Tony Windsor: The PM\'s Unlikely Human Shield

Posted August 31, 2015 08:30:09

PM Tony Abbott>> Photo: Tony Abbott appears desperate to latch on to anything in the hope of escaping his dire situation. (AAP: Lukas Coch)

Bombing Syria, cutting taxes, and dumping Joe Hockey as Treasurer - the latest ideas coming out of this Government suggest Tony Abbott is desperately scrabbling for anything in the hope of escaping his dire situation, writes Paula Matthewson.

Of the many words that could describe Tony Abbott and his Government, "bumbling", "incoherent" and "embattled" readily spring to mind. Yet in recent days, the most apt description of all would have to be "desperate".

Like a cat struggling to avoid a bath, Tony Abbott has been scrabbling for purchase; desperately latching on to anything within reach in the hope of escaping his dire situation.

Abbott knows he's in for a beating at the Canning by-election in a few weeks. Voters are likely to accept Labor's invitation to send the PM a message, knowing there's no associated risk of throwing out the Government altogether.

With the vote said to be close at the commencement of the by-election campaign, and the Liberal candidate placed sixth on the ballot paper, there's a chance Labor may even win the seat. But whatever the magnitude of the final swing against the Government - and there will be one - Abbott's opponents will ensure the PM is held responsible for the outcome.

Abbott could almost be forgiven at this point for wondering what on earth he has to do to win favour with Australian voters. He repudiated the unpopular 2014 federal budget and followed it up with an expensive do-no-harm budget in 2015. He stopped the boats (arriving), and demonised asylum seekers enough to get majority community support for offshore detention.

And then there's the succession of flag-based announcements that he made to heighten voter awareness of the terrorist threat the Government is apparently protecting them from.

And yet voters have not responded according to plan, consistently indicating to opinion pollsters that they remain steadfastly ungrateful for the PM's beneficence.

Similarly, Government parliamentarians are not feeling particularly grateful, especially those defending marginal seats. Coalition MPs are becoming increasingly anxious about the ineffectiveness of the "budget, boats and terrorism" strategy. And since the non-leadership spill in February, the Prime Minister has in turn become increasingly anxious about their anxiety.

The Canning by-election threatens to bring this simmering restiveness to a boil.

Abbott is said to have once told country independent MP Tony Windsor that he'd do anything to become PM, other than sell his arse. Yet now that he's Prime Minister, it appears Abbott will do anything to save his arse.

That apparently includes bombing Syria, because there's nothing like a bit of military action to warm the hearts of voters. The emergence of news that the PM's office actually asked Washington to ask us to join the air raids, and that Australia's involvement would add little to the exercise, confirms this latest sortie in Abbott's war on terrorism is little more than a desperate grab for patriotic votes.

The involvement of Border Force officers in last week's aborted Operation Fortitude could easily be seen in the same vein, despite the PM's protestations of "nope, nope, nope" when asked if he knew about the exercise, and Minister Dutton's denial that he or his office had sighted the offending media release.

If the initiative had proceeded, the working and middle class voters of Canning may well have approved of visa-rorters being summarily dealt with by jackbooted customs officers.

Despite beating the drums of war in the air over Syria, the PM is also waving cash under the noses of voters just in case the flags don't work. Or at least the Treasurer is, with Joe Hockey raising the prospect of tax cuts, apparently coincidentally with the by-election.

Troublesome details, such as how the tax cuts will be funded, will not be known before the Canning poll, which renders Hockey's proposal another likely act of last resort, simply aimed at winning over voters.

Regrettably for Hockey, once the Canning outcome is known and Government MPs call for retribution, it appears the PM is prepared to put even the Treasurer's job on the line to save his own.

In a last ditch attempt to head off any leadership manoeuvring by Malcolm Turnbull or Julie Bishop in the lead up to the Canning decision, the PM's office leaked a suggestion to the media that the ministry could be reshuffled at the end of the year. This tactic was aimed at dousing talk of another spill, hopefully due to ambitious MPs assuming they had a better chance of promotion under Abbott than his competitors.

According to media reports, the PM is considering giving the Treasury portfolio to Scott Morrison, who is increasingly seen as the heir apparent by the dominant conservative faction in the Liberal Party. The idea of dumping Hockey for Morrison was leaked to the media on Friday, and the news was followed by a hatchet job on the Treasurer on Sunday in the PM's favourite tabloid.

If Morrison were to accept the role, he would essentially be siding with Abbott and no longer available to team up with Turnbull or Bishop in any leadership contest. Conservative Liberals would stick with Abbott and Morrison, ensuring that neither Turnbull nor Bishop had enough votes to prevail.

To gauge how such a change would go down with voters, the prospect of Hockey being dumped for Morrison has been leaked again to the media today, this time with a suggestion that a double dissolution election could be held in March. This move is the political equivalent of Abbott putting all his money on black; it's a high stakes gamble by a luckless man who has everything to lose.

If he can survive the aftermath of the Canning by-election, the PM has just over a year until he faces the voters again. Even though the latest date on which the federal election can be held is January 14, 2017, the deadline is mid-December in a practical sense because elections are never held during the summer holidays.

Poorly polling governments such as this one have been known to turn their fates around in the final 12 months of an electoral term. But looking at the PM's track record to date, it is difficult to say whether he has the political smarts or capacity to do so.

The increasingly desperate ploys being used by Abbott only reinforce that perception. The more he clutches desperately at ways to bring voters back to the Government, the more Abbott appears unfit to lead it.

>Paula Matthewson is a freelance communications adviser and corporate writer. She was media advisor to John Howard in the early 1990s. She tweets and blogs as @Drag0nista.

Topics: government-and-politics, abbott-tony, federal-election

Comments (419)

Comments for this story are closed.

  • Hung One On:

    31 Aug 2015 8:41:58am

    "Abbott could almost be forgiven at this point for wondering what on earth he has to do to win favour with Australian voters"

    He could have told the truth and that's just for starters.

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    • tim:

      31 Aug 2015 9:14:20am

      An example would be to explain how he intends to deliver tax cuts without raising taxes? He could then explain in what year he intends to bring this measure in? The 'next term of government' could potentially be 2019... I don't think anyone believes this can be achieved so Abbott needs to be upfront with the people.

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      • whohasthefish:

        31 Aug 2015 12:23:11pm

        Too right Tim and Hung One On. We are expected to believe that to fix the problem of bracket creep then those already in the top bracket should get tax cuts when in reality raising the thresholds and indexing it to CPI is a simpler, and dare I say fairer way to achieve said aim. Or could it be that we are once again being 'gamed' and this 'bracket creep' line is actually all about giving further tax cuts to the highest income earners whilst the lower and middle earners pay for it with an increased GST. I suspect the later, and true to form, this government is just embarking on their usual redistribution program where the rich get richer whilst the rest of us pay for it. Why don't they just be honest and say they totally believe in a trickle down economics and then go about trying to sell that agenda to the electorate? Could it be that by being honest they have judged that they would never be elected? I suspect so. Deceptive, dishonest and destructive best describes this Abbott Government.

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      • Early Grayce:

        31 Aug 2015 1:35:34pm

        The tax cuts are being paid for by deceiving the states into agreeing to raise the GST.

        Since the GST is a regressive tax this will lead to greater tax savings for those on higher incomes.

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        • TombeiTheMist:

          31 Aug 2015 5:07:22pm

          and yet again the business and financial sectors are clearly fed up.... instead of taking every opportunity to get people onside with less important matters while having the lablor party in a headlock as it were taking every opportunity to belt them why not try a less disengenuine approach? Good govt starts now? They have practiced on us long enough. Put up or go.

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    • Liz:

      31 Aug 2015 9:28:24am

      He cannot be forgiven for the damage he has done to our country. It will take decades to repair if ever we do.

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      • Andrew Thomas:

        31 Aug 2015 9:57:39am

        Hi Liz,

        Agreed. But he isn't alone in that. The Costello handouts in the form of baby bonuses and pointless tax cuts set up the current paradigm.

        But who would replace the him. Thanks to a win rather than lead mentality on both sides of politics, it seems that neither the LNP or the ALP has any vision for the long term prosperity of Australia.

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        • Serendipitous:

          31 Aug 2015 11:05:45am

          Andrew, I agree but I don't think the damage is purely financial or economic, or that the damage in these areas is even the most important. More serious and potentially longer lasting damage, it seems to me, is in the areas of morals, national identity and morale, social cohesion, and confidence in politics, politicians and our system of government.

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        • Andrew Thomas:

          31 Aug 2015 11:52:23am

          Hi Serendipitous,

          I agree. Those things you mention, if neglected, are in-fact the foundation of how well our society functions which is expressed through our economic status (and many other ways as well).

          A decline in the areas you mention will lead to an inevitable economic decline. To say it another way, our economic status is just a symptom of the far deeper and far more important problems that you mention.

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        • ateday:

          31 Aug 2015 2:39:20pm

          He may not have destroyed our faith and trust in pollies but he sure as eggs has reinforced our loss of trust and faith.

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        • Spinner:

          01 Sep 2015 7:32:39am

          Absolutely spot on.

          Watching the not-so-subtle move towards fascism by this government is quite frightening. And the use of lies to achieve this aim really reeks of the early 1930s in northern Europe.

          One could say it is not as dramatic as the rise of Nazialismus, and maybe it is not. But the black-shirt paramilitary brigade has already been unveiled.

          What's next? Abolishing the office of Governor General? At least one member of Cabinet has already headed off down that track

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        • Maynard:

          31 Aug 2015 11:07:04am

          Exactly Andy, Rudd/Gillard/Rudd/greens is what we need now.

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        • Sir Trent Toogood:

          31 Aug 2015 12:51:26pm

          Abbott doesnt make a move unless their is political gain in it for him.

          Where's the vision, where's the policies to benefit all Australians?

          Abbott has become a shallow, desperate PM with only one aim.

          His own survival.

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        • Mr Stephen Francis Griffin:

          31 Aug 2015 2:55:27pm

          With Abbott, it's only about winning and achieving the right wing agenda as presented by the IPA. He doesn't care about Australia as a people, but only as something to be arranged in such a way as to deliver the outcome his backers require.

          The social costs of his destruction will become evident soon enough, costs we may never recover from, especially if he magically wins another term.

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        • TonyNero:

          31 Aug 2015 5:09:18pm

          Beyond the super rich folk the Kirribillie Kid from Abbottom must view the rest of us as second rate and mere units of labour sadly devoid of humanity. The 'initiative' of treating the super rich as best you can has the wicked flow-on effect of the rest of us benefitting big time somehow. This is obviously questionable in the realm of sound long-term economic planning as well as being particularly inadequet in terms of human dignity and fairness.

          Oh, mama!

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        • Chester:

          31 Aug 2015 1:13:48pm

          You may not have noticed Maynard, but that lot got tossed out and your mob were given a go. Unfortunately your mob have proven to be spectacularly not up to the job. Hopefully they may change a few things (like the leader) and give us a real choice at the next election. Right now they are not electable.

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        • My One:

          31 Aug 2015 8:10:54pm


          That is a pretty useless comment.

          Its just like saying "what we need now is Menzies/Howard".

          All those pollies are in the past and gone.

          Everyone has moved on.

          How about a useful contribution to the discussion?

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        • Le Mec:

          31 Aug 2015 11:13:01am

          I had hoped that Turnbull, supported by the small "l" liberals, might put an end to this Abbott government nightmare but he also now appears to lack the guts to lead from the front. So I've given up on Turnbull too.

          The Libs have to get rid of all their Neo-Con Right Wing nutcases and focus on moving back to the centre of politics. As they are now, they are as electable as fresh cow pat.

          I think Labor made the wrong choice in Bill Shorten too. Perhaps Albanese would have resulted in a better outcome.

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        • The Eye:

          31 Aug 2015 11:37:07am

          Shorten and Albanese are cut from the same cloth.

          There was not enough to distinguish, one from the other.

          Therefore, it was like a coin toss. Either of them could win, and there would be little difference.

          What is missing, is a distinct and different vision for the future.

          They were two "grey" men fighting over the left overs.

          Where is the color, the vision and the possibilities for the future?

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        • Kanooka :

          31 Aug 2015 12:02:33pm

          Le Mec;

          I still believe Turnbull is the only real hope the LNP of being re-elected and I'm sure he believes this. Perhaps he is sitting back and waiting to be pushed/dragged into the leadership by a party that understands it has no choice. Of all the things Turnbull may be he is also a great pragmatist and won't again make the mistake of challenging without a running mate of strength (perhaps Morrison) and knowing he has the numbers.

          Even then the ALP must see themselves in with a chance, more so if they can manage to get Bill to stand aside by choice and allow Albanese to take it to the LNP.

          If as he claims Shorten has the interests of the party and Australia at heart he must see that the damage done by the RC even without criminal charges is too powerful a weapon to hand to the LNP.

          All I ask is that we manage to elect a Government that sticks to promises and governs as a group without "Captains Calls". Elections are very much fought and won at local levels if the candidate is not good enough they lose regardless of party (except in the bush where the Nationals actually manage to convince voters they care) , it seems to me party leaders are only as important as their party allows them to be, in the case of Abbott he has convinced The Party Room he is almost God like in his abilities when in fact he has feet of clay.

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        • Mike Anger:

          31 Aug 2015 2:01:07pm

          Turnbull is waiting until the party literally begs him to take over. That way there can be no backbiting, no split loyalties, no recriminations. He gets to do things on his terms.

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        • Filz:

          31 Aug 2015 2:23:18pm

          Turnbull is too gutless to run for the top job - even if he's pushed. The right wing neo-cons that have kidnapped the Liberal Party can't stand him and that also goes for a large number of Liberal voters. He's in it for the money and the golden handshake. Don't trust him.

          Morrison is the dangerous dark horse. Like Abbott, he claims to be religious, but he is intelligent with it. Abbott relies on political cunning and bullying, but if Morrison git the top job, bullying would become an art form.

          In short, none of the bastards are any good and should be sacked by the Governor-General. (What you replace them with is another question).

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        • TombeiTheMist:

          31 Aug 2015 5:00:20pm

          It's likely to be a very close run election because the LNP fear campaigns, as the recent past shows are vote catchers. As dysfunctional govt as I have ever experienced. They may have beaten the Labor party to a pulp at the last election but might not be so easy this time around. They can't get consensus on reform (broadly speaking), have stuffed up lower order matters and made them more than they should be (same sex marriage) and anyone with a pen a paper let alone a calculator can attest to the debacle that the ditching of mining and carbon taxes has/will turn out to be. The electorate might not be blindsided so easily the next time but heh they voted him in. The PM on walkabout and the black shirts loose in Melbourne. Come on people.

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        • Shaun:

          01 Sep 2015 2:07:47am

          Are you serious, you really think Turnbull is in it for the money? He would make much more in the private sector.

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        • orangefox:

          31 Aug 2015 2:40:47pm

          You're dreaming if you think Turnbull is the answer. He went along with this muck of a government when he could have proved he had principles by going to the backbench and waiting till he was needed for a good cause.

          I have doubts he is such a 'good guy' like some people like to make out.

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        • lynney:

          01 Sep 2015 7:45:13am

          I so agree orange fox. The media likes to make Turnbull out to be such an honest, caring bloke. No, sorry, he is weak, never really stands up for what he believes in when the odds are stacked against him. I noticed when interviewed recently he loves to talk and ramble on but there is no substance in what he says. To me, he just loves the sound of his own voice.

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        • Merlin 23:

          31 Aug 2015 11:24:56am

          I love it when this chestnut gets raised - Costello gave away million in tax cuts. Yes he did cut taxes - right after paying back a rather large debt left by the previous Keating government. Howard's argument was he felt he did not have the right to tax Australian's as much because the debt had been paid back. The then Opposition Leader did not object to the tax cuts.

          So whats your point exactly? No one could have predicted the GFC or the amount of money Labor had to spend to keep Australia out of recession. Did Labor spent too much? - probably but you know what the LNP wouldn't have done a lot different.

          I have been a conservative my entire life. But the current PM is an egotistical arrogant person who hopefully will have a lot more in common with Kevin Rudd. Both will be one term PM.

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        • Andrew Thomas:

          31 Aug 2015 11:58:56am

          Hi Merlin 23,

          You'll note in my post that I do not support either party. Why? Because both have failed.

          As for Costello, the reality is the mining boom payed of our debt which may have indeed been the "fault" of the Keating government, but in reality it is consistent failure on both sides that has led us to where we are. This is also the fault of the electorate for voting for short term policy. The fact remains that if the tax cuts and baby bonuses had been instead used to diversify our industry during the mining boom, then we would be in a better position now. The ALP also failed in this regard due to in-fighting that left them unable to govern effectively during the Rudd\Gillard\Rudd years.

          So don't engage in partisan politics Merlin 23. It blinds us to the faults of our favourite brand and overplays the faults of the other brand, leaving us unable to make sensible decisions.

          This partisan politics is one of the major reasons Australia is where it is today, that it: No mining boom and no alternative industry to speak of.

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        • Merlin 23:

          31 Aug 2015 12:23:51pm

          Not quite sure where 'I engaged in partisan politics' but I'll leave that you and 20:20 hindsight.

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        • Andrew Thomas:

          31 Aug 2015 1:28:40pm

          Hi Merlin 23,

          I guess that is why the metaphor "one-eyed" exists. The other eye is blind to it, hence self reflection is not possible.

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        • Chris:

          31 Aug 2015 1:24:26pm

          Well said.

          I'm getting awfully fed up of comments which are just more of what we hear from our politicians day in day out.

          Clearly the extremes of left and right are inflammatory and unhelpful to the debate.

          Please can we encourage the type of discussion (which our politicians seem utterly incapable of) to rise above the politics and compromise on the centre to get balance and some hope of productive outcomes in the national interest?!

          Both sides have bad apples, neither is wholly desirable.

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        • Tator:

          31 Aug 2015 4:43:32pm

          Andrew Thomas,

          the mining boom did nothing of the sort as the bulk of the debt payback was done prior to 2004 which is the starting date for the mining boom. Yes, assets were sold off to pay off debt, which is unlike the ALP which sold off assets to fund recurrent expenditure but when the income from those assets was less than the interest payments on the debt ($9.489 billion a year or 1.7% of GDP in interest payments alone), it is a prudent measure. As for those who claim it was half Howards debt, gee, I would love to loan you money if that is how you believe debt works. Government debt is generated by selling bonds which have a face value which does not change. On 1 July 1983, which is after Hawke took power, net government debt was $9.151 billion which can be attributed to Howard. To put this in context, debt when Keating took over in 1991 was only $16.9 billion to which he added another $80 billion in deficits to end up at $96 billion by 1996. In 1996, the $9.151 billion in government bonds that were issued by Howard were still only worth $9.151 billion, not $40 odd billion like Koukoulas or Alberichi have claimed because they have equivilised the percentage of GDP of the two amounts, which is a way of measuring different levels of debt between two eras, but you cannot state that for a fact that debt levels increase as the value of the dollar decreases with inflation when in fact, debt decreases when the value of the dollar decreases with inflation when debts face value does not change in dollar terms.

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        • Andrew Thomas:

          31 Aug 2015 6:26:29pm

          Hi Tator,

          Let me put it to you this way. Do you think that Australia prepared itself for the end of the mining boom? Do you think that Australia now has a meaningful long term policy for its future? Do you think that the LNP or the ALP currently has all the answers and the leadership to back it up?

          While your use of figures is impressive, it is the source that matters. Further, debt at a national level has some pretty big lag times around it, so direct correlation between governments and debt levels is very dubious. Further, it is not as simple paying off debt, but rather how public funds are invested to help the private sector change and grow (or not as the case seems to be).

          The problem is, your responses seem heavily biased and I am always suspicious of arguments made to demonise one party and put another on a pedestal. If only life was that simple.

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 8:49:37am


          get used to it here as all most posters here do is demonise the Coalition and put the ALP and Greens on a pedestal.

          As for the lag times for national debt. If that was the case, maybe some of the posters here would stop demonising the current government for the increasing debt because back in the early 80's, the Hawke Government increased the debt from $9 billion as of 1st July 1983 to $29 billion by July 1987 by doubling the deficit between 83/84 and 85/86, This period of time was the highest spending government ever recorded with expenditure greater than 26.7% for four years running. BTW, the source of this information is the Government budget papers, currently using the 2013 PEFO historical data as it was prepared by independent to the parties public servants.

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        • Hung One On :

          31 Aug 2015 12:39:05pm

          Hawke and Keating inherited half the debt from Howard as the worlds worst ever treasurer. All Howie was doing was paying back what he virtually caused.

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        • Tator:

          31 Aug 2015 4:48:31pm


          Howard left $9.151 billion in debt, which is issued in government bonds. Bonds do not change in face value so $9.151 billion of bonds issued in 1983 does not equal $40 billion in 1996.

          Another fact you need to know about the error of that statement is that Keating inherited a net debt of only $16.9 billion from Hawke in 1991. So how can Howard be responsible for $40 billion if Keating only inherited $16.9 billion from Hawke.

          Third fact, Keating ran deficits from 91 to 96, racking up nearly $80 billion in deficits in that period. So how is Howard responsible for $40 billion of the $96 billion when Keating racked up over $80 billion. Maybe you have been using Wayne Swans budget calculator

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        • Algernon:

          31 Aug 2015 6:17:39pm

          Not quite Tator. Howard left the incoming Hawke government with double digit inflation, unemployment and interest rates. He capped "official" interest rates at 13.5% but the banks couldn't lend at that rate. He created a credit crisis that led to a savage recession. Real interest Rates were more like 21% for housing and closer to 30% for business.

          Tator, Howard left a fiscal and structural mess for others to clean up.

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 9:15:11am


          So Howard was the cause of the US having high inflation, high unemployment and high interest rates too. How about the UK and Canada which also had high unemployment, high inflation and high interest rates at the same time as Howard's. Apparently there was a global recession during that period of time. The US and UK recessions in the early 80's was deeper and longer than the one Keating had to deal with in the 90's.

          BTW, under Keating, the deficit blew out to double what it was under Howard and the debt grew from $9 billion to $29 billion under Keating. Unemployment stayed static for the next 12 months and didn't get below 7% until 3 years later where it dipped for a while and then blew back out to over 10% for 29 months in the 90's recession.

          BTW interest rates under Howard were only over 16% for 7 months whilst under Keating, they were above 16% for over 30 months. Keating had the flexibility of a floating currency whilst Howard had a pegged currency which meant he had to match US rates to avoid capital flight from the country which would have blown out the CAD. (data from RBA)

          Also economic mess, how about Keating leaving Howard a dodgy budget where he used asset sales proceeds from the CBA and QANTAS to prop up budget expenditure and leaving a hole in revenue compared to expenditure which Howard had to fix.

          So if you are going to tell a story, tell the whole story not just snapshots.

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        • algernon:

          01 Sep 2015 1:32:36pm

          Tator, official interest rates were above 16% from March 89 to October 90. Under Howard he capped interest rates at 13.5%. The banks were unable to lend at that rate so they introduced cocktail loans. He created a credit crisis. Best you deal with facts.

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 2:39:28pm


          From the RBA, Interest rates were above 16% in Jun 85, between August 85 to April 86, then again at August 86 to February 87. Plus between March 89 to March 1990. 30 months in total. Compare that to 7 months of cocktail loans where the interest rates were above 16% under Howard. You have no argument about why the rates were high under Howard as he had no choice due to the pegged exchange rate. BTW, this period of capped interest rates was for a short period of time and was reversed under the Hawke/Keating government which exposed home buyers to Keatings 30 months of high interest rates. so who caused more damage, a short term capping of interest rates causing a short term credit shortage or long term high interest rates which caused great harm to both business and mortgage holders.

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        • Alpo:

          31 Aug 2015 2:40:36pm

          "Howard's argument was he felt he did not have the right to tax Australian's as much because the debt had been paid back".... First, what Howard paid back was Net debt, not Gross debt, and in any event, that's why public infrastructure went down the drain during the 11 years of the Howard Government. I am looking forward to the post-Abbott era of the Coalition to see whether they can come up with a model of economic progress where Government has a specific and constructive role to play, rather than just playing the fiddle to the private sector.

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        • william:

          01 Sep 2015 10:22:46am


          Like playing fiddle to the trade unions?

          Not an alternative at all.

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        • flavour2040:

          31 Aug 2015 4:51:11pm

          I saw an interview with John Howard, and he was asked what he would have done during the GFC. His answer, all he was going to do was wipe the payroll taxes for companies during the GFC. Thats all he was going to do. If that didn't work ? too bad

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 11:27:36am

          I thought Costello was treasurer, not Howard. I think Costello would have been the better person to ask.

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        • Ian:

          31 Aug 2015 8:34:00pm

          If Costello paid Keating's debt, who paid Howard's? Remember that the Fraser government left the biggest debt Australia had seen since WWII.

          Also, the GFC was forseen by plenty of people.

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 11:11:01am

          What debt?

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 11:28:08am


          Go and have a look at the budget historical figures, the debt left by Howard was $9.151 billion or 4.8% of GDP, which incidentally was blown out to $29 billion (10% of GDP) within 4 years by the ALP or three times that figure, all due to increased spending by the Hawke Government. Then it was paid down to $16 billion by 1990, from there, once Keating took over as PM, he blew it out to $96 billion (17% of GDP) So how big was Howards debt in comparison now.

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 10:58:45am

          Rudd was two terms, if you take into account his comeback after the second labor 'win'. Just saying

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        • TombeiTheMist:

          31 Aug 2015 4:47:44pm

          Fair points but I'll take my chances with anything that is not as right wing and devisive as the LNP. They have stuffed up any talk of sensible reform, set Australian against Australian to gain leverage, constantly look to wedge people and without doubt will continue to degrade the fabric of Australian society not enhance it with their current approach. They whinge at the drop of a hat when challenged, try to define us as for them or lefties, and refuse to engage in sensible debate on the big issues (stopped the boats they may have done) but as a macro achievement against the growing backlog of necessary reform? Please......

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      • dean:

        31 Aug 2015 10:32:17am

        Can't agree with that Liz. If you are looking at "country carnage"On a scale of 1 to 10, I think the 6 years of Rudd / Gillard / Rudd prsent an all time record 10.

