Feb 082011

Tony Abbott is continuing to prove his credentials as possibly the worst conservative leader in opposition in my memory.

He is effectively writing a tale aimed at those easily led, which is akin to that of Jonathon Swift’s tale, “Gulliver’s Travels”. Swift’s story was a satire on human nature and politics of the day. Abbott’s tale – the history he is writing as he progresses through his political career – is much the same.

He still has not managed to get past the rejection he suffered at the hands of the ‘three amigos’ plus two plus one back in August 2010. He is fostering an angst-ridden, sour-grape-chewing, bile-inflicted cadre of acolytes among Australian society who, as compliant ideological zealots, are equally as distressed at their side not being granted a license to drive the nation’s bus. I’ll call them the gullibles, which makes Abbotts virtual treatise “Gullibles Travels”. Why gullible? Well, one need only peruse the pages of that august publication, the self-styled national broadsheet, The Australian. Filled to the brim with obfuscatory political polemic canning the government and by dint of that canning and complete lack of critique – constructive or otherwise – of Abbott’s performances, granting tacit approval of anything the conservative opposition proposes, or rather, opposes. Well you might ask, ‘why is a supposedly respected national daily tacitly supporting one side of the political divide over the other?’, and while the astute among us know the answer, the reality still beggars belief.


Abbott’s faux pas over the not quite six months since Election 2010 have become legend. The most recent being a party sanctioned email to the faithful decrying the government’s decision to instigate a flood levy to pay for reconstruction following Qld, NSW & Victorian floods and Cyclone Yasi, which just happened to include a post script to which Abbott appended his signature begging for donations to a ‘Stop the levy’ campaign. Stop a levy destined for a good public cause & nationally repairing vital infrastructure. This from the same man who played a pivotal role in a government that levied the Australian public to pay for the fall-out of a failed corporate, to pay for sugar industry rationalisation, dairy industry rationalisation, gun buy-backs and thought seriously about funding the expeditionary adventure in support of East Timor’s independence in 1999. Of all the Howardian levies, which are a governmental convenience tax, let’s be frank, I find the levy to pay staff entitlements due by the failed Ansett Airlines following John Anderson’s sanction of Ansett’s sale to Air New Zealand, the most hypocritical, especially from a party which espouses the free market system & all its benefits.

But Abbott’s story doesn’t start there and won’t end there either. It starts with his woeful performances in front of Kerry O’Brien, late of 7:30 Report fame, on issues of truth and scripting (“The statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth are those carefully prepared, scripted remarks.”), the National Broadband (“Again, if you’re gonna get me into a technical argument, I’m going to lose it, Kerry, because I’m not a tech head”), Climate Change ("The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger"), and just today, proposed cuts to Automotive Industry Assistance funding which would take spending in that vein back in time 4 years(“take spending back to the levels that the Howard government thought necessary in 2007”). One wonders whether there was any consideration given to the inevitable loss of jobs which would flow from such funding cuts? Let’s also renege on the planned water buy-backs aimed at the Murray-Darling Basin debacle, because “There is obviously an abundance of water right now. That abundance is not going to go away quickly.” Pardon my obtuseness, but isn’t that attitude precisely why the Murray River doesn’t run to the sea anymore? This man is a walking, talking, conservative enigma who pretends one thing, says another then lays the blame at the feet of mythical script writers who apparently let him down constantly!

Abbott’s political journey is a satire in and of itself. His utterances give every impression of being both desperate and Machiavellian at the same time, as if he’s treating the Australian people to snapshots of just what he’d like to do, if only he could mount that final step. The desperation he exhibits in trying to one-up the government at every single turn is sad, and frightening at the same time. Take his announcements of miraculous savings declared today. Abandonment of international agreements, abandonment of domestic agreements, reneging on government education programs, and one which genuinely riles me, cancelling the financial literacy programs in schools. Judas Priest, we’re already a nation of fiscal idiots! Does he truly believe kids coming through now will be better off with a finance knowledge lobotomy?

