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November 27th 2017 print

Peter O'Brien

The Case for Abbott Redux

Other than his remaining opinion-page courtiers, Malcolm Turnbull has few champions left to argue for the agile and innovative prime minister who is neither and a lot worse besides. Tot up the negatives for Bishop, Dutton and the other possibilities and only one serious prospect remains

abbott turnbullSang Fred Astaire in years gone by, ‘Things have come to a pretty pass, our romance is growing flat’. Malcolm Turnbull, in a rare self-aware moment, might recognise that sentiment as reflecting his relationship with the people and party he purports to ‘lead’. Things have come to a pretty pass when the only reason to vote Coalition would be to prevent Bill Shorten taking up residence in The Lodge. That is the pitiful rationale evinced regularly by government members, particularly when attempting to shut down and sideline Tony Abbott.

The other body of support for not defenestrating Turnbull comes from the commentariat, especially an Abbott-phobic trio of News Corp pundits, — Peter van Onselen, Niki Savva and Paul Kelly — who take the view that dumping one more leader would be yet another game of musical chairs guaranteed to see electoral defeat. Here’s Kelly in The Australian:

The idea another leadership bloodbath and the replacement of Malcolm Turnbull will see the government recover and run full term belongs in dream world.

The problem is that ‘policy’ figures in such analyses only to the extent it influences ‘politics’.  It’s all about winning the next election and principle be damned. But what if winning that next election isn’t the over-riding priority for conservatives? By this I mean genuine, committed conservatives. True, the very idea of Shorten assuming the prime ministership is a horrible prospect, but is a Labor government the worst fate that could befall Australia? I think not.

If you accept the Coalition’s goose is cooked, that Labor is inevitable, and Turnbull remains only because there is no credible replacement, the sooner we take our medicine the better. In the wilderness and compelled to examine where they went wrong, Liberals might re-discover that principles matter. More than that, such a review and re-armament could draw back to the fold former supporters who have turned their backs in disgust, the sort of voters Liberal pollster Mark Textor dismissed as not worth worrying about because, by his then-reckoning, they had nowhere else to go. As the weekend’s Queensland election demonstrates, that’s not the case or anything like it.

A narrow victory by a philosophically bankrupt Coalition would see the further delivering of Labor-lite policies. Labor would then, of course, up the ante by promising to spend even more. Matching labor in flinging cash at non-performing holy cows — just look how little good Gonski has done for Australia’s standing in education — would encourage and perpetuate the Liberals’ ongoing slide to the left, again stemming from the view that voters really like the free stuff Labor hands out and the Coalition had better follow suit. The only point of distinction would be that Liberals present themselves as wasting taxpayer money more responsibly.

To my mind there are three major issues facing Australia: (a) the urgent need to rein in spending and eliminate the deficit, (b) the urgent need to bring power generation and electricity prices back to the real world and (c) the urgent need to reverse the Left’s colonisation of our institutions. Appalling as those dismayed by social engineers on the bench, green spruikers dictating correct thoughts at the ABC and universities espousing everything that is left, inane and fashionable find the notion of Shorten PM, there is no chance the tide will be rolled back by the current government and its flailing leader. A Labor victory would mean that conservatives, in opposition, could concentrate on rebuilding around these imperatives.

The general feeling is that Turnbull has to go because he can’t win the next election. My reason for wanting Turnbull dumped is simply to make him, and others, understand that if you move against an elected PM you had better make damn sure you deliver and fast. And if he were to get the shove, who then? Prime Minister Bishop, anyone? No, didn’t think so. Peter Dutton? Perhaps, but if the weekend’s election results were to be repeated in his Brisbane electorate he might not be in the parliament at all.

It has been suggested the best hope for conservatives might lie with Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives getting into a balance-of-power situation, possibly with the help of Tony Abbott and any disaffected members with the courage to remind themselves that once they stood for something and the Liberal Party is no longer it. There is merit in that scenario but if the Liberal Party wants to save itself, not just scrape back into power, Abbott is the only option at this stage.

