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Dec 1, 2009

42 to 41: how Abbott squeaked in

Tony Abbott won the leadership this morning by the narrowest possible margin, setting up a 2010 climate change election in which the Libs will struggle to present a coherent front.


Tony Abbott’s victory this morning, by the narrowest possible margin, sets up a 2010 climate change election in which the Liberals will struggle to present a coherent front.

Abbott squeaked into the leadership by one vote, 42 to 41, with moderate Fran Bailey absent and unable to vote, and with an informal vote marked “no”.  Julie Bishop, whose triple term as deputy leader has been marked by incompetence, remains in her position.

The Liberals have also voted by secret ballot to oppose the government-Turnbull CPRS package, reversing their support for the package last week. Whether moderate Liberal senators will abide by that result remains to be seen, given climate denialist and conservative senators last week refused to accept the previous party room decision.

Unless enough moderate senators cross the floor, the decision will hand the government a double-dissolution trigger on an issue that  has ripped the party apart.

While Abbott promised to be a consultative leader and reflect all shades of opinion on his front bench, he immediately flagged interest in returning to the Workchoices reforms (albeit without the name, he said). He also again reversed his position on climate change, saying it was real and calling his own statement that “climate change is crap” “hyperbole”, marking yet another backflip on the issue.

Abbott flagged the tenor of the coalition’s campaign against the government, repeatedly claiming that the CPRS was a giant tax.

While Abbott’s victory was always a possible outcome from the spill, it was the defeat of Joe Hockey in the first round of balloting that surprised most, with Hockey dipping out 23 votes to Turnbull’s 26, against expectations that he would take most of the moderate vote and knock his leader out.  This left Turnbull to face Abbott, a contest he would have thought he had a fighting chance to win.  As it turned out, he only narrowly lost, and in other circumstances might have won.

Turnbull has said he will now go to the back bench but will remain in Parliament at least until the next election, and may yet remain in politics beyond the election.  He did not rule out running again for the leadership and when asked whether moderate senators should vote for the CPRS, said that he had always stood up for his beliefs, in effect encouraging them to cross the floor.

Abbott, who is deeply unpopular with female voters due to his hardline and aggressive Catholicism, used his first press conference to apologise for his previous behaviour and asked to be judged afresh.  His party’s enormous baggage on the climate-change issue will make that difficult against the most popular Prime Minister in decades.


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97 thoughts on “42 to 41: how Abbott squeaked in

  1. James Bennett

    Unpopular with female voters Bernadette ?

    I think yesterdays photo of Tony on the beach glistening in his budgie smugglers should fix that.

    Or perhaps these ‘female voters’ a little less one dimensional than you claim.

  2. James Bennett

    Unpopular with female voters Bernadette ?

    I think yesterdays photo of Tony on the beach glistening in his budgie smugglers should fix that.

    Or perhaps these ‘female voters’ are a little less one dimensional than you claim.

    -sorry , i got excited thinking of that photo..

  3. SusieQ

    Oh James, you can’t be serious!!!! I can tell you now, those budgie smugglers didn’t do much for me!!!!

    So, a return to WorkChoices with a different name and a plea to be judged afresh? Leopard, spots!

  4. james mcdonald

    “[Abbott] also again reversed his position on climate change, saying it was real and calling his own statement that ‘climate change is crap’ ‘hyperbole’, marking yet another backflip on the issue.”

    Wow. Calling a lie ‘hyperbole’ instead of a ‘non-core promise’. Is that a new kind of honesty? Voters will just love it.

  5. Greg Angelo

    It is Sophie’s choice. Having to choose between Rudd and Abbott makes the Greens look good, and by God that’s a desperate choice. It looks like will be stuck with the current government for at least two more terms with the Opus Dei whispering in Abbot’s ear.

  6. Bullmore's Ghost

    What will be interesting for me now will be Abbott having to originate policies instead of pontificating on them and banging on about the Howard government.

    The Libs have elected yesterday’s man.

  7. Malcolm Street

    To me Abbott came over as underprepared for the press conference. Maybe, like everyone else, he thought Shrek would be leader.

  8. SBH

    James Macdonald, now that the Libs have purged themselves of Liberals and the ALP are busy shucking of the last vestiges of union links maybe you could come over to our side

  9. Kook

    Lets hope Tony remembers to visit the archbishop for some advice.

  10. Jenny Haines

    Three leaders in less than 3 years. What a record for the Liberal Party! And now they have reached the bottom of the pit, and pushed up Tony Abbott to lead the party. The close vote, and the choice of leader, leaves the situation unstable. There is bound to be more hubble, bubble, toil and trouble!!Mind you, as a non coalition voter, I should be delighted. The next election should be fun, wiping out the Coalition for several elections to come.

  11. James Bennett

    It’ll be a clear choice for the voter and at least other Crikey writers and readers will have a figure they can genuinely hate.
    It must have been hard for you all to dislike Malcom who was really just Kevin -Lite

    I think Abbot will be able to argue a good case for delay of the ETS, he has already flagged waiting to see what the US do, an entirely reasonable and prudent position.
    In time, Joe and Malcom’s position will be proved to have been idiotic.

    It’s a good day for the Libs, they just don’t all realise it yet.

    Also , I await the discerning Venice’s comments on Tony’s beach pose.

