Before, during and after the implosion of the Abbott government, commentators have blamed this political failure on a ‘lack of narrative’. The media’s narrative of this ‘lack of narrative’ is a story about a good government who has many great ideas, but just can’t sell them to the untrusting, fickle, inattentive electorate. As someone who is studying political narrative, I can assure you these commentators have got it all wrong. The Abbott government, and the right-wing political class including the right-wing media, have a very obvious narrative to those who know what they’re looking for. Their narrative clearly describes their policies. Their narrative has been consistent across many generations of right-wingers. The snake-oil-salesmen in the Liberal Party are coherently telling this story. The problem is not, therefore, a missing narrative. The problem for the government is that voters, in the majority, do not like the story they are trying to sell. Turnbull is now trying to polish the same story, covering it in glitter. But we all know turds can’t be polished, and under eye-catching-glitter they’re still stinky turds.
Perhaps rather than telling us the Abbott government lacked a narrative, journalists could have done a better job of scrutinising the Abbott government narrative. It would have been really helpful if this had happened BEFORE ABBOTT WAS ELECTED. Anyhow, just like one of those brain twister images where you think you’re looking at a black and white twirl, but when you squint you can see a monster staring back at you, once you see the right-wing narrative, you can’t un-see it. Once you know the story, you see it everywhere. It haunts you. The right-wing story is scary. In fact, I would go as far as saying it’s a horror story.
The right wing narrative can fittingly be summed up with the tag line of a BMW advertisement: Life is not a race… said those who lost. In this narrative, the hero are those who in their mind have won the race. The race to get wealthy. The race to inherit wealth. The race for power. The race to afford a BMW. The race to climb the ladder and the race to kick the ladder away so other racers can’t climb up behind. These people live their life by the concept of dog eat dog. They see themselves as heroes for eating a dog before it eats them. No matter how advantaged they are in the race before the starting gun goes off, these right-wingers always see their own success as something they have won through merit. Not luck. Not privilege. Just because they’re born winners. And they are therefore the heroes in their right-wing narrative. But they are also the victims. Because in their scary little minds, and their narrow little worlds, they think they’re being dragged down in their quest to win the race of life by their story’s villain. I think by now you can guess who the villain is. Yep, you’ve guessed it. The weak. The poor. The sick. The uneducated. The vulnerable. The ones who think life isn’t a race because they lost. And of course, left-wingers who want to help these ‘losers’ are also part of the problem. Right-wingers think they’re the victims of these do-gooder-lefties who believe everyone in a community has a responsibility to care for everyone else. So in a nutshell the story is about right-wing heroes defending their victimised selves against the villainous losers and the losers who want to help the losers who don’t realise life is a race and that right-wingers have won the race. Get it?
Now you see the story, you realise how worn out it is. The Abbott/Hockey budget told this story, with the winners nicknamed the ‘lifters’ and of course the losers the ‘leaners’. Abbott and his government colleagues all share the values in this story. Turnbull, a filthy rich merchant banker who believes in the power of a free market to ensure the heroes keep getting richer and aren’t made into victims by villainous governments and their un-free redistribution of wealth to weak losers. Workers organising into unions to demand a fair share of capitalist profit are, in the right-wing narrative, the villains who should just shut up and worship the heroes who gave them a job in the first place. Miranda Devine has told the same story when this weekend she victim-blamed ‘unsuitable women’ for the abuse they suffer since they choose to have relationships with ‘feckless men’. Everything is the fault of the weak. The abused. The ones asking for help. You see the same story in this article describing the behaviour of Conservative politicians in the UK who join clubs of rich young men who burn money in front of homeless people.
The right wing narrative is a scary story about a community I would never choose to live in. I was not brought up to blame the disadvantaged for their predicament. And nor will I bring up my child to think our societies’ problems are the fault of the vulnerable, the disabled, the sick, the mentally ill, the poor and the abused. The rejection of the Abbott government has, I hope, proved that the majority of Australians, like me, reject this story and don’t believe that life is a race. I hope so. But either way, next time someone says the Liberal government is missing a narrative, just remember the narrative is there. It’s just not a very nice story and they know this so they do their best to keep it hidden. Don’t let them get away with it. You know the story. Call it out whenever you see it.
