By: TOM DUSEVIC in the Australian today.
…You see, Abbott is neither the ideological and religious-freak terminator progressives fear; nor is he likely to satisfy the pro-market, small-government urgers who hope for a completion of the program John Howard and Peter Costello might have delivered if they had not lost (their way).
Abbott is a suck-it-and-see pragmatist, not an ideologue; an economic neophyte who, you sense, has never embraced the dismal science or trusted its most ardent practitioners; a values campaigner, a fogey for sure, but one entirely within the mainstream of Australian life. Give me balance or give me death! Read the article…
Funny, Abbott is criticised for being a conservative Attila the Hun, and being too timid and too spendthrift (“On many aspects of social policy his heart is softer than his confreres, Labor-ish even”).
“Abbott prefers well-worn soundbites” – well we know how the press hounded him and misquoted him when he spoke candidly. He had to learned to speak like a politician. We reap what we sow.
Seems like if anything, he is a safe pair of hands – he won;t frighten liberals, may please some Labor spendthrifts and may disappoint those on the right, but then who else are they going to vote for.
who may not reform enough. Since Labor is certainly not going to reform anything, there is no reason not to vote for Abbott.
Tony Abbott’s speech on Freedom of Speech at IPA, Sydney Aug 2012.
Video here at IPA.
The Australian summary by Tony Abbott here.
Full Text here
I was there . It was a good measured speech containing no controversy. That we should even need to be defending free speech in Australia in the first place is unbelievable.
That some on the left have attacked Tony Abbott’s self evident defence of free speech is quite is frightening.
THE job, Madam Deputy Speaker, of every member of this parliament is to help shape a better Australia.
It’s to listen carefully to the Australian people, respect the hard-won dollars they pay in tax, do our honest best to make people’s lives easier not harder, and honour the commitments we make to those who vote for us.
If that’s how we discharge our duties as members of parliament, politics is an honourable calling, the public can respect their MPs and MPs can respect each other even when we disagree. More…
An excellent “light on the hill”speech. Abbott has all that Labor does not. Connection with the working family, integrity, leadership, vision and clear ability. Oh how the left already hate him….
Tony Abbott has been berated by Labor for being Dr No for opposing their disastrous policies, blaming him for their incompetence now visible to all, despite the fact they have a ruling majority with their Greens partners in both houses in parliament. The MSM is all on board – Abbott can do no right.
When Abbott actually agrees with a policy, like the National Disability Insurance Scheme and suggests a bipartisan parliamentary committee, the MSM berates him for being opportunist:
About Abbott’s alleged negativity, Chris Berg, Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs, had a good analysis on the ABC’s Drum, of all places.
Abbott is a conservative, and one who understands what conservatism means. His book Battlelines heavily cites Edmund Burke and Roger Scruton. No fair reading would dismiss his discussion of conservatism as lightweight. Abbott has tried to shape the Liberal Party as not simply a conservative party, but a philosophically conservative party.
For a philosophical conservative, change should be incremental and hesitant. Even reluctant. In Battlelines, Abbott approvingly quotes the philosopher Michael Oakeshott when he said the “modern mindset” is “in love with change … fascination of what is new is felt far more keenly than the comfort of what is familiar.”
Abbott responds that the known status quo, with all its flaws, is preferable to a hypothetical ideal.
“Conservatism prefers facts to theory… To a conservative, intuition is as important as reasoning, instinct as important as intellect.” Read the rest…
The commentator’s entries are revealing of some of the reasoning behind the Abbott-hating ABC audience,
Much of it is straight from Karl Marx’s teaching.
For example, Mulga Mumblebrain:
…Our system of most hereditary plutocracy, with a thin veneer of sham ‘democracy’ tacked on for cosmetic propaganda purposes, thrives on that great Anglosphere institution-adversarialism. In that system all human behaviour is reduced to a competition, not, as the risible agit-pop peddled by the likes of Berg asserts, to get the best results, but in order to divide humanity, over and over again, into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’
Or Totem Lesson II
…And as such Abbott and his fellow Conservatives should be, and will be, resisted at every turn….resisted for two prime reasons: one, for sustaining an inequality in our society, and two, for engaging in that historical absurdity of denying “change”.
