Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Abbott for the chop?

I never did warm to Australian media commentator Bob Ellis - I think he sits much too far to the left of centre for my liking. But he wrote a blog post last week that I just hope is on the money.

It’s likely Abbott will be overthrown in the next nine days and his successor Dutton, Hunt or Turnbull rapidly and brutally excise Hockey from the Treasury; not certain, but likely.

Ellis goes on the describe Question Time, early last week, in which the coalition benches looked "melancholy-dire". Ellis feels the party is ready to abandon Abbott as their leader, and therefore, as our Prime Minister.

...it was clear they’d given up on him, the worst policy-salesman in their history (he had lost, in seven months as PM, 1.3 million votes), and were making frantic plans in hugger-mugger to be rid of him.

This really should come as no surprise to anyone. Abbott's strength in Opposition was simply opposing. Other than stopping the boats and abolishing the carbon tax, Abbott's political rhetoric was never really about an alternative plan for Australia.

That might also explain why the promises the Coalition parties made in last year's election bare so little resemblance to the reality of last month's budget, their first since winning office.

I've written before about my dilemma with regard to federal politics. I was a conservative voter for years before John Howard finally turned on the people he'd lobbied in his his early years as Prime Minister. My family was among "Howard's Battlers" and I certainly noticed the change of tone in his last election campaign.

But I had difficulty voting for Labor. They seemed disorganised, and indeed proved to be almost completely dysfunctional once they took the reigns from Howard. It sometimes seemed they were more concerned about who should lead the party than they were about running the country.

That dilemma remains today. While I've hoped for a double dissolution, because I don't think the "electoral fraud" committed by the Coalition in the last election should be rewarded with a term in government, I still feel no desire to vote Labor since Bill "Soundbite" Shorten fills me with no confidence that the ALP are ready to lead the country.

Abbott sits much too far to the right of centre for my liking - and Bill Shorten strikes me as an empty vessel.

I hadn't really considered the possibility of the Coalition dumping Abbott - after all, they knew better than the rest of us what he was really like and they still let him lead them - but it's a tantalising prospect. His replacement might show a gram of compassion for the community and some small measure of respect for political honesty.

If the Coalition can find someone willing to dump the ridiculously back-to-front "welfare for the rich" maternity leave scheme, that would be an excellent start. It will take a bit more than that to get my vote back though. After all, my family is taking hits left, right and centre from the post-mining-boom WA Coalition Government and I have to take that into consideration when voting in a federal election. Despite what so many people keep telling me, the WA experience shows that the conservatives are not naturally adept at managing a budget.

But assuming, to be on the safe side, that Ellis has read it all wrong, I will continue to say...

Abbott government, joe hockey, double dissolution

If Bob Ellis isn't your cup of tea either, and if you read his blog anyway and would prefer a slightly-less-fevered discussion of the issue (Ellis is certainly prone to hyperbole at a level I've not otherwise witnessed outside of an anti-vaccination screed), you might try this piece by Edward Sharp-Paul.


wombatwal said...

Andy, will have to agree with you on Ellis.
But I don't think they will replace Abbott. Surely they would not have the hide to do this after all of that criticism of Labor and it's leadership changes.
But then again look at the lies, deceit and broken promises in a few short months from the Conservatives. I suppose any thing can happen, but I would think not.

Andy said...

I wouldn't rule it out completely. I think Ellis's timeframe is optimistic but the Liberals had their share of leadership changes in Opposition so it's not new territory.

Just because they ridicule Labor for something doesn't mean they'll avoid that path. After all, they're demanding Shorten outline alternative polices three years out from an election when we know now that Abbott couldn't do it until six months after he was elected to office.

At the end of the day, the polls will dictate Abbott's fate so it's up to us to air our disenchantment with the way this lot won office and call for change.