Losing the War on His Own Terms

The first comment on Lenore Taylor’s report card on abbott’s first two years in “government” was a ripsnorter from JC Lucas. I have taken the liberty of republishing it here, to bring it to the attention of those Pubsters who don’t always get as far as the comments.

(Image Credit: Fairfax; Alex Ellinghausen)

Tony Abbott is losing the war on his own terms. In his victory speech two years ago Tony Abbott stated that he looked forward to forming a government that “accepts that it will be judged more by its deeds than by its mere words.”

In an unprincipled fashion, the government always seem to place their political interests and ideology ahead of the national interest, and seem to believe that whatever they have to do to realize them is justified, whether it means driving young children insane or allowing them to be sexually abused, unfairly balancing the budget on the backs of the most disadvantaged in the community, or lowering the standard of political conduct to new depths each week just so long as their political objective is reached every day.

In lieu of delivering coherent economic policy that serves the people, Tony Abbott has delivered a perpetual national security and terrorism scare campaign that constitutes the government’s own brand of dog whistle politics, using coded xenophobic language to frighten while offering the illusory consolation of appearing to pass “strong” legislation to fight terrorism to console. It is a low form of politics, but then Tony Abbott has a long track record of demagoguery, irrationally appealing to the lower emotions, while ignoring the facts.

Only by using subtle racism and fear of the other can right wing neoliberal politicians persuade average people to vote against their own best economic interests by distracting them from their true agenda: to redistribute wealth upwards, cut welfare, and reach the other goals of neoliberal policy, like privatization – of public health and education – and cutting taxes for corporations. The ultimate goal for the Abbott regime is to transform Australia into a neoliberal plutocracy which serves the interests of the rich and powerful above that of everyday Australians.

Tony Abbott‘s arrogance and dictatorial nature are but a signal of the seriously disturbing proclivity for authoritarianism in his government which threatens the civil and human rights of the citizenry. Indeed, the Abbott government have a pronounced authoritarian tendency to aggregate power to the executive, reject transparency, and to aggressively attack their political opponents. The government seem to believe that they are above the law, ignoring the rule of law’s primacy over the executive. In fact, the Abbott government have several characteristics of an authoritarian regime: repression of dissent, an absolutist ideology, an autocratic leader, a parochial political culture, and the sense of its legitimacy being based on an appeal to emotion rather than reason.

The unconscionable track record of Operation Sovereign Borders’ persecution of the weak, the Trade Union Royal Commission’s politicization to weaken Bill Shorten and the union movement, the concerted attacks on Gillian Triggs for upholding human rights, the autocratic conduct surrounding the stripping of citizenship, the metadata retention laws, the fanatical pursuit of an extremist neoliberal agenda, and the habitual refusal of the executive to demonstrate accountability to the parliament or the courts are all ample evidence that the Abbott government’s marked tendency towards authoritarianism has risen to the level of actually threatening democracy in this country.

The Abbott regime, and infamously Tony Abbott himself, have a distinct disrespect for objective truth and the habit of confabulating their own alternate version of reality, in Orwellian proportions, to the extent that what the government says and believes to be so is presented as the truth.

All of this leads to the irony and outrage that Tony Abbott himself, and several of his ministers, themselves, have been terrorizing the populace with their dictatorial rhetoric, incessant lies, and distortions of reality, and the hyperbole of the terrorism and national security scare campaign. “Daesh is coming, if it can, for every person and for every government with a simple message: ‘Submit or die’” juxtaposed against, “Whose side are you on?” and “…heads should roll over this” lays bare more than perhaps the PM has intended.

The inescapable impression ends up being that it is actually the Abbott government who are coming to get you. Instead of defending the country from them, they are doing the work of the terrorists for them: debasing democracy, frightening people, ignoring the rule of law, and attempting to narrow the national mentality down to a laser thin ray of insecurity. The government seem to want the people of Australia to feel every bit as afraid of themselves, as of the enemies they pretend to protect them from. Last weekend the country appeared to be one email away from tyranny with Operation Fortitude.

