Cross Post: Tony Abbott Reform in the age of populism: The new Battlelines

Wherever the Abbott government didn’t need to pass legislation through an intractable senate, decisions were made and decisions were put into practice: the boats were stopped; national security was strengthened; and a big project in limbo for decades, the Western Sydney airport, got underway.

Right now, for too many good people, there’s a pall of despondency over the future of our country and the wider world.

These are vexing times.

The world is less stable and the future less certain.

And yes, many people feel let down and ripped off.

As we have seen, in America, all parties are vulnerable to populists, and the Democratic Party to socialists; in Britain, the Conservatives have been humiliated and the Labor Party captured by extremists; and here the whole political spectrum seems to have moved to the left.

So what are sensible reformers to do: despair of the countries, the parties and the values that have made the modern world; retreat into surly resentment; blame voters for not understanding their own best interests? Of course not!

Our challenge is to stay the course, to keep the faith and to fight the good fight because to do anything else would only make a bad situation worse.

Effort doesn’t guarantee success but lack of effort guarantees failure.

We might have to take what we can get today; but we should always seek what we want tomorrow.

Because the fundamentals of government and economics have not changed; the values and aspirations of the conservative side of politics have not lost their appeal.

It makes sense to be economically liberal because markets maximise prosperity; and it makes sense to be socially conservative because respect for values and institutions that have stood the test of time keeps the social fabric strong.

It always has and it always will.

Our task, now, as always, is to build the case for good policy based on mainstream values and common sense: because the instincts and the ideas that imbued Menzies’ Forgotten People speech; that shaped John Howard’s public life; and that gave the Coalition a thumping victory just four years ago are never out of date.

Australians want a fair go for all – but we understand that to get a fair go, you’ve got to give one too.

Governments have to be fair – but there’s only so much fairness that you can pay for with other people’s money.

And standing up for the country, its interests and its values – not apologising for it – is what nearly all citizens expect of their leaders.

It’s as true today as it’s always been that no country has ever taxed its way to prosperity.

It’s people and businesses that create wealth, not governments.

And government can’t spend a dollar that it hasn’t taken from you, the citizen, either in taxes today, taxes tomorrow – or wealth eroded through the ravages of inflation.

Of course, people want their leaders to keep commitments and to be principled but most of all they want us to be competent and to get things done.

It’s not their fault that they’re disillusioned with leaders, parties and even systems when the people in charge don’t face their pressures, don’t seem to share their values and often hardly even seem to speak their language.

Once shaken, trust has to be re-earned by consistently saying what you mean and doing what you say.

But provided we try harder to understand people’s worries, propose down-to-earth measures that might actually address them, explain clearly what we want to do – and why – and then move competently and methodically to get things done, there’s no reason why reform should be beyond us, even in the age of populism.

So that’s our challenge: to identify problems and their potential solutions in ways that people can understand and eventually accept.

It can be done.

In two elections, 2010 and 2013, the Liberal National coalition made big gains promising spending cuts, tax cuts, and regulation cuts.

It wasn’t easy once in government – but in just two years two big new taxes were scrapped, three stalled free trade deals were finalised, about 300,000 new jobs were created in the economy while 14,000 public servants were shed, business handouts were stopped, and $50 billion was cut from the forward estimates.

As John Howard recently observed, while compromise is necessary in politics, conviction is the foundation of success.

The risk with compromises designed to end policy “wars” is that the war doesn’t actually end, the battleground just shifts; and in the meantime, principles have become negotiable, and the whole political spectrum has moved in the wrong direction.

What’s needed now is a clear sense of what the conservative side of politics stands for and a clear understanding in the community of what we’re trying to do.

Delivering prosperity and security: that’s the core business of government.

Making it easier for people to get ahead and doing everything reasonably possible to keep people safe: that’s what voters expect of us.

As a party room colleague put it the other day, people who-have-it-all worry about emissions; but people doing-it-tough worry much more about paying their bills.

That’s why any credible plan to win the next election has to start with keeping power prices down.

Among much else, the Finkel report noted that power bills could cost low income households up to a tenth of their income.

