tip off

Crikey says: the Opposition Leader is naked

Unions are putting big money where their loud mouths are — a special Crikey investigation. Plus the sad story of Simon Artz. The ABC responds to its Sydney bias. Why you might well make money in art. And putting the grunt back into tennis. (See you back here on Tuesday, patriots.)

The Australian reports:

TONY Abbott has ordered Coalition MPs and candidates to spruik the party’s ‘positive’ agenda in strong grassroots campaigns as he announced a whirlwind national tour next week to start the election year.

He held a phone hook-up with about 165 MPs and candidates yesterday morning, telling them it wasn’t enough to hold the government to account and they must spread the word about the Coalition’s policies.”

To which we hope at least one of the 165 campaigners asked: which policies, Tony?

Nobody can seriously blame the Coalition for its near-empty policy cupboard, at least on the politics of it. Labor would have done the same thing in opposition — leave the detail, the big commitments, until the campaign.

But the problem Abbott has is he’s been on election footing for two years, all the time telling us the Coalition is ready and willing to step up when required. Next week he tours the country in an apparent mini-election campaign to spruik his agenda and reinforce policy offerings to date.

Aside from abolishing the carbon tax, turning back boat people and making parental leave more generous, just what is he going to talk about?

If the Coalition wants to start a campaign in January for an election probably not until September or October, it better put some more meat on the bones. Voters already reckon the Opposition Leader is hollow — the approval ratings won’t budge while Abbott only wants to talk about two or three issues.

Either we see some alternative policy or this is going to be an awfully long year.

****

Crikey Calling is independent media for independent minds  —  in handy podcast form! Join the Crikey crew  —  including Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane, the country’s sharpest political commentator  —  for a lively (if somewhat wonky) look behind the scenes of politics and power in Australia.

In the first episode of Crikey Calling for the year Bernard Keane and Jason Whittaker discuss Julia Gillard’s parachuting of Nova Peris into a NT senate spot, as well as the “threat” of cyber warfare  —  stream it or download here.

7
  • 1
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 25 January 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to a Abbott/Pell government - back to the 1950’s for me!

  • 2
    AR
    Posted Friday, 25 January 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Truly delusional if he thinks that the sound & fury of an empty vessel is a vote earner.

  • 3
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Friday, 25 January 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    They’re keeping it under wraps also because it would bring out in the open the split between the old-style free market Liberals and the neo-DLP that has taken the party over.

  • 4
    David Hand
    Posted Friday, 25 January 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    As you youself said, Labor would not have released policy itself in the same circumstances. Tony’s message was to be positive. That is in stark contrast to the government where whenever a cabinet minister gets within 5 metres of a TV camera can’t resist telling anyone who will listen that tony Abbott is not a fit human being to be in parliament.

  • 5
    pedro
    Posted Sunday, 27 January 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    And his speech on Saturday? More hollow rhetoric and blind, religious apoplexy.

    Create the strawman ‘Bad Government’, offer the Coalition as ‘The Saviour’ and offer the same tired, three-word slogan of hope, opportunity and reward.

    A slogan directed squarely at the 1% and to fool the rest. Think about it in that context…

    Then bag the economy (one of the strongest in the world), talk about ‘increasing productivity’, Coalition code for Workchoices MkII.

    Finally, talk about the only two policies the Coalition has – dismantle the Carbon Tax (because the Coalition are all Climate Change skeptics) and dismantle the MRRT to help make Gina even richer than the wealthiest woman in the world.

    Then he informed everyone about the Coalition’s actual policies (you know, the ones they had ready once they succeeded having the Government dismissed at any time since their re-election in 2010)

    They were:
    1.
    2.
    3.

    More of the same from Action Man.

  • 6
    Steve777
    Posted Monday, 28 January 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    That is in stark contrast to the government where whenever a cabinet minister gets within 5 metres of a TV camera can’t resist telling anyone who will listen that tony Abbott…”

    I don’t remember any ALP identity saying that specifically, but I do recall Coalition figures talking down the economy, accusing Labor of mismanagement of the economy when the numbers say ours is one of the best in the Western world, calling the Prime Minister a liar (unlike John ‘non-core promise Howard’) and villifying asylum seekers as carriers of disease. Not to mention Tony Abbot’s deliberate misrepresentations (or is it just plain ignorance) on a numbers of occasions, e.g. BHP Billiton’s decision to delay the expansion of its huge Olympic Dam mine

    If the shoe fits…

  • 7
    Electric Lardyland
    Posted Monday, 28 January 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    From what I can make out, this mini campaign is the start of an attempt to rebrand Tony Abbott as a positive, conciliatory and caring individual. A strategy that I think can be best summed up by the slogan,
    ‘I’m Not The Real Tony.’

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