It is Marx’s class struggle between the Proletariat exploited by the Bourgeois, conservatives / capitalists resisting change for selfish reasons not because things are working, change which is historically necessary, change which the intelligentsia must deliver through dialectic and by any means possible because they are certain of being morally right in imposing their views.
Thus progressives have morphed into socialists
Some people say that they don’t know what Abbott stands for, that he has no economic policy. To know what he stands for, just read from his below book the “Battlelines” excerpts.
On economic policy, the directions are spelled out below. The specifics and costings may not be present, because it is electoral suicide to present them earlier than during the election campaign – previous Labor oppositions have never done so.
This is Tony Abbott at the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry address, March 2012.
Tony Abbott is, at present, my favourite English-speaking politician (though Canada’s Stephen Harper also has a pretty good claim). He is one of those fortunate men who is at once clever and likeable, a Rhodes Scholar who, when campaigning, speaks in monosyllables (at the 2010 election, which he lost by a single seat, he summarised his programme as ‘stop the [refugee] boats, end big new taxes, stop waste, pay off debt’). For some Lefties, a brilliant man with demotic appeal is a class traitor; their sense of betrayal is compounded by the fact that Abbott is a Roman Catholic who inexcusably refuses to be either Labor or republican. To top it off, the Liberal leader is guilty of what are, in the eyes of Australia’s bien pensant elites, the three unpardonable heresies of our age: he believes in God, opposes eco-taxes and wants to scrap restrictions on free speech….
A perspective from afar, from someone not exposed to 3 years of Labor and MSM character assassination of Tony Abbott.
This is an informative and balanced article on Tony Abbott by Michael Duffy who interviewed Abbott recently, some 8 years after writing his biography.
I found someone far more guarded than before and far less articulate. At times he wrapped an arm across his chest as though trying to protect himself,
Abbott, who has written several books and dozens of lucid speeches, has been the most intelligently expressive Liberal politician of his generation.
But the Labor Party and the broader left continue to portray Abbott in extreme terms, as uncaring and anti-women and a fanatical Catholic. He appals many well-educated people. A former senior Liberal minister notes: “Most of my friends on the left and the right don’t like Abbott because of climate change and the boat issue. At the high intellectual end of the community, the antipathy is amazing.” In The Sydney Morning Herald the leading public intellectual Robert Manne described him as unprincipled, unthinking and unscrupulous.
These criticisms in part use Abbott as a proxy for an electorate from which the Labor Party and the left feel increasingly estranged and are of course a re-run of the attitudes common particularly during the first terms of the Howard government.
When I wrote my biography I spoke with dozens of people who had dealt with him in his ministerial capacity. Nearly all were positive about the experience and most observers now would say he was a good minister. He continues to be a good manager today, says Christopher Pyne, the shadow education minister and manager of opposition business in the house. “I think he shows real ability in managing people. He’s actually . . . very respectful of other people’s views.This [fitness] obsession has created the great visual cliches of Abbott as the man in pink Lycra or a lifesaver’s or iron man’s costume. These are probably useful in a sports-crazy country but, as Howard observes, they might have confused some observers: “A lot of people . . . have made the mistake of transferring his powerful physical presence to his character. That is strong but it’s also highly intelligent. He’s very well read in philosophy and history. He’s more subtle than many people expect.”
If it’s the case that Abbott has reinvented himself as one more ordinary, it raises an interesting question. Has the new version replaced the older one, or is it simply the latest mask? If the latter, will the older Abbott re-emerge if he becomes prime minister? Would, as some of his critics on the left assert, he use the opportunity to impose extreme views on the country?