Then to top off his journey to date, there’s this. “Sometimes shit happens”??? Yeh, we know shit happens. Forrest Gump said so, but is Forrest Gump the person you’d like in charge of your finances, your schools, your hospitals?? Shit happens, get over it. I can hear the arrogance now.

But the gullibles will never view this man in that manner, because they can’t. He is, after all, the only leader they have. Indeed, he’s apparently all the party has, at least until Malcolm Turnbull deems the time right to return. There is no-one else. Such a terrible pity for the party formed by genuine Liberals. The gullibles don’t seem to care though. Why would they, when The Australian and the rest of the Murdoch stable spoon-feed them daily with ardent right-wing pap, taken entirely out of context & promoted as factual. The gullibles just lap it all up like thirsty domestic pets. Thing is, they have no idea that’s the way they’re being treated.

Take a gander at the following comment stream I’ve included below this post, which followed this article in The Australian today. The article covers common-sense statements which are factually based, made by the Treasurer. Common-sense in that natural disasters impacting the country’s major export businesses will consequently impact on economic growth. It’s kindergarten stuff for anyone who displays even a remote interest in matters fiscal. A huge majority of the comments are from the gullibles. Those who will blithely believe anything & everything they’re told by the Murdoch press because it fits with the world view put forward by their politically conservative masters. The conservative zealots Tony Abbott relies upon. The intelligence level frightens the absolute crap out of me. There are a couple of amusing highlights though, which shine out as beacons of lucidity among the flying vi
rtual spittle. See Plato of Qld, Rob Banks and My Two Cents Worth down the bottom.

The story of Gullibles Traveller isn’t finished, even though the writer continually gives the impression he is. The only way we who hold this nation’s better interests at heart can hope for a happy ending to this sorry tale, is to encourage real Liberals to stand and be counted. They’re out there, they are rational but they hide from the conservative element out of embarrassment, I suspect, much more so than disgust, disinterest or least of all, fear. Abbott & the gullibles, like all bad bruises, will fade & vanish in time.

Waynes dream world of 7:30 land Posted at 12:59 AM Today

I guess our latest work place reform (stopping school kids from working after school) not allowing part time employment to be for less than 3 hours at a time, will help boost work place participation? And our 80 bn savings are not savings at all but revenue reaped from extra taxes. Why do these people think they can say one thing and do the complete opposite and everyone will believe them? Every item Swan claims to be "rolling out" NBN, health reforms, carbon price, tax reform and labour supply issues are all complete disasters with no certainty they will be able to bring any of these reforms to life in this or any other term in office. He might as well have thrown in border protection to complete the sweep! Even the true believers must be getting sick of this puppet show!

Comment 1 of 44

· Glenn Piggott Posted at 2:27 AM Today

Black swan sticking his neck out again? I don’t think so. Here is a man so blinded by his own ideology he can do neither the right or logical thing on so many issues. Dump the silly carbon tax. Dump the stupid NBN. Stop pouring money into worthless building projects and start investing and building some generation 4 nuclear reactors.

Comment 2 of 44

· Bob Bicton of WA Posted at 2:51 AM Today

Well Mr Swan – its going to be more difficult this year than last year or the previous year simply because you don’t have a surplus structure from last year to base your budget on. And whose fault is that? – Nobody but your own. You will have to learn the lesson that a deficit cannot be made up by higher taxes alone because it is a structural thing formed out of a deficit mentality not just a book entry or imposing higher tax, just as a private debt mentality is difficult to change, changing the mentality will be hard if not impossible for you and the debt mentality members of the existing government.

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· sala Posted at 3:07 AM Today

Someone should inform Mr Swan that this ‘warning’ comes a bit late for the average Australian, whose economy has already shrunk. I know it has in our household, markedly so. Any further contractions would be most unwelcome – the belt is so tight now that I am in danger of being bisected.

