| How the sausage is made|
“”He really is the author of his own misfortune.
|—Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, after a year of Abbott's premiership.|
He was a terrific opposition leader, cushioned by the support of the Murdoch press. As Leader of the Coalition, Abbott's job was to rehearse "Slogans For Bogans" ("Ditch the Witch", "Ax the Tax," "Stop the Boats," "Under New Management", "Adults in Charge," "Jobs and Growth") to get the Liberals into power. UK papers enjoyed comparisons to the often-imitated, never-duplicated George W. Bush. Merril Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America seemed to disagree. Though in fairness to Bush, he at least told the truth occasionally. And ran the world's 15th largest economy for 5 years. What of Tony?
A boxer who led with his chin. A theologian who dropped out of school because he lacked empathy. A contractor who can't lay bricks. A journalist who never learned how to write. A communicator who never learned how to communicate. A public servant who wouldn't know service if it came up behind him and made him pregnant. The man is a one-dimensional evangelical, just like personal hero B. A. Santamaria. That's all he is, and he has not learned a single thing from the numerous jobs he has been fired from.
Tony does only one thing well: Oppose. For whatever reason, he's chosen to do it again, but this time the human wrecking ball is aimed squarely at his own party. The problem is they can't force him out as long as he's the poster boy for the far-right conservative Christian pact. Malcolm's government will be lucky to hang around for more than two years before Aussies are forced to go to the polls again.
- 1 Prelude
- 2 Views
- 3 And the slightly better?
- 4 Here comes the budget butchery
- 5 Toxic Tony
- 6 Encore
- 7 Reprise
- 8 Send in the clowns
- 9 Quotes before he became Prime Minister
- 10 Videos
- 11 External links
- 12 References
A boxer at university and a Catholic seminarian, Abbott was born to an Australian mother and an England-born Australian father, hence why he was elected Prime Minister despite being born in London (a la Julia Gillard). Earlier in his life, Abbott "saved a child who was swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house next to a pub where he was drinking. On each occasion, he disappeared before he could be properly thanked."
While employed as a journalist for The Bulletin (and later for The Australian newspaper), he was courted by friends in the Australian Labor Party to run for office under their party banner, but he felt uncomfortable with the role of the evil unions and declined (instead befriending coalition Prime Minister John Howard, who convinced him to run for office as a Liberal). In 1994 he became the Representative of the Division of Warringah, Sydney, a position he's held to date, and served as Minister for Health in Howard's cabinet.
This early into his career, Abbott opposed the abortion drug RU-486, and the Parliament voted to strip Health Ministers of the power to regulate this area of policy. He also attracted criticism for suspiciously long delays in funding for cancer diagnostic equipment (PET scanners). Abbott saw reducing the number of abortions performed each year as a national priority, promising to launch an investigation into a product called Pink or Blue, produced by an American firm called Consumer Genetics.
Nevertheless, he was surprisingly on the money when he opposed Howard's WorkChoices industrial program (which exempted companies from anti-unfair dismissal laws and restricted workers' ability to strike) on the basis that the legislation exceeded the government's mandate, was harsh on workers and was politically dangerous to the government. As Minister for Health, he created the Nurse Family Partnership, a long term scheme aimed at improving conditions for indigenous youth by improving mother-child relationships. The scheme was successful in reducing child abuse and improving school retention rates, which was uncharacteristically nice of him. He also introduced the Medicare Safety Net to cap the annual out-of-pocket costs of Medicare cardholders to a maximum amount, basically making it cheaper by introducing a restriction on how much they need to pay for it.
Game of Tones
Back in 2009, when relatively moderate Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull (Dick Cheney, if we're sticking to this analogy) issued his support for Kevin Rudd's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), Nick Minchin, the godfather of the Liberals' conservative wing, organized an inter-party coup against Turnbull, which resulted in a leadership spill.
The man who beat Turnbull was (who else?) Tony Abbott, who won the leadership by a grand total of one vote... except Minchin wanted Joe Hockey as Leader, not Abbott. Among the three leadership candidates of Turnbull, Abbott, and Joe Hockey, Abbott was easily the most unpopular, registering a paltry 20% approval rating among sitting MPs. Minchin, who was obsessed with John Howard's pro-ETS policy while he was Prime Minister, had strong-armed Hockey into disavowing the ETS behind closed doors. Hockey chose not to comment on ETS policy during a party meeting, which made MPs think "You can't have a policy by not having a policy" and see him as unfit to lead. Abbott, sensing an opportunity, came down as the anti-ETS candidate. Minchin, desperate to remove the ETS and install Hockey as Leader, offered a new formula – a secret ballot on the ETS offering three options – in favor, against it, or in favor of a conscience vote on it. Hockey was fine with it, but Abbott refused anything offering a conscience vote option.
This shored up anti-ETS votes in Abbott's favor, and just at the right time. On a Tuesday meeting, the leadership was declared vacant with a vote of 48 to 34, a clear dismissal of Turnbull. Julie Bishop, as deputy, called for nominations for the leadership. Turnbull was on his feet instantly, followed a second later by Abbott, and a while after that by Hockey. Enter the three-way race. In the first round of voting, he received 35 votes, while the moderates split between Turnbull (26 votes) and Hockey (23 votes; eliminated). In the run-off election, Abbott beat Turnbull by 42 votes to 41, and appropriately, one vote (Fran Bailey, who was absent) was not counted. After Abbott won, Minchin — in a moment of utter incomprehension — admitted to Hockey that he would have sent ten extra votes to Hockey had he known Abbott would vacuum up most of the votes. Hockey, of course, was fuming, pissed that Turnbull went back on a supposed promise not to run if the spill occurred.
