Crikey Says

Jan 31, 2013

Crikey says: an election actually about the issues?

The date is set: Bernard Keane on the politics, William Bowe on the polling, Scott Prasser on the case for fixed terms, and how the media covered it. Plus the case of the gay would-be refugees. More Gerard Henderson nit-picking from Mark Latham. And the future of Today Tonight.

Tony Abbott has said he wants to focus on issues, rather than on personal politics, and such a commitment is welcome as we begin the long road to September 14. Fulfilling that commitment should start with his speech to the National Press Club. There is pressure -- much of it of course from Labor -- for Abbott to begin releasing detailed, fully-costed policies today. But that shouldn't be the criterion by which Abbott's speech is assessed, particularly given the fluid circumstances of the budget. Instead, Abbott could do worse than adopt a similar approach to that of the Prime Minister in her speech yesterday and eschew the politics, and focus instead on the policy challenges he believes he would have to confront if elected. For three years, Abbott has blamed everything and anything on Labor's incompetence. But, for example, what would the Coalition do to address the high Australian dollar? How would it address a softer revenue environment than the one it enjoyed when last in government? How would it increase investment in infrastructure, or pay for the NDIS, to which Abbott says he is enthusiastically committed? The Prime Minister's response to these issues yesterday was a downbeat, reflective one -- Australia may have to get used to a high dollar; governments may have to get used to making difficult choices if voters want large-scale programs like the NDIS. In the speech he is delivering as Crikey is published, Abbott has declined to address such issues. Instead, the speech is long on attacks on Labor and light on addressing any challenge other than the one of getting rid of the government. It's a disappointing start.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “Crikey says: an election actually about the issues?

  1. The Pav

    RE “In the speech he is delivering as Crikey is published, Abbott has declined to address such issues. Instead, the speech is long on attacks on Labor and light on addressing any challenge other than the one of getting rid of the government. It’s a disappointing start.”

    A disappointing start from a disappointing leader.

    The question is will he be called out by what is effectively a compliant media only to ready to buy the opposition narrative or forgive Abbotts lack of policy as just one of the “Tony Abbott” things

  2. dazza

    Interesting to note how the press club was loaded with Abbotts LNP stooges and /or his family members who were acting like an Orchestrated election campaign in USA, full of shouting and clapping at the appropriate moment.

  3. AR

    Pav, disappointing? I was polled some time ago (first time in 7 decades)and asked how satisfied i was with MM’s performance and, truthfully, the answer was “VERY!” because, is and will always be godawful which suits me perfectly. I was in a quandary to know how to answer that would reflect my viewpoint.

  4. AR

    .. “because he was, is and ..

  5. pedro

    His mini-launch, like every ‘heartland’ statement, begins with a straw-man attack on the Government, and the inevitable smack-down, with the Coalition to the rescue. He’s trying to do a Kevin. But he has a train-wreck of baggage. I say lose again, Tony.

  6. pedro

    Pell has him by the nuts – convinced he is some kind of ‘Saviour’. Deluded, failed seminarian, easily led.

    NOT PM material as a LEADER. A follower to be sure.

  7. CML

    Abbott is out of his depth as LOTO, let alone PM. To begin with he has foot in mouth disease – couldn’t resist accusing the PM of “running a protection racket” in the case of Craig Thomson.
    To me, that phrase smacks of criminality, and is quite over the top. Why on earth doesn’t Ms Gillard sue Abbott for defamation?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details