How can Abbott’s Liberals be called “conservative” or “pro-business” after this?

They call themselves “conservatives”, but they’re trashing one of the most cherished, long-standing and critical traditions of government in Australia – that citizens and business can work with Australian governments because when, as is inevitable in a democracy, that party eventually loses power, its successor will honour the previous government’s commitments.

But Tony Abbott doesn’t like that tradition. He’d rather a system where businesses are punished by the Liberal Party for working with any other government. Where businesses have to choose whether to sabotage themselves now, under the Labor government, by not arranging their business to work best under the carbon price arrangement – or work with the government of the day and then, if Abbott becomes Prime Minister, have their investments declared worthless.

If you dare participate in this scheme, says Tony Abbott – we will do everything in our power to ensure you get nothing.

As far as Tony’s concerned, the country can burn for the next two years. Business should suffer complete uncertainty and increased risk (that they have to pass on to ordinary Australians via price rises) because Tony isn’t Prime Minister and will, if he ever is, punish them if they try to make a go of things now.

It’s not new to Abbott, of course. Tony and his band of wreckers have been running around trashing Australia’s reputation overseas in an attempt to damage investor confidence – so far without much success, since the investors aren’t quite flighty and stupid enough not to realise that Australia’s being managed very well, actually – but it shows that wasn’t a one-off.

Clearly, Tony Abbott’s Liberals do not care about Australia. They want Australia to suffer over the next two years to punish it for not making him Prime Minister. Things must not be allowed to work out under Labor! We must do everything in our power to make sure they don’t!

It’s almost sociopathic. This current Liberal Party would rather the country burned than it succeed under their opponents.

This is the man who wants to be PM. God help us all if he ever achieves his ambition.

ELSEWHERE: Other conserva… no, I think we’ll have to call them rightwingers now. They’re not conservative. Anyway, other Abbott supporters hope our tradition of stable democracy is trashed even further:

Maybe Tony should also warn any public servant who joins the team to administer this unmandated tax will join the dole queue immediately the tax is repealed – without any compensation!

They’re insane. This is what the Liberals’ lust for power at any cost has led to.

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31 responses to “How can Abbott’s Liberals be called “conservative” or “pro-business” after this?

  1. They’re not even right-wingers, Jeremy. They’re reactionaries.

  2. They’re frightened. They were so close to power so recently, and now it’s slipping away. This blood oath thing, the threats described above, it’s all the act of desperadoes rather than the tough guys they fancy themselves to be.

  3. Jeremy, they’re called “Movement Conservatives”.
    I’ve been using that term here and on PP and elsewhere for the last five years.
    You and everybody else have ignored the distinction.
    I’m not a blogger. I’m not a journalist and I’m not a pundit.
    I’m just a guy who has been watching this shit go down for the last 30 years

    I would have thought that you, as a member of the intelligentsia, would have cottoned on to the idea that these shitheads have nothing to do with real conservativism.

    Do yourself a favour and read what David Niewart has to say about Movement Conservatives and their Eliminationist Rhetoric.

    Hopefully, you’ll realise how fucking dangerous the likes of Tony Abbott are to this country.

    Cheers.

  4. narcoticmusing

    ny public servant who joins the team to administer this unmandated tax will join the dole queue

    This reminds me of the gullible other woman who thinks the cheating husband, once he’s left his wife, won’t do it to him. It is in Abbot co’s interest that the public service serves the Government of the day. It is in ALL government’s interest that this is the case. It is in the nation’s interest.

    These people are dangerous and no good for Australia.

  5. Marek, It’s a bit of a stretch to say that the likes of Abbott have “nothing to do with real conservatism.” They are real conservatives in as much as they hold typical conservative views: a desire for things to not change or return to a previous “golden era” where gays were hidden, women were silent, workers had no rights, and the church was beyond criticism.

    That’s not to say they aren’t other things as well, like Right-Libertarians and fascists, but “real” conservatives don’t get to disown the likes of Abbott just because they don’t like his tactics.

  6. It’s obvious isn’t it? By wrecking the place, they can “prove” how bad things are under a Labor government and why we need to vote for them. It’ like the standover merchants ie. vote for us or your windows might get mysteriously smashed in.
    This isn’t just conservatism, it’s definitely a wrecking mentality.