Tony Abbott is losing the war on his own terms. In his victory speech two years ago Tony Abbott stated that he looked forward to forming a government that “accepts that it will be judged more by its deeds than by its mere words.”

In an unprincipled fashion, the government always seem to place their political interests and ideology ahead of the national interest, and seem to believe that whatever they have to do to realize them is justified, whether it means driving young children insane or allowing them to be sexually abused, unfairly balancing the budget on the backs of the most disadvantaged in the community, or lowering the standard of political conduct to new depths each week just so long as their political objective is reached every day.

In lieu of delivering coherent economic policy that serves the people, Tony Abbott has delivered a perpetual national security and terrorism scare campaign that constitutes the government’s own brand of dog whistle politics, using coded xenophobic language to frighten while offering the illusory consolation of appearing to pass “strong” legislation to fight terrorism to console. It is a low form of politics, but then Tony Abbott has a long track record of demagoguery, irrationally appealing to the lower emotions, while ignoring the facts.

Only by using subtle racism and fear of the other can right wing neoliberal politicians persuade average people to vote against their own best economic interests by distracting them from their true agenda: to redistribute wealth upwards, cut welfare, and reach the other goals of neoliberal policy, like privatization – of public health and education – and cutting taxes for corporations. The ultimate goal for the Abbott regime is to transform Australia into a neoliberal plutocracy which serves the interests of the rich and powerful above that of everyday Australians.

Tony Abbott‘s arrogance and dictatorial nature are but a signal of the seriously disturbing proclivity for authoritarianism in his government which threatens the civil and human rights of the citizenry. Indeed, the Abbott government have a pronounced authoritarian tendency to aggregate power to the executive, reject transparency, and to aggressively attack their political opponents. The government seem to believe that they are above the law, ignoring the rule of law’s primacy over the executive. In fact, the Abbott government have several characteristics of an authoritarian regime: repression of dissent, an absolutist ideology, an autocratic leader, a parochial political culture, and the sense of its legitimacy being based on an appeal to emotion rather than reason.

The unconscionable track record of Operation Sovereign Borders’ persecution of the weak, the Trade Union Royal Commission’s politicization to weaken Bill Shorten and the union movement, the concerted attacks on Gillian Triggs for upholding human rights, the autocratic conduct surrounding the stripping of citizenship, the metadata retention laws, the fanatical pursuit of an extremist neoliberal agenda, and the habitual refusal of the executive to demonstrate accountability to the parliament or the courts are all ample evidence that the Abbott government’s marked tendency towards authoritarianism has risen to the level of actually threatening democracy in this country.

The Abbott regime, and infamously Tony Abbott himself, have a distinct disrespect for objective truth and the habit of confabulating their own alternate version of reality, in Orwellian proportions, to the extent that what the government says and believes to be so is presented as the truth.

All of this leads to the irony and outrage that Tony Abbott himself, and several of his ministers, themselves, have been terrorizing the populace with their dictatorial rhetoric, incessant lies, and distortions of reality, and the hyperbole of the terrorism and national security scare campaign. “Daesh is coming, if it can, for every person and for every government with a simple message: ‘Submit or die’” juxtaposed against, “Whose side are you on?” and “…heads should roll over this” lays bare more than perhaps the PM has intended.

The inescapable impression ends up being that it is actually the Abbott government who are coming to get you. Instead of defending the country from them, they are doing the work of the terrorists for them: debasing democracy, frightening people, ignoring the rule of law, and attempting to narrow the national mentality down to a laser thin ray of insecurity. The government seem to want the people of Australia to feel every bit as afraid of themselves, as of the enemies they pretend to protect them from. Last weekend the country appeared to be one email away from tyranny with Operation Fortitude.

477 thoughts on “Losing the War on His Own Terms

  1. Just got a phone call from Andrew Hastie (recorded message of course) and hasty was the speed with which I hung up on him.