When Turnbull ‘knifed’ Abbott a week ago after publically shaming Abbott’s terrible government on national television while announcing his intent-to-knife, I wondered how the mainstream media would treat this story. I couldn’t help but worry this would be yet another example of a Liberal story being treated with a completely different narrative to the same Labor story. A sitting PM is replaced by a member of their own cabinet. A late night coup. A first term Prime Minister. Abbott lasted a shorter time than Rudd and had already been challenged 6 months earlier. By my reasoning, the white-anting, destabilising activities of Turnbull and his supporters over the last 6 months was far more bloody and underhanded than Gillard taking the opportunity to lead the Labor government when it was offered to her within hours of her colleagues’ decision that Rudd’s chaotic leadership was not going to improve, second chances or not. However you argue it, overall a fair observer would see great similarities in the two situations. But these similarities are clearly ignored by the media and it turns out my worry was well founded. Low and behold, the Turnbull/Abbott story is being treated completely differently to Gillard/Rudd. Of course everyone in the mainstream media is very busy mansplaining to little-old-us the voters why the two situations are apparently completely different. But I don’t need this situation explained for me, because I can see with my own eyes that Turnbull just did to Abbott the same, if not worse, thing Gillard did to Rudd.
If you haven’t already noticed for yourself the differing tone of the stories about new-PM-Gillard with new-PM-Turnbull, take a look at this apple-with-apples comparison.
Here is a transcript of Gillard’s ABC 730 interview with Kerry O’Brien the evening she became PM on 24 June 2010 and Turnbull’s ABC 730 PR campaign interview with Leigh Sales a week after he became PM, which aired this evening.
If you can’t be bothered reading these transcripts, take it from me that Gillard was interrogated about her ‘knifing’ of Rudd for the entire interview, and framed as the ‘villain’ who couldn’t be trusted, a tone which continued throughout her time as PM. Gillard was also hectored about what she would do about the mining tax policy, not forgetting she had become PM that day. Turnbull, on the other hand, was treated like a ‘hero’ and provided with the invaluable opportunity to outline his vision for the country on an unchallenged soap box where he was allowed to sell his government’s refreshed credentials. He wasn’t even tested when he claimed Direct Action was working to reduce emissions when there was no evidence backing this claim. Two interviews in similar political circumstances, yet chalk and cheese in their treatment and tone.
A simple word count showed Gillard spoke for 65% of her interview with O’Brien. Turnbull spoke for 77% of his interview with Sales. Sales even apologised for asking a question Turnbull might ‘find offensive’ and then again said sorry for cutting him off. Soft doesn’t even come close to describing this cringe-worthy excuse for journalism. But it gets worse. Check out the word clouds of both interviews and see if you notice the same thing I did.
Here is Gillard’s interview, where the most used words were obviously Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. So the main topic of the interview were Gillard’s villainous replacement of Rudd.
Now here is Turnbull’s interview.
Can you see what is missing amongst all the positive words? Yep, that’s right. The word Abbott. You can do a Where’s Wally search for it if you like, but I’ll save you the trouble and tell you it appeared twice in the interview. Hardly there at all. Abbott’s already gone and the media aren’t dwelling on the part Turnbull played in his demise. Unlike Gillard, who had to put up with the media’s obsession with the Rudd leadership spill throughout her entire tenure as Prime Minister, even after she went straight to an election to prove her legitimacy in the role. Yet Abbott has been erased and shiny-Turnbull-with-a-sly-grin has got off scot-free. See what I mean about same story but very different treatment? How do you even begin to explain this other than to say Labor is always bashed by the media, and the Liberals always excused? Sadly this is the only explanation that makes sense.
