June 05, 2014 | Graham

Mike Seccombe says Tony Abbott lies _and_ keeps his promises

Are you confused by this title? Well, not half as confused as I am by Andrew Bolt’s, Janet Albrechtsen’s and Alan Jones’ war on Malcolm Turnbull.

I hope more coalition MPs than just Malcolm are having dinner with Clive Palmer. The idea that having any cross-party socialisation is somehow treason to the team is bizarre, and doesn’t belong in anything that I’d recognise as a parliamentary democracy.

Malcolm was just demonstrating commonsense by talking to Palmer, and from the Liberal Party’s point of view, sending your biggest plutocrat in to talk to the biggest plutocrat in the parliament, would seem to be a smart thing to do.

By not only criticising Turnbull, but provocatively raising the temperature, the troika are doing exactly what Turnbull accused them of doing – the “Labor Party’s work”.

But as bizarre as Bolt, Albrechtsen and Jones can be, they are nothing compared to the denizens of the left like Seccombe.

In his piece for the Saturday Paper, Seccombe says:

There is one group to which Tony Abbott has kept his promises since becoming prime minister: the Institute of Public Affairs.

This is an interesting distinction, as though Abbott made two sets of promises – one to us, which he has dishonoured, and one to some other group, which they have cashed in.

So what are these secret promises?

They are:

  • Repeal the carbon tax
  • Abolish the department of climate change
  • Abolish the clean energy fund
  • Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
  • Abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies
  • Save $1 billion in red tape every year
  • Develop northern Australia
  • Repeal the mining tax
  • Create a one-stop shop for environmental approvals
  • Privatise Medibank
  • Trim the public service
  • Stop throwing good money after bad on the NBN

Hands up those who didn’t think those promises applied to them? Hands up those who don’t think most of them are good things?

I thought so – most of you put your hands up both times, but a little fewer for the second proposition.

So what is Seccombe’s beef? Appears to be that he didn’t think of them first, and that some other organisation – the IPA – did.

Or is it that if Tony Abbott does it, it is a priori  a “bad thing”, if not a “very bad thing”, even if in an imperfect world it makes perfect sense?

We live in a toxically partisan age where people can earn large sums of money writing or proclaiming hate speech for media organs that apparently appeal to the intelligentsia, in the case of the Saturday Paper, or “Struggle Street” in the case of Jones et al, without adding anything to the sum total of humanity.

In their recent joint stage appearence Bob Hawke and John Howard seemed to suggest that times were better in the past. I think they were, but even then, both of them have been rank and unprincipled opportunists, and only one of them, Howard, can claim to have acted altruistically while leader of the opposition.

It is to Howard that we owe the large economic strides of the last 30 years, because he was the only federal opposition leader I can think of who has allowed unpopular reforms to pass through without trying to make political capital out of them.

Australia owes John Howard twice over – once for his prime ministership, and once for his leadership of the opposition.

But while it might have been altruistic, it was also self-interested. By allowing Labor to implement good, but unpopular policy, Howard ensured he inherited a fit and healthy economy.

That’s something Bill Shorten ought to think about, because if he continues on his current Peronist path he’ll win government, but won’t have an economy worth owning.

Far better for his own future, and ours, to niggle at the budget, but allow the significant savings to pass.

Posted by Graham at 10:40 pm | Comments (11) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. Ditto for the Sydney Institute, for a number of other similar, offensive and cynical reasons.

    Comment by Christopher Derrick — June 6, 2014 @ 11:06 am

  2. I’m in favor of root and branch tax reform, and I’ve made that position more than clear in previous articles.
    Some of Tony’s so called secret agenda, was flagged before the election, but most of the nasty medicine wasn’t?
    Shock horror, Politicians sometime tell pork pies, or alter core promises, [flip flop, sometimes almost acrobatically} to achieve their own ultimate goal! POWER?
    As for carbon tax?
    Well I’d make that a million dollars a ton, but provide a carbon cap, the current emission!
    Meaning, no sane business operator would ever pay this tax? Except if they failed to innovate, as the cap was very slowly and progressively lowered!
    In conclusion, I don’t think Tony has been assisted in any way, I believe, by the outpouring of ideologically inspired hate, by Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt?
    And has gone down so far in the polls, he may never ever recover?
    But, that’s not necessarily good news for Labor, given many former Labor voters are looking elsewhere, for more democratic options?
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 6, 2014 @ 11:44 am

  3. You’ve summed the situation up perfectly with your phrase “We live in a toxically partisan age”. Too many people keen to give their opinion and make comment, but not willing to put their hands up to do the real job of as a politician. Would we ever see Bolt or Jones standing for parliament – I don’t think so!

