Tag Archives: Tony Abbott

The danger of the crowd

John Hewson during the election 1993 election campaign

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As Liberal leaders go I really like John Hewson.  He had the misfortune of losing the ‘unloseable election’ but, while I was really happy that Keating won against all odds, on hindsight we would have a much better Australia, and a much more moderate Liberal Party if he became Prime Minister.

But history dictated that we (from a leftie perspective) paid a heavy price for that extra three years of Labor government.  Howard was elected leader, and as it looks like Abbott at the moment, when a government is in trouble any opposition leader will become PM, notwithstanding his or her popularity.  If there is any gleam of light in the government current disaterous poll situation is that Tony Abbott is not exactly killing it in the popularity stakes either.

It will be also interesting to see if the Government can hold on the onslaught from the opposition and the News Ltd. media whether at election time a direct comparison between Abbott and Gillard may change the current political situation.  While at this stage the Gillard government is doomed, most commentators (even the non-Labor ones) have stated that Abbott has basically used a devastating negative approach with no or little alternative.  There is no reason why Abbott would change this strategy if he sits comfortably 14% more than the government in the polls.

The question remains whether this strategy will still give him such a margin come election time.  Also while Abbott associating himself with the angry discontented with their nasty signs

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may look like he is ‘talking to the real Australian’ I do wonder whether he may also plant some seeds of doubt amongst some voters.

And that’s where the John Hewson comparison comes in.  Election post mortems are always to be taken carefully, but I remember that Michelle Grattan wrote that one of the reasons why Hewson lost was that he went to big public forums which created lots of conflict and heat.  I must admit that I admired him for it, he showed he had guts to argue his case to the public, but Grattan thought that this gave a sense of instability while Keating was at the lodge being calm and in control.  Perhaps this may not apply to Julia Gillard which is a Prime Minister with a minority government, which robs her of a sense of being in control, but if it is the case that despite disliking Gillard, voters may also not trust an alternative Prime Minister that aligns himself with loony conspiracy theorists with nasty signs.

And if Abbott wins government, will he be able to satisfy the frustrations of these people?  As I mentioned in a previous blog Gillard has become a rod for the unhappiness of  a certain group of people, as Bernard Keane stated in Crickey:

….the motivating force behind these groups appears to be more about expressing resentment about social and economic change in recent decades, and particularly because such changes have delivered nothing but difficulties for the demographics we’re talking about: social change has undermined the once-dominant status of older white heteros-xual people and males in particular, and, in the Australian context, economic changes have squeezed them, along with everyone else, into a far more competitive, market-based economy that no longer delivers the sort of certainty they grew up with and that Generation X, in particular, never had.

The trick is, these groups aren’t motivated by any particular issues, however angry they may be about a carbon price or taxes. The issues are mere tokens. It’s more about them and their resentment that the world has changed on them in ways they don’t like and don’t feel comfortable with. It’s the sense of persecution that comes from no longer occupying a privileged position in society but instead having to cope with life just like everyone else.

So once Abbott is Prime Minister, how he is going to satisfy these people?

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My previous post explained.

I must admit that if I’d have to invite politicians at a dinner party, Kevin Rudd wouldn’t be first on the list.

Nothing major against Rudd, just that I don’t know whether he would be someone I’d warm to.

However, while I wouldn’t imagine him as the ideal dinner party guest, he would be my first choice to be the school principal of my son’s school.

I see ultimately Rudd as a competent person with some ability, that is why I am amazed that he dived in the polls so badly, so much so that the Mad Monk could be Prime Minister if we had an election last week.

That is why I did the photoshop I did in the previous post.  That ‘don’t fuck it up’ was placed in blogs that wanted Howard out at the last election.  I guess that Rudd didn’t ‘fuck it up’ then, but the erosion of goodwill is pretty astounding.  That’s a ‘fuck up’.

I was going to write about this, but as it often happens a professional journalist writes about it much better than I could (that’s why they get paid).

This article is by Jack the Insider Blog.  Usually I don’t read anything in ‘The Australian’ as its anti Labor stance is so extreme that it ceased to be anything closely resembling an impartial source of news and comment.  However the article was linked in a tweet by Leigh Sales, so I had a read and I think that he explains Rudd’s predicament very well.

There is a time to expend political capital and a time to greedily store it away. The GFC provided Rudd with political cover to jettison some contentious policy and to stick to his guns in other unpopular policy areas. Yet the hard decisions were put off, pushed back until an election year when the humiliation became palpable. It might be all right to make a policy back flip in an election year but to do so on a weekly basis, reveals that the government is in a tactical black hole.

