“The Abbott government plans a drastic overhaul of the higher education system, including axing the compulsory fee collected by universities to support student services and scrapping Labor’s targets to lift participation by disadvantaged students” — The Age, September 25

“Protest groups that stymie major infrastructure projects will be targeted as the Coalition seeks to speed up an $11.5 billion roads program … The moves challenge ‘not-in-my-backyard’ protesters.” — The Australian, September 25

“Environmental groups have hit out at a Federal Government proposal to silence organisations from campaigning in overseas markets. Tasmanian senator and Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck has floated the idea of amendments to consumer law aimed at stopping campaigns against Australian products” — Hobart Mercury, September 24

Did we know all about these Coalition plans before election day? They’re not ringing much of a bell.

The Coalition hammered Labor for saying there would be no carbon tax before the 2010 election, then bringing one in. Tony Abbott built his leadership on this issue and on the message that there would be “no surprises” from a Liberal government.

Now the Liberal government is here, and it should bear in mind the precedent it established. No, it’s not necessary for every government action to have been taken to the people at an election. But less than three weeks on from election day, voters are entitled to ask if the Coalition had some significant plans in the locker that it lacked the courage or conviction to share with the public.

Call it the Abbott precedent. Be very careful of actions you don’t have a mandate for, Tony.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.