        The end to all Labor administrations is characterised by a greater percentage of the population becoming dependent on Govt services and massive debt.

        All conservative administrations are charaterised by major ructions in their first terms as necessary cuts to rein in budgets occurs. This causes deep divisions when those who have come to rely on government , either legitimately or not legitimately, resist.

        Debt can be blamed. It is easy to enter and sometimnes impossible to exit. Labor love to spend in their well intentioned efforts to provide a more equal society. Unfortunately that always ends in tears and greater hardship.

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        • ABR:

          31 Aug 2015 1:45:27pm


          I am one who thinks that the subject of Economics should always be removed from the general subject of business/accounting etc.

          This would remove the confusion in so many minds as to what 'economics' is in substance. The current and uninformed view is that it simply extends the interests of business - which is a complete (if popular) nonsense and a vastly ignorant position.

          Which then leads to quite silly assertions about things like 'debt and deficit disasters' etc and other silly mantras.

          Howard and Costello created a structural deficit in giving away income tax cuts (aqreed to by the ALP) in an attempt to buy votes in 2007. The prior erosion of revenue had been in place for some time with give-aways to the rich in Superannuation, Negative Gearing, Private Education and Private Health subsidies, Capital Gains and so on. The final insult being that those who missed out on all this largesse to the wealthy (provided by Keating/Howard/Costello) the poor, are now expected to be clobbered by increases in GST (a regressive tax) and budget cuts to their welfare to make up for the wealthy handouts.

          But lets just keep rambling on about Deficits - like its a Profit and Loss Statement.

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 3:58:28pm

          So you are blaming the ALP implemented tax cuts on Howard. Give aways to the rich in superannuation. Oh if you are talking about the tax concessions, the bulk of those are on the high income earners employer contributions as less than 4% of those people earning more than $100k a year make personal contributions to superannuation.

          I can dismiss this as basically politic of envy as you do not define what is wealthy, you don't define who is the poor and you do not take in to consideration the fact that the so called poor don't pay any net taxes to contribute to society and are supported by those who create the wealth via one of the most progressive income tax systems in the OECD. We have one of the most generous welfare systems in the world and you still want to take more from the people who pay for it all.

          BTW removing economics from business/accounting would be like removing mathematics from physics, basically impossible as it provides the structure around what the other subject is based on.

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        • Crow:

          31 Aug 2015 1:48:38pm

          except that very few of these 'runctions' are being caused by the economy, but rather his complete and utter unfitness to lead, always falling back on the lies, attacks and negativity that has been his hallmark since entering politics.

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        • respallturner:

          31 Aug 2015 1:49:46pm

          Dean: ". If you are looking at "country carnage"On a scale of 1 to 10, I think the 6 years of Rudd / Gillard / Rudd prsent an all time record 10.

          "The end to all Labor administrations is characterised by a greater percentage of the population becoming dependent on Govt services and massive debt. "

          It is just incredible that you would give a 10 to the leaders who, saved our country from a recession during the GFC. In fact our country was envied globally for escaping the crisis relatively unscathed - unlike in other OECD countries. Many businesses, especially in retail, would have gone under if Rudd/Swan had not implemented the economic stimulus.In contrast, countries like the UK which implemented rigid austerity measures, struggled for almost a decade, unemplpyment plunged, only now improving on the back of China's and India's economic rise.

          If you'd care to look at the statistics, according to the IMF, it was in fact Howard's government that was most wasteful in spending public money-- a lot of it as handouts to middle-class recipients (not, as you think, only those wholly 'dependent' on social welfare. This spending led to the draining of any surplus, no savings from high export revenues and public asset sales -- so naturally, there was a black hole in the forward estimates from Costello's budget when Rudd/Gillard took over.

          I'd ask you to look at the facts before passing judgment on Labor.

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        • The Truth:

          31 Aug 2015 4:12:40pm

          Yes respall, that probably explains why the Liberal Handbook trumpeted before the last election was so 'brief' in nature - it was completely bereft of facts.

          Let's hope for the good of this country this whole episode is 'brief' in nature.

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 11:13:22am

          Our resource boom and China's demand for said resources at the time helped moreso. Interestingly, it was China who bought the bonds to pay for Rudd's handouts. We are quite literally indebted to China

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        • MelenatheRoboticRussianTroll:

          31 Aug 2015 3:54:19pm

          "The end to all Labor administrations"

          "All conservative administrations are charaterised by major ructions in their first terms"

          "Unfortunately that always ends in tears and greater hardship."

          The easiest way to lose an argument is through hyperbole.

          Your habit of making these sweeping generalisations serves to undermine rather than reinforce your argument.

          If you think your argument should be taken seriously then please show me (at least) one credible source that supports your view.

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        • rose:

          31 Aug 2015 4:06:29pm

          Unfortunately, they are making cuts to essential social services that help keep people housed, fed and functional, as well as cutting education and training. The CSIRO and programmes developing projects that had potential to earn money for Australia... cut.

          All this kind of spending is investing in your population.

          But it doesnt stop there. They aren't actually saving that money. There is a fortune going into mining subsidies, private colleges that are now proving to have abysmal results but adding to private debt regardless, the bizarre job provision network that duplicates centrelink services and doesnt actually provide any employment, school chaplains and government advertising. How much did Pyne spend promoting his higher education "reforms"? What a shame he didnt just put the cash straight into the universities.

          So we have reduced social cohesion - homelessness is rising dramatically - and nothing to show in terms of savings and no infrastructure that generates money for the country.

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        • Jess:

          31 Aug 2015 4:50:29pm

          Actually the stats show that the rate of people who depend on welfare benefits as their main source of income actually fell during the last Labor government.

          Think about this... both parties have a policy to reduce the number on the disability pension.

          Liberal government is reassessment of all those on it under 30.

          Labor is the NDIS... specifically through early intervention services.

          Labors might take 15-20 years to achieve it but it's a sustainable way to do it which has improvements in the quality of life of those with a disablity and their carers. The liberals policy has none of the supporting benefits

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    • Sydney Bob:

      31 Aug 2015 9:28:47am

      Can I suggest that the three things that Abbott campaigned on in opposition didn't really have much of an effect on peoples live's. The average Australian wasn't effected by the mining tax, most prices didn't rise under the carbon tax and most people in Australia have probably never seen an asylum seeker.

      Most people voted to get rid of Rudd/Gillard.

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      • MK:

        31 Aug 2015 9:46:49am

        I'm sorry but even as a supporter of a carbon tax,

        it is incorrect to say prices didnt rise under the carbon tax

        almost as missleading as those that tried to blame energy price rises on the carbon tax,

        prices had gne up 50-70% over a period of five yeras, largely due to infrastructure, transmsision and once a eyar peark load costs, of which carbon tax contributed 5-10%,

        on the flip side as the carbon tax was removed,

        the effect od crashing oil, gas and coal prices

        relegated the influence of removing the carbon tax into similar insignificance.

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        • tc21:

          31 Aug 2015 10:12:47am

          Personally, my bills are more expensive now, anyone else's?

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        • Andyfreeze:

          31 Aug 2015 10:24:43am

          You forgot to mention we all got over compensated for the carbon tax. So in effect, most of us gained. TA certainly removed the carbon tax but was forced to leave the compensation to show that prices would fall $550. That worked well for everyone and the economy, right?

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        • Lexx:

          31 Aug 2015 2:44:53pm

          I disagree with you. Apparently it is against the house rules to point out failures of the house's team.

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        • Tator:

          01 Sep 2015 9:36:05am

          Only those on low incomes got over compensated for the price on carbon. Some on above average incomes got bugger all and had to basically pay nearly the whole increase. This showed that the price on carbon was mainly a wealth redistribution scheme rather than an environmental scheme.

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        • MrHorse:

          31 Aug 2015 11:00:33am

          we were well compensated for the introduction of the carbon tax. eg. tripling the tax-free thresohold.

          The mining tax was only a super-profits tax, so of course the mining companies avoided super-profits. And it was too late.

          Howard and Costello should have introduced an MRRT and reduced the PRRT.

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        • allaboutlies:

          31 Aug 2015 6:16:17pm

          tripling of the tax free threshold should have happened when the GST was introduced by Howard.

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        • JOP:

          31 Aug 2015 11:06:57am

          Yes, some prices did rise and that's what the (over)compensation was for. Hence, the impact to many was negligible. No one has explained why, with the removal of the tax, the compensation remains! So much for the budget emergency.

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        • just me:

          01 Sep 2015 5:36:00pm

          I cringe every time Abbot says families are saving $ 180 per year with the removal of the carbon tax.

          In Qld we pay today $242 more per year since the removal, because every year since the fixed cost for supply, has been increased exponentially.

          From $ 96.00 per year in 2012 to $ 425.00 now. Most of the increases came after the removal of the carbon tax. Turning off all your lights will not save you a cents because this is a fixed cost we all pay even if not using any power at all.

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      • Maynard:

        31 Aug 2015 11:07:53am

        And now we must bring them back with the greens.

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    • barsnax:

      31 Aug 2015 9:28:49am

      I think the truth has been Abbott's problem since becoming PM. Forget about what's happening now.

      The majority of the electorate have considered him a bald faced liar who is unfit for the top job for many months now.

      I reckon we'll have a new PM a week or so after Canning.

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      • APM:

        31 Aug 2015 10:23:13am

        I now think Abbott is probably finished but the government can still improve and win; after all the opposition offers nothing. Personal animosity towards Abbott is too debilitating for the government. Time to reboot. Scott Morrison should be PM after Canning. He is very capable, pragmatic, intelligent, focused, confident, speaks clearly and directly, and has a way of shutting down fools. He is a relative cleanskin so the Left wont be able to pounce with prejudice based narratives of the imagination. They will try and fit him up with crimes against asylum seekers but this will highlight Labor's failures in this area. I think Morrison can clear blockages in the Senate.

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        • Fortunatus:

          31 Aug 2015 5:57:14pm


          The trouble is that, regardless of his other qualities, he is an utter bastard: arrogant, reactionary, ruthless, cruel, bullying, heartless and an unconscionable liar. Any initial appeal he may have for some of the qualities you admire him would soon dissipate when he eventually and inevitably revealed himself, as Abbott has done, for what he is.

          He has no personal charm or man-in-the-street appeal. He sounds and looks like a buttoned-down, overbearing, colourless technocrat. No ability to gain the affection of the ordinary voter. Even John Howard had some weird, eccentric likeability.

          He would bear, too, the hatred of Abbott and his supporters and we'd be back to square one with the LNP: infighting and instability and policy paralysis.

          There is, however, one thing going for him (or for anyone else the LNP might put up), namely Bill Shorten.

          For the record, though, the LNP will win the Canning by-election, and quite comfortably, I hate to say. There'll be no challenge to Abbott. We're stuck with him till at least the next election and probably beyond. So this discussion is pretty academic, I think.

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      • EricH:

        31 Aug 2015 11:53:00am

        "...I reckon we'll have a new PM a week or so after Canning."

        The reality is, I believe, that Canning will be retained by the Coalition as WA is, by and large, a conservative electorate. The only question, upon which Abbott's fate probably rests, is how much of a swing will occur.

        This will depend to some degree on how much the late Don Randall's support was personal. It will also depend on the impact of the iron ore downturn and how much the electorate's population changes now includes more voters who are inclined towards Labor.

        Don Randall's margin was around 11 percent so it will take a very strong swing for Labor to win, current polls notwithstanding. Besides, unless there is a major blunder by Abbott and/or the government, the margin will inevitably improve for the incumbent party as election day draws closer.

        While I think the coalition will sneak home, it isn't an election I'd be prepared to put money on.

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        • Honest Johnny:

          31 Aug 2015 12:13:35pm

          EricH, Regardless of whether Canning is conservative or not, the voters will treat this as a plebiscite on Tony Abbott. When Don Randall requested the leadership Spill motion he stated that he was being told by everyone in his electorate that something had to be done about Abbott. 11 percent under these circumstances is nothing. I don't like their chances.

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        • Albo:

          31 Aug 2015 12:29:26pm

          So if the Coalition wins Canning with a 12 % margin , will that mean Bill Shorten must go as ALP leader ? Or will he just be a good player out of luck ?

          " isn't an election I'd be prepared to put money on. "

          Surely you must be tempted by Centrebet's odds for Labor's Matt Keogh @ $2.75 to get up in Canning ? An Abbott hater's special price is on offer, and based on all the expert commentary being confected in the media, and as exemplified in this Drum article ('Abbott knows he's in for a beating at the Canning by-election in a few weeks" ) , we should all be loading up on Keogh ! Seems that the Libs' Andrew Hastie's odds on @ $1.42 to win the seat must just be a bookies uninformed hoax ?

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        • Sir Trent Toogood:

          31 Aug 2015 1:31:07pm

          Yes, I believe the bookies in QLD are still recovering from the odds they offered before Labor won the un-winnable election.

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        • EricH:

          31 Aug 2015 1:44:05pm


          Let's see what the odds are a couple of days out from the election.

          And yes, if the Libs romp home, it won't be a pleasant result for Shorten - and nor will Abbott let him forget it.

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        • the egg:

          31 Aug 2015 12:38:45pm

          Canning will be a hard one to call. I live there and there is a large percentage of rusted-ons from both sides. It may well be that the trench warfare mentality could get the LNP home but again, unpredictably some of the latest rubbish from the LNP may just be the catalyst for big change.

          Whatever happens it will be huge. Only a 5% swing will have Abbott crowing about vindication etc etc until the cows come home. A 15% swing is not out of the question and will result in the night of the long knives and a blood bath in the LNP.

          .I personally prefer the latter because for the first time ever in fifty

          years of voting my vote is based totally on my dislike of the LNP leader as my member whoever he may be will be lobby fodder and just a name on a window.

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      • orangefox:

        31 Aug 2015 1:23:27pm

        Not only is he unfit for the job, he may be holding the position illegally.

        So far requests to show he did not hold English citizenship while he was PM for the first number of months have not been forthcoming.

        What has he got to hide?

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        • Monty B:

          31 Aug 2015 1:51:44pm

          Perhaps that's why he steered well clear of Melbourne over the weekend?

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    • CJ22:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:37am

      He could even clear the air on the timing of his Australian citizenship. As far as I know that still has not been clarified.

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    • El Presidente:

      31 Aug 2015 9:57:08am

      The only thing Abbott is clear about is that Australians don't want what he has to offer. That's why he has to resort to lies and deception on an industrial scale.

      It got him elected and he's still in power. It's all he's knows.

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    • Darren:

      31 Aug 2015 10:01:52am

      "He could have told the truth to start with".

      When Abbott says something it is "absolutely crystal clear" that the opposite will come to pass.

      There will be no referendum on same sex marriage. Two months later Abbott wants a referendum.

      There will be no indigenous conferences. Two weeks later Abbott supports indigenous conferences.

      Paid Parental leave is Abbotts signature policy before he was elected because the existing scheme is not adequate.

      Now the signature policy is scrapped and the existing scheme cut because the Abbott crew don't like "double dippers".

      Abbott admitted to being a weahervane on climate change policy some time ago. It has become clear he is a weathervane across a whole range of policies and committments. I'm sure others can add to the list above and likely fill a page but I will leave it at that.

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    • Hudson Godfrey:

      31 Aug 2015 11:25:11am

      Its the question on everyone's lips as to whether if he even promised to change half as much as we'd like him to then would anyone believe it was possible.

      It isn't just the leader. It's the policies. Their attitude to climate change is a mess, and to the economy a sick mess. They won't take the community's lead on social policy and they're still knocking at the door of Bush Era exceptionalism when it comes to foreign policy.

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    • antigramp:

      31 Aug 2015 11:30:55am

      He could resign, from the PMship and from parliament. That would win my favour.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 11:57:18am

      Its not just all of the lies though, its the extreme idology that many out there have always found offensive. It seems that a certain percentage of other people feel like they were deceived but all they had to do was open their eyes before the last election and they could have seen the truth rather than relying on what the media told them.

      I'm worried again regarding the 'stupid' factor and how certain people will have forgotten by the next election. The LNP are experts are attracting these votes with Abbott leading. His policies make no sense but through repetition of lies and a supporting media, he gets over the line. The media is critical of him right now, but this wont last...its the same old trick they always use:

      Media neutrality outside of election campaigns to scare and mobilise the conservative vote against Labor and to give Labor a false sense of hope, then heading into the election campaign the media propaganda ramps up, swaying many swing voters and those clueless about policy to vote for the LNP.

      If it wasn't for tricks and deception I doubt that the Liberals would ever get in with these kinds of policy's they currently have. Basically I think their problem is more than just Abbott, its their entire line of thinking is bad right now.

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    • magb1:

      31 Aug 2015 3:20:44pm

      "Abbott could almost be forgiven at this point for wondering what on earth he has to do to win favour with Australian voters"

      "He could have told the truth and that's just for starters."

      Spot on - +10

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  • Ben Nallay:

    31 Aug 2015 8:43:39am

    "it is difficult to say whether he has the political smarts or capacity to do so."

    Never mind either way he can always get himself a weekly gig writing for this website if worse gets to worst.

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    • Monty B:

      31 Aug 2015 9:05:14am

      ...perhaps natural flair for fiction will put him in good stead for a gig at News.

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    • Jerry Attrick:

      31 Aug 2015 9:33:00am

      He'd need a ghost writer. The stuff he comes up with makes you wonder how he got a second at Oxford. Even B or C grades require some capability to compose clear and non-repetitive text. Not much sign of that these days and he's had years to practice.

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      • Maynard:

        31 Aug 2015 11:09:18am

        Being PM is not an academic's real work.

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        • Jerry Attrick:

          31 Aug 2015 12:27:52pm

          And he's not doing too well at being PM either. But I question your claim that it's "real work".

          It's about managing staff and colleagues, presenting a positive public face, letting others do their jobs without too much interference, and creating the public impression that your team is competent and cares about the electorate.

          Tony doesn't appear to be succeeding at much of that.

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        • Maynard:

          31 Aug 2015 3:59:40pm

          Like I say it's not an academic gig...It's real work.

          Those who can do those who can't become academics...obviously Tony would canter in at academia..look how Julia now performs in comparison.

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        • I think I think:

          31 Aug 2015 7:46:06pm

          Do you believe your own rubbish, Maynard. I wouldn't put Abbott in charge of shelf stacking at Coles. You are kidding yourself if you think Abbott got the top job through competency.

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        • revitup:

          01 Sep 2015 3:53:30pm

          I doubt if he would make it onto a primary school debating team let alone as the captain of that team.

          He is not even very good a sledging.

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      • Fortunatus:

        31 Aug 2015 12:09:20pm

        You get a third at Oxford for just turning up.

        You get a second for submitting your class papers. No brains required.

        At these levels, it's just a good chaps' club.

        Firsts? Now that's another story.

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        • Albo:

          31 Aug 2015 2:46:15pm

          Sounds like Gillard's Naplan ?

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    • bonzono:

      31 Aug 2015 9:50:08am

      or he can just spend his taxpayer-funded retirement writing mindless self-absorbed one-liners here. I know would be one of the best mentors.

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    • bonzono:

      31 Aug 2015 9:50:10am

      or he can just spend his taxpayer-funded retirement writing mindless self-absorbed one-liners here. I know would be one of the best mentors.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 12:04:09pm

      considering his services to the fossil fuel industry he will no doubt end up with a massive choice of highly paid positions well beyond what he earns as a politician.

      Given his strengths in repetition, deception and his confidence in opposing science and facts I would expect Abbott to be employed as a 'public policy' expert (aka propaganda) to help discredit the science of climate change. If he ends up posting comment pieces, there will be a purpose and it will more than likely include a title with the IPA.

      Either way he's set for life. The whole system makes me feel sick.

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  • Wilco:

    31 Aug 2015 8:46:46am

    The dye is cast and throwing Hockey under a bus will not save Abbott's leadership.Gaff after gaff by this underwhelming front bench (with some exclusions) demonstrate the lack of ability is not exclusive to the top job.While serious issues needing a reformist agenda face this country day in day out the whole effort now has become about holding onto power at all costs.Trouble is;are the alternatives any better?

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    • saline:

      31 Aug 2015 9:17:22am

      Wilco, if you have been watching the China issue unfold, and have noticed that it is thought that Australia has the most exposure, you will be wondering how we are going to survive with this LNP government in charge.

      If you don't like Labor, you can run out on the street and grab 120 odd unemployed housewives to run the country.

      See, you still have options.

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      • Merlin 23:

        31 Aug 2015 1:05:29pm

        I dare say 150 housewives would be a very good start. Let's they work hard, are used to dealing with children, are honest and results driven.

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      • Wilco:

        31 Aug 2015 1:59:02pm

        Saline I think the housewives would have an issue with being called unemployed but yes I get your point there are some options.

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    • anurse:

      31 Aug 2015 9:31:35am

      I think there are possibly thousands of untried alternatives to current elected representatives. In the last 10 years I have reduced my work hours, leaving me with time to become really aware of the performance of government. What an eye-opener. Where I work, if one says one can do xyz, then one is expected to actually deliver on that claim. Or get shown the front door.

      I could do a better job than most of the front bench. I don't have any actual experience at say, Defence or Treasury, but it seems knowing what you are about is not needed to be on the front bench.

      There are lots of us out here in voter land who would be just as incompetent as Andrews, Dutton, Abetz & Co.

      Some of us could do a better job in our spare-time-it's not as if the bar is all that high.

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      • sleepykarly:

        31 Aug 2015 10:06:25am

        Hi, anurse,

        When you say lots of us out here in voter land would be just as incompetent as Andrews, Dutton, Abetz & Co", you are forgetting one thing.

        Most of us would have advisors that WOULDN'T LET US be that incompetent.

        But these guys have apparently gone through the pile to find advisors who agree with everything they have ever said or thought.

        Living in an echo chamber is a sure-fire way of re-inforcing your own idiocy.

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        • anurse:

          31 Aug 2015 12:14:20pm

          @ sleepykarly I agree.

          It seems one of the secrets to being a good leader is to be able to select talented people. Able leaders are often not as technically good as the people they lead. But leaders lead and provide the environment for the talent to get on with the job.

          Also, it helps to know when you don't know something. Instead of making it up on the trot.

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    • Dave:

      31 Aug 2015 9:36:11am

      "Trouble is; are the alternatives any better?"

      Turnbull is sufficiently not-Abbott enough that at least voters would not simply ignore him. Abbott's problem at the next election is that any promises will be worthless.

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      • tom:

        31 Aug 2015 11:18:42am

        What a choice, a current PM prone to exaggeration and direct talk that makes it easy for his haters to misquote or misrepresent what he says, OR a party that is run by unions and has a leader that organised for his union deals that can easily be seen as extortion with the mandatory slush funds and that has heaped pile of bodies that he knifed to get the position.

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        • Honest Johnny:

          31 Aug 2015 1:10:36pm

          Tom: the sign of an LNP voter just starting to feel disillusioned. "Prone to exaggeration and direct talk" is the understatement of the day.

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        • Kerrie:

          31 Aug 2015 1:26:38pm

          Tom, as one of the haters I think that Abbott didn't start a Royal Commission into corruption and misconduct because he knows the LNP will lose too many. So, this Royal Commission into unions is only half the story.

          I'm hoping when the ALP gets in they will either start a Federal ICAC or just get the federal police to start laying charges. You see, haters like myself believe that at least some of the LNP are expecting personal rewards for axing the taxes and deregulating Unis. In fact, regarding the latter, some of us haters think that Abbott's daughter's scholarship is directly linked to her College being able to offer HECS loans under the proposed legislation.

          So, when Abbott loses his prime ministership and Government, I am hoping that he will face criminal charges, because I think that he might be a criminal who is selling out Australia for his own gain. This is part of the reason that I hate him.

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    • jesse:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:15am


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  • Machiavelli's Cat:

    31 Aug 2015 8:52:09am

    I would describe myself as a centre-right/somewhat libertarian voter. I am somewhat fiscally conservative and socially progressive. At the last election I voted independent, not wanting to vote for a party led by Mr. Abbott. However after the debacle of the past couple of weeks (and especially Fridays Melbourne debacle) I am willing to vote ALP in the HoR and Senate to lend any weight I can to getting rid of this Government. I would hope that an electoral rout would help to loosen the vise-grip that the conservative-right has on the party that I would normally support.

    I support the traditional Liberal Party values of individual rights. I also support moderate government intervention to support those most at need. I cannot support the current Government in any way at all.

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    • v:

      31 Aug 2015 9:29:15am


      "I support the traditional Liberal Party values of individual rights."

      In other words, you support a myth - an imagined idea of what the Liberal Party may be like if it were a real liberal party.

      It was the Liberal Party who conscripted Australian teenagers and sent them against their will to fight against the national aspirations of the people of Indochina. It was the Liberal Party who supported the vile Apartheid regime in South Africa. It was the Liberal Party who tried to ban the Communist Party. It was the Liberal Party who told us that we couldn't watch television without a license and were not allowed to read the great works of English literature. It was the Liberal Party who exiled Wilfred Burchett for telling us the truth about Hiroshima and war crimes in Vietnam. It was the Liberal Party who colluded with the US to falsely deprive Australian citizens of their liberty, forcibly "rendition" them across national borders, and stood by while they were tortured. It is the Liberal Party who wants to trawl through our personal metadata. It is the Liberal Party who removed our right to have our lives and health protected in the workplace protected by our representatives. It is the Liberal Party who removed our right to withdraw our labour or to organise and take action in our own collective interests. It was the Liberal Party who removed our right to say and publish what we honestly believe to be true, to donate to charities that we consider to be worthy according to our own individual judgement, and it is the Liberal Party that STILL opposes the right of Australians to marry the person they love.

      So when, exactly, was the Liberal Party a liberal party? They have never given a stuff about pesonal liberty or individual rights. They want to get the nose of government out of the boardrooms and into our bedrooms. How long before they try to make a virtue of kids dobbing in their parents for not being part of "Team Australia"?

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      • Machiavelli's Cat:

        31 Aug 2015 10:07:30am

        Thank you for your rant. You are entitled to your myths and I am entitled to mine.


