Keep Abbott in Play

My thoughts exactly. This piece by John Kelly was published by The Australian Independent Media earlier today, and is republished here with permission. Many thanks to John Kelly and Michael Taylor.

(Please note: I couldn’t find the excellent image John Lord had at the beginning of his article, so I substituted something appropriate – and I’m pretty sure it is Alex Ellinghausen’s work, although all the images in The Age’s article have shrunk.)

(Image Credit: Alex Ellinghausen; The Age)

The Victorian State Election has become a defining moment for the LNP, whether they like it or not. The burning question on most Liberal minds right now is what to do with the dear leader, Tony Abbott.

On the one hand it is difficult to see the Liberals allowing Abbott to lead them to the next election. His propensity for appearing dysfunctional cannot be tolerated indefinitely. The odds that he will continue to embarrass his government in one way or another are very short. The likelihood he will change and assume statesman-like characteristics is a pipe dream. He is just so far out of his depth a submarine would struggle to find him.

And, historically the Liberals have limited patience for those who become an impediment to the image they have of themselves; an image of ‘born to rule’, of continued, ongoing governance of the peasantry. They know that sooner or later Abbott is going to drop another clanger either domestically, or on the international stage.

They also know the nation is, in effect, on 24 hour alert steeling itself as it waits for the next big blunder. The hope might be, within Liberal minds that as each blunder comes along we might start getting used to them and even become immune to them.

Not likely.

(Image Credit: The Age)

On the other hand, if the Liberals leave him there, keep him out of harm’s way and try to create a troika around Bishop, Hockey and Turnbull, it won’t be long before confusion, contradiction and back bench dissatisfaction cause a parliamentary meltdown. Whatever they do, Abbott will remain an electoral liability so toxic, the majority know it will send them back into opposition after one term.

But, by removing him they also paint themselves with the same brush they so savagely slapped over Labor when Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd. The only difference is, we can all see Abbott’s dysfunctional nature. We would understand why he had to go and that might work in their favour. That small positive, however, is unlikely to work. The reason is that the options for a new leader are pretty ordinary. Whichever way they go, they are on a hiding to nothing.

At the beginning of the year Hockey looked the goods but it wasn’t long before he started suffering from foot in mouth disease and then, of course, he delivered his first budget, which turned out to be a self-inflicted blight on his aspirations for future leadership.

More recently, Julie Bishop has been seen as leadership material as she strutted the international stage, turning heads and getting pasted up in Harper’s Bazaar. However, we have not forgotten her foray as shadow treasurer at the beginning of the Rudd administration which saw her out of her depth too.

As Foreign Affairs minister we only get to see her in ten second bites shaking hands with other world dignitaries. It is difficult to see her holding up to the close scrutiny of national leader if she couldn’t cut it as an alternative treasurer. One thing is for certain: she is no Julia Gillard and that, sadly for her, is the current benchmark.

Which leaves us with the only other possibility, Malcolm Turnbull. While there are plenty in the party who would back him, there are more who simply won’t. It is questionable that he shares their ideology; many fear he might drag them, kicking and screaming, to the centre, away from Murdochism. That would leave them without a narrative.

And therein lies their dilemma, made even more difficult as their ideological approach to government continues to hit brick walls in the Senate. Who would have thought twelve months ago that it would come to this ; the quickest act of political self-destruction in our history.

And how deserving of it they are.

(Image Credit: Daily Mail)

As I watched these pretenders parading themselves up and down the lower house chamber one day last week, I was reminded of the stench of arrogant superiority I witnessed in St. Peter’s Square in Rome some years ago watching the red hats of the Vatican do much the same thing.

And that, it seems to me, is who these ideologically recalcitrant adolescents think they are. These pompous overlords of Neo-liberal macroeconomics, these Reaganists and Thatcherites, the ‘trickle down’ team of wealth distribution. Only in the Senate do they display themselves with any degree of humility and respect for the office they hold; a measure of their uncertainty and reliance on others beyond their control.

So, I say, let them continue to self-destruct and display themselves as they really are to those who voted for them; not their loyal members, their ideological clones, but the swinging voters who were sucked in by their lies, their spin, their false promises.

Let those who voted for them see what they got for their money. Let the 6-10 per cent of the electorate who decide elections squirm a little longer. Keep the dear leader in play for another two years as we watch the economy go headlong into recession and the false debt continue to grow.

Whichever way they go, we can be sure self-preservation will trump national interest and that, ultimately, will be their undoing.

539 thoughts on “Keep Abbott in Play

  1. As long as you sling a grand or two into the Qld LNP coffers, you can get away with virtually anything here.

    Just like the old Joh years.

    Jeff Seeney: Queensland deputy premier caught own officials by surprise with retrospective law change preventing possible prosecution of LNP donor

    Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney caught government officials off guard when he ordered a last-minute law change that prevented the possible prosecution of a major LNP donor for what senior bureaucrats deemed illegal river quarrying.