  12. Matilda Langley

    Yippee no Lib gov’t for terms and terms!… al though seeing Abbott all the time in photos will be fairly difficult- anyone else notice theAge only prints pictures of him looking odd?

  13. RaymondChurch

    Between Opus Dei in one ear and George Pell in the other, its almost a ressurection of Geo W Bush and his raving religious right

  14. Rollo

    Abbott will get smashed, which will leave the ALP to do as it pleases, which in turn is terrible for our democracy.

  15. JamesK

    A real Aussie bloke against a smarmy I-drank-but-didn’t-look weasel-automaton who puts his own interest ahead of the nations.

    I love It!

    And what a stroke of genius the secret ballot was.

    2/3 ‘s of the Liberal Party plus the known vast majority of the Nationals against this affrontery to working families and common sense.

    The silent majority finally will have some say.

    Our sickeningly and inanely partisan media are struggling to cope but the slime will start tomorrow no doubt.

  16. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Three leaders in less than 3 years…”

    You must be referring to the Labor Party.

    Do some history.


    Seeing as you are discussing the significance of winning margins…for the sake of completeness you should also make mention of Tony Abbott’s immediate request for a Party room vote on whether to support the Rudd Government’s ETS.

    For the record:

    Defer 55
    Back 29

    I’d say that’s a comprehensive thrashing.

    Pity Malcolm couldn’t garner such support for himself from his troops.

  17. pixillated

    Travel anywhere and you will be reminded that almost nowhere has as tight a two party system as we do. Maybe the Abbot election is a way that the Libs can demonstrate their neoliberal adherence to increasing choice by forming several parties themselves and improving the Green vote too!

  18. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…He also again reversed his position on climate change, saying it was real and calling his own statement that “climate change is crap” “hyperbole”, marking yet another backflip on the issue…”


    At least quote accurately.

    For those interested in accurate reporting of FACTS:

    A journalist asked:
    Why did he say at a Liberal branch meeting of heated members that climate change is “crap”?

    Abbotts REAL Answer:
    “It was a bit of hyperbole. It is not my considered position…. climate change is real.”

    I trust you’ll adjust your copy Bernard?

  19. JamesK

    @Jas McDonald

    Abbott has not reversed his position on climate change.

    He has just used the term correctly rather than using Krudd’s abuse of the term.

    Man-made CO2 is not the prime driver of climate change but theoretically must have some effect and that effect is in my opinion small.

    And in Tony Abbott’s apparently.

    Read his column of July24.

  20. james mcdonald

    Mama, how is that a misquote? Seems to me you’ve just confirmed its accuracy. Now explain whether Abbot’s real answer is synonymous with “I lied”, and if not, why not?

  21. Most Peculiar Mama

    “…Abbott, who is deeply unpopular with female voters due to his hardline and aggressive Catholicism…”

    Only if you are Cat “get your rosaries off my ovaries” Deveny.

    Any stats/polls to back your statement up?

    BTW, I’d love to see how “aggressive Catholicism” rates against aggressive Islam.

  22. John james

    Well, the Left had better get those condoms out and start sandbagging the trenches.
    Abbott’s election will see a transformation in Australian politics.
    Many in the conservative base had been scratching their heads wondering what were the substantive differences between Labor and Liberal. Prior to Abbott, answer NONE.
    Now we will see a far more detailed and searching analysis of government action/inaction
    Parliament will also see a transformation. Abbott is a formidable debater. Some peolple thrive on intensity and the heat of battle. Abbott will make parliament very interesting. Rudd vs Abbott aint going to be pretty.
    The losers in all of this?
    Firstly, Joe Hockey. Talk about shooting yourself in both feet. If he did not want to challenge the leader, fine. Just say so! But challenging and with less than 24 hours to go announcing you’re going to allow a conscience vote, which is synonymous with ” the party doesn’t and will not formulate a positon on Emisions Trading”, is ridculous. As I’ve posted before, Hockey is the ‘Kim Beasley’ of the Liberals, jovial, rotund, but with little ticker.
    Second, Malcolm ‘Its a majority ’cause I say its a majority’ Turnbull. Never should a party entrust the leadership to someone with such a proven track record for being unable to consult and work with those with whom you disagree.
    Thirdly, the moderates/wets/progressives/boofheads in the Liberal party. Minchin carved them up. They were completely out manoeuvred.
    That Montana Militia just breeched the citadel wall. Its game on!

  23. Most Peculiar Mama


    Get Kevin to explain this:

    “I am not a socialist. I have never been a socialist and I never will be a socialist.”
    – Kevin Rudd, The Age, December 14, 2006.

    “I am an old-fashioned Christian socialist.”
    – Kevin Rudd, Australian Financial Review, February 2003

    …or this one:

    “…KEVIN RUDD: In terms of the whole economy what the (renewable energy target) modelling from MMA demonstrates is that the total impact on the economy will be marginal over time. That is that they calculate that between now and about 2045 that you’d be looking at a total impact on the economy of somewhere between $600 and $800 million or something in the vicinity of $45 per person over that period of time or something like $1 per person per year…”


    Voters will just love it.

  24. Phil

    I can’t stop laughing. This is just brilliant stuff. To all the frustrated free thinkers in Oz, it doesn’t get any better than this. Roll on the next election We thought the last Rudd win couldn’t get any better. Will the Abbott be able to hold his seat, naa, now I’m just dreaming. Please don’t wake me up.

