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June 07th 2017 print

Keith Windschuttle

Tony Abbott on Leadership

What we need is a political leader who recognises that three issues -- energy policy, debt accumulation and multiculturalist immigration -- present profound problems that threaten our way of life. There is only one serious contender who is up to the task: Tony Abbott

tony abbottThis edition of Quadrant contains three articles dissecting issues of government policy which, taken together, represent a national crisis beyond anything yet experienced by current generations of Australians. If we continue down the paths now pursued by both major political parties in these three areas—energy policy, debt accumulation and multiculturalist immigration—we threaten the existence of both our economic well-being and our social cohesion.

The consequences of the directions we are taking are hard to dispute. The national government and the majority of state governments are embarked on a trajectory that will restrict any growth of the natural-gas-producing industry and will eventually close down completely the Australian coal industry. Governments have taken these decisions knowing full well how central these industries are to the Australian economy. Coal has been our biggest single export earner since the 1980s and the dominant fuel for electricity for business and domestic use. If in the nineteenth century political leaders had acted on environmental grounds to close down our then greatest exporter, the wool industry, we would now look back on their action as insanely profligate and profoundly selfish.

The same degree of crisis has emerged in the staggering growth in government debt accumulated in the past decade by both major parties. The most recent budget of the Turnbull government predicts an even more rapid acceleration of the rate of debt, and treats it as politically inevitable in our own time, something that someone else will have to solve in some indeterminate future.

Another basic premise of the 2017 budget is that one of the necessities for future economic growth is a continuation of immigration at record levels. There will be 190,000 places for immigrants in 2017-18 plus 16,250 places for refugees. The central problem with this policy is the cultural assumptions that accompany it. Multiculturalism always assumed that the modern public sphere was now dominated by secularism and that religion had been consigned to a range of private belief systems that impinged little on our laws and politics. It also assumed that, under a non-discriminatory entry policy, each ethnic identity group would always remain a minority. We assumed that all immigrants would painlessly convert to Australia’s generous, liberal democratic way of life.

Multiculturalists never suspected that one group would arrive in numbers declaring that conversion to anything but its own religious and political dogma was apostasy, and strictly forbidden. In short, Muslim immigration on a large scale is not only incompatible with the assumptions of multiculturalism but with liberal democracy itself. Its social practice has turned its suburban ghettoes in Sydney and Melbourne into enclaves that are positively un-Australian. Yet, because we have enshrined the concept of non-discrimination into Australian law, including immigration law, we are stuck with more of the same for the foreseeable future.

This column appears in the latest edition of Quadrant.
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It is true that immigration to Australia will not for some time produce the level of demographic change now facing Europe—where one quarter of French teenagers are now Muslims, and where a surge of Muslim electors produced a solid block of votes that made the radical Sadiq Khan the Lord Mayor of London—but now that the Australian Labor Party depends for its future success on retaining all the seats in the Muslim ghettoes it now holds, the political clout of this religion is beyond dispute.

So what is to be done? In each of this edition’s three articles I refer to, our authors canvass options for the future. But there is one further issue I want to raise here, the role of political leadership in identifying the looming crisis and in working out how to respond to it within a framework that guarantees the preservation of Australia’s traditions of liberal democracy.

In the federal election last year, some 23 per cent of voters supported minor parties and independents, 5 per cent voted informal, and 9 per cent did not even bother to turn up. In other words, more than one-third of the electorate was disaffected from both the major political groupings that have governed Australia since Federation.

Discussing these figures in a speech to the Liberal Party in Perth last month, Tony Abbott observed that they represented a political polarisation within Australia that does not accord with the traditional divisions of Left versus Right, or Coalition versus Labor. Instead, Abbott said the division that is now emerging is that of political insiders versus outsiders.

