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Down the rabbit hole

21 August, 2010

Winning the next election won’t be easy but it’s certainly possible.

Last night as I was reflecting on the election campaign I decided to have another flick through Tony Abbott’s Battlelines. It seemed appropriate since there is real chance of Abbott being the next prime minister. He is a man whose interest in public life was “first stirred as a child reading the Ladybird books”. A man who understands “that you have to engage people before you can give them orders”. While reading, a few things stood out. Of course this is just my interpretation of Abbott and what he has written, but if it is correct, it seems to show that Abbott is following in his ideological father’s footsteps. Something, it could be imagined he would continue to do in government. What a suprise.

The origin of “gospel truth” and and “carefully prepared scripted remarks” seems to come from his earlier experiences:

I soon discovered that it was harder to take intellectual short cuts or to get away with debating tricks if your case had to stand up in print rather than just to sound plausible in melee of voices.

Personally every time he opens his mouth(to speak) I feel like saying ‘that’s bullshit.’ It normally is. How anyone could believe  him, let alone vote for him, is beyond me.

There seems to be some similarity between the coalition’s current slogan and Hanson’s:

“Hanson attacked Howard for not standing up, as she put it, for the ‘real  Australia’.”

And the coalition:

Stand up for Australia. Stand up for real action.

Or: Stand up for [real] Australia. We’ll make a difference with our real action plan. STOP THE BOATS

If Abbott is the ideological love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop then perhaps Pauline Hanson could be his ideological sister.

Asylum seekers become the “law and order” issue for the federal election. Even though both parties have engaged in getting tough on law and order in this campaign, this is usually left for state governments and oppositions to outbid each other on toughness.

Abbott is comfortable using asylum seekers as a political football. He offers two reasons in Battlelines:

There’s little doubt that some Liberal voters were uneasy about the government’s positions on these issues [asylum seekers and climate change]. Those that were going to change their votes on them, though, almost certainly would have done so prior to the 2007 poll.


Labor ended up backing the government’s treatment of unauthorised arrivals and special laws to make it harder for illegal entrants to stay.

The Liberals have been light on policy detail. As well as “standing up” for something they will “do the right thing” and “end the waste, pay back debt, stop new taxes, stop the boats”. The reason for lack of detail may be this:

…the coalition did not have extensive, exhaustively detailed policies going into the 1996 election. […] By 1996, under Howard, the party’s policy orientation had been tempered by pragmatism and was certainly expressed in more genial terms.

  • Unfinished post. Have to attend a wedding. The groom wants to stop the boats. Can’t wait…….
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