  25. realism

    The hypocrisy is dizzying. Let the Minchkins know we’re onto them: http://www.redbubble.com/people/realism/t-shirts/4230788-1-epic-liberal-fail

  26. james mcdonald


    As far as I’m concerned, Rudd is a phony intellectual, a socialist who doesn’t even know what a socialist is, and so dangerously immature that he is still making up his core beliefs as he goes along. You’ve barely touched on his hypocricy; he also launched a witch-hunt against “neoliberals” before trying to improve market competition with Grocery Watch and Fuel Watch–a neoliberal strategy if ever there was one, which would have sealed the doom of small business in the grocery and service-station markets if he had had the competence to make it work.

    But we’re talking about Abbott, not Rudd. According to his own account, Abbott expressed a view he did not hold, not about something minor but about the very issue that was tearing the party apart, and the very issue that the challenge to Turnbull centered on. He then laughs this off as ‘hyperbole’, and doesn’t even bother to claim he has changed his mind.

    So I would like to know, what do you think of a party leader who admits he lied about a central issue and laughs it off as ‘hyperbole’?

  27. Frank Birchall

    With friends like John James, the Liberal Party sure doesn’t need enemies! John forgot to mention one other “loser” and that’s the Liberal Party at the next general election. “Parliament will also see a transformation” says John — quite right but it’ll be a transformation that benefits the ALP. The only pity is that Kevin Andrews didn’t end up as deputy leader.

  28. Bullmore's Ghost

    @James McD: That hyperbole is in fact a case of Immaculate Deception, so it’s all right after all.

  29. BJ

    That the Liberal party is doomed is beyond argument if the Minchin camp continues to hold sway, they wanted a strong leader, they got one & didn’t like it. The denial camp has been trumpeting this blood-letting as democracy in action, so towing the party line & keeping your real views hidden is their idea of democracy. At least we all know what a bunch of hypocrites they are now. I thought Turnbull was going to bring the party into the modern era & face the problems of the day.

    The arguments put forward by Abbot & the other deniers are the same non-arguments the Creationists use to deny evolution by natural selection.
    They look for gaps in the knowledge & call it evidence in support of their opinion.
    These people are either to incompetent or too lazy to look at the science, so what do they do? They wholeheartedly adopt the methods of the extreme left by taking a few misrepresented emails hacked by who knows who from one university & call it definitive evidence for a worldwide conspiracy. Is this not the sort of thing they have always derided when coming from the opposing camp.
    Is it also mere coincidence that the deniers are either in or closely aligned to the religious fundamentalist ideology.

    The more educated among us can laugh this off but unfortunately this dross is being taken as gospel by many less informed people who have been fed the fear factor by these unprincipled opportunists. This is less about climate change than about the old guards refusal & or inability to evolve, & we all know what happens to species than cannot adapt fast enough to changing circumstances. Malcolm, Joe & the others in the rationalists camp represent the new blood & the behaviour of the old guard is A typical of a dictatorship in it’s death throws, they will bring the whole party down around them rather than have the grace to move on & let the next generation take it’s rightful place.(AKA Howard).

  30. Chris Johnson

    Well all the Howardites have returned like fools to folly and the Opposition front bench looks pre-war – Workchoices war. Fingers crossed that Tony flies Bronwyn and Tuckey in the shadows and sets up Andrews, Dutton, Ruddock and Vale as close range targets for the Government. Add some shots of the balding monk in his budgies and ever-decreasing comb-over and it’s Dad’s Army for the 2010 election. Bring it on!

  31. Daniel

    “Well, the Left had better get those condoms out and start sandbagging the trenches.”

    You have an unhealthy obsession with condoms.

  32. beachcomber

    The Abbott and the Bishop are running the Liberal Party. Rudd must think he’s in heaven.

  33. Richard Wilson

    Bernard – it never ceases to amaze me how you analyse every political scenario in terms of the ability of the protagonists to withstand ad homonym attacks rather than in terms of anything substantive. Is this because this is the way you like to argue?

    As for the comments on Abbott; Abbott surprised all the so called experts and pundits today and I dare say he will surprise you all again. Irrespective of what you think, Abbott and Turnbull have had exactly the same Elite training via the Rhodes scholars system, the Oxford socialist mind programming and the rest of that global citizenship stuff. They are closer than you may dare to imagine, so don’t fool yourselves. This may be an entirely different Abbott from that you have previously known.

    As for the sickening sexist attacks on Julie Bishop, the irony of it is that she appears to be under greater fire for being a woman from the so called liberal media and Liberati than within her own party whom you are only to willing to label Neanderthals. If you bother to listen to her philosophy, it is decidedly libertarian and decidedly Austrian school which means she takes Keynesianism for the socialist croque it is.

    The world operates on a corporatist – oligopolist model – these guys own everything and through their tax free foundations drive policy. I want to bring things back the human model; that is the one where we are regarded as people not inputs or shares of something. For example, big business today regards the public as a share of mouth, share of thirst, share of mind, share of play opportunities, etc. This Nazi notion is scientific management gone berserk and you Liberati are falling for it hook line and sinker. I have to laugh when you wake up and find you are regarded as nothing more than carnie marks from the magicians who run this illusion.