He said the principal concerns of the major political parties and their rusted-on supporters were not shared by the outsiders, or even by the majority of the voters who normally preference the major parties. He argued the underlying cause of this political disaffection was a failure of political leaders to commit to Australian values. Politicians on both sides of the fence had lost sight of the centrality of values to the electorate. But when most Australian people think what politics is about they have a different view: “When it’s not about practical help in their daily lives, it’s about values. It all comes back to values. What do you believe? Whose side are you on?” He said:

There are many causes of our present discontents: jobs are less secure; families are less stable; our personal and national security and our personal and national prosperity is less assured. There’s economic disruption. But there’s values disruption too and that’s even more unsettling. Overwhelmingly, our people believe in our country—but it’s hard for them to have faith in politicians when the politicians and those they promote don’t believe in the things they do. 

Abbott said that as well as pride in their nation, Australians also needed to recognise their inheritance from the broader Western civilisation of which we are part:

We are part of a civilisation which has exported scientific learning, material prosperity, and concepts of democracy, justice and freedom to the entire world. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, creed or gender. We do our best to judge people by the content of their character. The modern world is unimaginable without this legacy of Western civilisation.

However, he observed that almost no one talks this way any more:

Especially the leaders of centre-left political parties no longer even mention, let alone celebrate, the abiding virtues and benefits of Western civilisation. The march of identity politics has rendered today’s left-of-centre politicians incapable of appealing to the West’s high culture as the best antidote to racism and to all other forms of discrimination. 

Abbott’s speech endorsed the recently announced changes by the Turnbull government that require applicants for citizenship to be more familiar with Australian values.

However, it is hard to regard this as any substantial change. It only affects the wording of a small number of topics in the government’s guidebook for applicants and for the online test they must pass to gain citizenship. The changes do not require applicants to publicly renounce any ethnic or religious laws, customs or principles that are incompatible with Australian laws and mores. That would be a contravention of multiculturalism itself, which no one in either of the major parties seems willing to identify as the problem.

The issues Abbott discussed in his Perth speech are far from confined to Australia. In his address to last September’s Quadrant conference, “The Future of Civilisation”, the editor of the British conservative magazine Standpoint, Daniel Johnson, focused on similar problems of political credibility for both Left and Right parties.

However, he noted that most Western democracies in Europe were moving slowly to the Right:

Social democratic parties are shrinking everywhere; parties of the centre-Right are dominant. No longer do electorates feel intimidated by liberal elites, however much these elites scold them for rejecting their own liberalism, which ordinary people have noticed is often quite illiberal.

The conservative problem Johnson sees, however, is not that voters do not share conservative values. It is that the voters intuitively sense that the established representatives of the Right are themselves dismissive of those values. Johnson adds:

Conservative politicians for the most part just aren’t conservative enough. Corrupted by power, they have become inauthentic and duplicitous.  Voters just don’t trust them to defend their own back yards, let alone Western civilisation.

So, what we need in Australia is a political leader who recognises that the three issues discussed here are profound problems that threaten our way of life, who can be trusted by the electorate to understand and pursue the right policies, and who has the ability to win a commanding enough position in the parliament to implement them. At the moment, there is only one serious contender for the task: Tony Abbott.

Comments [39]

  1. Keith Kennelly says:

    Yep

    The only thing missing is the cost of housing. To address that is going to take some real radical thought.

    Abbott is the only one capable of that … the others are all merely managers as opposed to leaders.

  2. Jody says:

    Pity he wasn’t able to recognize any of the issues as his leadership was failing; just staring like a rabbit into the headlights. Yesterday’s man. Begone.

    • Warty says:

      No, there were a number of issues he failed to properly address at the time, but there can be a degree of catharsis when one is assassinated: it is now a fundamentally different Tony. He may well be leader again, though he’d have to do something about that pit of vipers called a party room.

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        People forget that both Menzies and Howard were cast into the wilderness by party bedwetters. Both came back with a vengeance and proved their critics wrong. I think Abbott would do the same if given another opportunity. God help the Liberal Party, and the country, if he’s not given another chance, because Turnbull’s putsch and its aftermath has proved beyond all doubt that there is nobody else fit to lead.

    • pgang says:

      Would it have saved him from Turnbull’s crazed megalomania? I don’t think so. As Warty says, suffering often improves people of character. You don’t like blokey blokes; we get it. You’d rather be beguiled by the soft and cuddly metro Turnbull types. But get used to the fact that Abbott isn’t going away – far from it.

