Dec 23, 2015

The year of deep obsessions and the deep state

Courtesy of Tony Abbott's profound flaws, in 2015 we had a glimpse of how the real exercise of power in Australia is disconnected from democratic accountability.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Parliament House is nearly deserted this week, its long corridors so sepulchrally silent you can hear the drone of the vast air-conditioning system and occasionally a gust from the hot winds that raked the capital in recent days. Most of the building’s occupants have fled; those who remain are in the ministerial wing where the business of government still ticks over in a few offices, or watching the news cycle descend into summer torpor in the press gallery.


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27 thoughts on “The year of deep obsessions and the deep state

  1. Jaybuoy

    The axiom pertaining to flying high whilst surrounded by turkeys is going to apply to Supamal in the coming year..The mad monk in full wrecking mode will make the Rudd/Gillard stoush look like a spat..

  2. Isabel Della

    Powerful analysis Bernard that I fear is all too true. A few obvious questions: is Peta Credlin in the office with him or does she give him his orders before he leaves home each morning? And what does Margie think of Tony’s infantile co-dependence, not to mention his living arrangement? It’s fascinating stuff: watching the disintegration of a person who’s never accepted responsibility for his own behaviour, never grown up. After what he’s put us through it does seem fitting that most Australians will have a happier Christmas than Tony this year. If we can somehow forget the disgusting treatment being meted out to refugees in our name.

  3. Isabel Della

    After all that Tony’s put us through, since taking on the leadership of the LNP, it does seem fitting that most Australians will have a happier Christmas than him this year. If we can somehow forget for a few minutes the disgusting treatment being meted out to refugees in our name.

  4. Roger Clifton

    Performance on bipartisan issues deserves more of our commentators’ scrutiny. Yes, both sides of parliament have responsibly supported the activities of the Australian Defence Forces. Tick. However, how far have we come towards bipartisan support for decarbonising the Australian economy?

    Recent government has shown no track record on Australian emissions. The Labor government has shown only a cowardly commentary on giving away rights to emit. Admittedly, they did (under pressure from the Greens) impose a narrow-based carbon tax, while providing no alternative to coal and gas.

    The media in turn wilfully confuses the issue of carbon with coal, without scrutinising the spread of gas. The issue of non-carbon energy is never explicitly stated, only dismissed with the almost meaningless term “renewables”. The only possible useful version would be “wind-and-gas”, but the commentators fail to say it out loud, lest the obvious contradiction offend the wilfully ignorant.

    Decarbonisation has global urgency. We need our commentators to hold both sides of parliament to task.

  5. Johan Dritter

    “Australia is deep in secret state territory”

    Whitlam tried to rescue us, but that was the last visible attempt.

  6. Johan Dritter

    “his complete, almost infantile reliance on his chief of staff”

    An interesting study in the limits of mind control

  7. Norman Hanscombe

    Bernard, when it comes to what you called, “disconnected from democratic accountability” you missed the irony of Crikey saying this about other entities, didn’t you. You went on to say, “Parliament House is nearly deserted this week” apparently that this is normal for this time of year. You should have asked school kids who would have explained it happens at this time of the year.
    As for “torpor in the press gallery”, in fairness with most of them this seems an intellectual problem most of the year these days. It’s sad that you’re still hoping for an Abbott comeback but as Crikey was one of the short-sighted Faux Progressive cabals which worked to remove him, it’s little wonder you dream of reversing that major blunder.
    You make no mention of Abbott’s exceptional job in removing the Greens / Rudd / Gillard troika from Government in a manner Turnbull couldn’t have done as well; but I guess that’s another of the many facts you rely on cognitive dissonance to help you sleep more soundly.
    You criticise what you call, “Abbott’s weird monarchism” but this does help take your mind off the hopeless campaign waged by you and your ilk in both the run up to 2001 and the actual Republican Campaign in 2001. When not even one State voted for the Republic, you can’t avoid feeling you were a tad less than successful, can you.
    But enough of your inadequacies, in fairness we should look at the comments of your camp followers.
    Roger Clifton, seems blissfully unaware that so-called “decarbonising the Australian economy” is a fantasy with no one on the planet yet presenting an effective scheme.
    I know from conversations with Gough that Johan Dritter’s conspiracy theory about November 1975 would have amused Whitlam, and Dritter’s quaint reference to “the limits of mind control” would have resulted in polite chuckles.
    If anyone feels I’ve failed to comment on their fantasies, let me know, but in fairness to subscribers, please don’t drag this out any further unless you feel there’s really a need to help hapless denizens of the Crikey Dungeons.

  8. Archie Travers

    Thanks BK, without contributions such as yours you start to think you are losing touch with reality. You see idiots making idiotic decisions which are applauded and you wonder what is going on.

    Seems to me you could base a successful political party on doing basically the exact opposite of the LNP.

  9. zut alors

    If only Bill Shorten could secretly give the deluded Tony Abbott every assistance & support in his quest to snatch back the Prime Ministership. As PM, Abbott became an electoral gift to the ALP.

    Who can forget the inappropriate address to the bemused G20 leaders in Brisbane in 2014 boasting, in his litany of fanfaronade, of his (doomed) Medicare co-payment. Ye gods.

  10. bjb

    “But Abbott exited the job with nothing: government spending was up on Labor’s years, not down (as Scott Morrison likes to remind us), taxation was up on Labor’s years, not down, the deficit was up on Labor’s years, not down, unemployment was up on Labor’s years, not down — by all the markers that matter, Abbott’s prime ministership was poor fiscally and economically. His pretensions to being the “infrastructure prime minister” crumbled amid a ruined NBN”

    Any pretense the LNP has about being better able to run the economy is gone. The LNP have never been a “big picture” party, and the destruction of the NBN is a case in point.

    This comment by Andrew T (https://delimiter.com.au/2015/11/24/fifield-praises-coalitions-spectacular-nbn-turnaround/#li-comment-707921) on the Delimiter web site sums it up perfectly.

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