Tony Abbott is not Prime Minister material

From Essential via Crikey:

Approval of Tony Abbott’s performance has plunged to its lowest level as Prime Minister and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has again opened up a lead as preferred Prime Minister, today’s Essential Report reveals, as the government ends the year in chaos and recrimination.

The Prime Minister’s approval with voters has slumped seven points from November to 32%, below his previous lowest level of 34%, and equal to his worst performance as opposition leader. Disapproval is up five points to 55%, for a net disapproval rating of 23 points. This includes 15% of Coalition voters, similar to the 16% of Coalition voters who disapproved of Abbott’s performance mid-year in the aftermath of the budget. Abbott’s net disapproval among women voters is a remarkable 34 points.

It caps off a dismal year for the Prime Minister that has seen him lurch deep into negative territory, with a brief international affairs-led recovery choked off by bungling embarrassment at his own G20 meeting and the government’s inability to convince voters or crossbench senators to support its agenda.

My own view is that Abbott is simply not Prime Minister material. Ever since that disastrous G20 appearance at the table with world leaders, Mr Abbott’s appearances have reminded me of a monkey in space, trained to perform basic tasks but lacking in the faculties necessary to go beyond rote learning. He is just as likely to scratch himself inappropriately as he is to give away a billion dollars.

Even The Australian can see it:

FIVE months ago, The Australian warned Tony Abbott that he was still behaving as if he was leader of the opposition, locked into the daily tactic rather than a long term strategy with a team characterised by zealous centralised control.

As the Prime Minister ends his first year with discouraging polls and dissent among his MPs, our original article is well worth re-reading. We have reprinted it below.

From The Australian, July 12

IN HIS first 10 months, Tony Abbott has yet to hit his stride. Although his government has avoided scandals — assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos stepped aside while the Independent Commission Against Corruption looks into his prior business interests — it has failed to set the political agenda, inspire voters and make headway on reforms that would preserve our lifestyle.

The Prime Minister is behaving and framing his language as if he were opposition leader. His priorities are still narrowly devoted to stopping the boats, ending waste and getting rid of the noxious taxes that were Labor’s negatives. Like Mr Rudd, he is locked into the daily tactic rather than the medium and long-term strategy that a nation’s chief executive must focus on. The Abbott team is characterised by zealous centralised control, with the hunting down of leaders to maintain discipline.

Like I said. A basic primate on a leash, not a PM.

Crikey’s goes on:

Bill Shorten’s approval ratings have drifted slightly lower this month, but at 35% (down two)/39% (up one), they’re about where they’ve been since mid-year — and his disapproval rating also includes 15% of Labor voters, but that’s around about average for Shorten. The Opposition Leader’s ratings since being elected after the 2013 election have been far more consistent than the Prime Minister’s.

The kingslayer is no better. His only qualification is the Machiavellian slaughter of erstwhile leaders. If he’s Prime Minister material then I’m Elvis Presley.

Give us a bloody leader, Libs, someone that can think through a problem on its merits and act accordingly.

Houses and Holes
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Comments

  1. “Give us a bloody leader, Libs.”

    Only Followers hanker for Leaders.

    I certainly don’t want a “leader”. I don’t want to be “led”.

    I want an administrator who will quietly and unpretentiously implement the democratic preferences of The People as expressed indirectly through an elected legislature and (as necessary) directly through initiative-and-referendum.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Ha ha I’ll give you that Bubba — I’d take sanity at this stage.

        i think I’d also take Planet of the Apes over Planet of the Abbotts. No, I’m certain I would.

      • To quote Learned Hand, the famous United States judge:

        When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children’s are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Yeah good luck with that Stephen, these aren’t your run of the mill kids, these are the sociopaths of humanity — they will never ever learn to play together and they’ll never have to because for all of UEs commiseration of the 24hrs news cycle in truth it means they get away with never having to answer for anything that’s more than a month old.

      • Abbott needs to be replaced. If you can’t see it, so do you.

        I don’t think there’s any disagreement he needs to be replaced.

        The point is who (or, rather, what) he should be replaced by.

      • i think he’s doing an alright job HnH – and it looks like the much needed carbon repeal and budget cuts might be complemented by some action on our banking / housing complex if the LIBERAL REQUESTED banking report is anything to go by. The monkey analogy and picture is actually pretty low rank.

    • Ah, so Weber’s ideal bureaucrat? Wouldn’t mind some passionless pollies whose interests are self removed.

      I’d also love a nuclear powered flying car.

      • Take a look at the Swiss Federal Cabinet where seven men and women drawn from all the main parties across the political spectrum sit down and administer policies determined by the Parliament and the People.

        It is not uncommon for a Swiss Minister to be implementing a policy that is actually contrary to his or her own party’s platform.

        The reason for that extraordinary state of affairs is that the Ministers have no Monopoly on Power. Not only are they beholden to Parliament on policy, but any attempt to move beyond the wishes of the People would lead to an immediate referendum to bring them back in line.

        Consequently, megalomaniacs are not attracted to the position.

        If one supports a system (like purely elective government) that guarantees the adverse selection of megalomaniacs, then it is inane to complain about the outcomes.

