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August 14th 2018 print

Tony Abbott

‘Unity of Lemmings’: How a Party Dies

While the Liberal party room was discussing the so-called National Energy Guarantee, Malcolm Turnbull's operatives were briefing reporters against the man he knifed. Conservatives will take today's events as confirmation that a party standing for nothing will fall for anything

abbott thoughtfulI’m not going to release my own comments to the party room, because they were along the lines of my remarks to media on the way into the parliament, but the rampant hostile briefing of journalists while the meeting was underway does require a response.

Leaking and briefing seem to have become the norm but I’d prefer to say what I think on the record and under my own name.

Yes, as the PM said at its close, there was party room support for the minister’s position. Much of it though, was of the “yes…but” variety: congratulating him for the work he’d done in difficult circumstances and saying that the NEG was the best way through a bad situation.

This statement was released after the Liberal Party this morning voted for Paris, careerist climateers, rent-seekers, bird-mincers, even higher electricity prices and electoral oblivion

But most then added that what really mattered was actually getting prices down – not just talking about modelling – and actually getting more despatchable power into the system via ACCC recommendation 4.


Unfortunately, most explanations of how the NEG (as it stands without price targets) might theoretically get prices down sound like merchant bankers’ gobbledigook.

It was a real pity that the meeting broke up before the chairman of the backbench committee, Craig Kelly, was able to finish his contribution.

Yes, there were lots of pleas for unity, but as one MP said, we’ve got to be loyal to our electorates and to party members too, and not show the “unity of lemmings”.

Yes, there was lots of regard for the “experts” and for “business leaders” but as one MP said “I’m not here for the technocrats”.

I heard at least four lower house MPs formally reserve their position on the legislation and at least a dozen express serious concerns about the NEG or about turning the non-binding Paris targets into law with massive penalties attached.

This is the big question that the party room didn’t really grapple with: when the big emitters are not meeting Paris, why should we? Especially, as even the Chief Scientist said, the difference meeting our target would make is “virtually nothing”.

Tony Abbott was the elected Prime Minister of Australia until replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, who reduced the majority he inherited to a single seat.

Comments [35]

  1. BJAS1961 says:

    The Liberal Party, as most of us knew it, is dead; and Turnbull is leading the party to a crushing defeat. The NEG is not a solution, and will be rightly interpreted by much of the lost base as the final confirmation that we must again vote elsewhere, as many of us did at the last election. Someone needs to topple Turnbull, right now, if there is to be any hope of recovering even a small part of the lost base.

    • Charles.dcc says:

      Thank God for Tony Abbott. Without him and the few honest politicians left in the country, this hollow man Turnbull would already be walking on the graves of our hopes and aspirations.
      Keep up the fight Tony, the support, the volunteering and the donations will come back when Turnbull bites the dust.

  2. Peter OBrien says:


    I hope you read this. You have talked the talk. Now you must walk the walk – to the other side of the chamber. You owe these gutless bastards nothing. Your loyalty now should be to the national interest.

    • Davidovich says:

      I am not so much replying as adding my voice to yours, Peter. Abbott, and hopefully at least a few others, now have to confront this disastrous policy and crossing the floor is only the beginning of what has to be done. The despicable way in which Abbot is treated by Turnbull and his colleagues has to have its day of reckoning and the time to start this process has come.

    • Jody says:

      Oh for god’s sake; give us all a break!!! Your evangelist’s fervour for the Abbott brand is just embarrassing.

      • en passant says:

        Stop embarrassing yourself with blind hatred an tell us your brilliant solution.

        No, didn’t think you could …

        • Jody says:

          Move on, for god’s sake. The man is trapped in the 1950s and nasty to boot.

          • Nezysquared says:

            Trapped in the 50′s and nasty to boot doesn’t really provide much in the way of substance as to why he shouldn’t return despite the fact that you obviously dislike him. Many do not – I personally am ambivalent about Abbott but am realistic enough to recognise he is, at present, the least worst option for a political party that needs to turn right at the next stop sign.

          • whitelaughter says:

            The 1950s – full employment, the middle of a *50 year* era of social calm with *no*massacres*, women entering the workforce and wage gaps shrinking, ever increasing profits and ever increasing salaries. Important infrastructure building.


            Why would you want to leave Heaven?