    Emails, briefing notes and other correspondence between senior officials and Department of Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps show no discussion about a change to the law before Mr Seeney ordered the amendment to the Water Act in early April.

    The retrospective law change allowed Karreman Quarries to continue to extract millions of dollars worth of sand and gravel from the bed of the Upper Brisbane River at Harlin, north-west of Brisbane.

    Karreman Quarries gave $50,000 to the Queensland LNP in 2011-12, putting it among the party’s top dozen donors. It gave $25,000 to the LNP the previous year.
    Do you know more about this story? Email

    It has also emerged that, since 7.30 revealed Mr Seeney’s role in June, the State Government allocated $1.6 million of taxpayer funds to restoring the slumped river banks of properties on the Upper Brisbane River, where for 20 years the owners have blamed quarrying for the damage.

    Karreman Quarries told the ABC a consultant had advised it the operation was causing only “minimal impact” upstream.

    Mr Seeney strongly denied the claims that he acted inappropriately and said that “to this day I have never spoken to the owners of this property about this issue”.

    Hey, hey! The more things change up here, the more they stay the same! 😉

  2. This little black duck,

    I guess Clive is ensconced in one of Canberra’s eataries.

    I bet their eyes light up like x-mas trees when either he or Hockey walk in the door of their premesis! 😉

  3. This could go all night.

    There has to be a final vote tonight because if the bill passes the senate the reps have to sit tomorrow morning to pass any amendments that have been successful.

  4. This little black duck,

    “Mr Seeney strongly denied ”

    How far did his nose grow?

    Not sure, but one could safely say it is, as you said, “prolonging”. 😉

  5. Morrison wants it done and dusted. He desperately wants all the new powers this filthy legislation will give him. If it gets up, that is.

  6. “Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Cabinet reshuffle likely before next federal election ”

    He didn’t. He said it may happen.

    Time to take your drugs when “Tony says …”

  7. Leone,

    As you said, Snot gives no concessions.

    Pity the cross-bench Senators don’t realize.

    Should Labor have grapped them by the balls?

    Kim Carr now stirring the pot.

  8. SHY, reckons that the Senate contains toolies at schoolies.

    Wouldn’t refer to honorable LNP Senators, by any chance? Bernadi & Brandis possibly?;)

  9. This little black duck,

    “Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Cabinet reshuffle likely before next federal election ”

    He didn’t. He said it may happen.

    Yeah! I read pretty well the whole piece and didn’t see where he said that. I thought it looked good though!

    What a marvelous MSM we have here in this country! 👿

  10. Ducky,

    I bet there’s a few of them that wouldn’t mind a glass of wine or two right at the moment.

    Probably glad for the Divisions. Time to hit the cocktail cabinet or bar fridge for a quick snort! 😉

  11. Hey! I just realised! It was Tony’s “cocktail cabinet” that they were talking about re the proposed reshuffle! 😉

  12. Julia’s government got pretty much everything through & received virtually no recognition. What’s the betting the MSM jumps on this to proclaim a year of triumph for Abbott?

  13. Bastard Morrison, holding asylum seeker children to ransom to get his evil bill through the senate. What an evil sociopath. He is just so disappointed because he was born too late to join the Brown Shirts.

  14. TPVs really are the devil’s work. Was talking ASs might be here 20 years then sent back to their home country—TWENTY YEARS!

    Now I guess boats will come again, full of wives and kids just like under Howard 😦

  15. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Mark Kenny – Abbott and Hockey face a yawning chasm.
    Joe Hockey’s mess of his own making. Quite a good article this one.
    This should hardly be a surprise given the relentless pursuit of short termism.
    Pell can find the money but he couldn’t (wouldn’t?) find the kiddy fiddlers. Perhaps will all this new found wealth the church could properly fund the compensations.
    Geoffrey Watson puts his case for a federal ICAC. Bring it on I say!
    And this corporate governance consultant tends to agree.
    The Adelaide Advertiser has a story about the outrage over Leigh Sales’ soft interview of Abbott.
    Greg Jericho – Six things we need to know about our dreadful GDP figures.
    Peter Wicks says it’s time for a proper clean up of the NSW Labor Party.
    A case for the federal government to raise taxes.

  16. Section 2 . . .

    The overwhelming majority of asylum seekers sent offshore are genuine refugees.
    View from the Street – the smirking Morrison gets the treatment here.
    Stephen Koukoulas on how the Senate is saving the economy.
    The three worst things the Liberals did yesterday.
    It’s going to get ugly in the public service if this keeps up.–as-government-delays-negotiations-until-2015-20141204-11zu3s.html
    Abbott’s brave new world. He’s taking us to a bad place. Lots of valid points in this article.,7155
    A well deserved Gold Walkley Award for Adele Ferguson, a true journalist. And Waleed Aly, an excellent opinion writer was also recognised.
    The CSIRO confirms that the world is heating up and the oceans are rising. If they keep this up the whole organisation will be disbanded! I bet Abbott will forbid Mesma from reading this before Lima.
    First they cut the life out of science and now they will fund these sky fairy studies. It beggars belief. But then again . . .
    And the god-botherers will choke the arts.

