Promises, Promises: Abbott’s Survival Modus Operandi

Today’s Guest Author is Aguirre (see – told you I’d get a thread-starter out of you one of these days . . . ). As we at The Pub know, Aguirre is a fine analyst of politics and – as importantly – policies. In my opinion (and that of at least one other, Your Royal Leonine Majesty) his ability to get to the heart of the matter is better than almost every mainstream journalist, and the equal of the best of the fifth estate. Thank you again, Aguirre, for permission to republish.

Well, we all know Abbott’s MO is to survive the next thing, whether it be an interview, a party room meeting, a presser or a session of Parliament. He’s happy to sacrifice all future credibility anything one of his colleagues might have said, any promise he might have made, even the workability of his own party, just as long as he survives that next thing. He’s made promises to WA that shaft Tasmania, and then gone straight to Tasmania to make promises that shaft WA, just so he could survive each of those particular speeches. He’s gone on TV and actually called himself a liar, simply because there was no other way out of that line of questioning, and then pretty much gone straight out into the community and said “Trust me.” He did an NPC speech a couple of years ago where he came out with all sorts of wonderful policy promises, his ‘new direction’ or whatever it was, and we watched him back away from all of them within a half hour of questions. Just because there was no other way out. If he needs his wife an daughters to act as a buffer against curly questioning, no worries, out they trot. Just as long as he gets through the next hour, the next meeting, the next day, the next interview.

So the next thing is the spill. You can bet he’ll go around to each of the backbenchers, individually, and promise them whatever it is they want from him, hand on heart. They’ll be different promises to each backbencher, and the promises will all contradict each other. A lot of them won’t believe him, but given he’ll have some support already, and given there could be three of four candidates and Bishop and Turnbull might split their votes, he probably only needs to con 15-20 of the backbench. He’d be thinking he could win a three-way contest. Just. But just is enough.

Maybe he’ll tell some of them he’s confident he has the numbers, and there’ll be retribution for those who don’t back him. Maybe he’ll tell others they’re close to a ministry position so just hang in there. Maybe he’ll tell others he’s begging them for the stability of the party, don’t change horses mid-stream. Whatever pushes their buttons.

473 thoughts on “Promises, Promises: Abbott’s Survival Modus Operandi

  1. I’d never heard of Luke Simpkins.

    He sounds like a real charmer.

    Simpkins is an outspoken social conservative. He was one of four Liberal MPs to abstain from the apology to the Stolen Generations, declaring that he worried “that it could lock in negativity about the future”, that indigenous people were no longer denied employment opportunities, and that he would “again back children being taken in this situation”. He has attacked halal food, declaring in 2011 “by having Australians unwittingly eating Halal food, then we are all one step down the path of conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and not be imposed upon us unknowingly.” He has supported banning the burqa in Australia. He has also supported sleep deprivation torture as a means of gaining information. Simpkins opposes same-sex marriage

  2. His other claim to fame, Leone, was to try to drum up a scare against Halal-approved food preparation on the grounds that it could turn us into a Islamic terrorist, or some such.

  3. If the nutjobs are turning, Abbott’s in deep trouble. They were his base for most of his journey, and even forgave him for backing down on the Bolt Amendments.

  4. As spill-prone as a pissed kangaroo pouring cocktails, Australia could soon see its fourth change of Prime Minister in four years

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  5. Leone,

    I was interested to note mr simpkins’ history as a rower, remembered senator bernardi’s similar predilection, and started wondering about politicians and rowing.

    Well, it turns out FPM Whitlam was also a rower, though sort of by compulsion. This is what he had to say:

    Gough was very famous for his quick wit and once told an illustrious gathering that his preferred sport was rowing and that it was an apt sport for politicians: “It is, of course, an extraordinarily apt sport for men in public life because you can face one way while going the other.”

    For other politicians who rowed see:

  6. Barry J

    I didn’t get upset, no need to as Ellis’s rubbish is so easily refuted.

  7. Mr Simpkins said he had submitted a motion to the Government’s chief whip asking for the spill to be conducted via a secret ballot at Tuesday’s party room meeting.

    The Government’s chief whip Philip Ruddock confirmed he had received notice of the motion and said Mr Abbott had “indicated this motion will be listed for discussion at the Liberal Party Meeting on Tuesday”.

  8. Nice coincidence. Look who are 20th and 21st on the list of PM’s by length of service.

  9. For some reason I am reminded of Robert Heilein’s depiction of society in “Starship Troopers” (the original book version) where the only people who were allowed to be citizens and vote were people who had served at least one tour of duty in the armed forces.

    I didn’t realise until many years later why, of all his books, that one made me feel disquieted. And I know that Heinlein never worked out that what he thought was a good idea was also approved of by a certain group in Germany in the 1930s

  10. Pity the backbencher stuck on Sky while all this happening

    Poor Fiona Scott!

    The Liberal MP has had the bad fortune to be doing a live interview on Sky while the news of the WA push broke.

    The staunch defender of Abbott – she is part of the loyal class of 2013 – has noted that she has not yet had the opportunity to read the letter emailed by Luke Simpkins.

    For many minutes now she has sat in the hot seat talking about the Coalition’s achievements and what an “honourable” woman Julie Bishop is.

    Some days you really do earn your money more than others–february-6-2015-20150206-137ks2.html

  11. If Turnbull becomes leader, No one should expect much, if any, change in policy.

  12. Given that what Abbott has been saying is very similar to what Rudd said prior to losing the leadership in 2010, It’s a fair bet that Abbott and his backers will whiteant and backstab any successor.

  13. GL

    Bill Shorten summed it up this morning saying the only difference would be the guy peddling the crap will be “…in a better suit”

  14. “The prime minister Tony Abbott will speak on the spill motion at 3.20pm today in Sydney.”

    election,election,election,election,election,election,election,election… hang on, I should really stop dreaming.

  15. 3:20 Abbott presser

    It wouldn’t surprise me one iota if he resigns. He is such a coward, all smugglers and no budgie.


  17. Huh, so it is on. Seems that it’s the endgame for Abbott.

    As to why Bishop is quiet on this, I thought one possibility might be that Turnbull would happily appoint her as his successor and move aside in 1 or 2 terms, keeping her leadership ambitions quiet and satisfied for the moment.

    That is assuming that if he’s leader he’d actually be successful. On paper yes he has the popularity, but he also needs the backing of his party, and the right wing of the Liberals + the Nationals don’t seem keen on providing that.

  18. Bullshit! The voters voted in their individual electorate MPs.
    And Julie and I will stand together as a team. So this means she will go down with the ship.
    And now the gutless bastard walks off. The press will LOVE that.

  19. So, the abbott is intent on hanging onto the prize he got when digging through the rubble of the destruction he caused with his wrecking ball. He aint going to go unless they blast him out.

  20. Damn, missed the announcement. I’ve got Sky telling me it was Abbott’s masterstroke and that he can’t lose a ballot now Bishop’s standing with him. Doesn’t sound right to me. I take he said he had Bishop on-side? Is that right? Why wasn’t she there with him, then?

    I’m not going to believe anything about where Bishop stands until I hear from her.

  21. I just heard uhlmann say in all sincerity wtte ‘we need to look at what has gone wrong in Australian politics’

    I have no words!!!!!

  22. the’ve just repeated Abbott’s press conference, by my timing it went for about 1 minute and 15 seconds.

  23. Why wouldn’t Julie Bishop stand by her man? She knows whoever is leader after the spill will most likely lose the next election and she doesn’t want that poisoned chalice.

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