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Should the Abbott receive absolution?

4 January, 2010

Tony Abbott is now the leader of the opposition and whatever tears or laughs his performance ends up providing, it will probably be worth it for most – except for, of course, Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party, the environment and the list could go on…

There is something about Abbott that I don’t trust. It’s more than just his facial features and gestures that could be likened to that of a lizard, probably a goanna (or as reb puts it so much better in the comments: I am suspicious of his duplicitous lip-licking lizard-like demeanour). It is more than just describing himself as the ideological love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop and more than his performance as a minister in the Howard government. While these reasons would be enough, I think it is really because almost everytime he speaks I feel like saying – that’s bullshit. Some describe him as a straight shooter or honest, but sorry, I don’t buy it. He refused to disclose to the AEC who contributed to the  trust fund he set up for Australians for Honest Politics which eventually led to the imprisonment of Pauline Hanson. It seems Abbott is all for ‘honest politics’ as long as it doesn’t include him.

Shortly after being elevated to leader, Abbott asked us to forgive him his past actions:

I probably should, I suppose, apologise now for all my errors of the past. Make a clean breast of them, if you like, and ask the public to judge me from this point.

So should we forgive Abbott his ‘past errors’? Personally, I believe it is healthy to forgive but not forget. But wait! What’s this? Later, the same evening:

KERRY O’BRIEN: OK. So when you appealed to the public today not to judge you by your past actions, what sins in particular would you like us to forgive and forget?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, this is not a confessional and you can’t give me absolution.

KERRY O’BRIEN: You don’t know that. Depends what the sins are in your eyes.

TONY ABBOTT: Look, I’m not going to detail them, because I’m sure others will detail them for me. I’m sure the Labor Party is already getting its attack ads ready. So, look, all I ask for is to be judged on what I do.

So it seems Abbott does not want our forgiveness after all and believes we are unqualified to give it! Unfortunately for Abbott, we the public are the only ones who he needs to give him political absolution. So we are qualified and we can forgive him, but it looks like we will have to keep on forgiving him because Abbott has already started talking bullshit and opposing for opposition’s sake. He also seems to believe that we are all stupid as he is reintroducing some old Howard government policies, except for an emissions trading scheme. He forgets that the majority of us didn’t like them. So let’s judge him on what he has done since becoming leader of the opposition.

Abbott has been dishonest about the reason for the Reserve Bank raising interest rates:

each and every interest rate rise over the next 12 months is due to the irresponsible spending spree of the Rudd government.

That’s bullshit, Tony. That one ran out of steam for most people long before the last election.

An emissions trading scheme is a great big new tax that is really about wealth distribution:

…Mr Rudd’s emissions trading scheme that’s basically a great big tax, to produce a giant political slush fund, to generate endless wealth transfers to the Labor Party’s favoured constituencies. […] When Mr Rudd boasts that “most” low income earners will enjoy 120 per cent compensation for their increased costs he demonstrates that this is redistribution policy dressed up as climate change policy.

That’s bullshit, Tony. I’m sure we will continue to hear the phrase GREAT BIG NEW TAX till the next election. It was also the Liberal Party’s ‘great big new tax’ going into the last election and one that they were going to support until the leadership spill elected Abbott as leader. It is also a policy that the Howard government would have believed they had a mandate for.

Now, Abbott has hired his ideological father’s former press secretary, Tony O’Leary, as well as  former Howard adviser, Stephen Galilee, to be his deputy chief of staff in charge of strategy. And yet he says:

I hope to be John Howard’s political heir, not his clone.

Well how about some fresh ideas and new people then?

In his latest act of compassion Abbott will turn back asylum seekers’ boats:

I think he [Rudd] needs to explain to the Australian public what he’s going to do to secure our borders and to stop the flow of boat people.