So, Turnbull lost his leadership, Hockey lost the ETS, and Minchin lost the party he wanted under his thumb, because Abbott — despite being as unliked as any leader in memory — vehemently opposed climate change after publicly supporting the ETS as a minister. No, we don't understand it either.
After a short stint as Shadow Minister, Abbott became Leader of the Opposition on December 2009, where he turned into a gaffe-spouting machine. On the subject of homosexuality, he admitted that "I'd probably feel a bit threatened [when near a homosexual] ... it's a fact of life and I try to treat people as people and not put them in pigeonholes." This in spite of his own sister being a lesbian (and he's not fond of her either). He has since apologized for this spillover, but it wouldn't be the only PR-harming thing he's said: he's also an opponent of embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.
He has an unsavory track record on comments regarding women. He praised a fellow electoral candidate for her "sex appeal", as opposed to her policies or stances. When he bragged about having better-than-average-looking daughters (sound familiar?), questions arose over whether or not he was just a very proud father or rather most proud of his family's breeding stock. He even went so far as to say that women are "physiologically unsuited to leadership."
Abbott rejects man-made climate change (calling it "absolute crap"), but recognized that it's politically suicidal for him not to cater to voters who know AGW is real. Therefore, he weaseled his way into saying that he denies that humans cause global warming, only to then acknowledge that climate change is real and humans do contribute to global warming, but that there shouldn't be anything done about it. Abbott actively opposes the idea of a carbon tax, claiming it would be the world's largest, despite it being one of the lowest effective rates in OECD countries. The Senate resisted his attempts to abolish it for some time, but voted to axe it on July 17, 2014.. This resulted in some heavy responses from media sources around the world. Upon the 2013 election, Abbott received praise from prominent climate denialist Christopher Monckton on the Alex Jones show for his plans to abolish the tax, and from Jones himself, who praised Abbott for seeking to bring old American "prosperity" back to Australia.
He's a fanboy of Rupert Murdoch, which surprises no one, and wants to STOP THE BOATS arriving in Australia's northwest carrying refugees. Nearly every Australian newspaper and magazine endorsed Abbott for the position of Prime Minister, doubtlessly due to Murdoch's hand of influence. They're regretting it now.
He competed with Kevin Rudd (who unseated Gillard as Leader of Labor and Prime Minister) over the 2013 federal elections. During his speeches after the victory, he declared that Australia is under new management and that Australia is once more "open for business," whatever that implies.
Australia, Fuck Yeah!
In his bid to appear "tough" on national security, he sanctioned U.S.-style police raids and mass arrests, regardless of whether any evidence exists to support a prosecution, as part of an escalating scare campaign. "Police do not have the luxury to wait and watch,” Abbott declared, even admitting "Some of these raids may not result in prosecution." He also supports a bill that would legalize torture as a way to combat terrorism. Under his new anti-terrorism laws, anyone who “discloses information” about an intelligence operation can be jailed for up to 10 years.
If that wasn't enough, Abbott tellingly dropped the phrase "occupied territories" when referring to illegal Israeli settlements constructed in Palestine. 
Boats! My old nemesis
Australia has quite a few refugees traveling from Indonesia by boat, which is basically the Australians' version of immigration in America. Abbott authorized Coalition-controlled Australian states to use the Australian Navy to turn asylum-seeker boats back to Indonesia, buy old boats from Indonesian fishermen and pay Indonesians to spy on "people-smuggling" operations. One problem: the Indonesians themselves are complaining that Abbott's infringing on their national sovereignty, something that many warn could lead to armed conflict if it continues. It doesn't even make economic sense: refugees will end up paying more to smugglers and will be forced onto less safe boats, while the Indonesian economy (and only those fishermen) stimulates as opposed to the Australian economy.
Abbott had the misfortune of being the first Coalition Prime Minister to deal with the media frenzy of refugees ending up dead or missing after their boat struck seas off the coast of Java. Abbott refused to address the tragedy, instead preferring to talk about sports on Twitter. Similarly, he has a distinct case of "It's the victims' fault for being victims!" syndrome; he will not apologize for family separations in the event of a refugee boat being turned away, because they obviously shouldn't have been refugees! Since Indonesia obviously doesn't like this policy, they will not accept refugee boats turned away by Australia; Abbott is in the process of trying to bully Jakarta into complying.
Abbott has continued the Rudd-Gillard policy of ordering prison guards to humiliate and bully refugees detained in island prison camps, in an attempt to deter refugees from seeking asylum in Australia.
While David Cameron and Stephen Harper have taken steps to investigate the government of Sri Lanka for human rights abuses, Abbott had the gall to defend Sri Lanka's government and refuse to take part in the investigation (New Zealand followed Abbott's lead), primarily because Sri Lanka helps Australia over its refugee boat policy. (Before this gives you the impression that Harper has some standards, he helped Abbott block efforts to help poverty-stricken nations deal with effects of climate change.)
He also walked in late to a parliamentary committee, didn't apologize, sat down, and fell asleep when Aboriginal Australians were trying to relay their grievances to the government. 
Immigrant kicks out immigrants
In an article published by the man himself, Abbott flat-out said that he left his church because he felt they were too compassionate to sinners. Perhaps it is no surprise that he wants to revoke the citizenship of Australians living overseas.
In a move that alarmed even the members of his Cabinet, Abbott unveiled unprecedented legislation to arbitrarily strip citizenship from people accused of involvement in a wide range of anti-government or "terrorist"-related activity. Abbott declared that these new laws would be used to "banish" modern-day "traitors" who "hate everything about the way we live" and "would take up arms against our soldiers." If any appeal were launched, no information would be disclosed in such proceedings that would “prejudice national security.” In other words, those denied citizenship would be blocked from viewing or questioning the intelligence reports being cited against them, just as detained refugees are.
