A reminder to those who think Tony made no difference

This is by Dominic Perrottet, Finance Minister in the government of NSW Premier Mike Baird: Abbott’s Legacy Must Live On. I am choosing the same excerpt that was used by Andrew Bolt but you ought to read it all:

Going against the grain isn’t easy. For all that’s written about Tony Abbott’s prime ministership, it must be recognised that he went against the grain for the good of the country. Under the last Labor government, over 50,000 people arrived illegally by boat, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars. According to the ‘Canberra consensus’, this was simply the ‘new normal’ and nothing could be done….

Abbott went against the grain. He pledged to stop the boats.

Deterrence doesn’t work, thundered the Greens. A pig-headed refusal to accept reality, wrote Michelle Grattan. A policy that risks lives, said Mike Carlton. In the face of this opposition, Abbott delivered. Since the 2013 election, just one boat has arrived. Lives saved, borders secured, order restored.

On climate change, the “consensus” was more of the same. Climate Armageddon was nigh, we were told, so businesses and individuals must cough up billions of dollars.

Abbott took a more measured approach… This in the face of a climate orthodoxy that successfully frightened governments in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland into spending tens of billions of dollars on desalination plants that, to this day, sit idle while dams fill and flood.

So Abbott again went against the grain and promised to scrap the carbon tax. Too difficult to undo, said Labor. Impractical and disruptive, according to the SMH‘s Peter Hartcher. Reckless and disturbing the status quo, said Michelle Grattan.

In the end, the people agreed with Abbott, and the carbon tax was abolished. So, too, the business-killing mining tax, which just about every talking head in Canberra agreed was a great idea — right before the iron ore price crashed.

It has been said that conservatives are often in government, but rarely in power, in part because many centre-right governments simply accept the status quo, failing to reverse bad policy. Tony Abbott not only opposed bad policy, he actually rolled it back, and he did it decisively and quickly in the face of a hostile Senate and an intransigent Labor Party…

Meanwhile, going against the grain on climate change and boat arrivals earned Abbott the abject hatred of the political Left, as did stripping terrorists of their dual-citizenship, challenging the conformist orthodoxy of the ABC and opting for the will of the people to decide on gay marriage. Despite this, much like John Howard before him, the secret of Abbott’s initial success was simple: he addressed the concerns of the silent majority – not the chattering classes – using Liberal principles.

With a change of leader there will be a temptation to downplay, even do away with, the achievements of the Abbott government. This would be a mistake for several reasons.

Firstly and most importantly, conservative policies are not fantasies – they apply in the real world, and they work. The boats have stopped, the taxes have been axed, free trade agreements signed and the budget on track for repair. The country is the better for all that.

Secondly, any shift to the left would be a betrayal of the Liberal base, which is profoundly and unapologetically conservative. They do not get their talking points from Q&A or The Age. They will have no truck with a government delivering a Labor agenda in Liberal clothing.

Thirdly, Liberal electoral success has always come from the centre-right.

The good that men do is oft interred with their bones. In this case, not yet, but brave to say it all the same. And when you realise the amount of white-anting Tony had to deal with, you get a measure of just how uphill his battles were.

This entry was posted in Federal Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to A reminder to those who think Tony made no difference

  1. Pusnip says:

    Ho hum, more blinkered, self-justifying piffle from supporters of a failed leader. It follows Brian Loughane’s declaration that the Libs were’on track’ to win the next election under Abbott – LOL. Still, I’m not surprised to see that sorest of losers, Crazy Kates, endorsing this sort of delusional, self-justifying bollocks.

  2. Driftforge says:

    Firstly and most importantly, conservative policies are not fantasies – they apply in the real world, and they work. The boats have stopped, the taxes have been axed, free trade agreements signed and the budget on track for repair. The country is the better for all that.

    Problem is that conservative policies just stop things getting worse, they don’t make them better.

    The boats stopped but the people who should never have come are still here.
    Taxes have been axed but the budget was never balanced, and no serious effort was made to do so.
    The green industry was merely put to sleep for a few years, not killed off and salted.
    Not even the smallest bit of the anti-discrimination act was wound back.

    Tony conserved, and did so well. It’s just that conservatism is useless in the long run because it never takes back ground it has lost.

  3. Just interested says:

    Yes, if only Abbott could actually communicate a vision; that’s we he failed…….

  4. goatjam says:

    Yes, boats and carbon tax were victories. But they came in the first 6-9 months of their term. After that there was nothing but back flips and missteps and a refusal to confront head on the main issues in Australia.