  3. Davidovich says:

    You are quite correct, Keith, that the issues are of immense importance and that, of all the people in the Parliament, there is only Abbott who could lead Australia in the direction needed. However, he would need a team around him to support and not surreptitiously and openly undermine him. That means Turnbull definitely has to leave the Parliament and hopefully several other useless Liberals. Sadly, the Coalition has to lose the next election before the re-build can occur because there is no way that Turnbull will depart the scene and the numbers are not there to force him out.

  4. Rob Brighton says:

    A contender he may be but he does not have the one thing that put him the lodge last time, there is no Julia Gillard or Wayne Swann.

    Billy shortpants is a class ahead of Gillard I dont think enough of the electorate would cop him.

    That said at least the libs would go down swinging sticking to their guns unlike the great pretender.

  5. ianl says:

    > “Multiculturalists never suspected that one group would arrive in numbers declaring that conversion to anything but its own religious and political dogma was apostasy, and strictly forbidden”

    Well enough said. And it’s certainly been said quite a few times before. It’s the very core of the issue.

    The political motive for such a self-destructive immigration policy was short-sighted, selfish, greedy lust for power. Keating said it. He may not have been the first, just the first I can remember, in relation to the family reunion policy: “We’ll swamp the Tories”.

    Well, it worked. What now ?

  6. Keith Kennelly says:

    A contest between Turnbull and Shorten

    Or a contest between Abbott and Shorten

    I know which most of us know who is a proven campaigner and who would annihilate who in a contest.

    Jody

    Your opinions are pretty much irrelevant … given your history. Best to sit quietly and learn something.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    “I know which most of us know who is a proven campaigner…”
    Well, its not ‘the future is coal and climate change is crap’ Abbott.
    I know which most of us know who is a proven rabbit in the headlights…
    Its Abbott the headlit rabbit.!

    • Jody says:

      And, Ian, let’s remember that Abbott started the “Recognition” campaign and let the, er, rabbit out of the hat!!!

      • Warty says:

        He did, Jody, but he’s been quiet on that front of late. I have no idea why he embarked on that silly campaign (even before he won government) but an enormous ‘cluster’ of part Aboriginal activists have managed to achieve an equally enormous bit of over-reach. Abbot would shoot himself in the foot were he to come out in support of the unsupportable, and he won’t. Far more astute commentators than I have pointed out that Tony has cleared out some of the more politically correct bits of baggage from the top cupboard.
        We are all complex beings, some more so than others, so it’s not surprising he’s got some weird bits in there.
        More important, who is the best person to lead the Liberals (for those who still care, and I’m no longer one of them) and one would have to say Tony Abbot. Heaven help us if Julie Bishop did. Peter Dutton doesn’t have the necessary charisma. Andrew Hastie is bright, manly but too inexperienced. I can’t think of anyone else. My local MP, Julian Leeser, ought to be donated to the Greens, so Tony’s the man.

  8. Keith Kennelly says:

    What was that about cold causing warming? And about re assessing science because the weather is not producing the climate change you champion?

    With your record Ian you should sit down beside Jody, keep quite and learn something.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Keith,
      It’s not rocket science.
      CO2 traps heat. Arrhenius proved that, and nobody disputes it today, except maybe round here. Trapped heat leads to increased energy in the atmosphere. That leads on to more violent cyclones and anticyclones. They in turn pull more cold air out of the polar regions and pass it to the more temperate regions, leading to local cooling within an atmosphere which is slowly warming overall.
      Let me state here my principle of CARN. (Constant automatic readjustment in Nature.) It is the big hope of the Ostrich Right. Nature will constantly readjust her laws to suit the needs of the major players in the human economy at any one stage of historical development, particularly the needs of the fossil carbon owners and industry. So AGW could not possibly be happening, because if it was, it would be bad for established business. And particularly for the fossil carbon business.
      The climate change I ‘champion’ is happening, right now. It manifests itself in melting glaciers worldwide and sea-level rise. As in:
      GMSL Rates
      CU: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      AVISO: 3.3 ± 0.6 mm/yr
      CSIRO: 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NASA GSFC: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr
      NOAA: 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr (w/ GIA)

      3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr (CSIRO) spreads over the whole world is one helluva lot of melted ice.