Power prices are going through the roof and widespread blackouts are looming this summer because green politics have trumped sensible economics for more than a decade.

It’s the renewable energy target that’s doing the damage because subsidised unreliable and intermittent power is making base load coal and gas power uneconomic.

Trying to fix the problems caused by too much wind and solar power with yet more wind and solar power is perverse; the last thing we need is a clean energy target grafted onto a renewable energy target.

For months now, quite rightly, the government has been attacking the Labor Party’s 50 per cent renewable energy target for de-industrialising South Australia.

But maintaining that Labor will put power prices up and that the Coalition will put power prices down will be much harder, though, if our renewable energy target goes from 23 per cent to 42 per cent, as flagged in Finkel.

Indeed, the only way to take the pressure off prices now is to have a moratorium on new windfarms at least until the problem of intermittency is addressed.

We should stop any further subsidised renewable power and freeze the Renewable Energy Target at the current level of about 15 per cent.

This shouldn’t be a problem for emissions reduction because renewables’ boosters insist that it’s cheaper than coal anyway.

And if this causes a fight in the senate, at least it will demonstrate exactly who wants lower power prices and who doesn’t.

Allowing Hazelwood to close, actually blowing-up South Australia’s Northern Power Station and the bans on gas in Victoria and NSW mean that some blackouts might be unavoidable in the near term.

That’s why a government that’s serious about keeping the lights on should get another big coal-fired power station into action as soon as possible; and be prepared to “go it alone” if political risk means the market won’t do it.

The market is the best possible means of maximising wealth but where government has ruined the market that we had 15 years ago, as it has, government must make things good.

A good start would be a “jobs first” power policy – a declaration that energy policy aims to reduce cost of living pressures, preserve jobs and keep industries competitive – and that these objectives have priority over reducing emissions.

All recent governments have deferred too much to political correctness (my own included) while the public have become impatient for robust common sense.

That’s what they remember from the early years of the Howard government: policies designed to solve problems coupled with explanations of what the policy was and why it might be expected to work.

In its early years, the Howard government deliberately reduced immigration to well under 100,000 a year.

Right now, a big slowdown in immigration would take the downward pressure off wages and the upward pressure off house prices.

One of the reasons why statistical growth is not translating into higher living standards is that high immigration means that GDP per head is hardly growing at all.

Newcomers in hard-to-fill, high wage, high skill jobs make very good migrants (and should be encouraged) but they’re not the only ones coming.

A big slowdown in immigration would allow housing starts and infrastructure to catch up with population.

It would give harder-to-assimilate recent migrants more time to integrate with the wider Australian community before many more came in.

It would reassure Australians that our country is in our own hands and is being run in our best interests.

It would complement the government’s correct insistence that to become a citizen you must be able to speak the national language.

And, of course, it would provoke a fierce fight with Labor – that, again, would just emphasise who’s on Australians’ side and who’s not.

That’s one of the lessons from the 2014 budget: even people who accept that the government is spending too much don’t want the government to improve its position by hurting theirs.

Addressing Europe’s economic stagnation, one leader recently observed that “we all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get elected after doing it”.

Absent an acute crisis, to get elected with an economic reform programme, it’s probably necessary to guarantee that existing beneficiaries will keep their benefits.

But even with grandfathered changes, a government that accepts we have a spending problem rather than a revenue one can make a big difference over time.

The best way to get federal spending under control, and to end the inter-generational theft of sustained deficits, is to avoid all new spending (other than on national security or economic infrastructure).

And getting spending down, at least as a percentage of GDP, is the only way responsibly to deliver the tax cuts that are necessary for jobs and growth.

Especially with the 2014 budget, the Abbott government probably exceeded the reform speed limit but there was never any confusion about the direction of travel.

Likewise on national security, there was never any doubt about the Abbott government’s determination to stand up for Australia.

We not only have a right but a duty to defend our values and our way of life against those who would destroy them.

This means banning organisations that make excuses for terrorists, removing terrorist propaganda from the internet, and ensuring that known jihadis aren’t free on our streets.

And it’s good that the Turnbull government is now moving on these issues.