  17. First they cut the life out of science and now they will fund these sky fairy studies. It beggars belief. But then again . . .

    The Mad Monk even included funding for school sky fairy supporters as one of his government’s “achievements” .

  18. Twitter is reporting that Simon Benson in Daily Terror saying Turnbull to take over as Treasurer from Hockey. Anyone else seen any articles or links?

  19. Morrison has his new powers, or he will as soon as the reps pass the amendments this morning and Abbott’s tame GG signs the paperwork.

    If you have a few hours to spare you might like to have a look at what the senate has jut allowed. It’s not good.;query=Id%3A%22legislation%2Fbillhome%2Fr5346%22;querytype=;rec=0

    Hansard for last night’s debate is interesting too. It seems Morrison lied to Clive Palmer to get PUP’s support.;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansards%2F031d80d7-61ca-407e-9e56-9e2d9d467e42%2F0128;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansards%2F031d80d7-61ca-407e-9e56-9e2d9d467e42%2F0000%22

    Morrison made a few promises as part of the bargaining process. Things he could have done any time at all but never did. He promised to ‘quickly’ process the claims of 30,000 asylum seekers who are stuck in detention centres. This could have been done within weeks of those poor souls arriving, but Morrison preferred to keep them locked up in hell holes while he paid private contractors billions of our dollars to come up with creative new ways to torture these people, treating them in a manner which would have made some Nazi concentration camp commandants tremble,

    What the dills on the senate cross bench failed to understand was this – Morrison may have promised speedy processing but he did not promise that anyone so processed would receive a fair assessment or be granted refugee status. The 1500 asylum seekers (including 468 children) that Clive Palmer thought would soon be leaving Christmas Island may well be heading for Sri Lanka, Iran, Afghanistan or worse because Scrott has decided they are not genuine refugees. They now have no right of appeal.

    Morrison also promised to increase our humanitarian intake from the current 13,750 to 18,750 souls over four years, with a further increase to 20,000 later, but only after the processing backlog of 30,000 who had arrived before September last year had been dealt with. This was a very cynical and hypocritical ‘promise’. Morrison has merely promised (we all know what happens to this government’s promises) to put the intake back to less than it had been before the last election. Let’s not forget that Labor had increased the annual intake to 20,000. The incoming Abbott government slashed that to 13,750 in its first weeks in office. No-one in the MSM and certainly none of the complaint cross bench senators seemed to notice this bit of skullduggery.

    So poor little Ricky Muir, after weeping about the plight of children, caved in and voted for this garbage. It all came down to the vote of one man, a man who had probably not read the legislation and certainly did not understand what he was voting for.

    I hope Muir is ashamed of himself today. I wonder how he will feel when Morrison tosses his ‘promises’ into the bin and begins to use his newly enhanced powers to commit even more atrocities.

  20. ptmd

    are the kids getting out of detention by Xmas or was that a lie?

    If so Snots done a lot of pre-planning.

  21. puffy
    I’m betting it’s a lie.Maybe a few carefully selected, photogenic not-too-brown kids will make it out, for some nice media shots, but that will be it.

    And if they do get out of detention what next? They and their parents will be stuck in limbo, likely to be sent back to their country of origin at any time, at the whim of the minister.

  22. leonetwo

    They and their parents will be stuck in limbo, likely to be sent back to their country of origin at any time, at the whim of the minister.

    I think I’ll now refer to Scrott as the Sinister of Immigration.

  23. I turn 81 next week. I guess I was a precocious youngster and was interested in politics or, at least, in the way the country was run from when I was about eight and John Curtain, the great man that he was, held the destiny of Australia in his hands. Since then there have been many, a very few near as great, many dedicated hard workers who left a mark, many more mediocre personalities, a few poor, bad or evil. And now we have Scott Morrison, a nasty, vile, heartless, hypocritical creature. In those many years since the early forties, I have never seen his like. We have reached the bottom of the bucket.

  24. brianmcisme,
    Words of wisdom, sir.
    While I am 4 yrs younger and became interested in politics a little later, influenced by my father’s involvement in the Postal Workers Union, I agree 100% with you. Many Happy Returns for next week and may there be be many more birthdays to celebrate.

  25. And now we have Scott Morrison, a nasty, vile, heartless, hypocritical creature. In those many years since the early forties, I have never seen his like. We have reached the bottom of the bucket.

    I too have never seen his like, nor a half a dozen others sitting on the govt ‘s front bench. I just cannot understand why conservatives are attracted to the lowest common denominator.

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