  34. Bullmore's Ghost

    Isn’t Bishop the biggest joke of the lot. A deputy ought to be an alternative leader. Who would seriously put her up for that role?

    She’s the token woman on the Reps front bench.

  35. RaymondChurch

    Re Bishop biggest joke…..and a two faced, hypocritical,treacherous nobody…only last week after the Libs reached agreement with the Govt after 5 weeks of negotiation, she stood along side Turnbull, expounding her loyalty and how magnificent the result was, all with that ice cold sneer yuk. What a dispicable person, she and Abbott are made for each other. As has been pointed out earlier, Kevin Rudd must be elated and cannot believe this bigger rabble led by two right wing Minchin puppets, have been delivered on a plate.

  36. eddie28

    Abbott has more chance of at least minimising the losses next election than Turnbull.

    The Liberal Party base, although not enough for victory, will now remain largely intact. This gives them some chance in 2013, when prior to today, I figured they would be in the wilderness until at least 2016 and probably beyond.

    Still cannot see Abbott ever being elected though. Despite the pathetic efforts of Hockey in the last 48 hours, he is still their most publicly viable option as the next leader. Mind you, public popularity is no substitute for ability.

  37. John james

    ” The more educated among us…”
    Don’t you love the Left?? Such a ‘Marie Antionette’ line.You know, ” let them eat cake”.
    So out of touch. Those poor uneducated masses. Backward looking Australians!
    Next election? Lets bring it on!
    BJ, Labor must surely have a job for you!!!

  38. Glen Beck


    “I can’t stop laughing. This is just brilliant stuff. To all the frustrated free thinkers in Oz, it doesn’t get any better than this. Roll on the next election We thought the last Rudd win couldn’t get any better. Will the Abbott be able to hold his seat, naa, now I’m just dreaming. Please don’t wake me up.”

    Phill, your the funny one I see, you put Kevin Rudd and free thinkers in the same boat. GTFO. The wonderful media crafted socialism he and his band of merry cawk suckers engage in is called “I poll test some language, we put it through a messgae calender, and this =election success” pffft. Free thinking, at least Abott thinks freely on his feet, it might not be poll tested, it might not be the right thing to say, but its original and free.

    I don’t care if you believe in Climate change or not, I really don’t. This ETS should have been apposed on legislative grounds from the first moment it was floated. Howard included.

    Its bad policy.

    the PM bashes Liberals for not taking action on climate change, Liberals had an ETS under Howard?

    Kevin Rudd bashes the Libs for being market fundamentalists, then when it comes to (insert poll tested language) “most important moral question of our time” (dog-whistle much?) he inserts a market driven plan, which is massivley flawed and has not real effect.

    I dont know whats funnier, the fact you class your self as a free thinking australian, or Kevin Rudd as one.

    equally you are as stupid as each other.

    Abott might not be the right leader, but hes original, and he wont clog up my evening news with the “message of the week”

  39. Bullmore's Ghost

    @Glen Beck: “Abott might not be the right leader, but hes original, and he wont clog up my evening news with the “message of the week””

    Ha! Abbott is the biggest sloganeer of the lot.

  40. Glen Beck

    “BullMores Ghost”

    …Cool story Bro…

    When your wrong and you know it clap your hands **clap clap**

    my friend I dont think Abotts said a poll tested thing in his life??

    have you ever hear him speak?? Its crap?? At this mornings press gathering it looked like he had not even written any notes…!!

    I dont think unoriginality is something you can bash these liberals with, call them unorganised, a mess, a rabble…

    but unoriginal and Sloganeers?

    at this point it might surprise some to know that Abott has never hired a “media Advisor”, he is entitled to, and he has advisors…but he hates media people telling him what to think, how to think, how to spin.

    I think he will be a crap leader, I think hes wrong for the Liberal party..but unoriginal he is not.

  41. Phil

    You sound like the guy on fox to!

  42. Bullmore's Ghost

    “Glen Beck”: If you want to be taken seriously, try to spell Abbott correctly.

    Abbott’s slogan du jour is: “Labor’s giant ETS tax”.

    Keep listening and you’ll hear plenty more.

  43. Glen Beck

    Bullmores Ghost,

    sorry, spelling is not a strength of mine…nor is r-reading what i have written.

    “Labor’s giant ETS tax” is a nice line..but poll tested?, spun?

    I think not, Its Labors policy, its Labors tax?

    it is a giant tax? Speaking the truth is different than “spinning”

    if they had introduced a Cap and Tax system..it would have been branded the same thing?

    I think thats a fair call?

  44. RaymondChurch

    Glen Beck I presume your fart doesnt stink either:-)

  45. bakerboy

    Those like Mama who question how unpopular Abbott is with women haven’t been reading any media reports over the past couple of years. Abbott’s views on abortion alone guarantees less than half of the female electorate would vote for him. You can bet the video clip of Abbott telling Nicola Roxon, “That’s bullshit and you know it’ will feature in many Labor ads leading to the next election. We have seen a fair bit of stupidity from the Coalition recently, but this stuff up in choosing Abbott as leader tops them all. It guarantees another two terms for Rudd, maybe a generation in opposition for the Libs if they continue to rip themselves apart. Alex

  46. Glen Beck


    No i believe farting adds to the deadly global warming that could kill me at any moment..seriously.