        You didn't need a license to watch TV, you needed a license to own one (or a radio). It used to pay for the ABC. It predates the Liberal Party by 25ish years.

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        • EricH:

          31 Aug 2015 1:54:30pm

          "...You didn't need a license to watch TV, you needed a license to own one (or a radio)."

          Hooray! I'm not the only pedant posting on the Drum. I can remember standing outside electrical stores in 1956 along with crowds gathered to watch "In Melbourne Tonight" (for which we certainly didn't have to pay a license).-

          I can also agree that the rest of your "rant" is your own mythology - to which you are entitled. Hope you're not too lonely.

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        • Prime Lemur:

          31 Aug 2015 3:04:11pm

          Mach's Cat,

          That's a very hard call to make. Thank you for sharing what must've been a difficult position to arrive at.

          And while a rout may be needed to flush the incumbent faction in the Coalition, be careful what you wish for.

          My concern is about beyond the next election. You see, its very rare for the Australian people to reward a single party with both Houses of Parliament. And when they have, the results have been disasterous. Consider our current state of affairs ... neither party has been able to articulate any kind of vision for our future ... just self-interested plugs and bungs for like-minded or ideologically aligned interests. They are as bad as each other.

          I'd urge you to consider voting one way in the HoR, and differently in the Senate. The Senate, ragardless of its original constitutional role, has now become the keeper of sanity. Think of all the nonsense they've either stopped or slowed down over the last 12 years or so.

          The risk the Coalition, and their supporters, seem utterly oblivious to is the ever increasing likelihood of one party winning a double-majority at the next election. Every day Mr Abbott talks more about Mr Shorten, instead of about what good his government might do, brings us a day closer to that disaster.

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      • Glr:

        31 Aug 2015 10:22:29am

        Well written

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      • Helvi :

        31 Aug 2015 10:33:56am

        Excellent post, v, you are so right, there seems not to be much of 'liberal' in our Liberal party.

        Many countries with right wing leaders have happily accepted same sex marriage.

        There's also not much 'progressive' happening under Abbott leadership. It's starting to feel rather oppressive lately, too many men in uniforms for my liking...

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      • Edward:

        31 Aug 2015 11:20:07am

        And on the other side you have an ALP that is hostage to the whims of an increasingly irrelevant union movement.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 11:55:40am


          "And on the other side you have an ALP that is hostage to the whims of an increasingly irrelevant union movement."

          This stupid, fatuous and insulting remark is well below your normal standards. It is simply a cliche. You really need to start thinking for yourself. The ALP is not "hostage" to the union movement, it is a part of the same movement. One part (the unions) works to protect workers' rights and to build a democratic society through the workplace, and the other (the party) works to achieve the same ends through the parliament and the ballot box. Many unions are directly affiliated with the Labor Party, which means that they are members, and they pay affiliation fees for this. This gives their members certain rights, like being represented by their union at annual conferences and such.

          It is a good example of a vibrant and functioning democratic relationship that extends the concept of democracy from the theoretical and inaccessible (parliament) all the way down onto the shop floor.

          The only "hostage" in Australian politics is the Liberal Party, and it is "hostage" to its own self-contradiction. It calls itself a "political party", but exists purely to oppose the social democracy offered by the cooperative work of the Labour Movement's political and industrial arms. This makes it entirely hostage to its sponsors, which are overwhelmingly FOREIGN and CORPORATE in nature.

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        • Edward:

          31 Aug 2015 2:23:23pm


          I thought you'd bite on my comment.

          The saddest thing is that you really seem to believe what you're saying. While it may be true that the ALP and union movement are intertwined the fact of the matter is that the union movement doesn't represent the majority of Australian workers. In addition I think it's silly that the ALP continues to be so closely aligned with the unions, especially the more militant ones. All this achieves is a disaffected electorate who sees mates doing things for mates and union leaders sacrificing the interests of their members so that they can move up the gravy train. You also have the quirk that there tends to be more strikes during Labor government rule as the unions try to flex their muscle in a demand to be paid for favours given.

          The ALP would do well to disaffiliate itself from some of the more lunatic fringe elements of the union movement. As a voter I can tell you that at present the only reason I would vote ALP is because the alternative, Mr Abbott, makes any other choice insane. That's hardly an endorsement of the ALP platform is it?

          Perhaps the ALP would do well to remember that governments are supposed to govern for all, not just their mates. Just because the LNP do it doesn't make it right.

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        • allaboutlies:

          31 Aug 2015 6:33:20pm

          Unions are not irrelevant just because you want them to be.

          The Libs have been bashing unions for years in the hope of making them irrelevant. That's why now and in recent times we see moves to strip away rights of workers - in particular, penalty rates.

          Thanks to the Libs, Unions are now more necessary and relevant than ever.

          If you don't like the conditions that you enjoy in your work situation then why don't you give them up? Unless of course you are an employer and it is in your "interests" to screw your employees.

          My personal experience has lead me to believe that employers only care about themselves. You are free to prove me wrong.


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        • Edward:

          01 Sep 2015 8:04:43am


          It seems that your experience extends to the minority of employers who are willing to screw their employees.

          Anyone with any sense knows that the success of a business relies on a high morale and co-operative work environment. This is why we have employers who are willing to enter into profit share arrangements with their staff and things like employee share plans. The RC into unions has demonstrated that in many cases the employer/employee harmony can be put at risk by the union movement. As an employer why would you try to bend over backwards to help your employees when they engage an organisation who will screw you for all you're worth? Often the unions take a harmonious situation and create havoc through unreasonable demands that they know wont be met. A good union represents its members in such a way that everyone is better off. Unfortunately it seems that such a union is a rarety nowadays.

          The conservative side of politics isn't the only side that can be blamed for the loss of Australia's manufacturing sector. In many cases the destruction was facilitated by unions effectively bargaining their members out of work.

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      • Sick of Union Corruption:

        31 Aug 2015 11:22:53am

        I see you had a heaped dose of you union (ALP) prescribed "irrational hate of the LNP" and "lack of truth" pills. One day you may wake up understand the evil you defend.

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        • Oaktree:

          31 Aug 2015 12:36:27pm

          I wonder what is irrational in disliking being lied to, watching social security take a dive, education likewise, manufacturing likewise?

          Some unions have some corruption, but so do some corporate interests as has been consistently demonstrated. I would actually like to see a Royal Commission into the operations of the Liberal Party. I would be particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding the filling of Mr Slipper's electoral vacancy.

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        • Grump3:

          31 Aug 2015 1:43:50pm

          " I would actually like to see a Royal Commission into the operations of the Liberal Party.

          How about including Abbott's connections to Uncle Rupert?

          Remember the:

          "Kick this Mob Out"

          "Demolish the NBN"

          The Foxtel cash cow is now sitting pretty with a free upgrade, extension & maintenance of it's HFC network at taxpayer's expense as we waste billions buying back & remediating outdated copper while the rest of the world switches to fibre.

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      • Dave:

        31 Aug 2015 11:25:46am

        V, nice history there but you've ignored the obvious. Don't judge the Libs by the word 'liberal'. They have always been a party in the conservative tradition as exemplified by the British Conservative Party. The Libs are a broad church inclusive of liberal values where they remain consistent with conservative ones.

        Nevertheless, the gay marriage question is a great example of where it's all gone horribly wrong from the top down. The party of conservatism has trashed the constitutional founders' intention (confirmed by the High Court) and Abbott's own previous words that the Parliament deal with this matter. The founders would have given us a plebiscite mechanism if they wanted Parliament to do things that way and they plainly didn't. The party of sensibly managing public funds wants to blow 150 million on this issue which affects 2 percent of households and has no impact on the other 98 percent. The party of individual rights proposes to make the plebiscite a compulsory vote even though it is constitutionally only a non-binding opinion poll. And why? Because the party of small government can't stay out of peoples' lives.

        The UK and NZ have modern conservative governments (very successful ones at that). We've got a DLP throwback from forty years ago who have copped out on a decision which was theirs to make because they're so frightened of it that wasting 150 million on a divisive public debate seems like a good idea.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 12:35:22pm


          "They have always been a party in the conservative tradition as exemplified by the British Conservative Party."

          This is simply not true. I agree that they are a fundamentally and irretrievable conservative party, but not in the mold of the British Conservative Party.

          The British Conservative Party predates the British Labour Party by a number of decades. So you can't really say with any degree of conviction that the British Conservative Party was established merely to oppose the British Labour Party. But this is precisely the case with Australia's "Liberal" Party.

          At the inaugural meeting of the Liberal Party, it's founder Sir Robert Menzies, stood up in front of the assembled crowd of bankers, lawyers and theit tiara-clad wives, and defined the new party as "a coalition of anti-Labor forces in Australian politics".

          The whole reason-for-being of the Liberal Party is to prevent the realisation of the Labor Party's vision for Australia (a modern, independent, nation with a free, harmonious civil society, a healthy, prosperous, well-educated and outward-looking population and an economy based on our skills, knowledge and enterprise, rather than just the dirt under our feet). All of its policy positions are dictated by the Labor Party. They cannot know what their policy will be until Labor announces its policy because, until you have Labor's policy, you don't know what its opposite will be.

          I don't like the British Tories. I saw, first-hand, England under Thatcher and what I saw was not pretty. But I respect them as a political party because they have a manifesto of their own and they stand behind it. While they want to do something (however repugnant that is), our Tories are entirely focused on preventing something from happening.

          People say that the Liberal Party is a broad church. There are four things wrong with this:

          1: The Liberal Party is not a party;

          2: The Liberal Party is not liberal;

          3: It is not "broad" and;

          4: It is not a "church".

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        • Prime Lemur:

          31 Aug 2015 4:50:23pm

          Dave, I think you've put it very well.

          I heard some commentary about Donald Trumps candidacy. Don't get me wrong, I think he's a stark raving lunatic of the order of Ronald Reagan. But one of the reason he is so popular is his complete freedom from the political elites.

          In Australia, its a little similar. When it comes to marriage equality, you know its the religious interest groups working overtime, emailing, ringing, writing every government member, lobbying furiously to defeat something they are opposed to. Fair enough ... its a democracy, right? The problem is, the actual people who live in those members' electorates are being drowned out by the noise of interest groups running interference, by fair means and foul.

          Now multiply this across all the issues of government. How are actual, real people, not pushing some self-serving ideological barrow, supposed to get heard over the din of self-interested pressure groups? Well, they aren't getting heard. And we find both major parties are really no longer standing for anything except the interests of the loudest, dare I say most pushy and obnoxious little pressure groups.

          Whether you want to call them "elites" is irrelevant ... their effect is the same. Australian's voices are heard once every three years. The rest of the time, its all about election funding, fund raising and paying back favours to those who sung their praises.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 9:07:50am


          "But one of the reason he [Trump] is so popular is his complete freedom from the political elites."

          Its ironic, isn't it. A man who is among the elite of the elite trading on the fact that he is "free" of the "political elites".

          We make a huge mistake in seeing our elected representatives as the "political elite". They are not. As admirable as their work and achievements may be, they are the footsoldiers of politics - the "grunts" who cop the flak, who trudge through the mud, who dig the trenches, and who cop our wrath when things go wrong. The "elites" never set foot in the House or the Senate. It would be below them to do so. They pull the levers from boardrooms.

          It is rare for a member of the "elites" to break cover, and the fact that it appears to be happening more often in recent years is a bit of a worry. In Australia we have Turnbull and Palmer, in Italy they are still trying to convince Berluysconi that the law applies to him too, and in the US, Trump is emerging from under his bridge.

          If I were an aspiring Abbott, working my way with bluff and stiletto up through the byzantine corridors of the Liberal Party, I would be very worried. After all, if the puppeteers emerge in plain view, what role is their for Punch? And if the nobility no longer need proxies and Quislings to do their dirty work, what hope is there for the Liberal Party?

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      • Eduardo256:

        31 Aug 2015 11:29:50am

        V, good on you.

        The ALP lost its way at the last election, but this lot with very few exceptions are terrible, and it starts at the top.

        This PM is not a statesman; worse he is a liar and will sell his a..e to be PM (his words) - does that make him gay?

        Does anyone else think it's strange that we can go to war without asking "the people" but we can't let our friends get married without a bloody referendum. Never ever throw paint on our returnees again.

        On a side; everyone support our Defence and Legacy this week; remember it is the politicians who send our men/women to war.

        Maybe they can get DH to run a RC on them, because all we have are bigots, farm sellers, coal diggers b4 farms.

        This group starting at the top does not have any long term viable plan for the future, so there will be more instability as there are going to be more independents.

        Boats - another lie. Reith lied because they used false photos for "children overboard"; Sir Angus Houston told them but when Cosgrove returned , he did nothing.

        So now in an effort to revert to the above he had a possible "Gestapo" street action promoted - thanks to Melbourne, that got the flick.

        for goodness sake, Cosgrove you are the GG, get off your backside do the honourable thing and call an election and maybe a few more new independents will tell the main parties time is up on lies.

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      • sticksnstones:

        31 Aug 2015 5:27:59pm

        It's great that you can say these very perceptive, tho disturbing, things. Yes, cat does support a myth. More like 'individual wrongs'... First, the RC bordering on a show trial, then operation border force aka police state... Now, stern warnings for MPs leaking to the media, unless its from the top, in Abbott's cynical attempt to save his own skin... Uncle Joe would be proud of our Tone... Then the reliance on secrecy and the public's right not to know, with the old authoritarian quasi stasi militaristic excuse of classified info., meant only for our masters, not the pleb voters... But shshhhh... you cant have an opinion on any of this, it's an operational matter... A bit like that episode of Father Ted when everything was ok because it was an 'ecumenical matter... ' The Abbott clown car is overloaded with toxic stuff for democracy, and we would all be laughing if it wasn't so serious. The Australian people are very fair and very patient, but their generosity is being pushed to the limit, and they risk being totally dudded by this one-dimensional bunch of power-loving Tea Party clones.

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    • Mamgran:

      31 Aug 2015 9:37:06am

      MC keep your vote with the Independents and so will I and hopefully so will a lot of others. That will stir up both of the major parties. I'm not sure how they could govern but it can't be any worse than now. Maybe discussions will have to be and agreements reached.

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 11:03:52am


        "That will stir up both of the major parties."

        Maybe, but that does not mean that it will do us any good.

        I like Jacqui Lambie and I honestly think that her heart is in the right place. But I think that she is also a very good example of why this idea that all we have to do is vote for independents and everything will be sweet, is so stupid.

        Does anyone really know how Ms Lambie would vote were "Work Choices" to come up again? Or whether she supports strengthening trade and cultural ties with the nations of Latin America? Or what her position is on the maintenance of lighthouses?

        Independents appear attractive because they are not "bound by ideology" - which is just another way of saying that we don't know what their ideology is or how much sense it makes. What this means in effect is that, in electing an independent, we are effectively throwing a pair of dice. We have no idea how they will vote on most issues.

        The political party has rightly been called the "modern prince" of human society. In feudal times, the future direction of society was decided by monarchs. Monarchs were individual human beings. They were not bound by ideology and could follow their personal whims. And we rejected monarchy and feudalism because it didn't work.

        The political party evolved along with capitalism and liberal-democracy as the new driving force of social progress. It is an essential feature of liberal democracy because it provides electors with the information they need (what sort of society am I voting for?) in order to make informed choices.

        I personally think that we owe our inheritors a little more than simply rolling the dice every three years. We all have a responsibility to think about what sort of society we wish to build and which party is most likely give us the legislative and economic framework we need to make it happen.

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        • Machiavelli's Cat:

          31 Aug 2015 12:00:28pm


          of the three votes you ask about, I could not tell you how Ms Lambie vote. For two of them I could not tell you how Mr Shorten could vote. For the "Work Choices" one (do we need a Godwin's Law equivalent for "Work Choices") I would guess that Mr Shorten would vote against any Industrial Relations legislation proposed by the current Government. Either Mr Shorten, his colleges or someone in the Union movement would call it "Work Choices II". Either Mr Shorten, his colleges or someone in the Union movement would compare it to modern day serfdom. That would be regardless of the content of the legislation. We have seen in the current Parliament both Labor and Greens voting against legislation that covered policy that they agreed with. The former opposition (in the last Parliament) was no better.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 1:18:35pm


          "two of them I could not tell you how Mr Shorten could vote."

          Only because you are too lazy to check the Labor Party's policy documents on their web site.

          That's the difference, you see. If you elect a party member, they are bound to vote according to their party's policy documents. If they don't they are unlikely to be re-endorsed. But, because we have no idea what most independents believe about most issues, we cannot hold them to account in the same way we can a party member. In the case of an endorsed party candidate, what they personally believe is not all that important because they are obliged to vote with the party except in conscience votes. But, when it comes to an independent, most enter politics on a single issue and most of us have no idea what other strange views they may have. We know, for interest that Ricky Muir likes four-wheel-driving and used to work in a saw mill. But what does he believe about Austraila's role in the UN? Does he support Australia running for things like a seat on the Security Council. If he had his way would we remain members of the UN? And how about Linehelm's views on live cattle export or regulations governing insurance for air travellers?

          I've seen independents who have done a marvellous job, often under difficult circumstances, to represent their constituents and have contributed greatly to the future of our nation. The two who stand out here are Windsor and Oakshott, but they are not alone. Ted Mack is another that I admired. But the vast majority appear totally out of their depth in parliament, and this is not surprising because parliamentary politics is fundamentally a team sport.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 1:22:14pm


          "We have seen in the current Parliament both Labor and Greens voting against legislation that covered policy that they agreed with."

          Examples please.

          I can think of only one and that was the stupidity of the Greens over the original Carbon Pricing scheme. Although the government has attempted to suggest that Labor has voted against things that it proposed in government, but has so far failed to sustain its case. An examination of the actual Labor policy and the legislation proposed by the current government demonstrates that there is no similarity between the two.

          Sorry, but while you keep regurgitating the myths, I can't help but to knock them down. I am sort of hoping that one day you may realise that politics is REAL, and has no place for myths.

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        • ghostwalker:

          31 Aug 2015 12:04:31pm

          "...we rejected monarchy and feudalism because it didn't work."

          Well actually it worked for some and not others, and (to be fair) it also worked sometimes but not others. Hit and miss.

          Sound familiar? Our attempts at 'democracy' have not fared better, producing everything from utter mediocrity (Abbott) to atrocity (Hitler). Along the way we've chanced a few gems as well.

          Not that I'd support a return to feudalism (we need to move forward, not backward). However our modern mechanisms in support of capitalism and liberal-democracy need major revision or a rethink.

          How better to underscore that need than to note that neither major party appears likely to "likely give us the legislative and economic framework we need" to build the society we may wish for. And neither do the Greens or Jacqui Lambie and her ilk.

          We need to begin a climb out of the morass we have created.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 12:50:55pm


          "Well actually it worked for some and not others, and (to be fair) it also worked sometimes but not others"

          In the end it didn't work for anyone.

          One of the common misconceptions of social inequality and totalitarianism is that we assume that, because there are so many losers, there must be at least one winner. While this may be so in the early stages of a new set of class arrangements, it does not remain true for long.

          "Our attempts at 'democracy' have not fared better, producing everything from utter mediocrity (Abbott) to atrocity (Hitler)."

          I'm not even going to try to defend liberal-democracy, except to say that it was a valiant "first go" that failed. But that does not mean that the concept of democracy itself is flawed.

          Just for fun, I am going to use manned, powered, heavier-than-air flight as my example. All you have to do is watch television for about a week straight and you are almost certain to see a collection of grainy, black-and-white clips of men attempting in various ingenious ways to commit an act of aviation. They steal their mother's Venetian blinds and attach a motor, plunge down cliff faces in modified hen houses, set fire to their bums.....

          The point is that they got it right eventually. But they would not have gotten it right but for two things:

          1: They kept trying and;

          2: They (eventually) approached the problem from an engineering perspective, figured out what was required to convey a man and his valued possessions through the atmosphere, and built that.

          I reckon that liberal-democracy was about a five-out-of-ten effort, which isn't bad for a first try. But I also reckon that we need to keep trying. We know that feudalism and monarchy don't work any more. we know that capitalism and liberal democracy don't work any more. What we need to do now is figure out what WILL work.

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        • ghostwalker:

          31 Aug 2015 1:11:49pm

          Yes. However we seem to be stuck with the "5 out of 10 effort" you mention, endlessly "setting fire to our bums" and learning nothing. Time to move on.

          That aside, I do think there is an element of enforced mediocrity (or worse, legitimised and institutionalised mob rule) to the rather oxymoronic notion of "leadership" by a "majority", which unfortunately provides one of the foundation stones of all our efforts towards the ideal/s of democratic governance.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 2:25:29pm


          "I do think there is an element of enforced mediocrity (or worse, legitimised and institutionalised mob rule) to the rather oxymoronic notion of "leadership" by a "majority", "

          I agree, so it is lucky that this has nothing to do with democracy.

          According to the infantile definition of democracy assumed with liberal democracy, democracy is the "rule of the majority" but, in reality, if there is "rule" there is no democracy.

          Democracy is a theoretical (so far) configuation of society in which all forms of coercive power have been removed and no individual human being can be forced to act against their will. Now, the conservatives will point out that, if all the rules and laws were abolished tomorrow there would be chaos. So the question as far as I am concerned is how we get from where we are at the moment, to the type of society in which it would be possible to remove the rules and laws without chaos resulting.

          I think that the secret is with our perceptions of plenty and scarcity.

          We all need oxygen in order to survive. If we are denied oxygen for anything more than a few minutes, our body and brain begin to shut down. A few minutes more and the shut down is permanent.

          And yet we are totally cavalier about how we use oxygen. I have never seen or heard of a fight over oxygen. I have never seen anyone accused (except in jest) of using more than their fair share or of stealing someone else's oxygen. There are no laws or rules governing how we use oxygen because everyone is confident that we have plenty and always will.

          But I have also seen people fight to the death over the last ridiculously-discounted handbag in Myers on Boxing Day. On one hand, they are totally blase about their future access to life-giving oxygen, and on the other they will tear flesh to secure the last handbag - because it is the last.

          So that's the trick. If we want democracy, all we have to do is ensure that there is enough of everything that everyone needs to go around. Removing the rules and constraints will do no good until we are ready to live without rules and constraints, and we will be ready when we are confident that all of our needs will always be met.

          The key to democracy is in the reform of the economy.

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        • lilly:

          31 Aug 2015 12:05:10pm

          The trouble is, political parties no longer really answer to the voters. Both sides win votes by telling voters what they want to hear at election time and then spend their time in government supporting the rent seekers at the expense of the people who voted them in. The views of the people no longer really count because both sides of politics know that the people can be easily won over and will always vote for one side or the other. i.e. As far as they are concerned, we are sheep.

          Personally speaking, I'd like to limit the right of a political party to dictate the voting habits of their MPs. An MP should be free to vote which ever way they please in parliament without fear of retribution. If MPs were allowed to do this, then policies may receive greater scrutiny in the house because neither side could rely upon party discipline to force through bad legislation.

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        • Oaktree:

          31 Aug 2015 3:35:04pm

          Removing the compulsory vote would be a step forward in my view.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 12:49:03pm


          "Removing the compulsory vote would be a step forward in my view."

          You appear to have an odd concept of the word "forward".

          We have a slightly more advanced democratic system in Australain than do most western nations. While you are under no obligation to vote, you are required to turn up to a polling place and to register the fact that you turned up. This means that everybody has the opportunity to make a democratic choice, whether they like it or not.

          People who whinge about compulsory voting fall into two categories. Tories who would prefer to see a return to voting being restricted to property owners, and lazy sods who are too fat and idle to get off their backsides once every couple of years (on average) to do one TINY service for their country. These lazy clowns will wrap themselves in the flag and shout "Oi Oi Oi" every time one of our sporting teams performs well, but ask them to do something for the country, even something is little as turning up to a particular place every couple of years and they squeal like stuck pigs.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 12:42:53pm


          "The trouble is, political parties no longer really answer to the voters. "

          You must admit that they are between a rock and a hard place on this issue.

          A party that changes its policy continually to accommodate the shifting tides of public opinion would rightly bee seen as "populist" in nature. On the other hand, a party that sticks rigidly to its ideology and vision for the future could be seen as inflexible and unresponsive.

          The big problem is that we are constantly sending mixed messages to our pollies. We want more personal freedom and at the same time we want the government to restrict the personal freedom of others so that we can feel safe and secure. We demand leadership and then complain about parties and politicians who lead, rather than responding to public opinion. We want politicians who listen to the public but, as soon as they do they are accused of "flip-flopping" or "dancing to the polls".

          I personally think that parties need to have a long-term programme and to stick to it. I don't believe that it does anyone any good for parties to be bending over backwards to accommodate demands from us that are unsustainable or contrary to the long-term programme. If we support their long-term programme, we will vote for them.

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    • barsnax:

      31 Aug 2015 9:37:37am

      I would consider my self leaning to the left with a liking for financial socialism to the degree that I think everyone should pay their way and look after those that can't.

      Unfortunately that doesn't happen in Australia.

      I would strongly recommend that people vote independent.

      I think it's the only way to get the money out of our corrupt and compromised 2 party political system.

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      • Albo:

        31 Aug 2015 12:47:10pm

        "I would consider my self leaning to the left with a liking for financial socialism to the degree that I think everyone should pay their way and look after those that can't.

        Unfortunately that doesn't happen in Australia."

        So who is getting all that billions of dollars of welfare money then ? The haves ?

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        • sdrawkcaB:

          31 Aug 2015 1:09:25pm

          Isn't the latest proposal to hand it out to mothers so they can go back to work... so a two income family with the same handouts as a one income family.

          Then of course there is the neo-liberal system of economics which is largely about siphoning of public monies into the private hands of a few.

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    • sdrawkcaB:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:21am

      'I would describe myself as a centre-right/somewhat libertarian voter. I am somewhat fiscally conservative and socially progressive'.

      I sounds to me like you are a social liberal of sorts.

      It also seems the tone of your comment is you reluctantly found yourself voting something other then the LNP.