    Now, an argument could be made that the reason for this failure to prosecute conservative policies and ideals was due to the overwhelming number of wets and leftists in the Liberal Party but if that argument is ever put forth you will be arguing that the Liberal Party must be destroyed because it has already been corrupted beyond the point of redemption.

  5. Toiling Mass says:

    I am always a bit wary when a politician talks about their vision – they tend to be a little presciptive (and formulated to seduce voters).

    I don’t want them to envision me enjoying my freedoms. I want them to sod off and leave my freedom to me.

  6. Alfonso says:

    Yes, if only Abbott was something more than a social conservative. Loved his work on govt spending.

  7. lordazrael says:

    Goatjam – that sums up pretty much my position. The liberal party is now beyond redemption as it has been captured by the wets and value free oportunists who go along with the populist agenda

  8. I am the Walras, Equilibrate and Price Take says:

    I agree with most of the comments.

    But with thinking like Perrottet’s, there is hope.

  9. mundi says:

    It’s unfortunate that Abbott was never able to properly explain why other changes needed to be made. The constant back flipping was an embarrassment, and completely undid all the good work

  10. …but if that argument is ever put forth you will be arguing that the Liberal Party must be destroyed because it has already been corrupted beyond the point of redemption.

    I can accept that, Goatjam. Let it be a lesson to future political parties – your base counts.

  11. You know what?

    I still think of that IPA speech that Tony Abbott made, in which he actually promised to do everything necessary to turn this country around.

    And I remember his claim on election night that Australia was now open for business.

    Boy, we still have a long way to go.

  12. struth says:

    Or Steve, you could have thought of it like, this…..
    He was voted in to stop the boats and the MAJORITY of Australia was behind him,
    He had overwhelming support to be more right wing than anyone elected previously.
    Like most of his party, he really didn’t believe in the core values and backed down from them in the face of the noisy MINORITY.
    The party are worse under Malcom but that is no reason to make a liar a saint.
    Please get over it.
    The party is pathetic and no longer believes in the ideology, just the winning.
    That’s why theyll lose.
    A L A or family first.

  13. Peredur says:

    I suppose some of the 54 will read the article and cringe. If asked for a response what would they say?
    “Well, we looked into the tea-leaves … but, hey!, a horse of a different colour is still a horse.” Being so well informed they will no doubt recognise New Labor when they see it.

  14. Struth says:

    We have one great problem in this country, one that if we could solve it, many others problems would be fixed overnight.
    The media.
    As I often say, it all starts in our schools.
    Western hating leftists are all our media are since the commos took over the education system.
    blah, blah…….you all know this.
    The only reason Malcom was chosen over Abbott is his perceived ability to handle the media.
    That’s it.
    The gutless liberal party dance to the media’s drum.
    As we are told, the rest of us don’t matter.

  15. Marcus Classis says:

    Now if imagine if Lord Wentworth Malcolmrudd the Flaccid had gotten behind the government in which he was a Minister and worked to implement conservative principles instead of working to betray them for personal gain.

    Imagine an ABC firmly disciplined and forced to adhere to its charter, imagine a Communications Minsiter who had bluntly said ‘PM, you are not communicating and here’s why. Here’s how to fix it. BTW, fix it or I quit.’

    Instead he weaselled and conspired, sucked up to his enemies, backstabbed and betrayed his friends. And will deservedly lose the next election because of that.

  16. . says:

    Tony’s best:

    Royal Commission into Unions

    Worst: Sacking Johnston for offending the unions over telling the truth that shipbuilding in Australia is an ongoing joke.

  17. john of dandenong says:

    Good upon you Dominic.

  18. Delta A says:

    Worst: Sacking Johnston for offending the unions over telling the truth that shipbuilding in Australia is an ongoing joke.

    Second worst: wimping out on 18c.

  19. Iren says:

    Instead he weaselled and conspired, sucked up to his enemies, backstabbed and betrayed his friends. And will deservedly lose the next election because of that.

    Yes, indeed!

  20. A Lurker says:

    …you will be arguing that the Liberal Party must be destroyed because it has already been corrupted beyond the point of redemption.

    And the problem with that is?

  21. Viva says:

    It’s no good going on and on about it. The Abbott persona and modus operandi were a turn off to too many people.