    We all have to do our part and bottle up our gaseous shit. Our PM’s been bottling it for years, now hes letting it all out on my nightly TV screen.

  47. Bullmore's Ghost

    Truth in politics is an oxymoron.

    Spin is a method of reworking your own words when backed into a corner: e.g. Abbott’s declaration that “climate change is crap” being spun by him today as “hyperbole”.

    Political slogans are short statements repeated ad nauseum in the hope that they will stick in the mind of voters. All politicians coin them, but Abbott is the master on his side of the House.

  48. Glen Beck

    LOL….yeah cause hes never left “the script”, or gone off message.

    I notice you are guessing and not providing evidence of this ‘spin”.

    I challenge I could find twice as much “Gaff” as you could “spin”

    I challenge that he may be given written material, but he chooses to ignore it.

    Surley not spin, he says what he thinks…I like..

    ABBOTT: “So Malcolm Turnbulls for an ETS and Im against an ETS and nobody knows what the fuck Joes for”…

  49. Robon

    The new-look Libs are bringing back not just the budgie smuggler but the old Aussie cultural cringe in its full glory. They bring a colonial view of our place in the world where Australia needs a foreign queen and we can’t think for ourselves on important political matters. Has to be done ‘overseas’ first. We dare not step out of line and take a lead.

    Tony, the Wild Colonial Boy – bless him (please, George).

  50. Glen Beck


    we cant think for ourselves, we still believe the world is going to end tomorrow because of AGW.

    If we could think for ourselves we would have woken up to the BS, and the PM’s poll tested BS.

  51. Dewgong

    I wish Bolt would open up his comments again, so the nutters can go back there and stew in their malcontent and leave the rest of us alone on other blogs.

  52. durutti


    When did all the Herald Sun commenters migrate to Crikey? Is the Bolter not blogging this today?

    Get a dictionary, and pay attention to the squiggly red lines under your mangled brain vomit.

    Andrews-Dutton 2013 FTW!

  53. Tom

    Why is it that the Libs just became more than a little bit scary? Under Turnbull it was easy and OK to disagree with them, nobody would get too worked up. In a mere few hours since he’s been leader Abbott has seemingly rubbed the lamp and out has popped a bitter, vitriolic and scary bunch that can only be compared with the lunatic Christian right in the US. Even MPM just last week was sort of reasonable, even on occasion (purposely) amusing, compare that to the shrill ranting of today. Why is this?
    I didn’t like Bush or anybody that supported him, not proud of this but Abbott and those who follow/like/support him not only frighten me but have re-introduced me to loathing.

  54. Glen Beck


    lets talk about some of the good things the left has done, like banning DDT ect. banning the only thing that killed the mosquitoes stopping deaths.

    Nooo DDT is a hush word for the alarmists. Banning DDT caused the deaths of 40,000,000 people.

    lets just stay quiet and listen to the people who were responsible for banning DDT and let them tell us what to do.


  55. Dewgong

    @Glen Beck

    Case in point. [Edit]

  56. Evan Beaver

    Julie Bishop as DLOTO nullifies the argument against Abbott that, he’s not popular with the ladies. Bishop is the model, articulate, professional female that Australians want. Bishop and Abbott are well matched bookends for the Liberal Party in 2010.

  57. Glen Beck


    cry much?

  58. AR

    AT least with the mad Monk & Kevin Android is could have changed its name to the “Pell-mell into th Pits Party”. Have to settle for an Abbott & a Bishop, equally apposite but not quite nutty enough. Will Bishop be the first Deputy to resign before she commits 1st degree murder of her Superior?

  59. Les Upton

    Is it true that the reason Fran Bailey didn’t attend the party meeting was because She slept in and decided to pull a Sickie?

  60. jeebus

    @John James, I hardly see how Abbott will herald a sea change in Australian politics with a flagella sized mandate and no policies of substance.

    The reason there seem to be few substantive differences between Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals can be put down to both Labor and the Liberal’s gradual shift to the right over the last two decades. In the process, Labor has colonised the middle ground, while the Liberal power-brokers have retreated to the fringes.

    Abbott will disavow his true beliefs (hyperbole, seriously?) to appear more rational and electable, but like Latham, his true nature will come bubbling back to the surface over the course of a campaign.

  61. Bullmore's Ghost

    Is it true that Malcolm was on the phone to her this morning singing, “Won’t you come in Fran Baily? Won’t you come in? I’ll moan the whole day long.”

  62. Bullmore's Ghost

    (^ make that Bailey)

    Jeebus said: “Abbott will disavow his true beliefs (hyperbole, seriously?) to appear more rational and electable, but like Latham, his true nature will come bubbling back to the surface over the course of a campaign.”

    I think he’ll try that tack, but now his every word and his every backslide will be pounced upon by the media and others. As a shadow minister it didn’t really matter what he said, but now he’s the alternative PM he’ll be under intense scrutiny and it will be very interesting indeed to see him try to duck and weave around issues that run counter to his personal philosophy.

  63. Rollo

    @Glen Beck;

    You keep saying there is no evidence to support AGW, what are you basing this argument on?