      I find this curious with people. If you are indeed centre right then the closest two parties to you are the ALP and the Greens. If you are shading libertarian then the only party on the libertarian side of the libertarian/authoritarian scale are the Greens.

      If are a progressive then clearly the LNP have not suited you on that front ever.

      I mention social liberals becuase I am one. I like balanced budgets within reason, welfare to those in need, an equal playing and reward for effort, due respect for the environment, and above all, eveidence based policy making - so the religous right ticks me off no end.

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      • Tom1:

        31 Aug 2015 10:36:50am

        sdrawkcaB: You are actually a moderate Labor supporter. Good choice.

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 10:44:52am


        "I sounds to me like you are a social liberal of sorts."

        Well that's the problem with liberalism. It assumes that the economy and society operate in different universes - and that it is possible to meaningfully examine one without considering the other. As a result, liberals make the mistake of believing that all they need to do is to remove all state-imposed constraint over individual action and Bob's your uncle. But all that this gives you is freedom from state-imposed constraint, which is a long way from liberty.

        Liberty is the ability to do what you want, when you want to, in the way in which you want to do it. Obviously for this to exist there must be an absence of active constraint that would prevent you from doing it. But that, in itself is not sufficient for you to be at liberty.

        "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day - teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life" (except if he gets sick of fish). we've all heard it (ad nauseum), and it is a good example of the failings fo liberalism. You cannot fish unless you know how to fish. But knowing how to fish does not mean that you are at liberty to fish. To be at liberty to fish, you need access to a body of water that has nice, edible fish in it. And you need the equipment required for catching fish - a bit of string, a hook and maybe a stick. And you need the free time required for fishing (lots, as far as I can see). Only then does the knowledge of how to fish do you any good, and only then can you can be considered to be "at liberty" to fish.

        In terms of delivering a democratic society, liberalism has proven to be a dead end. In some limited cases it can be genuinely said that it did deliver freedom to certain classes of people in certain societies. But even these freedoms are now being rapidly withdrawn as the leisure classes bunker down against the largely confected threat of terrorism.

        You don't have to say "social" in preface to "liberal". Liberalism is a social philosphy that failed as a result of its total fixation on the social in isolation from the economic.

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        • sdrawkcaB:

          31 Aug 2015 12:14:31pm

          Your account is not quite the same as those I have read.

          My understanding is Liberalism (capital L) is a failure and was proven to be so by the great depression.

          Arising from that was social liberalism (lower case l) which tries to marry social and economic policy. Coming forward from 1935, my understanding the role of the environment is better understood and social liberals, over time, have evolved to view environment, social, economy as a three pronged policy area.

          So, when I read your mention of liberal, I am translating it to mean Liberal.

          Does that fit with your account?

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 2:46:41pm


          "So, when I read your mention of liberal, I am translating it to mean Liberal.

          Does that fit with your account?"

          Well, here's how I see it.

          There is an ideological tradition called "liberalism" (small l) and a party called the "Liberal Party". So, when I refer to "liberalism", I use a small l, and when I refer to the Liberal Party, I call them Tories because that is what they are.

          I would say that the outbreak of WW1 represented the failure of liberal-democracy as a political system, but I suppose that this is splitting hairs. In many ways, WW1, the Great Depression and WW2 were all side-effects of the disastrous depression of the 1890's and all provided examples, in a number of different ways, of the failure of liberal-democracy.

          The big failure of liberal-democracy was its failure to recognise the intrinsic link between the economy and civil society and how economic inequality is entirely incompatible with principles of democracy. It is very easy to say "everybody gets a vote", or "everybody can say what they like", but it is not so easy to make it mean something.

          For true democracy to exist, everybody must have not just the right to live their lives according to their own conscience and develop themselves as humans to their full capacity, but access to the means to do so. The liberals never seemed to realise that a democratic society cannot simply be grafted onto a fundamentally anti-democratic economic system like capitalism. And this is where they went wrong.

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        • sdrawkcaB:

          31 Aug 2015 3:13:08pm


          That's all fair enough.

          I also agree that the 'Liberals' are conservatives (or is that Conservatives?) and have been for quite some time.

          And if liberalism is also a failure alongside Liberalism and Conservatism...then what?

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 3:49:34pm


          "And if liberalism is also a failure alongside Liberalism and Conservatism...then what?"

          As I said earlier, I think that liberal-democracy was a creditable first attempt at building a democratic society and, if we are clever, there is a lot that we can learn from our "first run" that will make our next attempt easier and hopefully more successful.

          Here is the big problem we face:

          In the 13.8 billion year history of our universe, there is not one single example of a sentient race of creatures building a truly democratic society. As far as we know, there has only ever been one form of life to attempt such a feat, and that is us. In other words, every step we take along the road of human history is a leap in the dark. There is no manual for this, no instructions, no help desk. We are flying blind. So, I can see our first attempt at democracy as being a pretty creditable effort, and somebody else may see it as an abject failure. Considering that we have nothing to measure it against, who is to judge?

          As I said earlier, I think that the key lies in our perceptions of plenty and scarcity, and how this affects our perceptions of our own security. We don't fight over oxygen because it is obvious that there is plenty for everyone. If we can develop the same perceptions of plenty for all of the things that we consider important in our lives, we will not fight or compete over those either.

          At the moment the world is producing about four times the amount of wealth that it needs to in order to provide every human being on earth with a perception of plenty and security The problem is that we waste most of it because our failed capitalist economic system demands that we continue to consume more and waste more every day. And this means that nearly everybody on earth feels the need to secure their future by competing for scarce resources that, if everybody stopped fighting over, would be abundant.

          Socialism has had great success in producing these perceptions of plenty and well-being and a good example of how this can produce a harmonious civil society with progressively improving civil rights can be found in Cuba. Despite the fact that they are poorer in material terms than us, the Cubans are undoubtedly happier than us because they feel more secure. While our society is becoming less democratic by the day, theirs is becoming more democratic.

          Maybe this should be telling us something.

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      • barsnax:

        31 Aug 2015 10:55:36am

        When the ABC has its "who should you vote for quiz" before each election, I answer the questions honestly and it always turns out that I should vote Greens.

        I'd prefer to vote independent because our political system is broken due to the donation money involved.

        I'll be interested to see what Nick Xenophon comes up with in policies for his new party, if they get off the ground.

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      • velcro:

        31 Aug 2015 1:34:18pm


        By articulating these principles you hold dear, you are speaking of values, which it seems evident, not only you, but a majority of people consider important.

        Ask yourself what government will:

        1) Actively preserve individual liberties.

        2) Promote scientific and technological innovation.

        3) Put a premium on education and make it universally accessible.

        4) Be accountable to the people, open and inclusive.

        5) Support a universal health care service even if it requires an increased tax to do so.

        6) Provide job security by supporting new and emerging industries like renewable energy and high speed internet and high speed public transport.

        7) Foster land care and conservation of the environment to enhance the tourism industry and Australia's unique natural biodiversity.

        8) Promote economic security with enhanced emphasis on ethics.

        9) Put a premium on principle, honesty. That the trust of the people in the government which they elected to serve them, is restored.

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    • phil:

      31 Aug 2015 9:46:27am

      Fridays Melbourne debacle was a joint police operation, and police are state based.

      it has nothing to do with federal government, and everything to do with a poorly worded press release

      I wonder do you protest over RBT ? Do you refuse to give police your drivers license when you are tested ?

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      • sdrawkcaB:

        31 Aug 2015 10:11:44am

        Randomly stopping people in the streets and checking IDs is what the fascists did.

        If you think fascism is a good idea then cite some examples where such societies have thrived.

        Givng the police a drivers licence is entirely different since they have a specific cause.

        That then encaptulates law. We permit intrusion if it is specific and the intruder has a strong sense of possible wrond doing. We don't permit randon checks.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 4:25:14pm


          "We permit intrusion if it is specific and the intruder has a strong sense of possible wrond doing. We don't permit randon checks."

          What do you think the "r" in RBT stands for - rabbits?

          We DO permit random checks and, as Fridays events show, we were bloody stupid to allow it to happen.

          It started with RBT. The young kids were being stopped and searched on the street by police. Then they started to turn up to our concerts with poor dogs that they had abused into being snitches against human beings. Then, all of a sudden, we have the Gestapo on our streets, randomly stopping people and demanding that they justify their existence. And you have fools telling us that "it is no ddifferent to RBT". Well they are right. It is no different. BOTH are fundamental invasions of our inalienable rights and cannot be justified in any way, shape or form.

          I have no problem with police stopping and searching someone who they reasonably suspect of having committed a crime or are in the process of committing one - provided that their victims are adequately compensated if detained by mistake. But this is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about is the speculative targetting of individuals who have committed no crime and whom the police have no valid reason for suspecting criminal activity or intent.

          I remember reading a story called "The Walker", by Ray Bradbury. It's about a man who goes for a walk one evening and who is accosted by police demanding that he justify his presence on the street. "Just going for a walk" was not sufficient excuse in the eyes of the police.

          The simple fact is that we don't need to explain or justify our presence on the streets to anyone, let alone a bunch of trumped up little Hitlers in Gestapo uniforms - THEY ARE OUR STREETS! We don't need an excuse to be on them.

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      • worrierqueen:

        31 Aug 2015 10:22:19am

        I think the difference is the latter group are trained as police including the use of firearms, the frocked-up Mussolini clad border farce are bureaucrats with guns.

        I used to work in the public service, you're crazy brave to give some of them guns.

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      • TDG:

        31 Aug 2015 11:00:21am

        Demonising asylum seekers has made public harassment of (most likely) brown skinned people, for their visa papers, morally feasible.

        It comes from the top. Tolerance and acceptance come from the top. I hope Tony is horrified such tactics were almost played out down here. I wonder if he has made the connection.

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      • Mike at Taree:

        31 Aug 2015 11:07:36am

        Phil, so are you saying that the Border Force isn't a Commonwealth organisation? What do you base that strange perception on?

        You need to give your ID to police if you are committing a crime or if there is reasonable grounds that you are able to help with solving a crime. Drunk driving and other traffic offences are "crimes". You need not show ID if you are just going about your lawful business.

        So that's two misconceptions on one post. Well done.

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        • jonmarks:

          31 Aug 2015 12:22:12pm

          And, of course, we are not required to own or carry ID in this country. I know that many of us carry driving licenses most of the time - but these are not ID papers, they may well be used as such but they are actually only licenses to drive and nothing else.

          In my opinion driving licenses should only be required to be shown on matters pertaining to driving. If you want to volunteer your driving license as proof of ID that is up to you - but it isn't a formal ID card.

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      • Steve_C:

        31 Aug 2015 11:12:20am

        "Fridays Melbourne debacle was a joint police operation, and police are state based."

        Are you sure that you didn't make a typo? I mean, is a comment like that possible from any Tom, Dick or Harry; let alone a phil... It's clearly something composed by more of a dill!!

        It'll be quite an eye opener for you if you ever fly from one of our international airports... what with all the Federal police and Federal customs and border control officers you'd have to dodge!

        Some Aussies really reflect badly on the rest of us as well as the country as a whole, because they make the place look like a hole - especially intellectually... If I ever thought I might have made our once great nation seem like an intellectual vacuum, your single sentence that I've quoted redeems even my most vacant or mind numbed of pronouncements!??

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      • RichardJ:

        31 Aug 2015 11:26:49am

        Don't try to spin your way out of it. The Australian government made its own decisions.

        As for RBT, I think it was a fundamentally good policy that is now in need of some fine-tuning (it's expensive with little impact compared to the early days). And yes, I do tell police what I think of the policy from time to time.

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      • ghostwalker:

        31 Aug 2015 12:10:22pm

        ...and there's a notable difference between showing your driver's license or providing name and address and proving your ethnicity, nationality and/or visa status.

        One is associated with civilised order, the other a mark of totalitarian authority.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 2:43:30pm


          "One is associated with civilised order, the other a mark of totalitarian authority."

          No, both are unacceptable. There is only one justification for being asked to show identification and that is if the person asking has a legitimate need to know your identity. In most cases police do not have such a need and, in such cases, any request to see your driver's license is an inexcusable transgression of your fundamental rights.

          When you work in a secure environment, as I have occasionally had to do, dealing with classified material, there is a principle called "need to know". This means that, even if someone has the necessary clearances to view a document, they still need to establish that there is a need for them to know the information before they would be allowed to view it.

          This is a useful concept in defining what is a valid request for ID and what is an invasion of your rights. Under most circumstances, there is no need for the police or anyone else to know who you are, and there are any number of valid reasons why you may wish to keep your identity private.

          In general, the only reason why the police would need to confirm your identity is if they reasonaly suspected you of committing a crime. The fact that you are driving your car on a public road, or walking down a public street does not indicate in any way that you are any more or less likely to have committed a crime than anyone else and therefore it cannot reasonably be established that the police have a "need to know" who you are. If your manner of driving leads them to suspect that you may be under the influence of a drug like alcohol, this is sufficient cause for establishing a "need to know" both who you are and how much alcohol is in your blood.

          We have been too accommodating when it comes to the question of random search and siezure. We should have been far less flexible. We should not have accepted RBT simply because it may have saved some lives. Our fundamental rights are more important, even than saving a few lives on the roads.

          Giving up our rights in return for the ilusion of enhanced safety or security will not deliver any enhancements to our safety and security. In fact, the opposite is a more likely outcome. Just ask the relatives of the 6 million who perished in the Holocaust how safe "public order" made them.

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      • homo economicus:

        31 Aug 2015 1:10:18pm


        'police are state based' really? So the Federal Police don't exist?

        'It has nothing to do with federal government' really? Last time I checked s 51 (xxvii) of our Constitution says the Commonwealth is in charge of immigration, and the relevant department of Immigration enforces visa controls through this Border Force body. So the responsible minister is Mr Dutton MP.

        What does intoxicated driving prevention have to do with immigration regulations by the way?

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      • Tom1:

        31 Aug 2015 1:18:00pm

        phil: Not sure your facts are right. Actually I am sure they are wrong! The Border Security Force, (And of course an island nation must have a border force) is a combined Customs, and Immigration unit, outfitted in black. The person responsible is Peter Dutton, not the Commissioner of Police in Vctoria, or the Minister for Police.

        Peter Dutton is a member of the Coalition Government, and was made Immigration Minister after he stuffed up Health. He has blamed his staff for not reading what they term hum drum correspondence from someone in the Border force.

        An officer in Border Force thought it would be a good idea, and in keeping with Abbott's emphasis on national security, to stir up the natives, and let them know they are on the job against the "Death cult".

        After it backfired Abbott of course backtracked, and now we are safe in the knowledge that people in Australia will never be asked in the street to produce their visas.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 3:00:37pm


          "An officer in Border Force thought it would be a good idea, and in keeping with Abbott's emphasis on national security, to stir up the natives"

          This decision did not come from "an officer". Decisions like this may be inspired by an idea from the lower ranks, but the ultimate decision is made at a high level. This is especially so with joint operations. These will usually require an "MOU"

          (Memmorandum of Understanding) between participating agencies.

          It may not have been Dutton himself who made the decision, but without his OK it would not have happened.

          If there were any mistakes here it was in releasing the press release too early. I suspect that there was a "cunning plan" to hold a press conference yesterday, at which they would have announced that they had rounded up a whole heap of "illegals", thus proving the need for arbitrary detention, search and siezure to become a normal part of police procedure.

          This is the sort of thing that the German propaganda machine was so good at before WW2 - create a crisis and have a solution right there at your fingertips - a new police force with special powers, weapons and slick uniforms. All we have to give up are a few fundamental civil rights that we hardly ever use anyway.........that's how it starts. If you want to know how it ends, you can still tour the gas chambers of Auschwitz (I wouldn't be surprised if you could do it online now) and you can still see the pond of ashes.

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        • v:

          01 Sep 2015 3:06:19pm


          "and now we are safe in the knowledge that people in Australia will never be asked in the street to produce their visas."

          In the same way that we are safe in the knowledge that there will never be a change to the GST? In the same way that we are safe in the knowledge that "Work Choices" is "dead, buried and cremated"? In the same way that we are safe in the knowledge that the government is in "locked step" with the previous government on long-term education and health funding? In the same way as we can be safe in the knowledge that funding to e the ABC will not be cut? The same way as we can feel safe in the knowledge that we have an automotive industry that can quickly convert to wartime production if we ever require it?

          I fear that there is very little room for comfort or safety in the sort of knowledge Abbott give us.

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 4:02:20pm


        "Fridays Melbourne debacle was a joint police operation, and police are state based.

        it has nothing to do with federal government, and everything to do with a poorly worded press release"

        1: The original police operation was organised by the Victorian Police as part of an ongoing law-and-order campaign targetting anti-social behaviour on Melbourne's streets.

        2: At some stage during the planning process, the Border Farce (which is a Federal body for whom the Federal government is responsible) decided to tag along.

        3: According to the Victorian Police, people detained for anti-social behaviour would have their credentials checked by Border Farce operatives. There was never any suggestion at this stage that the Border Farce would directly approach anyone.

        4: According to the Press Conference organised by the Border Farce, the Border Farce intended to randomly detain people on the street and demand that they prove their bona-fides. When the Victorian Police heard this, they pulled the plug on the operation.

        5: There is no suggestion that the Victorian Police did anything wrong. All that they did was to extend a professional courtesy to the newly established Border Farce - a courtesy that was shamelessly abused by an obviously publicity-hungry Border Farce. The Victorian Police did the right thing in cancelling the event as soon as they learned that the Border Farce intended to use their operation as a cover for their own illegal invasions of the civil liberaties of Australian citizen.

        The fault was entirely at Federal level. It is not just the uniforms of the Border Farce that remind people of Germany and Italy in the 1930's. It is also how the Gestapo, SS and SA came into being - specialist, paramilitary police forces with special powers introduced for one purpose (in this case "border protection"), but used for another.

        Ask yourself a simple question: how far is it from Melbourne to the nearest point on Australia's border? 100km? 200km? What the hell were the Border Farce doing in Melbourne?

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 4:13:31pm


        "I wonder do you protest over RBT ? "

        Simple answer: yes.

        It is claimed that RBT has been effective in reducing the road toll, although the historical evidence does not back this up as the fall in road deaths since the advent of RBT can easily be accounted for by improvements in the safety of cars and the design and maintenance of our roads. There are still as many collisions per journey occuring, but fewer of them result in injuries or deaths thanks to safer cars and roads.

        But regardless of its effectiveness, RBT repreented the "thin end of the wedge" that allowed the concept of arbitrary search and seizure (a fundamental breach of inalienable rights) to become normalised and led to obscenities like sniffer dogs at concerts (dogs should never be used as weapons) and random searches of teenagers on city streets. Now we are seeing RBT being used by you as a justification for secret police haunting the streets of our cities, demanding proof of your right to breathe.

        Benjamin Franklin was dead right to point out that anyone who gives up a fundamental liberty for the sake of an illusion of security deserves neither and will have neither. In our cowardly aqienscence to the arbirtrary search and seizure on our roads, we opened ourselves and our society up to the totalitarians who would destroy our civil rights and make slaves of us all.

        If you don't mind, I will keep a copy of your post so I can show it to those who scoffed when I suggested that RBT was a thin end of a wedge with jackboots, random searches, "disappearances" and gas chambers at the fat end. Thank you so much for unwittingly proving my point with your fatuous "argument".

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    • Applaudanum :

      31 Aug 2015 11:32:37am

      The problem with voting 'independent' as a protest vote tactic is that the two major parties can fill the voting papers with 'decoy' independent candidates and spread the protest vote more thinly, thus leaving the major parties as the one to beat.

      You need to vote on policy. To do that you need to get to know the independent that's right for you, and you also need to encourage like minded people in your electorate to vote for 'your' independent as well. Without this level of commitment, a major party candidate will win your representation.

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    • Demosthenese:

      31 Aug 2015 3:37:55pm

      Exactly so Cat. I'm in your pen.

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  • Malcolm:

    31 Aug 2015 8:55:08am

    Simply put this Coalition Government is proving with each day that all of us who said that Abbott would be a disaster as Prime Minister were right. The latest moves to grab the attention and approval of those 30% of Australians who think that he walks on water are ludicrous. Melbourne's Operation Ineptitude starring in a support role Border Farce (why the uniforms for people who are little more than clerks?); dashing off to bomb Syria because we asked the Americans to ask us to do it; the cabinet that leaks like a colander; the clear signs that Abbott was at his most popular when he was out of sight in a tent and the fact that no one in the WA Liberals wants him anywhere near the Canning by election are among the the latest manifestations of Abbott's disastrous tenure of the PM's job. But Australia was told by a great many informed observers of all things Abbott that he wasn't up to the job - I humbly suggest that those people who considered him to be suitable apologise to us for this dereliction of voter duty.

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    • Oaktree:

      31 Aug 2015 9:49:14am

      It is a worry that the Border Protection people seem to enjoy wearing uniforms and the prospect of controlling the population. Hence their bid to lord it over Melbourne. Their "operational matters" means little if any transparency and one wonders how their role would develop under the regime currently leading this country?

      I believe it is time for a reality check in relation to civil rights.

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      • EricH:

        31 Aug 2015 12:24:44pm

        "...the Border Protection people seem to enjoy wearing uniforms..."

        Yes, and I would add "black" before uniforms. To those of us old enough to remember, it is a frightening recollection of a certain totalitarian state.

        But our "democracy" is not the only one engaged in such "image making". I was horrified on my first visit to the US in 1970 when I saw my first real-life San Francisco cop. Grim faced, dressed entirely in black, belt weighed down with gun, baton, handcuffs it was a sight I can conjure up even today.

        And it was repeated when we got do Washington, DC. There, in the Hotel Dupont wash-room I was confronted by a similarly black-garbed and fully armed police officer.

        This time he was accompanied by a huge German Shepherd. The cop filled up the basin and signalled to the dog who put his front paws on the basin and proceeded to take a long drink.

        I made a friendly remark, but all I got in reply was a filthy look and total silence - from the cop that is. The dog actually looked quite friendly - on the surface at least.

        I got out of there as quick as I could!

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    • APM:

      31 Aug 2015 9:53:39am

      "all of us who said that Abbott would be a disaster as Prime Minister were right."

      It's been a self-fulfilling prophesy. Until now, when new governments have been elected there has been some acceptance of the peoples will and the government is allowed to broadly play the leading role. Oppositions are supposed to reflect on their faults and improve themselves. After 2007, the LNP dumped Workchoices. This opposition acts as though it never lost the election, made no mistakes, and tries to rule from opposition by opposing everything and they don't have any new ideas of their own. Several populist cross-benchers similarly have no plans to advance any reform and gleefully oppose in bad faith.

      The Left media is looking for LNP blood the whole time. They play this double game of saying our pollies should be more co-operative and forward thinking and yet the Left media itself is hateful and intolerant. All these concocted moral crimes with little substance. Similarly, they say they support reform processes but oppose all proposed reform and then berate the government for lack of reform. There have been no actual disasters unlike say two Labor policies that directly killed people. Abbott is just one man. The political class has failed Australia. The Left pollies and media have deliberately made governing all but impossible, and have encouraged a fear of change in the community.

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      • whogoesthere:

        31 Aug 2015 10:16:34am

        'This opposition acts as though it never lost the election, made no mistakes, and tries to rule from opposition by opposing everything and they don't have any new ideas of their own.'

        Sounds like a nice summary of the LNP after they lost in '07 !.

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      • Mark James:

        31 Aug 2015 10:34:52am

        APM, if Abbott had managed to run a government anything like the government he promised he would run before the election, then the Coalition would still be standing.

        However, not only has Abbott broken a host of policy promises, he's also broken a host of style promises.

        The government is not more transparent, as promised; it is less so.

        The government does not do what it says and says what it means, as promised; it simply says what it does without considering the relationship between the spoken word and discernible reality.

        The government does not under-promise and over-deliver, as promised; it either breaks its promises at its own convenience, or over-promises and under-delivers.

        The Coalition's failure, plain and simple, is in upholding anything resembling its own benchmarks.

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      • guddy:

        31 Aug 2015 10:37:30am

        Perfect description of the Lnp and the rightwing media pre 2013.

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      • Eyes wide open:

        31 Aug 2015 10:39:39am

        "There have been no actual disasters unlike say two Labor policies that directly killed people..." Are you serious or delirious? I remember marching with many thousands of people to say NO to involvement in IRAQ ..but it was the LIBERAL government of the time under John Howard who signed us up to a war that killed hundreds of thousands of men women and children and gave terrorist organisations like ISiS a leg up.

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      • foolking:

        31 Aug 2015 10:47:49am

        APM: It is both instructive and enlightening that an argument can be made from your perspective about obstructive opposition and media. Considering Tony Abbott's impact as opposition leader, even though he couldn't easily and didn't block legislation. He and his media support were clearly the stand out since Keating.

        You seem to be implying that a silent player controls Australian politics which would be the will of the public in a stalemate with vested interests .Work choices was in effect dumping the conditions of employees for the rights of employers. Boy that's a hard sell, drop the cost of living massively with infrastructure that supplies all service stations with our natural gas and put/invest in renewable energy on/into every house. Then there will be some room to negotiate, dropping the cost of weekly outgoings to the detriment of overseas interests is the answer. The Libs were wise to sell it all, it's outdated overly expensive rubbish now a disturbingly destructive polluting fossil.

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      • Headscratcher:

        31 Aug 2015 11:00:54am

        "two Labor policies that directly killed people"

        Oh yeah ?

        How about 2 Liberal policies that directly killed people, Iraq and Afghanistan

        More than 2 actually, how far back do you want to go.

        What a hide !!!

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      • Chris L:

        31 Aug 2015 11:15:57am

        Most of your post, APM, is similar to what a loyal Labor supporter would have written between 2007 and 2013, including the criticism of the opposition refusing to acknowledge they lost. Remember Dr No calling himself the "alternate government"?

        What I would like to call you up on, however, is the claim that Labor directly killed people.

        If you're referring to the insulation scheme I'd like to point out that Labor and the unions are the ones who improved workplace safety to the point where workers are no longer expendable assets. The Liberal party have only ever once, very briefly, shown any care about worker safety after themselves deregulating the insulation industry under Mr Howard.