But achieving reform in the age of populism will first require the “mother of all reforms”– indeed, it’s almost a precondition for any other big ones – and that’s reform of the senate.

The senate has become a house of rejection, not a house of review, as John Howard recognised when his government proposed senate reform back in 2003.

The problem is far worse now, with Labor habitually reversing its own previous positions in order to oppose the government on everything except national security.

To pass legislation, either the government has to strike a deal with the Greens, a far left party dedicated to higher spending and higher taxes; or it must corral ten of 12 unpredictable crossbenchers, all of whom will demand their price.

The only legislation that can expect swift passage is to spend more, to regulate more, and to put more tax on the so-called rich.

This is unlikely to change under business as usual, as getting four out of six senators in a half senate election requires a near impossible 58 per cent of the vote.

All that can readily be passed is legislation that a grab-bag of political competitors can be bought-off to support.

But this is a recipe for gridlock, not government, and it must end if Australia is to be capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

Back in 2003, the Howard government proposed an amendment to section 57 of the constitution so that legislation rejected twice in the senate three months apart could be put to a joint sitting of both houses of parliament without the need for a double dissolution election first.

It didn’t proceed after the then-government fluked four senators from Queensland and, for one term, had a majority in its own right.

Now, it needs to come back fast if the system is to avoid paralysis – hence the government should legislate swiftly for a referendum to be held concurrently with the next election.

The next election won’t be won by drawing closer to Labor.

Sure Bill Shorten can be painted as a union stooge who will put power prices through the roof, enshrine political correctness on steroids, and run the worst Labor government in our history.

But you don’t win elections by saying that the alternative would be worse; you win elections by being the best possible government.

The next election can only be won by drawing up new battlelines that give our people something to fight for; and the public something to hope for:

To take the pressure off cost of living, let’s stop subsidies for new wind power.

To take the pressure off housing, let’s scale back immigration.

To get the budget under control, let’s ban new spending.

To keep us safe, let’s make sure there are no known Jihadis loose on our streets.

And to get good government, not gridlock, let’s reform the senate as soon as we possibly can.

A decade back, after a generation of better-than-average government under Hawke and Howard, Australia was a global success story.

Now, we can’t even look across the Tasman without a twinge of acute embarrassment.

We have an abundance of energy – but the world’s highest power prices; an abundance of land – and property prices to rival Hong Kong’s; some of the world’s smartest people – yet with school rankings behind Kazakhstan.

We need to make Australia work again – because our country, plainly, is not working as it should.

We are letting ourselves down.

We are not what we should be; and we know it.

That’s why most of the attempted pep talks sound so hollow.

But I can assure you: I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever.

I will do my best to be a standard bearer for the values and the policies that have made us strong.

Transcript of a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs in Brisbane June 27, 2017.

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58 Responses to Cross Post: Tony Abbott Reform in the age of populism: The new Battlelines

  1. Anon

    Why didn’t he do this when he had the chance?

  2. Driftforge

    Transcript of a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs in Brisbane June 27, 2017.

    Any chance this can be moved to the top so the reason for the odd cant (i.e this is a speech) is presented up front?

  3. Viva

    Why didn’t he do this when he had the chance?

    At what point does this chant become meaningless and mindless.

    It’s possible this man has learnt his lesson the hard way and from where I sit he’s the only pollie prepared to get up and promote a way out of this mess.

    In the Kingdom of the Blind the one-eyed man is King.

  4. Art Vandelay

    Please. If he ever became PM again, he’d quickly sell out his supporters and principles in a heartbeat just for the prospect of some praise from the chattering classes.

  5. Driftforge

    So what are sensible reformers to do: despair of the countries, the parties and the values that have made the modern world; retreat into surly resentment; blame voters for not understanding their own best interests? Of course not!

    So what are sensible reformers to do? Realise that conservatism does not conserve. Realise that liberalism does not increase liberty. Realise that socialism does not lead to a better society.

    We have come to use these words to describe things that they are not, in order to maintain the pretence that they are.