There are arguments against the return of Abbott PM, some of them valid, but the most asinine, the one most widely espoused, is that Abbott didn’t do in government what he is proposing to do now: reform the Senate, kill the green energy monster etc. If his current policy prescriptions are correct, and I, for one, believe they are, then all that matters is that someone capable of implementing them be given the opportunity to do so. There is daylight between Abbott and the rest of the field in terms of profile, track record, commitment, determination and sheer parliamentary pugnacity.  What Abbott did or didn’t do in the past is irrelevant. Do we think he is totally incapable of learning from his mistakes? Hardly likely; he has admitted them himself.

As noted, the commentariat is almost universally arrayed against Abbott. Van Onselen has been obsessed – more than any other commentator, I think – with the ‘thirty bad Newspolls’ factor. He alludes to it often. Back when that event was not quite so imminent, he saw it only as a potential stumbling block that Turnbull would have to somehow negotiate when, make that if, the dreaded moment actually arrived. His tune has changed. Here he is on September 25:

While it was Malcolm Turnbull who set up a terrible KPI for himself when taking over from Tony Abbott — declaring that 30 consecutive Newspoll’s justified a challenge — changing leaders now because that yardstick is fast approaching would be folly.

That’s because Turnbull is comfortably the preferred PM (42% to 31%), and as the incumbent he leads Bill Shorten on the net satisfaction rating (minus 17 to minus 20).

Now that Turnbull is on the ropes, his manifest deficiencies of nous and character clear for all the see, a new spin is required, and in Thursday’s Australian that is what van Onselen’s readers were given:

Yes, Abbott has support amongst reactionary commentators who talk to a narrow band of the Liberal “base” (otherwise known as a moribund clique) but that is all. He’d be savaged more widely were a return to the prime ministership to happen.

Even an Abbott comeback next year – when Turnbull may face more realistic leadership pressures from others – isn’t going to happen. What would the argument be: Turnbull has hit the 30 consecutive Newspoll benchmark he used to prise Abbott out of the prime ministership, so as a party we have to return to the man who hit the 30 mark first? It’s ridiculous beyond words.

‘Ridiculous beyond words’ — an appraisal that sounds like the fruit of some pretty rigorous reasoning. The only problem is that the scenario wouldn’t pan out the way PVO outlines. No, the common wisdom would be that Turnbull failed his own test and must now go. So who would best replace him?  Abbott is certainly a contender. That he would be savaged (by the likes of van Onselen and Savva, not to mention the Fairfax posse and ABCers) would be business as usual for a man who was vilified for a quiet wink when a seventy-something phone-sex granny called him on an ABC talkback show and announced herself as such.

Who, other than Abbott, would be prepared, and best equipped, to resume the role of Opposition leader? For most former prime ministers once again leading the opposition would be a degrading and retrograde step – their hearts wouldn’t be in it.

My guess is that, even allowing for the inevitable media vendetta, Abbott would relish a second crack.

Comments [24]

  1. jeremy says:

    Abbott, of all politicians , will have watched the Trump phenomenon and learnt the lesson. The more the media hate you, the more certain that you can be that you are on the right path and have the support of the majority.

    • whitelaughter says:

      Yeah, but that’s why he went for the knighthood for Prince Phillip – it was clearly irrelevant, but sure to annoy the media: a great way to channel hostile media pressure.
      But his own party were too stupid to realise it.

  2. Jimbob says:

    “Yes, Abbott has support amongst reactionary commentators who talk to a narrow band of the Liberal “base” (otherwise known as a moribund clique) but that is all. He’d be savaged more widely were a return to the prime ministership to happen.”

    I don’t subscribe to the Australian and therefore do not have the privilege of reading articles by this journalist regularly but the quote above is all the proof I need that the man is not worth reading.

