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Abbott’s belligerence: putting in the boot or kicking himself?

The words won’t rank with the oratorical flourishes of great leaders but I can’t remember Churchill or Roosevelt describing anybody as “wacko”. When prime minister Tony Abbott uttered this word in an interview…

Tony Abbott’s interview with the Washington Post has revived Abbott’s problem of loose lips - but this time, it’s on the international stage. AAP/Matthew Newton

The words won’t rank with the oratorical flourishes of great leaders but I can’t remember Churchill or Roosevelt describing anybody as “wacko”. When prime minister Tony Abbott uttered this word in an interview with the Washington Post on the weekend, it was clear he wished to plant one of his partisan boots in the soft, nether regions of his opponents.

To wit, Abbott answered a question about the National Broadband Network fibre to the premises plan with:

Welcome to the wonderful, wacko world of the former government.

Abbott replied to the question about the former government “doing a lot of things that were bad for the country” with:

I thought it was the most incompetent and untrustworthy government in modern Australian history.

Such language made American political scientist Norman Ornstein “wince”. Ornstein is not a left-wing Abbott-hater from the inner west of Sydney, but an American from the profoundly right-wing American Enterprise Institute and one of the world’s leading foreign policy thinkers.

So, we’re dealing with the old Abbott problem of loose lips but now on the international stage.

The lesson Abbott took from the last three years is that fierce partisan politics works with voters. Certainly, many voters were considerably peeved by the major parties. But when Abbott could get a word in between Labor’s frequent shots in the foot, he was taking those tainted tootsies and shoving them in the voters’ faces.

Any prime minister will want to bash the opposition, especially in the first year when the sins of that previous government are fresh in voter’s minds. But that has to be balanced with a certain decorum associated with the office and with what is publicly and politically acceptable. Ornstein outlined one aspect of that:

It really does violate a basic principle of diplomacy to drag in your domestic politics when you go abroad. It certainly can’t help in building a bond of any sort with President Obama to rip into a party, government and - at least implicitly - leader, with whom Obama has worked so closely. Perhaps you can chalk it up to a rookie mistake. But it is a pretty big one.

Australia’s leaders don’t want to involve other countries' leaders in our domestic politics while overseas anyway. Former Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen did this in 1987: while visiting Japan he attacked the Hawke government.

Political leaders abide by what is known as the London Convention of not talking about domestic politics while on foreign policy business. This was invented by Bob Hawke in the late 1980s when he was getting hassled while overseas by Australian reporters about domestic politics, in particular the problems created by Paul Keating.

When Keating was prime minister, however, he didn’t think much of the convention.

Ironically enough, Abbott reminds me of Keating in the similar partisan aggression which can make black into white and white into black, depending on the occasion. Importantly, Keating’s tongue was not only his greatest weapon, cutting through public opinion with clear messages as well as ridiculing opponents, but also his greatest vulnerability. The verbal aggression gradually alienated enough people over time to rebound upon him in 1996.

As prime minister, Paul Keating’s sharp turn of phrase was a strength as well as a weakness. AAP/Paul Miller

Admittedly, Abbott’s Washington Post interview was conducted in Australia, so it wasn’t subject to some of the expectations outlined above.

And let’s not forget this is a transition period for him, as it was no more or less than for Julia Gillard and John Howard who weren’t considered foreign affairs “wonks” upon becoming prime minister. And they adjusted.

Yet Abbott has a reputation for loose lips that was only boxed up by the singular focus of opposition and cannot be so easily constrained by executive office. One need only remember his public belligerence in calling asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton’s petition a “stunt” and his admission that:

…sometimes in the heat of discussion you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark. Which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth [are] those carefully prepared, scripted remarks.

Abbott learnt the lesson that partisan belligerence works and also that his personal belligerence can get the better of him. But this could also be a style of government that he encourages, particularly when it is on shaky ground but believing that attack is the best form of defence.

So far in the Coalition’s short period in office, we have witnessed: environment minister Greg Hunt get aggressive with a reporter from the BBC World Service; health minister Peter Dutton defend Abbott’s Washington Post interview; and immigration minister Scott Morrison aggressively defend his use of the term “illegals”, incorrectly citing it as warranted by the international legal definition and attacking “politically correct language”.

Abbott has played domestic politics while in opposition and sought to smooth over international relations after being elected, as if both sides of politics here were responsible for the damage. Earlier this month he apologised to Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak for dragging his country into the asylum seeker debate, explaining that in Australia, “we play our politics very hard”.

This followed an apology to Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that Australia should have “said less and done more” about asylum seekers passing through Indonesia to get to Australia.

With Abbott’s belligerence goes a lot of hide. But there’s also the very real possibility he will alienate a lot of people over a fairly limited time, as did Keating. After all, belligerence can leave voters with perceptions of ridiculous stubbornness or humiliating backdown.

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134 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. craig sambell

    environment journalist (ret)

    Re Keating........at least Keating had style.

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    1. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to craig sambell

      And Keating did represent Australia on a far more sophisticated level than Abbott.

      "So, we’re dealing with the old Abbott problem of loose lips but now on the international stage."

      It was only a matter of time, except I'd would've given even Abbott longer than under 2 months into his 'leadership'.

      Where are his minders?

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    2. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to craig sambell

      I've found the same of most pig farmers !!!!!!

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  2. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    There will always be people more left of Norman Ornstein Mark and no doubt we will see many comments along those lines.
    I'd be forgetting history some for if we trawl through all of what all leaders do or say at any time, especially in the distant past, we'll likely find situations they all would have wished never occurred.
    I can vividly recall a couple of interviews that Julia Gillard has done, one in particular where she upped and walked out on an interview when asked about her knowledge of her…

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    1. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Greg North

      Sadly, well no actually predictably T abbott has at last started to reveal what most of us knew and didn't want to see. Squibing is your excuse Greg. The rest of us would say as indeed the article does 'loose lips'.
      It is incredibly poor form to drag domestic politics into the international debate. That it was conducted in Sydney, all the more reason to chose words wisely.
      No doubt the 'intell' on abbott has been proven right (no pun) and we can all go along thinking oh dear the slippery slope of open for business as if we ever closed and a govt hampered by a control freak shooting his mouth off at the first opportunity.
      Cheers Greg I do hope you're enjoying making up all these excuses for you chap day after day...do keep it up

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    2. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Not to worry John, Greg is famous for his hypocrisy as far as politics is concerned.

