At What Cost?


As we await the release of tomorrow’s Federal Budget, it would appear in Abbott-land, not all promises are born equal. The promise to return the budget to surplus is clearly far more important to Abbott than promises not to cut welfare, health and education funding. Another priority promise appears to be the promise to ‘stop. the. boats’, which Abbott uses as an excuse to override any semblance of decency and humanity in the way that our country treats the most desperate members of our community. But my question is, how much do Abbott voters value these promises to return the budget to surplus and to stop the boats? Do they value them as much as Abbott clearly does? Or are the people who supported Abbott in 2013 starting to ask a question that should keep Abbott and his team awake at night – are the end goals of a surplus and the end of the flow of boats really worth all this cost?

Like the ideological zealot that he is, Abbott is quite clearly more than happy to swing his wrecking ball at anything that even remotely resembles Labor Party policy, and will continue to do this for the term of his government because he can. This is an important point. Abbott is not cutting and burning spending because he really wants to keep his promise to return the budget to surplus. Because clearly there was no ‘budget emergency’, and clearly deep cuts to an economy that is already nervously coming out of the global financial crisis is a hugely detrimental strategy. These cuts have nothing to do with Abbott keeping a promise, because apart from anything else, Abbott has proven time and time again that he doesn’t give a crap about keeping promises. Abbott wants a small government, not because it is good for the economy, not because it is good for the community, and not because it is the responsible adult thing to do. He wants small government because it suits his free-marketeer ideology.

I’m guessing the vast majority of Abbott voters don’t understand what ideology even means, let alone how an ideology such as Abbott’s guides every decision the man makes. However, I’m wondering, while Abbott bandies around his ‘surplus at all costs’ justification for his broken promises and his wide ranging and anti-community, anti-poor-people, pro-wealth-inequality policies, if people who voted for him are a little peeved that he’s doing all this for them. Because I don’t think when they voted for Abbott, and they heard him say he’d deliver a surplus, they were really giving him permission to do everything he is doing now. Did Abbott voters know that the surplus promise came with a list of asterisks that completely undermine the social contract between government and voters? Did they know they’d be paying for GP visits? Did they understand that once the mining tax was gone, they would have to pay for the loss in revenue themselves somehow? Are they happy about paying more for petrol, after Abbott told them it was OK to protest against the Carbon Price? Are they starting to wonder who this lunatic is who they have put in charge? Are they starting to realise that their support for Abbott is being used to justify him doing terrible, horrible, cruel, ideologically-driven, fiscally irresponsible things to the country which is going to detrimentally influence their own lives, and the lives of all their family and friends? Are they feeling used? I think they might be.

Clearly most Abbott voters don’t give much thought to the lives of asylum seekers and the reasons why people put their families on boats. Nor do they care what happens to these people if they don’t get on a boat. But I wonder if the ‘stop the boats’ slogan that sounded so promising to these people during the election campaign, is now making them feel a bit nervous. Did voters understand when they gave Abbott their vote that he would be using it to destroy Australia’s relationship with Indonesia? Are they starting to understand that there was never a simple way to deal with asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat and anyone who said there was, was lying? And even if they don’t care about asylum seekers, what do they think about asylum seekers being murdered inside an Australian detention centre? Are they proud to know that they had a part to play in the violence at Manus Island? Do they cringe even just a little bit at the thought that they gave Scott Morrison control of this situation, and he’s clearly not fit to be in charge of people’s lives?

I very much doubt any Abbott voter would ever admit to a feeling of unease about the surplus situation, or what is happening to asylum seekers, but Abbott needs to understand that even if these voters can’t bring themselves to form the words, or even the thought that they might have done the wrong thing by voting Liberal or National, it will influence their behaviour in the future. Judging by the latest polls voters may be learning not to make the same mistake twice.


  1. Victoria

    As the budget has at this point not been delivered I suggest that this whole post is just the high tide mark for the Labor induced scare campaign. A line of propaganda that is essentially dishonest and an attempt to distract the polity from Labor luminaries up before royal commissions that are looking into Labor party and union maleficence and incompetence. You see out there away from the Latte belt we the voters know that Abbott inherited a mess from Labor and the main reason we put Tony in the lodge was fix that mess. Now I’m sure that there will be things in the budget that I personally won’t like but I’m also sure that it won’t be as bad as you say it will be here.

