbott’s prime ministerial office will cause upheaval in the Coalition and may even fuel a thirst for retribution over his ousting.
Just weeks after we learned budget cuts to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will force the loss of 110 climate researchers at the agency, the Federal Government is funding a new ‘growth centre’ for the fossil fuel industry. Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, announced this week that the government willMore
Malcolm Turnbull’s ascendant Coalition government is bracing for a backlash from voters that could cost it as many as 10 seats.
The argument that burning coal exported by the Adani mine project will deliver health benefits to the world’s poor is plain rubbish.
The Liberals have lost touch with mainstream Australia, and now conservatives could drag the new PM down before he starts.
Saying it was ‘harmless’ and that ‘we should just let him have his fun’, members of the Coalition front bench have agreed to let Tony Abbott keep on thinking that he is running Australia for now.
“He’s been looking forward to this all of his life, so it won’t hurt anybody to let him pretend for a few more months,” said one front bencher.
One Parliamentary staffer said it was cute watching Mr Abbott play make believe. “It is quite adorable really. Seeing him run around, playing with his terror alert metre, telling everyone what to do. We just go along with it and say ‘Yes Prime Minister!’ We’ve even set up his own little office with some Australian flags. It’s all quite harmless really”.
“I have no qualms with it,” said another staffer. “Peta, bless her, still gives Tony his daily briefing. I think some of the guys even set up a mock cabinet meeting the other day for Tony to run. It’s harmless”.
When contacted for comment Mr Abbott said simply, “The adults are in charge now!”
The government should be ashamed that it has detained on Manus Island the few Syrians who have reached here.
The aims behind forcing car makers to close were superficial, and the ramifications will be dreadful.
Saturday 29 August 1 I have reluctantly taken the decision to no longer refer to Tony Abbott as “Prime Minister” in my writing. I say reluctant because I generally believe in respect for the position itself. However the performance of this excuse for a national leader is so appallingly bad that I refuse to acknowledge…
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to back under-fire Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, saying he cannot understand why she chose to charter a helicopter between Melbourne and Geelong, when using a private helicopter would have been a considerably more comfortable option.
“You don’t even know the pilot in many cases,” Turnbull said of chartered flights.
He said it was reasonable to expect an explanation from Ms Bishop about her actions. “People are going to want answers, and fair enough – it’s a question of judgment. For the sake of saving a couple of thousand dollars, she’s chosen to charter a flight, when most of us in the same position would’ve just used our own chopper”.
Ms Bishop later released a statement saying she would no longer charter helicopters, a decision Mr Turnbull labelled “sensible”.
I want a government that governs for 23 million Australians.
Not for some greedy, aging expatriate billionaire who looks at his country of birth as nothing more than a profit centre.
Not for some disgustingly rich mining mogul who wants workers to be paid $2 an hour.
Not for an Indian mining billionaire that nobody has ever heard of who wants to tear up our heritage-listed treasures.
Not for the Church.
Not for American corporations who want to take away our ‘freedom’ once the TPP is signed.
Not for the Australians who believe they are born into entitlement.
Not for the mining companies who want not only to take traditional lands away from the first Australians but destroy all that is sacred in those lands.
Not for those families who have a salary of $250,000 or more.
Not for some outdated public policy think-tank.
Not for the minority of Australians who will vote for the Coalition because the boats have (allegedly) stopped.
Not for those Australians who will hide under the bed whenever Tony Abbott waves a flag.
Not for those Australians who won’t open their arms or their hearts to people in need.
Not for the shock jocks who think that their opinion is public opinion.
Oh how I could go on.
No, I want a government that governs for 23 million Australians. At best, the current government falls short by about 20 million.
Tony Abbott’s tenure as Prime Minister is all but over. The division within the Liberal Party’s parliamentary ranks is clear, with 39 of its MPs yesterday voting in favour of a leadership spill. It is true that 61 voted against, but at least 32 and as many as 41 of those votes were ministers, parliamentary secretaries and party whips who Mr Abbott says were bound by the party’s convention to close ranks behind the leader.
In short form, the numbers indicate that about 60 per cent of Liberal backbenchers have no confidence in Mr Abbott’s ability to lead their party or this nation. That is a dire result. It will foster internal disruption and general uncertainty about the government’s direction, none of which is desirable at the best of times, let alone in the midst of preparations for a crucial budget.
Speculation about the leadership will persist as long as Mr Abbott remains, and that will enfeeble decision-making within the government and prove detrimental to business confidence. With Australia’s economic outlook weakening, and the government still unable to pass some of its budget measures from last year, the last thing the Coalition needed was more of the same.
Indeed, the last thing Australia needs is another 18 months, potentially, of the kind of dispiriting, inconsistent leadership that Mr Abbott has exhibited. His effort to recast the office of the Prime Minister as an elevated, independent branch of Parliament is arrogant and misguided. It is evident in the way he has made unilateral decisions about government policy without bothering to consult senior ministers, and it is evident in his twisted interpretation of the voting system. “We think,” he said yesterday (using the royal “we”), “that when you elect a government, when you elect a prime minister, you deserve to keep that government and that prime minister until you have a chance to change your mind.”
No, Mr Abbott, the people of Australia do not and never have voted directly for a prime minister. Australia does not have a presidential style of government. Leadership is vested by the party. You are in the Prime Minister’s office only by grace of your colleagues, a great many of whom, it is clear, are far from happy. Their discontent reflects that of their constituents; the polls indicate that if an election were held now the Coalition would be trounced.
Mr Abbott reportedly was shocked by the threat to his leadership, which only underscores how cocooned he has become. He apparently does not believe that he has a problem with the electorate. He is blithely carrying on with tired pleadings for unity among his MPs, and with empty expressions to voters that “we are not the Labor Party”. Yet, by casting the Liberals in terms of something it is not, Mr Abbott only underscores how hollow is his party’s policy platform. This is what The Age warned about in September 2013 just before the election; the Coalition’s “plan” for the nation was never fully formed, it was framed around three-word slogans and lacked substance.
Almost halfway through the term, and the Coalition’s narrative is still deficient. The position is redeemable, but only with a change of leader. Mr Abbott has squandered the trust of voters and many of his Coalition colleagues. His decision to pull the party room meeting forward by a day might have been intended to demonstrate unity before Parliament began sitting this week, but it looked panicked.
Worse was Mr Abbott’s political ploy in offering a South Australian senator the assurance that, contrary to what Treasurer Joe Hockey said late last year, Australian companies would get a chance to bid for a multibillion-dollar contract to build submarines.
There is deep-seated disappointment with this government. Mr Abbott has fumbled too many chances. His leadership is unsustainable and it is inevitable that Liberal MPs will need to resolve this by dumping him.