      He will forgive anything the coalition says or does, even if it is exactly the same as something that he criticised Labor for doing. He is somewhat lacking in self awareness.

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    3. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      With the Hot Spot gone from Ch9, was it actually any good?? greg could take over enema-mentally (Sic) suited position. Think of the decisions, defending the undefendable, don't walk old chap even though you knicked a several thick edges and a full toss to the American journalist :)

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    4. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      No Mike I expected him act responsibly, and act like a Prime Minister, carefully chosen words and not bring up domestic politics.
      Clearly his advisors are not doing their jobs as abbutt conducts interviews with respected overseas journalists as if he is talking to the SMH or one of ruperts hacks!

      oh yes and try very hard to be racist Mike we do have standards here you can leave at any time!

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    5. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Last paragraph: "Try very hard NOT to be racist we do have standards here......"

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  3. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Noddy, the ToyTown PM, throws a tantrum.
    Perhaps Rupert "Big Ears" Murdoch will set him straight.
    The worst PM in the nation's history.

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    1. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to James Hill

      James; "the worst PM in the nation's History"

      You may be right there James but with the aid of Murdoch he has managed to fool a large % of the population and convince them that his way was 'the way'.

      the old saying comes to mind you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

      i see Mr. Murdoch is coming to town... I wonder why? what advice is he going to give our PM
      after all the Murdoch empire owns him.

      Here is hoping that with the court cases going on in England people may wake up and see
      how little credence there is in the Murdoch press.

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Ella Miller

      In Australia "The Toy Town Press" is the most apt description of Murdoch's view of the local population, and the standard that he thinks is appropriate is the four-year old level of understanding.
      The national discourse is set at this level, by the Murdoch press, hence it is inevitable that "Noddy" is the worst PM in Australia's history.
      All the previous governments were elected by adults.

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    3. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to James Hill

      "In Australia "The Toy Town Press" is the most apt description of Murdoch's view of the local population, and the standard that he thinks is appropriate is the four-year old level of understanding."

      It is this type of myopic arrogance that has got the alp/greens coalition into its current deep hole. It is typical of the hatred the greens/alp "progressives" have for the rest of Australia. This is the Clive Hamilton doctrine writ large.

      Long may "progressives" continue to think this way, looking down their snotty self important noses. The rest of Australia looks at you and shakes its head.

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    4. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Ella Miller

      Of course you should pint out that only Fairfax Media journalists have been convicted of hacking in Australia - just a thought !!!!!!

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    5. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      They do have a problem recognising that the Herald Sun outsells The Age by about 3 to 1. And the Daily Terror outsells the SMH 2 to 1. All four are tabloids without tits on page 3 - so why the difference ??? I suggest the quality of the journos and the editorial policies could have something to do with their circulation levels, or lack thereof.

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    6. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      Mike... you are right i have forgotten... but then i do not buy papers or read them except for the local rag.
      I think the only words I believe in the print media are ;
      if, and, the, but
      and even then I double check.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Myopic arrogance?
      Are you, Ken, one of those cryptozooic specimens which have lost the capacity for sight through living in dark, subterranean caves?
      Did you know that the first elected Greens MP in the House of Representatives, had geology as his first degree?
      See, Ken, you could be progressive too!
      Are you like the frog in the well, of Aesop's Fables for children, who encountering a fallen grasshopper in the dank depths of his deep, dark well, could not conceive at all of the world beyond the well described by that surface dweller.
      Do please stop being such a voluntary troglodyte, Ken, and try creeping out into the world of light occupied by the progressives.
      It will make a great difference to your myopic arrogance.

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  4. Ross Holding

    Agricultural Research Consultant

    Couldn't have put it better myself. Perfectly described the last 6 (wasted) years of the Labor mess.

    The Labor party should print off the words for the interview, make it into posters and stick them to the walls of their policy room.

    It has equal resonance with " the grown ups are back in government".

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    1. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Ross Holding

      Thank you Ross for your incisive and right wing comments. Like Greg I do hope you too can keep the positive spin coming day after day it will be such fun watching you two squirm.

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    2. Steve Johnson

      General Manager

      In reply to Ross Holding

      "The grownups are back in government". This my favourite endearment, and beautifully reflects the patronising and patriarchal, 'know all' attitude of the true conservative. "There's nothing you can teach me" appears to be the mantra.

      Scott Morrison is an unsophisticated bully with an arrogant and dismissive attitude to democracy, all wrapped up in neo-Christian platitudes, none of which he actually lives to. After he tweeted some particularly nasty insults about Penny Wong when he was in opposition…

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    3. Simon Curtis

      Researcher

      In reply to Ross Holding

      The whole "grown ups"/“adults” being in charge mantra is starting to wear thin very quickly. From the first weeks of the Abbott Government, I gather being an “adult” means:
      1. It’s OK to steal someone else’s money for personal expenses so long as you don’t get caught, or if you do get caught you pay it back while still maintaining you did nothing wrong
      2. It’s OK to bad mouth your neighbours when talking to friends, but pretend you didn’t mean it when you meet those neighbours face to face
      3. It’s OK to rely on Wikipedia to make important decisions
      4. If you have bad news, better to say nothing and pretend it didn’t happen rather than be honest about it
      5. If people knock on your door seeking shelter you should assume they are criminals and have the police take them away

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    4. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Steve Johnson

      You failed to mention Miss Gillard's most momentous legislative achievement, prior to her well deserved consignment to the backbench:

      LOW AROMATIC FUEL ACT, 2013

      A close second though, was getting this through a hostile Parliament:

      TERTIARY EDUCATION QUALITY AND STANDARDS AGENCY ACT, 2011

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  5. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    What? The world isn't interested in Tony TA Abbott's titanic struggle against the forces of darkness? That our local squabbles aren't the focus of global attention and concern?

    Tony Abbott is a very small man - small in every possible way. So we have three years of petty, venal government.

    Fortunately I think he's small enough not to actually do too much damage... but probably most of that damage will be to how we are perceived by an embiggened world.

