Between 1940 and the 1970’s in the south of the US of A, the phrase dead man walking was used by correctional officers to tell those in the hallways of the prisons to move to the side and allow the condemned person to pass unhindered. This phrase was looked upon as cruel and unusual and therefore “outlawed” by civil rights activists.
When I went looking for the origins of the phrase “Dead Man Walking” I happened upon the above explanation from a former employee of the US Department of Corrections. Cruel and Unusual it was labelled, and thence outlawed as an offense against the individual’s basic human rights. The fact that the State was about to take away all of those rights by putting the individual to death by hanging, electric chair or lethal injection seems extremely hypocritical in terms of ‘basic human rights’, but that’s not why I’ve chosen to write in these terms.
As many of we political junkies would have done today, I sat through Abbott’s eagerly awaited mea culpa at the National Press Club. I didn’t hear anything new. I never really expected to. What I did hear amounted to a re-running of tired, re-hashed rhetoric from a man facing political execution, and knowing it. The full transcript – albeit provided by News Limited so editing is a complete unknown – is available here. I’ve taken the liberty of copying from The Australian website and converting to PDF for ease of future reference & availability. Let’s go through it.
Within 3 sentences, Abbott launches into reminding everyone of just what a dark and deadly world we live in…
2014 was a tumultuous year that’s reminded us to expect the unexpected. Thirty eight Australians were shot out of the sky by Russian-backed rebels. A death cult, claiming justification in Islam, is creating a new dark age over much of Syria and Iraq. And the terrorism it inspires has hit Melbourne and Sydney. It was an anxious year for our well-being, as well as for our security.
Death Cult, the Russians and those damned Muslims!!!!! An anxious year? Were you anxious, dear reader? I wasn’t. 2014 was just another year and thus far I’ve racked up 57 of them. Some far worse in geo-political terms than the year just gone. Still, I dare say when you know very well the flock can be easily put to flight, it’s good to remind them of the hawk that is always out there, just awaiting a chance to strike.
He then engages in lines of waffle.
As Liberals and Nationals, sound economic management is in our DNA.
A stronger economy is the foundation of a stronger Australia.
And if the economy is stronger, everyone’s life is better.
A stronger economy helps everyone who’s doing it tough
Yadda yadda, blah blah. We’ve heard it all before and know very well it means absolutely NOTHING! It’s NOT the economy, stupid, it’s the people, more pointedly, it’s the society we like to call Australia.
He then branches off into pure denialist rhetoric which, again, we’ve all heard before.
Just a few years back, under the Howard government, we were quite literally the envy of the world.
In 2007, we had a strong and sustainable budget with a $20 billion surplus and $50 billion in the bank.
After six years of Labor, the deficit had blown out to $50 billion and gross debt was skyrocketing towards $667 billion.
Under Labor, government was spending too much; borrowing too much; and paying out too much dead money in interest alone.
We can’t wait for a crisis — like Europe — to address this problem because the solutions then will be much worse than the solutions today.
Our problem is not that taxes are too low; our problem is that government spending is too high.
We are writing cheques that our children and grandchildren will have to meet through higher taxes, higher interest rates and poorer services.
Right now, we’re borrowing $1 billion a month just to pay the interest on debt that the former Labor government ran up.
That’s right — one thousand million every month to pay Labor’s interest bill — that’s a brand new tertiary hospital that could be built every single month if Labor’s interest bill did not have to be paid.
And without structural change, within a decade, we’d be borrowing $3 billion a month just to pay the interest on Commonwealth debt.
Not one word about 2008, the Global Financial Crisis, world-wide recession except for one or two nation states, one of which just happened to be Australia because the then Labor government asked Treasury for advice. Treasury’s advice was succinct. Former Head of Treasury, Dr. Ken Henry told the then Rudd government, ‘Go Hard, Go Early and Go to Households.’ And so they did. The budgetary surplus Abbott bemoans saved a lot of jobs, the security of worker’s livelihoods and the overall safety of the greater Australian economy. What other reason could there possibly be for a non-profit organisation, like a national government, to accumulate cash – because cash it surely is – if not to solely provide for the safety and social security of the populace it is elected to serve? A budgetary surplus, if only accumulated and never used is useless to those whose money it really is. The old sage of you can’t take it with you is never truer than in such circumstances as 2008.
Yet Abbott conveniently passes over the 6 years of Labor government and the greatest economic turmoil since 1929 as if it never happened. Denial is most assuredly not just a river in Egypt. To me, this one glaring example of the mind of the man shows us clearly just who he is, how he thinks, what he perceives his own position in society to be, and how he views the rest of us among the great unwashed electorate. How can anyone with even the slightest smattering of integrity blithely gloss over the happenings of 2008? Yes, some things went awry and not every attempt to pump money into the greater economy was overtly successful. Dare I mention ‘Pink Batts’? But in the main – and subsequent investigative inquiries have borne this out – the money was spent as rapidly and as wisely as could have been achieved given the urgency with which events had to occur. Australia missed falling into technical recession by a fiscal gnat’s whisker. The effects are still being felt today six years after all the spending took place. Small business are still suffering, consumer confidence is still low. If not for the tit-for-tat currently taking place between Saudi Arabia, which commands OPEC, and Russia, which is not a part of OPEC, then I fear we would all be feeling the pinch just as hard today as we did 5 & 6 years ago. That in itself is another issue, but again, one which Abbott tried to capitalise upon.