  22. Simon says:

    Mate… If Tony had just repaired the budget and cut government hiring for 5 years he could invited the 3rd world here, unionised every work force, discriminated against whites and I would still have given him the benefit of a doubt. But the “unfunded feel good” conservative is just as unpalatable as the contemporary “unfunded feel good” lefty. You see it’s the failure to come to grips with the money issues that is the problem. All other concerns are lightweight. If you can’t pay for it you wont be getting it.

  23. Baa Humbug says:

    “Oh! The poor man’s job was so difficult, all those nasties working against him, the treacherous allies out to get him yada yada yada” is the refrain followed by “he got rid of the carbon tax, the mining tax and stopped the boats”.

    Tony Abbott spent years and years and years aiming for the job and training for the job. Furthermore, he told us across 2 elections that he was up to the job. The buck must stop with him, period.
    No amount of whinging and whining about the difficulties faced by any Australian Prime Minister will erase the fact that the buck stopped with him, he owns ALL decisions and consequences thereof.
    His last couple of media forays reminded me of Gillard and Rudd whinging after their loses.

    Regarding his achievements, let’s get real, the carbon tax was opposed by the majority and the mining tax nearly lost money and yet Abbott still gave unnecessary concessions to the cross benches to get rid of these taxes. He took the easy options.
    On the boats, there was a clear blue print left by the Howard Government plus the silent majority were behind him. Not a difficult task politically, a difficult task operationally.

    On other issues important to Abbotts base:
    He betrayed them on S18c and free speech in general.
    He squibbed it with the language he used regarding muslim terrorists.
    He didn’t go after the crooked activists at the BoM and CSIRO and the Barrier Reef Authority.
    He increased taxes just like a luvvie socialist would.

    In short, he took the easy option on most matters [OTHER THAN THOSE THAT ARE PERSONALLY IMPORTANT TO HIM such as Knighthoods, protecting Credlin, Hockey, Sinodinos (how’d that work out?) and others] and can best be described as an uninspiring average at best Prime Minister.
    Comparing him to incompetent others – past and future – misses the point that after much much promise, Abbott was a big big disappointment.
    End rant.

  24. eb says:

    Some people here seem to be under the impression that just because they hate Turnbull, he will lose the next election. I actually think he will win. And yes, I think Abbott would’ve won as well.

    El Presidente Wentworth will then be hailed as the visionary the country needs and start to implement lefty policy in earnest. He may usher in a long period of Liberal government. The ALP may be squeezed between the Greenfilth and the new Laborlite Liberals and have nowhere to go. They may even come back as extreme left, just like Britain’s Labour Party.

    Grimly, I see an Australia turning inevitably more left.

  25. I think those last two comments are both spot on.

    Well done.

  26. Driftforge says:

    Possibly his best act was the restoration of Knighthoods. Utter balls up of selling it though.

  27. Pyrmonter says:

    Driftforge: which is but a small example of the tragic incompetence of the last government. I was often right, but entirely unable to persuade the 75% of the population who aren’t committed conservatives of this.

  28. Oh come on says:

    It’s the cynicism that I can’t bear. Turncoat is being lauded as the ‘innovative visionary’ and we’re supposed to view his gaggle of ‘listening tours’ as evidence of his open-minded, take-nothing-off-the-table, pragmatic approach to policymaking. Bollocks. The opposite is true. He had a plan to become PM. He clearly has no plan what to do now he’s finally in the job. Hence all the begging for ‘ideas’. This won’t work forever; soon he’ll be expected to deliver on policy. Seeing as though he’s followed the Rudd/Gillard playbook to the letter thus far, no doubt we’ll see him spitting out left right and centre half-baked, poorly-costed, unfunded brainfart populist policies in a series of increasingly desperate efforts to gain electoral traction.

    This form of governing was rightly punished in 2010 and 2013, and it should again be punished at the next election. People who claim the ALP in government will be worse than the Libs may be correct, but a Shorten ALP government won’t be a great deal worse, thanks to the events of recent weeks and the “centrist” reorientation of the LP under Turncoat. Do you really want all of this to be the new normal for your party?

  29. Struth says:

    I can’t wait for ALA to start up.
    I will be joining.
    They might not be perfect on everything but they seem pretty close to me.
    Once they are known, I reckon you’ll see the fastest growing party in Australia’s history, and by the way the manifesto is written, they seem to be much more switched on than one nation ever were.

  30. 1234 says:

    Poor old Steve – bwwaaaaa! Still stuck in the denial stage of grieving. He has such a long way to go. Just face it, Abbott wasn’t good or brave (how quaint) he was only ever a stuntman and liar, not PM material
    Get a life Steve.

