Crikey Awards: in a year of incompetence, Abbott was the best

Most years, deciding which frontbenchers have performed best and worst isn’t too difficult. But 2013 poses particular problems, not merely because there’s been both numerous reshuffles and a change of government, but because the new government has stumbled badly since getting into office, meaning there’s a Melbourne Cup field of incompetence to choose from — either from Labor, which lost office, or from the Coalition, which has made every post a loser in its first 100 days. But here goes …

Most effective minister: Jenny Macklin

Jenny Macklin’s success in establishing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, complete with partial funding from a tax increase, is one of the few uncontested legacies of the Gillard government, even if the Abbott government is making noises about reducing funding. After three years of bitter and febrile partisanship, that there was a major policy initiative that Tony Abbott scrambled desperately to declare his support for was remarkable, and Macklin, its co-author along with her prime minister, deserves credit in a period when few colleagues on either side distinguished themselves.

Special mentions: Joe Hockey — he worked out that he had to abandon his commitment to return immediately to surplus in favour of actual economic management, and led the way against more handouts to Detroit. But he also got rolled on GrainCorp and flagrantly breached the Charter of Budget Honesty. And Chris Bowen  — copped it sweet and walked in March after the abortive Rudd challenge, then returned for a brief stint as treasurer to produce some quality savings, before doing an excellent job as interim leader post-election.

Least effective minister: Greg Hunt

History will record Greg Hunt as a blackly humorous footnote, a symbol of everything that was screwed up about the political and economic systems that led to massive climate change. An alleged believer in the science and a proponent of action to address it, Hunt’s first three months have been dedicated — unsuccessfully — to removing an effective, functional carbon pricing scheme, lying about its impacts and failing to do anything to advance his ludicrous Direct Action scheme, a policy he has had since January 2010 and on which he appears to have done precisely no work during that entire time. As Santa preps the sleigh for take off, we’re still waiting for his green paper on Direct Action, while Hunt’s own climate action budget has already been slashed, and the PM declared that even if Direct Action fails to achieve the bipartisan 5% emissions reduction target there will be no additional funding for it. Throw in approving sludge dumping near the Great Barrier Reef and the review of the Renewable Energy Target that is likely to see Hunt rolled by RET opponents and his stint as minister looms as disastrous.

Dishonourable mentions: Christopher Pyne  — a near-run thing, Pyne’s Gonski debacle inflicted huge damage on the government, and established a dud policy as well. And Bob Carr  — far from being the astute party elder he promised to be, Carr treated voters with contempt, treated taxpayers as mugs and managed to embroil himself in US politics. Good riddance.

Most effective shadow minister: Malcolm Turnbull

Regarded with ill-disguised contempt by much of the tech press, Turnbull still managed to nullify the electoral positive that the National Broadband Network was for Labor through a combination of attacks on its roll-out delays, an invented claim about a massive cost blowout (alas, later rejected even by his own hand-picked review panel) and his own policy that, for the first time, saw the Coalition finally accept the need for a government role in broadband networks. In government, of course, it didn’t work out so neatly — Turnbull has been forced to abandon his promises and the nightmare of the government acquiring Telstra’s mess of a copper network remains, but winners are grinners.

Abbott has consistently demonstrated a capacity to adapt his political tactics to changing circumstances.”

Least effective shadow minister: Kate Ellis

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37 Responses

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  1. a symbol of everything that was screwed up about the political and economic systems that led to massive climate change.”

    …but…but… There hasn’t been any “massive climate change”. Just 0.8c warming in 150 years and none in the past 15! We’re saved!

    by Tamas Calderwood on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

  2. LOL It’s obviously time you had a holiday Bernard.
    I suppose Tony’s got to be the pyrrhic victor this year.
    But awarding Abbott politician of the year, is a bit like awarding a goldfish, the prize for leaping the greatest distance out of the fishtank. The poor botoxed numpty appears to be in terminal trouble after a mere 100 days.