      • Tough times need tough leadership… we are about to enter very, very tough period, more so than many suspect. If Abbott cannot get what are basic cuts (although in the wrong areas) and does not want to raise taxes – we need someone who can…

        Cut the Swiss bunkum – hard choices are needed. The Swiss form of government would never work in Australia – realistically, it would degenerate, and we would risk being a bunch of different nations within a decade.

        ******

        In saying the above – changing Abbott probably is not the answer. Its us (collectively) that need to change. The ability to make hard choices, raise taxes, cut services, cut the public service. We have had it too good for too long. Now we enter the twilight zone where there are no good choices, and we spend like drunks, for a decade or so.

        Then we will get the leader we need… in the interim we get the leaders we deserve. Bring on Bill Shorten!

      • The Swiss system wouldn’t succeed because attitudes are different. All it takes is a change in attitudes to push past ridiculous socially harmful partisanship.

        English speaking nations seem to have a horrible gravitation to combat in political ideology, ignoring that politics is in existence to serve the people, not to service ideological principles.

      • One of the other advantages of the Swiss system which I forgot to mention previously is its high level of decentralisation.

        Measured in terms of revenues for example, the Swiss federal government is one of the smallest in the world, with a (constitutionally imposed) maximum income tax rate of only 11.5%.

        Such decentralisation limits the scope for rent-seeking which is why it is loathed both by rent-seekers and by those supercilious “experts” who believe they have been granted a Charter from Heaven giving them superior wisdom to their fellow-citizens.

        [Interestingly, not only are Swiss federal taxes low, but all taxes are low. The level of VAT – increased recently by referendum to cover the cost of the national disability insurance scheme – is only 8%, the third lowest in the OECD. Cantonal taxes range from Nil to a maximum of 18% in Geneva. The key to limiting taxes is to stop megalomaniacal politicians pissing money away trying to buy votes and corrupt politicians pissing money trying to benefit their Mates.]

        Decentralisation may be opposed by rent-seekers and snobs, but it is widely supported by people in general.

        This may be seen most vividly in the democratic opposition to centralising measures.

        In Australia, for example, of 32 referendum proposals to centralise power, only 2 were ever passed (the Social Security referendum of 1946 and the transfer of powers over aborigianl people in 1967). This contrasts markedly with the support for non-centralising referendums which runs at 50%.

        The same can be seen in Europe where the only Peoples given a direct vote of the disastrous Euro centralisation (the Danes and the Swedes) wisely voted to opt out, despite the Great-and-the-Good in both countries urging them on to disaster.

        Similarly, with the European “constitution” which was voted down in referendum (most notoriously in France) and then rammed down the throats of Europeans without democratic approval in the form of the Lisbon Treaty.

        Democracy and decentralisation go hand-in-hand.

        Likewise, centralisation, opposition to democracy, and rent-seeking all go hand-in-hand. They all involve the “few” exploiting the “many”.

        For that to happen it is essential that the “many” have no effective democratic say. Hence the opposition to Democracy.

        For that to survive over time, it is necessary to have as large an economic entity as possible to spread the costs. Hence the desire for centralisation.

        Unless reformed, however, it is a system that will eventually collapse under the weight of its own inefficiency.

        The snobs and the rent-seekers may delude themselves into thinking they can find a “Strong Leader” who will make all the “Right” decisions . . . perhaps even make the trains run on time!!!

        But in the end that strategy will fail.

        The question is whether Democracy can be introduced before too much catastrophic damage is done by non-democratic “leaders”.

      • Just can’t comprehend why only Abbott’s copping it. They are all in on it. Get rid of all LNP should be the message. And then start on Labor.

        Get rid of these two parties. That’s what’s needed.

    • Frederic Bastiat

      HnH…”whatever man”???

      It’s a very important distinction that you have never understood

      When you ask for “leaders” you get megalomaniacs and control-freaks.

      As Stephen Morris points out, what is wrong with electing administrative Governments that facilitate private sector ingenuity…rather than Keynesian inspired narcissists that overstate their abilities and create bubbles on top of bubbles.

      • The real issue is the Australian people.

        We voted these idiots in.

        No, we voted Labour out.

        The increase in the Coalition vote was insignificant (about 1% from memory, to hit about 45% of the primary vote). Almost everyone who stopped voting for Labour, went instead to one of the microparties or independents.

  2. Something’s gotta give. And soon.

    Christmas break is the natural opportunity. Would Abbott consider stepping aside, welcoming new leadership, acknowledging his skillset may be better suited to Opposition, acknowledging we need to move forward?

    • Something has to give alright by the looks of things but no chance someone like Abbot would step aside!

      Liberal’s hypocrisy will reach an all time high if he gets knifed though and they will be getting a good dose of their own medicine again…. The same way labor axed Guillard and he was Mr. no a few years back, it’s the other way around with the libs in charge today.

    • “Christmas break is the natural opportunity. Would Abbott consider stepping aside, welcoming new leadership, acknowledging his skillset may be better suited to Opposition, acknowledging we need to move forward?”

      Ha ha ha ha – good one!

      • Frederic Bastiat

        A pugilist at least stands and fights for what they believe in.