      And Jody is quite right about your hero Abbott. He is yesterday’s man. But he is still the ideal leader for the ostrich herd, I’ll grant you that. With an upstart bird called Cory Bernardi coming up on the inside rail.

      http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    • Jody says:

      Hilarious that your lack of self-awareness about your own authoritarian impulses – and which you so highly criticize in others – is on full display here.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        Jody

        Here is some suggested reading for you.

        James Burnham

        The Managerial Revolution
        The Machiavellians

        They describe people with attitudes like yours to a ‘t’.

        They are neither left nor right, and detest both entrepreneurs and wage earners, can never be wrong, tend to act in self interest, promote causes which only benefit themselves to the detriment of the wage earners and the entrepreneurial classes.

        • Jody says:

          As I say, authoritarian to the core. You know what everybody is thinking and feeling and you’re totally against it. What a sad person you are.

  9. Bill Martin says:

    A valiant but vain attempt Keith in support of Tony Abbott, a man for whom I also have a lot of time. Alas, there are insurmountable hurdles in the way. One is the sumtotal of his own failings and mistakes while in office, another, far more serious than the first, is the snakepit the once great Liberal Party has become. With an ever decreasing number of exceptions, it is dominated by unprincipled, self serving, clueless characters whose loyalty to the leader or the spirit of Menzies could never be relied on. If Tony can swallow his pride, he should do so and join Cory Bernardi and his new Conservative Party. They would make a formidable team and most of those of a like mind left in the Liberal Party would follow suit.

    • pgang says:

      Bill in hindsight I would have to say that most of those supposed failings were massively exaggerated by the media. Abbott didn’t fight them hard enough, but now he has Trump to learn from.

      Like most Australians, on the morning of Turnbull’s triumph I was aghast. There was an underlying realisation at that time that the government was doing ok. Bernardi is on the road to nowhere – he has nothing in the lower house. If anything I would hope that Abbott could lure him back to the LNP.

      • whitelaughter says:

        “most of those supposed failings were massively exaggerated by the media.”

        Yes, and no matter who the Libs turn to, the media will vilify. The pitiful quest for a leader that the media will like is absurd, and needs to be put to bed. Policy is everything.

  10. Keith Kennelly says:

    The ‘unprincipled, self-serving, clueless ones without a modicum of loyalty will all vote for Tony once it becomes utterly clear he is the only one who has any possibility of saving their seats simply because that are unprincipled, self-serving, clueless and disloyal.

    They are Turnbull greatest liability.

  11. pgang says:

    Just noticed this line:
    “We assumed that all immigrants would painlessly convert to Australia’s generous, liberal democratic way of life.”

    That was never the aim of multiculturalism, which has no interest in any particular way of life because all cultures are equally valued. This is the great postmodern con, which people are too sensible to think would be the aim of our immigration policy, and yet it is.

  12. Ian MacDougall says:

    No other way: All people have to be equal. Otherwise we finish up with Nazi Germany.
    But all cultures can never be equal. Otherwise there would never have been any cultural progress and we would all be floundering around in an eternal Paleolithic.
    In migrant communities the world over, the children of the immigrants learn the new language first, and translate for their elders, who may never learn it at all, or only a minimal to functional amount of it. The youth are far more adaptable than their elders, which is why the children of Australian immigrant Muslims are pressured to attend special classes on the parental religion and culture.
    Islam is a warrior culture, but not a self-confident one. That is why Islamic societies have draconian laws and regulations covering dress codes, blasphemy (widely defined) and general conformist behaviour. They are in the global kitchen, but can’t stand the heat. Every so often, some bearded zombie lashes out with whatever is handy: bomb, motor vehicle or knife.
    The only way I can see to defeat them is to ban Islamic schools: which to be even-handed means banning all religious schools.

    • Keith Kennelly says:

      Jody

      Here is some suggested reading for you.