As I watched Abbott, my nemesis, get torn down by his own side I was literally clapping. I slept better than I had in a long time on Monday night knowing that I would wake up living in a country without Abbott as Prime Minister. Knowing that I would never have to hear the words ‘Prime Minister Tony Abbott’ ever again still makes me grin. But I must admit, as much as I hated Abbott, I also loved him too. I’m not claiming to some masochist love-hate fixation with the man who I literally hated in 200 blog posts over the last four years. The hate bit is obvious. But the love bit is more complex. I love Tony Abbott because he did what progressive have never been able to do for ourselves: he united us. I’m now hoping we can bottle that unity.
We know what we’re against: we’re against everything Tony Abbott is for. Let’s hold onto that. Let’s bottle that and never let someone like Tony Abbott run this country ever again. If we can do that, Tony Abbott’s legacy will be a gift to progressive Australians. Because a united progressive movement in Australia will never elect a conservative government ever again. We will never lose another election. What’s not to love about that?
The key to seeing the importance of the hatred of Tony Abbott in every pocket and corner of Australia is understanding that people like me and probably you, think far more deeply and regularly about politics than 99% of voters. When Abbott was elected Prime Minister, we knew him far better than the rest of the country. I remember the sense of dread at what was in store for us when I saw Abbott’s first cabinet assembled together for a photograph. Every one of the team was a wrecker. It wasn’t just Abbott of course. Turnbull was there too. Each and every Liberal and National MP elected to govern our country is equally responsible, and to blame, for every single thing the Abbott government did, or tried and failed to do. The rest of the country, who hadn’t been paying attention like we had, thankfully didn’t take long to catch up and to recognise who the Abbott government really was.
Abbott’s first budget, to politically informed progressives, was a predictable nightmare. To those who share progressive values, but who perhaps don’t think enough about politics to even realise they have progressive values, only had to look at the policies presented in their stark reality to understand that Abbott’s government didn’t fit with their sense of what was ‘right’. It didn’t fit with Australian values. Their policies just weren’t fair. To put it simply, Abbott’s government has done progressives the favour of widening our movement to voters who never realised they were progressives until they hated Abbott.
I’ve seen many commentators talking about all the mistakes Abbott made which led him to losing his job after becoming a national joke and the most hated Prime Minister in Australia’s history. A two year blip. Sure, it was humiliating and frustrating when Abbott gave Prince Philip a knighthood, when he promised to shirt-front Putin, when he ate an onion and pretty much made everyone cringe on a daily basis with his obvious stupidity and awkward sloganeering. But those things on their own didn’t make him hated. If he was a positive, inspirational leader who hadn’t wrecked the economy, who hadn’t lied about his plans and then went about stripping funding from education, health and welfare, who wasn’t an obvious misogynist, who hadn’t waged culture wars on the Human Rights Commission, on wind farms, on the ABC and SBS, who hadn’t shut down the car manufacturing industry and spent most of his energy trying to scare voters into believing there were ISIS bogey-men under the bed through an ever growing collection of flags, all the awkward, sometimes creepy stuff would be an aside. It might even be weirdly endearing, if Abbott was a good PM. What Abbott did, which progressives need to acknowledge as a good thing, is to reveal what politicians with conservative values will do to the country given half the chance. Every single policy that Abbott produced in his first budget was a policy that he, and everyone else in his government, including Turnbull, have spent their entire political careers waiting to introduce and would introduce again given the opportunity.
Many commentators also say Abbott’s problems were bad communication skills, a lack of a narrative, an over-reliance on slogans. But they are wrong about this. It’s far simpler than that. Abbott’s policies were rejected because Australians in the majority did not like them. Abbott might have done a great job of covering up his conservative, neoliberal values whilst in opposition and the lazy, inept mainstream media was his accomplice in this game. But the blunt, uncharismatic, unintelligent, unsubtle Abbott couldn’t keep the game up for even a day once in power and that’s why everything unravelled for him so quickly. He showed who he and his colleagues really were, and then there was nowhere to hide.
