May 30, 2013 | Graham

Tin ears all round

The idea that Tony Abbott’s decision to withdraw his support for the government’s proposed retrospective extension of public funding is somehow a plus for the government is bizarre, and demonstrates just why the government and its supporters are losing the Australian people.

It’s being pushed by all and sundry. I’ve heard Mark Dreyfus hum the tune, Bill Shorten as well, and in some of the worst political analysis I have read for a while, Michelle Grattan decided to harmonise on it: “Abbott’s backflip is a godsend for the government”.

No, what would have been a “godsend” is if he hadn’t backflipped. Then he wouldn’t have been mired in the same grubby sty as them. Instead he’s seen as being flawed, but ultimately having the good sense to listen to the public and step back from the mud bath.

This government runs a deficit in honesty even larger than its financial one. When its spokesmen step up and condemn Abbott for dishonesty all they do is draw attention to their own deficiencies.

What sort of promise is it that Abbott has broken anyway? An undertaking to the government to back a bill that he now realises he shouldn’t have given in the first place.

In the hierarchy of promises this is pretty low grade stuff. It’s not a promise that he made to the Australian people unlike the promises the government has been breaking (“There will be no carbon tax”, “you will get a tax cut” etc).

And if the government had any sense it would have broken its implied promise to Tony Abbott to introduce the bill before he could have withdrawn his support.

The truth about promises is that the public don’t care if you break them when breaking them means you do what the public wants. The public views that as democracy in action, not dishonesty.

As it stands at the moment, the smartest thing the government could do is to give credit to Tony Abbott, apologise for their mistake, and move on. But they won’t and can’t. Self-righteousness and hatred of Abbott govern their every action, and as a result they turn every issue into a wedge between them and the Australian people.

I ran into an erstwhile opponent this morning, a former ALP state member. It was at a Liberal Party fundraiser.

When I asked him what he was doing there he first told me that he was just a “businessman” these days, but then volunteered that Anna Bligh and Julia Gillard had trashed Labor’s brand and that he couldn’t vote Labor anymore.

You’re in real trouble when people who were your majors just a few years ago have defected to the other side.

I wonder how many of the departing Labor members will be voting Labor this election?

Posted by Graham at 10:15 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. I have to agree with you ,Graham,the critism of Abbott for renegging on the deal is totally bizarre.

    Anna had similar tatics here in Queensland.

    It comes from not having any Policies of your own that are worth defending. All that is left is to attact the opposition, preferably, on a personal level.

    It cost Anna dearly and it will similaraly also cost the Federal Labor

    Comment by Laurie — May 31, 2013 @ 11:18 am

  2. At a time of budget shortfalls/crisis, I don’t see anyone except Blokes like Faulkner, walking away from this with a clean skin.
    Reportedly, Mr Abbott put his signature to a document?
    That said, the sooner we have all elections paid for via the public purse, rather than private donations the better.
    Particularly, when one understands very large private donations can be addressed to party headquarters, rather than individuals, and therefore, it would seem, face far less scrutiny than donations to private members?
    Or create an integrity destroying debt burden that then must be “repaid” down the line?
    We don’t want to follow the highly flawed example of the US, where some very powerful people, clearly believe elections and or power, can be bought and sold?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — May 31, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  3. What the dickens is this author on about?

    Tony has broken so many promises, undertakings and oaths, some in blood, that I struggle to understand what is being said.

    Apart, that is, that the author has no qualms about the bloke again trashing his own brand.

    So, pray tell, what broken promise prompted this renewal of the vow of undying commitment?

    Comment by John B — May 31, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.