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    1. wilma western

      logged in via email @bigpond.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      While Abbott's aggressive language is regrettable ,it may actually illistrate his taking for granted the support of this newspaper....relaxing among pals .

      I'm more interested in statements that foreshadow how this govt might operate. For example Tony proclaimed that he wanted the FTA with China signed sealed and delivered in one year "whatever it takes" ( or similar words). Then this week Malcolm was in the process of setting up his NBN review with speculation in business pages about whether…

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      That's all very shallow stuff Peter but should I be surprised you have yet to reconcile yourself with the fact that we have a new government that would have to be right off the scale of wackiness to even come near the wackowing of the former government.
      Like two PMs dumped by their own party!, how wacko is that alone.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to wilma western

      " .am I too picky? "
      Why yes Wilma, quite so, it very fitting that the PM visited the troops and that he took the leader of the opposition along with him.
      It was the opposition btw who when in government blocked Huawei and the then opposition had a partial briefing on security concerns to agree with that.
      Despite what business pages may speculate and any government will always be open to reviewing just about everything, there has now been a more indepth briefing on the security concerns and the government has confirmed the position they took in opposition.
      Nothing too dramatic there and the Chinese can squeal all they like and accept the Australian decision.

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      Geez ... these carpet layers are hell-bent on reducing political discussion to the level of an Andrew Blot blog or Allan Jones....

      Is this because they really have nothing to say? No knowledge to contribute to serious discussion of policy issues?

      Meanwhile we have had no meeting of Cabinet let alone Parliament and yet decisions are being made ... some sort of kitchen cabinet perhaps... a bit of tweetery - some nods and winks ... and nothing on the record or open to scutiny.

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  6. Richard Thompson

    Retired

    Once a pugilist always a pugilist, I can't see Abbott changing his attitude much.
    He was basically dancing on the body of the knocked out opponent.
    Maybe I should say this again (in Abbott style) to make sure you heard me!

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    1. David Maddern

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      Good shot, but I think he shot himself in the foot. He said the Government was wacko, that's an opinion, and goes through to the keeper. But to say the Fibre to the home is wacko, there is a quality assessment that can be compared with people's own assessment of that principle.
      And since most people, even those not familiar with the term would assess that as a more or less laudable end, not anything that could be associated with defective mental processing, the conclusion is the he himself is wacko

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    2. Ken Swanson

      Geologist

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      The greens/alp coalition showed now such respect for coalition voters who were in the minority last time, in fact they scorned their values and labelled them in a variety of ways.

      The tone of blogs on TC are indicative of the bile reserved for the coalition more generally. Just read Peter Ormonde's "venal government" as the most recent installment

      The lie about the adoption of the carbon tax instead of 3 years of reflection and review which is what she actually promised was the worst. And all the alp/greens travellers tried for 3 years to rationalise why it was not a lie and attacked coalition voters for continually raising it as an issue, in the end claiming that they were always negative, showed no respect or empathy for the other side.

      So do not lecture me on the way TA should be more respectful of greens/alp people's feelings. You lost, cop some of your own back and suck it up.

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    3. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      Yup, I delight in Ken's rantings. Any time I doubt the value and importance of reason and a calm, moderate progressive approach to politics and society in general, Ken's spleen spits rekindle my confidence.

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    4. Robert Tony Brklje
      Robert Tony Brklje is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      You just don't get it at all do you. You do not point to section of the Australian electorate, fellow Australian citizens and say you lost. That is akin to saying you group won and we will now screw you over.
      Abbott's attack is clearly not on the previous government but on the electorate, fellow Australians that shared elements of that ideal, specifically in this case fibre to the home, to Tony Abbot because that does not suit his major campaign contributors, that threatens his future power and income potential, hence millions of Australians are to be insulted and denigrated as wackos, people that you think of as losers.
      It is becoming pretty clear that Abbot will cost the liberals decades of government unless Rupert Murdoch can stop the blood rushing to Abbott's heads both the big one and the little one.

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    5. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      Yes David, but the libs are an adversarial bunch. In the lead up to the last Federal Election I visited two other blags and was met with the sort of rubbish and vitriol we see from the aforementioned right wingers.

      They like to let you know they were right (no pun) the e silver spoon, the one George Brandis appears to be having difficultly with has now become a problem for the libs in general. Nothing like a gloating liberal, with silver spoon and 'born to rule' badge on ones lapel, or brooch Julie B

      Think we were told by abbuut he would govern for all Australia as we were now open for business. Geez anymore noses in trough's or interviews with overseas press and he abbutt isn't governing for a select band of the Australian community, sans silver spoon!!!

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    6. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Robert Tony Brklje

      I'm a Labor supporter and I don't feel offended. People always sulking or getting on their high horse whenever an opponent speaks their mind is tedious. I seem to remember moral outrage was a cheap tactic in high school debates.

      Let's harden up and welcome more straight talk from politicians.

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    7. karen griffiths
      karen griffiths is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired teacher

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      What a wonderful comment David - I agree completely, and abhor the aggressive undertones that have overtaken political [and social] conversation. I await with interest mr murdoch's appearance at the NPC, as I believe many of his visual and boldly stated headlines have contributed to the angry and disrespectful comments many citizens, and politicians, now feel are perfectly ok to express. This anger has manifested itself in an 'us and them mentality,' and indeed abbott said that when in opposition you are like a tribe!

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    8. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      David, I'd not be too concrned for no one is talking of a conquered enemy and the PM doing an interview, not even on tele is hardly shouting anything to the world.
      You could probably say that there was enough of that though with the previous government attempting to ridicule the current PM with Dr. No and unelectable labels, even a PM claiming he was a mysognist amid all the other ranting that went on by two PMs in nearly six years.
      Tony Abbott's description of the Labor government is not being disrespectful for Labor and Greens voters but merely telling it how it was for the Labor government, something the current opposition seem to be having trouble coming to grips with.

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    9. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to karen griffiths

      Karen, if you really want to consider undertones, why not look at the amount of ranting that was done by the former governments in and outside of parliament in attempting character assination of Tony Abbott, referring to him as Dr No, unelectable and even mysogonistic whilst they supported an insupportable person as Speaker of the House.
      It might be somewhere that the them and us manifested.