  64. kenbetty

    Bernard, Don’t you think it would be an honest way to start your articles by saying”this is a left wing point of view”. Unknowing readers would then not be sandbagged by your views. Just a thought


  65. james mcdonald

    Bullmore’s Ghost: “As a shadow minister it didn’t really matter what he said, but now he’s the alternative PM he’ll be under intense scrutiny and it will be very interesting indeed to see him try to duck and weave around issues that run counter to his personal philosophy.”

    That’s why I’m amazed he starts his first day with a flippant confession of having lied for expediency about a major issue – the major issue – and this barely rates as a small detail. Normally Australians crucify someone for that.

  66. spenny

    Ah Raymond ‘Teetotal & healthy etc..’ Church.. I read your first two posts and think oh god…. I agree with you.

    And your wit there’s nothing quite like it.

    Perhaps you should run for a seat.

  67. spenny

    on a toilet that is………………………

  68. Bullmore's Ghost

    ^ “Normally Australians crucify someone for that.”

    Yep, and he’ll be seen for what he is. There are liars, damned lairs and Tony Abbott.

  69. Rollo

    @KenBetty: Why should anyone put a prefix of any sort on an opinion piece? I have never seen Akerman, Devine, Bolt etc. state, Excuse me dear reader, today`s opinion piece is proudly brought to you by the Bellicose Wing of the Liberal Party. People should verify for themselves anything that a commentator may claim if they are indeed claiming something written as fact. Otherwise it should be treated as analysis not a relaying of verifiable data/theory.

  70. the duke

    whilst I would have preferred MT to remain as leader, Abbott has better political nous and is equally as savvy as Rudd. Oh we are a lucky country, an arts graduate powder puff prime minister and a religious nut as an opposition leader!

  71. james mcdonald

    Political nous? Political noose. He’s Minchin’s puppet now and fall guy later. Wake up.

  72. the duke

    I think you underestimate Abbott the same way as people underestimated Rudd as a potential leader. Minchin has alreay committted political suicide by his stance on climate change and won’t be around for much longer.

  73. Bullmore's Ghost

    It’s damned hard to get rid of Senators. Unless they have gotten completely offside with party apparatchiks, they sit at the top of the Senate ticket and get in on a massive donkey vote. That’s why the Senate tends to be full of loony tunes on all sides.

  74. jenauthor

    Ahh, but he’s a reactionary, and they can be dangerous. One needs to only remember “Please Explain Pauline” and the effect she had on the gullible and uneducated.

    With Minchin and Abetz in one ear and God in the other …. heaven help us all.

  75. DaveOz

    Tony Abbott spoke about his idea of ‘tweaking’ the constitution so the Federal Government would have the same control over the States as it currently has over the Territories. I guess he’d like centralised government with himself at the centre. He seems to have no shortage of ideas along these lines.

    Well, I grew up in the same area as he did, played Rugby like he did, but worked in the corporate world and grew into my adult view of spirituality and religion. I reckon I’m entitled to have my say on a ‘tweaking’ idea as well.

    That idea is to have a referendum so that political parties are banned from making nominations for the Australian Senate, and Senators would not be allowed to have party affiliations. That would give every Senator the same voice as as a Stephen Fielding and the likes of him would no longer hold our legislative processes to ransom. In other words, it would be a genuinely independent house of review.

    Tony Abbot said today that his party’s role is to oppose the Labor Party, at the same time as saying that their role is to hold the government accountable – seems a bit contradictory. What I see is the country being effectively governed by the party room of the Liberal Party. Rather than the House of Representatives vote on the ETS Emissions Legislation being the critical vote of the people’s representatives, the crucial vote seems to be the 55-29 secret ballot in the party room.

    I think I have a case, what do others think?

  76. Rollo


    The idea certainly has merit theoretically but I can`t personally see how viable it would be in a practical application sense: the main reason being is that political parties have the organisational apparatus to help an individual make their candidacy effective. Your suggestion would mean setting up a new bureaucracy for incipient candidates to gain the knowledge and funding required to launch a run at the senate wouldn`t it? I also think things would eventually degenerate along HoR party lines to some extent anyway.

  77. Bullmore's Ghost

    Exactly. Quite apart from the states asserting their “rights”, whatever they are, and thwarting the proposal with a massive scare campaign about centralist government along the lines of China, as soon as you have a bunch of so-called independent people in a room, affiliations quickly form around the nosiest people and you end up with pseudo parties anyway.

    I’m no student of the Roman Empire but I’d like to know how long Senators remained “independent”.

    Frankly, I’d vote to get rid of the Senate altogether, but only under a republican model.

  78. james mcdonald

    It is an interesting idea, DaveOz. A bit hard to reconcile with freedom of association and political office open to all. A problem, not necessarily a showstopper. It’s the very reason why the British House of Lords was in the past the preserve of the aristocracy and the Commons wasn’t.

  79. eclectic eel

    The Collosesses of Rhodes (scholars) – the rapier of rhetoric wit against the pugulist protagonist of papist cant. – what a match!.
    Turnbull was brilliant in the spycatcher trial in 86. – but shot his bolt in the utegate debacle.

    What has Abbott achieved? He’s now the leader of a unsavory
    bunch of bovver boys and girls with an excess of steroidal hormones and a deficiency of frontal lobe activity.