First, a person would automatically "renounce" their citizenship “by conduct” if the immigration minister deemed, without any criminal trial, that they participated in specified terrorist-linked activities. These include training, recruiting or financing connected to "a terrorist organization," even if no terrorist act occurs.
Second, an individual would “cease” to be a citizen if he or she “fights for” or “is in the service of” any organisation listed as “terrorist” by the minister. This goes beyond taking up arms, because neither "fighting" nor "service" are defined in any real way. The service part supposedly covers "helpful activity," which is very conveniently broad. Significantly, the minister could also decide not to “list” terrorist outfits that support the US and its allies, such as the Islamist groups fighting to overthrow the Assad government in Syria.
Third, a person would forfeit citizenship if convicted of terrorism or “certain other” offences by a court. This includes “providing support to a terrorist organisation” and “advocating terrorism.” Because of the sweeping definition of terrorism in the post-2001 laws, citizenship could be stripped from someone convicted on the basis of upholding the right of the people of countries invaded by Australia, such as Iraq or Afghanistan, to resist the occupations.
And the slightly better?
When he visited New South Wales, which is under control of the Liberal Party, he almost randomly announced that Liberal Party members should no longer work as lobbyists, as an honest-to-god attempt at preventing conflicts of interest. We'll see what happens in this regard.
In 2013, Abbott unilaterally declared an end to Australian involvement in the Afghanistan War. Australian troops will hence be withdrawn from the frontlines and returned to their families. In another good decision, his government approved $10 million to fund relief efforts to the Philippines after the Haiyan typhoon killed 10,000 people. Nevertheless, he immediately followed it up with a successful challenge to same-sex marriage laws in the Australian Capital Territory.
Here comes the budget butchery
As expected from an ideologue, Abbott's first budget intends to cut as many as 16,000 public sector jobs, increase medical fees, cut benefits for the under-30s, increase university fees, charge for ER meetings for minor injuries, impose three-year waits for Medicare-funded eye tests, freeze millions out of Private Health Insurance, eradicate all funding for Gonski schools, cut foreign aid by $7.9 billion, cut family and welfare pay by 2.6 billion over the next four years, and scrap all current family assistance payments for two years. The pension age will be progressively lifted over time to 70 — an unprecedented measure of any modern industrial country.
Furthermore, Abbott plans to cut $111 million from the CSIRO, which invented WiFi, Aeroguard and extended-wear contact lenses. ANSTO, the premier Australian nuclear science program, and the Institute of Marine Science will face multi-million dollar cuts. Wind farms would be removed across the board because windmills are "offensive to the eyes." Australia’s Animal Welfare Strategy will be abolished on July 1, 2015, dental healthcare will get axed or deferred for several years (to the point where funding will be pulled for dental and oral health clinics), and the budget would end funding for human rights education and cut one of the human rights commissioners. Even the National Anti-Tobacco Campaign lost nearly $3 million from this as well.
Otherwise, he did manage to establish "Repeal Days," which bypasses the bureaucracy in order to remove (to date) 50,000 pages of legislation. It’s all to "reduce regulatory compliance costs on businesses," but it's pretty half-assed.
Perhaps Abbott's most telling decision has been not to appoint a Science Minister to his new administration. In fact, as soon as he was sworn in, he immediately fired three secretaries from his own Cabinet, all of whom were involved in science, research and innovation. Only one Cabinet minister is a woman, and said woman just happens to be the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. He claims that he was "disappointed" over the lack of women in the Cabinet. Except that it was his decision to pick the Cabinet!
Early on, Abbott campaigned as a "friend" to Australia's universal healthcare system, called Medicare. As soon as he came into power, however, Abbott appointed Terry Barnes, a man who's pushing for co-payments and gradual privatization, as Health Minister; continuing his party's tradition of opposing single payer healthcare. 
Abbott also cut $13.4 million from Indigenous legal aid in 2013, while the Coalition committed to a $10 million redevelopment of a professional rugby league stadium in his affluent local electorate of Warringah. Priorities, anybody?
It was revealed in February 2014 that the Australian Taxation Office had decided not to appeal a Federal Court decision that granted NewsCorpse a $882m tax rebate at the expense of Australian taxpayers. The deadline to lodge such an appeal was 22 August 2013 when the previous Labor government was still in power. The $882m was one of the biggest single factors in an increase of $17bn in the estimated deficit for fiscal year 2013 and treasurer Joe Hockey warned the Australian public that spending cuts would be imminent. Abbott later denied having any knowledge of such a payment, and Hockey refused to comment on the matter.
“”There’s more chance of finding rocking horse [poo] in the corridors of the NBN than finding an engineer who supports a multi-technology mix over copper.
|—Anonymous NBN insider|
In most (if not all) countries, telecommunication networks have been built up the same way : a national copper network paid by taxpayers, privatized in the early 2000s. Europe, US, Korea, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand etc. managed to rather successfully deploy high-speed internet, despite all the politics, conflicts of interests and probable corruption involved. So why did it tank so spectacularly in Australia?
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a "monumental waste" of money, a "white elephant", and also "essentially a video entertainment system". Whilst these are Abbott's words, who's actually controlling the sticks up Tony's ass? Mr. Rupert Murdoch. He's worried that if word gets out about Labour's fiber node network, people will ditch Foxtel and stop reading his newspapers, since people would find news and media elsewhere without giving his monopoly a cent.
When Malcolm Turnbull got in as Telco Minister, he was yanked by the collar into Uncle Rupert's office and told that he'd better stop the NBN rollout, or else fuck it up bad, or he can kiss his job goodbye for not chucking Australia's future into a black hole. Mal nodded his head and organized a better plan, something that's still called "NBN" but not really a NBN at all. Meanwhile, you've got Rupert on his high chair telling journos to make stories up saying how bad the NBN is for Australia and its future, when really it's just Rupie throwing a tantrum because he's worried he'll lose billions to something called the NBN. They couldn't risk people knowing the details of the real NBN, so somebody applied pressure to CH9, Prime 7, ABC etc. and told them not to breathe one word of it any further.