    No: sensible reformers have to look and see where we went wrong. Not just today, not just yesterday, but down the track of history that lead to where we are now, on the edge of civilisational collapse. And realising the error of our ways, rebuild government in light of that knowledge.

    Our challenge is to stay the course, to keep the faith and to fight the good fight because to do anything else would only make a bad situation worse.

    Yes, be a good little outer party apparatchik. Stay the course. Promote fear of change. ‘Staying the course’ has worked so well for the last couple hundred years.

  6. val majkus

    MT is the problem.

    and his supporters in the House

  7. Tim Neilson

    But this is a recipe for gridlock, not government, and it must end if Australia is to be capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

    Something else that would help is the Federal government getting out of areas that it doesn’t need to be involved in. That would mitigate the problem of Senate gridlock enormously.

  8. meher baba

    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    I think a better argument for reducing immigration rates is to reduce pressure on housing and infrastructure in Sydney and Melbourne.

    Abbott, along with ScoMo and others, will always be remembered for stopping the boats. He also got rid of the emissions trading scheme, which he said at the time would bring power prices down. It didn’t, and he now says it was other nefarious green policies. It all starts to sound like excuses to me: as far as I can see, the causes of the current energy problems are many and various: as is always the case with major stuff-ups.

  9. Shy Ted

    Um, Tony, you need to shut down the ABC and the rest of the leftie coterie because they will NEVER give you a chance.

  10. Stimpson J. Cat

    MT is the problem.

    and his supporters in the House

    And the Liberal Party.

  11. Driftforge

    if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase.

    This is PC code for ‘keep low trust, low IQ populations out’. And yes, if you do, GDP per capita will rise.

  12. H B Bear

    More Lieboral talk.

    Stop me if you have heard this before …

  13. Fergus

    Get him on here for a Q&A.

  14. Chris

    Nice, Tony. Keep chipping away.

  15. jupes

    This means banning organisations that make excuses for terrorists …

    Oh dear, Abbott has just lost the LDP vote in the senate if he ever gets back. They want to make IS and Al Qaeda legal in Australia.

  16. jupes

    He also got rid of the emissions trading scheme, which he said at the time would bring power prices down.

    Well it probably slowed the rate of power price rises. However if the RET was scrapped, then power prices would fall.

    Too bad Abbott didn’t have the balls to even try and do that when he had the chance.

  17. Stimpson J. Cat

    if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase.

    “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if a few Libertarians suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

  18. Mark A

    meher baba
    #2426689, posted on June 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    Increasing the population by hundreds of thousands of nonproductive members may keep parts of the domestic economy turning but at what costs?

    We are in debt to the tune of half a bill. minimum and growing.
    I’s rather have recession, and money in the bank.

  19. EB

    I don’t believe a word he says. We’ve already seen he’s a bloke who’d tell you anything and then get constipation on the pot before a few short doses of the trots where really weird stuff came flying out.

    I also recall Howard’s double speak on immigration. Abbott is his boy.

  20. Leo G

    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    Successive falls in GDP may be averted by high and increasing immigration, but with adverse effects on per capita real GDP growth.
    A continuing trend of negative per capita GDP growth, sensitive to immigration levels, should be sufficient reason to reduce immigration.

  21. Fisky

    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    Australia’s GDP per capita growth has been on an even steeper downward trajectory than GDP, so I think it’s fair to say that immigration is one of the main causes of this –

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Australian-GDP-per-capita-growth.jpg

  22. Fisky

    Immigration is a scam anyway. Adds nothing to wealth at all, and is clearly reducing productivity. It’s time to #shutdowntheimmigrationscam at once!

  23. Just Interested

    Tony Abbott – as Alan Moran has said, the bravest leader ever when not in government.

  24. Oh come on

    Too Late Tony strikes again.

  25. Stimpson J. Cat

    Tony did well considering every one of his disciples was named Judas.
    It’s too late however.
    The people want Barabbas Shorten.

  26. Mark from Melbourne

    Why didn’t he do this when he had the chance?