    That’s what we really need to save the country and the planet – don’t we? Actually, the path is clear and the future can
    be bright if we listen to the scientists and make the bleeding obvious choices. As Nick Stern said on Lateline tonight –
    Australia has much to gain by taking a lead and giving a chance for technology and the market to start making energy and manufacturing carbon reducing.

    As a migrant to this country in the 1960s, I am frustrated with how little we value our homegrown talent to deal with this incredibly urgent problem.

  80. DaveOz

    Thanks for the reply Rollo.

    How sophisticated was the organisational apparatus that put Stephen “I’ll make it quite clear: fiscal, F-I-S-K-A-L” Fielding in the Senate – a series of gatherings at Hillsong establishments in South Australia? That garnered him 2519 votes and set him on his way. I’d say that the ‘Crikey Group’ could put up a couple of candidates and get as many votes as he did, nullify his vote, and provide a non-partisan genuine review vote on top of that.

    Not long ago ideas like democracy and universal suffrage (not to mention mandatory voting, [which Nick Minchin wants to do away with, by the way]) had a lot of theoretical merit, with seemingly impossible hurdles. The fact that the whole process is now being ‘gamed’ by political parties (with Oz trying its best to follow the U.S. into the democratic ditch), such that an authoritarian regime like China can appear more decisive, sane, and successful than many western democracies is not a good look.

  81. eddie28

    The Duke says:
    ”Oh we are a lucky country, an arts graduate powder puff prime minister and a religious nut as an opposition leader!”

    Thought you were talking about the same person. Why does nobody seem to mind Rudd being god-fearing, holding press conferences outside church every Sunday?

    Besides, you pay Abbott a disservice. Rudd has a BA from ANU, while Abbott is a Rhodes scholar with a Law and Economics degree (one of the few leaders in this country to have had genuine Economics knowledge) and a Masters in Philosophy.

    He spends several weeks each year as a volunteer school teacher in Aboriginal communities in Cape York and is a long time CFA volunteer firefighter.

    Now, this hardly makes him an automatic candidate for PM and I am sure there is also more to Rudd than meets the eye but to cast Abbott has one dimesional is inaccurate.

  82. the duke

    thanks Eddie28…

    is Rudd actually god fearing? not that it matters to me, I thought he was a church’ie?

    I’d actually prefer Abbott over Rudd as much as I would have preferred Turnbull over Rudd. Abbott is a smart man, no doubt about that – he also has more charisma than powder puff Rudd from my perspective. I don’t like career politicians or public servants, Rudd is one.

    Abbott has made too many gaffes which will be replayed time and time again during the lead up to the next election and thus I think he has NO CHANCE of being PM. In saying that, Abbott is not as bad as he is portrayed and is a very logical thinker and speaker.

    People always refer to his views on abortion which have only ever been “it happens to often for his liking”, I tend to agree with him on this issue.

    I’d say the whole past week has lost the Coalition the election in 2013 already.

  83. Richard Wilson

    I think you will find that any matters of personal morality will be considered by Abbott as non core and not central to party policy. After all, it is the Liberal Party not the Franciscan Order and therefore any baiting on abortion, family planning, gay marriage or headscarves by Rudd’s Robots the client follower media will be put to a conscience vote by the new Liberal leader. He is not a fool. This will render the Liberati impotent. Their cluckings over his being trapped in a Catholic bind are naive to say the least.

  84. Phil

    You certainly hope so, seems more like a desperate plea or advice to your new leader. Worried are you?

  85. merlot64

    If Glen Beck isn’t Glenn Beck then why does Glen Beck call himself Glen Beck. Is it just wishful thinking to want to pretend to be one of America’s more odious loonies?

    But anyway – Abbbott only just made it. He will have to rely on the goodwill of those who voted (or would have voted) against him to maintain any sense of unity. But that will depend upon his ability to keep his mouth under control and to balance the conservative against the more moderate views of the majority. If he runs too conservative a line (possibly his natural inclination) he will generate dissent from the potental moderate majority on the back bench. If he takes to moderate a line he will get a roasting from Minchin.

    With regards to the ETS being a tax – well, as Nicholas Stern said, that who don’t understand the need to tax carbon output don’t understand how the Market works. What DOES need to be included though is how the revenue gained from such a tax will go to building a new economy, with new jobs from new industries servicing booming markets in China and India.

  86. merlot64

    @KenBetty – re a left wing view. I suppose it depends upon which elements of Bernard’s columns you are referring to. With regard to the need to address climate change being a left wing conspiracy, that must be why the British Conservative Party has signed up to build a low carbon economy to reduce emmisions. Why Margaret Thatcher said as far back as 1990 that global warming was a risk that needed to be mitigated. Comrades one and all!

  87. JamesK

    Merlot64 faith in a state machine taxing carbon dioxide production that (in his near immortal words): “will go to building a new economy, with new jobs from new industries” should lovingly be reproduced ad nauseum in Coalition election advertising.