Abbott can get away with the ignorance card, but Turnbull? He knew what he was selling was bad. Aussies are paying Telstra Corporation $100 billion over 30 years for the upkeep and use of their rotting copper. The ink has already dried, no negotiation. Hope he and the current government are happy playing football with Australia's future, derailing (another) critical piece of infrastructure, and sending them down a dusty road for the next x number of decades it takes to get the real NBN up and running.
“”"It seems to me that this government in the last 16 months has done to its political capital what Nero did to ancient Rome."
|—Senator Xenophon yet again.|
While his soaring unpopularity with women is expected, Abbott's once-strong male following (who numbered in a 20 point lead) completely evaporated in a matter of months. His support among the entire country, from the states to the territories, has reached an all-time low as well.
If we stretch the definition of public to include members of his own party, then Abbott is quickly losing support even from his own goddamn cabinet. This is most especially noticeable with his firing of a competent and well-liked (among the party) cabinet minister in Queensland Senator Brett Mason, who tried to unseat Abbott's favorite stooge in Attorney-General George Brandis for the number one spot on the Senate ticket in Queensland.
Even Murdoch lost his faith in Abbott. So what's keeping him in power? An unlikable, and in many instances, largely identical opposition in the Australian Labor Party, whose leader in Bill Shorten (notorious for stoking the Rudd-Gillard rivalry for his own purposes) is himself deteriorating in approval among the public as well.
During the weekend of March 15-16 2014, mass protests against the Abbott government went underway in most of Australia's major cities. Abbott denied having any knowledge of the protests, claiming that the only activity he knew of occurring in Sydney were the St Patrick's Day celebrations.
A second running of protests occurred in May 2014 in cities across Australia, drawing similar crowds to the initial ones held in March. With his approval rate plummeting and an assured Labor victory if an election were held today, one must be wondering what the Coalition thinks about leadership challenges.
On Sunday July 6, more protests were held in major cities and rural towns across Australia against the 2014 Budget cuts. Even more protests were held on the weekend of August 30-31 against the Abbott government's policies.
On the day of the 2014 National Rugby League grand final, Tony Abbott was booed by much of the 80,000 crowd when appearing at the game's conclusion as the winning team was presented with the trophy.
To commemorate the annual federal celebration of Australia Day, Prime Minister Tony Abbott conducted a knighting ceremony towards a man named Prince Phillip, complete with the sword, the bow, and the application of "Sir" towards the 90-year old man. This was done ten months after Abbott chose to restore the nobility ranks of Sir and Dame, in line with his monarchist tinge, but the titles were meant to recognize native-born Australians and their contributions to their nation. So, who is Prince Phillip, you ask? Who is the man picked by the Prime Minister to bear Knighthood, the highest honor in the Commonwealth of Australia, on the national holiday?
Yeah, that would be the Duke of Edinburgh. You know, Queen Elizabeth's husband, who had a history of Joe Biden-esque gaffes throughout his life. This was done without the knowledge or consultation of his cabinet, who were caught completely flat-footed at the unilateralism.
The bizarre decision to knight a Briton, and proclaiming said Briton as a "great servant of Australia," was rightfully met with uproarious condemnation from the entire nation. Coalition members of parliament mocked the decision, with one (Ewen Jones) quipping "Who's next? Prince Frederick of Denmark?" One Coalition MP was even quoted saying "This is the first time I’ve stopped defending Tony. I’ve had it with him. This is total craziness." According to political editor and insider Laurie Oakes, one Coalition MP said Abbott was "holding a big finger up to Australians and saying 'I don’t care what you think.'" Even former Abbott supporters and commentators felt this was such a blunder that it would contribute to his ousting. Which it did.
Over in the Australian state of Queensland, its Liberal-National Premier, Campbell Newman, is probably the most unpopular character of all the Premiers in the 21st century. His denial of climate change, rejection of renewable energy, and total subservience to corporate interests regarding the environment, education, health, the budget, immigration, taxes, and foreign policy rhetoric, are as far right as anything seen in Queensland to date. Newman and Abbott have so much in common in their style and in the substance of their policies that they are often seen as clones. Therefore, Newman's utter trouncing in the January-February 2015 elections (the man even vowed to quit politics after such a shellacking), despite full-throttled support from Murdoch's media, is seen by many as a repudiation of Tony Abbott himself.
They're coming to take me away, ha ha
So, what was his response? In his National Press Club address, Abbott started with him raging against the already-repealed carbon tax, and devolving into a rant about how "People are sick of Australian citizens, including people born and bred in this country, making excuses for Islamist fanatics in the Middle East and their imitators here in Australia," while defending his undemocratic anti-terrorism bills. In an episode further showing his disdain for opposition, Abbott dismissed Newman's defeats in Queensland and Victoria as "a fit of absentmindedness" on the part of the voter.
The best part is as follows: “We will end the waste, stop the boats, scrap the unnecessary new taxes and build the roads of the 21st Century. And the results? Waste down. Boats stopped. Carbon tax gone. And roads well and truly underway." He mercifully, and characteristically, ends this tirade by leaving the podium the wrong way. Opposition leader Bill Shorten even set out "word bingo" sheets ahead of the address to see if Abbott would repeat the same rhetoric and not offer Australians any reason to keep him as PM.