Comment 4 of 44

· Robert Scott of Sydney Posted at 3:21 AM Today

The economy could contract? Why can’t Swan say the ‘R’ word – Recession? I wonder why the economy will ‘contract’? Undoubtedly Swan and Gillard will blame the floods, the cyclones and the bushfires. However, the real reason may be Labor’s propensity to introduce things like the Mineral Resource Rent Tax; the Carbon Tax; and the Flood Levy. Maybe the economy is going to ‘contract’ because wages are not keeping up with the raft of new charges Labor are introducing at state and federal levels and maybe peoples wages are limited but the governments greed is not.

Comment 5 of 44

· Jason Stevenson Posted at 6:13 AM Today

Swan lists five key rollouts for 2011. The first three would benefit through starting with the last two by making our economy more productive. Governments cannot continue to expect to artificially prop up economies with taxpayers money. It is not sustainable and that is the harsh lesson being learned by Europe. Australia’s two speed economy is actually three speed, resource sector, government sector and the rest of us struggling to make ends meet with rising cost of living pressures forecast to get worse. What does Swan (and indeed the RBA), think will happen to consumer spending as these cost of living pressures continue to bite? Something has to give and it MUST be wasteful government spending to allow the private sector to flourish under lower interest rates and thus generate taxes to make a recovery sustainable and to help pay for the NBN and Health reforms.

Comment 6 of 44

· wake up of Australia Posted at 6:36 AM Today

Seldom does one read such rubbish in an article. Swan is living in La La Land. When is enough of the public going to realize that this Government has us on a doomsday heading? The NBN is a prime example, it`s old technology now, not required as there is adequate service provided now without the Taxpayer being asked to foot the many costs. It will not deliver all the promises that have been made to justify this. The Business case is flawed. Finally how much do you think the NBN would be worth underwater or burnt. Apparently we are not going to have floods, Cyclones or Fires again. Stop before its to late.

Comment 7 of 44

· Mark of Newcastle Posted at 6:55 AM Today

Mr Swan has been ignoring the retail sales figures that indicated, way before these natural disasters,that the economy was slowing. The only way retail is surviving at the moment is having sales, but this can’t last. The bottom line is that Wayne’s spending has caught up with us.

Comment 8 of 44

· bob of Gulf Point Posted at 7:11 AM Today

The Labor recession we had to have, maybe?

Comment 9 of 44

· Perspective Posted at 7:18 AM Today

"Fiscal discipline" is something that Labor DEFINITELY doesn’t have!

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· Blue67 of Adelaide Posted at 7:20 AM Today

Don’t panic Australia. Wayne ‘Magic numbers’ Swan will pull some amazing figures and numbers out of the air ( all of which will probably defy any form of economics )we’ll be back in surplus in no time and all will be ok.

Comment 11 of 44

· goverment gone mad of nsw Posted at 7:31 AM Today

You can’t put a price on carbon. When you are selling coal and mineral’s to high pollutant countries

Comment 12 of 44

· Grandoldman of WA Posted at 7:40 AM Today

Ha Ha Ha is all I can say about this mob laying out any credible agenda for future generations. Their only concern seems to be knock the opposition, trash Howard and Costello’s legacy and eye the next election while trying to prop up the PM in her various incarnations.

Comment 13 of 44

· Matilda B of Melb Posted at 7:48 AM Today

The economy might shrink? Solution – bring in some more migrants.

Comment 14 of 44

· Greg of Sydney Posted at 7:48 AM Today

Thank you Mr Swan.Labor are laying the ground work for the next decade.This is another scenario from Labor to put the Australian people in so much debt, that it will take a well organised Liberal government that can manage economies to put us back in the black. Bring on another election, before we really see how much damage this goverment is doing to our economy and the people of Australia.