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    10. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to James Jenkin

      It wasn't offence or moral outrage - more concern with contextual appropriateness and longer term impacts on the standard of political discourse.

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    11. Steve Johnson

      General Manager

      In reply to Ken Swanson

      Wow.

      That is about as narrow, arrogant and stupid a comment as I've read in a week.

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    12. David Theodor Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      I've just been told to 'suck it up' by Ken Swanson in response to a request for mutual respect, so yes, I do think there is too much triumphalism and disrespect. Just look at the tone of some of the other comments before you lightly dismiss my comments about being treated as a conquered enemy. As for Tony Abbott's alleged misogynism, I go by what Abbott has actually said: his Parliamentary use of Alan Jones's comment about Gillard's father having 'died of shame', his reference to women (only?) doing the ironing and their 'physiological differences' making them unsuitable for many occupations. These comments are not exactly signs of enlightened attitudes on gender.

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    13. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      Oh phooey. The Coalition doesn't need bipartisanship. The ALP/Green alliance lost, so get over it.

      GOD BLESS THE COALITION
      GOD SAVE THE QUEEN

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    14. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      " I go by what Abbott has actually said: his Parliamentary use of Alan Jones's comment about Gillard's father having 'died of shame', his reference to women (only?) doing the ironing and their 'physiological differences' making them unsuitable for many occupations. These comments are not exactly signs of enlightened attitudes on gender. "
      First off David, you will find in Hansard that Tony Abbott had used " this government should have died of shame " at least twice before Gillard's father died or Jones had used it.
      You will probably find that his reference to women ironing wasd in the context that he considered women were better at it in his home, a sentiment many married men will likely subscribe to just as they will to physiological differences making them less suitable to many occupations, occupations mind you where trade skills, getting your hands dirty and using a bit of muscle are part of the job.
      I feel his comments are very enlightened, just as his views on Labor are.

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  7. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    ".... I thought it was the most incompetent and untrustworthy government in modern Australian history...."

    The operative word being "was".

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    1. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Think we need a counter or some means of showing how many times sweaty joe hockey and co use the 'previous Labour government"
      Could be a better batting average than the cricket team this year and a set of sidchrome spanners to the pollie who wins!!!

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Yes Mike, now a bunch of has beens and just so unfortunate that they were a wasser mob for as long as they were.

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    3. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      sweaty joe hockey. ????

      what a remarkable comment - I bet you vote Greens

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    4. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      The reference to Hockey as you have clearly chosen to forget is his first media conference, first game nerves perhaps?? Blue tie a wee bit too tight...perhaps

      And no I don't vote greens, am not likely to. How is your blue tie by the way, a Windsor knot is always good, if your school showed one how to tie it!

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  8. Terry Reynolds

    Financial and political strategist

    Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Alan Jones, Chris Smith et al are the bikies of the political world. A more refined Malcolm Turnbull and his sophisticated wife or even Christopher Pyne who has a head you could not stop slapping, but after watching him on Q and A on Monday there is an intellectual behind that irritating mask and mouth, will soon be leading the Coalition.

    There is no comparison of Paul Keating with Tony Abbott. Keating was an intellectual and political giant with a sharp tongue. He is a once in fifty year PM - he was so good. Abbott is a bully that was given a Rhodes Scholarship like Bob Hawke. Both had some high visible anger faults that the scholarship failed to subdue.

    Malcolm Turnbull will turn the NBN into the best in the world with full fibre to the premises technology just like NZ is now laying. Then it will be Turnbull's time to slip into the Lodge with Pyne as Deputy or vice versa.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Bikies!, so funny Terry when you probably know that TA is a confirmed keen cyclist and on Q&A you may have even caught site of Mal in leathers.
      Christopher Pyne could indeed be a future PM but I'd not say it'll be anytime soon and though you'll never likely take to TA, you might just have to take to him being not just a PM for a considerable time but one of our great PMs.

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  9. Alan Kesby

    Retired

    Poor Tony. He really should not be let out in public without a script. The "wacko" talk helps in an interview, because it discourages the journalist from asking questions on the detail of policy.

    He could have said that the NBN is a superb piece of communication infrastructure, but is too expensive. But then, he would have missed a chance to throw some raw meat to his supporters.

    What chance that the new parliament will return to reasoned debate on critical policies of national interest?

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  10. Chris Harper

    Engineer

    Gee,

    After much digging the SMH managed to find some bloke we have never heard off, a complete nonentity in fact, who 'winced' after hearing Tony Abbott offer a mild criticism of the most dishonest and incompetent government Australia has ever had the misfortune to endure.

    To progressives, this is real headline stuff?

    Really?

    Given what members of the last government were saying about one another, (“psychopath”, “bast**d”, “childless, atheist, ex communist”), while still in government, to limit the description of the Rudd/Gillard governments to ‘wacko’ amounts to high praise indeed when we examine just what they were like in reality.

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, that was unduly provocative and partisan. Are all engineers tarred with the same brush?

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    2. Felix MacNeill

      Environmental Manager

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, even a simple Gogling of his name would have told you that Ornstein is a significant, respected and well-published American political scientists. And he is, as the author accurately states, very far from being left wing, even by Americam standards.

      I'm afraid the fact that you have never heard of him does not demonstrate that he is a 'complete nonentity' but it goes a long way towards proving that you are ill-mannered and ignorant.

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,

      Partisan and provocative?

      Sigh.

      I guess you are right, but it wasn't me saying those things about members of the last government, it was other members of that government.

      Your, admittedly justified, admonition of me though, would carry more weight if it had also been delivered to others here who are equally partisan, but far more provocative, in that their smears and sneers are both personally constructed and directed.

      As is so often the case on this site, the concern is not what is said, but rather who is saying it. Tribalism, not principle.

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    4. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Terry,

      I refer you to the violent speech of one, um, Terry Reynolds, who said:
      "even Christopher Pyne who has a head you could not stop slapping,".

      I am not aware of saying anything as partisan or provocative as that little fantasy of violent assault on a political opponent.

