What Abbott Taught Us

DontDoItAgainI know it’s going to be really hard for most of Australia to be convinced that Tony Abbott has done us a favour, because everything so far that he has done for Australia since becoming Prime Minister has been the opposite of a favour. However, it has occurred to me that Abbott, unbeknownst to himself, has, through being the worst Prime Minister we have ever had, done us the favour of teaching us some lessons that I hope are taught well enough that we won’t forget. So that we don’t go and make the same mistake twice in 2016. Here are some of the key lessons Abbott has imparted so far in his first shambolic, chaotic term:

Conservative Liberals are conservative Liberals.

If it walks like a conservative Liberal, talks like a conservative Liberal and quacks like a conservative Liberal, I hope we have all learned that it’s a duck. Seriously folks, I know you all feel like there’s not much point us all saying this over and over again, but sometimes I feel I need to say it just a few more times quietly to myself to keep from going insane and screaming from the roof tops with the scale of my ‘I told you so’ impulse. But yeah, I did tell everyone and not enough of the people who needed to listen listened. Yet, perhaps they are listening now?

Abbott has always been a conservative. No matter what way you ‘spin’ it, none of his behaviour whilst in Howard’s government for all those years told us anything more than we already knew about how right-wing-fanatical-conservative Liberals behave. It has always be thus.

You only have to know their two favourite words to understand Abbott and his government’s entire ideology, which drives their entire raison d’être. User pays. The likes of Abbott’s have a subconscious thought process that goes something like this: those who are born poor and haven’t worked hard enough are too lazy to stop being poor and are lazy and dependant on hard working rich people who pay taxes. Rich people who pay taxes shouldn’t be relied on to fund the lives of lazy, immoral poor people who are too lazy to get rich and pay taxes. It’s immoral to let people be dependent on the government and a big government encourages people to be lazy and to depend on the government. Big government should be destroyed in preference for a small, useless, and not able to be dependable government. Users should pay their way, so user pays is the best system for funding everything including health, education, infrastructure, community, everything. If user can’t afford to pay, user doesn’t get and user should stop being so lazy and hungry and in need of shelter and should go and get rich so they’re not reliant on the rich people who have to pay tax to support them.

Get it? This is the way conservative Liberals like Abbott have always seen the world, and always will see the world. Once you recognise this mentality, you can see it in everything Abbott does and in all his policies and of course all over his budget. We should never ever forget this. Abbott and his ilk will always be this way. A fair chunk of the voting public also think like this. But those who don’t share this attitude shouldn’t vote for Abbott, and if they do vote for Abbott and they’re surprised that they get a duck for a Prime Minister, they should learn from their mistake and never do it again.

Running the country takes more than a 3 word slogan.

You know how it was really fashionable and mainstream over the last six years to run with the line that the Labor government was chaotic and dysfunctional and needed to be voted out for this reason, especially after Labor formed a minority government in 2010? Abbott’s government has proven, through a continuous barrage of chaotic mistakes, missteps, scandals, embarrassments, tragedies, ships pinging themselves, diplomatic rows with Indonesia, a murdered asylum seeker, lobbyist chiefs of staff, expense scandals, a biased Speaker, back-bench revolts, the c-bomb in Parliament, the shutting down of an industry, scholarship nepotism,  senior leaders not knowing details about the budget, wink gaffes, that it’s not as easy as it looks to run a country. Note that this list is long enough, without also including two nationwide marches of tens of thousands disgruntled voters, or any of the policy horror stories included in the most unpopular budget of all time. So we have learned that three word slogans count for less than nothing. And the outcome of this is that Abbott’s government has shown the previous Labor government to be the policy-successful, cohesive, on-message, highly professional and well-oiled machine that I always said they were, despite Rudd’s white-anting. I told you so. Oops, another one slipped out.

The mainstream media is terrible at reporting politics and covering political campaigns.

I’m clearly not the only person at the moment who has noticed that the mainstream media isn’t wearing any clothes. Not only did they completely fail to scrutinise Abbott’s character and policy plans before the election, but now they are floundering around, failing to adequately explain what it is that Abbott is trying to do to the country. How many times do we have to hear a political journalist say that Abbott needs to ‘improve his message’ before these so-called professional journalists understand that you can’t just spit on and polish this turd of a budget?

Abbott’s polling problems have nothing to do with ‘message’ or the ‘sales job’ and everything to do with the actual policies contained within the budget papers. Policies. You know, those things that decide how the wealth of the country will be distributed, who will pay what tax, who will receive what services and who has access to what support? This is seriously important stuff for political journalists to be looking at, but every time they get paid to open their mouths or to put pen to paper, all we hear commentary about is Abbott’s spin-job. It’s a disgrace. And it’s this disgrace that enabled Abbott to get the job in the first place. Shame on you all.