So by loving Abbott for this outcome, what can progressives learn? We can learn that Australia doesn’t want a conservative government, even if it comes dressed up in a shiny, expensive Malcolm Turnbull suit. We can learn that progressives can unite and make things happen. Whether they vote Labor, Green or even accidentally voted for Abbott, if they hated Abbott, they have progressive values and so they need to be reminded they will hate Turnbull too. We Marched in March, we ranted on Twitter, we shared on Facebook, we wrote and liked Open Letters, we grew the Independent Media, and we collectively hated Abbott. So let’s bottle this hatred and make it something positive. Let’s make sure Australia never elects a conservative neoliberal wrecker of a government ever again.
I have waited a long time to write this post. I have so looked forward to this moment. I know, I know. Turnbull will be a harder opponent for Labor to beat at the next election, etc. etc. etc. But let’s just pause before we fight that battle and celebrate the end of the Abbott war. We never have to worry about the #OneTermTony campaign ever again, because Abbott never made it to one term. He is now officially just a blip on the landscape. He’s gone. His putrid ideological war is over. Happy dance!
I’m savouring this sentence: Abbott didn’t even last a term. Two chaotic, dysfunctional, vindictive, shambolic, dim-witted, ideologically irrational years as leader of this great country, proving day after day after day after day and sometimes more than once a day, that he was not competent enough for the job.
I know it’s not in good taste to constantly be saying I told you so. And I know everyone who reads this knows I told you so and all agreed when I said so, but we all did this by saying over and over again that Abbott is just not good enough. I said it from the day he beat Turnbull in a leadership spill at the end of 2009. I’ve been saying ‘Abbott’s not good enough’ for almost 6 years. It’s a long time to be outraged. But we maintained the rage and now we’ve won. Why do you think Abbott hates Twitter so much? Because we point out how shit he is at his job. And finally this opinion can’t just be called ‘electronic graffiti’ and has not just gone mainstream, it’s also infiltrated his own team. Finally now justice has been done. Abbott’s incompetence has resulted in him losing his job. Before he even moved into the Lodge.
With the end of Abbott, there’s lots of work to be done. The wreckage he has strewn is hurting the country in more ways to count. It will take more than two years to fix the damage of two years of Abbott, but at least we can start now and soon the Abbott stench will be gone. Some of us will prefer to forget the Abbott thing ever happened. Others might tell our children stories about the wrecking ball Prime Minister who ate onions and constantly embarrassed the country. Thankfully the story will be a short one and will have a happy ending. Today is that happy ending. All that will remain is a bad memory. A sad joke. Abbott is gone. Abbott the blip. Thank you all for your outrage. We did this.
It took me a few days for the impact of the photo to hit me. I’ve never seen a dead child before. Photos of children at the beach are usually accompanied by sandcastles, sun and smiles. What was I looking at? Tears welled up and despair came like a fist in the guts. What is wrong with us? The little two year old boy, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, wearing small shoes with velcro straps because he’s too young to tie his shoelaces. What has become of this world?
Another image appeared in my memory as if to answer my question. It occurred to me that this other image, as banal as it seems, sums up what is wrong with this earth. Two middle aged, privileged, powerful white men, in charge of the treasury in one of the world’s richest countries, lounging on a balcony outside their offices, smoking presumably expensive cigars. I don’t want to make this about Hockey and Cormann personally; that would be unfair. The thing is, it occurred to me, that if little Aylan Kurdi represents the tragic problem of displaced people, fleeing war and poverty, following the human instinct to hope for a better life, a safer life, a life, and having that hope extinguished, then of course a photo of Hockey and Cormann, smoking cigars, celebrating their use of power to strip funding to a rich country’s health, education and welfare programs and their rich country’s foreign aid budget, is surely representative of the problem. It’s not like these men are oppressive tyrants imposed through feudalistic birth-right. They’re democratically elected oppressive tyrants imposed through feudalistic birth-right. And Australians, amongst other rich nations, keep choosing them to make really bad decisions for all of us.