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    5. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, you quoted these words as coming from the mouths of Labor politicians about their own "psychopath, bastard, childless, atheist, ex communist", That is the language used by the Sydney "shit jocks" and the Liberal Party's "4000 Club" that used social media to disseminate party created poisoned material about Labor in the finest tradition of European fascists.

      No one that was a member of the Communist Party has been allowed to join the Labor Party since 1922 - just five years after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Labor has it in its rules.

      Labor changed leaders when Rudd lost the support of the majority of Caucus after three years. Everyone in the Coalition opposed John Howard's "workchoices" but did not have the balls to depose him. It cost the Coalition Government in 2007 and a lot of Liberal MP's their seats. Labor feared the same of Rudd in June 2010 and did something about it. Hardly something to criticise them for given they retained Government in 2010.

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    6. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Harper

      '....To progressives, this is real headline stuff?..."

      I am always confused by conservatives who think that labelling someone as 'progressive' is supposed to be a bad thing. Sort of like 'intellectual' or 'elite'.

      Must have a different dictionary to me.

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    7. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, it is called "humour" you poor soul.

      I actually praised Christopher Pyne, as I thought he handled himself well on Monday albeit it seems impossible to get him to shut up.

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    8. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,

      Kevin Rudd was called “a psychopath with a giant ego” by ALP Federal Member Steve Gibbons in 2012.
      Julia Gillard was described as “childless, atheist, ex communist” by ALP Federal Member Kevin Rudd in 2012.
      Julia Gillards, and the ALP caucus’s treatment of Keven Rudd was described as “bastardry” by now ex ALP Federal Member Nicola Roxon in 2013.
      Kevin Rudd was described as a “bastard” by now ex ALP Federal Member Nicola Roxon in 2013.

      These were the words used by members of the ALP government, about members of the ALP government. They were not used by those you describe, other than to repeat what the ALP was already saying about itself.

      The idea that the Libs are in any related to the socialist creed of Fascism tells me you know little about the Liberals, Fascism, or, indeed, the behaviour of either the ALP or its supporters.

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    9. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      You said: "Chris, it is called "humour" you poor soul"

      Is it?

      It looks like violence fantasy to me.

      As a thought experiment, change the name form Christopher Pine to Julia Gillard, and then put the words into the mouth of, say, Alan Jones. Imagine the hysteria that would cause. Why should you be held to a different standard?

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    10. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, my standards are the highest of standards and I love a bit of wit and humour in a post.

      The lifeguard at the local pool abused me this morning for peeing in the pool. He yelled so loud I almost fell In.

      For all the gratuitous abuse and misuse of the language that Abbott and co piled onto PM Julia Gillard and talk down Australia overseas, now Tony Abbott is PM I think he should be given his chance in the sun to shine. It seems that is the approach new opposition leader Bill Shorten is taking. After all, it is about advancing Australia.

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    11. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike,

      Nothing wrong with 'intellectual' or 'elite'. Those words are nothing like 'progressive'.

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    12. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,

      You said: "my standards are the highest of standards"

      How about: "I like to think that my standards are the highest of standards".

      There, fixed it.

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    13. David Theodor Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris,
      As a student of Fascism, I can tell you that describing it as a 'socialist creed' is a bit exaggerated. Neither Mussolini nor Hitler wanted state control of the means of production, though they certainly did direct production under the exigencies of war. Private companies such as IG Farben nevertheless made huge profits. Mussolini declared that he was 'opposed to socialism'. Hitler removed or murdered the socialist elements of the Nazi Party and always depicted socialism as 'Marxism'. Having said that, I totally agree that the Coalition is not fascist, but I am worried about some authoritarian elements within it and the unrealistic expectation of some of the contributors here that we 'progressives' should be silent, obedient and submissive.
      Btw I recall that Liberal Senator George Brandis also called Gillard childless well before Rudd did. But I guess you forgot about that.

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    14. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Chris Harper

      "....Those words are nothing like 'progressive'...."

      You're correct. And since you are obviously opposed to progress (ie someone who is progressive), I guess that means you must be regressive.

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    15. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      David,

      You said: “Neither Mussolini nor Hitler wanted state control of the means of production”

      Yes they did, and exercised that control as well. It was ownership that they were less interested in.

      Fascists were less concerned with ownership of the means of production than were classical Marxists and Fabians, recognising that control can be exercised by other means. And they were right. So long as they could regulate they were happy to avoid arguments about ownership. The state set the rules…

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    16. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      You might consider what Chris said as provocative but then should Labor MPs not be to the fore in asking themselves about provoking oneanother?
      Like, just like TA telling the truth, you're not going to now say that Labor MPs and even senior ministers were telling porkies are you?

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    17. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      " The lifeguard at the local pool abused me this morning for peeing in the pool. He yelled so loud I almost fell In. "
      Come on Terry, admit it, for when you saw this lifeguard was wearing speedos had a familiar appearance, you did fall in and thus remain rather pissy.

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    18. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      David,

      There are some authoritarian tendencies in all three parties.

      I am appalled by Campbell Newmans assault on freedom of association for bikies, but the last government attempted to skewer freedom of speech and the press from two different directions. When it comes to threats to the fundamental freedoms, which are prerequisites for a functioning democracy, I would trust the Libs before the ALP, always. Although neither can be trusted.

      As for the Greens, thay were behind the ALP, pushing with all their might. I would trust the ALP before the Greens.

      Constant vigilance is essential.

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    19. David Theodor Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, I think the weight of academic opinion is against you, so there is a very real question whether fascism is socialism. Redefining state intervention by totalitarian regimes as 'socialist' is not very descriptive of what actually happened. Despite all the rhetoric, Nazi planning left business intact by and large - see Richard Evans 'The Third Reich in Power' for example. If you want 'progressives' to take care about silly accusations of fascism in the Coalition, then I really think you ought not to suggest that Labor/Greens use the methods of fascism.

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    20. Venise Alstergren
      Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

      photographer, blogger.

      In reply to Chris Harper

      It is thought which scares governments witless.

      If you really want to do something with your vigilance go forth into all our primary schools and lecture about the uselessness of reason and logic. Because if the kids are going to go into politics reason and logic become lead weights. Vigilance you are a naughty little child!