      • Maic says:

        “Give us all a break?” Who is the “all” besides yourself? Tony Abbott and a very few others are the only politicians sticking up for the non left citizens who see the Coalition ignoring their concerns and as a consequence heading for the electoral cliff.
        I for one am not embarrassed by messages of support for Tony. What he says (although out of favour with the elite and special interests) makes perfect sense to many citizens who are sick of the slick and false talk about climate change and how power prices are certain to come down if we just trust them a little longer.
        Well I say their ration of trust ran out long ago. Not a bright look for the economy and citizens living conditions. (Read your power accounts lately?)

    • SJones says:

      I agree Peter. Time to take the gloves off Tony.

  3. Homer Sapien says:

    “A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.”

    Tuchman, Barbara. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (Kindle Locations 88-89). Crux Publishing Ltd. Kindle Edition.
    That says it all….

    • whitelaughter says:

      hmm, looks like I’ll have to read that. The only book of hers I’ve read was Guns of August, but that was an excellent intro to the opening of the Great War, so definitely encouraged to read more of her works.

  4. Egil says:

    Chairman of Backbench Committee, Craig Kelly, was not able to finish his contribution.
    Strict time frame?
    Did attendees just walk out on him?
    Was he clubbed to silence by PM Turnbull, for having incorrect ideas?
    I think John Howard must wake up in a cold sweat at times.
    Without his input, Australia could have had Malcolm Turnbull doing harmless work.

    • Lawrie Ayres says:

      John Howard has a lot to answer for just ask Peter Spence. Howard began the mandated renewables. He met Kyoto by sacrificing farmers using State governments to do his dirty work. He persuaded Turnbull to stay in the party. Howard deserves to have his reputation trashed. He caused a lot of misery due to his scientific ignorance and his cowardice in not standing up to the climate charlatans.

      • Jody says:

        And Howard actively encouraged Turnbull back into politics after the latter had a huffy throw-down and threatened to leave. Howard also left no successor, actively fighting against Costello taking over. The fact that Howard thought a man who played to Q&A audiences could be a leader tells us all we need to know.

      • Les Kovari says:

        Hear, hear!

    • Peter C says:

      Typical sneaky and white-anting etc Turnbull in action to get the NEG passed through the Party room by any sneaky means and who is unworthy to be in the once great Liberal party or to be PM. Turnbull has just white-anted and back-stabbed the Party over the NEG including because Craig Kelly speech was cut short as he was not allowed to speak when he was entitled to and should have and Tim Wilson – who was not included in the list to speak – also spoke before Craig Kelly.

      Hopefully enough true Liberal party members will cross the floor to defeat the very faulty and very bad for our futures NEG.

      Unless Tony Abbott is quickly returned as PM so as to win the next election and revive the once great Liberal Party and ensure we all have good futures I will be voting Labor as they are not as bad as Turnbull & Co and a term of Labor is better than having Turnbull as PM. From P of C

  5. necessityofchoice says:

    Follow the money .
    AGW. What a ridiculous farce it is, UNLESS you happen to be one of the beneficiaries outlined in red, and especially if your first loyalty is still to Goldman Sachs

    • Jody says:

      Oh, not another tired conspiracy theory. You don’t seem to get it; Turnbull’s loyalty is to nobody but himself and he simply doesn’t have the smarts to think in any other way. By now I thought you’d have realized that behind that slick ability to speak across the dispatch box (when not throwing a colleague under the Labor bus) is, well, nothing much apart from hollowness.

    • mark says:

      Agree. More money is to be made selling coal and gas to China and India etc. than domestically. Turnbull and Frydengerg are agents of the oligarchs without a doubt. They have done nothing for Australia.

  6. Eeyore says:

    ” Unfortunately, most explanations of how the NEG (as it stands without price targets) might theoretically get prices down sound like merchant bankers’ gobbledigook.”

    Nice one.

  7. Warty says:

    Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly, Daniel Andrews and a handful of conservatives are like the proverbial voices in the wilderness, though there is a resonance to their collective voice, no muted echo there.
    It is said we deserve the government we get, but I would like to pass that particular baton onto the rather more ignorant amongst us, those with the ear plugs, the same ones who wear padded cotton sleep masks in broad daylight. Because how stupid can you be to invite two or more terms of a Shorten government, before you begin to stir. It seems that is what it will take to return the Liberal Party to its senses.
    My feeling is that the conservative base will never return, despite the efforts of the Tony Abbotts, Craig Kellys and Andrew Hasties: Cory and Pauline will be the beneficiaries.