Comment 15 of 44

· Goose Watch of QLD Posted at 7:54 AM Today

And people still trust this man! The reason we are $180 billion in debt with a $70 billion deficit is because the government spends more than it earns. Federal Government revenues in 2010 are actually $50 billion more than they were in 2007, not $110 billion less than some Rudd/Swan fantasy forcast. And I love this line "This will be a year where we lay the groundwork for the next decade". Federal Labor said the same thing in 2008. Maybe we need more savings – a cyclone levy will do the trick.

Comment 16 of 44

· Peter SS Coast of SS Coast Posted at 8:02 AM Today

see what happens when u put all your eggs in one basket. The Government has been relying on qlds resource industry to get it over the line for too long. There has been a dual economy running for a long time with retail and manufacturing in real trouble, but Swan and Gillard and Rudd ignored all that becasue they has Resources to bail them out. Now you see what happens when we have idiots running the show, whose only real interest is in their own preservation not the countries.

Comment 17 of 44

· paul Posted at 8:10 AM Today

This government has been a total disaster. Why did we need to spend $90 billion for a stimulus when our neighbours didn’t spend anything like that and didn’t go into recession. We live in Asia and were insulated from the GFC. I don’t think there is one programme that Labor has successfully implemented. The NBN rollout needs to be stopped and a more logical approach (Turnbull’s ?) should be taken. Finally, the population of Canberra is booming and this indicates to me that the public service is getting far to big, so this might be a good area to start the shrinking.

Comment 18 of 44

· Pete of Sydney Posted at 8:18 AM Today

It’s become increasingly difficult to find the truth wherever the Treasurer is involved. Last week we had the RBA deliver a very positive view of our economy and the future based on their expertise. Why should we doubt the word of the central bank of the country? Yet on the other hand Swan continues to mope about pronouncing dire warnings, telling us the sky is about to fall but reassuring us that he, and he alone has his hands on the rudder and can steer us through. Given his record in Cabinet, the gang of four etc,on policy and programs like the BER, Home Insulation, Green Loans etc, Rudd’s pronouncements have become as empty as the average punter’s wallet on shopping day. It’s clear Swan is more interested in playing politics with the masses than doing his job. Just look at the cost of living if you think I’m wrong.

Comment 19 of 44

· Logical of Canberra Posted at 8:20 AM Today

No doubt under clueless ministrations of Wayne Swan the Australian economy is shrinking. He is doing his best to kill it. Someone who does not believe in the free market is unlikely to have any insight into how to grow one – like an very amateur vegetable grower who for the first time tries to grow tomatoes, but never waters them. Swan’s decision to ditch productivity (i.e. the water) will result in a shrinking economy. Even stasis (standing still) means death. Still, Aussies are good with a challenge and will succeed in spite of Swan, but why should they have to carry such a heavy weight (Swan Labor) about with them while trying?

Comment 20 of 44

· Mac Howard of Gold Coast Posted at 8:27 AM Today

"While the stimulus program prevented the nation from falling into a recession" Did I really read that in The Australian? ;)

Comment 21 of 44

· Paul of Coffs Posted at 8:27 AM Today

Shouldn’t have spent all that money so soon, should you Wayne. This will go down in history as Labors greatest fiscal mismanagement!

Comment 22 of 44

· C. Paul Barreira of Oakbank, SA Posted at 8:29 AM Today

The economy over recent years has only known growth because of government debt, for which the Federal (Labor) government refuses to contemplate repayment.

Comment 23 of 44

· Logical of Canberra Posted at 8:33 AM Today

Clearly, with Queensland out of the action, Swan has no plan beyond the Chicken Little approach (`the sky is falling’).

Comment 24 of 44

· Sceptic of Qld Posted at 8:45 AM Today

Thats right blame government incompetence om floods and cyclones. What happened to your last three years? you werent laying the groundwork for the next decade? Only a Labour government can have negative growth on the back of the worlds greatest resources boom. Truth is all the artificial stimulus now comes home to the reality that so many Australians have known about for a long time.