        Shorten is a back-stabbing, Machiavellian chameleon

        Your 1TT rants are proving boring, perhaps you should go join GetUp or one of the other mindless organisations that hates all things Liberal for no other reason other than some vague and confused sense of social justice…

        Remember ALP did nothing about the housing bubble, other than intentionally inflate it. Whats that say about their morals and ethics!

      • Frederic – completely agree. Labour completely ballsed up opportunity to rebalance the economy presented by the GFC. They in fact did the complete opposite and houses sky rocketed another 45% in melbourne instead of falling 10 to 15% a la NZ. I reckon thats put my retirement off by another 10 years. The jury’s out on Liberal. Repealing carbon tax was a great idea, ditto many of the budget cuts. If they follow even half of the recommendation from the latest banking report they will stand tall as one of the great reforming govts of the post war period.

  3. Abbott’s free fall began when Obama gave his Barrier Reef speech at the G20.

    Now, why would Obama make such a damaging speech? Early on in Abbott’s tenure, when he and everyone else in the government were full of hubris, someone senior in the government let it be known to a friendly journalist that they thought that Obama was “the lamest of lame ducks”.

    Obviously this was for domestic consumption, but it would have been noted in the White House.

  4. Let’s try election by sortition.

    Sure, we might end up with a Parliament full of incompetents and sociopaths, but most likely we’ll get something other than we now have.

  5. I had some hope that Abbott would surprise us all and prove to be a good PM. Well all hope is lost on that front.

    If not Abbott then who?

    From the LNP I would be happy with Turnbull. Hockey is gone and I don’t think that Bishop could hold it all together (although I believe she would be an asset at the next election).

    But my greatest fear is that Abbott single-handedly leads the LNP to electoral defeat and we end up with that mindless rabble in the ALP led by the least inspiring political leader since Billy McMahon – Bill Shorten.

    • I think Malcolm is already practising the speeches of acceptance he’ll need to give in a short while.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        For whatever reason I first parsed that as “I think Malcolm is already purchasing the speeches of acceptance he’ll need to give in a short while”

        I think my subconscious was onto something.

      • @Mayan – the answers to that question lie back in time – he is an ex-Merchant Banker after all. Google will provide the clues…..

      • @Mayan There’s something off about all of them if you’re picky enough.

        At least MT showed in his time as opposition leader that he was capable of bipartisan policy and compromise. He never went all ‘Dr No’ like the rest of them, which was why he was ousted, and why he should be PM.

        If the Minchins and other wingnuts that control the Liberal Party had kept MT, politics in Australia would be a damn sight less ugly.

      • Everyone forgets that Malcom has had a go at being the Liberal leader and didn’t last very long in the position.

        The real issue is the lack of talent in both majors but the Liberals choices are dire.

        The LNP are one cup short of a tea party.

    • “But my greatest fear is that Abbott single-handedly leads the LNP to electoral defeat and we end up with that mindless rabble in the ALP led by the least inspiring political leader since Billy McMahon – Bill Shorten”

      Agree 100% – but don’t worry Bill will be dumped before the next election -replaced by ?

      I almost think Australians deserve another term of Abbott -(after all he was elected in spite of him being the biggest A$$hole )- just before or after GFC2 -then the Libs will not be elected for the next 20 years ! Bring it on.

      • Ha ha! Yup, Australians are getting what they bloody well deserve. More Abbott would be epic! He and Hockey have exceeded expectations in the ‘full retard’ area.

        Abbott is nothing but a reflection of the electorate. Everyone’s bitching and moaning now that it’s obvious that their living standards are going to drop, but before that dawned on them they were oh so happy to take a dump on refugees, the poor, the disabled, and the young.

        It was all ‘stop the boats, ditch the witch, axe the tax’ ‘interest rates are always going to be lower under a Coalition government’ ‘equity maaaaaate’ rubbish.

        When I look at Australia, I now see nothing but a nation of disappointed, mediocre, angry rent-seeking aspirationals who have recently realised that they aren’t actually members of the privileged class.

        If 55% of the Australian population could take dump on the other 45% so long as their house prices and wages kept increasing, that 55% would vote in Abbott forever.

        It doesn’t matter what system we have. Stupid is as stupid does. Australians have a dirty little bug in their brains that they’re entitled to free money forever by doing nothing more than levering into assets, that they’re very clever for doing so, and that those who failed to do so are undeserving losers who deserve to live as debt slaves.

        One thing and only one thing will kill that dirty little brain-bug, and fix Australian politics and policy. That is a harsh economic downturn. The only thing that stops self-righteous aspirationals supporting policies that dump on the asset-poor and unemployed is when they become asset-poor and unemployed.

        The latest First Dog on the Moon (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/dec/08/first-dog-abbott-spill) contains the word ‘schadenfreudegasm’. I’m pretty sure I’m having one of those, and don’t expect it to stop for quite some time.

      • If 55% of the Australian population could take dump on the other 45% so long as their house prices and wages kept increasing, that 55% would vote in Abbott forever.

        I disagree.

        If you look at the primary vote percentages from the last election, people didn’t vote in the Coalition. Instead they deserted Labor for the minor- and micro-parties like PUP, and independents.

        Also don’t forget that probably 70-80% of the electorate only ever vote for their team, regardless of what their team says or does.

      • drsmithy: perhaps. Perhaps I’m being too harsh.