    Because, as it turns out, he was inexperienced enough to tie himself in knots trying to appease the unappeasable. That was a huge error – and not only his, though it must be sheeted home to him – but hardly a fatal one. Given the time to mature in government there is really no telling how things might have worked out. I suspect that they might have improved in some areas, but perhaps not in many. He was, after all, leading a Government and Cabinet we now know to have been at best fundamentally divided and at worst actively disloyal. Not to mention inhabited by some pretty average conveyances. But, as I say, in the end that “failure” is down to him.

    Since his ridiculous knifing, the World, Australia and Abbott have moved on. All, I would suggest, in ways which enhance, not detract, from the attraction of giving him another shot at it.

    Conservatives the World over have seen that you can actually stand up to the bully-boys of the Left thanks to Trump. Whether he succeeds or fails, the mere fact of his election has shown that.

    In Australia some of the more egregious chickens are starting to come home to roost. And yes, some of those were of the Abbott government’s making, or at least a product of that government not stamping them out. But even the mug punter can now see the cost of the climate boondoggle and unchecked immigration, and the complete insanity of spending ever more for little return, whether in Education or elsewhere.

    Abbott seems to have absorbed those lessons by my reading.

    As such, and given my survey of the field tells me there ain’t no other strong horse contender, if he gets another chance I will support him. I rather expect he will do much better…. even if he does no better, that would still be an improvement!

    I hope that chance comes outside the LNP rather than inside it as things stand, but that would almost certainly mean at least one election cycle of an ALP government… not a pretty thought.

    When needs must, the devil take the hindmost.

  27. struth

    In that speech there are all sorts of little “big government” brain farts, like controlling the internet.

    I heard his speeches before his election and I saw his cowardice after the election.
    If brains were dynamite , he couldn’t blow his nose.

    Hey Tone, did Credlin write this for you?
    If you had any integrity whatsoever, you would have already quit the party and headed over with the Aust Conservative party, or become independent.
    You’re a joke.
    A bad joke , played on the decent right wing people of Australia.
    You instigated this mess through your weakness and lack of conviction.
    In short……
    Fuck off.

  28. struth

    Immigration into a socialist welfare state like Australia COSTS US.
    Immigration without the right political environment is an increased burden, a tragedy for us with our socialist country.

    It’s so frigging simple to work out.
    Immigration is the result of wealth creation, not the cause.
    Two plus two equals four.
    It’s not rocket science, or all Venezuela would have to do is open their borders to mass immigration.
    Do you think that would create wealth there?
    FMD.

  29. incoherent rambler

    As usual Tony is going in half arsed.

    We don’t need to freeze the RET. It needs to be abolished.
    We don’t need A new power station. We need 3 to 5 large scale power stations.

    On the bright side, he is heading (slowly) in the right direction.

  30. .

    Fisky
    #2426761, posted on June 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm
    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    Australia’s GDP per capita growth has been on an even steeper downward trajectory than GDP, so I think it’s fair to say that immigration is one of the main causes of this –

    https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Australian-GDP-per-capita-growth.jpg

    Inummerate and dishonest piffle.

  31. Phill

    I predict he will be back as PM within a year. He is the only one out of the whole sorry bunch that makes sense.

  32. Leo G

    Australia’s GDP per capita growth has been on an even steeper downward trajectory than GDP …

    The trajectory would worsen if the GDP/ GNP figure was adjusted to remove the component associated with the change in government and private net foreign debt.

  33. Fisky

    It’s not rocket science, or all Venezuela would have to do is open their borders to mass immigration.
    Do you think that would create wealth there?

    The majority of libertarians say YES!

  34. The Hunted Mind

    I predict he will be back as PM within a year.

    I don’t know why he’d bother. Once a sitting prime minister has been knifed the wounds can only healed by a convalescence in opposition. He must know this. Knifing Turnbull back will achieve absolutely nothing.

  35. iampeter

    As John Howard recently observed, while compromise is necessary in politics, conviction is the foundation of success.

    Don’t think this is the correct quote. Pretty sure if Howard was saying this, it would go: “while conviction is necessary in politics, compromise is the foundation of success.” This is John Howard after all.