Here’s a couple of tips for journalists who are trying to work out where they’ve gone wrong at doing their really important jobs. The first thing they need to understand is that Australians didn’t need to hear them discuss how Hockey sold the budget, because we were listening to Hockey and we heard exactly what he said. We speak English just as well as journalists do, and our ears and eyes function in exactly the same way. The second thing they need to know is that the Liberal government’s polls are bad because the budget is a horror movie for the Australian community. Not because it was sold badly. How about putting that objective perspective out there, just for a change? This is not a two-horse spin race. This is people’s lives. This is everyone’s lives.

There were more than one or two progressive policies worth defending in the election.

Enough said.

The fate of our community is our own fate.

Abbott’s budget proved that the community does care about the community. And isn’t that what being a progressive is all about?

Sometimes it’s not until the values of a community are so blatantly threatened like they have been by Abbott’s budget that people realise even if these policies aren’t going to be personally detrimental to them, they are going to be detrimental to lots of other people in the community and that this is not fair. When voters start to think about what is fair and how they want their country to be fairer, progressives are bred in huge numbers. So perhaps the community has learned that they do care about their community. And perhaps this is Abbott’s most important legacy that we should be most grateful for. Abbott is breeding progressives. And progressives don’t vote for Abbott.


  1. Good on Victoria and loved your photo and sign. And yes Victoria, it is all true what you have written about that Dead Black Duck Abbott. Now to those dumb swingers, who never listened to common sense and believed those three word nothings that spat out of those fanatical conservative liberals lips, who have never really worked along side of the poor working class and have the cheek to insult them as being lazy. Then there are those Dumb Bell political journalists, who also kept up the negativity Blitzkrieg, day in and day out, who now must shoulder the blame for the shit they printed that lead those dumb swingers into the cesspit of lies by this Abbott lead Government. The worst Government in Australia’s history.

  2. Sure the general population was foolish to vote in Abbott, but consideration must be given to their wish to give the malfunctioning ALP ‘a dose of salts’. The ALP was seen as a hollow log that a group of scheming, vote-block factionalised self-serving carpet baggers could infiltrate and turn to their own soiled purposes. My honest, hardworking ALP sitting member was turfed out by ‘the Machine’ and protesting party members were expelled. What about the sad failure to add a measly $50 to the dole, and the cruel reduction of $100 per week from single mothers, benefit? I loath the LNP, but the shock of 2013 may be the voltage needed to reform and purify the ALP. Let us hope so.

    • I agree with Conrad. The ALP has lost what you call ‘progressives’ over past years as they finally gave up supporting, or lost their incumbency to, the drones installed by the party machine. The resulting void in the ranks, coupled with a disenchanted community watching the shenanigans of those who remain, left a clear path for a person like Abbott to have an easy run in.

  3. Absolutely agree with everything you say, but can’t help adding my tuppenceworth! I’m a dedicated swinging voter, and proud of it. No one party is ever going to be the cat’s pyjamas world without end, and it’s up to us to bring our intelligence to bear on scrutinising both sides for honesty and viability. I did NOT vote for Phony Tony, who is, was, and always will be, a creepy, power-hungry opportunist.
    THe media here is heavily prejudiced by a Murdoch-owned press and neo-conservative shock jocks with too much power and apparently no accountability (Alan Jones and Ray Hadley in NSW, don’t know about SA) so who with any intelligence would believe a word thay say? Shame on Australian voters for not recognising it.
    Despite the good work done by the labour government (carbon tax, mining tax, Gonski, disability care etc) imo they made one fatal mistake before the last election. They failed to unite behind Jula Gillard to counter the vicious and inexcusable attack that Abbott promised to mount against her after the previous election, and did. He showed himself to be a cruel and unprincipled bully, but instead of uniting to fight back, Labour panicked. And again, shame on Australian voters for not condemning Abbott’s dirty tactics.
    But you’re right – we do have cause to be grateful. Maybe we’d become too complacent, and we needed the likes of Abbott to remind us of our erstwhile basic principle of a fair go. Let’s hope we still remember it by the next election.

    • Helen, though I agree, I also think Labor had one other difficulty to deal with during Gillard’s prime ministership: Kevin Rudd. I think he possibly did more damage than Abbott, because he had supporters in government.

  4. If abbott is soon to be ousted – we need to start talking “Liberal” not abbott. removing the head of this snake will not kill the snake.

  5. Great article, puts it all together so well, thanks again, Victoria.

    ….and isn’t it strange how the hall troll has disappeared??? stilla few trying distract, but I suspect Iain the pain is in pain…

  6. Thanks Victoria. That has always been the problem with the MSM in my view. In their endless striving for ‘balance’ they refuse to judge anything on its merits. So they present the budget with no gravitas or analysis. It’s just another ”thing” the government has to settle. And if they fail, it’s because they can’t ‘sell’ it. Not because it’s a dog – that would be too partisan for them.

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