    • Salome says:

      I sincerely hope it’s Cory and not Pauline. I saw footage of the latter at the Senate hearings into lending to farmers and she showed total ignorance of both insolvency law and commercial reality and, worst of all, total ignorance that she was so ignorant of them. I don’t expect our elected representatives to know everything, but I do expect them to recognise what they don’t know.

      • ianl says:

        > ” … I do expect them to recognise what they don’t know”

        Your chosen nom-de-plume knew better.

        You will notice that almost all of the comments here are merely genteely vicious squabbles about personalities – flip/flop.

        Almost no hard policy analysis, yet this is the point of destruction (as the song goes). As I remarked in an earlier thread, the superstitious warm bath of karma beckons – Lee Kuan Yew was right.

    • oldsailor says:

      Warty at 12:32 AM….Are you SURE you meant to include Daniel ANDREWS??

  8. Jody says:

    Abbott is a neanderthal who thinks he’s still going to be PM again one day. Quite the contrary; I don’t ever see him returning to even a shadow cabinet job. And the other 1950s dwellers like Andrews and (not the sharpest tool in the shed) Kelly might as well be wearing the “If I can’t have it neither can you” T-shirt. Andrew Hastie is squandering his career; too bad for him. My husband thinks he hasn’t got what it takes anyway. I tend to agree. None of these people has the remotest kind of influence in the party anymore. The more intelligent players will soon find out where the centre is and this disruptive rabble, fuelled by an aggrieved Abbott, will soon be forced to learn the hard way. We all will. And when the Coalition does lose they’re going to be looking for the horse/s which started the stampede.

    Completely agree that we deserve the governments we get. That’s why Whitlam and Rudd arrived on the scene only to crash and burn. Democracy never guarantees to get it right, merely to give everybody a vote. Politicians are not from mars; they come from amongst us and what’s wrong with them is what’s wrong with us.

    • en passant says:

      Well, that’s settled: Jody does not think Abbott can return, so it is over – she has woke.

      I am looking forward to the demise of industrial Oz and its takeover by the Chinese. It’s what the Jody’s of Oz and voters want – and what they deserve.
      ‘… what’s wrong with them is what’s wrong with us.’ – Count me out of your nightmare

      • Jody says:

        I realize that the concept of mutual faults is beyond your IQ but your god Abbott isn’t the answer either. He not only has a lizard’s tongue but the fork makes it possible for him to continue to tell lies – and then go to confession afterwards to rid himself of his perfidy. Uh oh; I don’t think so.

        • Doubting Thomas says:

          Jody, your obvious hatred of Tony Abbott seems to be completely irrational. “Neanderthal”, “Lizard’s tongue”, “lies”, “perfidy”, etc, etc. So far, not a skerrick of actual evidence to support any of these ad hominem rants. I think you are in a minority of one in this debate.

  9. White Dove says:

    Dear Tony,
    I thank you once again for standing up for me – someone who has no voice in the parliament on matters of Energy. You are my voice and I agree with everything you have written and voiced via the radio and TV interviews. May I add that the interview with Leigh Sales was brilliant on your part.

    Without your voice explaining the madness, I would have no hope for this Country. But there you are saying what I need you to say only to to be piled upon and leaked against. It must be so hard for you to keep going but please know that you have my total support and that of many Australians for without you we would be lost. You are the hope I have for the future. Joy Heath

  10. Les Kovari says:

    Just reading these comments makes me cringe. I wonder how painful it is going to be when I hit the bottom of the abyss. I might be lucky and fall on the softness of other dead lemmings who fell before me.

  11. Tallaijohn says:

    How strange politics has become. Even though so many comments support free Australian decisions regarding energy and agree with the dumping of the Paris agreement, the only argument put forward against that is one which bags Tony Abbott. He didn’t invent this solution which the electorate has shown they support. Maybe there is just too much dislike of Tony. The same policy from a new leader might be the solution. Or would the hatred just move to the new leader?

    • Egil says:

      Tony Abbott Haters are operating with no bounds and no restrictions.
      He will forever be misrepresented and lied about, because he is an effective and rational leader.
      If, in a storm, two children were in strife in the surf and Tony Abbott miraculously saved one of them;
      he would be harassed for neglecting/’murdering’ the other child.
      ‘Progressive’ media are that bad.

  12. Les Kovari says:

    I cry for you Australia.