  7. Not mad, not desperate, smart. But definitely scarily, cynically unprincipled. Successfully mimicking the tactics the US Republicans are using to destroy Obama irrespective of the damage to the country caused by their strategy. The cynical contempt for the electorate evidenced by the LNP ‘blitzkreig’ is disgusting. They care about nothing but gaining power and because most of the Australian electorate are only interested in politics to the extent that they think it will impacts on their hip pocket they are riding high in the polls and are winning the battle hands down.

    It does not help that Labor appears to be advised by brain dead morons. Evidence? Replacing Rudd in a manner that destroyed Gillard’s public persona from the outset. More evidence? That the government was totally undone by a comprehensive rejection of their Asylum Seeker strategy by the High Court. It does not help that Gillard, despite her personal strengths has no political judgement. Evidence? Any aspect of the protracted Asylum Seeker debacle you care to name.

    There is a feeling abroad that the electorate will eventually wake up to Abbott. Forget it, the punters already know and don’t care. Evidence? Abbott’s personal satisfaction rating at record lows but LNP with consistent 10 – 14 point advantage in the polls. The average Australian voter would currently elect Attila the Hun just because he is not Julia Gillard.

    If/when they get desperate enough Labor’s back room block heads might just try another switch of leaders if they can find anyone to take the gig. Rudd? Unacceptable to many in the Parliamentary group and the Union movement. Would he come back only to lead them to almost certain defeat in short order and be faced by either years as Opposition leader with a team that doesn’t like or trust him or quick replacement when it is remembered that they got rid of him last time because they hate him? Who knows? His ego is so big he just might.

    Smith? Will this decent, competent conservative trash his career in this manner? Shorten? Combet? Would anyone with the faintest grasp of reality accept this gig? It won’t make any difference anyway. It failed last time and a repeat would only strengthen the impression that the Labor Party doesn’t have any idea what it wants or stands for. Electoral poison.

    The only chance of going full term rests on retaining Gillard. The cross benchers , two or three of whom will lose their seats next time anyway will stick with this arrangement. Without leadership change this government will limp on until or unless some wild card (Bye election anyone) trips them up. Unfortunately then they will get a severe belting at the election and then the times in which we live will get scarily ‘interesting’.

  8. Splatterbottom

    Your post is dishonest political propaganda, Jeremy.

    The way the carbon (dioxide) tax was legislated was rotten politics. Gillard and Swan made promises which they reversed as soon as the election was over. Now I understand why the ALP tries to scare people into believeing Abbott would break any promise he makes on Workchoices – they assume he is as dishonest as they are.

    The job of an opposition leader is to oppose the government. In the case of the bumbling shambolic mess that is this Green/Red coalition government, that role is all the more important. Now the public has caught a whiff of this rotting corpse of an administration the architects of this disaster are blaming Abbott for merely pointing out their wretched incompetence.

    The voters will have their say soon enough and it is likely to result in a huge mandate to repeal the carbon (dioxide) tax. The Green/Red alliance is showing its respect for democracy by doing all it can to entrench the legislation and is now whining about the fact that Abbott is promising to do what the voters will be directing him to do when the elect him. I guess they have no idea how stupid and hypocritical they look.

    Also, if you want to see real stinking corruption in Australian politics look at the disgraceful behaviour of Sarah Prancing Young in destroying the impartiality of the Ombudsman.

  9. whining about the fact that Abbott is promising to do what the voters will be directing him to do when the elect him.

    Yep – SB is right.

    Say what you will about the merits of the carbon tax legislation there is no doubt that the Liberals will go to the next election on a platform of repealing the tax. If they win government off the back of that promise then how can they “honor the previous government’s commitment” without breaking their own and completely undermining our democracy?

    If it is the will of the people then it should be done, no?

    Or are you suggesting that, now it has been implemented, Gillard’s carbon pricing policy must never be repealed?

  10. jordanrastrick

    The Green/Red alliance is showing its respect for democracy by doing all it can to entrench the legislation and is now whining about the fact that Abbott is promising to do what the voters will be directing him to do when the elect him.

    Abbott will be well within his rights to repeal the legislation if he campaigns against it and a subsequent election delivers a majority in favour of repeal in both houses, which seems rather likely at the moment (although of course two years is a very long time in politics.)

    But threatening to not honour the reasonable obligations made by the current government is somewhat different territory. I don’t think its as bad as Jeremy is making out here, certainly, but it would be kind of akin to “not only will we not continue to build the NBN, we won’t even pay the money owed to companies who the current government have signed contracts with.”

