Whether it’s Abbott as PM or someone else from the Liberal government, it makes no difference. Because they are all the same. Sure, it’s fun to watch Abbott squirm as he realises he’s losing the fight. I can’t deny I’m enjoying the sense of schadenfreude that comes from watching the Liberals respond to ‘leadership tensions’, something the previous Labor government had to put up with for years. But that’s not to say that the Liberals are in the same position as the Gillard government was in, because the two situations are completely different.
Gillard was running an entirely successful government and was effectively negotiating many positive policy successes with independents and minor parties as a member of a minority government. Sure, Rudd was a problem for Gillard. There’s no denying Rudd’s leaking spurred on a press pack desperate for any bite of a story that would save them from doing any policy analysis, something they’re incapable of doing. But for Abbott, Abbott is clearly the problem. His incompetence is his problem. His ineptitude and incapacity for the development of reasoned, logical, fair, sensible and importantly, popular policies, and his lack of negotiation skills to get terrible and unpopular policies through the Senate are his problem. Abbott is a problem of Abbott’s making. And it’s such fun watching the house of cards come slowly tumbling down. Especially since he has no idea what the problem really is.
This is why I think it’s important to note now, at the outset, before a decision is made about Abbott’s future by his colleagues who are stuck between a rock of an unpopular Prime Minister and a hard place of the hypocrisy of changing leaders after the way these same very people attacked Labor for doing the same thing, that a leadership change will make no difference. The reason for this is because Abbott is not unique to the Liberal National Coalition government. He is not even rare. He’s just like all of them and his policies are ideas they all support. So why would it make any difference if someone else is PM? It’s not Abbott who has to go. It’s this government.
Ask yourself, once they’re rid of Abbott and Peta Credlin, who would they put in their place? Julie Bishop, who is more interested in locating an earring which cost more than most workers’ monthly home mortgage payment than supporting Australians on death row in Bali? Malcolm Turnbull, the quality NBN wrecker who’s giving his Telstra mates control of a lemon of a broadband network, which relies on old technology and will barely be faster than the internet network we have already? How about Joe Hockey, the cigar smoking, best night of his life dancing, poor people don’t drive, bully boy architect of the most unpopular and unfair budget the country has ever seen, which has so far failed to pass the Senate many many months after it has been released? What about, shudder to think, Scott Morrison, who clearly takes great pleasure in the suffering of desperate asylum seekers who are begging Australia to help them save themselves? Instead of helping these desperate people, Morrison has been aiming to make Australia a scarier destination than anywhere the desperate people have fled from. Would you trust this man with your children’s future? He’s in charge of Social Services now. It’s the stuff of nightmares. Name someone else, anyone else who could take over from Abbott and you will see it’s quite clear that they are all the same. They all share the same values, values that lead them to misunderstand why they’re so unpopular. They all share the same failure to understand that their policies are to blame, policies they never took to an election. The problem is not the way the Liberals spin their policies. The turd is unpolishable and the turd is everyone in the Liberal government.
In the simplistic media narrative that goes something like ‘Abbott can’t get his message across so the Liberals need to try a new salesperson’, there is no analysis of the core of the Liberal government’s problem. The core is that their extreme conservative ideology is disgusting and Australians don’t like it. Australians value a fair go, where a person’s post code doesn’t dictate their future success. The Liberals hate this idea. Australians believe that quality education and healthcare should be available as a right to everyone in the country, no matter their bank balance. The Liberals think people who can’t afford health and education should be denied health and education. Australians appreciate a clean environment which provides a safe climate for their futures and future generations. The Liberals cancelled the Carbon Price to help their rich business owner mates continue to pollute our environment and endanger our futures, all to maintain their rich business owner mates’ profits. Australians think we should all benefit from the rewards that come from the sale of natural resources we all own. The Liberals defended rich miners by cancelling the mining tax. Australians think those who have benefited most from the Australian civilisation – those who are the richest – should progressively pay the most tax to pay forward the opportunities they have benefited from to future generations. The Liberals think the rich already pay too much tax and should pay less, with the tax burden falling regressively on those who can least afford it. The values of Australians are fundamentally different than the values of the Abbott government. This mismatch isn’t going to be solved by cutting off the head of the snake.
So I’ll sit back and laugh as I watch Abbott’s political career unravel, and I will appreciate the self-inflicted karma Abbott and his colleagues have brought upon themselves. But I will not entertain notions of anything changing with a new Liberal PM in the top job. The only way to solve this problem, as I suspect Australians have now worked out, is to comprehensively vote the Liberal government out in 2016, if not before.