Comment 25 of 44

· GenX of Sydney Posted at 8:53 AM Today

Gillard`slist of so-called savings. A one-off dividend of $150 million the government demanded from Australia Post, $555m from luxury-car tax rises, $402m from higher visa application charges, $275m from more fuel taxes from amending ethanol arrangements, plus the billions of dollars from alcopops and tobacco tax rises. Even the yet-to-be-collected mining tax is included in the $80bn in so-called savings. Even with $80 Billion in extra taxes Swan and Gillard can`t manage the budget or the economy. Spending all the money and then taxing the people even more didn`t work for the Sheriff of Nottingham and it won`t work for you Swan and Gillard.

Comment 26 of 44

· Realist of the ‘burbs Posted at 8:58 AM Today

"fiscal discipline is the the rock on which we build." Wayne Swan 2011 Is he for real? How can anyone take that as anything other than an insult to our collective intelligence. This is the same guy who upon taking over as treasurer in 2007 immediately opened the flood gates and handed out $900 to anyone and everyone (apparently even dead people and ones who had lived overseas for 20 years). Now when the real engine room of our economy and the real reason we survived the GFC is revealed by its own slip and the massive consequence that is likely to have on the economy overall (ie the strength of our mining and resource industry) Swan tries to portray himself as having "fiscal discipline" If he doesnt admit that was a tongue in cheek joke, then he simply has ZERO credibility (not that he had much before, but this comment takes the cake)

Comment 27 of 44

· oldfiery of perth wa Posted at 9:05 AM Today

So Labors responce to the downturn in the economy in 2007 (GFC) was to spend money hand over fist. Its responce now is to increase taxes and reduce spending. I wonder which one will prove to be right in the long run.

Comment 28 of 44

· Regis of Sydney Posted at 9:13 AM Today

Here we go again, Swan is using the floods as a excuse for the economic slowdown which is happening anyway thanks to his mismanagement. Labor needs to replace this clown union hack Swan with Shorten who has more talent.

Comment 29 of 44

· Lindsay of Stanmore Posted at 9:16 AM Today

With all the talk of how great our economy is it is obvious it in not going as great as some people think. We are lucky the opposition is in opposition as every thing they have said they would do if they were running the country would only make things worse. Abbott might be right in saying we have a dreadful government, but we have a more dreadful opposition.

Comment 30 of 44

· Donald Posted at 9:18 AM Today

Swan is a steadily unfolding disaster for Australia. The usual pap about "while the stimulus spending prevented Australia falling into recession" is trotted out. No mention is made of the horrendous interest repayments we now have in place, thanks to Swan’s panic. $1 BILLION every 8 days. The surplus long blown on waste. And now not a mention of the next white-elephant waste, the NBN. Even Obama sees the advantage of a wireless, business funded, network for the US. Surely sanity can prevail and this government be forced to the polls in 2011?

Comment 31 of 44

· Micky D of Yass Posted at 9:20 AM Today

We can now expect to see the imnterest rate reducing. If this does not happen then the Reserve Bank Board must be sacked and replaced

Comment 32 of 44

· Garry of Clovelly Posted at 9:22 AM Today

Want to save some money and share the pain around, have a 12 month wage freeze in Canberra. And dont allow any claw back in future years so the gain is sustained. That will save 700 million of our bucks thats for sure.

Comment 33 of 44

· Jake Posted at 9:23 AM Today

Will he accept responsibility as quickly as he did for the positive performance through the GFC ?