      James Burnham

      The Managerial Revolution
      The Machiavellians

      They describe people with attitudes like yours to a ‘t’.

      They are neither left nor right, and detest both entrepreneurs and wage earners, can never be wrong, tend to act in self interest, promote causes which only benefit themselves to the detriment of the wage earners and the entrepreneurial classes.

    • Keith Kennelly says:

      The need is to ban the religion and burn their books

      • Jody says:

        Just like the Nazis did. Your preferred ideology, clearly. Read Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″.

        • Keith Kennelly says:

          Jody

          Spoken like a true educated elitist.

          The Nazis didn’t ban Islam, like you, by your inference and logic, they supported it and Hitler even said they would be better off aligned with Islam as an her than Christianity.

          Do you think that too?

          Your comment disregards the fact the religion Hitler banned was Judaism and the only books he burned were those written in Gothic German. The books of the aristrocay.

          Yours is the comment of a typical ignorant nasty elitist

          You’ve slur someone you disagree with … by inference.

          Apologise you cowardly mongrel.

    • Jody says:

      Though Lincoln idealized a world where ‘all men are created equal’ I never regarded that as a practical reality. And I don’t think we would finish up with Nazi Germany. In pursuing ‘equality’ the communist party created the USSR – arguably the worst social experiment in human history. All human beings start out as infants and from the day after that the ‘inequality’ paradigm begins based on genetics, nationality, social status, race, IQ, resilience, adaptability and motivation. There is just no possibility that people are ‘equal’ in most, if not all, of those respects I’ve mentioned. If you regard being alive – having a pulse – as indicative of ‘equality’ then that’s not something I recognize, but I think it is clung on to tenaciously (and falsely) by the Left. How can you regard a nation such as Norway as ‘equal’ to one like South Sudan? Let me count the ways.

      What we have done is import people from alien cultures and propagandized our fellow citizens that they are “equal”, no matter how barbaric their practices or medieval their rituals. That’s clearly a lie and the people have seen through it. And it becomes doubly bogus when you consider that no less a fool that the ignorant, inarticulate and poorly educated Al Grassby was a major architect of this social experiment – himself a puppet of the Mafia.

      Begone Multiculturalism; your poisonous ideology has fractured out society, created division, alienation and – now – terrorism.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        It is Islamic people that create the terrorism … why do you lessen their guilt by apportioning to others?
        That’s what the educated elites do.

        It wasn’t the left that created Multiculturalism. It was the educated elites, like you, who created multiculturalism.

        So you don’t believe in equality. Nor do the educated elites.

        Your rant shows you don’t understand equality at all. It’s not about being the same, or what we do or achieve it’s all about being valued as an individual regardless of education or all those other things you listed. Nor is it about each persons contribution.

        You’ve just displayed just how judgemental and superior you are.

        A basic tenet of liberalism is that we are all of equal value and even our fair dinkim Aussie egalitarianism holds that everyone holds some of the truth and no one holds all the truth.

        You are just so elitist you have divorced yourself from our basic Western and Aussie values.

        Your post Is an utter disgrace. And you dare slur me as Nazi like.

  13. ianl says:

    … I *know* this comment will spark never-ending spittle-flecked, capital-lettered, feeble character assassination, content free abuse, but this is just so egregiously silly:

    Trollster’s 4th (5th ?, but who’s counting) Law of Thermodynamics

    “.. more violent cyclones and anticyclones. They in turn pull more cold air out of the polar regions and pass it to the more temperate regions …”

    … oh dear. So that’s how cold things warm hot things up – and simultaneously create polar vacuums. I always did wonder. And more violent than when, I also wonder. There must be peer-reviewed empirical evidence for the violence/time scale somewhere. Mustn’t there ? Oh, I know … hotfoot it to the Hot Whopper website or the billion other vacuous green blobs. But never use Google Scholar because that might give a wrong answer, as Roger Pielke discovered.