What does Abbott mean when he says this:

What I’ve said is that there are four elements to effective border protection. First, you’ve got to have good relations with the source countries. Second, you’ve got to have rigorous offshore processing. Third, you’ve got to have a temporary visa so that people who come in an unauthorised way don’t necessarily win the great prize of permanent residency in Australia. And fourth, in the right circumstances you’ve got to be prepared to turn boats around.

Now, Mr Rudd said that he would do this prior to the last election. He hasn’t had the steel to do this since he’s been Prime Minister.

I imagine that when the Vietnamese were seeking asylum here, we would have had great relations with that country, and temporary visas worked well too, didn’t they? As for turning the boats around, is it possible to establish a person’s refugee status at sea? If it is, why do we have to take asylum seekers to a processing centre? If it’s not, then it is a despicable act and a breach of international law. Abbot may one day be Australia’s new man of steel but so much for him saying that:

The next Liberal government will incorporate John Howard’s principles and values, but it won’t just replay his policies.

While it may seem laughable that Tony Abbott could one day be the Prime Minister, stranger things have happened. I still don’t understand how John Howard occupied the position for so long. In his book Battlelines, Abbot says he believes that while it will not be easy, the Liberal Party can certainly win the next election. It is a scary thought that this man may have been a priest but for the intervention of his penis and a random phonecall to a friend who was about to close on a multi-billion-dollar contract. These two factors made Abbott think he was not getting the most out of life, and have now led to him to be the alternative Prime Minister.

I started Abbott’s book Battlelines in November but put it aside for better books. However, I will finish it and make some posts on the man who wants to be Australia’s new man of steel. In the meantime this is a insightful read on the Abbott and the Women and shows why Abbott needs to seek further absolution from his high priest, the voting public.

Update. The Abbott will have to come up with another idea as Indonesia has said Australia needs to deal with boats in their own waters. Tony has also been talking IR reforms. Looks like this absolution caper may be a daily thing…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. 4 January, 2010 2:04 pm

    Top post!

    The only person that thinks that Tony Abbott has got a remote hope of winning the next election is Tony Abbott.

    Despite appearances, the polls for Tony Abbott as Leader of the Liberal party are abysmal.

    Like you, I am suspicious of his duplicitous lip-licking lizard-like demeanour. So much so that I can’t stand watching him um and ah on television.

    But on the other hand, question time will be hilarious of the policy vacuum that is the Coalition will be on display for all to see that it is an empty charade devoid of any original thought or contemporary relevance.

  2. 4 January, 2010 2:40 pm

    “duplicitous lip-licking lizard-like demeanour”

    You put it so much better, I might have to include it in the post.

    I anticipate question time and politics in general being so much fun this year that I’m concerned about the amount of work I’ll get done. My fear for the next election stems from my fellow Australians restoring the Howard government to power as many times as they did. I know the opposition have Buckley’s, but still…

  3. 4 January, 2010 9:04 pm

    Just one simple question Ileum : would you ever vote for any member of the coalition?
    Because I doubt that you would and as such it would not matter who the conservatives have as their leader.

  4. 5 January, 2010 8:31 am

    Not while they have a policy that endangers the most basic of human rights for asylum seekers.

    According to the latest polls it seems alot of people won’t be voting for them:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/labor-on-top-as-regional-cities-swing-back/story-e6frg6nf-1225815371338

    http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2010/calculator/?swing=national&national=4.3&nsw=0&vic=0&qld=0&wa=0&sa=0&tas=0&act=0&nt=0&retiringfactor=1.5

  5. 9 January, 2010 10:47 am

    Abbott’s 4 principles for asylum seekers is actually a relatively robust framework… only that one suspects that #4 is in fact, and unfortunately, #1 in practice. Howard summed this up in his “we will decide who comes to this country” off the hip statement. Further, “good relations with the source country can be tricky, as the source country of the people and the boats (and port of call before oz) that finally bring them to Australia are bound to be different.

    And, for the record, I vote for robust policies, not political parties.

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