Comment 34 of 44

· anthonyZYA of Gold Coast Posted at 9:29 AM Today

It is remarkable that the Prime Minister and Treasurer are now going to ensure that the suffering taxpayer finally gets value for money. Did Julia Gillard state that she was proud of the BER and Home Insulation packages?; did the Rudd / Gillard Government send billions of dollars to dead people; foreign nationals; and millionairs ; did they spend 75% of the NT housing project on Administration ; how much was sent on foreign aide with up to 50% goping to consultants. Yes she did and that involved the wastage of billions of Taxpayers dollars?. This government contrary to their promises of Fiscal Responsibility has three clear mantras :- Spend Irresponsibly while increasing the size of the Public Service; Tax to cover any shortfall; and legislate to the Nth degree. Why should we possibly believe they have changed this time?.

Comment 35 of 44

· Brian of Lavender Bay Posted at 9:32 AM Today

Once again the only thing that this treasurer can say/do is make negative comments and issue warnings of doom and gloom. In 2007 it was the "genie is out of the bottle" on inflation. In 2008 the GFC to justify Labor’s propensity to spend, spend, spend. At each turn, he has generated massive overreactions to situations that could have been handled in more measured terms. One can only wonder how much damage one negative person, can do to the Australian economy.

Comment 36 of 44

· Business Owner Posted at 9:33 AM Today

Swan you saved us from the GFC I’m sure a bit of rain won’t stop you. Ps Bring on the NBN my business needs faster internet.

Comment 37 of 44

· Sir Ronald Bradnam of gc Posted at 9:33 AM Today

"fiscal discipline is the the rock on which we build." Give me a break this is a labour flavoured beauracrat we are talking about here. Where was the fiscal accountability and transperancy with the BER and NBN, or is that conveniently forgotten. The economy has been slowing for a long time as people pay down debt and arent spending on luxuries. Most of the inflationary pressures are coming from government tax increases, (cigarettes, alcohol) and from sources that are outside our control (petrol, how much per litre is tax) food, tax to rebuild uninsured people and infrastructure that we have already paid for. The constraints that will occur in the next boom have been known about for many years and yet very little is done to alleviate that just more talkfest and blame the other party.

Comment 38 of 44

· RonI of Adelaide Posted at 9:35 AM Today

With you an Gillard in charge Im surprised we have lasted so long without going into recession But no doubt you and your labor mates will lead down the same path as Paul Keating

Comment 39 of 44

· LesM of Port Macquarie Posted at 9:51 AM Today

The only reason Australia avoided recession during the GFC was that the Liberal government, through sound management, had accumulated sizeable reserves. But it’s all gone! Kevin, Wayne and Julia spent it all! Please let’s have another election before this lot get us into so much trouble it’ll take decades to work our way out of it.

Comment 40 of 44

· Plato of Qld Posted at 9:54 AM Today

Who’d have thought. There are people on here cheering the prospect that the biggest floods in living memory and the storm of the century will impact negatively on this country’s economy. And all because it’s not the government you voted for. So much for all that matey matey stuff we were talking about on Australia Day.

Comment 41 of 44

· Rob Banks Posted at 9:56 AM Today

Love the comments, hilarious, nothing to do with reality but hilarious just the same. The fact that some don’t mind that Swaziland has faster broadband is a testament to Swan and Gillard being right about the NBN and the Coalition are clearly not just wrong but a hindrance to our collective future. The comments by the Liberal Party glee club have no chance whatsoever of changing my thinking about the future needs of this nation.

Comment 42 of 44

· My two cents worth… Posted at 9:57 AM Today

Perhaps consumers are also not spending so much because consumers are realising that we don’t really need so much to make us happy. When we allow ourselves to become slaves to consumption, we also allow ourselves to become slaves to work
in order to pay for our habits. It’s a vicious cycle that leads to less leisure time with the people about whom we care the most. Let’s have a debate about why some people think we simply need to keep growing our economies, when this tendancy seems to create so much disadvantage.

Comment 43 of 44

· Keith of Brisbane Posted at 10:14 AM Today

TAX to rebuild uninsured people.I am going to stop working, stop paying insurance,and live off the government.Hope you guys that pay all these tax’s don’t mind.

Comment 44 of 44

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