Tony Abbott’s likely policies suggested by his book ‘Battlelines’

Work Choices

Abbott calls Work Choices a catastrophic political blunder causing Liberals election loss in 2007 (though he believes it coincided with the fastest jobs growth in Australia’s history).  No indication of wanting to loose a second election on it by reintroducing it.

Climate Change

Direct Action environmental policy.  Abbott will introduce efficiency and renewable energy measures that don’t have high cost to Australians or Australian industry. He may introduce a modest Carbon Tax. He won’t introduce carbon trading because of propensity to rorting and because catastrophic man-made global warming remains scientifically controversial.

Fixing the states-commonwealth blame game

Abbott blames state-commonwealth dysfunction for much of the mis-delivery of services by the states and argues strongly that he must and can end the blame game by passing legislation to give commonwealth legal power over states in areas of shared responsibility – i.e. school education, universities, medical services, hospitals, public housing, education, disability services, pharmaceutical drugs, nursing homes and infrastructure. Abbott suggests that if a Government can pass a bill in both houses twice, separated by 6 months, then it should be able to override the states, in the way it can with the territories currently. He even includes draft of such new legislation in an appendix.

Health Care

Abbott wants commonwealth to have legal power to make states deliver adequate health services and to deliver more via commonwealth contracting private enterprises – like GP’s and pharmacies and aged care. He wants to reduce state run bureaucratic delivery and set up local level with hospital boards to empower patients and doctors and nurses. He believes that individuals locally will make best decisions.

Dental Care

“I always intended to make dentistry more affordable under Medicare to all people with dental problems, perhaps on referral from a GP.  It had struck me as odd that Medicare should subsidize health treatment for all parts of the body except the mouth.”


Abbott wants to set up local school boards to have greater control over their local school. Wants to pay better teachers more – “Perhaps the biggest problem is that public education is undervalued “. “An extra $1 billion a year could add $50,000 a year more to the pay packets of Australia’s 20,000 best teachers.


Abbott sees his own life too imperfect to be a moral crusader. While he deplores and would like to reduce the 75,000 annual abortions through help lines and education he clearly distinguishes this from re-criminalizing it.

He echo’s Bill Clinton’s abortions should be ‘Safe, Legal, and rare’.

Supporting Families

Abbott says “Middle income families with children are Australia’s new poor”. He wants family wage without means testing to stop disincentive for getting part time jobs and maternity leave for 6 months at full wage to allow full breast feeding. He wants to raise old age pension eligibility age in line with longevity increase to promote longer productive working life.

Welfare Reform

Abbott wants to remove disincentive for people to get off welfare – he disapproves of high effective tax rates for people on benefits wanting to start earning money.

Population & Multiculturalism

He sees the Australian family as the preferred answer to maintaining population before immigration.  Wants to raise fertility rate to 2.1 (minimal replacement) through family support. Abbott says conservatives have come around to multiculturalism as enriching the Australian way of life and he supports it. He does not address ideal population or immigration targets.

Foreign affairs

“If American leadership is bad, its absence would be worse.  The alternative to American leadership would not turn out to be more enlightened leadership, but no leadership at all.”  P156

Australia in 2020: “The US will remain the world’s strongest country by far, and our partnership with America will still be the foundation of our security.” Abbott will supports our relationship with American and its soft power, military intervention for good purposes, and is anglo-centric – praising the ‘anglosphere’.

Indigenous Affairs

Abbott says “Aboriginal people’s high incidence of chronic disease, substance abuse and domestic violence are a function of unemployment, lack of education and very isolated living, not official neglect.” Native title should give them economic benefit, they should be encouraged to move to where jobs are, made to pay rent, send kids to school and attend work for the dole.

Read highlights from ‘Battlelines’…

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