Since the knighting, it has been one debacle after another for Tony Abbott. While he deserves credit for not following the extreme neoliberal austerity demands from the Australian establishment, Abbott supported Bronwyn Bishop, the Australian Speaker of the House, when it became clear that she used taxpayer money to pay for extravagant and expensive travels. Bishop was forced to resign, thereby depriving Abbott of one of his loyalists.
Abbott later arranged for a party room debate to discuss the prospects of marriage equality. 16 ministers supported a free vote on a bill to permit same-sex marriage, but Abbott and his right-wing allies rejected such calls. Instead, Abbott proposed to hold a legally unnecessary constitutional referendum on same sex marriage after the 2016 election, potentially killing off any prospect of changing existing marriage laws. 
On top of that, the government’s high-profile royal commission into alleged trade union corruption was thrown into disarray by the revelation that the government’s handpicked royal commissioner, former High Court judge Dyson Heydon, accepted an invitation to address a Liberal Party function.
In an attempt to divert all attention away from his terrible administration, Abbott is putting more emphasis on the war on terror and further police state measures to combat terrorism. Nobody cared. Abbott then approached Scott Morrison, who has a fair bit of pull, and offered him Joe Hockey's job. But he'd waited too long to cut the cancer out. Morrison saw the music was about to stop (regardless of who was Treasurer), and so had little reason to take Abbott's offer; instead he got his backers to vote against Abbott.
As his dwindling supporters sow the narrative that Abbott was a man too good for us mere mortals; that he was too principled, too upright, too loyal to his friends to survive the feral Senate, the digital graffiti and the smiling assassins, this story is a reminder that he's as cutthroat as anybody else in politics. He just isn't as competent.
On 9 February 2015, a spill motion against Tony Abbott was defeated 61 votes to 39. Malcolm Turnbull, his old rival, was considered the leading contender in a leadership spill had the motion succeeded. As he won, Abbott asked for an extra six months to prove his leadership qualities.
When those six months ended, and there were rumors that he would sack six ministers (presumably the ones he thought would benefit the most from his loss in a leadership election), along with rumors that he would call a double dissolution snap election, Abbott was challenged by Malcolm Turnbull in a leadership spill.
Turnbull beat Abbott 54-44, becoming the fourth Prime Minister since 2013 and finally beating his old rival for the top spot. Turnbull also took his Knighthood away, just to add salt in the wound.
“”No wrecking, no undermining and no sniping.
|—Well, that didn't last long.|
Well, if we needed any more reason to start Malcolm's deadpool, this would be it. They're not even trying to hide it anymore.  The Herald Sun and News Corp are leading the charge against the Centrelink "debt recovery" scandals—not because they dislike the government's policies, but because it's time for Malcolm to take a powder. The Liberals will kill two birds with one stone: Hound people they hate on welfare, and cause enough drama that Turnbull will have to stand down because of it. Turnbull was just a spokesmodel for Abbott's policies anyhow; it might as well be Abbott because there doesn't appear to be anybody else. Morrison is seen as a bit of a traitor, due to his role in Abbott's dumping, and powerful elements within the party would rather lose then be led by a woman. At least with Tony, you know what you're getting.
Turnbull's biggest argument as to why he should be Leader was his ability to sell economic recovery at a time when Hockey was utterly failing at it. Abbott weighing in on the economy is no mistake; he's attempting to kick Turnbull in the one spot where he has the support of the Coalition backbench. Security is another possible line of attack, thanks to Abbott's ability to turn any debate into a You're with me, or you're with the terrorists dichotomy. It makes hash of his previous assertion that he has no ambition to be PM again, except he'll never be held accountable for those words, so it doesn't matter.
Sadly for Abbott, he's fallen into the extremist trap: They always run into the No True Scotsman fallacy and cannibalize themselves. Senators Cory Bernardi and George Christensen have started making provocative comments and grabbing headlines. If Bernardi steals the church dollars and lobbying dollars (Rinehart, Murdoch), then you will definitely see a split in the Liberal Party. Tony's been around a bit and knows the numbers: A split will give the Moderates more latitude and improve their prospects, but still puts them way behind Labor. It's the same reason Abbott personally went after One Nation in the 90s. He can't win by siding with Bernardi, he only wins by being an alternative to Turnbull. Malcolm can hardly hear himself think with all these pots and kettles clanging around.
Send in the clowns
- Kevin Andrews (Minister for Social Services): Majority Leader sacked him on day 1, and everyone thought that was the last they'd seen of him until Abbott decided he owed this cretin a favour. (He impressed Abbott with his monarchism, not to mention being full of hate and bigotry, not unlike Tony himself.)
- Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker of the House): If Bronnie Bishop was considered one of the leading lights of the party, it's safe to say these expense scandals are the tip of a very large iceberg. (Blaming "socialists" is hilarious and shows us the direction their Crazy is preparing to take.)
- Julie Bishop (Minister for Foreign Affairs): No one tried to get political leverage out of Operation Chowhound. But in the land of plenty, you have Julie Bishop insinuating the bread would fall into the hands of the Nazis. Tanya's reaction was amazing, though.
- Peter Costello (Future Fund Chairman): "Abbott & Costello" basically sums up the state of Australian politics these days.
- Mattias Corman (Finance Minister): Sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and talks like him, too. (Shows that the LNP is studying American alt-right blogs.) This fool can't even manage his own finances.
- Peta Credlin (Chief of Staff): Karl Rove passes the baton. No concrete evidence, but rumours have circulated the Canberra press gallery for years. She was seen spoon-feeding him food in restaurants. (Patting his bottom made her smile, so the Mad Monk can perform miracles occasionally.)
- Peter Dutton (Minister for Immigration): Ex-Queensland policeman—therefore implicitly corrupt—who thinks and acts like a combination of ex-cop and right-wing Islamaphobic nutjob. Dutton has a habit of Freudian slips and just generally getting his head stuck in jars.