        However I stand by my statement about that nasty little brain bug. While most Australians have it, don’t expect sane policies to be supported by the public.

        Australian politics has gone bad because the ideas in a sizeable proportion of the peoples’ heads have gone bad.

      • However I stand by my statement about that nasty little brain bug. While most Australians have it, don’t expect sane policies to be supported by the public.

        Australian politics has gone bad because the ideas in a sizeable proportion of the peoples’ heads have gone bad.

        Again, I disagree, and I refer to Stephen Morris’s numerous posts on the topic.

        For the ~20-25% of the population who will seriously contemplate not voting for one of the two major parties, who offers policy options that will remedy the problems ?

        Voters are caught between a rock and a hard place. There’s nobody for them to vote for who will actually make a difference, and there’s no facility in our system for them to easily make that clear. But if you look at the primary votes, they’re at least starting to try.

  6. Give us leaders?

    That will never happen because the puppet masters who bankrolled LNP will never allow a leader because that would interfere with their rent seeking ways.

    • If it means keeping the LNP in power for more than one term, they will allow it. 1TT was their gopher, a mindless attack dog pre-primed with the policies that suit people like Gina and Rupert. The next encumbent may be harder to control, but it’s a chance they’ll have to take.

      • I highly doubt it. What will happen is the old sock puppet will be tossed out, the new sock puppet will be brought in to try to fool the people. If fact they would rather lose and let ALP in than having a real leader, because with ALP, a leader with vision can always be tossed out like Rudd.

    • Australia like many other nations has issues with the political media classes’ ‘policies’ and communication, which have changed over the decades.

      I blame the rise of kooky right wing christian conservatism in the USA in the 60’s but more so the 70s, whose tv/radio/print media and political tactics (not unlike religious cults) have included attempts to dominate (or work in) media, divide society and ensure policy is to their advantage (or just retain the status quo).

      Much ‘debate’ and ‘analysis’ comes down to us vs them, believers vs ‘aethiests’, patriots vs traitors etc., i.e. bypass rational thought and analysis, to make it more emotional, noisier, about beliefs and attack or smear anyone who disagrees…… over time it becomes truth through classical conditioning.

      Then those same conservatives claim ‘McCarthysim’ if called out for their tactics, same whether GOP in the US or AKP the dominant religious party in Turkey, or Putin’s Kremlin (history of Russia = autocracy, othodoxy & nationalism). In tandem politicians the world over appear to be relatively younger compared to the past, but now they have two generations of electorate older than them and demanding attention.

      At the end of the day we end up in Oz with lame monocultural media and political class where Labor and LNP are very very slightly different, and both seem incapable of making successful policy for the future as they are scared of upsetting anyone, least of all the oldies…… at least in the opinion polls…. bit like a footy match that never ends….

  7. Very few have come into the PM role as qualified as Abbott. Rhodes scholar senior minister who instigated some tremendous reforms in Health (beginning to break the iron grip of the AMA) and the construction industry.
    We conservatives are so frustrated at his inability to inspire, despite some great achievements. He has tried to straddle the two roads of fiscal management and social welfare and failed to deliver on either.
    Portraying him as a monkey is unfair – you would of never have done the same for Gillard and she was an infinitely worse leader.
    He needs to ditch all the scripting and focus on fiscal conservatism. Abbott is never going to be loved and he should not try. Though he could be respected, though with such a disjointed fiscal policy that is currently not possible.
    Implementing all of the Murray enquiry would be a great circuit breaker. Most people on this site whilst not liking Abbott may begin to respect him if he were to undertake genuine fiscal reform.

    • A fair assessment of a decent man.

      I do wonder if Abbott’s innate sense of ‘social justice’ impedes a hardline stance necessary to counter media hostility and focus (fixate) on the fiscal.

      • I do wonder if Abbott’s innate sense of ‘social justice’ impedes a hardline stance necessary to counter media hostility and focus (fixate) on the fiscal.

        You’ve completely detached from reality haven’t you.

      • Hahahahahaha! The fruitcakes from the loon pond (3D1K and co) have become parodies of themselves.

        Keep it up, guys! I’m sure you’re convincing a lot of people.

      • You’ve done nothing. That hasn’t justified who “we conservatives” are. Taking ownership of a segment to justify your position, to add perceived weight to it, is absolute garbage.

        Who are these “we conservatives”?. Do not elide past this criticism.

    • Maybe. He spoke about Gough Whitlam in glowing terms the other day. He is not doing it out of trying to be nice, I think he genuinely believes it to be the right thing to say. The people who like Gough are never going to like Abbott, he needs to forget about appeasing people and focus on the economy.
      Also unscripted he is a great orator. Not in the same class as Costello but still very good. Take a risk. He may put his foot in his mouth but he will be himself. Forget all the spin doctors and be himself minus the crazy social welfare stuff.

      • “unscripted he is a great orator”

        I think you are thinking of a different Tony Abbott to the rest of us.

      • yer. This is the problem. He is so fixated on messages etc given to him he is no longer being himself. Hey he is no Churchill though he has delivered some tremendous speeches.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Agree with DT, which awesome speech was that? Was it this one?

        Gallipoli was a magnificent defeat. The Western Front was a terrible victory. There may be more lessons in defeat than in victory. Still, we should remember our victories at least as much as our defeats.