    • Iain Hall, sadly a liberal troll with my surname, dam! We now have a mess, a liberal mess, funny that the ICAC investigation in NSW is dragging in so many libs isnt it! The liberal witch hunt re Unions and the Pink Batts is just that, a witch hunt. Cant wait for an ICAC in Victoria & Federally where we will see the rest of the corrupt libs fall down.

      • You don’t seem to get my point Mr Hall, namely by all means lets be critical of the the things that any government actually does rather than having kittens about what they might do or what their opposite number misrepresents their intentions to be. That works no matter what your political affiliations may be.

        Finally the thing about so called witch hunts is that sometimes they find real life witches and this seems to be the case with the Pink batts and union royal commissions. Further I abhor all kinds of corruption and if any Libs have been doing the wrong thing then may they feel the full weight of the law you seem to be in complete denial that there has been corrupt practices within the unions and the ALP when the real lesson of things like ICAC is that Labor have been up to their necks in dirty deeds

      • “If any Libs have been doing the wrong thing” the last time the libs had an investigation into Unions it bought down a Lib minister. This is just a wasteful witch hunt. The ICAC investigation in NSW looks like it will go close to bringing down a corrupt state govt and in the process has involved 2 fed lib’s. Funny that these investigations seem to involve more libs than any other polies. That was what I was trying to get across. We have had 6 or 7 other investigations into the pink batts situation. We dont need another. And when Howard was in power there were more deaths and injuries in that industry than when Labor insulated over 1 million homes. Truth hurts but there you are!

      • Yes, the libs setup the commission’s and the majority of people caught seems to be members of the liberal party, even Abbott’s and hockey’s fund raising arms are being investigated by icac now.

  2. Dear Victoria Rollison,

    Thank you for your recent letter which conveys a spirited philippic if nothing else. I see you have not tasted the waters of the Peirian Spring as yet.

    I hope you don’t mind if I call you Victoria. I have been busy working on this year’s budget so I was unable to respond to your letter sooner. I am disturbed to know that I have invaded your dreams and let me assure you it is not my intention to do so.

    You are wrong to assert that I told Federal Parliament that the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had been found. What I did say was that satellite images potentially showed debris from the missing plane. I guess just like the main arms of the media, the unregulated social media is capable of sloppy reporting.

    Victoria, no Prime Minister can ignore large protest marches but I wonder if those who were drawn to the protest march against my government were people who would not vote for the Liberal-National Party Coalition. I hope our policy roll-out will attract some of those who protested.

    Victoria, we all have to do our bit to improve the well-being of the nation and pensioners will be required to do their share. We are spending a large amount of money on strike aircraft because security is an important issue.

    You are right when you say that Labor when in power didn’t say ‘the government has run out of money’. If we faithfully recall the time when Labor was in power they spent most of the time talking about budget surpluses that were a cruel hoax, a chimera.

    We are recasting our approach to AGW by steering away from wind turbine farms as our first move. The ALP was very keen to make the mostly overseas owned wind turbine operators very rich by mulcting the Australian taxpayer, some of whom were the desperate pensioners you are so worried about.

    As I alluded to earlier your letter indicates that no matter how much we spend on education some people will slip through the cracks.

    Your friend always,

  3. LOL… ah Tones, all bush as usual! Just when will you deliver a surplus? Years later than Labor would have done. And just why are you asking pensioners et al to carry the load for your dubious govt? Why? How about removing the fuel excise credits from the mining companise, problem solved in 1 fell swoop. Bit too easy tho I guess, after all, you might miss out on a few dinners ect from your mates in the mining industry! Dumbest govt ever, lyingest govt ever. Global warming, I think you reckon thats caused mainly by the hot air coming from the lieberal party rooms in cantbearher and elsewhere. Never mind, just 2.5 years to go and we can get Labor and the Greens fixing up the mess you are leaving.
    Your enemy always,

  4. Great piece, again, Victoria, asking all the right questions. 🙂
    I hope that the very awful answers are contributing to nation-wide insomnia, with perhaps some good action plans arising from deep thoughts in the wee hours…

    Looks like the troll(s) is (are) looking for more fake names to put up their fake opinions …such a pleasure to scroll on by…

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