The Gillard Government’s plan to defend their indefensible performance and integrity is through one of the political left’s favorite weapons: relativism.
Labor can no longer hide their incompetence (pink bats, BER), their backflips (East Timor, cattle trade, super tax) , their lies (….well, you all know them) and insane policies (Carbon Tax, NBN). So instead, they ‘project’ these onto Tony Abbott to make him seem relatively just as bad: (1) he is economically/scientifically incompetent, (2) he changes his mind all the time (e.g. allegedly on climate), (3) he is untrustworthy (unless scripted), (4) he has no policies. Most PM go years without mentioning the opposition leader’s name, this PM can’t answer a question without relating it to Abbott.
Paul Kelly weighs in to promote the government’s mantra #1 in The Australian – the “Abbott is economically incompetent” mantra in relation to Abbott’s recent address to the Committee for Economics Development:
Doubts increase about Tony Abbott’s economic grasp.
Paul Kelly, Editor-at-large August 30, 2011 12:00AM
TONY Abbott has intensified doubts about his economic credentials and policy beliefs by leaving open all possible options for solutions to the manufacturing industry crisis.
The Opposition Leader is a victim of his political success. Having stolen much of the Labor base vote, Abbott is reluctant to pledge a firm position on manufacturing one way or another lest he forfeit his voting gains. He has, in fact, two positions. He says pro-market policy is preferred and “picking winners” is bad, but adds “on the other hand” that a “respectable case” for heavy manufacturing can be made on grounds of national security, economic diversity and avoiding shutting down industry that might be given an economic reprieve later….
The only problem is that the readers are more informed than the ‘Editor-at-large’. The comments ran at least 5 to 1 in defense of Abbott’s sensible and ranged from simple facts, like that Abbot has a double Degree in Economics and Law and a Masters in Politics and Philosophy to just plain common sense to considered technical responses:
Belinda Jones of perth Posted at 12:19 AM August 30, 2011 Paul, Paul The man is absolutely right. What good is a defense force if China is the only country that makes steel and army boots. Be reasonable. One of the problems we have is we have theorists like you rubbishing sound principles, let the man speak without ridicule.
David Houghton of Tasmania Posted at 9:07 AM August 30, 2011 I have read the extract of Abbott’s speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia and do not come to the conclusions which Paul Kelly does. Abbott spoke with clarity and common sense about the problems which exist with manufacturing in Australia and acknowledged there is no magic bullet for solution other than sound economic management by the Government. The Opposition would be foolish to give a blueprint to the inept Labor Party and so can and will, quite rightly, only talk in generalities at this stage of the election cycle.
John Pollard of Grange Posted at 9:05 AM August 30, 2011 You mean he has a policy that selectively chooses the appropriate economic response for individual industries facing different economic drivers, providing different economic outcomes and labour market imposts. Sounds like a measured and balanced approach than the ‘one size fits all’ economic rationalism of whcih you you seem so enamoured.
umms n aahs of ???? Posted at 10:09 AM August 30, 2011
A lot of people are forgetting that Abbott has a double Degree in Economics and Law (therefore it is best not to assume and get all the facts before acting) and also a Masters in Politics and Philosophy, so off course people think he is all over the place, because he waits for all the facts before acting (never let the cat out of the bag) for others to gain benefit & that is why Labor is constantly blaming him and not dealing with the real issues in Australia.
What about the comments agreeing with Mr Kelly? They are so uniformly sloganeering without addressing the issue in the article, that I strongly suspect they are done by a professional promotional blogging company:
I fear he is becoming a flip-flop leader, who will do or say anything to become PM.
“God help us all if Tony Abbott becomes PM”. He’s simply not fit for the job. He tries to have two bob each way on everything. Descriptives such as ‘Weather Vane, Phoney Tony & populist opportunist’ are spot on for me.
Whether it be carbon pricing, industry policy, water policy or any other issue. He has a different version of his beliefs for every audience he meets. It is why he is becoming so manic with his insistent calls for an immediate election.
Of course you could have been even more critical because Abbott is unwilling to pledge a position on any policy. He’s a self-interested lightweight with no real concern for anyone but himself. Bring on Malcolm Turnbull.
The man will say and do anything to get into the Lodge. Problem is nobody seems to notice that he will say anything to anyone to get support and seems to constantly get away with these contradictions. He is bereft if all beliefs and actual policies except one, he believes he should be PM. Genuinely breathtaking hypocrisy .
The public is finally catching onto this government’s tactic. As some of the commenters said, anyone would have to be better that Gillard, but Tony Abbott has the credentials, integrity, stamina, common sense and connection with people to be a pretty good if not great Australian PM. We certainly need one for the uncertain times ahead.