        For Churchill maybe I don’t think the survivors thought that.

      • Heisenberg,

        “Also unscripted he is a great orator”

        Sorry – Are you talking about Tony Abbot?

        If so – OK – fair enough – but I think you’d be just about on your own.

        Going back to Menzies – As PMs go, I’d say Abbot is down there with Gillard (and her main problem was her voice and that she was never the “real” Julia….).

        Look – he’s a knock about bloke, sure – but not a PM.

      • and dont forget his magnificent stuttering in every sentence

        “Ahhh, ahh, ahhh……………………………………”

        So urban, so concise, such an orator.

    • It’s fair point. I don’t often stoop to the ad hominem but the frustration of watching the nation go down the gurgler got to me.

      I was searching for a metaphor to express the notion that he simply not the man for the job.

      • Don’t be defensive HnH. Abbott has said worse about others, and he is PM. The PM needs a thick skin. Plus, he’s a self-styled pugilist; Tony can look after himself.

        My point is that compared to the mysoginistic bullshit Gillard put up with, calling Tony an ape is nothing.

        Perhaps rather than calling him an ape, you could have said he has the negotiating skills and political finesse of an ape. Then you would have been factually correct.

        Clench jawed knuckle dragger would suffice too.


    • Most people on this site whilst not liking Abbott may begin to respect him if he were to undertake genuine fiscal reform.

      I imagine that a lot of people throughout Australia would revise their opinion of Abbott if he undertook a substantive reform that didn’t appear tied to populist vote buying or ideological score settling, including me. Which brings me to my assessment of the probability of that actually happening…

      • … and if he wasn’t such a gutless ponce, attacking the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

        I’d respect him if he seriously took on the Henry review, the Murray review and the big end of town. If he closed down loop holes for big biz tax avoidence and high income earners.

        Bah, time to step away from the keyboard.
        These are things that are never going to happen and I’m singing to the choir.

    • Heisenburg,

      You can’t be serious, what great achievements?

      Mind you it became obvious when I read the “We…..”

      Did Abbott or the gov actually need the Murray report to know what was required? MB and plenty reading here have spoken of this ad nauseam for a bloody_long_ time.

      The man isn’t capable of doing anything that’ll gain him respect. He’s nothing but an ideologue with an agenda that doesn’t coincide with what this joint needs.

      • Dennis,

        If you cannot see how much of an effect the Construction commission has had on reigning in Union thuggery and bringing down costs in Australia’s largest industry then I cannot help you.

        By 2050 health spending will take up all of each state’s budget. Until Abbot was health minister the AMA restricted the supply of doctors with no more than around 800 allowed to graduate each year. He made it 3000 and now finally doctors are being slowly forced to meet the market. These are important reforms which bring down the cost of living for us all.

        Abbott bought these along with many other reforms. They are important and improve the lives of all of us by reducing our cost of living. I am as critical of anyone of Abbott but he does have some significant achievements to his name

      • migtronixMEMBER

        He made it 3000 and now finally doctors are being slowly forced to meet the market.

        Yeah along BIG AUSTRALIA — what planet are you on?

      • Kris Kristofferson?
        Bill Clinton?
        Naomi Wolf?
        Malcolm Turnbull?
        Kim Beazley?

        Who don’t you like?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Here’s one of the lastest US Rhodes Scholars:

        Johnson completed a Master’s degree in Migration Studies as a 2006 Rhodes Scholar at Exeter College, Oxford University. Johnson’s masters research examines global economic inequities and the impact poverty has on global migratory patterns closely observing Haiti’s current socio-economic state, continuing the research he began while working in the Legislative Office of Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

        These guys always end up in positions of government, particularly “foreign policy”. It quite extraordinary, you’d almost thing it was part of Rhodes agenda…

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrett_Johnson

    • Implementing all of the Murray enquiry would be a great circuit breaker.

      That would be great and I would respect him for that.

      I don’t have a problem with a reformist government of the right. Give me a Hewson-style Fightback! plan any day over the petty penny-pinching like the GP co-payment, and the cuts to Newstart, Universities, CSIRO etc.

      The thing is, Tony is not the man to deliver such a plan. Indeed, I doubt he could even see the merit in it.

      It has to be Malcolm.

    • “Implementing all of the Murray enquiry would be a great circuit breaker. Most people on this site whilst not liking Abbott may begin to respect him if he were to undertake genuine fiscal reform.”

      I disagree with virtually all of the rest of your post but I absolutely would begin to respect him if he tried to implement all of Murray’s recommendations.

      I’m not going to hold my breath though.

    • You Conservatives must be truly bereft of talent and inspiration if you are singing the praises of a morally bankrupt intellectual minnow like Tony Abbot.

      Implementing all of the Murray enquiry would be a great circuit breaker. Most people on this site whilst not liking Abbott may begin to respect him if he were to undertake genuine fiscal reform.

      Possibly. But given that would require a complete reversal of everything he appears to stand for, what are the chances ?

      It’d be like Christine Milne going full-retard Libertarian.

    • “Portraying him as a monkey is unfair – you would of never have done the same for Gillard and she was an infinitely worse leader.”