    BTW Agree with your choice of Greg Hunt. But you’ve short changed him on stuff ups. He also trashed the previous Govts marine park boundaries last Friday at 5.00pm

    by paddy on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

  3. Poor Mrs Penberthy - you know what this award means don’t you?

    by klewso on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

  4. Unbelievable rubbish. Paddy, its worse than that; its like giving an ar5e a prize for farting.
    The shite joke that is his “political skill” is called “peta credlin”. He has no credibility and no particular skill beyond negativity, destruction and fanatical devotion to the genie with a bottle problem and the church.

    by drmick on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm

  5. I suppose Abbott has been the most talked-about of the Liberal party politicians and they did win the election so perhaps he does deserve the award. I had hoped this would be an amusing piece but sadly it is all too true.

    by Anne M F on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm

  6. Hmmm… Politician of the year… really? I suppose in the sense that the word politician now means hypocrite, untrustworthy, arsehole and a litany of other descriptions then the Mad Monk romps it it in.

    by Yclept on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm

  7. so the politician of the year is tony abbott and you predict him to get his act together in 2014

    put your money where your pen is ill bet you 5000K he doesnt

    by cairns50 on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

  8. Absolutely outrageous, Crikey. Abbott as politician of the year? Only for those who are very cynical.
    One ly*ng, misogynistic, insincere, uncaring and arrogant bast*rd! Abbott is the last person who should receive ANY award.
    If we are now going to reward politicians for winning ‘the big prize’ without any regard for the way they did it, then we are just as bad as they are. If this particular cap fits, you can wear it, Crikey!
    I am disgusted with your choice!!!

    by CML on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

  9. It’s always nice when the comments are led off by the regular stand-up comic. Though I think I’ve heard that one before.

    And coming after a lead story that gives Misterabbott a politician of the year award,! Oh I laughed till I cried, then cried some more and poured a very early G&T. Damn hot today.

    by botanista on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  10. when has abbott ever changed his political approach one iota in the last 4 years what a farce Bernard

    by Tyler T on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  11. actually abbott won due to rudd and fitzgibbon being thorough ***** rather than any “skill” he might have. besides, what skill is there in saying “hay we’ll do everything you want it’ll be awesome ZOMG CARBON TAX WWUT!!?!?!”

    by Gene Roddenberry on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:25 pm

  12. actually there should be a **** of the decade award. i still think howard deserves that one but rudd, my word that rudd is flat out…..

    by Gene Roddenberry on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  13. ” It is likely he will return in 2014 a more adept and effective leader.”

    he can’t get by on motherhood statements and bagging gillard anymore. he actually has to deliver something, and i don’t think he has a lot in his kit bag to win over voters.

    by Gene Roddenberry on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

  14. Abbott as Polly of the year! WTF! Have you been imbibing the Christmas drinks a tad early Bernard? I was hoping by the end of your article, I would be able to see your tongue stuck firmly in your cheek. But nope, you are serious. Hmmmm. Somehow did it slip your mind about the part that Murdoch played in this debacle? Abbott could have recited fairy stories for the past 6 years, and he would still have romped in. Hang on….

    by Suziekue on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

  15. This is like nominating Kevin Petersen as the player of the Ashes series. Abbott best politician - you cannot be serious - most hated — yes — most incompetent — yes again — -leader- he gets the Alistair Cook Award — - butter fingers and batting down the wrong line with the repeal of the Carbon Tax.
    Tanya Plibersek takes the George Bailey Award for the Opposition hitting the Government for a world record 6 as the most effective member of the Opposition. The Anderson/ Prior/ Warner Award for inane sledging goes to Hockey and Truss with Pyne the winner of the Bob the Camera Man award for being totally useless at everything and a liability to the remote chance that the Abbott Government will ever be re-elected. The surprise is Morrison- that prize is supposed to be a secret - but a DOD leak suggests that they want him appointed manager and coach of the Afghanistan 20/20 side.

    by tonyfunnywalker on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm

  16. It’s like hanging out with fatter people ……?

    by klewso on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm

  17. BK, on reading the headline ‘in a year of incompetence, Abbott was the best’, one couldn’t disagree. Definitely the best… as an incompetent, that is.

    But then the article reveals he’s actually the recipient of your Best In Show award. And now I’m speechless.

    by zut alors on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

  18. I cannot seriously award or respect Abbott as Polly of the Year, or Leader of the Nation . . he has few applaudable values, little evident compassion, and no integrity. Bernard, the fate of this Nation is not a game! Okay, now removing broom handle from orifice . . you’ve been on the sauce again Bernie or you fair dinkum think it’s April!!

    by graybul on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

  19. Abbott is not a respectable politician. He has trashed all civil conventions on which society depends, and has sold his arse to Murdoch. If these are acceptable tactics for a politician, we are in deep shit.

    by Salamander on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:37 pm

  20. I was listening to that subversive ABC News Radio this morning as I was ironing my husband’s shirts, when I heard our esteemed Prime Minister, and your Politician of the Year say that he had to “regain co-operation FROM Indonesia.”