    Let’s just take the Queensland election as an example. Somewhere around 14% of voters in Queensland, voted for a conservative party that attracted conservatives from both the LNP and the Labor party (that’s right folks – there are many old-style Laborites who are still moral conservatives). In case Mr PVO didn’t do very well in mathematics when he was in school, based purely on the numbers, real power in a democracy (especially of the Westminster kind) never, ever rests with the mass of “rusted on” voters but with that small minority that has it in their hand to tip the vote from 50/50 to 50+/50-. That + or – can be less than 1% of voters! So calling people names like “reactionary” or a “moribund clique” is not going to encourage the “real power brokers” to come rushing back to the Coalition. If they aren’t welcome they can shake the dust of their sandals and move on. Which leaves us with the almost certain prospect, ceterus paribus, that we must now prepare for a Shorten Prime Ministership.

    This may not be the disaster that it could be because on the raw figures, as in my opinion, there will be a conservative “brake” on the excesses possible under a socialist, green-communist alliance. And the silver lining is that the Liberal Party will finally be shaken up.

    Let us assume that PHON holds 14% of the national vote. It may not deliver House of Representative seats but with 12 Senators per State in the Senate, with that kind of primary vote, they could actually end up with a minimum of 2 Senators per state on first preferences and in some states (e.g. Queensland) with one or two more per state when preferences are distributed. If you don’t believe me, just count the number of Green Senators and correlate that back to the Green primary vote nation-wide, which is no-where near the PHON vote. And that is my point….go ahead, Labor or Liberal…get a majority in the house of representatives and see how easy it will be to introduce progressive (or even conservative) programs. As I said, the real power brokers are always at the margins.

    Now let’s get back to the main thesis.

    Tony Abbott was not liked by the left, the press or the left of his own party. However, it is a tragic mistake to confuse popularity with ability to lead. Malcolm started as popular as any politician could be, but it was made manifestly clear and very quickly, that he, like Kevin Rudd before him, actually had no ability to lead. In MT’s case, making deals with like-minded corporate psychopaths in opulent boardrooms requires many orders of magnitude less ability than leading a nation of constantly metamorphosing tribes. Leading a nation requires a true leader who has no need to be popular but who has staked his or her banner on the battlefield of ideas and ideals and then stands his or her ground. As history has proven over and over again, a small dedicated band motivated by “principle” has more ability to change the world for better or for worse. The only pertinent question now is whether or not Tony Abbott has learnt from his experience and can be that man who sets up a banner and stands his ground in the face of what appear (for now) overwhelming odds (though they may not always be – life is strange and pendulums swing between extremes).

    I think he is, but what is almost set in stone is that almost all of the members of the Coalition will not learn from their mistakes and will look for a new “saviour”, based on, you guessed it, popularity. As for him being “savaged more widely”, I believe that this is no longer a fear for Mr Abbott.

    • Warty says:

      Peter Van Onselen, who hosted a midday show with another ‘progressive life-form, Kristina Kenneally, is no more worth reading than listening to Labor left Kristina. He wrote a book about Abbott and thoroughly eviscerated the man, hiding behind the security of his keyboard.
      He and Kristina are one of a kind.His penchant for nomenclature like ‘far right’ and ‘reactionaries’ is PVO showing restraint, because he’d dearly love to scream: ‘fascists’ or ‘Trump supporters’, the latter being quite the foulest epithet he can possibly conjure up. Far from seeing Hillary’s ‘basketful of Deplorables’ as being a major electoral setback for her, he would have congratulated her for creating and outstanding coinage, one that might remain in use till the end of the century, when we are all just so much dust or mould.

    • LBLoveday says:

      I do subscribe to The Australian, and hence “have the privilege of reading articles by this journalist regularly”; well at least I have the opportunity to so do, but it is getting on for 2 years since I availed myself of that opportunity, having determined “that the man is not worth reading”. Other media types and political players may choose to, indeed need to, read his trite for divers reasons, but I don’t.

