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April 09th 2018 print

Peter O'Brien

Good For The Goose…

Malcolm Turnbull said this when about to plunge the knife: 'Now, if we continue with Mr Abbott as Prime Minister ... he'll be succeeded by Mr Shorten [who is] utterly unfit to be Prime Minister of this country and yet so he will be if we do not make a change.'

abbott turnbull IIWe all know that history is written by the victor and, in the case of Tony Abbott’s ouster, that victor appears to be media, which did more than any to tear him down and is now busy re-writing the story of Abbott’s mere two years in power.

Here’s what Turnbull said in 2015, the infamous quote seeing much repetition on this day of his thirthieth adverse Newspoll:

“The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership.”

It was and remains an unequivocal statement, one that leaves no room to plead for a thirty-first chance at redemption. Replace ‘Abbott’ with ‘Turnbull’ and the switch of proper nouns in no way invalidates the sentiment of that appraisal.  But the Turnbull cheer squad, and the Prime Minister himself,  is now saying that the Newspoll angle wasn’t really at the heart of the defenestration of a sitting PM who had delivered a landslide victory barely two years earlier. No, none of that. In a blur of spin, the line today is that Abbott failed ‘to provide economic leadership’.  This from the man who has done nothing to hobble the runaway cost of electricity, seems entirely unconcerned about the damage being inflicted and can only suggests that pumping water uphill at enormous cost will set everything to rights.

At the same time Turnbull uttered the quote above, he also said something nowhere near as widely being reported today:

“Now if we continue with Mr Abbott as Prime Minister, it is clear enough what will happen. He will cease to be Prime Minister and he’ll be succeeded by Mr Shorten.  Surely one of the most important foundations of our prosperity, to know that he is utterly unfit to be Prime Minister of this country and yet so he will be if we do not make a change.”

Again, while one can replace ‘Abbott’ with ‘Turnbull’ without the slightest verbal legerdemain, the narrative parrotted by many of the same pundits who professed to recognise the magnificent potential of Turnbull, is that Abbott was a poor PM whose only achievement, the only one they are prepared to grudgingly acknowledge, was that he stopped the boats.

Unlike others who today have contributed to Quadrant Online’s package of essays on Turnbull’s rendezvous with the embarrassment of his own rhetoric, I have advocated for Abbott’s return.  That may or may not happen — indeed, Abbott may not even wish to return as PM — but regardless of his ambitions or lack of them, his legacy is strong and worth preserving.  This is particularly so since, in their indecent haste to excuse a clay-footed idol’s hypocritical refusal to live by the standard he himself set, I expect Abbott’s detractors on the opinion pages will whip themselves into a froth of invective hanging on the belittling of his achievements.

And they were substantial achievements.  Let me enumerate:

What did he do wrong?

 

Broke an election promise not to cut funding for the ABC

Imposed a deficit reduction levy on high income earners despite ‘no new taxes’ promise

Proposed a Medicare co-payment

Failed to reform university funding despite universities initially agreeing with his policy

(and remember who botched that one – yes Christopher ‘Black Hand’ Pyne)

Pushed his paid parental leave scheme until well after the wheels had fallen off

Defended Bronwyn Bishop until well past her use by date

Failed to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Reneged on his promise to reform Section 18C

Failed to implement effective fiscal repair action

Offered to ‘shirt front’  Vladimir Putin over MH17 atrocity

Bit into an onion

Knighted Prince Phillip

Wore budgie smugglers

Winked at a radio talk show host

Coined the term  ‘Team Australia’

What did he do right?

 

Cut funding for the ABC

Stopped the boats

Ended corporate welfare

Defused a diplomatic row with Indonesia over Rudd government phone bugging scandal

Inked  Free Trade Agreements with China, Korea and Japan

Removed the carbon tax

Abolished the Climate Commission

Called out Gillian Triggs over her politicization of HRC

Attempted to implement effective fiscal repair action

Called out Vladimir Putin, ahead of many other world leaders, over Russian involvement in MH17 atrocity

Decided site for Sydney’s second airport

Set in place the mechanism to resolve the same-sex marriage debacle

Commenced action to re-establish the ABCC

Set up the Trade Union Royal Commission

Promoted the idea that all Australians first loyalty should be to Australia and its values

Tightened anti-terrorism laws

Cut business red tape

 

 

Comments [22]

  1. Keith Kennelly says:

    A ‘dinosaur’ who values integrity.

    • Jody says:

      But a dinosaur nevertheless. One who behaves like a parrot; notgunna snipe, notgunna snipe.

      • whitelaughter says:

        Really? or are you calling him a dinosaur because he *has* integrity?

        As the dinosaurs lasted 181 million years, calling someone a dinosaur is not an insult, but an indication of staying power.

        • Jody says:

          I’m afraid your idea of ‘integrity’ and mine are nothing the same. For me ‘integrity’ means keeping your word and not breaking promises. That’s one of the most basic.

      • Warty says:

        A Rex Tyrannosaurus, tied down by Lilliputian Labor lites within his own party (excuse the mixed metaphor, but I can’t think of anything that could tie down a Rex T in the Mesozoic era) but perhaps the only one who could currently perform a ‘piledriver’ (see wrestling) on Shorten and the Labor Party.
        While Malcolm would attempt to waffle an advantageous position, Abbott would introduce a bit of mongrel. While Paine and Pyne would quail in fright, like twin bunnies in caught in the headlights, Tony would revel in affray. But muddle-headed Malcolm feels the need to keep this Rex T muzzled and chained on the backbench for fear he might be a little too successful in taking the fight to a far from convincing opposition. That’s hubris for you.