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    21. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to David Theodor Roth

      David,

      You said: “so there is a very real question whether fascism is socialism”

      I am aware that there is also an argument about whether Nazism is Fascism, and I follow it, because I am interested in the arguments, but in the end it really doesn’t matter to me. It may matter to Nazis and Fascists, but it doesn’t matter to me.

      Ok, now we are getting somewhere. That the question is even raised acknowledges that there is an argument that Fascism is socialism. Mussolini claimed to be a socialist…

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    22. Ella Miller

      retired

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry,
      I thought Christopher Pyne was down right ignorant on Monday, he forgot that he was no longer in Parliament and talked over every one . Is it nort rude in civil society to talk when someone else is talking?
      His comments on the Naplan test showed his ignorance about teaching.
      T o suggest that teacher should use the Naplan Test results to help in their planning is ludicrous to say the least.. Any teacher who is worth their pay would have tested their class within the first 5 weeks
      of term...and continuing evaluation is essential in a good teaching practice. Shows how little he knows about education and he is the Minister...God help us.

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    23. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Difficult to reconcile with the Marxist statement that "when the people take control of the means of production the state disappears".
      If this is accurately attributed to Marxism, then state ownership isn't Marxism, is it?
      Perhaps what the USSR had was Totalitarianism, and had this in common with Fascism and Nazism.

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  11. Colin MacGillivray

    Architect, retired, Sarawak

    It's not Abbott it's the "partisan aggression which can make black into white and white into black, depending on the occasion."
    21st century politics should be shades of grey because most of the left/right issues have been largely resolved. Having a two party stoush every 3 years leads to the nonsense each side has to spout about the other one to satisfy dumb voters. The German model has more parties in any coalition so slagging them one year is embarrassing the next when they are partners.
    5 parties are best- loony and centre left and right parties that's 4, and the dead centre party. With government composed of a coalition of 3 of them.

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  12. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Abbott's "belligerence" on this subject can be interpreted as a sign that he lacks confidence in his position.
    This Murdoch made PM, an inescapable fact, cannot help but broadcast that his unearned ascendancy is illegitimate.
    "This Illegitimate Government"?
    Now who said that?
    Abbott's words and actions come back to haunt him.
    Cheats never prosper.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to James Hill

      " Abbott's "belligerence" on this subject can be interpreted as a sign that he lacks confidence in his position. " LOL
      You do keep coming up with some funny lines amongst the strange ones James.
      Hey, who was that bloke in the first election campaign debate who had a sheaf of cheat sheets with him on the podium?

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to James Hill

      James,

      This cartoon caricature of Abbott and Murdoch didn't help defeat the Libs last time around. If you wish to bring them down next time it would be better if you, and all the others who also repeat this nonsense about Abbott, started to look at the man as he really is, not how you would like him to be.

      If you want to defeat him get to know him instead of repeating these fantasies.

      I know it would be convenient if he were all these things he is made out to be, but the world isn't always as convenient as you wish it could be.

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    3. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      A cartoon caricature is sometimes the closest thing to the truth.
      How someone who did so much to discredit the institutions of parliament and the good offices of government can attract so many mealy -mouthed supporters is in itself something quite worthy of caricature.
      I'll take the truth over your wished for convenience, Chris.

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    4. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Greg North

      A capacity for being so easily amused must compensate you some what, Greg?
      Allow me to put that grin back on your face.
      "The Murdoch Man", the hence "Illegitimate" PM, elected thus with out merit, will always compensate for this "Truth" with belligerence.
      And your amusement, Greg, will be stimulated many times in the coming months as this belligerence manifests itself as his "illegitimacy" is thrown back in his face, none the less by his presently muzzled colleagues, jealous that they were not Murdoch Men as well to be easily "gifted" the top job.
      Keep smiling Greg; an embarrassed smile?
      Glad to oblige.

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  13. Matthew Thredgold

    Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

    "I thought it was the most incompetent and untrustworthy government in modern Australian history."

    The Abbott government of 2013-? is my vote for that.

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  14. Phil Martin

    Construction worker

    I have heard LNP politicians advocate people moving away from the major cities to regional and remote areas on numerous occasions in the last 6 years and at the same time wanting to dismantle a scheme that would facilitate this move namely the NBN.
    Now that's "wacko".
    Paul Keating not only had style, he was entertaining, Tony Abbott is boorish.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Phil Martin

      Phil, the NBN will actually be rolled out across Australia far quicker with the LNP than what it would have with the ALP.
      What the ALP had NBN Co. doing was wacko.

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    2. David Rennie

      IT Consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg,
      You claim that "the NBN will actually be rolled out across Australia far quicker with the LNP than what it would have with the ALP.
      You are thinking of the coalitions' NLN the National Lapband Network. The network that provides second rate service, for a small percentage of the population for much less public money but a great deal more private money.

      Not only is the coalitions NLN, slower, less efficient and more expensive for the individual it will be virtually worthless when…

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  15. Norman taylor

    worrier

    I remember Rudd saying that Abbott would not be good on the international stage.
    He certainly got that correct. Need I say any more.

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  16. David Rennie

    IT Consultant

    It's good to see the 'Real Tony' back in the saddle.
    The LNP has been elected with a swathe of unpopular policies and they are going to have to cut a lot of popular programs if they succeed in abolishing the mining tax and the carbon tax.

    If Tony continues to lambast the previous government, in his inimical way and give us his quaint but out of touch opinions, when these policies start to bite people will recall that they didn't actually like the policies he promoted in the last election.

    He wont be helped by the collection of right-wing independents, who will probably oppose some of his key spending policies such as Direct Action on Climate Change and the exorbitantly generous paid parental leave scheme.

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  17. Jason Begg
    Jason Begg is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Perpetually Baffled Lawnmower Man

    Leaving aside their respective strengths and weaknesses and other comparisons of merit, the basic similarities between Keating’s and Abbott’s aggression having the potential to alienate some within the electorate is a good point. The challenge for Abbott is to become “Prime Minister for all Australians”. It would not be a good idea to simply rehash and slag-off-on the previous government for the next 3 years. Most people would have no interest in that, but are rather more preoccupied with their own…

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  18. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Seriously hypocritical from the lefties after they had no problem declaring Tony Abbott to be a sexist and misogynist and let that known it went "viral" around the world.