  88. Richard Wilson


    I am always worried that the State will fail to represent the interests of the hoi poloi irrespective of which side of the false divide you care to stand. With the exception of the BNP in the UK and the Libertarians in the US, all major parties are funded by the global financial cabal. I am for independents personally. The party system is a false choice as the interests of the corporatocracy are always served first. The more authoritarian the leader e.g. Rudd and Turnbull, the more I worry that we are about to be steamrollered into endless no win wars to serve the military industrial complex, endless health scares for the benefit of the medical industrial complex and endless demagoguery on rights to free health care, education and a myriad of other entitlements, so that someone’s mates in the corporatocracy can make a killing. Watch out for the introduction of charter schools (coming to an area near you) and super medical centres, and just take note of who ends up being awarded these monopolies. When government and corporations combine to screw the public we call it fascism. Please convince me I am unnecessarily sceptical of the state! By the way climate change is funded by the same cabal behind a myriad of foundations and other bodies whether real or not.

    The real cost of this “cap in hand” approach to saving the planet will vastly exceed the cost of funding the cessation of the chopping down of the world’s rainforests, the removal of pollution from the world’s rivers and oceans and the discontinuance of non-biodegradable plastics. These trading schemes are a scam for the global bankers to make squillions and leave us further destitute. There are other ways to solve the challenges we face on this planet and personal enrichment of the few at the expense of the many isn’t on my list.

  89. merlot64

    JamesK – I doubt that the Coalition would want to admit that taxes are the tools used by government to fund society. And like Nicholas Stern said, I doubt you understand what the Market is or how it works. You probably believe the rhetoric that purports that a Free Market is a market with minimal government intervention.

  90. Phil

    If what you believe is true then why do you bother, we’re all screwed. IMHO All we can do is learn from history together with rational thinking with an open minds about what we know. At present, the overwhelming knowledge base that has bought us this far, good and bad, has come from the sciences. There is no doubt that things could be better or worse but at some point, you need to have reasoned trust in the positives of human nature. From my perspective most of what is true and rational comes from scientific endeavours. In my opinion, most people in the area of science are well educated, are of good intention with reasonable morals and judgment valves with a critical peer review as a safe guard. Maybe not prefect but out of all the systems we live under, this has the most creditability. If you disagree with this line of thinking can you please tell others and me where you get your information, knowledge and judgement valves from?

  91. Richard Wilson

    Phil – The very fact the people can speak out against the power elite and get results is edifying. Today I learned that Phil Jones has been stood down from the CRU by East Anglia Uni pending a full investigation of the scandal they call Climategate and NZ scientist Warwick Hughes is calling for the conference to be cancelled pending full investigation of what has been going on. Of course, you probably know that now all of the raw data on which the main climate modeling was done has been destroyed.

    As much as the MSM have tried to ignore it, it just won’t go away, and the scientific blogs have been running white hot around the world. So I am not without hope at all. I believe that as long as we can speak out, we can do something to ensure there is no complete takeover of our existence by the power elite. Whole communities are reorganising around villages in the UK after being corporatised nearly out of existence. People are setting up their own local markets rather than going to those trasholes called supermarkets which vend little other than crude oil derivatives. And there is increasing talk of returning to community banking. By organising at a community level where people can see they do matter, they can see the political process at work and will get involved.

    I noticed that Lord Stern is attacking Australia over the Opposition’s decision to review more evidence on climate change. Well that is his job as it appears to have been Paul Krugman’s job to counter any attack on the CRU in an interview with US newsman George Stephanopolous on one of those shill TV stations the other day. These guys work hard for their masters. They have already got so much egg on their faces I don’t know how anyone can take them seriously.

    Now we have reported today in the Danish press, a scandal concerning fraudulent carbon trading in a Euro market which is already valued at 670 billion krona. How much of the market is being fraudulently traded is anyone’s guess. I think the people are starting to learn they have far more power than they ever dreamed and if they know what is good for them they will use it every chance they get.

  92. Venise Alstergren

    MOST PECULIAR MAMA: We all know what your position is; how about writing about it differently? A barking worm’s- eye view of the situation?

  93. Phil

    It’s going to be a great campaign this time, bring it on.
    Thanks Dr Strangelove, video of the day comments.
    Abbott, what’s peakoil! D’oh

    That still didn’t answer my question

  94. Venise Alstergren

    Someone made the point that all the right-wing zealots and fraternal members of Opus Dei have suddenly come out of the wood-work and into the pages of Crikey.

    So true, so true, and led by the secondmost scary holy roman in Oz. John James, take a bow.

  95. RaymondChurch

    Here’s another Abbott special today, re Westpac upping the rate to 0.45…Mad Monk “I can understand people being angry with Westpac, but it is the Governments fault, blame them.” Now there is logic from the new Lib leader!!! But he is going to change his ways and make a fresh start 🙂

  96. jenauthor

    Another Abbott special today … “there will be no ETS and no new tax in the COALition’s climate change policy”. Huh?

    How will he pay for it if there is no price on carbon?

    He says “alternatives will achieve the target”.

    Alternatives like the planting of new forests … this from the team who are happy to log everything in sight. And who pays for the land and the seedlings and the water to keep them alive? No … wait … lets plant them in the desert … we don’t need water … surely God will provide. Never mind that it’ll take years for any appreciable sequestration effects.

    Alternatives like more efficient building practices: and who opposed, and continues to oppose the insulation scheme? The solar panels scheme?

    Sorry — I know he has only been boss for a day, but the word credible doesn’t seem to be resonating in my ears!!!!

  97. the duke

    Raymond – not as silly as it seems.. whilst the stimulus was too big, there is case to be made as to whether inflation is increasing at a faster pace than it would have with a smaller stimulus.

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