- Joe Hockey (Treasurer): This is the party which bilked taxpayers so this Shrek lookalike can continue to stay at his wife's house. (b-b-but he was very vocal in telling us that the "age of entitlement" was over...!) This is his media-friendly face, imagine what these guys are like in private.
- Greg Hunt: So, who's the new Minister for (No) Environment? Maybe the environment would be better off without one, if Greg's legacy is anything to go by.
- Scott Morrison (Minister for Social Services): The power brokers on the Right have been pumping for Morrison for quite some time now. Alas, ScoMo is a lost cause. He's been widely panned as Treasurer for repeated gaffes: "black hole", "handout generation", "I face bigotry, too", repeated false claims about negative gearing.
- Christopher Pyne (Minister for Education): Pyne is that slippery shit from high school comedies.
- Malcolm Turnbull (Minister for Communications): Turnbull got elected by posing as Abbott's conscience. (People had strong faith in his leadership, perhaps moreso than in the Coalition leadership.) His relationship with Tony can be seen in any film with a "geek vs. jock" stereotype. But at least with the latter, you know where he stands—and where he'll always stand.
Quotes before he became Prime Minister
“”No-one, however smart, however well-educated, however experienced, is the suppository of all wisdom, and I believe that we will be a much better government because we have a very strong team.
“”We just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice.
“”What the housewives of Australia need to understand - as they do the ironing - is that if they get it done commercially, it's going to go up in price.
“”I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.
“”Jesus didn't say yes to everyone, Jesus knew there was a place for everything and it's not necessarily everyone's (asylum seekers and refugees) place to come to Australia.
“”Same-sex marriage? I'm not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.
“”I won't be rushing out to get my daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer.
“”If we're honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband: not withstanding his or her faults you'll find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss, but at least he's employing someone while he is in fact a boss.
“”Abortion is the easy way out. It's hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.
“”There may not be a great job for indigenous people, but whatever it is they just have to do it - and if it's picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.
- Indiana Abbott and the Last Crusade
- When you're so notorious that Americans know your name before you become Prime Minister, something has definitely gone wrong somewhere.
- Tony Abbott: Voice of the Stupid.
- Abbott slams 'white-anting' in last statement as PM - At least he is consistent...-ly a hypocrite.
- Tony took a list of all his campaign promises, put 'em up on a billboard, and posed with it for a picture. Can you guess how many promises he broke?
- Notable quotes by Lord Tony - they're like Bushisms, only more Australian.
- Enjoy your record-breaking heatwaves, ok?
- Taylor, Adam, "An Onion headline: Australian leader eats raw onion whole", WaPo 3.13.15.
- "Tony Abbott inspires new words in latest Australian National Dictionary", The Australian (8/23/16 at 4:54pm).
- Quiggin, John, "Three-word slogans have left Abbott with an economic quandary", ABC (8/20/15 at 8:58pm). He says a lot of things twice, as well. He says a lot of things twice.
- Coper, Ed, "'Your George W Bush' – Tony Abbott makes a splash in the United States ", The Guardian (6/12/14 8:07 EDT).
- Whitley, Angus, "Want to Be Prime Minister? Go Join Goldman, Merrill or Deutsche", Bloomberg (9/1615, 7:00 AM PDT).
- McClintock, Alex, "The photos of the opposition leader sparring while at Oxford suggest he never met a punch he couldn't block with his face", The Guardian, (8/15/13 11:36 EDT).
- Abbott, "Why I Left the Priesthood", The Bulletin 8.18.87.
- Lee, Kaye, "Tony Abbott is Prime Minister of Australia – go figure.", Australian Independent Network 12.5.14.
- Knott, Matthew, "Abbott the journo: what the Bulletin archives reveal about the PM", Crikey (1/9/14 12:43 PM).
- "You're not saying anything, Tony." And they said he was against renewable energy! Ask the man a question and his nods could power a city.
- Mannheim, Markus, "Tony Abbott's legacy: 15,000 fewer Australian Public Service jobs", Canberra Times 9.16.15.
- Van Onselen, Peter, "No wrecking, no undermining and no sniping: no kidding, Abbott?", Australian (3/26/16 at 12:00AM). He may have some dementia pugilistica from his boxing days.
- Gartrell, Adam, "Tony left grinning as Malcolm Flounders", SMH (9/4/16 12:14 am). popcorn munching intensifies
- Borte, Latika, "Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott kiss and make up in bizarre staged Facebook video", The Age 1.1.16. Tony didn't meet with Pauline just to say g'day.
- This test is one of several pre-natal blood tests designed to detect the sex of a fetus as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Some pro-life campaigners have raised concerns that it would be used for sex-selective abortion.
- "The Last Time Turnbull and Abbott Squared Off", SMH. Abbott: You just activated my trap card.
- Whittaker, Jason, "‘Threatened’ Tony has opportunity to repent — in budgies", Crikey (3/10/10 1:32PM).
- Jabour, Birdie, "Tony Abbott says female candidate has 'sex appeal'", The Guardian (8/13/13 04.37 EDT).
- Perlman, Jonathan, "Tony Abbott: 'the guy with the not bad looking daughters'", The Telegraph (9/4/10 10:10 AM BST).
- Badham, Van, "Why som Australian women loathe Tony Abbott, especially now", The Telegraph (4:12PM BST 16 Sep 2013).
- Marks, Kathy,"He called climate change ‘crap’ – now Australia’s new Prime Minister abolishes watchdog", Independent 9.9.13.
- Another bullshit rationalization is his oft-repeated claim that it is too difficult to measure carbon dioxide emissions because it is "weightless."
- Senate votes to block carbon tax repeal legislation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Australia kills off carbon tax
- Oh Christ.
- Because he clearly wants to be more like Bush.