        If you're referring to asylum seekers drowning on the way to Australia, government actions did not directly cause that. If they did, Mr Howard would also be answerable as over a third of the number drowned during his government.

        This government is, however, directly responsible for the conditions at Manus... and those conditions did contribute directly to riots, injuries, abuse and at least one mortality.

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        • APM:

          31 Aug 2015 12:05:56pm

          Chris, Abbott wasn't even the opposition leader for the first couple of years of LNP opposition and Labor were given a soft ride in Rudd's years by both LNP and the media. He hung himself by being dysfunctional, a fraud, and loathsome to work with. Under Gillard, Labor with the support of Greens got most of their agenda through. Remember Labor is still triumphant at the amount of legislation passed. Labor was judged poorly for what they actually did do which was proven poor implementation and reckless spending, whereas Abbott is being derided for what he might do but has has usually been denied.

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        • Chris L:

          31 Aug 2015 3:29:23pm

          Again, very familiar sounding.

          This government has had most of its legislation passed by the senate, only being stopped on a few issues and with good reason.

          They were given a soft ride by the media in opposition, not having to explain what little policy they revealed, and much of their incompetence in government has been steadfastly ignored by the mainstream media, including the ABC.

          You accuse the previous government of being dysfunctional, but are you willing to cast a critical eye on the current government?

          Lies, policy failure, rising debt and deficit, job losses, low business confidence, rates lower that what Mr Hockey had previously described as "depression rates", secrecy and lack of transparency, diplomatic fouls, internal leaks and even a spill motion. At the next election Labor could take any recording of Mr Abbott criticising the previous government and it would apply even more appropriately to the current one.

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 11:23:05am

          Job losses? Many more big businesses went belly up under labor, and oddly enough, most were heavily unionised.

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      • Malcolm:

        31 Aug 2015 11:36:20am

        "This opposition acts as though it never lost the election ..."

        You are obviously dealing in the past tense here because that description fits Abbott's behaviour when he was Opposition Leader after PM Gillard was able to clearly out negotiate him to form a minority government. You will note that I have not referred to Abbott as Prime Minister because it is now quite clear to most Australians that he no longer sufficient support from the public to be considered Prime Minister. He must resign immediately, he is way past his use by date.

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        • Steven:

          01 Sep 2015 11:23:58am

          Regardless of what you think, he is still Prime Minister

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  • INoNuthing:

    31 Aug 2015 8:55:38am

    If Tony Abbott was given free rein (reign) to do whatever he thought was highly desirable, would very many of us want to live in the Australia that he made?

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    • Skeptic:

      31 Aug 2015 9:29:40am

      Not me! That is just too terrifying to think about.

      The really sad thing is that although I choose not to vote Liberal, I am very concerned about the state of the party of Menzies. Once upon a time they used to care about those who needed help, i.e., pensioners and the disabled (and the unemployed too, perhaps). I am sure there are many ordinary subscribers to the Liberal Party who are politically conservative but still compassionate enough to be socially progressive. I sometimes wonder about their levels of depression at how the current leadership of the party are behaving.

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    • Mamgran:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:43am

      I know I wouldn't. I am getting more and more of the feeling we are living in a dictatorship and not a very nice one at that. Black uniforms, black boots, guns on hips walking the streets and stopping people demanding papers!!! Wow I never thought that could happen here and I praise Melbourne public for stopping it. There are still people living here who would remember living under that kind of government.

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    • bonzono:

      31 Aug 2015 9:50:55am

      I left.

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    • v:

      31 Aug 2015 10:06:12am


      "If Tony Abbott was given free rein (reign) to do whatever he thought was highly desirable"

      Its a bit of a hypothetical. But, in another way, you have identified the real problem.

      We can never know what Tony Abbott would do if given his head, but I would hazard a guess that it would include taking helicopter rides to Liberal Party fund-raising bicycle rides and banning women from thinking. But the simple fact is that Abbott is just another Dr Faustus. He made a lot of promises in order to work his way up in the Liberal Party and even more to become PM.

      Even if Tony Abbott had an epiphany while riding his bicycle to Damascus, and decided that he should stop demonising asylum seekers, return to us our rights to free speech and free association, remove discrimination from the marriage act, lift the minimum wage, raise social security payments, start treating asylum seekers properly and withdraw our troops from the middle east, his sponsors would not loosen their leash to allow any of this to actually happen.

      Abbott is a prisoner of his own ambition and the things that he has had to do to become PM. He cannot act in Australia's best interests, even if he wanted to.

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      • Oaktree:

        31 Aug 2015 3:44:35pm

        What an epiphany that would be, greatly to be desired but extremely unlikely.

        Still, Hockey is on the skids by all accounts and we have a by-election coming up which might hopefully become a watershed moment for the Far Right Libs.

        If whatever washes up as our leaders, could they please lead, rather than tread all over us?

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    • Chester:

      31 Aug 2015 1:21:44pm

      nope, nope, nope

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  • martin:

    31 Aug 2015 8:56:04am

    If neither Abbott or Dutton knew about operation Fortitude by the Border Farce then what else DON'T they know?

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    • Jean Oliver:

      31 Aug 2015 9:21:33am

      Assuming they are telling the truth it is another in a long line of not reading stuff they are supposed to. Remember Downer not reading about the $300 Million wheat bribes - didn't come from someone 'important' enough! He knew nothing! Or, Chair a committee and don't read the report which the committee is discussing.

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      • DrDavid:

        31 Aug 2015 11:15:39am


        on a similar note, it's unfortunate for the ALP that Abbott selected probably the only legally-trained person in Australia who didn't know the Barwick lecture was a LNP fund-raiser, and who also happened not to read any of his emails.

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      • Andy:

        31 Aug 2015 4:25:51pm

        True, Dutton has the look of a non-reader about him. Is it the Aussie way, however, to make fun of the less literate?

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    • garybenno:

      31 Aug 2015 9:26:40am

      It would be a much simpler task to identify what they do know.

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      • CJ22:

        31 Aug 2015 11:05:22am

        I clearly remember every concise, well thought out, accurate and meaningful thing they said.....both of them.

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    • Dove:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:59am

      If the Immigration and Prime ministers knew nothing about Operation Fortitude then they are incompetent.

      If they did know then they are lying.

      If they are saying that they didn't "officially" know then they were waiting to claim the credit of success whilst willing to distance themselves from failure.

      If they had staff that got the memo who didn't pass it on, then they are inept.

      If the memo was worded clumsily, what was the real intention of the operation?

      How did they intend to stop people crossing their path? Randomly? How would an Australian prove their citizenship? How would a migrant prove their visa status?

      The only winner in all of this is the Border Force's Facebook page, half of which is taken up on things you aren't allow to say there, has some fetching pictures of guns and smart new uniform, and more than 30,000 likes. If you believe that

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    • phil:

      31 Aug 2015 9:47:48am

      operational matters by police, which are state based, would be one idea ?

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    • omgitsnero:

      31 Aug 2015 10:08:30am

      If at first you don't succeed then deny that you ever tried.

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    • sleepykarly:

      31 Aug 2015 10:14:02am

      Absolutely correct, Martin!

      It is NOT the Westminster System that a Minister is supposed to be responsible for everything he knows about.

      No! Rather, he is supposed to know about everything he is responsible for!

      If neither of them knew, then that is itself an admission that they are incompetent and should be sacked.

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 4:42:10pm


        "No! Rather, he is supposed to know about everything he is responsible for!"

        Actually it is called "The Principle of Individual Ministerial Responsibility". The idea is quite simple. A minister is responsible for a portfolio, which may be made up of one or more departments. The minister is resonsible for the actions of departments in his or her portfolio regardless of whether he or she knows about them or not.

        This principle stopped working under Howard after his "code of conduct" sent much of his orginal cabinet to the backbench.

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    • worrierqueen:

      31 Aug 2015 10:38:57am

      Of course they know Martin. As if one of the first ops by Border farce wouldn't have been cleared at the highest levels. Even by Abbott's slippery standards his closed lipped "nups" were ridiculously unconvincing.

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    • iGraffit:

      31 Aug 2015 11:02:12am

      Who believes for a second that they didn't know about it - clearly an Abbott thought bubble and clandestine orders from the top. What amazes me is how he wriggles out of things, or tries to - so others have to take the blame for him. Even lies about having asked Obama if he can get more deeply involved in Syria. There is no end to his lying - one wonders if he actually realises he is lying.

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 1:36:57pm

      Number of points per star, number of stars on Aussie flag?

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 1:41:44pm

      How to read

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 1:48:17pm

      Which flag is which?

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  • Ted:

    31 Aug 2015 8:58:34am

    So now they are turning on themselves. Hockey's recent statements have been pretty stupid but he is not alone.

    The latest thought bubble is to once again raise the prospect of an income tax cut to be paid for a rise in GST. Given the laughable label of "reform". What happened to the notion that the states would have to approve that? What happened to the budget emergency? What will voters reaction be to the price of everything getting more expensive so that those on the top rate of tax who don't need the money will get more money?

    I can't wait to see how this plays out.

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    • v:

      31 Aug 2015 10:23:56am


      "I can't wait to see how this plays out."

      I'm reminded of a cartoon I saw when I was a little kid. There was a bloke clinging destperately to a girder that was swinging from a crane. There is another bloke clinging desperately to his ankles. The girder bloke's trousers have fallen down and the bloke hanging onto his ankles is laughing hysterically. The girder bloke is looking down at his giggling dependent, saying "Don't laugh! This is serious!".

      If what was happening to our country were a sit-com, I am sure that we would all be rolling around our loungeroom floors in paroxisms of laughter. If you put Matt Groenig, Spike Milligan and Tommy Cooper together with six monkeys (with typewriters) in a room full of nitrous oxide, they could not have come up with such bizzarre slapstick as we saw on the streets of Melbourne. And I am sure that Camus, Satre and Kafka would have agreed that the whole story was too far-fetched to be credibly surreal.

      Somebody should tell Abbott that his days as a student debater and part-time bovver boy for the DLP are over. He is running a country now. This isn't the Footlights Review.

      I prefer Mr Bean. All of the chaos and surreal happenings of the Abbott government, but without the long term damage to the nation.

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      • foolking:

        31 Aug 2015 1:17:47pm

        v: the fear campaign of Abbott and now incredulously the Blackshirts randomly checking papers of those that don't look Australian is the political environment that he and his media supporters have been working towards, and understandable that someone further down the pecking order would think this was "the new normal"

        However your mob have the same stalemate to deal with as the Coalition, be subservient to your election sponsors or lose. Labor are just as lifeless as the Libs when it comes to regulation of banks /finance, media, advertising, pension levy, negative gearing repair. I suspect that one way out is a massive win to Labor that gives them a mandate for regulatory change, but your snookered, tell the public how and the machine that is the status quo will start working faster. Like most people here I think the independents being a small target may be harder to squash and have more chance of being truly representative. The Us and Them game is not interesting anymore.

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        • v:

          31 Aug 2015 3:12:32pm


          "However your mob have the same stalemate to deal with as the Coalition, be subservient to your election sponsors or lose. "

          This is a problem, and this is where Labor's association with the unions really pays off, because it acts as a safeguard against any possible corruption of the party's programme by the demands of short-term sponsors. Labor can accept money from corporate sponsors and its members and affiliated unions can be confident that this sponsorship will not, in any way, pervert the party's agreed policy platform.

          The Tories lack a similar moral handbrake. While in the Labor Party, policy is the result of a long, formal process starting with the rank-and-file of the party and affiliated unions, in the Liberal Party policy is idiosyncratic, to say the least. And, because the Tories do not follow any particular ideology, it is extremely difficult to know when a policy is the result of a legitimate policy-development process or the "return on investment" for a particular sponsorship deal.

          Conservative parties traditionally have a problem with corruption. I think that it is their ideology and structure that causes the problem, and their need to rely on non-human entities for financial support. But it was corruption and influence-peddling that brought down the Liberal Party's predecessor - the United Australia Party (also led by Menzies).

          The simple fact is that we now know, thanks to the tireless efforts of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption, that the Liberal Party is no better than the United Australia Party and may have even surpassed its efforts in both the scale of the corruption and the intricacy of the schemes established to conceal it.

          It is always very tempting to say "they are all as bad as each other", and this has become a very popular lie among Tories. But the simple fact is that there is now heaps of evidence of the systemic corruption in the Liberal Party, which appears to be specifically designed to conceal the identity of donors and the size of their contribution. Despite four Royal Commissions in which commissioners specifically selected for their hatred of organised labour have sifted through the real and imagined affairs fo Australia's trade unions and the Labor Party, not a single shred of evidence has been produced of ANY systemic corruption in either the Labor Party or the trade unions.

          Maybe the reason that they can't find any is that there isn't any.

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        • APM:

          31 Aug 2015 4:16:43pm

          V, Labor's close institutional connection to the union movement is the most corrupt force in Australian politics. Most Labor members are supported into politics from union backgrounds, and are heavily funded by the unions, and the unions have a 50 percent share of developing the ALP platform - no one elected these faceless men. This is a massive conflict of interests. Labor is directed by the unions to privilege it at the expense of good policy. Labor makes industrial laws to suit unions. Labor stacks public bodies to favour unions over the public interest. Labor protects unions from scrutiny into corruption, not just the RC, but they closed down the building and construction commission which was effective. This means Labor actively supports corruption. Even Labor's leader has been caught out putting extracting money from business above workers interests. The vast majority of Australian workers are not even unionists.

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        • Chris L:

          31 Aug 2015 4:44:21pm

          Pointing out that Labor is connected to the union movement doesn't demonstrate corruption. Labor was created by the unions, I doubt anyone in this country wouldn't already know that.

          If you're ideologically opposed to unions, I guess the connection would appear more sinister. After all, there have been cases of corruption and criminal behaviour... just like in businesses, religions and political parties. Pretending it's any worse because of the word "union" is to assume phrases such as "worker's rights", "workplace safety" and "work/life balance" are some sort of malediction

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        • foolking:

          31 Aug 2015 5:26:24pm

          v: I'm not sure you did it deliberately but you haven't addressed the issue of creating policy that your corporate sponsors wouldn't like. If you did develop policy that tackled regulation in the areas mentioned they would simply jump ship and back the other side.

          You would be impacting their profit margin and business plans in the public's long term interest. Yes unions have done many great things but no all Liberals aren't just business lackeys , we had Rupert Hamer[state] and quite a few others that were decent intelligent public servants.

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      • EricH:

        31 Aug 2015 2:16:28pm

        "...I prefer Mr Bean. All of the chaos and surreal happenings of the Abbott government, but without the long term damage to the nation."

        Me too! And Mr Bean is virtually free of script so there are no three word slogans being hurled hurled endlessly at us. Added to which Mr Bean's exploits are pure fantasy, the joy of which is that we are not expected to take them as reality.

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  • dave frasca:

    31 Aug 2015 9:02:09am

    I am disturbed by the Government's stand on Syrian intervention. The narrative of going to Syria to defeat a "death cult" is dangerously simplistic and naive. It overlooks the fact that however minimal our military involvement we will be politically and legally complicit in Syrian regime change because all of our partners there have that as their primary aim -- not defeating Islamic State/ISIS. Moreover, our key partner Turkey has been bombing Kurdish forces in Syria who have been carrying the brunt of the fight against ISIS. On one report Turkey has conducted 300 air strikes against the Kurds while only 3 against ISIS. Turkey has also been occupying Syrian territory, its media proclaiming one part of the occupied territories as a new Turkish province.

    So if Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wants to increase attacks upon ISIS why doesn't she just simply call in the Turkish ambassador and request that Turkey stop bombing the hell out of the people who are attacking them?

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    • Moi:

      31 Aug 2015 12:34:10pm

      Dave, to be fair, Julie Bishop is calling on European nations to bomb Syria as well.

      Mind you the European "refugee crisis" came about because Nato intervention turned Libya into a failed state and because of Turkey's (a Nato country) backing for Syrian extremists.

      So Bishop's solution to stopping refugees from flooding Europe is to bomb their countries of origin.

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    • sosirius:

      31 Aug 2015 1:45:48pm

      Great Post!

      It's pretty evident that there is no leap too big for this government. They are desperate to do anything to cover their ineptitude in running the economy and failure to govern for all, vis a vis their real agenda in dismantling our social system. Their focus on distraction of any magnitude in order to win the next election indicates no cost is too great.

      Abbott has been dying to go to war with Someone from the day he became Prime Minister and would never let facts get in the way of fulfilling that little fantasy. His use of excessively dramatic language indicates we have nowhere else to go

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  • thommo:

    31 Aug 2015 9:03:08am

    I am gobsmacked at some of the author's comments, especially this "Abbott could almost be forgiven at this point for wondering what on earth he has to do to win favour with Australian voters. He repudiated the unpopular 2014 federal budget and followed it up with an expensive do-no-harm budget in 2015. He stopped the boats (arriving), and demonised asylum seekers enough to get majority community support for offshore detention......"

    Firstly, he didn't repudiate the 2014 budget. The Senate and the Australian public did.

    Secondly, you say he followed it up with the do-no-harm budget in 2015. That view is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of part age pensioners who will lose the pension due the adverse changes to the assets test commencing 1.1.17, which was an act of betrayal and treachery. This is both cruel and iniquitous to say the least.

    Abbott himself demonised those affected by calling them "liquid asset millionaires".

    The author doesn't even mention the fact that Abbott broken many promises since coming to govt, and that alone is enough to kick him and his mob out office. He is a liar and can't be trusted and politicians should be made to understand that if they tell lies, then they lose office.

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  • peter:

    31 Aug 2015 9:03:41am

    when did reporting stop being about a balanced perspective

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    • Adam:

      31 Aug 2015 9:29:35am

      This is the ABC's "opinion" vehicle. Why Australia needs a government funded "opinion" forum like this is an interesting question. An audit of course of clearly conservative vs progressive "opinions" here over the last couple of years is illuminating.

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      • Dove:

        31 Aug 2015 9:47:42am

        Who's done an audit, how was it coded and what were the results?

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        • LegendLength:

          01 Sep 2015 1:19:21am

          Just click any of the 'top stories' at the bottom of the ABC website. Each day you'll be taken to an opinion article like this one that casts the most negative light possible on the LNP.

          E.g. This very article claiming a 'Desperate Abbott struggles'. And what is the sign he is struggling? Because his party is lowering taxes of course! Helping the finances of citizens is surely a desperate move right?

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        • Chris L:

          01 Sep 2015 8:07:54am

          That's more indicative of a woeful government than any problem with the ABC.

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      • Reinhard:

        31 Aug 2015 9:59:35am

        "Why Australia needs a government funded "opinion" forum like this is an interesting question. "

        Ii interesting in that you know the answer but are loath to admit that we need it to counter the ultra right, Murdoch funded "opinion" forums like Michael Smith, Pickering, and Blot's blog, that all refuse to post counter opinions

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    • From the Fortress:

      31 Aug 2015 9:35:46am

      How many times?

      "The Drum" is for opinions pieces.

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      • Terry:

        31 Aug 2015 10:09:07am

        Id say 1 per article they dont agree with

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    • Haderak:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:17am

      This is the Drum. It's an opinion page. Don't expect it to be balanced internally - instead look for a dissenting opinion from another writer.

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    • shultzy:

      31 Aug 2015 11:01:05am

      well, having a look at the bio of the author....

      "Paula Matthewson is a freelance communications adviser and corporate writer. She was media advisor to John Howard in the early 1990s. " would appear that this Opinion piece (not 'reporting' as you frame it) is a comment from someone sitting more to the right of the door than the left. Its a bit like reading Mungo McCallum taking pot shots at Labor figureheads (oops, better check, has he ever ?).

      I think the majority of Australians have learned a harsh lesson in the previous decade. We vote for parties as per Westminster system but then expect our leaders to be presidential aka a republic. All we end up with is a dishwater strength amalgam of both that we inevitably start to despise.

      All we have seen in the Past 8 years is the public.. Demand Leadership - Elect Ego - Despise Incompetence - Wish for Change - Demand leadership.. and so on

      Maybe the electorate is getting government of its own making.

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      • v:

        31 Aug 2015 11:39:25am


        "Its a bit like reading Mungo McCallum taking pot shots at Labor figureheads (oops, better check, has he ever ?)."

        Simple answer - yes. As a matter of fact, he has a record of being far more critical of Labor governments than he is of Tory governments.

        Mungo has been doing this stuff for a long time - way back to McMahon and Whitlam. Unlike some of the Tory cheerleaders who appear on this site, he is not wedded to any Australian political party and will criticise any that displease him. That's why he is so worth reading.

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        • APM:

          31 Aug 2015 3:39:49pm

          V, Mungo attacks the Labor from the Left. He is a culture war warrior full of mischief and no obvious expertise in anything. Judging from your other posts you are a die hard socialist whose political observations cannot be considered reliable because reinventing reality for political purposes is a core pillar of the revolutionary Left. You called Abbott "surreal" earlier. I call it surreal when someone from the Left talks about defending free speech. I am pretty sure you would support 18c which limits political contestation based upon races claiming to be 'offended' and trying to defend against it is merely proof of guilt - that is Kafkaesque. It is also surreal when a person who despises capitalism calls for higher wages and higher welfare payments that capitalism pays for; what magic do you have in mind? You try to define authoritarianism as true democracy. You would probably approve of re-writing history too for political ends too. Your sort of Left poetic imagery, misinformation, and smears are a indulgent moral folly and not well connected to the physical universe.

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        • william:

          01 Sep 2015 1:46:43pm

          Bullseye APM.

          Mungo has been leading the Red Flag chorus from way back.

          He's sounding more and more like a worn out Napoleon.

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  • foolking:

    31 Aug 2015 9:03:56am

    This is playing into Turnbull's advantage except that like Labor the Greens and Tony Abbott, how does anything happen unless the powerful vested interests that control our country want it? And what the corporates, vested interests, lobby groups and election campaign funders want is more control and less for the voting public, we are in a stalemate. This is the real story our media should be talking about.

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    • Oaktree:

      31 Aug 2015 9:54:47am

      What the corporate and vested interests want is to drive down wages, hence the keenness on the FTA with China.

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  • TrevorN:

    31 Aug 2015 9:04:03am

    Well, Abbott can throw his mate Hockey under a bus if he wants to but it is not going to save him in the long run. His party will have to bite the bullet soon and dump him for someone else or the electors will do it for them at the next election, be it a DD or not.

    Abbott is too far gone to survive and if he had the National interest, or even the survival of the LNP in his heart he would do the right and decent thing and resign. But he won't do that. Abbott still believes that the world revolves around him but the sad truth is that it doesn't.

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  • happyjudy:

    31 Aug 2015 9:10:11am

    Perhaps Abbott could talk up Dutton as the man to take over as PM. He would have to keep his job if that was the alternative

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  • jenni:

    31 Aug 2015 9:11:22am

    I don't see it, the constant references to Abbott being in trouble, desperate and all the rest of the usual wailing here at the ABC, don't play out in public.

    This is the only place that constantly laments the rise of this government.

    They have challenges, sure, all governments do but on the whole they do a fair job.

    Compared to the previously 2 Labor terms, this is fine by me, and pretty well everyone I talk to across several community groups, various social clubs, parties dinners and round ups of friends and colleagues.

    Abbott is a much liked person and so is his government although they do misstep here and there. Everyone knows they have a feral Senate to face with Green/Labor both trying to outdo each other in hostility to the government, thinking it affects Abbott but actually reflects on them.

    The alternative to Abbott is terrifying, to have the unions finally in control of Australia, to have all their old mates retiring into the senate, which in any other country we would sly wink at each other and mouth the words. "typical corrupt country that one", and go on our way.

    Except it's here, its us, and we're the ones who will suffer if we play personality games the way the politically active do here on the ABC.

    It was one thing to have a union lawyer trying to run the place, and she was just a incompetent, but to have Shorten and all his mates will be a disaster.

    Hate gets a better run here then defence or talking up of the government, and that's pretty well known and accepted nowadays.

    There is a tiny tiny little percentage of Australians who still believe the ABC is balanced, and they all seem to inhabit the Drum on a regular basis.

    Im sure you'll quickly post some articles to balance the constant diet of Abbott hatred published here.

    Maybe even get an in house writer to write something, instead of always outsourcing anything positive about the Abbott government (yes I know and yes I am joking, as if anyone on the ABC staff would risk being sent to Coventry! The groupthink police would not allow it, would they?)

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    • GJA:

      31 Aug 2015 9:39:02am

      Perhaps you'd like to submit an article? There are guidelines for doing so linked on the site.

      If the terrifying unions weren't in control after 2007, how would they achieve this after the next election?

      If the Senate is so "feral", how has the Coalition had over 60% of its bills accepted?

      Excuses don't cut it, and neither does your irrational fear of less than 16% of the workforce - such a small fraction of the population that it should be inconceivable that Labor as a political party even exists, let alone achieves government from time to time.

      Meanwhile, feel free to let us know what triumphs the Abbott government has achieved.

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      • Lin:

        31 Aug 2015 10:26:42am

        I think this government has achieved a lot

        It has stopped the deaths at sea

        It has reduced the number of children in detention

        It is attempting to reduce the debt and deficit and out of control spending of the previous government with its waste of money

        which even my labour voting friends voted green as they were sick of that govt

        Three free trade agreements

        Focus on infrastructure spending

        Focus on improving small business conditions

        Lastly I admire Tony Abbots focus and obvious commitment to improving conditions for remote communities

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        • GJA:

          31 Aug 2015 1:33:50pm

          Thanks for your outline. I disagree with the substance of some of the achievements you've listed.

          There is no evidence that "deaths at sea" have stopped under Abbott's boat turn-back policy, simply that boats, when encountered, are turned back. We are not told of undetected launches or whether there have been any instances where a boat has sunk or whether any aboard such boats at launch have died. We do know that the people smugglers are holding refugees in secret camps and that many hundreds have died on shore.

          While the numbers of children in detention have been reduced, there are still children in the camps and they are denied education and the quality of their care is seriously deficient to Australian standards. There are also reports of very serious abuse that remain unaddressed.