  31. Oh come on says:

    I can’t speak for Steve, numbers, but I will say it’s a good thing to learn what the Liberal Party genuinely stands for sooner rather than later – in the same way it’s good to discover cancer as soon as possible, and for the same reason.

  32. Gerry says:

    Well the amount of harassment and denigration coming from this site certainly didn’t help …..barracking for Blessed David who could be as pure as the driven snow because he didn’t have to make anything happen ….now some people on here seem to be having second thoughts – bit late don’t you think ?

  33. Ant says:

    Let’s face it, with the exception of very few individuals, the media were complete bastards.

    For Abbott while some the damage the media did was partly self inflicted, the rest can’t be appreciated rationally by somebody like me, I think.

    Some of his mistakes were in response to the relentless mauling he received or would have received in hyper-escalated form had he not taken some of the silly measures he had,

    For example, if it hadn’t been for the stratospherically stupid, deceitful and ill-founded “misogyny” nonsense (pre-Gillard’s speech even) it’s doubtful he would have tried something as dumb as his parental leave scheme.

    If it hadn’t been for some of the slurs against his character and genuine warm hearted offerings to minorities it’s doubtful he would have dropped 18C.

    It really is incredible how some of my Abbott-despising acquaintenances can’t get beyond the “bullshit” word he used with Nicola Roxon all those years ago as the only real example they can drag out as “evidence” of his “misogyny”, despite the avalanche of evidence to the contrary.

    I really have tried to dig deep into this with them in an attempt to understand the naked hatred, because it goes well beyond him being a Liberal politician.

    It’s got virtually nothing to do with him being a Liberal. I’m talking about the visceral hatred stuff here, not the plain old revulsion they have towards any other Liberal.

    It’s all about his social conservativism – pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-monarchy, devout Catholic, former priest trainee, anti-AGW (or anti their new religion) etc. In short, a longing for a less “progressive” strain to the social trajectory of the country.

    Strange, they have historically hated the institution of marriage yet pretend that without Peter being able to marry Paul the country’s a homophobic toilet.

    Stuff that makes a bee’s dick’s bit of difference to the vast majority of Australians who work, pay tax and don’t want their lives harrassed by government.

    For the left, they’d rather see the country destroyed by debt, open borders, diminished free speech, imploding institutions, failing industries, etc , as long as their gay mate next door can get married and a woman is free to kill her baby 3 seconds before he or she is delivered healthy to the world.

  34. Andrew says:

    Mate… If Tony had just repaired the budget and cut government hiring for 5 years he could invited the 3rd world here, unionised every work force, discriminated against whites and I would still have given him the benefit of a doubt.

    Actually he cut PS positions by around 8%, which is quite incredible. This did nothing for the budget, as the corrupt Treasury had allowed Krudd to put 14000 cuts into the forward estimates without actually announcing the cuts. A666ott actually made more progress on overstaffing than any PM in history, without any gains from it.

    Abolishing CEF before it turned into an ETS was the greatest achievement in history. CEF was a national suicide note. Had the WBCT been allowed to turn into an ETS and direct our taxes to OTHER govts the country would have been destroyed.

    One stat: the foreign carbon credit programme Gillard signed us up to was as big an outflow as WW1 reparations for Germany. Which they launched WWII to evade after it triggered hyperinflation in 1923 and brought in the Nazis. Yes, that big.

  35. Jo Smyth says:

    Ant, agree with you. I also think, as well as the totally feral left wing media and ABC, he didn’t get any support whatsoever from Waffles who was on a 2 year mission to become the PM.

  36. John says:

    First and fatal mistake Abbott made was not to call double dissolution the moment that Senate provided the trigger. Everything after that is academic.

  37. First and fatal mistake Abbott made was not to call double dissolution the moment that Senate provided the trigger. Everything after that is academic.

    +1

  38. Dan says:

    the budget on track for repair.

    LOL

  39. Oh come on says:

    Big risk, John. No guarantees you’ll get the result you’re looking for, particularly if the trigger is a policy that the electorate isn’t terribly keen on. By and large, the electorate resents elections it considers to be called unnecessarily early.

    A much better strategy would have been to avoid creating DD triggers in the first place by getting their bills through the Senate. The Abbott government should have fostered much, much closer, warmer and more productive relationships with the Senate crossbench. Not Xenophon – he’s more closely aligned with the Greens than anyone else. But the others were all too often ignored, treated shabbily or not indulged when they should have been (ie. Lambie’s pigheaded but far from politically unpopular, and actually rather astute, stance over ADF pay), and floated legislation expressly designed to kick them out and keep them out at the next ballot. The LP suing the LDP. Madness. Bolt and several other commentators insulted the crossbenchers as “feral”. Would he and the government have preferred dealing with a Senate where the Greens hold the balance of power? No. The current Senate is much friendlier to a conservative government than the previous one was.