    Lets face it, that was wacko

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    1. Steve Johnson

      General Manager

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Let's face it, it went viral because, like most authentic criticisms, it struck a chord with an wful lot of people. In which case there is no hypocrisy.

      Proof?

      “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband. Not withstanding all his or her faults, you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss.”

      But don't let a truth get in the way of a bit blarney, Rene.

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    2. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Steve Johnson

      Authentic was it? His wife and daughters and numerous other women thought different but obviously they don't have a say in the matter - don't let the truth get in the way of a bit of blarney, Steve

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  19. Pat Moore

    gardener

    We hear these, our leader's weighty words being broadcast on the world stage, and simultaneously with increasing frequency, the words "....but the minister was unavailable for comment" (UFC). This little refrain begins to echo repeatedly through the news media, as information-lite magazine-style chitchat replaces analysis and informed criticism. As this deliberate controlled political silence descends and increases, democratic debate within the body politic is intentionally crippled. The gagging…

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  20. Rene Oldenburger

    Haven't got one

    Rather amusing to see the rationale of the left in regards to Tony Abbott, the left has been doing this for years and for some odd reason the majority of this country voted for him.

    Perhaps you lefties might change your rationale, because you haven't changed, which will mean TA and the LNP will have an easy victory next time as well.

    Or you just don't get it, the more you rant on about TA, the more it says about you lefties

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    1. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      "....the majority of this country voted for him...."

      Really Rene? You might want to check with the AEC about that one. For some reason they disagree with you.

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    2. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      ....and of course Rene the right have been snow white. You righties might have to change your rationale once big foot abbott is shown to be the idiot he really is, when its not scripted and he's having a bad lycra day (that's spandex in the USA)

      Sadly Rene you got it, he's your leader and he's a loose cannon. How you lot elected him as opposition leader is amazing. That you righties have sold your ideology to him, just gain office is even more hilarious. We have to put up with you rightie types and governing for some of australia

      How is Malcolm btw? don't hear much from him lately.. Haven't from many on tour side lately...bit of a gag order?? Bit of a flap on at hq perhaps???

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    3. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Yep noted Mike Thanks for the clarification !!

      Rene might not be so appreciative :)

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    4. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      See John, that's the problem with you lefties, don't adhere to the lefties views and ideologies and you automatically become a rightie.

      Perhaps you haven't quite figured it out the majority of people are a bit of each and you lefties certainly have alienated a serious amount of people with your rhetoric.

      Keep doing it and TA will win again next time quite easy, one day you might learn something

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    5. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Yup I did, 90 seats the LNP won

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Tis! 'Tisn't! Did! Did not so there! Is this it? This is as good as we can get?

      Arguably calling someone a lefty sets one up as a righty Rene... and given what we are actually talking about - or not talking more accurately - is a fine hair's difference between one bunch of conservatives and another. ... blue ties in different shades...

      Is this what happens when there are no real differences or choices to be made? When we are reduced to name calling and barracking rather than engaging with issues of substance?

      I'm not sure what lefty and righty mean in this context ... running a surplus? stopping debt? meeting piddling carbon targets? putting the public boot into say single parents? fibre to nodes or to homes?

      Seriously there is no difference between them other than a choice of preferred rhetoric. Left and right mean nothing in this shrinking consensus.

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    7. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Doesn't Peter, the lefties forgot the middle or centre in politically correct terms.

      Actually I always used to vote Labour in Holland, coming to South Australia, I found out that voting Labour in Holland is basically equivalent to be referred to as right wing over here

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Don't you come in here bringing your Dutchman's notions of rights, lefts and middles... Rene ... we're confused enough already.

      It's most important to try and see past the rhetoric to the reality of "different" regimes ... and increasingly they cannot be split ... like Siamese twins in practice ... if not in rallying cries and slogans.

      But the sorry reality is that - at least for the last decade or so - neither side have any real beliefs or convictions beyond winning elections ... they are professional politicians ... incumbents by inclination ... and they will say and do whatever it takes to win ... for them the end is the means.... they have no ends in sight.

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    9. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Rene,

      You're taking a majority of seats won in the House Of Reps as tacit endorsement of Abbott, hence your statement 'the majority of this country voted for him'.

      Abbott had the popularity of a used diaper for most of his time in opposition and still doesn't have the support of the majority of people as PM. There's quite a difference between voting for a party and support for its leader.

      I also note you brand anyone a leftie who isn't an Abbott supporter, ignoring the possibility than many people may be politically non-partisan and are simply expressing their views on Abbott as an individual.

      But don't worry. Research indicates conservatives are prone to using heuristics instead of logic. You're not alone. http://www.yale.edu/yrurp/issues/Miller,%20Krochik,%20&%20Jost%20(2009).pdf

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    10. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Darren Kay

      Darren, after preferences Abbott and the Coalition got 52% of the vote this election and the Labor party 48%. It means that since the previous election which was 50/50 that two voters in every hundred decided to vote Coalition in lieu of Labor.

      That victory needed an enormous amount of propaganda from the Murdoch press to achieve it.

      Under our system the electorates are so balanced that those two swinging voters in every hundred makes a huge difference in seats won or lost.

      That does not mean a ringing endorsement of a mandate for anything - there was no referendum - that is a mandate..

      A Government still has to get its program through the parliament.

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    11. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I read a Daily Tele article featuring Toby Ralph (yes, bs alert) that the bulk of the undecided voters at elections are politically disengaged and the most persuadable group for political campaigners. Similarly I've read about the swinging vote in the US comprising mainly low information voters.

      Fertile ground for Rupert indeed.

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    12. Venise Alstergren
      Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

      photographer, blogger.

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Your final sentence should read...

      "Keep doing it and TA will win again next time- quite easily." One day you might learn something."

      Something about what, I wonder?

      Every time I get to read ill thought out grammar like this I smile, knowing that the coalition is also in a similar, inarticulate state of existence.

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    13. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      Like I said, one day you might learn something and perhaps you could actually start now by referring to your own words

      "Every time I get to read ill thought out grammar like this I smile, knowing that the coalition is also in a similar, inarticulate state of existence."

