Abbott’s biggest deceit

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: Abbott’s good optics won’t erase bad policy” (yesterday). These days it’s hard to know who is more lazy and self-indulgent: Tony Abbott or the media hacks who follow him around while he pretends that he “simply doesn’t get it“.

As “Mr Accountability” defended his broken promises as being necessary because “things have moved on and things have changed”, he knew that the only real reason that he and his colleagues aren’t trusted is not because they have broken promises, but because they have steadfastly insulted the Australian people by dishonestly arguing that they hadn’t.

And while the media hailed Abbott’s phony mea culpa as a new beginning, he maintained his breathtaking deceit in plain sight by pretending that his government’s proposed budget onslaught against the youngest, oldest, sickest and poorest was “fair” because it is balanced by a temporary income tax hike on high-income earners.

Even with the government’s own advisers calling for the removal of popular tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthy, such as dividend imputation, negative gearing, capital gains and superannuation tax concessions, rather than pursuing an increase in the GST, phony Tony and his stubborn, wilful and totally dishonest colleagues continue to demonstrate that there is no “reset” button to be found on their political dashboard.

On invisible energy

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Nuclear: the power source for innumerates and socialists” (Monday). What amused me about Bishop’s statement on obvious nuclear power is that atoms are invisible (I think. I may have missed a scientific development) whereas that big yellow thing in the sky isn’t. So what is the more obvious source of energy?

The end of the Right? Really?

Martin Gordon writes: Re “Rundle: Napthine’s loss the beginning of the end for the Right” (yesterday). Guy Rundle must possess a server full of pre-written tracts to suit the occasion as evidenced by yesterday’s effort. Francis Fukuyama wrote about the end of history, and every time a party loses an election it is written off. Rarely does this actually happen.

It would be fair to describe the Napthine government loss as modest (as William Bowe did exactly in Crikey on Monday). The endorsement of Napthine by the Fairfax stable of the AFR and The Age was astonishing — perhaps they know more than Guy does? The same flawed logic of the inexorable trend of ageing of voters and inevitable decline and rise of fortunes is not new either. Similar tracts were written when Whitlam was elected, and confident predictions of decades of Labor re-election were foretold. They were rubbish.

A few items below Guy’s was Alex Mitchell (“One-term Baird? Tell ’em they’re dreaming) talking about the mess the NSW ALP is in over electricity privatisation (the ALP has been down this track too, its opposition is an election strategy, not a plan at all). Alex did fail to mention the endorsement of Mike Baird’s plan by Paul Keating recently, as a forward-looking development. Will Guy bless us with some tract about an ALP comeback on the back of this “visionary” anti-privatisation platform?

Yes the federal Coalition is making really heavy weather of things. Clumsiness of a scale that possibly matches that of the previous PM Julia Gillard. However for the Coalition at its core is the naked obstruction of the ALP and Greens which has been canvassed even in Crikey — the opposing ALP government initiatives for one, fuel excise re-indexation etc. Advantageous to the ALP, but short-sighted in that it makes everything worse. Knowing the federal bureaucracy, similar budget measures have been pursued in the past by the ALP (and will be again — don’t you worry about that!), and Guy never saw fit to rail against them. The ALP of course had the advantage of Coalition general support for its unpleasant measures (Chris Bowen claimed some $180 billion of savings, or $300 billion for the 13 years from 2008-09 to 2020-21), about 99% of which the Coalition supported.

But before Guy rushes to print a further tract, Alan Davies’ (“What will the Andrews government do for public transport?”) was a fascinating read. The cynicism of a minimalist ALP public transport policy hidden from electors does not augur well for a new “visionary”, “reforming” government that will sweep all before it. Perhaps the sweeping will be only of more rubbish, and not electoral success!

Peter Fray

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