Putting it in I think necessarily simplistic terms, the priority of any species capable of survival should be to a) ensure the health and safety of its adult population, b) support that population to successfully reproduce and c) to maintain a safe environment for these populations to continue the species. Sorry to sound all Darwinian about this, but let’s call a spade a spade. A world that cares more about the short-term maintenance and growth of the wealth and lifestyle of the richest few at the expense of the health and safety of everyone else is never going to endure.
When those who support the Hockeys and Cormanns are more worried about their electricity bills than worrying about how their offspring will survive in a post-climate change heatwave, drought, fire, cyclone or flood, we’re not prioritising very well. When there are two year olds washing up on the beach, and the Prime Ministers of rich countries are cutting foreign aid and reducing their refugee intakes, and instead planning to spend money bombing the country the two year old has fled from, to save their own job and their own rich lifestyle, something has gone drastically wrong.
We are in the midst of a crisis of displaced people, that of which the world hasn’t seen since World War II. The world is increasingly being divided into the haves and the have nots. This is not about those who can afford the new iPhone and those who can’t. This is about those who have safe lives, where they can house, feed and clothe their families and those who do not. War is making the divide larger. Climate change will make it wider still. We, as a collective species, need to understand that we are at a fork-in-the-road; do something positive about this situation, or expect World War III.
Australia might be an island, where people think they can insulate themselves from the world’s problems, with permission from their government to be selfish and mean. But looking at these two images it’s clear we are not isolated from this problem. No one on earth is. We’ve all seen Aylan Kurdi. It’s shocked us for a moment to forget about footy finals, to put down the remote control, to look at our own children and imagine them lying wet, lifeless and alone. So what do we do about it? The first thing we need to do is to know it is our problem. And the longer we ignore it, the worse it’s going to get.
Here’s the case for bored: they’ve done everything they promised to do and they hate the idea of a government who actually does stuff so they’ve got no idea what to actually do. There’s nothing on the agenda. Literally. In my professional experience, when you have a committee that meets regularly and gets to a point where there’s nothing on the agenda, there is usually a consensus acceptance that the committee has run its course and can be disbanded. What’s the point of meetings without agendas? That’s what the Abbott government is finding their whole government has become. A meeting without an agenda. When they were elected, they promised to ditch the Carbon Price, axe the mining tax and stop the boats. And presumably, having done all of this (well, if you count stopping the boats as just not telling us about the boats), they’re now devoid of a purpose.
Of course there is no narrative, because there are no ideas. Stories don’t exist without at least a ‘once upon a time…’. And there sure isn’t a ‘…happily live ever after’ with these morons in charge. They don’t want to reform, they just want to wreck. Much of their wrecking is being blocked, thank fully, by the Senate, so the wrecking ball hangs idle and there’s no future plans going into or coming out of Credlin’s office. A small, ineffectual government is boring. Being in government when you don’t actually like the idea of government is sort of like having a car but not having any interest in learning to drive it. You can sit in it in your driveway, you can wash it and admire it and use it to make yourself feel good about yourself. But you can’t do anything with it. It’s boring.
Hence why this week Dutton, ex-policeman and current-potato-head was presumably responsible for the latest farce: Border Farce. The scare machine has got boring; no one cares about the ‘death cult’ anymore and the promises to bomb Syria are not having the desired effect of persuading Australians to back a war. Wars are a good way to pass the time in government, and to whip up fear, but when the electorate is just ‘meh’ about the whole thing, it’s no wonder Dutton and Abbott are keen to flick the idea around of perhaps having a civil war. Checking visas in the street is a good way to divide the masses into those who belong in Team Australia and those who don’t. It’s just a game to these crazy cats.
So, like a child who has many books, but hasn’t learned to read them, who has the attention span of a flea and has smashed up all their toys so they don’t work anymore, the Abbott government is so bored they’re playing games, fighting amongst themselves and are taking expensive helicopter rides to party fundraisers because, frankly, they have nothing better to do.