      • HowieS says:

        I’m also a subscriber to the Australian (but my doubts about its value are growing) and also don’t read PVO or Savva – I felt their contempt for my opinions in their previous writings and don’t get anything out of it.

        Tony Abbott is the kind of person I would like to be leading our country – he has integrity, self-reflection and drive and has proven himself a decent leader, even if those who were being led betrayed him. That was more a symptom of their own deficiencies. Think of how effective Morrison, Bishop – and even Pyne – appeared when Abbott was PM. And now, under Turnbull – well, ineffectual is the best I can say about them.

        • LBLoveday says:

          Ditto re Savva. I sometimes read comments about Adams’ to check that the sane still think he’s not.
          Unusually read Gemmell at the weekend because she was on about banning smacking, and the day before I watched a great interview with Shaquille O’Neal who credited the occasional heavy hand of his beloved step-father, Phil Harrison, and the fear of another whack should he again transgress, with shaping his life, keeping him away from crime and drugs, and making him the success and example to others that he was and is.

  3. Jody says:

    The Coalition has a systemic problem of values; the leader issue is just a symptom of that. They need to spend time in opposition to work out what and who they are. They should not change leaders but go down with at least a scintilla of dignity. Abbott’s time as leader is done; he’s antagonistic with everybody and not in the least a people person. I’ve always regarded him as an angry man.

    Let’s have a banking inquiry if that’s what the people want, and the nanny state ideology will be complete. Government will look after its children and absolve them of the need to manage their affairs, exercise the age-old maxim of ‘caveat emptor’ – even run their superannuation affairs. It’s hideous.

    • Jody says:

      I meant “excise” the maxim….

      • Warty says:

        So many disparate elements in this response. Indeed the Coalition would benefit from a long stint in opposition, but seeing many of its problems stem from very poor leadership, why would one not get rid of its clown of a leader. And remember, it’s not so much the Coalition, but the Liberal Party, as it wouldn’t be in office, but for the fact that the Nationals held their ground in the field of carnage at the back end of the July 2016 election; indeed they GAINED a seat.
        Out campaigning Barnaby Joyce looks like a Kelpie let loose from his leash, a grin from ear to ear; but back in Canberra he tells us he carries the weight of the world (translate: he is required to betray his principles along with all the other mannequins on offer). The Coalition is toxic.
        And Abbott . . . a carefully selected frame from a shoot of sixty and he is an angry man. Picked out for the columnists angle of a man jilted at the whatever. Another frame and he’s unapproachable, sour, closed: a man out of touch with his cabinet, and the readers spread the story, and the artifice becomes fact. But then Turnbull: the people’s princess. A single shot from a shoot of sixty, and a man cock-a-hoop, brimful of courage, companionship and bonhomie. Who could possibly question his need to overthrow the man with the abysmal ratings in 30 consecutive news polls? And what a replacement: a man who walks on water and not a hint of legerdemain involved. Alleluia! Alleluia! Turnbull’s my man . . . NOT!
        But then . . . but then: a banking enquiry? Perhaps a full royal commission as demanded by little Billy Shorten? Not on your Nelly says John Howard,the same man who allegedly gave the nod to Malcolm Wormpill back in 2015, when shadows were long and knives were sharp. An enquiry to impose Big Brother on four slightly lesser, and indeed ‘the nanny state ideology will be complete’ and personal responsibility at its lowest ebb.
        But then (again) . . . who other than the media, can point to, let alone do anything about the industry-based super schemes from making substantials donations to unions, perhaps Labor, perhaps GetUp. And yet I have my money squirrelled into NGS and my wife’s into Australian Super, both industry-based, and I had a choice in this policy? And somebody else is going to pursue my own pusillanimous string of complaints? Methinks this is when my email to my local (an element of Big Brother) may be of assistance, despite the fact I’d like him to allow me to do up my own laces in most other respects.
        So it seems to me that government is needed for those things I am unable to do myself, when my shadow boxing wouldn’t disturb a clothing moth or a lowly silverfish. But when it closes in and fetters me with more and yet more regulations because anti-discrimination laws (which they themselves drew up) forbids them from targeting the guilty, then indeed ‘it’s hideous’.