  2. C K Watt

    It was so good that, as Roy and HG used to say, “When too much is not enough” 🙂
    ,
    Jaeger

    A big thank you for your “space watch” updates . I love those pics but keep forgetting to check out how they are going at ESA etc..

  3. Billie11

    Absolutely no need to apologize, I often start comments myself and don’t post them because of how they may be received. It would be good if we had different fonts to use for different moods or emphasis.

    And if he calls again I will record it and post it here, why should I be the only one suffer just because I live in Canning?

  4. C K Watt

    “It would be good if we had different fonts to use for different moods or emphasis.”
    .
    In bloody deed we do. A number of times I have made a post on a blog which was written in the spirit of 😀 but when posted read more like “Ya wanna step outside mate ?”

  5. KK – my pleasure. I can’t keep on top of it all either, but I try to pass on the most interesting bits as and when I find them, and thank our hosts for their indulgence.

  6. Minnie-Chelsea is coming on okay, she ate the meat from a chicken drumstick when I hand-fed her. Huh! Little princess.

    Mum’s tooth is better, her face no longer looks like a huge marshmallow.

    I am still stunned by how atrocious the NE was in that Sales interview. He is seriously losing it. I would not be surprised to find him picked up by the men in white coats in the end.

    I do not know how he coped with all the other failures in his life. He probably just blamed the others who could not cope with his ‘greatness’. But this one, this is the big one, and he is tanking badly, He is limping along like the Bismark, and eventually his career is going into Davey Jones Locker. I reckon he is just being held together with gaffer tape now and what the hell they are going through to keep him okay for the cameras is ripe for speculation. The only thing I know is we are all going to suffer in the meantime.

  7. Just stick a 🙂 at the end of your posts if they sound too heavy. My worry is writing something in sarcasm and getting taken out of context.

  8. tlbd

    If there is no religious test in this country for candidates, how come there is one for Refugees? That would have been my retort to handy andy.

  9. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Yes, we now know what the beginning of our adventure into Syria is, but what defines its end?
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/defence-minister-admits-clearer-middle-east-strategy-needed-20150910-gjjofp.html
    Mark Kenny examines Abbott’s decision on the refugee intake and Labor’s role in it.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/syrian-refugee-initiative-puts-tony-abbott-at-centre-of-politics-20150910-gjjcgc.html
    Meanwhile Morrison says Christians will be he focus of our selection of Syrian refugees. Is this the new incarnation of the White Australia policy?
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/10/scott-morrison-says-christians-will-be-focus-of-australias-refugee-intake
    Meanwhile Andrew Hastie is feeling the heat of questions on whether he believes in creationism. If he does believe it is he really fit to make informed decisions?
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/10/canning-byelection-andrew-hastie-refuses-to-give-his-views-on-creationism
    Michelle Grattan – Under Abbott there are no timelines for our wars or our detentions.
    https://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-under-the-abbott-government-there-are-no-timelines-for-war-or-detention-47384
    This looks like it’s a monster drug bust!
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-police-fbi-swoop-on-alleged-drug-syndicate-20150910-gjjy5f.html
    More funny business in NSW local government.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/robert-borsak-uses-parliament-to-air-allegations-against-liverpool-mayor-ned-mannoun-20150910-gjjmj9.html
    The headmaster of the Anglican Cranbrook private school got well and truly sprung at yesterday’s CA Royal Commission. He could well be cleaning his desk right now.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/royal-commission-cranbrook-headmaster-knew-about-child-sex-abuse-allegations-20150909-gjia4h.html
    This former student of Geelong Grammar says that the CA Royal Commission forces “bystanders” to consider their inaction.
    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/royal-commission-forces-sexual-abuse-bystanders-to-address-their-inaction-20150909-gjj4u8.html
    Voters feel that the government is trying to silence environmental groups. There’s a reason for that!
    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/sep/10/green-lawfare-voters-feel-coalition-is-trying-to-silence-environment-groups