    Comment by Swillsy — June 6, 2014 @ 11:45 am

  4. My hand is up, most of the ‘secret promises’ would have a negative effect on the economy, or are simply populist nonsense, such as ‘Trim the public service’.

    The Senate should refuse supply as soon as possible and rid the country of this dysfunctional reactionary government.

    Comment by RussellW — June 6, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

  5. Outright lies demand forthright responses.

    Tony Abbott is the most un-christian Christian ever to grace the PM’s office.

    RussellW is correct. The only response logically available to the Federal Opposition is, in Tony’s words, “To Oppose”. Play the game by Tony’s rules until there is no more Tony in the game.

    To oppose anything and everything, at least until the Libs reconsider their scorched-earth policies and adopt a more civilised set of Post-Abbott policies.

    One which I find particularly indefensible is the governement’s treatment of the under-30 years unemployed. Starving the unemployed to death is not an acceptable response to rising unemployment figures, yet our government has set a course designed to achieve precisely that, with their ultimate demise hastened through withdrawal of medical services.

    The full list would be a long one.

    The Senate should joyfully deny anything and everything to the Government in the same way that I would happily seal a rat’s nest in order to starve the feral pests.

    Comment by John B — June 6, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

  6. Sorry john B, the under thirties just don’t have to starve!
    They will get paid to work, and I heard, even some volunteer/community work, that can be documented as being real, might be acceptable; and or, if they learn.
    And there’s a $20,000 assistance package for the latter, where they attend various approved courses.
    Starve? No! Sit around on bum? No!
    And some wouldn’t be hurt by a term in the military, learning and accepting some personal discipline/self reliance/ personal responsibility/team work!
    They just won’t get paid to party till dawn or lay in bed till 11 am, their brains cooked by party drugs!?
    I mean, the reason they aren’t able to get work, could be a lack of appropriate qualifications, and for jobs simply going begging, or filled by guest workers.
    And the military, is just about the only place where you get your full medical care, (including teeth/eyes) board and keep, while you are paid to train, and gain qualifications, often more than acceptable, in civy street; as are most former service personal!
    As for the leadership rumors?
    Where there’s smoke there’s usually a fire somewhere?
    If there is to be a leadership spill, it needs to be done sooner rather than later!
    Otherwise, senior coalition politicians, should just bend over and kiss their political careers and or prospects goodbye.
    Malcolm is a moderate and is likely to amend some of the more extreme policy paradigms, with some that incorporate fair means testing, as a vastly less punitive alternative?
    Malcolm Turnbull certainly is no wimp able to be bullied into back flipping on anything, by the acid comment of shock jocks, or their intellectually constipated views!
    And he performs very well on his feet, in ways that patently put the current leader in the comparative shade!
    I not sure that a change to anybody except Malcolm, will alter those sliding toward a coalition landslide defeat, electoral prospects!?
    Even this early, they need to start thinking about saving the furniture?
    The nats need to clean out the dross, I believe, even more so!
    Malcolm certainly stands up to shock jocks, even as Tony Abbott seemingly defends them and tamely excuses their shock jock paranoia created furore!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 7, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  7. Yes, Alan, Malcolm is a moderate and some of your other statements are correct, however refusing to pay benefits to those without jobs and under 30 amounts to a starvation diet, whether you agree or not.

    However, Malcolm or no Malcolm, the Liberal ship has been steered towards the rocks. The only questions remaining are who will be at the helm when it crashes and when that will be.

    The current management, essentially religious bigots, ageing failed anti-union warriors and sundry other Tea Party zealots, might be overthrown, but they won’t go away. They would simply become an opposition within the Government, noisy trouble-makers with a do-nothing, get nowhere agenda.

    They would split the party.

    The ship will still hit the rocks.

    Tony Abbott has possibly been the biggest gift the ALP has received for decades. One one hand, the majority of members of the ALP now realise that it is they who must take reform the party because the Head Office tribe never will.

    On the other hand, Tony has done more to reduce the electoral prospects of Libs and to damage the relationship with the Nationals than Labor could ever hope to achieve.

    Well done, Tony. We have seen the devil and it is you.