      Never confuse pseudo intellect with intelligence

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    14. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It was an "intellectual" academic who referred to me as a right winger

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    15. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Bit you need is unprintable

      Born to rule a again are we Rene,

      "Listen very carefully I will say this only once today, but MANY MANY TIMES in the future...the libs were never born to rule, you keep gagging on your silver spoons"

      "Ahh life is to short"
      Pierre Dupree purveyor of fine wines

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    16. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Tiny mistake you make is the fact that I never voted Libs.

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    17. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Rene Oldenburger

      Bully for you, yet you do defend them so a conundrum I'm not going to bother going into. I have to place an order for more blue ties they have become very popular for some reason...fashion statement perhaps

      Vive La Tour Rene Hennie De Kuiper and Joop Zoetemelk, two very good riders in their day!

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    18. Rene Oldenburger

      Haven't got one

      In reply to John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Not a matter of defending, simply realising everything will be better than the ALP/Greens

      And for Joop and Hennie, I think everyone who finishes a Tour de France is amazing. But Joop will always be remembered to be Mr Number 2.

      Speed skating and football we're good at, little bit at hockey and a good swimmer every now and again.

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  21. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    "With Abbott’s belligerence goes a lot of hide. But there’s also the very real possibility he will alienate a lot of people over a fairly limited time, as did Keating. After all, belligerence can leave voters with perceptions of ridiculous stubbornness or humiliating backdown."

    Keep wishing. It won't happen.

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    1. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to John Crest

      But it will john, abbutt can't help himself. His minders must be going grey overnight trying to keep up with the things he has to be across. abbutt is a problem for the libs and Australia

      Just needs an interviewer with some backbone and your wish will.come true.

      Bit like when Mike Willisee (sp) interviwed that guy from the ANZ I think on his Current affairs show and mike made him look stupid riveting stuff!

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  22. Sandra Hey

    Retired

    In my humble opinion, the comments from Tony Abbott about the wacko world of our former Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the Washington Press is nothing more than trying to up stage her, another big boy bully tactic, he knows she will be appearing in Washington at the Brookings Institution Centre and as usual he will doing anything to make life difficult for Julia Gillard in her post political career. Tony Abbott is just not man enough to admit that he will always live in her shadow. In 2010 Tony Abbott was not deemed to be Prime Minister material and it seems he will continue to punish Julia Gillard in what ever way he can. It is a great pity that the Taxpayer will be footing the bill in his endeavours.. It would appear he has forgotten his own words "That she will not go away and Die" It is time he left her alone.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Sandra Hey

      Sandra, Hey hey, it's not Saturday but guess what?
      Julia Gillard was deemed unfit by her own party to be PM, those that had at one time supported her desserting her for the one they had considered previously to have so many undesirable properties and traits.
      The only reason Julia became PM in the first place was because of the wacko Labor internal politics and she barely only maintained the position because of two independents from electorates that were predominantly more supportive of conservative policies than those of Labor.
      TA is little interested in what Labor do to themselves for he knows they will continue to do it in opposition whilst they have their great divide and the most wacko of the lot as a wedge in their cracks.

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  23. Venise Alstergren
    Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

    photographer, blogger.

    There are a couple of differences between Paul Keating and Tony Abbott. Keating had brains, and he had class. (Those beautiful Italian suits and his love of classical music prove that.)

    Tony Abbott has..............come to think of it, what has he got? Dolce fa Niente.

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      Venise, Abbott may not have class but can you name a Coalition member with any? But Abbott knows how to write a book in 2010 that no one bought and spend $9,400 of public money flying around Australia to promote it's sales. Then he spent public funds to go to the wedding of his esteemed friend Peter Slipper MP in 2006 before later portraying him as an evil man when Slipper was elected Speaker. Of course he also used public funds to attend the wedding of another MP Sophie Mirabella in 2006.

      The Age reported last week that all of the investigations of parliamentarians expense claims under the period of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Governments they could not identify just one claim made by Labor MP's that was questionable. Not one! Whereas with the Coalition, Tony Abbott, George Brandis, Julia Bishop, Barnaby Joyce, Randall - they needed a horse trough to accommodate all their snouts with most cabinet members now..

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    2. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      Tony Abbott has all-encompassing personal ambition and a penchant for violence.

      He has no principles and will do anything or say anything if he sees political advantage in it.

      Be afraid.

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  24. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    The climate change addicts will probably have loved something like
    " In 2009, the Rudd Government announced Australia would unconditionally cut its emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020, and by 60% by 2050 (a figure later amended to 80%). "
    It might as well be an 80% confirmation of the former thought bubbled government being wacko!
    Like has Rudd ever been able to define just how 80% would ever be achieved in a growing population and what it would mean to Australia other than a massive decline in living standards.
    And then Julia's forever believing in forward estimates to fund everything!, just how wacko was that being proven, even before the election.
    Yep, lots of wacko world stuff when it comes to Labor and it has usually been that way, this most recent Labor government just the most wacko.
    Did we have a Wacko Wayne and did not two PMs get wacked for six.

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    1. John Q Citizen, Aussie

      Administrator

      In reply to Greg North

      Geez your're in fine fettle Greg. Denial a libs best buddy.

      You play to a regular type always hyper critical of anyone who disagrees with you and the blue tie set. Defend the indefensible Wonderful stuff could dine out on it for weeks.

      Word has it that the military is thinking of asking your for the recipe to add it to the MRE's, sadly though 3 MTF are coming home. With all the Govt cutbacks your chance at fame has gone with one swoosh of the sweaty joe's chainsaw.

      Still, keep pluggin away Greg plenty weddings to go to and travel allowances to fiddled and you'll be. Carry On & keep the blue tie flying chap!

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    2. David Theodor Roth

      Postgrad History Student

      In reply to Greg North

      I'm sure that raises the intellectual level of the whole debate, Greg. Shame really, I thought you were capable of better. As for 'climate change addicts', the Coalition, which you assure is always sane and rational and undivided, has, at least in public, formally recognised the reality of climate change.

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  25. Rick Sullivan

    Vast and Various

    As most of us already knew, Abbott is way out of his league in foreign OR domestic affairs, and an embarrassment to Australians. Fortunately though, I think many of the world leaders he's encountered are onto the fact. Dumb as a post.

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