    On a serious note, one of Keith Windshuttle’s list of three (3) current major policy jams is playing out in public now. There is a policy thrust (Frydenberg) to attach accountability for reliable power supply to the renewabubbles (wind and sun, aka unicorn [email protected] and moonbeams). Adam Bandt is apoplectic – he insists, nay he *knows* with superlative conviction, that accountability is now illegal. Hydrocarbons, hydro-turbines, nuclear power, these all work with very infrequent failures world-wide, and these are indeed accountable. But the wind might stop blowing (see http://anero.id/energy/ for accurate history) and Sol just keeps rolling round, day and night. How can *that* possibly be held accountable now ?

    :) Now watch …

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Ianl, (or whatever your real name is):
      I have only one question. What on Earth have you been smoking?
      Or are you just on the turps?

        • Warty says:

          Science, whether it be chemistry, biology or physics managed to give me the sidestep when I was at school. I couldn’t wait to stick my nose in the next novel, or a history book, if only to get my eyes to refocus again. But in all fairness, I’ve looked and listened to this argument and that on global warming, or cooling, get quarter way through and find my eyes glazing over yet again. So I’m none the wiser.
          But I’ve experienced drought, perhaps as bad as that in California back in the 1930s, when hundreds and hundreds of square miles were turned into dust bowls. As bad as any that have hit Australia, because Bulawayo, the town I was born in, and outside of which I went to school, was on the edge of the Kalahari. The amount of water we had in the bath was measured and Mike and I would have to share the smidgin we were permitted. Grandma would then run the water out onto the scraggle she called a lawn.
          This was so many years ago it is almost a dream, but I still do weird things with water, because it all seeped into my consciousness, and my living in Sydney, where water is abundant just doesn’t make an iota of difference. Reason on that front just does not prevail.
          Now it seems to me this global warming debate is not too dissimilar, and when I’m told that if all the Paris agreements were implemented, by all the countries involved, it would decrease the rate of warming by .175% by one set of figures, and that global temperatures have risen by just 1% since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and that experts cannot for the life of themselves agree how much of that is man-made , , , then all I can say is “what the . . . “(supply the appropriate expletive).
          Now I know we are all strong advocates of free speech, but please, just so that we can all avoid drowning in a slough of sheer tedium, can we get off the whole climate change bit, unless we have an article on climate change, in which case I wouldn’t care two dingo’s droppings ( as I won’t read the damn thing).

        • Keith Kennelly says:

          Ian

          Is this link your usual fare … you know … the ones that have nothing to do with the discussion, or show the opposite to what you’ve written?

          Inal
          don’t waste your time even speed. Reading it.

          • Ian MacDougall says:

            My apologies, Keith. I thought you might be interested in something other than your usual torpid hibernation. You appear to have forgotten that YOU asked me a question, namely “What was that about cold causing warming? And about re assessing science because the weather is not producing the climate change you champion?”
            I suggest that instead of badgering Jody, you take the time to read this whole thread again, and at a pace you are comfortable with.
            You might learn something.

  14. Bushranger71 says:

    I am in my 80th year, a former member of the National Party and began voting informal in 1996, because I feared what John Howard would do to Australia.

    Menzies core belief concerned the wholesomeness of the family and many initiatives of the Howard and Abbott governments had negative consequences in that regard. Despite his being continually lauded by the Liberal Party, John Howard greatly damaged the integrity of the nation during his reign and Tony Abbott is one of his acolytes.

    Few seem wont to recognize the great harm that abandonment of a savings ethic has done and the introduction of compulsory superannuation in 1992 by Labor Party diktat. Financial institutions have since been allowed to play with national savings, even offshore, and rampant laizzez faire capitalism has hugely indebted most segments of society causing widespread domestic stresses. Both of the major political parties have revelled in these excesses.

    Regarding debt accumulation, defence is most glaring and unjustifiable.

    Some credentials. Although long retired, I have just spent 6 weeks in the US with privileged access to the USAF Air Warfare and Weapons Center at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada viewing contemporary hardware and munitions. Also visited some other military facilities in western CONUS.

    Around Year 2000, John Howard initiated a futurisitic Force 2030 re-equipment program for the ADF, which was entirely unrealistic as nobody could predict the nature of conflicts 30 years ahead; but was also arguably not justifiable considering Australia’s geo-political status, nor economically affordable.