  4. Jody says:

    We will get Shorten because Labor is masterful at slick election campaigns and the Liberal Party has zero money, since property developer donations were conveniently made illegal. And they don’t have the smarts anymore, especially since the departure of Brian Loughnane. The Bennelong bi-election is testament to that and Keneally will walk in at that election. It was all unpacked last night on PML (Sky) when people observed all the things Keneally has said on-air as a commentator, thinking she’d never re-enter politics, and which could be used against her. Critically, they all agreed the Liberal Party is unwilling and unable to do that. Ergo, they’ve given up the fight. This malaise now affects the Coalition as they wait for the guillotine to fall. I want them to be able to say they that at the very least they didn’t dispatch TWO leaders.

    The people want socialism; they want government to solve all their problems, unaware or unconcerned about the opportunity costs to that for the next generation/s. However, millenials are part of the problem too. In the final analysis, we get the very government we all deserve. Politicians are not from Mars; their strengths are ours and their weaknesses are equally ours. The majority of people cannot handle their own super funds, deal with banks on any significantly complex level, nor can they negotiate; that is precisely the reason they remain trapped in their socio-economic classes and it’s a major reason why people remain “working class”. Smarter people are calling out to government, “get out of the way please”. But nobody is listening because there are so few of us doing that.

    • ianl says:

      I agree completely with your second paragraph. It was obvious from 15-20 years ago that “soft-left, caring, sharing socialism” (ie. aspirationals are just greedy) appealed to the bulk of the populace, albeit based on unacknowledged envy. There is an evident reason that the myths of Robin Hood, Ned Kelly, Captain Thunderbolt and all endure so well.

      Lee Kwan Yew was right, it seems. Even now, lefties are blaming Leyland, Nissan, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford, GM for not sorting out manufacturing. There is no recognition of the factors of small, isolated population enclaves with enormous empty desert distances between them, or union-controlled city based workforces, or cargo dock handling and shipping smothered by the MUA (which is now to amalgamate with the CFMEU to improve all this), or hopelessly fouled-up, never-ending State/Federal turf fights – it’s all just Big Capital. And an almost useless, destructive MSM …

      Expounding this is then expediently labelled as cynical. It’s just so much easier to shoot the messenger.

      • Warty says:

        I’m bothered by both responses: yours and Jody’s, in that I feel your ‘people want socialism’ lacks nuance. We’ve grown used to Medicare, though when I came to Australia there was only (affordable) private health insurance. We are appalled by the daily cost of road tolls, particularly for those who live in the outer suburbs and have to commute into Sydney (where I live): we feel that government ought to build the increasingly expensive infrastructure a city like Sydney with its annual intake of immigrants requires. We seem to be prepared to be seduced by a Bill Shorten who opposes corporate taxes, because we may have a bit of Robin Hood and Ned Kelly in our DNA. But there will come a point when it will be increasingly difficult to disguise our growing uncompetitiveness vis a vis our Asian neighbours and a reinvigorated USA with a corporate tax rate of 20%, perhaps less.
        I’ve lived here long enough to feel that there is an entrepreneurial spirit amongst those Australians who still have a ‘voice’. I also believe that there is a sufficient number of conservatives ‘out there’ to jump-start the fight back, and that some of those who contribute to this site are not prepared to succumb to the numbing embrace of socialism. How the hell can we fall for the very ideology rejected in Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic (for example) without a fight?