This seems unlikely given his own long record in government. His work there on welfare and unionism (as in clamping down on corruption and violence in the building industry) was portrayed as extreme by the left but according to the polls it found wide support among voters. My own guess is that Abbott is engaged in that long dance with the electorate that all successful politicians experience, a dance so seductive he will not want to withdraw from its embrace by testing the relationship with radical actions. Like Howard’s first terms in office, I suspect, an Abbott government would prove less exciting than his opponents hoped.
Michael Duffy is a bit perplexed and disappointed that Tony Abbott is more defensive and gives less philosophical and more guarded answers to questions than 8 years ago, in other words, he has become a more ordinary man. Duffy attributes this to his changed role as a leader and its responsibilities. No doubt this is true, but more obvious answer seems that Abbott has learned how to handle the media, who have been rabid in attacking him at every opportunity.Simple boilerplate answers are much safer; they are difficult to take out of context to attack him.
Gillard’s and Rudd’s absurd attacks on Abbott to deflect from Labor’s self-immolation, painting him as as the ‘enemy’, as “anyone but Abbott”, as virtually the anti-Christ who would ravage our country should he win power, is simply the exact opposite of the truth.
FACTUAL ERRORS AND TENDENTIOUS CLAIMS IN SUSAN MITCHELL’S POLEMIC TONY ABBOTT: A MAN’S MAN (Scribe, 2011)
Susan Mitchell’s Anti-Catholic Sectarianism
In the Acknowledgements section of her book Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man, Susan Mitchell praised Scribe managing director Henry Rosenbloom “for his impeccable taste and fine-tuning”. Dr Mitchell’s book is essentially an anti-Catholic sectarian rant in which the author claims that the Opposition leader “never left the Catholic Church”. Mitchell’s anti-Catholic sectarianism was analysed by Gerard Henderson in his Sydney Morning Herald column on 4 October 2011 – here. The focus of this MWD analysis turns on Mitchell’s factual errors – which Rosenbloom left uncorrected in the text – along with some tendentious claims which are not supported by evidence.
Susan Mitchell’s Howlers
? Page 3. Susan Mitchell writes that Tony Abbott is “also opposed to RU 486 (the morning-after pill)”. In fact, RU 486 and the morning-after pill are not the same. Abbot publicly opposed the former (RU 486) – but not the latter.
? Page 4. According to Susan Mitchell, “an analytical study of the results of the 2010 election show that Tony Abbott had “a woman problem”.
Since the last election was nearly a dead-heat between Labor (led by Julia Gillard) and the Coalition (led by Tony Abbott) – if Mr Abbott had a “women problem” at the August 2010 election then, to be consistent, Ms Gillard must have had a “men” problem”. Yet no such claim is made in the book.
? Page 5. Mitchell claims:
Even now, when the polls demonstrate the Coalition’s lead over the Labor Party, and Abbott’s current dominance over Julia Gillard as the country’s preferred leader, there is still a consistent lack of approval for him from women.
Tony Abbott: A Man’s Man coincided with the release of Newspoll’s reanalysis of surveys conducted over July-August 2011 (The Australian, 27 September 2011). According to Newspoll, some 39 per cent of female voters think that Gillard would make a better prime minister than Abbott – compared with 37 per cent of female voters who think that Abbott would make a better prime minister than Gillard. In other words, Susan Mitchell’s assertion is not supported by evidence.
? Page 5. Mitchell claims that “every one of Abbott’s policies has been reduced to simplistic mantras beginning with the word ‘stop’ or ‘kill’”. This is mere hyperbole – unsupported by any evidence of any kind. For example, Abbott’s parental leave plan does not commence with mantras such as “stop” or “kill”.
[.....bulk of article .....]
? At Page 138, Mitchell writes:
On 14 September 2010, Julia Gillard was sworn in as the first Australian female prime minister by the first Australian female governor-general.
Once again, this is hopelessly wrong. Julia Gillard was sworn in as the first female prime minister on 24 June 2010. She contested the August 2010 election as the incumbent prime minister. Mitchell and Rosenbloom should know this. Clearly Scribe does not employ a fact-checker.