    Does he not understand that co-operation is WITH? Or even BETWEEN?

    How tin-eared can anyone be in his own language, let alone someone else’s?

    Janice Knight

    by knight on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

  21. Abbott has a social IQ at the moron level. Sadly this disability is difficult if not impossible to remediate in an adult. There are few if any known effective interventions. Unfortunately for our international reputation, Abbott’s incompetence in this area impinges on his forays into international diplomacy rendering them counterproductive.
    It is understandable given media suport but a pity he got elected. We have to get rid of him asap.

    by Salamander on Dec 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm

  22. Can anyone leave the Murdoch out of the Murdoch -Abbott political chimaera and expect to be taken seriously?

    by Hamis Hill on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:01 pm

  23. BK might have indulged in a little bit of early Chrissie cheer, or more likely is still within the press gallery bubble, where success is seen as the measure of ‘quality’ in a pollie.

    And let’s keep perspective, Abbott has won Politician Of The Year. This is like winning Liver Fluke of the Year.

    Although I disagree with the result. POTY should have been Peta Credlin, as Australia’s second female PM.

    by Interrobanging On on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  24. Honestly I don’t get this anti-Credlin thing. Who is the boss again?

    by Salamander on Dec 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm

  25. Yeah right. Depends on the criteria I guess. Totally disagree with your choice/s.

    by barbs on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm

  26. Look at what they’ve done - look at the team - would you like to be called a “politician”?

    by klewso on Dec 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

  27. …. almost as bad as being branded a “Murdoch germo”?

    by klewso on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

  28. I think that that capacity to adapt you speak of is more a total lack of morals or any central defining feature whatsoever. The man is slime, and would murder his family on TV if he thought it would increase his electability.

    by Jimmyhaz on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

  29. You had me until the last paragraph then it all turned to shit..

    by Jill Whitford on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  30. and the winner is Rupert..

    by john willoughby on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:06 pm

  31. And that makes Australia the Biggest Loser?

    by klewso on Dec 17, 2013 at 11:02 am

  32. Looking forward to the day Tamas realises what a public idiot he has making of himself all these years. What an emperor-has-no-clothes moment that is going to be! Most deniers, like Abbott, at least pretend to accept climate science at least some of the time, but Tamas is right out there without even a pair of budgie-smugglers. Granted, given he has an industrial-strength idiocy shield against reality, it will take a while. As for Abbott, he gets the prize for pollie doing the most damage for the least reason in the shortest possible time. Bernard, why did not the fact only Tamas was going to agree with you give you some pause for thought?

    by Andrew Dolt on Dec 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

  33. Following an excruciating experience of economic incompetence at the National Press Club today then Hockey and Corman take the trophy - The Laurel and Hardy of Economics Award - outright winners. A special mention for Corman - I think he still thinks in Flemish as his answers beyond parroting were verbal gobbledygook. Kerin and Joyce lost their portfolio’s for less.

    by tonyfunnywalker on Dec 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

  34. Tamas Calderwood - just repeating the ongoing myth that there has been no warming for 15 years doesn’t make it true. You might maintain that IPCC AR5 backs this up, as you do on your blog, but anybody who reads that document will quickly realise you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    by Blair Rideout on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:08 am

  35. So Abbott is being framed as the “Man For All Seasons”, just like the patron saint of politicians, Thomas More, to whom he must have been praying for intercession, and instruction?
    More had some early political success, gleefully burning his enemies alive.
    But alas, ended up losing his head as a traitor.
    Tony the Traitor?; has a ring to it?
    He certainly has betrayed the Liberal Party, and as anointed by that John to whom the voters delivered him his own head on a plate?
    Here’s to Tony following his heroes.

    by Hamis Hill on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

  36. Best Politician” ? ….isn’t this an oxymoron ?

    …if you define “politician” as a self-serving career- liar and ruthlessly opportunistic party-ass-kisser….well it’s gotta be ‘tricky’ Tony Abbott, although the Australian Federal, State and Local political landscape of our tiny nation oozes(/sleazes?) with abundant talent.

    by jimmila555 on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

  37. I’m sure it’s been said above already, but basing your awards on ideas of politicking rather than the substance of their actions seems to be falling down the same hole that the msm is mired in. I would have expected better from both Crikey and Mr. Keane.

    by Albion Harrison-Naish on Dec 19, 2013 at 12:08 pm

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