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.