  10. Section 2 . . .

    One could be forgiven for thinking of the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/no-jail-for-teacher-robert-emmett-who-filmed-up-students-skirts-20150910-gjjm6k.html
    A lot of Australian are opening their houses for the coming Syrian refugees. Will it catch on?
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/migrant-crisis-australians-throw-open-their-doors-to-syrian-refugees-20150910-gjjrge.html
    Seven times Abbott did exactly what he told Leigh Sales not to do. Surprised?
    https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/10/seven-times-tony-abbott-did-what-he-just-told-leigh-sales-not-do
    Dave Donovan didn’t think much of the interview! It’s a good parody.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/abc-730-leigh-halfprice-interviews-prime-minister-tony-idiott,8150
    Stephen Koukoulas looks at the tough fortnight for our economy.
    http://thekouk.com/blog/a-torrid-fortnight-for-the-economy.html
    The rush for the door by middle managers indicates that all is not well in the ATO.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/hundreds-of-ato-public-service-managers-in-redundancy-knockback-20150908-gjhdyj.html
    Abbott has denied that he’s about to dump up to six ministers.
    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/09/11/abbott-may-want-dump-six-ministers/
    The refugee crisis has opened up an ugly fissure in our right wing politics. Come on down George Christensen!
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/10/the-refugee-crisis-has-opened-an-ugly-fissure-in-australias-rightwing-politics
    Yesterday’s Question Time was an absurdity.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/waiting-for-canning-trussed-up-question-time-proves-absurd-with-mps-exported-to-wa-20150910-gjjq7w.html
    I have a feeling the plebiscite on marriage equality is going to end up being a costly and ugly clusterf**k.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/supporters-and-opponents-in-the-samesex-marriage-debate-push-for-protection-20150910-gjjw74.html

  11. Section 3 . . .

    Adele Ferguson wonders whether a pummelled 7-Eleven can actually change as it is promising. What a disgraceful outfit this has been shown to be!
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/7eleven-pummelled-franchise-finally-yields-to-change-20150910-gjjou0.html
    Woolworths’ “hail Mary” with Masters has turned out to be a home improvement haemorrhage.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/masters-is-a-home-improvement-hemorrhage-20150910-gjjnd3.html
    Parking vigilantes strike in the “wild west” f Melbourne.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/parking-vigilantes-strike-back-in-the-wild-west-20150910-gjjd6r.html
    Peter Martin introduces the little spoken about ABS underemployment index.
    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/abs-data-shows-people-are-finding-jobs-but-cant-find-the-hours-20150910-gjjqrt.html
    “View from the Street” says that Abbott’s now replying with “stop the boats” to every question asked.
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/view-from-the-street/view-from-the-street-abbotts-just-saying-stop-the-boats-to-everything-now-20150910-gjjqii.html

  12. Section 4 . . . Cartoon Corner

    A morbid contribution from Andrew Dyson.

    Ron Tandberg’s religious test.

    Alan Moir seems to be making a point about the motives behind our Syrian excursion.

    David Pope looks at how (and where) the Syrian refugees will be welcomed.

    Bill Leak on Abbott in Syria.

    As usual David Rowe gets it right.

  13. About the Pope cartoon, for those not familiar with the Northbourne Flats:

    A compromise has been reached between the ACT Government and the Heritage Council to save a number of the run-down public housing flats on Northbourne Avenue.

    The Government had planned to demolish the entire public housing precinct to make way for urban infill, while the Heritage Council wanted to save around half of the 62 buildings.

    Last month the Heritage Council’s decision to protect 40 per cent of them was struck down in the ACT Supreme Court, because a clerical error meant some submissions were not considered.