    Anyway reading this speech I was thinking who on earth is saying this vapid, empty gobbledygook that passes for political speech these days and reminds me of the “forwards not backwards, upwards not forwards” Kodos speech from the Simpsons and what do you know, it’s the Hon Tony Abbott MP.

    This is a man who is a Socialist in every way but title and the only reason he doesn’t get the title is because he doesn’t have the ideological coherence of an actual Socialist.
    This is a man who has either been a supporter of, or directly responsible for, some of the most disastrous pieces of legislation in this countries history.
    This is a man who has spent his entire life in politics and THIS is a speech that he gives. He has no ideas about politics, proper function of government or even a semblance of a coherent ideology.

    I know I’m hated for constantly harping on this here but speeches like this, made by milquetoast empty suits like Abbott, represent everything wrong with the state of Conservatism today. So many words saying absolutely nothing.

  36. Fisky

    So many words saying absolutely nothing.

    Hmmmm…

  37. Fisky

    Mark Collett‏ @MarkACollett Jun 27
    More
    1.2 million migrants enter Germany, only 34000 (2.8%) get a job. When people say immigration is a boost for the economy, they are lying.

    Good lord. We must introduce criminal sanctions against open borders advocates, quickly. No free speech for them anymore.

  38. iampeter

    I’m not sure that many economists would endorse Tone’s theory that, if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase. FWIW, my interpretation of the current situation is that the higher than historic levels of immigration we have had in recent years have been one of the main things keeping our economy out of recession.

    If anything, if cultures were successful because of a lack of immigration or any kind of “cultural” diversity and closed borders then the most successful countries on earth would be places like North Korea or Somalia.
    In fact the exact opposite is the case but that’s not because of immigration, it’s because successful countries have governments that still protect individual rights at least on some level and that includes non-rights violating immigration policies.

  39. Fisky

    If anything, if cultures were successful because of a lack of immigration or any kind of “cultural” diversity and closed borders then the most successful countries on earth would be places like North Korea or Somalia.

    Try Japan, bozo. Doing very well without importing a zillion Muslims like you desperately want to!

  40. Warty

    The very first response to this article, ‘Why didn’t he do this when he had the chance?’ inadvertently points to the events last Friday, when the Black Hand gang decided to get stuck into the grog and allow a turncoat to have his sozzled say. So the answer to the first response is of course, look to the obstructions in Tony’s way, not just an intransigent senate, which we all assumed was the problem, but some of the rat’s bane closest to him. These are schweinehund nobody would wish on their worst enemies, but Tony had to work with. Blokes and Sheilas who’d possibly stand out in the opposition party, but leave the rest of us scratching our collective heads as to what on earth they were doing in a Coalition government.

  41. iampeter

    if we slow population growth by reducing immigration, average GDP per capita would inevitably increase.

    “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if a few Libertarians suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”

    I LOL’ed.

    Best post.

  42. Muddy

    There are more clichés in that speech than a footballer’s after-match interview.
    “Yeah, mate, we put our blood, sweat and tears into that. It was down to the wire. We had to put runs on the board. It was dog eat dog out there.” et cetera, et cetera.

    Someone call the RSPCA. This bloke has more than flogged a dead horse, he’s fondled it’s remains.

    What was that quote in “A Knight’s Tale?”
    “You’ve been weighed, you’ve been measured, and you’ve been found wanting.”

  43. alexnoaholdmate

    This iampeter Randbot is just getting plain annoying now.

    Tony Abbott is many things – a wimp, a weasel, a coward who wussed out on his promises to the Australian people, and who kowtowed to the chattering classes and the ABC instead of standing up for the values he professes.

    However, arguing for reducing the immigration intake hardly makes one a “Socialist.”

    In fact, in iampeter’s weird warped world, anyone who isn’t in favour of trashing six thousand years of history in order to allow men to marry and immediately opening our borders to all and sundry regardless of their background, is a Leftist and a Socialist.

    If you absolutely must troll, stop insulting and our intelligence with this crap and make an effort.

  44. iampeter

    If you absolutely must troll, stop insulting and our intelligence with this crap and make an effort.

    You’re on a political, centre/right blog and you’re getting triggered by political, centre/right posts.