        • Jody says:

          It’s the people who want socialism that lack the ‘nuance’. And you’re speaking about a grey generation of conservatives; a huge proportion of the population doesn’t care at all about government and the rump of conservatives ‘entrepreneurs’ of which you speak are in the tiny minority. When the National Party prosecutes the argument that banks need a hiding because they forced farmers off their land my stomach turns. This argument needs ‘nuance’ if ever there was one. For most farmers they regard their farms as LIFESTYLES before businesses. They kill themselves if forced off because it’s been a generational enterprise, whereas the banks have lent on the basis solely of BUSINESS. How many small business owners who go to the wall kill themselves? I submit that until farmers come to terms with the BUSINESS only nature of their enterprise this won’t change. And if the Nationals don’t get that nobody is ever going to. I’ve seen it in my own family with farming in the Riverina; they all go out to extra jobs to compensate for the unviability of their farms, all the while complaining about the bad times. I wouldn’t want to be any bank lending to those people.

          Australians need to grow up and stop chasing banks, insurance companies, mining companies and oil companies as though they are some kind of corrupt cartels robbing Australians in order to make profit. We have the cheapest fuel and interest rates possible. Australians need to get a life and a government capable of making the arguments I just have. Don’t hold your breath.

          • Warty says:

            It looks as though you may have been watching Jones and Co last night, and I agree with regards to the farmers who simply don’t register on the national consciousness. On the other hand, a lot of our first second generation migrants maintain that small business entrepreneurship of the 50s and 60s: your perspective is very much an Anglo one, and correct as such. Go out to the Bennelong electorate (where I used to live) and non Muslim parts of Western Sydney and small business is still a force.
            I did actually agree with your point about pursuing the banks, and so does John Howard. It’s just the socialism bit that needs further nuancing. Perhaps a Peter Smith with his economic background might set me right (if I’m wrong).

  5. Keith Kennelly says:

    I’m a true blue liberal/conservative.
    I hold values and am prepared to fight for what is right.

    You’d never see me on my knees begging for death.
    I’d rather stand and fight.

    Giving up because you don’t like the values and attitudes of true leadership and would prefer to dash lemming like over a cliff after a fake leader who isn’t prepared to stand up for true liberal/ conservatives is the height or low of cowardice.

    That is not in the frame for true liberal/conservatives.

    They should join Turnbull and shuffle off the cliff and allow the rest of us to get on with the job of doing what the Liberal Party and Australia.

    Their prophecies of doom match their souls, and they are all truely lost.

    No leader has ever received eternal honour by saying let’s give up?

  6. Bran Dee says:

    My hope is in the inevitable successful leadership path of former general Jim Moylem after he enters the Senate. He could transfer to the House and become PM in the shortest time. So much more potential than Tony Abbott who was just too weak.

    • Warty says:

      Jim Molan will not be in the same position Tony Abbott was, when he enters the Senate: he will not be the leader of the Liberals, but just a powerful conservative voice in a senate wilderness. Tony Abbott was by no means a weak leader, and we know enough now about the leadership struggle to realise that there were too many elements within his own party dedicated to his early demise. His inability to get s.18C, for instance, through the senate was through no fault of his own. He showed poor judgement at times, but he can never be accused of being weak, in fact I don’t recall that ever being a charge laid against him.

      • Jimbob says:

        I’m with you on this one Warty. I think it is a great mistake to keep going through potential “political saviours” in the hope that by averaging your “hit rate”, at least one in “x” will establish a modern day Camelot. Leadership like any other calling or vocation in life has to be learnt. Native talent serves to indicate the area where one may make the best contribution but without what Aristotle called “phronesis” (practical wisdom) it’s about as useful as the proverbial t…’s on a bull!

        Tony Abbott’s saving grace is his humility. I say that because of all the politicians I’ve heard, he has been the only one who can admit that his faults are his own. Other’s like KR, JG & MT simple blame others who have failed to recognise

        • Jimbob says:

          damn fingers!!! ….to recognise their innate “genius”. Humility to my mind is one of the very greatest of virtues as it enables the possessor to learn from mistakes and gain that most elusive of required qualities in a true leader – practical wisdom.

