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Saturday, 24 January 2015

We knew who Abbott was back then - The AIM Network

We knew who Abbott was back then - The AIM Network

We knew who Abbott was back then

I’m really sick of people saying that they didn’t expect Tony
Abbott to be the type of Prime Minister he is. I’m really sick of people
saying his policies caught them by surprise, that they didn’t expect
him to slash and burn to the extent that he has tried, but thankfully,
so far mostly failed to. I hear all types of people, even political
journalists, saying that Abbott promised he wouldn’t be making cuts and
they took him on his word and they didn’t expect him to lie. He had a
pamphlet and apparently this was gospel truth about exactly what an
Abbott government would look like. To this, I’ve always said, just look
at him! Listen to him! Use your brain! Are you blind? Wilfully blind

Independent bloggers like me, who predicted exactly how bad the
Abbott government would be were told we were just partisan Labor hacks
and that he really wouldn’t be nearly as bad as we said. But we, if
anything, mostly under-predicted how bad he is going to be. However we
were spot on with the ideology that oozes out of this government – the
class and culture war that’s been inflicted is exactly as we thought it
would be. How did we guess the type of policies Abbott would sneakily
introduce once in power, but those who are paid to inform the community
totally missed it? Seriously, how was this mistake to universally made?
How could Australians be so let down that they have had the Abbott
surprise inflicted on them? How could they be left so ill-prepared and

This frustration was all running through my head when I came across
this address by Abbott as Opposition Leader to the Millennium Forum on
14 May 2010, helpfully stored in Hansard. When Abbott was saying all of
this, outlining his plans for Prime Minister Abbott, were political
journalists and commentators listening? Or worse, were they listening
but couldn’t comprehend what this obvious, blatant ideology would look
like in power? Do they have a different definition of ‘small government’
than I do? Or did they know and chose not to say, knowing that Abbott
would never win if people knew the truth about him. I fear it’s mostly a
mixture of the latter, depending on the media organisation they work

You read Abbott’s words for yourself and be the judge. Would
Australians have seen Abbott differently if they knew he was coming at
politics from this world view? If this world view was explained sampling
(for example: small government equals cuts to health, education,
welfare and all public services).

Oh, and I can’t help but thank Abbott for his reminder that the last
one term Australian government was in 1931. I look forward to Abbott’s
government reclaiming that record in 2016.





Thanks very much, ladies and gentlemen. It’s great to see so many of you
here. Julie, I really do want to thank you for that terrific
introduction and yes, I think it is very important to be a politician
and a leader of conviction but it’s important that leaders of conviction
respect the  convictions of those who think differently and if there’s
one thing that I hope I have learnt over those 16 years it is that this
is a great big wide world, not everyone shares my views. I do, I think,
have a duty to do what I can to advance these ideas, these convictions
that I have but it’s very important to respect the convictions and the
ideas of those who think differently and in acknowledging all of my
colleagues I should say a special thank you to the political exemplar of
exemplars, namely our former Prime Minister, John Howard. A man of
great conviction, but a man who realised that in the office of Prime
Minister you had to be a Prime Minister for everyone, not just a Prime
Minister for those who voted for you. John Howard, the greatest Prime
Minister since Bob Menzies, the finest politician of his generation. I
am a different politician to John Howard. There would be some in this
room who would be disappointed that I am a different politician to John
Howard but I say this: the politician that I am owes a very great deal
to John Howard’s friendship and his mentoring and I thank you very, very
much indeed, John.

Again, I welcome all of my distinguished senior colleagues. I should
pay a particular tribute today to my Shadow Finance Minister, Andrew
Robb. Budgets are difficult weeks for both sides of politics. They’re
particularly difficult weeks for the finance men. I was the one who
delivered the words last night but the ideas and the concepts were very
much the property of Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb as well as the property
of Tony Abbott and thank you, Andrew, for all your hard work over the
last few weeks.

But ladies and gentlemen, we are getting to the business end of the
electoral cycle and when we look back over the last two-and-a-half years
and ask ourselves what has the Rudd Government actually done, I think
they’ve done two things essentially. They have spent all of the
carefully accumulated capital, they have blown all of the hard won
surpluses of the previous government, that’s the first thing that
they’ve done. The second thing they’ve done is that they have very
seriously undone some of the important reforms of the former government
and indeed of the government before that, they have let the union
bullies back into so many of our most vital workplaces, that’s the
second thing they’ve done. The third thing they are proposing to do is
to plunge a dagger into the heart of Australia’s prosperity because that
is what this great big new tax on mining will be. Now, all Budget week
we’ve had minister after minister hitting the airwaves saying that this
so-called super profits tax is about taking from the London shareholders
and giving to the Australian battlers. Well, that is wrong, wrong,

It is a triple whammy tax. It is a tax on the 500,000 Australian
workers whose jobs depend directly or indirectly on the mining industry.
It’s a tax on the millions of Australian retirees whose incomes are
drawn from those shares and those dividends that the mining companies
pay. It’s a tax on consumers because you can’t raise the price of coal,
you can’t raise the price of oil and gas, you can’t raise the price of
building material, you can’t raise the price of fertiliser without that
flowing through into the consumer price index. It is a triple whammy tax
and my job, our job as Coalition Members of Parliament is to let the
country know the threat that they face from the Rudd Government if it is

And you’ve got to ask yourself where does this stop? I mean, if a six
per cent return on capital is a super profit for the mining industry,
what other industry is next for this kind of treatment? And if you
listen to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer talking about how good
this great big new tax is going to be for the mining industry, why
wouldn’t they impose the same tax on everyone else? There is a
fundamental lack of logic, though, about what they’re saying. Any of you
who have followed the debate closely over the last few days would know
that by the logic of this Budget a tax on cigarettes means less smoking
but a tax on resources means more mining. It just doesn’t work. It just
defies logic and yet it is the fundamental premise on which the Budget
is based.