    The gove mismanagement of the relationship between the government

  40. Oh come on says:

    Shit

  41. Oh come on says:

    The Abbott government’s single greatest avoidable error (ie the peculiarities of Abbott’s personality weren’t the cause of the error) was the utter mismanagement of the relationship between his government and the Senate crossbenchers. The fact that some of them might have seemed “feral” at times is actually a symptom of the Abbott government’s failure to bring them onside.

  42. Oh come on says:

    It’s all about his social conservativism – pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-monarchy, devout Catholic, former priest trainee, anti-AGW (or anti their new religion) etc. In short, a longing for a less “progressive” strain to the social trajectory of the country.

    The irony is that, in practice, Abbott was hardly an ideologically-driven PM, and at no time while PM did he attempt to place any rosaries on the ovaries of the mostly barren, childless old crones for whom it was a moot point, but for a few short hours with their silly placards when they could pretend it wasn’t of those who wished to make it clear that they did not desire such a peculiar procedure, and the like. It was all about perception. Misguided, most certainly. And who enthusiastically and knowingly fed that misguided perception – by the
    shovel-load – into the mouths of the electorate?

    I’m referring to the irrational hatred/unpopularity of Abbott the individual. By rights, he should have been liked – at least respected. Yet, the qualities we admire greatly were never recognised in Abbott, who it seems possessed them in spades. The MSM must have known this. They also would have known Abbott preferred to do his good deeds anonymously – a preference they were only too happy to grant. Contrast with Rudd’s ultra-conspicuous Brisbane floods “shoe rescue”.

    Abbott is a good, honourable man. History won’t pay much attention to that. Not a good PM. That will go down in history. The question is – if the electorate were given the opportunity to make a more accurate assessment as to Abbott’s character, might he have had the political leeway to be a better PM?

  43. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B. says:

    Once they are known, I reckon you’ll see the fastest growing party in Australia’s history, and by the way the manifesto is written, they seem to be much more switched on than one nation ever were.

    They will have to take care that they are not seen as crazies and uninformed fools. Saw Pauline Hanson the other night saying that South Africa didn’t have the internet so saying the internet radicalized Muslims was thus disproven. The woman has wool in her head and so did One Nation, a mish-mash of horrors and errors.

    If ALA sounds anything like them then it will go belly up just as they did. It has to sound rational and informed and make a clear case for the changes that need to be made. Unless this happens and the ALA can deliver a decisive electoral (and intellectual) shock, then eb above is right and the country will drift far more to the left. For the rest of it, Abbott tried, achieved some things, but mostly failed to connect and explain, and did not deliver the tough medicine of real economic reform.

  44. sabrina says:

    Tony was a great opposition leader, Steve – no doubt about that.

  45. 1234 says:

    Bullshit, Abbott wasn’t a good, honorable man, at least publicly. Maybe amongst his friends, associates and family. He was a liar and a fraud, saying one thing before the election and doing another thing after, and that was after he made such a song and dance about politicians keeping their promises when LOTO. He stared down the barrel of a camera and said, “no cuts …..”. A liar and fraud.

  46. Tom says:

    You’re right, Numbers. He lied his fucking head off because, in the end, like the Liars, he believes in nothing he’s prepared to stand up for, except whatever it takes to achieve power.
    Do you realise, if the Lieborals actually believed in responsible fiscal management, federal government spending (increasing at 3% p.a. to keep pace with inflation since 2006-07) would now be $300 billion p.a. instead of $435 billion after the Liars-Lieboral spending binge of the past decade? That is, everyone household in Australia would now have around $14,000 per annum in their pocket that hasn’t instead been confiscated by the government.

    Fucking outrageous, isn’t it?

  47. Pusnip says:

    Sorry Sabrina, but Abbott was in fact a poor opposition leader. The predicament the Liberals now find themselves in was set up by Abbott’s weaknesses in opposition, including his ruling our of cuts to health, education etc, his failure to stand against NDIS and Gonski, his absurd paid parental leave promises and his failure to make the general case for reform to the electorate, in preference for 3 word slogans on often n-th order issues.

  48. . says:

    Excellent takedown Tom.

Comments are closed.