The first sign that all was not right with the Rudd government’s tactics was its limp response to concerns over asylum seekers in May 2009. In speaking to a few young Labor policy advisers at the time, I was astonished to see the panic in their eyes. The Rudd government was leading by the length of the straight. Nevertheless, the fear was real. “If (the election) runs on border protection, the other mob always win,” was one such comment.

Surely, that was the time to rumble that political truism once and for all. To do so required some political courage and an ability to communicate with the Australian people. It didn’t happen of course. Instead a poll driven or fearful policy response was cobbled together. First it was the Indonesian Solution (which immediately fell into chaos) and more recently, the suspension of refugee processing for Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

It wasn’t just gutless. It was dumb and gutless.

Hawke and Keating are real assets for Kevin Rudd. Sure, they’ll get out in the campaign, glad-hand the party faithful and tell a few amusing stories along the way but they offer more value to the Rudd government than that. They’re experience in the caper is an invaluable resource for a Prime Minister who is struggling to convince voters of his credentials.

Both Hawke and Keating have done the hard political yards. They have traipsed through political mine fields on a daily basis and walked away unscathed. It is inconceivable that veteran campaigners like Hawke and Keating would ever make the same mistakes. That their advice is not sought, as I am led to believe, is staggering.

Both Bob Hawke and Paul Keating would have had Abbott for dinner after two days.  We can’t afford to have that sanctimonious fornicating Catholic dick-showing- in budgie smugglers idiot for Prime Minister.

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How good is that?

Another Grand Final!   How good is that?

Another A-League Grand Final in Melbourne.  How good is that?   Melbourne must have had most of Grand Finals so far in this newish competition.

This will allow me to attend to this spectacle.  And I really hope that Sydney does win next week and meet us at Etihad for the big one.  Firstly because a grand final between the two team that occupied the top two positions for most of the year is justice.  Secondly because a Grand Final between the two biggest cities in Australia would be good for football, and thirdly most importantly for me is that a Sydney win would ensure a spot in the Asian Champion League.  And considering that we are likely to stumble this year I want another shot at it next year.

I know that losing to Sydney would be an issue.  But for me really the main thing is that the code gets a boost whoever win, and I can say that in the scheme of things a Sydney premiership would not be that bad for the competition.  I am happy as long as ‘football is the winner!’

Especially considering that the Australian media still hasn’t given football the attention it should warrant according to the interest it generates.  Les Murray was quite angry about it in his blog.

The 23,000 attendance figure at the SFS for the drama-filled semi final between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory may have disappointed some.

Well, not me, given the low-key treatment the mainstream press gave the event in Sydney prior to its taking place.

It was heartening to see all three metropolitan papers in Sydney leading their sports section the day after the match. But the promotional value for an event comes with the media treatment it gets before it takes place not after it.

In this respect the behaviour of the Sydney media, in particular the Murdoch press, was an utter disgrace.

On that Sunday the Sydney-Melbourne showdown was the biggest sporting event in Sydney by any measure. Yet on the day before the game the Daily Telegraph, Sydney’s biggest selling daily (I’m not sure why), gave less than a tenth of its sports space to the game, burying it, while it dedicated 60 per cent of its allotment to the NRL, which was not due to kick off for another week.

The sleazy, grubby and calculated media resistance to football, five years after Johnny Warren’s death, is alive and well.

The Australian: Tony Abbott’s maternal leave.  How good is that?

The most interesting for me about Tony’s Abbott maternal leave statement is the reaction from the Australian.  If Rudd proposed such a thing he would have been slammed by the Oz from pillar to post as being anti-business and causing massive unemployment never seen since the depression.  But because Abbott said it what do we see?  A smiling mom with her kids saying how good it is.

Cracks are already appearing though.  Not only it is putting business off side.  On closer scrutiny it is also not that equitable either.

There are comments here and there that believe that Abbott will win the elections and we will back into a deep conservative era.  I personally can’t see it.  There have been problems with the Rudd government as with all governments (go back and see the issues and stuff ups which characterised the first Howard term) but it hasn’t been catastrophically bad enough for most voters to wanting change after one term.

Of course the Australian and those in the commentariat (including some at the ABC that follow its stories and should know better) see the narrowing in the polls as proof that Abbott can win.  But Abbott is re-establishing the norm. The approval ratings of Turnbull were so dire that even a drover’s dog (to take the statement of a previous Opposition Leader) would have lift them.

To those thinking that Labor is in trouble I would suggest to follow the excellent blog Mumble.  Since I have followed it has hardly been wrong.

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