- Indonesian MPs want a vote to stop the policy.
- Abbott doesn't seem to care, though.
- Run away!
- Asylum seekers: Tony Abbott regrets mother-baby separation but no apology, The Guardian
- Amnesty probe finds Australia breaches asylum laws, Reuters
- Tony Abbott's stance on Sri Lanka's human rights craven and irresponsible, Sydney Morning Herald
- Because illiteracy.
- Can't let 'em have all their rights, of course!
- It's now a criminal offense in New South Wales for a lobbyist to be given a payment that's contingent on the outcome of the lobbying of a government official.
- Abbott Visits Afghanistan to Mark End of Australian Mission, Bloomberg
- Australia pledges 10 million in aid to Philippines, Sydney Morning Herald
- Australia high court overturns ACT gay marriage law, BBC
- It's for the debt, dammit!
- See the Wikipedia article on 2014 Australian federal budget.
- It's going down under, The Economist
- Joe Hockey says wind turbines 'utterly offensive', flags budget cuts to clean energy scheme, ABC
- Because if people get cancer from cigars, it's clearly their own fault!
- Economists sceptical of Abbott's 'budget emergency', Sydney Morning Herald
- Abbott budget to make Australia more unequal: economists, Sydney Morning Herald
- Standard & Poor's undermines Tony Abbott's credit ratings threat, ABC
- Has Tony Abbott miscalculated with his new budget?, BBC
- Tony Abbott faces budget revolt, Sydney Morning Herald
- Liberal and Labor premiers vow to fight $80bn cuts to health and education, The Guardian
- Tony Abbott's repeal day will save businesses just $13m, The Guardian
- For context, Australia is the country that developed the solar cell, the bionic ear and now the bionic eye.
- Namely Don Russell of Department of Innovation, Industry Science and Research, Blair Comley of the Resources, Energy and Tourism Department and Andrew Metcalfe of the Agriculture Department.
- That would be Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, essentially the Australian Secretary of State.
- Indigenous legal aid to be cut by $13.4 million, Special Broadcasting Service
- "Coalition's Commitment to Upgrade Brookval Oval"
- Rupert Murdoch's empire receives $882m tax rebate from Australia, The Guardian
- Dudley-Nicholson, Jennifer, "National Broadband Network chief architect quits the day before federal election", News Online (6/29/16 at 8:52pm).
- McDonald, Stephanie, "In his own words: Tony Abbott on the NBN", Computer World (9/9/13 11:01).
- Turner, Adam, "Foxtel Play - internet viewers still second-class citizens" The Age 8.1.13.
- Dawson, Emma, "News Corp Australia vs the NBN – is it really all about Foxtel?", The Conversation (8/7/13 10:45pm EDT).
- Taylor, Josh, "NBN ‘not replacing old Telstra copper with new copper’, buys $14m of new copper", Crikey (10/21/15 1:06PM).
- Sheenan, Paul, "Murdoch's vicious attacks on Rudd: it's business", Sydney Morning Herald 8.4.13.
- Eltham, Ben, "FALSE BALANCE: ABC coverage of the NBN since September 2013", New Mathilda 1.22.16.
- Adhikari, Supratim, "Telstra's NBN payday could be worth $100 billion", Business Spectator (4.14.14, 11:07 AM).
- Thousands drawn to Australia-wide protests against government policies, ABC
- Tony Abbott's popularity plunges, latest polls show, The Guardian
- And yes, Rupert Murdoch was again unamused with Abbott as well
- This is not a satire. This actually happened.
- Again, we are not waxing satirical here.
- Rupert Murdoch's Australian paper, the Australian Financial Review, Business Spectator, and the Business Council of Australia, among others, have all castigated Abbott for not following the pro-austerity model laid out by Bob Hawke and Paul Keating; the Business Council even called for abolition of basic workers' rights and further cuts in the social safety net, which not even Hawke or Keating dared to touch.
- His more moderate leadership rival, Malcolm Turnbull, publicly castigated Abbott for the move. By contrast, Social Security Minister Scott Morrison, who is positioning himself as a more right-wing replacement for Abbott, supported the referendum idea.
- Confier, Dan, "Scott Morrison says Tony Abbott offered him treasury portfolio, deputy leader jobs on spill day", ABC (Updated 9/18/15 at 7:01am).
- Coorey, Phillip, "Malcolm Turnbull under pressure to give Tony Abbott a job", AFT (Updated 6/16/16 at 7:36 AM). He already has one, court jester.
- Bourke, Latika, "Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again", SMH 10.5.16. What he meant was he wants to be PM of Great Britain.
- Maley, Jacqueline, "Tony Abbott blasts 'potential for corruption' of NSW Liberals, says he's 'ready to serve'", The Age 10.15.16.
- "Centrelink and Sussan Ley controversy hit Turnbull in polls", Herald Sun via Associated Press (1/16/17 at 9:02am).
- Clarke, Melissa, "Tony Abbott says Scott Morrison 'badly misled' public over spill that elevated Malcolm Turnbull to PM", ABC (Updated 9/21/15 at 8:34pm).
- Ireland, Judith, "'I'm no feminist': Julie Bishop", SMH 10.2.14.
- "Turnbull’s turn", Economist 9.19.15.
- Taylor, Lenore, "Poll puts Coalition and Labor neck and neck as Abbott stirs backbench unrest", Guardian (Last modified 7/4/16 at 12:49 AM EDT).
- Chan, Gabrielle, "Malcolm Turnbull refers leak to the Australian to federal police", Guardian (Last modified 7/4/15 at 12:49 AM EDT).
- Crook, Andrew, "One Nation claims against 'vengeful and political' Abbott acts", Crikey 4.17.13.