    Comment by John B — June 7, 2014 @ 4:45 pm

  8. John B.
    The under thirties just don’t have to starve!
    If there is no job available, then there is invariably a TAFE college or an approved online course.
    I’m very proud to report, one of my kids commutes/flies down three times a week, all the way to Sydney, to earn an auxiliary medical qualification. [Can’t died in a cornfield over a century ago!]
    The bush is desperately short of dentists and vets.
    And the day is gone, where you could refuse to work, just so you could hug the coast, or live in a happening coastal city.
    If climate change causes sea levels to rise by around three metres, before the turn of the century, there won’t be any coastal cities to get off you brain in.
    One sees just too many nights in the news, were extremely intoxicated under thirties, are basically mindlessly rioting.
    Hostiles rioting against unending boredom, or any number of people/rule makers who suck!
    They’d be none the worse for a year in the military, learning how to put someone else first.
    And wouldn’t that make a life changing and very welcome change.
    Many of these kids could get very well paid jobs in the mines, after a period of paid for training.
    They would have to leave home, get of the drugs, stay somber, and learn how to cooperate; and follow instructions.
    Given the available options, including camping out at the oldies, none of these kids need not ever starve!
    They may have to toe the line, even where that is a novel and interesting new idea?
    I’ve’ just seen too many able-bodied people, some under forty, laying about, sucking from endless casks of wine, paid for by mug taxpayer! And this state of affairs just can’t continue.
    If somebody needs to pour these professional lay-a-bouts on a plane, to where the jobs are still going begging, then so be it.
    The work might be hard or dirty as bung washing in an abattoir, but the money is clean; and, there’s many a mum who would bless the day her other half went away to work, and sent most of the money home!
    Simply put, there’s no automatic right to claim someone else’s money!
    We have a whole generation, who’ve never ever had to do it tough, and furthermore, look like being the first generation to not be better off than their parents, and not live as long!
    Hard work ne’er killed anybody, just the want of it!
    When the going gets tough the tough get going, and any number of these kids need the sort of toughening, they can only get in a some sort of boot camp!
    I end my case.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 9, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  9. Alan G, I have read your diatribe from top to dreary bottom and disagree with every line.

    You clearly do not live on my world.

    You have no case to rest, so why bother saying that you are?

    In particular, I wish to take you up on your affirmation that the bush needs doctors and vets.

    Tried to get into vet school lately? Only the top 0.1 percent of each year’s school leavers is eligible and the fees will soon rise to well over $100k per degree, so you are clearly ignoring those who are in the other 99.9 percent of the population and those from average-to-poor backgrounds.

    Wake up, man – this is not a description of the youth unemployed who TA is happy to drive even further away from their futures, by cutting off funds, by delaying payment of those which are available and by sending them on the wallaby track to make-work slave labour jobs greening a brown landscape.

    What he and you really are asking for is for those who need help to shut up and to go away. That isn’t a solution to anything.

    I wish your daughter well with her studies – my own struggled through a science PhD and now lives and works overseas, a certified member of Australia’s Brain Drain. We all know TA’s disregard for science and to scientists.

    Is there anything that our current government is doing that will keep families together, that will encourage training and skill development in the young, that will make our society fairer and full of real opportunities for every young Australian? Or is dog-eat-dog all that is on offer?

    Comment by John B — June 9, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

  10. JohnB,

    “Or is dog-eat-dog all that is on offer?” Certainly the steady erosion of social democracy is on the Coalition’s agenda.

    It’s already happened in the US. The introduction of American style neo-liberal policies will produce more inequality, more crime, less social cohesion and much lower public health outcomes.

    No one can claim that they haven’t been warned.

    Comment by RussellW — June 9, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

  11. I’m a realist John B, not someone who necessarily agrees with TA on anything. Moreover, I’m not thinking about him, but those his preferred policies affect!
    And under his watch the brain drain can only ever continue.
    For all his talk and bluster, he is not going to respond with the defeat of any bill in the Senate with a double dissolution!
    So our kids have no real choice, than the available options on offer? The sooner they get on with them the better for them!
    Nor would some of them be hurt by a period of time, learning useful skills in the military, like say diesel fitting, IT, and a whole range of tech skills and leadership training, that will stand them in good stead, for the balance of their working life.
    Your point about vet places is well made, but there are still pathways, like say vet nursing?
    At some time, most kids need to leave home and gain self sufficiency.
    That’s not separating families John, that’s life, just as it was doing the highland clearances, and or the potato famine.
    We face a very uncertain future, and those equipped with self sufficient skills, will likely fare better, in almost any future circumstance or scenario.
    We would face that future stronger and far more self reliant, with very different policies, a very different leader and far less limited ideas.
    However, none of these pending issues are about to challenge or effect the usual divide and rule status quo.
    Save an emergency, and emergency rule!
    And as much as we do need real reform and change we can all really believe in, I can’t wish for an emergency, even if that’s the only way I can see, we’ll ever get there.
    Yes, the brain drain is an unfortunate reality, and emphasized, by TA spending 250 billion on school chaps, and wiping, around 111 billion from CSIRO’s budget!
    You’d hardly believe this man was a Rhode’s scholar?
    Perhaps his was a sports scholarship, given his patent disdain for science?
    Cheers, Alan B.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 10, 2014 @ 11:55 am

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