    Why are you here?

    Seems like the solution to your problem is pretty easy.

  45. Chris M

    As we have seen, in America, all parties are vulnerable to populists(sic)

    Why do you imply it as a bad thing that parties should be vulnerable to democracy?

  46. Rabz

    I predict he will be back as PM within a year. He is the only one out of the whole sorry bunch that makes sense.

    When enough of the cretinous treacherous dupes who stabbed him in the back realise that the gravy train is about to suffer a spectacular derailment.

    What was the saying when labor resurrected Ruddles?

    Oh, that’s right, “saving da furniture”.

    Quite frankly, I’d like to see it all go up like those legendary Parramatta rd Italian furniture warehouse insurance job infernos that took place in the mid 2000s.

    It all the frigging gliberals bloody well deserve.

  47. Tintarella di Luna

    Mark from Melbourne
    #2426781, posted on June 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you Mark from Melbourne, very elegantly.

  48. Rohan

    Abbott and the true conservatives don’t have the numbers to topple Trumbull. They would have done so by now otherwise. The left have marched through each and every institution, including the Liberal party. The conservatives need to split, regroup, then set our nation back on the straight and narrow.

  49. Neil

    This is a man who has either been a supporter of, or directly responsible for, some of the most disastrous pieces of legislation in this countries history.

    Howard took unemployment from 8% in 1996 to 4% by 2007. In 2007 anybody who wanted a job could get one. Howard took govt debt from 18% of GDP in 1996 to zero by 2005 and less than zero by 2007. He helped more people in one week than you will in your whole life.

    And Howard took away your right to own a AK-47 which somebody with your brain should not own. But you can still get a gun if you want one

  50. cynical1

    The bars are full of Monday morning quarterbacks.

    Not many got to the Superbowl and had a shocker…

  51. cynical1

    Freezing in the face of Riley was a key moment.

    A rip roaring verbal slaying would have been priceless.

  52. Garry

    Spoken like a true leader. Time in the wilderness has forged a steel rod in his spine. For the sake of Australia this man needs to be brought back!

  53. Haidee

    He froze in the face of Riley, because he couldn’t believe that he hadn’t won him over.
    He had faith in his ability to win people over.
    And he wanted to throw a punch? Who could blame him

  54. struth

    These are schweinehund nobody would wish on their worst enemies, but Tony had to work with.

    Tony had to LEAD them.
    Big difference.

  55. Helen

    These are schweinehund nobody would wish on their worst enemies, but Tony had to work with. Blokes and Sheilas who’d possibly stand out in the opposition party, but leave the rest of us scratching our collective heads as to what on earth they were doing in a Coalition government.

    It is the same all over, Warty, chucking out Newman by not giving him a safe seat, CLP reduced to 2 in the NT, lieboral governments indistinguishable from Labor, all because of one thing.

    The wrong people being preselected. Who controls pre-selection?

    Why are conservatives preselecting lefties? The same will happen to Bernadi’s party – just give it time.

    So that is the root cause, what is the solution?

  56. Helen

    He froze in the face of Riley, because he couldn’t believe that he hadn’t won him over.

    He controlled himself from punching the cocksucker in the face because Riley is the worst kind of scumbag with his gotcha safe behind his camera man. Riley will never know what it is to talk man to man, because he is not a man. He is a grub.

  57. old bloke

    jupes
    #2426727, posted on June 29, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    He also got rid of the emissions trading scheme, which he said at the time would bring power prices down.

    Well it probably slowed the rate of power price rises. However if the RET was scrapped, then power prices would fall.

    Too bad Abbott didn’t have the balls to even try and do that when he had the chance.

    Out of fairness to TA, he did try to get rid of the RET. He scrapped the Climate Council, and with Fatty Palmer’s support, scrapped the Carbon Tax. Abbott wanted to get rid of the RET also, but Palmer wouldn’t support him there. Palmer made a concession to Al Gore to retain the RET if Fatty Gore stood next to him on the stage to announce the removal of the Carbon Tax. With hindsight, it’s amazing that the stage didn’t collapse when those two gentlemen shared it.

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