Here’s the case for panicked: the Canning by-election polls. People’s jobs are on the line. Not just jobs, obviously, but salaries and, shock horror, entitlements. The panic must be worsening every time they see another poll, and they realise that the Canning by-election swing, if played out across the country, puts many of them in the unemployment queue come the next election. That’s when it becomes every blue-tie-wearing man (and a few women) for themselves. That’s when Joe Hockey decides he’s interested in the Republic Movement for its two advantages of being a potential poll boost for him personally, and to differentiate him against Monarchist Abbott. Panicked is when there are slogans without policies and they can’t even get the three words in the right order (Jobs and Growth, Growth and Jobs, Jobs and Jobs, Growth and Growth, Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere). Panic is when talking points reminding people not to leak are immediately leaked, and then there are leaks about the displeasure Abbott has had in learning of leaks. Leaking from every pore is a sure sign that the government is a dysfunctional, disunited, chaotic train wreck. That’s what they said about Labor wasn’t it? That’s what they are. They don’t care about the economy, they don’t care about people out there in their electorates losing their jobs, they don’t care if climate change is getting worse and there’s no plan to address the health and education needs of the community, there’s no infrastructure plan, there’s no jobs plan, there’s no growth plan. There are anti-Labor-attack-ads being produced. There is a Royal Commission into Trade Unions (designed to destroy the Labor Party) which has descended into comedy. There is a delusional hatred of wind farms. And of course there’s a violent-gun-nut change to gun laws to bring back deadly weapons. But there is no plan. There is just panic.
So I think I’ve answered my question. Clearly there is an eerie mixture of both: the Abbott government is both bored and panicked. Every day is a new day ready to stuff things up. Amusing to watch, I must admit. Like a slow motion car-crash, and the car is packed full of clowns doped up on valium. Someone pass the popcorn!
Is he worth it? Is Tony Abbott’s Prime Ministerialship worth it since he’s done such irreparable damage to your brand?
I have no doubt when Abbott won the election, you thought you’d done the right thing. After losing in 2007, I’m sure you were upset. But then losing again in 2010, after Abbott failed to negotiate to form a minority government, must have been torture. You must have been livid that Julia Gillard, a leader you despised, (a woman no less!), was so proficient at getting things done, developing progressive policies and negotiating to make them happen. Policies that filled you with dread that Australians might actually care about each other. I understand you’re all very confused about whether you’re neoliberal ideologues or socially conservative, and sometimes it’s hard to know what you really are because all you truly care about is looking after your business mates at the expense of workers. It makes it hard for you to have a persuasive narrative. Because some of you only care about keeping Australia backward, focussing on destroying socially progressive policies such as marriage equality, while the rest are only interested in your special brand of small-government-neoliberalism which is defined by a quest to increase the profits of those people who finance your campaigns. But you understood Gillard and Rudd, and the Labor Party, were a threat to all of you one way or another and therefore must be destroyed if you were ever going to undo all the progress they made. So you built the Abbott wrecking ball with this mission in mind. With the help of Rupert Murdoch and his flying monkeys in the conservative press, you designed this wrecking ball, this no-machine, this village idiot who spouts three word slogans like an android, in order to scare the electorate into giving the Liberal Party what you feel is your entitlement; power. And it all seemed to be going so well! That is, until the first day in the job when you surely immediately realised you’d made a mistake. And that’s why I ask whether this mistake was worth it. Maybe you’ve been too scared to ask yourself this question, let alone answer it. But now you’re heading towards the next election, surely you have to face reality at some point? How about I try answering the question for you and you can decide if you agree with me?
There are three reasons why Abbott was not worth it for the Liberal Party. He might have got you the term in government that you desperately wanted, but what has this term done to your future?