      Not really,the description is technically accurate. We are after all, all primates or naked apes if you will, despite some of lesser mental capacity believing in a talking burning bush.

      With respect i cant see how you can say Gillard was worse. In my lifetime it has to be Abbot and Krudd, so far standing neck and neck as two of the most inherently flawed, narcissistic, self involved, arrogant, tools it has been the misfortune of this country to have to deal with.

      • Rudd, Abbott, Latham, Brandis, Turnbull, Albanese etc. Easily manipulated sociopaths preened for leadership by a fundamentally broken and corrupted system.

        Shorten is just old fashioned Labor nepotism in a holding pattern waiting for the next sociopath. He’s Simon Crean holding a book of dad jokes and all the wit of a blown lightbulb.

    • “Portraying him as a monkey is unfair – you would of never have done the same for Gillard and she was an infinitely worse leader”

      What a twisted view of the world as we know it. Abbott deserves all the BOS he’s getting + 10

    • Portraying him as a monkey is unfair – you would of never have done the same for Gillard and she was an infinitely worse leader.

      Infinitely worse, really? Gillard actually got policy and reform passed, whether you agree with it or not.

  8. “We can do better than what we’ve got”

    Not until we change the system of govt.we now use.

    H&H I hear your despair, but where in the present set up are we going to get better ?

    Stephen Morris is right about leaders. A weak people need a strong leader, a Strong people do not need a leader at all, they need to be governed.

    Being governed is not being told what to do. Being governed can be inclusive & co-operative instead of exclusive & competative.

    Sure kick Abbott out, but we are replaying the Labor years. The system is broke.

    • Sadly, there are many Elitists who simply cannot bring themselves to accept the obvious solution.

      They simply cannot overcome their natural feelings of superiority towards their fellow citizens. Their natural feelings of contempt and disgust for the “Ignorant Stinking Scum” they believe their neighbours to be. The supercilious snobbery that leads them to believe that their own preferences are self-evidently “correct” and must be rammed down the throats of their fellow citizens, whatever others might wish.

      Such people will prefer to put up with any government – no matter how bad – than contemplate the obscenity of allowing their “inferior” neighbours to have a genuine, effective say in policy.

      Such people will prefer to put up with any government – no matter how stinking with corruption – than confront the dreadful possibility that they might not, in fact, be chosen by God, that they might not, in fact, have a “Charter from Heaven” granting them superior wisdom and insight in all things.

      Until that snobbery is overcome, the problem of bad government is likely to remain.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Hey I have contempt for the “Ignorant Stinking Scum” I believe my neighbours to be and I believe my considerations are indeed generally superior — but I don’t try to shove that opinion down anyone throat…

      • False.

        All it takes is pissing off the common people enough and you will either be voted or hounded or beheaded out.

        Its that simple – a universal fact.

      • All it takes is pissing off the common people enough and you will either be voted or hounded or beheaded out. . . . .

        . . . . and replaced with another adversely selected political agent with the same characteristics!!

      • “and replaced with another adversely selected political agent with the same characteristics!!”

        Ahh – no actually it is cyclical. Societies, states, whatever all tend to the same pattern throughout history, tyranny governing a failing state held in power by oppression which is over thrown by collective effort and replaced with good will and cooperative ethics working together generating positive outcomes which grow into a successful bountiful society which attracts the interests of psychopaths, narcissists, self serving sociopaths who gain control and coopt the society for their own benefit and those around them, this tends to continue until the successful society beings to fade and then fail with the corrupt polity held in place by oppression until they are again overthrown.

        Almost every society in all of history goes through this cycle – fiefdoms, principalities, kingdoms, empires, city states, nations – all of them – always.

        It is probably the most common, universal truth of all of political history / philosophy.

        You should avail yourself of it.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Well except for the Swiss. And the Dutch for a couple of hundred years. And the US for a spell.

      • Almost every society in all of history goes through this cycle – fiefdoms, principalities, kingdoms, empires, city states, nations – all of them – always.

        Democracies are a notable omission from that list.

        Perhaps there is something to learn from that???

      • Stephen Morris, you have just described the people who write to the “letters to the editor” column at the Australian News paper.

    • As long as we continue to play Westminster oppositional politics this is the rubbish we will get.

      Political parties & professional full time pollies were never envisioned by our founding fathers. this political class have no interest except occupying the Treasury benches, they have hollowed out the political gene pool, they have no vision for the country.

      • Deep, serious recessions are an excellent panacea. Good for the environment.

        Generation Y will rebuild it – and their grandchildren will do the same.

  9. Abbott’s dead and his own side know it. Bishop, Morrison, Turnbull and even Pyne (!) are jockeying for position. The knives will be out sooner rather than later, learning nothing from the self-destruction of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years, although I’m not sure what the alternative is.

    I had extremely low expectations of Abbott and he has surpassed those spectacularly.

    Labor’s challenge (and it’s a big one) is to hold together and put forward someone who could actually be PM for a substantial period of time. It’s certainly not Shorten. Maybe Clare?

      • Social left?

        Bit like social smoker? Maybe pretending you care about social justice to get laid more?

        Doesn’t work.

      • “They (and Australia) need another leader from the social left like a hole in the head”

        We haven’t had one in 50 years. Although I suspect you haven’t a clue what you are talking about with a response like that.