          If the government was serious about reducing the deficit, they might have started by not increasing it. They might also have adopted savings measures other than simply cutting services and imposing "fees" like the Medicare co-pay or reducing the Medicare rebate. There are, in fact many ways they could reduce spending, but they instead eliminated revenue streams and are seeking to reduce the old age pension. Your Labor- and Greens-voting friends are not thinking clearly or with the kind of foresight the current government has also failed to employ.

          Three free trade agreements, one of which sells out Australian labour and another which sells out Australian intellectual property and environmental and health protections. I can't count at least two of these, then, as "successes".

          The "focus on infrastructure spending" is entirely limited to roads. This is short-sighted or simply to benefit the fossil fuel industry, take your pick. Our cities don't need more roads, they need better methods of moving large numbers of people instead of increasing congestion and pollution.

          I'll give you "small business conditions" on the basis that Hockey's tax rebate for $20k investments could help them, but also note that it is at the expense of revenues the government looks to offset with a punishing increase in the GST.

          Abbott's visits to indigenous communities has resulted so far in nothing at all, except a continual postponement of constitutional recognition. I doubt his focus or commitment, although I do think he's more than bit obvious.

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        • Honest Johnny:

          31 Aug 2015 1:46:23pm

          Lin: You can't be serious? Which script of Coalition talking points did you pull that from.

          "Attempting to reduce the debt and deficit" - it has increased by nearly 100 billion with still a year to go.

          "Focus on infrastructure spending" - what infrastructure? Where?

          "Focus on improving small business conditions" - The economy has got worse! Red tape has increased, bankruptcy rate has increased, unemployment is way up. All small biz got was the $20,000 instant asset write-off and they have to have the cashflow and the profit to make use of it, and most don't. The government took away their option of loss carry backs, one of the few tax options that was helping small business.

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    • garybenno:

      31 Aug 2015 9:41:07am

      " Compared to the previously 2 Labor terms, this is fine by me, and pretty well everyone I talk to across several community groups, various social clubs, parties dinners and round ups of friends and colleagues. " Obviously none of your friends and associates are pensioners or know a pensioner, are unemployed or know an unemployed person, are a young family who still need to educate their kids or are normal Australians that still believe in a fair go for all.

      While it might be fine by you and your limited group of friends it is not fine by the rest of us.

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      • Joan:

        31 Aug 2015 10:30:46am

        Well I know pensioners and they still receive all their benefits exactly the same

        They are in aged care

        How have conditions for pensioners changed under this government

        $826 per fortnight still

        Scripts at $6 still

        Same benefits in aged care

        That is absurd that pensioners are worse off

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        • The Truth:

          31 Aug 2015 4:06:15pm

          I know Pensioners too and they are saying without hesitation they will kick this callous and inept Government out at the next Election.

          The Liberals who declared "we are the best friend Pensioners have ever had" introduced a Budget that will rip $449M out of the pockets of Pensioners over the next 4 years.

          The Parliamentary Budget Office has now revealed $23 Billion will be ripped out of the Aged Pension over the next 10 years by the Liberal Party.

          Put simply Joan, the Liberals are coming for Pensioners.

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        • Joan :

          31 Aug 2015 5:33:33pm

          I think the pensioners it would be affecting are the pensioners with a million plus houses who will receive less

          I don't think that it is unreasonable for pensioners with large assets to have to spend some of that when there are so many struggling young families and homeless people Also seniors who are relatively wealthy will receive less in rebates

          I think this is fair too

          My point is that for the vast majority there have been no changes at all I manage my brothers affairs as he is in care and there has been no change at all so it is simply not true to say pensioners are being ripped off by the government

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        • geggyg:

          31 Aug 2015 7:13:15pm

          Joan , in Abbotts first Budget they proposed freezing the start of the income/means test for at least 2 years ( so all pensioners or those about to retire would have been affected) , they wanted to change how pension increases were indexed ( reducing the indexation rate) , they wanted to increase the PBS price for pensions by 80cents , general patients by $5 these amounts were over 5times the inflation rate currently allowed by law , they also wanted to phase in an increase to the safety net of 70 scripts for pensioners, Abbott also wanted to bring in the $5 GP copayment. The only reason pensioners and a lot of other Australians are not worse off is that Labor, Greens and the crossbenchers opposed . The Libs didn't voluntarily decide not to introduce these imposts but were forced into it.

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      • burke:

        31 Aug 2015 4:00:58pm

        I am a pensioner. I agree with Lin.

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    • From the Fortress:

      31 Aug 2015 9:43:22am

      You won't see it if you purposely look away. The only one you're fooling is yourself.

      Your third paragraph is self explanatory as to the reason for your view; but you can't even recognise it.

      You and your friends are all standing in a circle and looking in.

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    • Haderak:

      31 Aug 2015 9:47:04am

      Always good to see a dissenting opinion.

      Not sure you'll find many people agreeing with you here, though. Might I suggest some more details on 'defense... of the government'?

      Because I consider its behaviour and decisions pretty indefensible, but hey, I might be wrong. Right?

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    • Reinhard:

      31 Aug 2015 9:50:08am

      Jenni please don't give us that rubbish about the ABC being biased and distorting public opinion, I don't know where you think "Abbott is a much liked person " , but everywhere else in the country Abbott is a much DIS-liked person .

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      • Snufkin:

        31 Aug 2015 3:14:44pm

        I grew up in a remote area and until my late teens listened to the ABC as a member of a "captive audience." There was a commercial station, but the signal was very unreliable and often too weak to be heard.

        I do feel the ABC has a tendency these days towards "advocacy" for certain causes, and sometimes ignores its social obligation of neutrality.

        The article here by Karvelas for example, reflects a diversity of views on "recognise", yet on my local rural ABC radio station, I have yet to hear any such diverse opinions expressed by any invited interviewee. There are however,"recognise" supporters interviewed. It seems partisan to present only one (favorable) view.

        The ABC isn't necessarily "monolithic", and some commentators are fairly neutral, but overall I don't think the ABC as a publicly funded media service, is impartial.

        Gay marriage, (which I support BTW) is another area where the bias shows.

        It isn't "unbiased" if you set up an interview with W,X and Y arguing in support and "Z" (who just happens to be a christian fundamentalist), opposed.

        Some atheists also oppose gay marriage, as do fundamentalist of other religions. Being impartial means giving fair coverage to a very wide range of views from all sorts of people.

        SBS is probably a bit more balanced.

        Have a good one.

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        • Reinhard:

          31 Aug 2015 4:24:32pm

          Hi Snufkin and thanks for the feddback. This article was written by Paula Matthewson, former media advisor to John Howard in the early 1990s, so Jenni's accusation of left bias is moot.

          It is my opinions that the ABC does not act as advocate for these issues, more as a conversation starter, even the Drum opinion pieces tend to have opposing points of view,

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    • raystrach:

      31 Aug 2015 9:51:33am

      oh jenni, where does one start?

      have you seen the bio of this contributor?

      did you see the comments of those loony left wing commentators and union apologists in "the australian" on the weekend and over the past few weeks?

      i really do feel sorry for partisans such as you, whether on the left or the right. the parallel universe you inhabit must be a very scary place.

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    • Circular:

      31 Aug 2015 9:54:08am

      So you'd explain the unforgiving poll trend against the Libs for the last 18 months or more as a Left wing conspiracy?? You inherently approve of such a chaos in governance? This period of government fails of all counts and indicates the wrong decision made at the last election.

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    • joan:

      31 Aug 2015 9:59:51am

      I agree totally

      Tha ABC is so biased

      When Mr Hawke stated he supported the China Trade deal and Mr Shorten should too it hardly rated a mention on the ABC

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      • Andy:

        31 Aug 2015 12:10:06pm

        Big deal

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      • Bill:

        31 Aug 2015 2:20:00pm

        are you saying Shorten should support bringing in Chinese workers on 457s with vastly reduced regulations on their use ahead of Australians?

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      • EricH:

        31 Aug 2015 2:23:22pm

        Sorry Joan,

        It was reported as extensively on the ABC as it was on other media.

        What was not reported at all - and I am disappointed - was that Bob Hawke has developed very extensive business interests in China. Could they have any bearing on his views?

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    • Chocko:

      31 Aug 2015 10:11:44am

      'There is a tiny tiny little percentage of Australians who still believe the ABC is balanced, and they all seem to inhabit the Drum on a regular basis.' - so of that vast percentage, who in their opinion consider the ABC to be 'biased', don't come to the ABC on a regular basis? Does that seem to be a good method of determining bias to you?

      The outsourced author of this particular 'hate' article is an ex Howard government advisor, how's that for 'bias'??

      'I don't see it' - try opening both your eyes - then you might.

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    • wandererfromoz:

      31 Aug 2015 10:31:58am

      Jenni I am a strong conservative supporter - there colours nailed to the mast BUT

      (1) Read the Fairfax press which has the highest rating re 'trust' of all the nations papers - again and again they quite correctly call this lamentable government to account

      (2) Talk to many persons - and everyone from like conservative supporters have 'lost faith' in Mr Abbott

      Talk to LNP supporters and urge them to get rid of one of the worst prime ministers in our history for the sake of solid good conservative (but not right wing) government.

      People are desperate Jenni and dread putting back the Labor government but when people are desperate they will do anything to get themselves and the nation out of its mess.

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      • jenni:

        31 Aug 2015 4:02:33pm

        Can't believe a word you say can I?

        No conservative would read or indeed tell any other conservative to "Read the Fairfax press "

        Nice try, but only a non-conservative would think like that.

        The "mess" we are in, can be solved when the conservatives either get control of the Senate, or get reasonable people to deal with in the Senate.

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        • graazt:

          31 Aug 2015 4:36:13pm

          If you really think that's the root cause of their problems, why not a DD election?

          Why not have the guts to front the people with a GP sickness tax and university deregulation? And why go into full-on totalitarian mode after the election when promising freedom of speech, transparency, small government, an opposition to metadata retention legislation and all the other 'defender of liberty' bs prior to it?

          After all the hoopla about Gillard's carbon tax being a broken election promise, the hypocrisy is so stark now with all your lot blaming the Senate for not waving through the Liberal Party's porkies.

          That's nobodies fault but the so-called adults in charge.

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    • Maggietheboxer:

      31 Aug 2015 10:48:00am

      Opinion polls consistantly show that Australia doesnt agree with you about Abbott and so will the voters of Canning

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    • Gr8Ape:

      31 Aug 2015 11:01:35am

      Shouldn't there be a 'written and authorised' tag on the end of that one?

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    • Geoff2:

      31 Aug 2015 11:21:26am


      I totally agree with you I think that they should make more of these things operational matters so the enemy don't know what they are doing

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 12:15:27pm

      I'd suggest that your perception is off in many areas which is a result of your own biased views.

      Firstly, go to ANY Australian news page right now. Absolutely every single one of them is running stories critical of Abbott, his government or calling for Hockey to be replaced on the LNP friendly sources. The ABC news has been quite mild in my opinion....I'd prefer they were a lot more critical.

      As for the comment section, Abbott's government is SO BAD that even commentators who previously worked for the LNP are critical of them. Does that even register to you at all? wont.

      as GJA stated, write your own comment piece and tell us what you think rather than being one of the many drones who fly in here with identical packages to attack the ABC with. If your article meets the guidelines then I'm sure they will publish it - but given your post above, don't expect much support, even from the right.

      I think that the commenters on here are a fairly accurate representation of the population. At the moment we have maybe 60-70 % critical of Abbott and 30-40% defending him which isn't that far off what polling is showing. Could it just be that you personally are out of touch with the rest of the population and even further to the right than much of the LNP?

      Speaking of support...I have not seen much from Peter Reith lately. Many of your side of the fence seem terrified of publicly supporting the LNP.

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  • ross:

    31 Aug 2015 9:11:57am

    A mess of his own making. He is totally unsuited to office of Prime Minister. Everyday a disaster like Groundhog Day on the Titanic.

    Bill Shorten maybe able to add some sanity , but he is not what voters really want in a Labor PM.

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    • Maynard:

      31 Aug 2015 11:14:49am

      Exactly & I can't see anyone else in Labor who will support us working families.

      Bob Hawke & John Howard are long gone.

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  • Rancid Remark:

    31 Aug 2015 9:15:07am

    From here it's all about jostling around on the perches to see who is going to survive. Abbott might see his chance of survival with the use of Morrison but I think that Hockey, knowing that his head is on the chopping block and Bishop being used as a pawn will be currying favour with the back benches, and will be causing dissention within the ranks. The hard right might think they have the numbers but they may get a surprise from the centre with the wily Turnbull putting a flea in the ears of Hockey and Bishop and the remains of the previous members of the failed overthrow. Abbott is far from safe where he is.

    The only saving grace for Abbott is the fact that Shorten is not exactly flavour of the month. After his statement about the failed Border security attempt in Melbourne. (excerpt) "Opposition Leader Bill Shorten praised the Government's plans to crack down on crime and visa fraud, but said he was sceptical of the Government's decision to broadcast the plans prior to the operation.

    "I do hope that any of these actions are done to try and protect Australian laws, to make sure that people are not overstaying their visas, to make sure that temporary guest workers are not being exploited," Mr Shorten said.

    "If you're going to do a blitz, I don't know why you'd necessarily telegraph it to the media first." Instead what he should have been saying was: "Over my dead body" Another "me too" disaster and for me an unforgivable one.

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    • RealityCheck:

      31 Aug 2015 10:18:37am

      @Rancid Remark

      You missed Shorten's point in his making said 'arguments'. He used said 'arguments' to illustrate that this was a farcical attempt by Abbot to use the exercise as 'fear mongering for cynical political purposes'....having nothing at all to do with 'security measures'. If it WAS 'security' issue, then, as Shorten pointed out, you wouldn't be alerting potential 'baddies' about said 'dragnet' exercise, would you. See? Shorten merely highlighted that no 'arguments' made any sense, either way, for what Abbot tried on in Melbourne as cynical political Pre-Canning-By-election 'tactic'. Re-read all Shorten's relevant its full context/intent. Cheers. :)

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      • velcro:

        31 Aug 2015 2:59:47pm


        If you listened to head honcho of the black uniform Border Farce Brigade, Roman Quadbike, he said security was the priority.

        Duh, a law abiding city where everyone is peaceably going about their business is no security problem....his words are nonsense.

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  • Reinhard:

    31 Aug 2015 9:15:58am

    Another week and yet another disastrous attempt at distraction from this pitiful excuse for a govt. Operation Farcitude was obviously cooked up in the PM's office, and designed to put the fear of god into the poor misguided souls that aren't aware that the Abbott govt is protecting us. What they are protecting us from only they would know , it certainly isn't from their gun toting, jackboot wearing Border Farce or their over-the-top concepts of Border protection.

    In the aftermath of the Melbourne protest we now see the govt in full retreat, running away from their own ideas and shifting blame down to junior level, blaming them for a "poorly worded" (ie truthful) press release .

    This alledged "adult govt" have long ago run out of excuses, and any hint of credibility, throwing Hockey to the wolves would only solve half the problem, if that.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 12:32:13pm

      Hockey is a good team player normally and a good actor in Question time. I think everyone has got him wrong through - maybe he is a genuinely good bloke? (as much as a liberal can be!).

      When you look at the position of Turnbull it seems obvious to me that Abbott likes to keep his enemies close - maybe Hockey is another one. We have seen a couple of glimpses recently of Hockey's views not aligning the typically harsh Abbott approach (eg compensation for the poor with a GST increase)

      So this talk of throwing Hockey to the wolves could be very dangerous for Abbott. For the rest of us, it could be the best thing to happen because I think it will cause a mutiny and powerful alliance between Turnbull and Hockey and Bishop maybe Brandis etc. Replacing Hockey will cause a massive split in the LNP and spell the end for Abbott. (my prediction!). Its not just Right vs middle anymore in the LNP, the division on policies and performance spreads across these boundaries.

      I agree with your other comments. They have to be on their last legs now...surely.

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      • graazt:

        31 Aug 2015 4:39:14pm

        You are far too generous. Setting aside his chicken-little act in opposition, what we have now is a blabber-mouth who seems unable to deliver upon whatever he turns his stream of consciousness to.

        For which I'm personally grateful.

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  • Tom1:

    31 Aug 2015 9:19:16am

    All these shenanigans put to rest the oft used comment that people go into politics to go some good for Australia.

    Ii is proof, almost beyond doubt, that members of the liberal Party at least are more interested in saving their own skins than saving Australia.

    It is obvious that the best thing for Australia at the moment would be a change of government, but all of the afore mentioned shenanigans are about maintaining a dysfunctional government.

    I use the writer as a barometer as to how this government is faring under any government. The once advisor to John Howard has obviously given up any hope that it can turn around its fortunes with good policies, as now the emphasis is on which individual will lose their jobs, Abbott, Hockey or Dutton, on maybe all of them.

    The dysfunction of a Coalition Government under Abbott was apparent to most when he was opposition leader, that is other than Chris Kenny and Paul Murray, both of whom struggle on.

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    • respallturner:

      31 Aug 2015 2:53:29pm

      I am a Labor member and supporter, but I'll tell you what: I trust Paula Mathewson's honesty and integrity in her writings. I may disagree with her observations occasionally, but I take her criticisms to be fair and unbiased, certainly without any self-interest (there are not many such independent journalists these days).

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  • Hudson Godfrey:

    31 Aug 2015 9:21:14am

    Will getting rid of a this Prime Minister actually deliver what the electorate hoped for from the Liberal party? Policy wise can a new leader bring about the change in direction that is so needed. It didn't work for Labor. Disunity in the ranks continued to eat them away from the inside out. I'm not sure they've recovered but we know as well that Turnbull has already been White-anted once in the past over the ETS issue. If anything the Liberals, far from recovering from that have doubled down on their swing to the hard right, which probably won't correct itself until Abbott and at least a dozen like him have left political life. In the meantime just replacing the figurehead with a more pleasing visage wouldn't begin to wallpaper over the cracks.

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    • wandererfromoz:

      31 Aug 2015 11:09:54am

      Desperation means you have to take the risk - Leadership is everything - It has been said that our Prime Minister has more real power than the President of the United States who cannot for example go to war unless Congress is consulted - of course he can order any button to be pressed in an emergency.

      If you study informal and formal levels of influence what I have said is true as example by many silly captains pick of this Prime Minister.

      If we have an articulate leader who can persuade and lead in a sensible honest sincere manner then people will follow - Australians are not stupid and if managed with honesty and care they will bite the bullet on issues as I have experienced on many an occasion no matter how financially 'unpleasant' the demands.

      Leadership is everything - our tragedy is that we have not seen 'good' leadership for a decade or more.

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  • Manin Hiding:

    31 Aug 2015 9:22:31am

    Ask yourself these questions:

    What do you know of the Prime Minister [sic]?

    What has the Prime Minister [sic] ever done to present himself openly to the Australian public whom he is purported to serve?

    He's done nothing. In fact, he's made focused effort to present nothing more than image or slogan. Why?

    First blush says he's been advised not to: that he's so on the nose that the more he shows of himself, the worse it gets. Abbott himself in all likelihood is potently aware this is so.

    Yet I think there's more to it. I think the guy is deeply unsettled. Nothing in his body language, or speech, tells us that this is a man comfortable in his own skin.

    I don't think he has an internal well-spring of beneficence to give to the public, of himself, personally. Certainly, he hasn't, and again in all likelihood this is because he knows he can't.

    The "best" we get is other people trying to tell us he's a good bloke. Think about that. If Australia is in a situation where people feel the need to tell us that, it's already too late.

    He should be able to do that, naturally. We should already know more about him personally. Not as in privately personally, but as in "Who this bloke?"

    We simply do not know who our Prime Minister is.

    We have a man in hiding. An invisible interior. A hollow political entity.

    And that's a dangerous situation.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 12:42:12pm

      good comment. Money talks....that's who Abbott is in my opinion.

      He's the guy who is intelligent enough to see where to go for personal benefit. He knows who to side with and who has the power....but that's where it ends.

      He is not intelligent enough to fool the Australian public any longer. we see him as someone corrupted by other interests - as a puppet leader...he has no "interior".

      Where it gets dangerous is if he isn't replaced. It takes a lot to mobilise people in Australia to a cause but if Abbott wins the next election you are almost guaranteed to have 50% of the population finally mobilised. Lets try to prevent 'Aussie spring' and vote out Abbott before this gets out of control. You know what we are like when we are pushed too far...

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    • ghostwalker:

      31 Aug 2015 12:49:26pm

      "We simply do not know who our Prime Minister is."

      Unfortunately, I think we do.

      If we didn't already know when he first came to office, his attitude to honouring promises should sufficiently clarify the nature of the man for you.

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      • Mannin Hiding:

        31 Aug 2015 1:55:16pm

        We know how 'bad' he is. That's easy.

        What we don't know is how 'good' he is. That's intriguing.

        The only way we know he's a good bloke - and by that is 'fit for office' or 'fit to lead' - is because other people tell us that.

        He can't do it himself. None of his appearances achieve this, nor are they designed to let the Australian public a glimpse into who he is as a man. We get the political animal, the constructed platitudes, imagery and stunts. Nothing else.


        Think of Turnbull, Morrison and Bishop. Each has a warm personality they're entirely comfortable letting show.

        Not Abbott.

        His facial features, utterances, body language and movement all portray a man who is extremely uncomfortable in his own skin.

        And I think the man is uncomfortable in the job.

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        • Muggins:

          31 Aug 2015 11:30:46pm

          I read an excerpt from his autobiography which focused on his time serving as the Apothecary at his seminary. It was his job to provide medicine and food to the sick members of the seminary so they did not have to attend the dining hall. He described them as malingerers. That said enough about the man for me.

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  • Skeptic:

    31 Aug 2015 9:24:34am

    In the interests of transparency and democracy, please keep bringing this kind of information to our attention. We, the citizenry of Australia, are the ones who fund the governing of our country, through our taxes, so we should know everything about how the governance of our wide, brown land is going. Specifically, we need all the information there is on how a lack of leadership is taking us towards the rocks, so we can correct course at the ballot box.

    If ever there was time for a federal level ICAC type of inquiry into the many problems we are experiencing as far as proper governance of our county is concerned, including, but not limited to;

    - the funding of political parties (all of them),

    - political favoritism for job vacancies,

    - ensuring no individual or corporation dodges tax,

    it is surely right now!

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  • tony:

    31 Aug 2015 9:25:35am

    Desperate Abbott? I would say more a desperate ABC and Fairfax trying to stave off their inevitable decline with hysterical headlines. In between their generic anti-Abbott and suffocating obsession with homosexual marriage, have these failing media giants devoted time to examining the corruption endemic to shorten labor, on display in labors current rantings about the TURC, or that labors policy allowed 50000 undocumented illegal arrivals, necessitating a border force. Checking visa papers - so what, all tourists in Thailand are told to carry their passports at all times for police checking, and it hasn't hurt their tourist industry. Grow up ABC and lefty posers.

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    • Jean Oliver:

      31 Aug 2015 9:57:59am

      The ABC televised hours and hours and hours of the TURC and for years and years we saw and read about the number of asylum seekers. The spotlight is now on Abbott and his disaster after disaster, fiasco after fiasco, farce after farce and lie after lie.

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    • Mamgran:

      31 Aug 2015 10:02:10am

      How can you tell who is and who isn't a tourist????

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    • R Supwood:

      31 Aug 2015 10:09:13am

      Ah, the wise words of a wounded neonazi offering support for his fuhrer.

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    • Dove:

      31 Aug 2015 10:11:38am

      The issue isn't checking tourist's visas. The issue is how you know someone is a tourist.

      If you were stopped, say, do you carry anything on your person that proves you are an Australian? Most people don't. A credit card and divers license is about it. If you were unable to prove that you weren't an overstaying migrant worker, what should Border Force do with you? Take you someone safe until someone can bring some documents around? Issue you with a summons so you can prove it one a later date?

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    • mandas:

      31 Aug 2015 10:13:43am

      Yeah tony. You are probably right.

      Abbott isn't in trouble. The LNP is polling well and the government's agenda is being implemented efficiently and effectively.


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    • foolking:

      31 Aug 2015 1:29:07pm

      Tony: The black shirts are coming, get your papers in order. However you want to paint it ,this is the environment of fear that Abbott has been enjoying for years. And it was the disgrace of 'children overboard' that got this whole ball rolling.

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    • velcro:

      31 Aug 2015 3:17:35pm

      The truth never sufferers from honest examination.

      Which piece of reality you find so discomforting?

      1) Australia is not a police state like Thailand.

      2) Australians might like to be able to get a job in their own country.

      3) Giving consenting adults the choice to marry the person they love.

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    • Tom1:

      01 Sep 2015 10:53:53am

      tony: I an afraid yours is a lone voice crying plaintively in the wilderness. All too late, because like Australians always do, they have given Abbott and his government ample time to show their wares. Their offerings of hard

      indigestible fare is not what they want, and far less than what was expected.

      You cannot blame the ABC, Fairfax or any other news outlet, because in the early stages the coalition received all of the support they needed to become a confident and functional government. The same news outlets you complain about did their part in informing the public how dysfunctional Labor was in its dying days. News Corp of course made that aim an art form.

      Unfortunately your support of Abbott seems to indicate that you have forgotten how great a nation Australia can be. It has been dragged down by a leader and government who are becoming a laughing stock.

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  • Point:

    31 Aug 2015 9:29:34am

    "Of the many words that could describe Tony Abbott and his Government, "bumbling", "incoherent" and "embattled" readily spring to mind. Yet in recent days, the most apt description of all would have to be "desperate"."

    To these words I would add dangerous.

    In his desperation, Abbott is doing incredible damage to the Liberal brand, Austraila's international reputation, our social cohesion and is seriously jeopardising Australia's future economic prosperity.

    The conservatives may see Morrison replacing Hockey as their salvation but it would be the kiss of death for Morrison's career prospects. Like most Abbott / PMO actions these leaks are likely to backfire. Now Hockey has nothing to lose, so I expect his chats with Turnbull and Bishop have already begun.

    About was never up to the job and must go. Please make it soon!