    The Heritage Council’s David Flannery said they had now reached an agreement with the Land Development Agency (LDA) to protect 17 buildings.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-03/heritage-council-reaches-compromise-with-government-over-flats/6747190

  14. Attached is an interesting article on Singapore’s coming elections.
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/much-is-at-stake-as-singaporeans-head-to-the-polls-20150910-gjjfrx.html

    In my travels I was rather struck with Singapore’s general success. Currently I am working on a piece about it. I only had 30 hours there and so some of it is superficial, plus some information gained from Sim and her nephew, our host there. It does challenge the notion of whether a popular democracy is the only method of good government. It should be complete in about a week.

  15. It is a magnificent spring morning in Melbourne. 6C when I left home (ice on the rear window, mostly melted by the time I reached Kew Junction), forecast maximum of 20C, clear blue skies. Just gorgeous.

    I caught the red light at 12 out of the 18 traffic lights between home and work, but didn’t mind in the slightest. It gave me the chance to watch an elderly gentleman out for his morning walk with his two elderly dogs (both grey-muzzled) – clearly a long-established trio. Then there was a flock of Little Lorrikeets winging their way to breakfast – lots of excited twittering audible even from inside my car. And lastly, a herd of commuter cyclists spinning along Canning Street (for those who don’t know Melbourne, several of the north-south streets that end in the CBD are designated cycle routes, and goodness are they well-used).

    No hot air balloons to be seen, perhaps because there’s not much wind.

  16. The adults in parliament –

    Children’s hour as Tony Abbott targeted in Baldrick jibe

    As part of the ceaseless quest to lift the tone of question time, some Labor wags have been referring of late to the Prime Minister as Baldrick, the scruffy dogsbody in British comedy series Blackadder.

    This is evidently a reference to Baldrick’s propensity for cunning plans that are ultimately doomed, rather than any of Baldrick’s other qualities, such as his breath (“straight from Satan’s bottom”) or his poetry (“Boom boom boom boom …”). But one person who wasn’t going to sit back and let Labor have all the telly-based fun was Scott Morrison, who labelled Bill Shorten “the trade unions’ Muppet”. This prompted an objection from Labor’s Pat Conroy, which in turn led to Moz’s qualified atonement: “I withdraw and I thank Beaker for his interjection.” Beaker is the much put-upon assistant of fellow Muppets character Dr Bunsen Honeydew. As question time went on, other Muppet characters names were called out by various MPs, including Fozzie Bear (complete with a cry of “Waka waka!”) and the Swedish chef. But because there’s always one who’s not quite in step, there was a cry of “Humphrey B. Bear!” But going back to Moz’s sledge, it seemed a tad misplaced, given Beaker has a skinny head, a terrified expression, and hair that looks like a sudden conflagration — and Conroy most conspicuously does not. “I think given my unique sense of humour I clearly closely identify with Fozzie Bear,” he told Strewth, adding, “Scott Morrison is definitely the Count in that he is bloodless and is happily counting the numbers for a leadership bid.” The Count never mucked up the numbers

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/strewth/childrens-hour-as-tony-abbott-targeted-in-baldrick-jibe/story-e6frgdk6-1227520046713

    You might have to Google for the rest.

  17. I am having a kind of “news catatonia”…where the surge of events are so overwhelming, so bizarre or so absurd that it seems quite inadequate to even comment on them. One is reduced to a kind of groaning OMG. reaction….

    The “Abbott interview” on 7.30…bizarre!…The selective choice of refugee boost to those who escaped “on foot”..absurd.. as a matter of fact, the whole behaviour of this govt’ is become so weird..so goddammed awful, one is almost struck dumb to find a rational reaction to it…we have almost exhausted the expletive pool…run out of adjectives..drained the emotive reservoir and plucked the strings of the heart till they are now sagging and dulled.

    I think the last thing we can do now is to keep our “powder” dry for the next election..and then do a “Guy Fawkes” moment on the whole LNP.

  18. jaycee

    The question now is, have the voters that gave us this ‘government’ got the message yet?

    We were all aware what would happen, long before they were even elected. They have now gone beyond even our wildest of wild suggestions of what it would be like.