      • They (and Australia) need another leader from the social left like a hole in the head

        Yeah, they might start doing crazy stuff like bringing the GINI coefficient back down, increasing social mobility, improving workers rights, building public services and infrastructure, regulating the financial industries, facilitating easy access to education for everyone and encouraging innovation.

        Who would want crazy stuff like that ? That’s the kind of culture that builds educated, prosperous, wealthy and egalitarian societies. What Australia needs is to double down on the ignorant, greedy, selfish narcissism of the last decade or two, just look at how far it’s got us !

      • Albanese, incoherent
        Bowen, nah
        Leigh, treasurer not leader
        Wong, but she’ll eventually need a safe lower house seat

        Wong and Leigh ?

      • “Wong and Leigh ?”

        Looks like it. Abbott is essentially the Australian version of Dubya. We are following the mighty US of A, only a decade later. But then again, we are usually a decade behind, so it is fitting.

        Now, Dubya was followed by the Obama Administration. So it is very possible that Abbott is followed by Wong.

      • I agree with Albanese.

        Although I’d love Wong. Australia would benefit from having an asian lesbian who can barely restrain her fury at the stupidity that surrounds her.

        Sadly I dont think the uptight punters would agree with me.

      • As a Professor of Economics has Andrew Leigh given a coherent justification for ALP NG policy?

  10. Thanks HnH,

    I hope you don’t mind – but your “Planet of the Abbots” image in now enlarged and on my office pinup board with your words below …

    “Like I said. A basic primate on a leash, not a PM.”

  11. One isn’t and the other shouldn’t be!

    The Abbott syndrome is a true case of cause and effect. Abbott is a danger to himself and the nation (ie. Wanting to send in 1000 troops into Ukrainian rebel held territory on the Russian border – who the fuck would think like that, not a rational leader that’s for sure). Therefor Abbott needs strict and constant supervision to protect him from himself. Credlin doesn’t want anyone who’s not a trained handler anywhere near Abbott hence the strict command and control requirements.

    As for Shortass, he’s the opposite – we’d like him to say or do something, anything, dumb shit whatever just to prove that he is actually a live !!

  12. Tony didn’t get into office because he’s a leader or has vision, he got in so he could fuel a round of pork-barrelling to his mates, piss on a few trees, and get out before the shit hits the fan.

    Leaving him in office a few more years is the best revenge possible. What a failure of a person.

    • Yes, I can see how leaving the chimp in office for a few more years will abso-flipping-lutely guarantee a Labour win. But so can his colleagues see that. Which is why the knives are out (and being honed to razor sharpness) as we speak. 😯

      • I wonder if the media speculation on a possible leadership change are leaks from his own camp to flush out the disloyal.

  13. rob barrattMEMBER

    A lot of people talking about fiscal reform here. It won’t happen in the case of NG and CGT holidays until a housing bust has already happened. Political cyanide.

    Will a housing bust happen? Just keep your foot on the immigration pedal brother. She’ll be right.. The bath is coming and always had to happen. Entitlement is like ice dependency. And boy, are we entitled. I doubt ANYONE could sell us the medicine we need right now.

    • Do they really think they will get away with this? FFS they must truly believe the electorate are imbiciles.

      • rich,

        Who do you think we should vote for instead? I’m guessing you don’t recommend the Greens.

        So, PUP? At least the self interest is obvious, I guess.

    • Hopefully the Senate will treat this slightly-less-transparent attempt to begin disassembling Medicare with the contempt it deserves.

      Staggeringly, despite the laughable incoherence of the argument, it’s still be advertised as an attempt at a “price signal” on healthcare.’

      For whatever reason – I’ve never been able to figure it out – the Right hate publicly funded healthcare with a unique passion, more than education or even pensions. They won’t be satisfied until it is dead, buried and the ground salted.

      • And the Left have no end to their contempt for other people’s money. Amazingly, people have been taking care of their own health and their own lives for most of our existence as a species. The aberration (and this is clearly what we have experienced) of the State throwing money into a bottomless pit of health expenditure for people who have no incentive to take control of their own lives, is at an end. The Left seem to be a little slow at recognising this immutable fact.


      • Amazingly, people have been taking care of their own health and their own lives for most of our existence as a species.

        Amazingly, just false. Prior to the 19th century, medicine did more harm than good and as recently as the the ’60s longevity was low enough to keep the cost down.

        I accept that a degree of windback is inevitable, again owing to the dependency ratio. But a consequence of a full scale end to government funded health care would be the death of consumer culture (owing to people in their 20s saving everything they earn for the inevitable skyrocketing medical costs after 55), and I”m not sure even our most conservative pollies are ready for that.

        At the same time, I’m beginning to think you’re some kind of ‘reusachtige’ with Randian wet dreams in the place of full retard property.

      • Amazingly, people have been taking care of their own health and their own lives for most of our existence as a species. The aberration (and this is clearly what we have experienced) of the State throwing money into a bottomless pit of health expenditure for people who have no incentive to take control of their own lives, is at an end. The Left seem to be a little slow at recognising this immutable fact.

        Ah, Libertarian Opposites World ! Where measures of health like life expectancy are worse and costs higher in countries with comprehensive publicly funded healthcare.