    Much military hardware then in service was pretty well-suited for regional operations and there were cost-effective enhancement programs available through most equipment manufacturers. However, the Liberal Government decided to shed many good condition low operating cost platforms and replace them with some very expensive types much less suited for regional wet tropics operations and with much higher operating costs. Some of this newer hardware cannot perform effectively and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars has thus been squandered.

    The restructuring of the ADF initiated by Howard, and still ongoing, was more about organizing to support the US in their wars of choice in faraway places than to maintain military capabilities more suited for near region operations. The so-called Australian Defence Industry is virtually wholly dominated by the big foreign arms corporates (mostly American) who have overriding influence within the Defence realm in Canberra and suck billions out of the economy.

    We hear bipartisan trumpeting from Canberra that they will increase defence outlay to 2 percent of GDP (a US/NATO edict); but that is a wholly unrealistic ambition for which the politicians are not being called to account. For example; increasing from say 1.6 to 2 percent of nebulous GDP might represent many billions more than a 20 percent increase in outlay downstream. What the nation can afford to spend on anything must relate to REVENUE and there is no strategic justification on the horizon for borrowing to fund defence.

    Both John Howard and Tony Abbott are clueless regarding matters military. I just happened to be in Crimea and Russia around the time of the re-annexation and Abbott made a real ass of himself and Australia thought his arrogant belligerence. The Crimean happening was handled very clinically by the Russian military who departed soon after disarming the Ukrainians and the takeover was very warmly welcomed by the local populace.

    While Tony Abbott’s thoughts in hindsight Keith might be very relevant for Australia as our future dims; he is just not the guy with the calibre to reconstitute the Liberal Party.

    The question of course arises: ‘Why is there nobody else stepping forward?’

  15. Keith Kennelly says:

    Bushranger71

    Reconstituting the Liberal Party. Really tell me how that will be done.

    I was involved in the Liberal Party in Qld in the lat 90′s. I came to the conclusion then that the Wld Branch was such a dysfunction mess that the best thing to do was to tear it all down and start again.

    The types of characters involved then were not much different to the characters dominating both NSW and Federally right now.

    The Queensland branch tore itself apart and eventually joined the Nats., Mno mistake, it is now populated by Nationals and only a matter of time before any pretended of Love break will disappear. The same will occur in NSW and federally

    I’m not sure that is such a good thing. I’m reserving my judgement.

    With Abbott, until such a monumental shift occurs that removes the machaevillians fromthe Liberal Party and returns it to its base, he is probably the only one with any sort of decency to keep the fires burning.

    Could you contemplate Shorten and the unionists running the country.

    As regards arms, you have a great handle on that.
    I’d only say, what type of land warfare are we likely to fight in future. Both naval and air, apart from strategic support for ground troops, appear way beyond our capabilities and I wonder what the hell a 100 or so stealth bombers and 10 submarines are going to do for us?

  16. Doubting Thomas says:

    I despair when I consider the shambles that the ADF seems to have become in recent years. Defence has been the place for governments of both flavours to park their least talented people and, when it accidentally gets someone reasonably smart and even moderately enthusiastic about the job, eg Kim Beasley, they move on far too quickly. Some junior ministers in the Defence group have been surprisingly competent, with Ros Kelly prominent among them. It pains me to say that Labor ministers have been at least as competent as Liberals, with few if any even remotely interested in the job.

    Whatever might be said in favour or against particular lines of strategy and hardware, my main interest and such expertise I might ever have had

    • Doubting Thomas says:

      Bah!

      Have been related to personnel issues. It is here that I fear that the worst and most critical damage has been done. The ADF has been turned primarily into a social justice battleground, and the Service Chiefs seem to have willingly surrendered to the most extremely radical fads. For me, the spineless behaviour of the Chiefs when confronted by the ADFA Skype scandal, cynically aggravated if not orchestrated by Stephen Smith as part of the Rudd/Gillard power struggle, was just the start of a long series of failures. The icing on the cake has been their total surrender to the idiotic Broderick Report and its sequellae.