- Bourke, Latika, "'Conservative Party could win up to 10%': Tony Abbott hits out at Cory Bernardi over breakaway", '"Brisbane Times 12.30.16.
- Remeikis, Amy, "Cory Bernardi accuses Tony Abbott of 'self-interest' and 'talking up division'",Brisbane Times 12.30.16.
- Anna Henderson and Alexandra Kirk, "Prince Philip 'extremely deserving' of Australian knighthood, says minister; PM facing continuing backlash from party colleagues", ABC (Updated 1/26/15 at 5:49pm).
- Jewel Topsfield, David Rood and Daniella Miletic, "Minister's African dossier renews racial tensions", 'The Age 10.5.07.
- Wilson, Lauren, "Government Minister Kevin Andrews: ‘divorce slows economic growth’", ABC (8/29/14 at 7:53pm).
- Peta Donald and Anna Henderson, "Bronwyn Bishop spends $5,000 on 80km charter helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong", ABC (Updated 6/15/15 at 2:43am).
- Hunter, Fergus, "Socialism 'on the march' to blame for Sussan Ley standing down over expenses controversy", SMH 1.9.17.
- Hendersen, Anna, "Tanya Plibersek hits back at Julie Bishop's suggestion she wants to provide for 'terrorists' picnic' in Syria", ABC (Updated 8/18/15 at 2:50am).
- Ker, Peter, "Innovation agenda must embrace mining: Costello", AFR (Updated 9/12/16 at 7:59 PM).
- "Australia's Future Fund shrinks for the first time in four years", Reuters (4/21/16 at 9:48pm EDT).
- Woodley, Naomi, "Mathias Cormann pressures Labor to commit to budget savings ahead of parliament resuming", ABC (8/22/16 at 4:07am).
- Aston, Heath, "Mathias Cormann channels Arnie in 'girly man' attack on Bill Shorten", The Age 10.18.14.
- Knott, Matthew, "Finance Minister Mathias Cormann bills taxpayers $23,000 for weekend trips to Broome", The Age 1.15.17.
- Keaney, Francis, "Peter Dutton overheard joking about rising sea levels in Pacific Island nations", ABC (Updated 9/11/15 at 2:10am). This "private conversation" just became metadata in the public domain. Retention: indefinite.
- Massola, James, "Coalition MPs clash over Peter Dutton's criticism of Lebanese Muslim migrants", SMH (11/22/16 at 12:21PM). Dutton Mouth Disease can strike at any time.
- Hockey, Speech to the Institute of economic affairs in London, 4.17.12. (via SMH)
- van Onselen, Leith, "Mr and Mrs Hockey take their entitlement", Macro Business (8/20/14 at 1:20 pm). The age of entitlement is over for peasants.
- Emma Griffiths and Monique Ross, "Greg Hunt rejects 'silly' Climate Institute report on direct action policy", ABC (updated 8/14 13 at 6:14pm).
- Swan, Jonathan, "Environment Minister Greg Hunt orders inquiry into reef authority", SMH 10.30.13.
- Esther Han and Judith Ireland, "Greg Hunt uses Wikipedia research to dismiss links between climate change and bushfires", The Age 10.23.13.
- Hannam, Peter, "Australia cut from UN report on climate threat to avoid damaging reef tourism", SMH 5.27.16. This report says I wrecked the Reef! It is the report which is wrong!
- Massola, James, "Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull dodges questions about $35 billion black hole in Scott Morrison's 'black hole'", 5.25.16 SMH
- Andersen, Stephanie, "Scott Morrison targets handout generation, says too many people pay no tax", ABC (Updated 8/25/16 at 3:14pm).
- Hunter, Fergus, "Election 2016: Scott Morrison says he too has faced 'hatred and bigotry' for his conservative views on same-sex marriage", SMH 6.22.16.
- Hutchens, Gareth, "Labor negative gearing changes will crash economy, says Morrison", Guardian (Last modified 7/4/16 at 3:22 AM EDT). He's effectively arguing that the property bubble be pumped up further to avoid a crash.
- Doran, Matthew, "Scott Morrison says Labor's plan to scrap negative gearing will raise 'very little' revenue", ABC (Updated 2/13/16 at 6:34pm). Scomo, you'll understand if some of us want to see a source for your claims. Something other than "your arse".
- Jonathan Swan and Dan Harrison, "Pyne blames journalists, claims a direct quote from him was not what he said", The Age 11.27.13.
- "Adults in Charge."
- Colgan, Paul, "Tony Abbott attacks Malcolm Turnbull, says he could be truly agile instead of just talking about it", Business Insider (1/14/17 at 12:01 PM).
- Wikiquote on Tony Abbott
- Malone, Paul, "Former prime minister Tony Abbott still causing a headache for Malcolm Turnbull", Canberra Times 7.31.16.
- Hutchens, Gareth, "Tony Abbott urges Turnbull to counter 'populist politics', Guardian (8/26/16 at 4:37 AM EDT). Says the jackanapes who is in meetings with One Nation.
- Gartrell, Adam, "Tony left grinning as Malcolm Flounders", SMH (9/4/16 12:14 am). It's coming nearer. The return of Tones.
- Massola, James, "Tony Abbott proposes sweeping political donations reform, challenges Turnbull government",The Age 9.9.16.
- Colgan, Paul, "Tony Abbott attacks Malcolm Turnbull, says he could be truly agile instead of just talking about it", Business Insider (1/14/17 at 12:01 PM).
- "Abbott criticises 'leadership revolving door'", Sky News (Updated 1/20/17 at 6:49 am). He is still of the opinion that if he was PM in the last election he'd have won.
- James Massola and Matthew Knott, "Tony Abbott warns Malcolm Turnbull: don't break your promise on same-sex marriage", SMH (2/5/17 at 12:15AM).