? At Page 139, Mitchell writes that, following Julia Gillard’s formation of a minority government:
His [Abbott’s] first reaction, born of rage, was to declare that Gillard’s government was illegitimate, and to consider refusing to grant supply. This was the equivalent of throwing a bomb into our system of democratic government. Wiser heads must have dissuaded him from considering this course of action, as he didn’t pursue it.
Tony Abbott never spoke about refusing supply to the Gillard Government. No source of any kind is cited by Mitchell for her wild assertion.
? At Page 163, Mitchell writes:
It took the news of a massacre of more than 70 innocent people in Norway by a white Christian far-right extremist to stop all talk of killing anyone. Chilling, too, was the praise of John Howard, Archbishop Pell, and Keith Windschuttle that appeared in the murderer’s manifesto. This man was not mad; he just saw himself as an instrument of a cause far greater than himself, and he believed that his mission was to destroy those who opposed him.
Anders Behring Breivik, in his manifesto 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, wrote favourably of Australia’s border protection and unwillingness to appease Islam. He then murdered scores of non-Muslim Norwegians. For the record, the Norway judicial system has yet to determine whether Breivik is sane. Once again, Mitchell just made this up.
? At Pages 168-169 Mitchell writes:
The previous Liberal leader, Malcolm Turnbull, is so broadly popular with both Labor and Liberal voters that he may ultimately defeat those conservative members of the Coalition who have taken control of the party under the leadership of Tony Abbott.
There is no evidence to support Mitchell’s assertion that Malcolm Turnbull is popular with Liberal voters. Moreover, the leader of the Liberal Party is elected by Liberal MPs – not by the Coalition, which comprises Liberals and Nationals. Susan Mitchell is one of many Labor or Greens voters who want Turnbull to lead the Opposition at the next election.
Apart from her evident sectarianism, Susan Mitchell clearly dislikes Tony Abbott because she regards him as a proud-and-out heterosexual who once expressed views that the focus of women should be on domestic duties and who had older male role models. Apparently, according to Dr Mitchell, this makes Abbott unsuitable to become prime minister. However, she is not on record as finding that such traits should have hindered the likes of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating – and John Curtin – from making it to The Lodge in Canberra.
In her 1982 book Robert J Hawke: A Biography, Blanche d’Alpuget wrote about Hawke’s “emotional relationships with older men”. In his 1996 book Keating: The Inside Story, John Edwards recorded that in his first speech in 1970 Paul Keating suggested that governments should act “to put the working wife back in her home”. Keating then believed that, wherever possible, mothers should be at home with the children.
Both Hawke and Keating became successful prime ministers. Yet, according to Mitchell, the case against Abbott includes the fact that he “has been very reliant on a series of older male mentors throughout his life” (Page 3) and because he once supported the idea that “women belonged in the home and the kitchen as wives and mothers” (Page 22).
On the Showdown program on Sky News last Tuesday, Susan Mitchell acknowledged that her book on Tony Abbott was “a polemic”. She should have added that it was replete with errors and should have confessed that Henry Rosenbloom at Scribe does not have a fact-checker.
Read the whole hilarious issue here.
From Andrew Bolt and The Australian’s Cut&Paste:
SUSAN Mitchell: Let’s put women aside. Let’s talk about voluntary euthanasia. A lot of people, a majority of people in this country, want to see that actually happen. They want to be given the right to choose, or they want [it] to be, they want [it] at least to be on the agenda. Tony Abbott is against that. A lot of people are in favour of . . .
Chris Kenny: So where does Julia Gillard line up on gay marriage or euthanasia?
Mitchell: I’m not talking about Julia Gillard.
Kenny: Exactly. You’re talking about Abbott but both sides of politics are in furious agreement on these social issues.
Mitchell: Excuse me, excuse me, Chris. Julia Gillard’s not within [a] whisker of becoming prime minister at this stage. That is my point.
Kenny: No, actually, she is the Prime Minister.
Host Ian Henschke: She is the Prime Minister. Actually . . .Mitchell: I mean of becoming, you know, the next prime minister.
Does Mitchell realise how foolish and hypocritical she sounds?