Petrol prices are nearing 15 year lows, home loan interest rates are low and stable, and the September quarter had the biggest fall in power prices on record.
Right, petrol prices have ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NOTHING WHAT-SO-FUCKING-EVER to do with government policy outside of Howard linking the GST and the Petrol Excise and Abbott then re-indexing that excise to the CPI. Home Loan Interest Rates are low and stable purely because our economy is fragile. Yes, it’s stable or relatively so, but fragile none the less. There is a reason the RBA is strongly considering cutting rates again next week and that is principally due to the fall in the major driver of the Australian CPI, petrol. The ever rising fuel price, aided by a GST on top of an indexed excise, serves as a brake on consumer largesse. The RBA doesn’t need to raise rates if the inflation rate isn’t galloping away. Home Loan Interest Rates are simply that, a brake on inflationary acceleration in parallel with economic growth. Those of you reading, if indeed you’ve stuck with me thus far, might recall the mid-eighties to early nineties when real estate boomed, all things economic were wonderful and growth was almost boundless. We wound up in a recession in 1992. The recession we had to have, according to Paul Keating and we had to have it because economic growth and inflation outpaced our ability to pay the cheques we were all writing. But I digress.
The carbon tax is gone — so every household, on average, is $550 a year better off.
The mining tax is gone — so Australia once more is seen as a good place to invest.
Big new road projects are now getting underway to overcome commuter gridlock — and the new Western Sydney Airport is finally to be built after 50 years of indecision.
After 10 years of talk, free trade agreements covering more than 50 per cent of our exports — with China, Japan and South Korea — have been finalised with better markets for Australian farmers and lower prices for Australian consumers.
The live cattle trade that Labor closed down in panic over a TV programme is booming again.
There are now 15,000 new trade support loans because apprentices finally have the support that’s long been offered to university students.
At last, the NBN is rolling out, reliably and affordably.
Lies! Almost every single statement is nothing short of a lie. Are you, dear reader, $550/year better off because the carbon pricing market mechanism is no more? When Abbott spruiks about cheating future generations, then says we’re all better off because he’s axed a program that actually had an increasingly tangible impact on emissions to the planetary atmosphere by our highly industrialised nation, is he not showing in bright lights & colours the enormity of his hypocrisy? The mining tax is gone, so Gina Reinhart makes more money and bigger multi-national resource giant profits go off-shore. I can only offer a rolling-eyed WOW to that one. Sure, I do recall hearing about Badgery’s Creek being sanctioned, but what’s happened since? Free trade agreements with China, Japan & South Korea….and? Explain to me just how such things benefit me, or more pointedly, the rural primary producer?
I find the reference to Labor’s action on the Live Cattle Trade issue offensive. Yes, grief was caused to trucking companies and cattle producers, but stop for a moment and consider….were we, as a nation, not letting ourselves down by not considering how OUR produce was being disposed of at the end of the production line? Were/are these not living, breathing animals? Do we not hold a duty of care in ensuring their despatch from this existence is quick, clean, painless and stress-free? Would we not want exactly the same for ourselves? Perhaps Mr Abbott would like to exit this life in a wet, slippery concrete & steel enclosure with people shouting at him, whipping him, shoving electric prods into his nether regions while making very certain he can hear the shrieks and moans of his colleagues as their throats are cut and they slowly bleed to death in the next stall. Offensive I say. Something had to be done, and it was. Kudos Labor!
The Abbott government has stopped the boats — and only this government will keep them stopped.
The Abbott government has scrapped the carbon tax — and only this government will keep it scrapped.
My position on carbon taxes has been crystal clear since day one as party leader. There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.
The arrogance of this man knows no bounds. He is ever the pugilist. Ever the brawler and that much is patently clear with that slight against Julia Gillard. Deliberate, and intentional. I found myself wondering at that point – who writes his stuff? – because I don’t think anyone does, but himself. That single comment embodies volumes of bile & vitriole. A real FUCK YOU! To those of us who thought, despite her method of succession, Gillard did a good job of running a hung Parliament. 300-plus pieces of masterful legislation in her term. What can Abbott claim?
in every sitting fortnight since last July, the Senate has passed at least one major piece of legislation.
This Parliament has not sat as often as the Gillard government, and even if it did run three-and-a-bit-years, that’s what…….40-odd pieces of legislation? Whoop-de-fucking-doo!!!
Dearest reader, if you’re still there, you’ve stuck with me long enough. I urge you to read, and view the Abbott address at your leisure. I believe it’s important that you do, even if, like me, you despise the man and all he stands for. It’s his ideology we need to stamp out. He is merely the current representative. These conservative wanna-be Neo-Liberals don’t understand who they are, nor what they want to be. They must go, and soon, for the sake of us all as a compassionate, egalitarian nation and society. Thank you for reading.