  2. Jody says:

    Your forgot, in your list, signed up to Paris Agreement!! Yeah, that list of wrongs is pretty significant.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Abbott did not sign up to Paris. Turnbull did. Abbott may have contemplated doing so at one time but whether he would finally have done so, given that Trump signalled he was going to pull out, we will never know. Abbott my have seen that as an opportunity to renege on Paris.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        Jody got that Paris thingy wrong, again.

        And show us an example if Abbott snipping.

        He didn’t, what he did do is put forward alternative policies and ideas, which is an accepted part of being on the backbench.

        Turnbull did that from inside cabinet, which we all know was disloyal and just plain nasty.

      • Jody says:

        Josh Frydenberg has just acknowledged in the National Press Club Address that the Paris Agreement was signed under the Abbott Prime Ministership. You are making things up.

        • Peter OBrien says:

          The Paris Agreement was ‘adopted by consensus’ on 10 Nov 2015, it was signed by Greg Hunt on 23 Apr 2016 and was ratified by Turnbull on 10 Nov 2016. All events took place after Abbott was ousted. I stand by my statement.

          • Peter OBrien says:

            Sorry, ratified by Turnbull on 12 Dec 2016

          • Jody says:

            Abbott started the ball rolling and you just cannot worm your way out of that. He carries the can because he had the opportunity to knock it stone dead and chose not to do it. Remember 18C? The list is long. And it’s so sad that you don’t get any of it.

        • Jimbob says:

          Josh Frydenberg is a weak, two face….well…..Turnbullian politician. Whilst driving to work today, I heard that he told Alan Jones at his house (Frydenbergs) that he believed that AGW was a scam! Funny that…given a choice between “truth” and a “title”, the title wins out. Frydenberg, Morrison and Bishop are duds and any one of them with the hand on the tiller will guarantee the shipwrecking course that Turnbull has charted.

          One final matter – Turnbull invests in a fund that short sells Australian stocks. It certainly may not be illegal but come on – the Prime Minister of Australia bets on Australian companies failing!? Legal yes but is it ethical, good and in the national interest? Why is he any different to that silly Al Magied girl or the Greens? At least Labor is about Australian Jobs….

          The many public noises this goose makes about Australia are the noises made by a sounding gong and a clashing cymbal. His actions speak much louder than his words. His heart’s desire is that Australian public companies fail so that he personally profits!!! So much for Aussie businesses and Aussie workers. The man is a curse and a blight on national life, making dishonesty, disloyalty, two facedness and bone laziness when it comes to public service (see NBN) the new norm. The sooner he is gone, the better off the nation will be! As they say, the fish rots (stinks!) from the head…Frydenberg is just another stinking part of the fish!

    • en passant says:

      Jody,
      As you are an unbiased open-minded person about Abbott & MAGA TRump can you list the three greatest achievements of each?

      I can wait …

  3. Keith Kennelly says:

    Not long now Jody.

    Peter Dutton will be the next Australian PM.
    Tony Abbott will be his deputy and Foreign Minister

    I will win my bet re aTrump and Abbott if ever Tony is acting PM in the absence of the Nats leader.

    Good chance of winning as Dutton with conservative Ministers will adopt Abbott and Trump policies.

    Australia under non Managrial Elites will dump your leftie mates and their attitudes. And Shorten won’t be an Australian PM.

    Disappointed, Jody?

    • Jody says:

      Not disappointed; highly skeptical of anything you say.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        Why?
        I’m usually right.

        It is your judgement that is most often wrong.
        As it is here again with your skeptical view of my views.

        To me Jody, integrity is maintaining an attitude of doing the fair and right thing, maintaining such in times of trial and/ or adversity and not changing basic beliefs and truths.

        You managerial elites only want to see happen that which is in only your interest.

        You have few basic truths and have no conception of what is fair or in the interests of those not in the managerial class.
        You also make wild unsupported assertions.

        Still waiting for that example of Tony snipping.

      • en passant says:

        Jody,
        Remember we had a bet that Trump would be gone by the end of 2017? Should I send you my bank account details so you can pay up?

  4. LBLoveday says:

    Terrible layout for printing.
    I like to print off an hour or so of reading matter from newspapers, magazines, blogs… and sit down on the veranda with a wine/beer and cashews rather than in front of a monitor, but this spat out 34 pages!

  5. Warty says:

    It’s a given that ministers will support the current leader. It doesn’t matter that Malcolm Turnbull, Christopher Pyne and the other ‘progressive’ plotters abandoned such a principle, it matters now and we have to accept that. The backbench is another matter and the push for change must now be viewed to include one or two Labor terms of office, before we can see a return to a ‘conservative centre’.
    Turnbull himself, courtesy of his extraordinary hubris, has revealed the dissension literally tearing a once great party apart. It has become a truism that people have given up on it, simply because the party faithful no longer mattered a fig.

  6. Jody says:

    Everybody is missing something very important about Malcolm Turnbull. They are expecting him to behave like a Prime Minister. He sees himself as Australia’s answer to a monarch and his role is largely ceremonial. Commentators and the public keep expecting him to be prime ministerial any day now, and this is becoming embarrassing. They don’t understand that Turnbull’s view of himself is out of step with public expectations of the role of a Prime Minister. The ceremonial ‘monarch’ presents speeches, takes selfies, goes on trips overseas, rubs shoulders with famous people, opens games etc. You are all talking at cross purposes expecting him to be otherwise. Are there some important cues you’ve missed? Andrew Peacock would have been exactly the same: “he would have proved most royal had he been put on” (Hamlet).