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  • GJA:

    31 Aug 2015 9:30:49am

    "He repudiated the unpopular 2014 federal budget and followed it up with an expensive do-no-harm budget in 2015." No, he didn't. He put forward exactly the same budget, with a sweetener, and pretended his loudly touted "budget emergency" was over.

    He doesn't actually want to govern. He just wants to be PM. Abbott's just another second-rate Howard-era leftover whose turn had finally come and likely now has gone, pending the next election.

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    • Mamgran:

      31 Aug 2015 10:18:38am

      Do you know what is scary - Mr Abbott would love to be the sole ruler of our country and I live in fear of he bringing in some kind of ruling that would stop our elections whereby we could not kick him out. The ruling being brought under the disguise of the "terrorist fear"

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  • Joycey Girl:

    31 Aug 2015 9:31:02am

    Of course the alternatve is better Wilco. But - until the media favouably reports on Bill's excellent speeches people who do not follow policits cannot know.

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    • tony:

      31 Aug 2015 9:57:30am

      'Bill's excellent speeches'

      You are kidding, right?

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      • RichardJ:

        31 Aug 2015 11:37:07am

        Bill's not a great speaker, but he has made some good speeches with some real content.

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        • Dove:

          31 Aug 2015 12:27:21pm

          I must have missed them. I've only ever seen Shorten give over rehearsed sound bites. He might come across ok on a shop floor in front of a working crowd, but his podium delivery is rubbish. Too many pauses after his own lame one liners for applause that never comes. He can be thankful that he's only up against three-word Tony, who, for all his simplicity and clumsiness, can get a message across, albeit a basic one. If the ALP/LNP can keep them both out of the public eye next election it might just be watchable

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      • orangefox:

        31 Aug 2015 2:22:29pm

        Actually Bill has had some excellent content in his speeches but he needs to work on his sleep inducing delivery.

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    • b4rry:

      31 Aug 2015 10:22:11am

      Come on, now, let's not conflate these ideas. That Abbott is demonstrably unpopular and ineffective is one thing. That his ideological crusade is both cruel and destructive, is another. And that the style of this government is very much to rely on cheap popularity-grabs using tabloid soundbites, at the expense of any coherent policy based on facts, is one more. I'd count all of those three as fairly safe assertions.

      But Bill being inspirational in some way? There's quite a distance to go before I'm even slightly convinced about that one.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 1:34:36pm

      I found his 2014 budget reply quite inspirational. He truly believed what he was saying and I thought it was good to show this degree of passion.

      Since then, I've relied on what has been shown on the news and I honestly agree with other people here - he isn't looking too convincing. I think he's trying to hard but ends up sounding more like he's reading a childrens book. He would make an excellent headmaster.

      Maybe we need to hear more from Bill. Maybe he needs to say a few things that the media cannot ignore. I don't think he's capable of blowing up or going to town on Abbott - so the killing blow is what is missing right now.

      Maybe its the media but I just feel like the ALP is missing a few prompts to go on the attack?

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  • RogerA:

    31 Aug 2015 9:32:22am

    Thank you Paula! I for one have jumped upon the "dump Abbott bandwagon", sending modest donations specifically for the Canning by-election to WA Labour, to GetUp, and (on next superannuation deposit day) to the Greens. I cannot vote in the by-election, being in an adjoining electorate, but I really do want to help send the Abbott Government a very resounding message.

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  • bil43:

    31 Aug 2015 9:36:13am

    Ah, jenni, a voice of sanity and reason at last, in the midst of all the insane left-wing babble we see in all these ABC discussion groups.

    Now if only we could apply that same sanity and reason to all those pesky opinion polls out there, which seem sadly to indicate that Abbott isn't quite so popular after all.

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  • AdamS:

    31 Aug 2015 9:37:42am

    Two years in government and what has he done....Stopped the boats, stopped gay's from getting married, and removed the carbon tax. He boasts of removing the carbon tax, but it was working to reduce pollution and to give us more fresh air...and to slow down climate change....Stopping the boats at a time when the world is awash with disparate people seeking to get away from murderous repressive despots, and he hasn't stopped the boats at all.... they are still coming, they are just being turned back....out of sight out of mind. His narrow minded view about stopping people in love getting married is just ridiculous. He doesn't like the look of wind turbines but they look a lot better than huge power lines crossing the country, wind and solar produce power where it is used, reducing the need for expensive, ugly transmission lines! History will look back at the Abbott Liberal government as one of the worst ever!

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  • Jerry Attrick:

    31 Aug 2015 9:42:13am

    The "best performing" members of Tony Abbott's cabinet appear to be among the most sociologically hard-line members of the government. Understandably, some voters see this as a recommendation for leadership, but surely a majority would see the capability to win hearts and minds within the electorate and to maintain the loyalty of their colleagues as the most important feature for a government leader. It's an interesting question whether Morrison or Bishop could do any better than Abbott.

    As for Turnbull, his re-election to leadership appears highly unlikely, given the party's currently hard-right tendencies.

    Unpredictability makes it all quite interesting, but might also indicate some serious difficulty in stabilising a subsequent government.

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    • GJA:

      31 Aug 2015 10:28:10am

      I agree. I expect that if this hard-right government does act to replace its leadership, it will go harder, not swing to the softer right-of-centre occupied by Turnbull. He's had his shot, and the Liberals don't much care to rehash the past (unless it's Labor's).

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  • robert burgos:

    31 Aug 2015 9:43:53am

    If u think the Libs are bad, just see what happens when shorten gets in. And of course if u go by opinions of the media think again.

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    • From the Fortress:

      31 Aug 2015 10:15:28am

      Ok. What exactly will happen. You said, 'when', rather than 'if', right?

      So if your prescience goes that far, tell us, what will happen?

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    • Alpo:

      31 Aug 2015 10:53:12am

      Worse than Abbott?.... Impossible! Abbott has established a record of incompetence that won't be beaten for decades.

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    • EnoughAlready:

      31 Aug 2015 10:54:47am

      If you think abbott is bad just see what would happen if the likes of morrison got in.

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    • Waterloo Sunset DD 2016:

      31 Aug 2015 10:58:02am

      Shorten, of course, is what the braying masses deserve. They are egged on by the civil servants working for The ABC.

      I would love to see him get in. Nothing, that I can think of could possibly be a better antidote to ever electing The Dave Oliver run party ever again...Although, alas, the general citizenry half short memories, only matched with their IQs.

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      • Son of Zaky:

        31 Aug 2015 12:49:42pm

        I assume these are the same "braying masses" that people like you thought were bloody brilliant when they (we) turfed-out incompetence in 2013.

        Just because they're (we're) going to turf-out incompetence in 2016, you now decide to pull your pants down in a temper and sit there pouting?

        You partisans, of whatever political flavour, are funnier than you could ever hope to understand.

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        • Waterloo Sunset DD 2016:

          01 Sep 2015 10:28:15am

          I've never experienced good governance in this country.

          As to your comment about my abstract inputs; when in Rome...

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    • Son of Zaky:

      31 Aug 2015 11:16:57am

      If he's got a plan to make taxpayer-funded remedial education available to people who have lost the ability to construct written comment in accordance with the accepted rules of English language usage, then you should seriously consider that there may even be something in it for you.

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    • prison:

      31 Aug 2015 1:03:25pm

      Shorten could get in and do absolutely nothing and still win two terms at this rate.

      Actually I believe that he may be better off doing less than more. Gillard was a breath of fresh air and she got a lot done, but I think since the backlash people don't want too much change too quickly.

      If you do nothing, its harder to stuff it up! Maybe Australia needs to just sit back and take a few breaths for a few years before tackling real issues...

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  • dragonfly:

    31 Aug 2015 9:56:12am

    Fridays' mess in Melbourne, The Republican Issue, Cambodia costing 55 million for 4 refugees, Royal Commission decision, possible sacking Hockey. Captain Brain Fart must be searching for a new snappy three word slogan and realising what Gillard went thru in her last days and the constant demeaning attacks on her. What goes around, comes around.

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  • DrChris:

    31 Aug 2015 10:08:00am

    The most tragic thing in all this is that Australia's political leadership alternatives are limited to even worse options, beginning with the Shorten experiment. This country must figure out a way to generate a political class that we truly, genuinely, desperately deserve and need.

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    • Muggins:

      31 Aug 2015 11:44:27pm

      We've got the 'political class' we deserve. The vast majority of us don't educate ourselves on the issue and vote on whatever fear-mongering issue hits close to home. If we called our politicians to account more often and didn't just listen to whatever media outlet we choose to spoon-feed us our opinions, we would have a healthier and more vibrant civil society. Unfortunately we came from autocracy and that is in our blood. Just look at the nanny-state we have allowed them to build around us. Australians love legislation that limits other people's freedoms - right up until the point it has an effect on them and then they cry and whinge.

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  • FlapDoodle :

    31 Aug 2015 10:08:53am

    Mr Morrison would be better advised to keep his long term options open. There is no point, politically speaking, to stand with the Captain of a ship that has already been scuttled unless you have a death wish. As there is a loss of political office on the cards for Mr Abbott there will be other longer term opportunities open to pretenders to the LNP throne more rewarding than consigning oneself to the ignomy of a one term fiasco. That is, of course, unless you see yourself as already tainted beyond redemption.

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  • Johnny2:

    31 Aug 2015 10:09:10am

    Abbott and company have proven to be useless at anything apart from sending our 6 fighter bombers into Syria, signing up to a dodgy Chinese FTA ( we have survived all these years without it so why commit employment Hari Kari now?) and not reading about what the Border Farce is or isn't going to do.

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  • Mark James:

    31 Aug 2015 10:17:18am

    Paula, the Coalition could probably get away with a level of ineptitude and incoherence if they had something positive to counter it.

    You'd think that economic management would be their strong-point, However, unemployment is up, investment down, wages flat, and the economy is stuttering.

    In addition, you have the NBN blow-out, the $55 million given to Cambodia to house just 4 asylum seekers, the entitlements lavished on Bronny, the Captain-picked speaker; and the $10 million given to an unwanted paramilitary force to spend on new uniforms that the public are unwilling to see set foot on their city streets.

    There may have been a budget emergency that miraculously disappeared in a puff of rhetorical smoke, but that's still no reason for the Coalition to be spending like drunken sailors.

    The last hope for the Coalition, I'd say, is security, and perhaps bombing Syria will give Abbott a lift in the polls. However, even a khaki election has been pre-jinxed, with Abbott a few years back having called the situation in Syriua one of 'baddies v baddies.'

    Abbott might be able to swing moral support by bombing the 'baddie' Daesh, but by doing so he also loses moral support by, at the same time, acting on behalf of the 'baddie' Assad regime and the 'baddie' Iran.

    Here, once again, Abbott is held hostage by the simplistic absolutism of his own benchmarks.

    There's no escape for this PM. However, it is possible the Coalition could cut loose and make a run for the hills.

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  • worrierqueen:

    31 Aug 2015 10:17:36am

    I love that the collective adjective for flags is now called a "desperation of flags". This must go down as Abbott's greatest achievement in government.

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 1:28:46pm

      flagging of interest?

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 3:27:34pm

      The oft seen mixture of Australian and New Zealand flags is henceforth to be known as a "confusion of flags". The cupboard in which they are stored, all mixed up, is a "convenience of flags". Should perceived insult lead to armed conflict, however, we would then have ourselves a "conflagration".

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    • Andy:

      31 Aug 2015 3:50:05pm

      An "ideology of flags"?

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  • iGraffiti:

    31 Aug 2015 10:37:17am

    Abbott has been too dishonest and done and said too many stupid things. However the very first step to any chance of getting back on track is to 'fess up to whether or not he is still a British citizen. While this fundamental doubt festers as to his legitimacy in the PM role, there is no chance of him ever being believed on anything.

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  • awake:

    31 Aug 2015 10:49:14am

    "Nope, Nope, Nope" said the PM. He knows nothing and neither does Minister Dutton - I hope they know something as apposed to nothing.

    Now it's all Joe's fault as apposed to Labour. Get rid of Joe, what about Pyne he wants SSM bought in, Bishop's Cambodian shuffle has imploded so she must be for the chop. NBN cost have risen - that's the end of Turnbull. Morrison is still a bit in the clear - but tomorrow is another day in politics.

    What will happen in Canning is anyone's guess, if Qld's massive turn around is any guide. Shorten will need to up the anti and get a move on - tell us the truth, tell us where you want us to head, give us some hope for the future with solid, honest government - without unions butting in and spoiling good work.

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    • Jerry Attrick:

      31 Aug 2015 12:38:41pm

      All good until that last credibility-stretching paragraph.

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  • Andyfreeze:

    31 Aug 2015 10:53:05am

    Yes the "stop the boats" issue. Its cost billions and divided the nation. Harmed our international standing and alienated us from our neighbours. Now we are starting to see this unravel too. $55m given to the most corrupt government in asia and then to have our pants pulled. Yet we are more than happy to bomb the evil in the middle east. It was always dirty and immoral wedge politics. It seems ALL of TA public life is coming back as bad Karma. Hopefully with the coming closure of this terrible chapter in australias history, some sensible policies , instead of wedge politics, will follow.

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  • getreal:

    31 Aug 2015 10:54:57am


    You no doubt have very reliable sources for your range of assertions. But the bottom line is you have to made a story of doom and gloom and desperation. However in the real world it appears that perhaps the situation may be rather different. How about the ABC try reporting in an even handed un-biased fashion that it not intended to cause hysteria and chaos. Please remember the ABC is not the opposition-that is the role of the ALP and Greens!


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    • DrDavid:

      31 Aug 2015 11:34:15am


      You may want to check the material coming out of the LNP.

      There's a budget emergency, we're being overrun by 'boats' (not people), there are death cults trying to murder us, people are putting up really ugly windmills...

      Hysteria and chaos are Abbott's only remaining friends - even the corporations that put him there are starting to have regrets.

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    • GJA:

      31 Aug 2015 3:06:44pm

      You didn't check the bio, did you? Look again. Also, keep in mind that this isn't a news reportage web site, but a site for opinion and editorials. I know most Newscorp readers can't tell the difference, but there is one.

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  • Serendipitous:

    31 Aug 2015 10:57:57am

    Thank you Paula for this fulsome account of the abbott government.

    And while we're all musing about the tax cuts mooted by hockey last week, has anybody else been as surprised as I was last week to discover their tax bill went up by more than $2000 as a result of the abolition of the dependant spouse tax offset?

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  • Serendipitous:

    31 Aug 2015 11:10:50am

    For all the ire that tony abbott attracts, like iron filings to a magnet, it's probably worth remembering that he's just the front man for a bigger political machine.

    It's not just the puppet but the people pulling his strings behind the scenes, whose influence also needs to be removed.

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  • Valentina:

    31 Aug 2015 11:14:39am

    Tony Abbott surely is grasping to retain power when if he had told the truth from day 1 of his Prime Ministership, it may have been a different story.

    He has never transitioned from Opposition Leader on the attack to Prime Minister, told repeated lies, kept the public unaware of what is really going on, gagged his ministers when it comes to speaking with the press, ridiculed the ABC and its so called "bias", constantly blamed Labor about everything and destroyed good policies put in place by Labor.

    When being asked questions by reporters he tries to answer them then goes back to the blame game about Labor.

    When he speaks he "'s" desperately trying of things to say. He does not live in the residence provided for him in Canberra, his family are living in Kirrabilli House which is supposed to be for visiting dignitaries, he goes to England at the drop of a hat (and I am still wanting to know why 2 Christmases ago he was over there "doing good things" and who paid for that trip?

    In other words he has lost credibility, people no longer believe him and I for one am embarrassed when he represents our country.

    Enough said? Roll on the Canning by-election, there will be a big lesson learned.

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  • Jessica:

    31 Aug 2015 11:16:21am

    I agree with Liz -the damage Tony Abbott and his Government have done to this country breaks my heart and probably that goes for many many Australians.

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    • barsnax:

      31 Aug 2015 11:55:12am

      I agree Jessica.

      Seeing other Australians dressed in military style uniforms willing to stop and interrogate other people on our streets reminds me of archive footage of the dreaded Nazi "brown shirts".

      We don't need this sort of thing in Australia.

      Customs and Immigration officials should stick to looking for visa infringements and contraband at points of ingress and egress to Australia, not scaring the hell out of everybody walking around our city streets asking for id papers.

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  • starevich:

    31 Aug 2015 11:21:01am

    Notwithstanding the facts of Abbott's recent praise for the treasurer who has apparently fixed the mess and saved quadrillions of dollars by failing to pass apparently vital reforms through parliament of course Abbott is itching to shirt-font and dump Hockey - if only because Hockey's recent run of populist thought -bubbles are surely designed to lift his profile in readiness for the post-canning blood bath.

    Simple matter of Hockey wants Abbott's job and stupid though he nay have been a treasurer he might well be a 'consensus' candidate blocking both the ultra right Morrison and the too liberal Turnbull - though good old Malcolm's apparent regression to the repetition of pre-planned talking-points in a recent 730 Report interview on the wisdom of satellite broadband has somewhat deflated his reputation as a man of persuasive substance.

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  • RichardJ:

    31 Aug 2015 11:23:05am

    Paula has apparently bought the government's spin.

    It has certainly not repudiated the 2014 budget. Most of the most problematic savings - which affected the less well off only - are still appearing in the government's forward estimates, where it is claiming they will reduce the deficit. This despite the fact they haven't been passed and won't be.

    The 2015 budget was a piece of spin. Fundamentally it suggested that Australia's $1.5 trillion economy needs no more leadership from the government, bereft as it is of any sort of forward-looking industry policy, than a bunch of quick tax write-offs principally for small business. It was a joke.

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    31 Aug 2015 11:29:45am

    Mr. Abbott may have been a Rhodes Scholar, he has not learnt

    that trying to be clever (rather than astute) with your constituents

    leads to a showdown. Let's face it, you don't have to know sums

    to be a good shepherd.

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  • santini:

    31 Aug 2015 11:36:17am

    He never made the transition from opposition to government. Yes , he does a fine job of demolition but he is hopeless at construction.

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  • Jason:

    31 Aug 2015 11:37:01am

    Abbott is too far to the right. Ultimately, those politicians that embrace the pragmatic centre are the ones that succeed in the long term. Hawke did this masterfully. Howard, despite also being too far to the right, at least managed a veneer of centrality (and was a masterful tactician).

    The only two reasons Abbott is PM is because voters wanted to turn their backs on the past two PM's, and Abbott's negative and repetitive campaigning has been effective - but that method has been shown to be a one-trick-pony.

    And the one reason Abbott isn't doing worse in the polls is because Shorten is such a poor alternative.

    When will the Liberals wake up and re-elect the eminently electable Turnbull?

    Sadly, probably never - because the shrinking party membership base is filled with attitudes which are too far to the right - just as Abbott is too far to the right to be re-elected.

    So it's a fait accompli. The Liberals will seal their own fate but fail to recognize it's their own attitude that causes it.

    And I say that with great sadness - as a long-term minority moderate Liberal party member.

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  • Observed:

    31 Aug 2015 11:39:17am

    The appaling damage Abbott has inflicted upon Australia's social fabric is equalled only by the damage he has wrought upon our economy & scientific bodies. Never has this country been so scarred & mistreated by its leader. It is likely the damage will take decades to undo. Poor fella my country indeed.

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  • Erick Quang:

    31 Aug 2015 11:50:32am

    The Abbott government makes no sense, they send Australians to fight and kill overseas enemies yet it screams blue murder when Australian drug lords get executed. The drug lords are in fact just as bigger threat to Australia than a perceived overseas enemy, and a look at crime reports indicates that drugs are a major factor in violent crime a fact that the Abbot government would be aware of.

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  • JamesH:

    31 Aug 2015 11:56:26am

    I think it is about time to bring back the kids to fix things up as these adults have lost the plot.

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  • polony:

    31 Aug 2015 11:56:30am

    Rudd permanently lost my respect and support when he gutlessly back down on the "greatest moral challenge of our time." I would never want to vote for him again.

    When Abbott made stupid promises before the last election that he could not sensibly keep, he also permanently lost my respect.

    If people are mature enough to become a leader of a political party, then it is reasonable concluding that any major lie is intentional, and considering this lie whenever considering their character.

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  • John Hogan:

    31 Aug 2015 11:56:34am

    It was good hearing Greg Sheridan talking about some of Abbott's strengths. We are each indeed a unique mix of elements.

    Abbott has always struck me as a potentially competent follower rather than a leader. In particular, he's got a drive to attack from a position of strength that is provided by a more senior person. I'd say that is his best job and that his zenith was working under Howard. I think leadership has removed the backstop, leaving him with too much complication. I understand that an inveterate liar much be tremendously intelligent in order to maintain lies and also deal with the issues of life. Similarly, I think Abbott as an attacker would need to be smarter than all but a few historical figures in order to maintain his approach while also being leader. It's too late now but it always seemed to me that the liberals best team would have been the more moderate, "nicer" Turnbull in charge with Abbott the attacker. There were other issues there but nothing that could not have been worked out.

    I don't doubt that Rupert Murdoch helped finish Whitlam but in a funny turn of events I suspect his influence has helped bring about this weak government. His strong interest in a certain type of politics has given comfort to the similar-thinking people in the liberals. They've had more influence than might otherwise have been possible and I think Abbott as leader is the result. All things being equal, most people are pretty moderate. That's while bell curves look the way they do. Murdoch has been achieved financial success due to a certain sort of attitude and his influence is replete with it's flavour. I bet my hat that the coalition would be much more moderate were it not for Murdoch. A small but consequential segment of the population would also be less grumpy. Consequently, the coalition would be more considered, less destructive and hence more well liked and respected. Were it that many things were different.

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  • gaznazdiak:

    31 Aug 2015 12:14:35pm

    I seem to remember a caustic opposition who crowed on and on and on about how the Labor Government infighting and concern with their own careers was damaging the country.

    The words poetic justice and deja vu come to mind.

    This is what we end up with when an opposition is so desperately focused on helping the former government self-destruct that they are not fit for anything but opposition, when they finally get the power they craved we get nothing but lies, secrecy, obfuscation, confusion and yet more infighting.

    Roll on the election so that we can start to repair the damage these clowns have done.

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  • Econ:

    31 Aug 2015 12:49:46pm

    Oh how things have changed, in opposition the LNP were full of confidence. The problem was easy, its the ALP at fault, the solution was to replace the ALP with the LNP. Now they have been in power for a couple of years ant there isn't one aspect of Government that isn't in a mess.

    Peter Dutton hiding

    Tony Abbott hiding

    Hockey, Corrman very quiet

    Border Force a mess

    Shortage of Money and jobs

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  • Diogenes:

    31 Aug 2015 12:59:03pm

    "Troublesome details, such as how the tax cuts will be funded"

    Not being in the middle of a once in a life time mining boom, and therefore no other readily available source of revenue to make up the short fall, there is only one way that these tax cuts can be funded, further cutting services and sacking more public servants.

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  • Regional Australia:

    31 Aug 2015 1:03:21pm

    On balance, there are a lot of issues in this article that are not taking into account, the facts.

    In regards to Hockey, the Opposition, is choosing to pass and block certain parts of the budget, so the budget is piece meal, because of what Labor and the the Greens are doing, they are blocking most budget measures. They are not blocking supply which brought on the Whitlam dismissal. What would Morrison do, that Hockey can't do, given the same set of circumstances. Call a shovel a shovel and spade a spade, point out what the opposition is doing and not doing to balance the facts. There are other factors at play here.

    With the Border Force matter, it depends what powers they have, for stop - detain - question and search, and demand proof of identity. This is early days for this new agency, and operational matters, can soon be changed, to meet the needs to assist investigations. If a government agency, has powers to their job, it would be smarter, to see what powers they have, before trying to tell them what to do. As the legislated powers, determine how they operate, not public opinion.

    It is a lot easier to be in opposition these days, then in government. Rudd and Gillard found that out, as is Abbott currently, as Shorten will also learn.

    As for the senate, senators serve a double term before re-election. So, the Senate is always out of step with the lower house. So, the minors and independents, that got in last election, don't go for re-election until the following Federal election. Nothing to be gained there.

    With so much, debate around a whole host of topics, I can't see how a double dissolution, is on the cards. The LNP in the current opinion polls, are down to lose 36 seats. Abbott would only call a double dissolution, if he was high in the opinion polls, and was certain he would win and return.

    This article, is a lot of speculation, but doesn't really have any specific evidence, to verify what it claims, of a double dissolution. This article points out, what the government is doing wrong, rather then what they doing right. This is where government is NOT getting it right. Policy is formulated by the party - for the party. It is a closed cycle, with no, expert advice sought from people in areas of specialised fields. To me, it makes the case, why Abbott wont go to an early election.

    The failure of policy decisions, is a lack of bipartisan agreement in the Federal Parliament, and the rushed nature of policy settings, have been in play for the last ten years, and nothing is set to change. Because party politics, wants to hold all the aces, they can make whatever changes they deem necessary. This no compromise method of government, appears to be an all out assault, to do whatever it takes, to get an agenda through, regardless of impact. This mix is not set to change, because it brings governments down, and they don't understand that, Pa

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    • orangefox:

      31 Aug 2015 3:19:53pm

      A Double Dissolution is a possibility if you consider Abbott's humiliation if he were to be rolled as leader.

      Perhaps he would rather take the party to a DD and save his pride?

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  • Melba:

    31 Aug 2015 1:19:42pm

    Considering Morrison's track record for inhumanity towards the dispossessed, him as Treasurer would very likely see hundreds of thousands of people stripped of social welfare and the level of social cohesion in our society would be flushed down the toilet. Morrison - super capable but super bad for the fortunes of anyone not earning six digit sums. Who in their right mind wants this?

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  • Zoltar:

    31 Aug 2015 1:23:23pm

    Where has the generosity of spirit gone?

    Take Operation Fortitude, and the associated press release, which contained one poorly worded sentence "ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with". The sentence could have meant that ABF officers would be patrolling the streets and checking people's papers, OR, it could have meant that the ABF officers would be on hand to speak with people referred to them by the other agencies involved in the operation, which included police, tram, train, and taxi policing officers. The latter is the more likely scenario. And yet leftists, including the ABC, immediately assume that it the jackboot version, and that it was ordered by the government to ramp up fear.