    Luckily, I am noted for my patience, but I must admit it is wearing thin now. I just want it to be over with, for better or worse, although my imagination can’t think of much worse than what it is now.

  19. Anyone else reckon Bananas “Bitch” Bishop is looking forward to being a loyal girl to her fourth boss?

  20. Canning Report further update last evening – was also Ipsos -Fairfax polled by a real person-3 minutes- was I enrolled to vote in the Canning By election- Education level ( surprise) alas there were qualifiers- such as approve or strongly approve- disagree or strongly disagree. Question about Abbott’s performance- Bill Shortens performance the China Free Trade deal, who will get your first preference vote.
    Was asked If I would respond if a journalist rang with further questions – I politely declined. Just put the phone down and got the pre-recorded Andrew Hastie like C.K Watt- I replaced the receiver.

  21. Leadershit, leadershit and more leadershit………

    Joe Hockey suggests colleagues don’t like him because he has cut their budgets

    reasurer Joe Hockey has suggested senior ministerial colleagues including Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Ian Macfarlane are unhappy with him because he slashed their budgets.
    I’ve cut a few of their budgets, some of them aren’t very happy

    But Mr Hockey has dismissed the idea of taking “one for the team” and stepping aside as Treasurer, if asked to do so by Prime Minister Tony Abbott

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joe-hockey-says-colleagues-dont-like-him-because-he-has-cut-their-budgets-20150910-gjk51u.html

    PM denies six ministers to be dumped

    Early on Friday, Labor Shadow Minister Anthony Albanese insisted the report had a ring of accuracy because of where it was published.

    “These stories don’t come and go when they are in The Daily Telegraph. That is an annexe of the Prime Minister’s media office,” he told Channel Nine.

    “They get the drop on every story, much to the annoyance of the rest of the press gallery. So I think those ministers who have been mentioned will be very nervous this morning.”

    Mr Albanese said the reported cabinet clear out was a response to Mr Abbott being “stalked” by Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison.

    “All they are trying to sort out is who the challenger will be.”

    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2015/09/11/abbott-may-want-dump-six-ministers/

  22. Tony Abbott faces down Pacific island nations’ calls for tougher action on climate change

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has held his Government’s line on climate change despite pleas from low-lying Pacific island nations for a stronger stance on emissions and temperature rises.

    Both Mr Abbott and New Zealand prime minister John Key refused to go further than their existing commitments on global warming at the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

    Some Pacific island leaders say they are disappointed in the leaders for putting economic growth ahead of the survival of communities in small Pacific nations

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-11/pacific-leaders-fail-to-reach-consensus-on-climate-change/6767038

  23. This is such fun!

    Tony Abbott moves to hose down reshuffle talk amid ‘hysterical’ response from threatened frontbenchers

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flatly denied a report claiming that he is considering a Cabinet reshuffle, in a move aimed at hosing down outraged frontbenchers, one of whom says the claim has set off a “hand grenade” inside the Coalition.

    Mr Abbott said the story was wrong, as internal anger about it was aimed directly at his office.

    “Reports of end of year reshuffles are absolutely a dime a dozen,” the Prime Minister said.

    But his denial did little to quell the anger in the ranks at what some see as yet another unforced error by the Government.

    The story by Simon Benson and Daniel Meers in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph included a list of six ministers set to lose their jobs and the names of likely replacements.

    The report carries weight because the paper is known by Coalition MPs as the “Government Gazette”.

    One minister said everyone believed it had been approved by the Prime Minister’s office and the response had been “hysterical”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-11/abbott-moves-to-defuse-reshuffle-hand-grenade/6767388

  24. Leone,

    Good sport indeed.

    This just about says it all about Your Government

    “Hey diddle diddle,
    The cat and the fiddle,
    The cow jumped over the moon.
    The little dog laughed,
    To see such sport,
    And the dish ran away with the spoon.”

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