        I prefer reality.

      • Well, what you say about the evolution of medicine is true, but that does not change the fact that for most of our history as a species our health was a private affair.

        As for curtailing consumption, as I have posted on another thread ..

        http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/12/how-to-sell-the-nation-on-budget-reform/#comment-940777

        .. the issue is that we are loading the productive economy with the liabilities of the completely non-productive part of society on the basis of outmoded, sentimental views of a ‘social contract’. If those people (or their families) can’t cover their own liabilities through old age, then really, what kind of death wish do we have as a society ?

      • If those people (or their families) can’t cover their own liabilities through old age, then really, what kind of death wish do we have as a society ?

        None whatsoever.

      • “And the Left have no end to their contempt for other people’s money. Amazingly, people have been taking care of their own health and their own lives for most of our existence as a species. The aberration (and this is clearly what we have experienced) of the State throwing money into a bottomless pit of health expenditure for people who have no incentive to take control of their own lives, is at an end. The Left seem to be a little slow at recognising this immutable fact.”

        I can see now where the moniker “loonyright” comes into play. It’s a loony statement for sure.

    • Seems a reasonable solution. Would’ve preferred $5 flat copayment direct to Medicare revenues, kids free.

      No more whingeing on this minor issue.

      • Whingeing is all that your buddy ‘Sloppy Joe’ has been doing lately.

        Paid shills of the ‘born to rule’ class hate democracy, and whine incessantly when it prevents your worst excesses.

        So suck it up. It’s not going to get any easier for this shambolic joke of a government from here on in. Abbott and Hockey simply have no political capital left to burn.

      • A minor issue that Abbott raised at the G20.

        You’ve really gone full retard lately. Surely your job requires you to remain somewhat hinged.

    • “The government, however, will stick with its plan to reduce Medicare rebates for common GP consultations by $5 for adults who are non-concession card holders from July 1 next year. ”

      ——- and guarantee the ongoing loathing of Ape man !

  14. Ronin8317MEMBER

    Power in the Australian government s increasingly being concentrated at the Prime Minister’s office. This is a natural response to the 24 hour news cycle : you need to centralize decision making in one place to prevents government appearing to take contradictory positions. Unfortunately,the focus on media management has taken over policy making. Stephen Morris’s asserts that voters elect ‘egomaniacs’, however the PM’s chief of staff is the biggest ‘egomaniac’, whom the voters didn’t even get to vote for. ever.

    Tony Abbott’s early political career is full of ‘gaffes’. When not scripted, he has a tendency to speak the truth. After he took over from Turnbull as opposition leader, he made a huge effort to stay ‘on script’ at all times. This unfortunately lead to his ‘scriptwriter’ exerts too much control over him, and consequently the entire government. One example that is on display today is the PM office’s decision to stop Bishop from attending the Climate Change Conference in Peru.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/julie-bishop-outflanks-prime-minister-tony-abbott-on-climate-change-conference-20141208-122ug0.html

    Rudd’s chief of staff ordering politicians around is a huge contributing factor to Rudd being rolled. In politics, personal feelings can matter a great deal.

  15. SupernovaMEMBER

    Abbott’s could be transferred to the “Sport & Rec” portfolio…..where he can dither to his hearts content…

  16. General Disarray

    Part of me feels sorry for Abbott but then I remember his actions in opposition and any sympathy fades fairly quickly. He brought this on himself.

    The LNP is stuck, they can’t dump him. The only way a leadership change could happen smoothly is if Abbott stepped aside – say he has a health issue (foot in mouth disease?).

    The polls will tighten getting closer to an election and there is always the chance some international event or national security issue could emerge that would help him. They could choose to change path completely and go with reform – Murray provides a good opportunity. Not all hope is lost.

    And Abbott’s best chance of winning a second term is still Bill Shorten – doesn’t look like Bill is going anywhere.

  17. So that’s 4 PM’s in a row that are not PM material.

    Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Abbott.

    What a country.

    • To quote Scotty of Star Trek:

      “Scotty, Damage Report”

      “We Can’t Hold Out Much Longer, Captain

  18. Pretty ironic a country leveraging the hell up into property whinging and complaining about a $7 GP co-payment.

    This isn’t about people suddenly having concern for the poor, else they would be petitioning the govt to abandon negative gearing and a system designed to shoot property prices to the moon.

    It is about preserving their own middle class welfare entitlements.

    • +1000000

      Nothing will fix Australian politics until the meme that rising property prices = wealth dies in Australia.

      Since that belief is held similarly to religious faith, I’m not expecting it to change short of years of evidence to the contrary, and even then maybe not.

      Therefore, I expect policy to get ever more bizarre, as ever more of the productive economy is fed to the housing monster. Bizarre policy needs bizarre politicians to promise it.

      Get out the popcorn, folks. It’s only going to get weirder from here.

  19. “Australians are getting what they bloody well deserve.. ”

    Lord, I couldn’t agree more. People keep banging on this person or that person.. You hit it on the nail in your earlier comment. It’s our collective failure and it is simply what we deserve.. Don’t know the actual reason for it. I’m not a sociologist, but I suspect that at the core, lies a limited ability to imagine, a fear of taking risks, and an inability to take short term pain for long term gain.