    Take the Canning by-election, if the government loses the seat, it's a loss for abbott. If the government wins the seat with a swing against them, it's a loss for abbott. Or so the commentariat declares. Supposedly if the government wins the seat with a swing toward them, then it's a win for abbott. But the chances of that are slim. According to Antony Green, of the by-elections that were 2 party races since 1983, those with swings toward the government were: under Hawke, 1 out of 10; under Keating, 1 out of 4; under Howard, 1 out of 3; under Rudd 0 out of 1; and under abbott 1 out of 1 (not counting Canning). Which means that if the government gets a swing against it, abbott will have 1 from 2, which would be better than Hawke's, Keating's, Howard's, and Rudd's record, and this will still be counted as a loss. Talk about being set up to fail.

    This isn't just about abbott, this is about gotcha journalism, completely unreasonable expectations being placed on our politicians by the commentariat, and cynicism that is virtually weaponised . Interviews used to be for soliciting information, now they are ambushes - things to be survived. What happened to the assumption that our governments act to make our country better, instead of assuming the worst of their motives. Where has the generosity of spirit gone?

    Perhaps it does still exist, but not in Paula's columns.

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  • Brackenboy:

    31 Aug 2015 1:23:48pm

    I believe the vast majority of politicians are all tarred with the same brush, to look after number one. Many new politicians have ideas to change the world but find they have to toe the party line and eventually go with the flow and add their snouts to the trough. Pity the days of statesmen with vision are long gone.

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  • rastus:

    31 Aug 2015 1:28:36pm

    So if a journalist says the PM is in a dire situation then it is so? Geez I am getting sick of the media whipping things into a frenzy to sell news.

    And the damage that Abbot has done - wake up people. Australians are out of touch with the rest of the world. We are losing jobs daily to Asia because we won't get out of bed for the sort of money they will work for. So blame Abbot, then when Labour get in we will blame them. Maybe give PUP a go - that's a scary thought.

    Time for the "lucky country" to wake up and realize that you can't just expect a health system, schools, roads and infrastructure if we can't afford it. And we should never support the greedy route of mortgaging the country to pay for all the stuff we want now, only to leave our kids to pay off the whole mess.

    I am 54, struggling to find the sort of work in IT that I had two years ago and looking to retrain so I can at least have a job. It is great that I am expected to work until I am 70 - but if I can't get a job and people discriminate against you because of age (try getting a job in IT if you are older than 50) then where to now?

    But the next election will come along, the politicians will promise a new school and a new hospital and everyone will vote for them. Then when they get in they will do a backflip and blame the outgoing govt.

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  • ABR:

    31 Aug 2015 1:31:39pm

    It is problematic that so many of our politicians have achieved nothing else in life, other than being a politician. These talentless flakes have no perspective, are solely concentrated on self and exhibit no understanding of what is actually required of a national leader. Abbott is a prime example - but he is not alone.

    The past several PM's have shown this and it is likely that the next batch will also. That PM's are now considered replaceable within their term is indicative of this and should not be seen as the problem - the real problem is we have a huge number of politicians in place who have done nothing more with their lives other than obey backroom party powerbrokers and corporate manipulators. A grievous corruption in itself.

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  • Codger:

    31 Aug 2015 1:45:39pm

    The major parties have divined that negative attack based on fear, jingoism and greed is the way to obtain and retain power. Tony Abbott is the master of the method with his no holds barred, whatever the cost to our society approach.

    None of them seem to realize that there is limit to the response to be obtained from this method. They just push the buttons harder.

    Perhaps the public response to the uniformed paramilitary style Border Force flexing its muscles is a sign of things to come. Maybe a backlash against all this repressive infringement against our freedom will sweep it all away. Or maybe I am just dreaming.

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  • GrumpiSkeptic:

    31 Aug 2015 1:46:59pm

    Don't you worry about that ...

    Tonyabbott has just spent a week in the remote aboriginal community. It was the first for a PM. Not only he is the first PM to do so, he even upped the bet by sleeping in a tent ! Now that is some feat not many future PM are looking forward to. No expensive suites, no chopper flights. Witjuti Grubs anyone ?

    Sure, to get to know how the living conditions in the remote communities are, in person, is a very good idea. I wonder if he is up to spending a week as a "Long Grass" people too?

    All very symbolic of course. One does not have to spend a week to already knew what kind of problems the remote communities are facing. Do you need to spend a week as a street walker to understand how miserable it is to be one?

    Tonyabbott managed to pulled quite a few rabbits out of his hat. The Carbon Tax and the Mining Tax were spruiked as a job saver as well as good for our wallets. Warren Truss even went three bridges too far by claiming that Qantas is now finally back in making profits, all thanks to the abolition of the Carbon Tax. The fact that massive 60% fall in oil prices didn't seem to matter. The chill winds in China resulted in job losses in the mining sector, despite the abolition of the Mining Tax. So two myths busted already.

    Red and Green Tapes are shredded as promised, but still, our economy is not much better. That proved that outside factors such as China is the determining factor. All that claims and spins are just that...Hot air.

    Now as always, the military card is being played. We are going to bomb within Syria. Would it make much difference to the overall miseries? What's next? Apparently Kevin Andrew couldn't answer that when queried by SkyNews.

    Yes, get the Border Force to "cross path" with as many folks as possible. Check their visas. o visa? What about birth certificates? Don't carry that with you, ever? Off you go to the detention centre.

    Peter Dutton, the amigo responsible for the ABF, was too busy, or too lazy to read memos too.

    Ahh...Looks like they need a trick rabbit that is not a trick one !

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  • 2litre:

    31 Aug 2015 1:50:33pm

    PM Abbott is making the same mistake PM Rudd and Gillard made when in office, keeping their best strategists behind the lines instead of forming a workable brains trust close to the leadership focused on Government instead of reputations and personalities. Of course in K Rudds case that was never going to happen. In fairness Rudd did have Lindsay Tanner and Simon Crean but kept them clear of the main event which was PM Rudd, Martin Ferguson kept to himself which as it turned out was the best option for him to take leaving Rudd to chastise his yes men. PM Abbott has always been aware of his competitors which may be the beginnings of his first mistake which was assuming power without an adequately competent chain of command, the clue is of course Peta Credlin a non minister with more influence on Abbott's thinking than is wise at any time for a man in charge of the country the time was right for Malcolm Turnbull to be a lot closer to his Prime Minister. It's understandable that PM Abbott would show faith in his chosen ones from the shadow cabinet but the obvious hierarchy holding back good judgement is depreciating the quality of his options while he remains PM. After all this time it would be more damaging than productive to remove Joe Hockey or substitute Julie Bishop as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party or remove Christopher Pine, look at finding a replacement for George Brandis, all these things an instinctive leader would do not for himself as is now the case but for his Government.

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  • Fortunatus:

    31 Aug 2015 1:51:04pm

    I've said it before, but I can only repeat: pls., pls., pls., Libs, don't dump Tony Abbott! He's a living reminder to the electorate of all that's wrong with this Government.

    Add in Joe Hockey and you've got a powerful public expression of what a waste of space this Government has become. Together, they remain the Labor/Greens Opposition's - and, indeed, independents' - best hope.

    Libs, put aside what will certainly be bad results from Canning, take a deep breath, and put your faith in a change of government at the next election. Leave Tony alone - he's doing the perfect job required to achieve that result.

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  • B. Ford:

    31 Aug 2015 1:51:18pm

    Interesting the number of disillusioned ALP respondents to this post. I say to them and to all disillusioned conservatives - isn't it regrettable that this country turned its back on the PM who was head and shoulders above any of the current imposters.

    She had a social conscience and a vision for the well being of the people. She was respected on the international stage. She saw the need for positive climate change action. She had a heart.

    Look what you got instead.

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    • stephen jones:

      31 Aug 2015 3:56:12pm

      Joan Kirner unfortunately passed away well before she could be cloned ... but the one you're thinking of, though falling a bit short of nous, nevertheless was attacked very unfairly for her ex's probable dishonesty ; she is innocent of that one but she was not a good PM.

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  • Forrest Gardener:

    31 Aug 2015 1:52:17pm

    Quote: Of the many words that could describe Tony Abbott and his Government, "bumbling", "incoherent" and "embattled" readily spring to mind. Yet in recent days, the most apt description of all would have to be "desperate".

    Here's the thing. Rather than imputing states of mind into your mortal enemy, how about doing the unthinkable and actually speak to the man?

    Oh well. Just another day and another sledge on their ABC.

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    • Filz:

      31 Aug 2015 3:20:49pm

      It's an opinion piece, Forrest.

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      • Forrest Gardener:

        31 Aug 2015 9:04:25pm

        Here's the thing Filz. These pages invariably state the same hateful opinion over and over. The only thing which varies is the degree of hate.

        Even the Labor Fan Club would agree that actually speaking to the people they write about is a better way to formulate a valid opinion than just making stuff up.

        Or maybe they wouldn't. After all, the real person may say things that the straw man never would. And what space would that leave for the hate?

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  • Geezer Smith:

    31 Aug 2015 2:10:51pm

    The last act of a desperate man (or men). Abbott is prepared to throw anyone under the metaphorical bus to save is own neck or any other part of his anatomy for that matter. Herr Dutton apparently now has a veritable supply of low level public servants to stand blindfolded in the middle of the bus lane.

    Ironically, all that is required by most rational electors is to govern sensibly. Do away with all the extreme right ideologies, the doctrines of punish, crack down and fight. We all understand the need to raise taxes to balance the books. Just do it fairly.

    When the Warner cartoonists of the 60s created the hapless wily coyote, they could never have imagined their character would be personified as the political leader of foreign country decades later.

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  • Filz:

    31 Aug 2015 2:16:06pm

    Paula - thanks for the article. Accurate and succinct.

    There are many things currently wrong with the Liberal Party, some of these being:

    It's not run by liberals - the wrong people have control.

    Tony Abbott never was fit for the top job and never will be.

    The current front bench are a laughing stock. "Idiocy" is too kind a word.

    There is no talent coming up from behind.

    Scott Morrison is more dangerous than Abbott, only because he is more intelligent, but he shares the same beliefs.

    The Liberal Party is a policy-free zone. They are in the literal sense, reactionaries. This is government by lies and distractions, with nobody held responsible and the media only now seeming to realise that we are being shafted.

    The ABC especially has to realise the only way to beat a bully is to stand up to them. You previously had excellent news and current affairs coverage. Now it's a shadow of its former self. If Abbott threatens funding cuts - threaten him with more bad publicity (there's plenty there). Run your programmes the way YOU want to. Let the viewers be the judge - after all, it's our money that funds you.

    Can we see and read more on the Dutton fiasco that was cancelled last Friday in Melbourne? Both Dutton and Abbott claim they weren't in the loop and this is patently a lie. They both need to be held accountable and resign. Where is the media?

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    • Fortunatus:

      31 Aug 2015 4:38:01pm

      Excellent post, Filz - you've very succinctly nailed the situation with this government, and the media.

      The media in recent years, for a variety of reasons, has been forced further and further to the Right, just like the politics it's meant to report on. Partly it's lack of resources and the twenty-four hour news cycle and partly the concentration of ownership in a few hands, one of the worst in the Western world. It all means much less in-depth scrutiny of politics and business. This is just fine with the rich and the powers that be.

      However, there has been a concurrent upside, namely social media. It has many weaknesses, particularly lack of objectivity and accuracy, but it is a developing phenomenon and is capable of frightening the pants off governments and vested interest groups e.g. Border Force last week. More power to its right hand, if that's an exemplar.

      Your point about the ABC is relevant and timely. It has become much more timid of late, particularly since the Q&A incident. Not "balanced", just timid. They are meant to be independent of the politicians. They should just get on with their business as professional, fearless broadcasters.

      I couldn't agree more with you about Dutton and Abbott. In their press releases and media jawing, they told the public a pack of lies. The media should be hounding them down over this, instead of letting the issue just slip away to be lost in the news cycle. First rule of editorial policy, I'd have thought.

      The two of them should be hounded out of office for their blatant mendacity. They are not worthy of their office.

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  • Sarah:

    31 Aug 2015 3:42:29pm

    Bombing Syria- thereby creating more refugees; selling out to China on the FTA and the US on the TPP- holding a RC to fix the unions and the ALP but not one into the finance industry to fix Australia and the LNP, refusing SSM to appease the extreme right, copy US name with 'Border Force"- and I suspect giving it the OK to 'interrogate" anyone who crosses it's patch in Melbourne then when the people reacted to it not in the way he and Border Force expected- with quite acquiescence- he went into denial mode.

    The man and his party are sure desperate- I hope Canning gives them a 'grow up' wake up call.

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    • george:

      31 Aug 2015 5:58:14pm

      Bob Hawke reckons the FTA is good for the country. Who are you going to believe Hawke or a campaign by corrupt unions?

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      • Forrest Gardener:

        31 Aug 2015 9:07:51pm

        Too easy George. Inconvenient past Labor luminaries simply go down the memory hole.

        In a few short years the name Bob Hawke will simply cease to exist.

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      • Sarah:

        01 Sep 2015 9:09:50am

        Bob Hawke also said the FTA needed some renegotiation to protect jobs.

        Where he and others in favour of globalisation made the mistake was in not considering the downsides of it, as in transference of jobs over seas and the rise of household debt and his failure and that of others to consider policies to mitigate them.

        I believe no one 100%- certainly not without doing my own fact checks. Corruption is the country is not limited to unions-

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  • Billy Bob Hall:

    31 Aug 2015 3:43:03pm

    Paula, you must be talking about a different Tony Abbott. The Tony Abbot I know as Prime Minister is the most qualified to hold the position since 1901.

    Not jut my opinion. Come February 2016, you will see mot people in this wide brown land (strangely ?) will have views aligned with mine.

    Never underestimate the Australian People. They get it right most of the time.

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    • B. Ford:

      31 Aug 2015 5:48:46pm

      BBH. Are you serious or delirious.

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    • Forrest Gardener:

      31 Aug 2015 9:08:54pm

      The voters always get it right BBH. Even if they change their minds at the next election.

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      • Alpo:

        01 Sep 2015 7:46:30am

        You change your mind only when you know that you have made a mistake.... The wisdom is in using the past experience to avoid committing the same mistake again in the future... :)

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  • surelynot:

    31 Aug 2015 3:48:02pm

    Surely this is biased journalism.

    Abbott has been away doing good work with our indigenous people. he is minding his business and indigenous people's business...and suddenly there is an article written with the sensationalism that he is struggling to maintain control.

    Me thinks the author is struggling for attention...and struggling to control their personal frustrations.

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  • dlb:

    31 Aug 2015 3:53:09pm

    Poor Mr Tough Guy!

    Apparently treating everybody as the enemy does not make every body happy - all the time.

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  • Redfella:

    31 Aug 2015 4:11:10pm

    The concept that increasing bombing activities in a country will somehow decrease the flow of refugees from that area is disgusting, offensive and absurd in equal proportions.

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  • Dreamer:

    31 Aug 2015 4:27:13pm

    Here's an idea:

    Let's make political service an honour, with average wage remuneration, superannuation as per the rest of us, independently monitored expenses - you know the sort of thing - reduce the number of professional politicians in favour of competent, accountable, upstanding... through elections....

    Oh I can't go on! Time for a beer!

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  • flavour2040:

    31 Aug 2015 4:40:54pm

    Bugger all this, Im still waiting to see the ONE MILLION jobs these clowns promised pre-election. And to be fair B. Shorten is an absolute goose, how many chances has he had to nail Abbott and has done NOTHING. Ive lost count the amount of times he could have drilled Abbott, but he SO weak. It got stuffed up at the start they should have chosen Albanese over Shorten, who is to close to the unions for my liking, it was always going to be used against him, and im a CFMEU member.

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    • AdamS:

      01 Sep 2015 8:08:17am

      Why would Bill Shorten want to nail Tony Abbott? Tony is doing a really great job of increasing the Labor party votes. Bill does not want him to go!!!

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  • stampede:

    31 Aug 2015 5:08:22pm

    I think the bath is winning. While the Gillard/Rudd years were fraught with problems (mainly from within) - this Coalition government must rate as the worst, most ineffective and most corrupt in Australia's history. Not only their incompetence stands out like the proverbial, but their feudal ideology in targeting the most vulnerable people in society to carry the tax burden, while the big end of town receive subsidies and apathy over multi-national profit shifting.

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  • MikePS:

    31 Aug 2015 5:55:01pm

    "Poorly polling governments such as this one have been known to turn their fates around in the final 12 months of an electoral term. But looking at the PM's track record to date, it is difficult to say whether he has the political smarts or capacity to do so.

    One would hope that Abbott has the ability to turn things around, but self-inflicted crises just keep on cropping up without any prompting by the opposition. And one never knows where they are going to come from next, the sources seem to be inexhaustible.

    Much as I partake in schadenfreude from Tony Abbott's self-goals, it really is time for this government to get its house in order for the our nation to go forward. Good government was supposed to start last February, but it really must start now, for all our sakes.

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  • Canning Voter I Am:

    31 Aug 2015 6:19:28pm

    Given that the article makes significant reference to the by-election in Canning, and, given that that by-election is scheduled to be held on "Talk Like A Pirate Day", wouldn't it be interesting, if the Canning voters turned up at the polling booths, dressed up as pirates, and, elected the Pirate Party candidate, completely on first preferences?

    Then, the political commentators really would not know what to make of it, and, the Pirate Party would have "pirated away", the debate about the significance of the outcome of the by-election.


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  • Isla:

    31 Aug 2015 6:26:30pm

    Tony Abbott's body language is strident, his demeanor is an abrasive one - he represents appropriately the Liberal Party. Also known as The Conservatives. Oi, oi, oi?

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  • dantes:

    31 Aug 2015 6:46:09pm

    Both political parties stand for nothing other than themselves and their political masters the IPA in the case of the Liberals and the unions in the case of the ALP.

    In their quest to attain power through their political puppets both the IPA and the unions are corrupting our political processes and in turn we get used.

    These organisations think we are nothing but their servants to be used every four years to get themselves elected and making us feel as though we are part of a democratic process.

    Well, anyone who thinks that is a downright fool!

    The fact that none of you is prepared to do anything but voice your gripes in forums such as this is proof of that. It is also proof that the politicians have got it right! For all of you are too gutless to do anything about it - anything of substance!

    It is time for all disaffected individuals to form their own centrist political party. Now there's a revolutionary concept! At a time when no one wants the political, economic and social centre why not form a party that occupies this territory and that has decency, honour and morals at its core, for we know none of the current lot even know the meaning of such words.

    Instead of wasting your time bemoaning how bad things are and how, incompetent, stupid and corrupt our politicians are why don't you all get of your big fat a***s and do something about it. You are truly deluded if you think that complaining about it is going to solve our current woes.

    It is not because we have incompetent, stupid and corrupt politicians that we are about to realise Lee Kuan Yew's prophecy of becoming the white trash of Asia, but rather because we allowed it to happen. One might say we invited it for you keep voting for these incompetents, corrupts and imbeciles.

    Over to you.........

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    • Heretix The Gall:

      31 Aug 2015 7:20:45pm

      Ah, so someone else has woken up, and criticised the general apathy.

      Have you, by any chance, looked at the policy platforms of the political parties of the candidates in the canning by-election?

      If you did, you might get a surprise.

      But then, this is australia.

      The voters mostly do not care about the policy platforms of the candidates - the main consideration is something along the lines of "well, I have always voted for..., and so I see no reason to change - who cares what the other have to offer?", or, "well, my family has always voted for...., so, why should I be capable of independent thought?"

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  • Bob Vader:

    31 Aug 2015 6:58:25pm

    Don't forget the gun grab. All those pretend cowboys and there lever action guns are apparently all terrorists just waiting to strike. Another of Howards tricks to try and frighten us into thinking we need him to protect us.

    Then again if he doesn't do it the Greens/ Labour coalition probably will when they get in.

    Abbott is a pretty poor choice, Bishop is worse. She is quite nasty from what I've heard. Labour, maybe, after they find an actual leader.

    Wonder if Ricky Muir has a cousin that wants a job

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  • Tsangwah:

    31 Aug 2015 7:05:26pm

    The seeds for Abbott's & this Government's predicament were sown in the 2013 election campaign. Abbott promised no cuts to popular programs, but abolition of measures considered unpopular. So he scrapped the carbon & mining taxes, replacing one with a costly failure, yet reneged on promises not to cut popular services. Many u-turns later, Abbott's credibility is in tatters. His only narrative, to cut the debt and deficit are long forgotten, with nothing to replace it. It has become a divided, shambolic government with crises arising almost daily. Almost impossible to believe it could regain sufficient popularity to become competitive by the time of the nect election.

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  • sticksnstones:

    31 Aug 2015 7:29:12pm

    Reading back through the comments here, Abbott is attracting every sort of clown's cream pie in the face, dead cat, odoriferous cow pat, dregs and eggs, and get that man off the stage rotten tomatoes, and they are all landing, right on target. The same Abbott who stood in front of those disgraceful ditch the bitch and ditch the witch signs held up by flatheads, rednecks and anti Labor trolls in those well orchestrated rallies, all worked up to a frenzy of vituperation by the self-serving Murdoch media guns for hire... Well, Tone,you reap what you sew! Hey, if you give it, you gotta be able to take it! At least,this time it's so well deserved!

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  • Ryszard:

    31 Aug 2015 9:42:48pm

    Look, up in the sky, is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Captain Spick, guardian of the free world, well of the wealthy and privileged anyway.

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  • Andrew English:

    31 Aug 2015 10:55:22pm

    Abbott and Co. can come out with any new policy initiatives they like and, regardless of whether they are appealing, they will struggle to sell them to the electorate, because, like Mrs Clinton in the US, they are seen as untrustworthy. There is very little the LNP can do about this now except to have major cabinet re-shuffle and try to get Abbott, Hockey and Morrison out of the news and some more trusted faces (if they can find them) onto the front pages. This is now at the point of be virtually irrecoverable, so maybe the LNP should be looking beyond the next election, to the following one and trying to build a policy platform, with politicians that have credibility.

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    • george:

      01 Sep 2015 7:13:05am

      That's true but remember they are up against Shorten. Both Rudd and Gillard said he couldn't be trusted. The RC said he wasn't credible. And his background of double dealing and disloyalty speaks for itself.

      In a contest of who is most untrustworthy, Shorten wins hands down.

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      • tonyp:

        01 Sep 2015 3:09:17pm

        You were loudly claiming impartiality during the Heydon discussion.

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  • Me of wherever:

    01 Sep 2015 8:04:23am

    Every thing that can be said about Abbott has been said , we know he is a liar and a cheat, no common sense and thinks only of himself , and at the end of the day he could run back to the UK with the Lordship he is bound to give his self. Hope he goes before he makes Australia a full on Dictatorship which is edging nearer each day.

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  • RosieA:

    01 Sep 2015 8:52:44am

    Ever since the LNP lost the 2007 election, they have failed to put together a direction for Australia as a whole and policies by which to achieve that direction. They have pandered to corporate Australia and the wealthy, and focussed only on power and electing leaders most likely to deliver power.

    Abbott being an aggressive fighter who would allow nothing to get in the way of achieving his ambition, seemed a good choice. Unless you happen to be well-served by Abbott's ambition and strategies to achieve it, there's nothing to like about Abbott's willingness to "do what it takes to get what he wants". Will the LNP learn that governing the country is not about having power to do as they please? Will Labor learn from the LNP lesson? Or will society from necessity, find alternatives?

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  • salishan:

    01 Sep 2015 10:37:26am

    Abbott is just not up to the job of being prime minister. His party knows it, and most of the electorate knows it.

    It is time he went. Simple as that!

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  • Susan:

    01 Sep 2015 1:22:35pm

    and how painful was his press conference of just a short while ago when he appeared with Joe Hockey to make an important announcement....

    We have repealed Labor's big bad tax. Labor are bad, we are good.

    Spoken like a true opposition leader. Someone with the skills to run this country (which he has proven he does not) would not have wasted time with a public announcement for such a trivial thing. A press release would have been made, end of story. But opposition Tony had to remind us all of his lack of leadership skills.

    Tch, and I thought it was something important.

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  • Big Ben:

    01 Sep 2015 1:32:15pm

    Thanks Paula

    I would have to say that Mr Abbott is the worst prime-minster that great country has had to suffer. He stumbles from one disaster to the next. What he does not create himself he handles so badly so as to leave a self-inflicted indelible stain upon himself. He has become a complete joke. Our once great country deserves better than this. Less and less of his cabinet colleagues appear willing to be wheeled out to inform us of his greatness. This I can understand but the thinning minority are making fools of themselves.

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  • W A Pleb:

    01 Sep 2015 2:33:44pm

    I wonder how many of the Canning voters will vote against the LNP candidate, solely because the abbot is its leader, and, would vote for the LNP candidate, if the (Juile) bishop was its leader.

    After all, with the bad abbott having backed the bodgy bishop, and, now, the bad abbott is backing the bodgy commisssion, so that crooks are "investigating" crooks, it is simply a question of how much corruption, the LNP government supports, and, how much corruption, the LNP expects the Canning electorate to support.

    No wonder the LNP got a blow-in candidate - after all, a blow-in candidate is all the more expendable, and his loss would be of no consequence.

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  • Bernie:

    01 Sep 2015 4:16:13pm

    I wonder why ABC has not allowed my reply twice to a query of a submitter asking how on earth Tony Abbott got a second to Oxford that I had read the three other applicants were much better qualified and that Dyson Heydon was actually one of the selectors. Is what I read true or untrue or are others not allowed to know?

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  • W A Pleb:

    01 Sep 2015 5:18:19pm

    So, how is it that the australian head of state is prohibited from being a roman catholic, but the australian prime minister is allowed to undermine the australian head of state, by being a roman catholic?

    And, how is it, that, in section 44(i) ;


    Any person who:

    (i) is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a

    citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power;


    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.


    but the first thing that is required of a person selected to be a member of either house of parliament, before taking office, is to swear allegiance to a foreign power?

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