          Abbott is no weakling. He hasn’t withered in the face of the hellish heat of bile and malice from his many lefty-”compassionista” detractors, who are so full of the milk of human kindness in their caring for the “poor” and “marginalised” (at no cost to them of course) but cannot see how utterly bankrupt they are morally. Quite the opposite, his troubles seem to have made him even stronger, more fearless and dare I say, “battle hardened”. There is actually no one else in any party that has been tried and tested like him. I have a feeling that given the expectations of an increasingly soft and effete nation, we seemed doomed to “saviour” hunting until some great national tragedy wakes us out of our stupor.

          So, I can’t see from a human perspective how it might happen given the enemies within his own party, but “faith” springs eternal and there is a hope that he still might emerge as a kind of latter day Charlemagne, able to turn the tide of creeping Islamo-Marxist Totalitarianism which is currently rampaging through all our institutions. Like Keith said above, I’d rather fight with someone prepared to fight, than simply just beg for death to come.

  7. Jody says:

    @Warty: No, I don’t watch “Jones and Co” because I cannot stand the Jones part. I’ve just read an excellent essay in this week’s “Spectator” about socialism in the UK and how Corbyn is NOT a socialist but a social disrupter who supports any minority no matter how extreme and/or bizarre. Socialism is about expecting the state of fulfill all your needs and to provide the security the market does not. It’s about levelling ‘outcomes’ and promoting ‘equality’ at the expense of middle-income earners and beyond. I don’t believe government should be providing roads for ‘free’ when it wastes money on human rights bodies and other extra-governmental tyrannies. If Gonski is the flavour of the month and there’s no money left in the kitty for anything else then paying for roads with tolls is totally inevitable. It’s just that the majority of the people just don’t get that – or they do and they want it anyway. Yeah, socialism.

    And the businesses you refer to in the Sydney electorates/western suburbs are fairly small businesses generally speaking.

    • Warty says:

      Corbyn not a socialist when he offers free university education (increasing the already escalating ‘dumbing down’ in their underperforming institutions; and nationalising British rail at goodness knows what cost??
      The problem with road tolls is that it pushes up the cost of living of those who can afford it least. The ‘users pay’ concept is fine in theory but punishes those who have no control over the number of immigrants putting unbearable stress on the infrastructure, housing costs, hospital admissions (Westmead is out of control) etc etc. They didn’t vote for this stuff and yet both Liberal and Labor governments have foisted it on them regardless. Some of the strongest opponents to out of control immigration are second, third generation immigrants. This is carbon copy stuff of what has been happening in the UK, as you’d know, reading the Spectator.
      Properly planned immigration and corresponding planned expansion of infrastructure, using the additional taxes from new immigrants, would take care of this, but when so many of them are net users it breaks down. You yourself had the benefit of taxpayer-funded infrastructure, when you were young, because the governments of the day controlled the level of immigration and planned their infrastructure. There is more to the ‘lifters and leaners’ adage than meets the eye, particularly today.

      • Jody says:

        My father was a metallurgist at BHP with 4 children and a non-working wife and in the top income tax bracket during the 1950s . You could have fooled me when they both made our clothes and knitted our jumpers in a cottage industry that started each night when we went to bed. We wore our school uniforms to mass on Sunday. We didn’t have a car until I was 6 years old because my father rode his pushbike to midnight shiftwork. There was precious little return on his taxation investment by way of ‘infrastructure’ back then and we were accommodating a huge number of post-war migrants. If government continues to bloat the situation you describe will get worse and the people will get the idea (correctly) that agencies such as human rights bodies and the like are more important than roads and hospitals. My father always used to say ‘the squeaky door gets the most oil”.

        And there are other roads to use in Sydney apart from tolls, not to mention rapidly improving public transport. And my father retired as one of the top executives at BHP in Newcastle on a still comparatively modest salary (not like the miners in the Hunter Valley on draglines etc.) and could have earned more in the public sector, incredibly enough.