The first reason Abbott was certainly not worth it is because he’s impotent. Politically, he has achieved very little and made a huge amount of mess in the process. Yes, he got rid of the mining tax and the Carbon Price. But this caused problems for you too since revenue disappeared along with these policies. Yes, you think Abbott’s done wonders in ‘stopping the boats’. But once this promise helped win the election, what good did it actually do for your political fortune? Other than costing a lot of money to keep people locked up in a hell-hole indefinitely, and causing you to have to keep secret anything to do with boats, which you’re no doubt not happy about because you love demonising refugees so you must be sorry you’ve painted yourself into a ‘we can’t tell you what’s going on because you’re not going to like it’ corner. And then there was the promise Abbott made, which you no doubt regret, to not make any cuts to education, health, the ABC and SBS. But what is the point of a Liberal government that doesn’t make cuts to education, health, the ABC and SBS? I do understand that you have to pretend you’re something you’re not in order to get elected. It must be very stressful having to keep up this façade when all you really want to do is bring back WorkChoices. Either way, Abbott’s promises were quickly broken, so even where he has managed to make spending cuts, they’ve not been celebrated as you might have hoped, but rather accurately painted as lies and more fodder for the independents to block much of the ‘reform’ you would have liked to make. If reform is the right word for a hand-break-turn-around-and-go-backwards policy platform. This impotency is surely of concern to you.
The second reason I don’t think PM Abbott has been worth it for the Liberal Party is because he is deeply unpopular and very good at finding ways to increase his unpopularity. I don’t have time to give you the entire laundry lists of Abbott-stuff-ups that have contributed to his terrible polls, which you’ve no doubt noticed have been terrible since pretty much day one. Dodgy scholarships for his daughter, insane ‘captains picks’ such as the Knighting of Prince Philip, biting onions, shirt-fronting the Russian President, choosing only one woman in his cabinet and then making himself, a known misogynist, Minister for Women, a Speaker expense scandal and of course your own leadership spill shenanigans. Sometimes I wonder if Abbott is actually one giant satire comedy routine sent to entertain the lefty-lynch-mob on Twitter. I’m sure you’ve wondered the same thing. The bottom line is, Abbott as Prime Minister doesn’t make Australians proud to be Australian. The last poll I saw was Essential Poll which had the two party preferred figures at Liberal 47, Labor 53. And this is after Abbott’s spent most of the last few months doing his best to whip up fear about the ‘death cult’ with a growing collection of flags and tried unsuccessfully to mount a smear campaign against Bill Shorten. Is Abbott’s poll-boosting bag of tricks empty? This far out from an election and you’ve got nothing? This must be worrying for you.
The third and final reason why Abbott most definitely has not been worth it for the Liberal Party is because his incompetence in managing the economy is destroying your long-relied-on strategic mantle of claiming Liberal governments as better economic managers than Labor governments. Of course we all know this mantle isn’t based in reality. But nevertheless you’ve used it successfully to win power, along with scaring people about national security, for the past 20 years. But how can you possibly think you can keep using this ‘economic competency’ line when Abbott, and his Treasurer Hockey, are making such a mess of business confidence, consumer confidence, growth, unemployment, debt and deficit and pretty much every other economic indicator that Liberal voters apparently obsess over when deciding that they will again vote Liberal. The bottom line is, your wrecking ball, which you used so successfully to wreck Labor’s electoral fortune, has swung back and wrecked your ‘economic competence’ campaign line. What will you do without it? I suspect you’ll lose. And you may not win again until Abbott has been long-forgotten by the electorate. How long do you think that will take? 50 years? Maybe even 100?
You’re probably feeling a bit depressed now that you’ve seen my very valid reasoning as to why Abbott surely wasn’t worth it for the Liberal Party. You’re probably feeling a bit silly for being so short-sighted in your quest to get power that you’ve made such a huge #OneTermTony problem for yourselves. One term of power isn’t really enough to justify all the effort, and money, you put into getting Abbott elected. And this one term will likely ensure you won’t get another term for a very, very long time. I, however, have no sympathy for you. Like a drunk-fool with a horrible hangover, you brought this on yourself. So in the words of Darryl Kerrigan: ‘Hey. Bad luck. Ya dickhead!’