But haven’t times changed, ladies and gentlemen? Just a few months
ago there was BHP, the big Australian, there was Rio, that great, iconic
Australian company under threat from potential foreign takeover. These
were heroes, they were the heroes that have saved us from the recession.
Now, of course, they’re big, exploiting multinationals. Well, as far as
I’m concerned they are just businesses but they are important
businesses. They are vital businesses if our country is to prosper, if
our people are to grow richer and happier, if our country is to be more
cohesive in the years ahead, and they do not deserve to be targeted in
the way they have by this government.

Sensible politicians know that what you should never do is sacrifice
the long term welfare of the country for tomorrow’s headline and that is
what this government has been prepared to do and the risk is that they
will strangle the golden goose which has laid the eggs, the golden eggs
which have driven our prosperity, and I say to all of you that the only
thing standing between Australia and this threat is the Coalition. If
you think this would be a disaster for our country and our economy there
is only one course of action open to you and that is to vote out this

But ladies and gentlemen, this is Budget week and there have been a
lot of stories coming out of Budget week. Some of them I’m afraid are
fairytales. The idea that the Rudd Government is ever going to deliver a
surplus is as big a fairytale as the book that the Prime Minister spent
his Christmas holidays writing. It just is not going to happen. They
can postulate a surplus in three years time based on very optimistic
assumptions about growth, but the only reality, the only hard fact in
this year’s Budget is that this year the deficit is $57 billion.

Now, the great thing about coming to these lunches is that they bring
you down to earth and I am indebted to one of you for this very
important piece of political advice. He said, don’t talk about a
billion. A billion dollars is meaningless to the average person in the
street. A billion dollars is the cost of 20,000 Holden Commodores. That
means that $50 billion is one million Holden Commodores. The deficit
this year is the price of one million Holden Commodores. It is a
staggering, staggering amount of money and that’s the money that’s going
out the door thanks to the profligacy of this Government and, sure,
they tell us that we will be in surplus in three years’ time. What they
didn’t want to tell us is that every week until then we will still be
borrowing $700 million and to use Nihal’s [Gupta] language, $700 million
is two 747’s every week. So, that’s a hundred in two years, it’s 150, I
mean these are the sorts of figures, these are the sorts of realities
that we are dealing with thanks to the continued debt and deficit of
this Government.

So, ladies and gentlemen, we do have a clear alternative. At least, I
suppose, we can say that both sides of politics believe that we do need
to tame the deficit dragon. We do need to kill the deficit dragon. But,
the difference is the high road and low road. We will take the high
road of reducing government expenditure and creating a more productive
economy. They will take the low road of increasing taxes and fiddling
with the assumptions.

What we will do is we will spend less, we will tax less and we will
have a smaller government. Lower taxes, lesser spending, smaller
government are at the heart of the Liberal Party’s principles, they’re
at the heart of the Coalition’s philosophy and what I did last night was
start to talk about how we would make that happen. Less tax – no great
big tax on mining. Less spending – we won’t give money to the education
bureaucrats to waste on over-priced pre-fabricated school halls. We will
give it to the parents of Australia who know what is good for their
kids and for their kids’ education. We won’t re-build Telecom fortyodd
years afterwards. We won’t go ahead with the $43 billion white elephant
with this big new nationalised telecommunications bureaucracy You know, I
spent long enough as a Minister in the Government to have a good
opinion of the Australian public service, but we don’t need more and
more of them every year.

There are 20,000 more public servants today in Canberra then there
were in 2007 when Lindsay Tanner said he was going to take a meat axe to
the public service. Well, I’m not so brutal as Lindsay promised to be. I
just think that by natural attrition we can have 12,000 less of them
and that will save $4 billion over the period of the forward estimates.

So, ladies and gentlemen, lower taxes, smaller government, less
spending. We have to get the debt and deficit under control and it’s
pretty clear that the only way you can do that in reality as opposed to
in a self-serving political fable is by changing the government by
supporting the Coalition.

Now, it’s not going to be easy, as all of you know. It is very
difficult to beat a first term government and as all of the commentators
will tell you, over and over again, between now and polling day, the
last first term government to lose was Jimmy Scullin back in 1931. But,
ladies and gentlemen, a 79 year old record is just waiting to fall. It’s
just waiting to fall. I don’t for a second underestimate the difficulty
of the task. I don’t for a second underestimate the gifts of character
that will be required from all of our team and all of our supporters
over the next four or five months, but I have great confidence in the
common sense of the Australian people and I have great confidence in the
ability of my colleagues and I think we can win. I think we can win and
we don’t want to do it for us. We want to do it for our country. That’s
what it’s got to be for. It’s got to be for our country and I know
that’s what all of you think. You aren’t here just for the Liberal
Party. You certainly aren’t here just for me. You are here for Australia
and I want to thank you for that very much indeed.

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