    Also, if you want to see real stinking corruption in Australian politics look at the disgraceful behaviour of Sarah Prancing Young in destroying the impartiality of the Ombudsman.

    While, hyperbole aside, I tend to agree with this criticism, it is (as is rather common for you SB) a complete derailment of the actual post.

  11. jordanrastrick

    If they win government off the back of that promise then how can they “honor the previous government’s commitment” without breaking their own and completely undermining our democracy?

    C’mon Mondo, its pretty straightfoward. They can quite easily abolish the carbon price but still refund the money companies have paid up until that point, in good faith, for their emission permits.

  12. Splatterbottom

    Apart from the fact that in the early phase there is no need to buy credits until it is time to surrender them, it is quite open for the holders of excess credits to sell them on the vaunted world market for credits. No doubt they would make a loss, but then if they have excess credits it is probably because they are speculating in them anyway.

    The loss arises because Australia is setting a price above what the rest of the world pays, punishing the country far more than is fair or necessary. The Greens are wetting themselves at the prospect of driving evil greedy capitalist businesses offshore and the unions couldn’t give a toss about their members jobs. Such is the Green/Red government we have. No wonder voters hate the government and would prefer to be ruled by someone who might listen to them rather than the hive-minded chattering class.

  13. The way the carbon (dioxide) tax was legislated was rotten politics.

    It’s a bit strange that conservatives insist on plugging “dioxide” in there because it shows a total lack of any scientific knowledge. Methane is not carbon dioxide but is covered by the carbon tax because it is a hydrocarbon with greenhouse properties.

    Is it because the only way Liberal Party can argue against global warming is by scaring people about a tax on the bubbles in beer?

    The job of an opposition leader is to oppose the government.

    More of this crap. No, the “job” of the opposition leader, as a member of parliament (and legally nothing more), is to represent his electorate, no more and no less. It’s the same job as the guy sitting next to him, or the woman sitting across from him. Other than the fact that we call the major party that doesn’t control the house of reps “the opposition” tells us nothing, least of all about how the leader of that major party should act.

  14. Splatterbottom

    Ben: “It’s a bit strange that conservatives insist on plugging “dioxide” in there because it shows a total lack of any scientific knowledge. Methane is not carbon dioxide but is covered by the carbon tax because it is a hydrocarbon with greenhouse properties.”

    Carbon tax (or price) is the most unscientific and the most dishonest name for it because carbon isn’t covered at all. It is only used for dumb propaganda purposes. At least ‘carbon dioxide’ refers to the major gas covered by the tax.

    And even if you have a little whine and try to make out that “carbon” is just shorthand for hydrocarbon we know that that is an unscientific lie as well since Nitrous Oxide (which contains no carbon) is covered.

    It is probably better to call it “selective greenhouse gas tax which achieves no useful purpose”.

    “More of this crap. No, the “job” of the opposition leader, as a member of parliament (and legally nothing more), is to represent his electorate, no more and no less.”

    You’ve got this arse-up as well. Probably because you are forgetting the close relationship between the legislative and executive branches in our system of government. The leader of the opposition is both a legislator and, as the leader of the opposition, an alternative PM. In both roles it is necessary to criticicise bad legislation and bad government. This government is worse even than Whitlam’s bedlam. And the poor little princesses get their feelings hurt whenever anyone points out their bleedingly obvious incompetence.

  15. @mondo

    If ‘the will of the people’ has been ‘constructed’ by a relentless disinformation campaign should it be respected? This is a pretty slippery slope to venture onto.

    The ‘will of the people’ in this case will probably be the substantially mistaken opinion of between 50 and 60% of the population. The remaining 40 – 50% holding an opposing view will probably have voted for candidates supporting their view of what should happen. Should their elected representatives be expected to deny their election program to support the election platform of the majority?

    Surely the job of MPs is to:
    a. Represent the attitudes of their electors.
    b. Oppose any and all initiatives of the government.
    This after all is what Abbott and his goons have stated time after time is the task of Opposition. In the circumstances to demand that Labor in opposition should unlike Abbott behave ethically and constructively is illogical.

    If the elected government has a mandate to deliver its program opposition members have a mandate to support the platform on which they were elected and to represent the desires and beliefs of their electors. The application of bipartisanship is a judgement call to be made case by case rather than an ironclad ethical requirement.

    Labor in opposition should stick to its guns and defend the most important reform in a generation. If Abbott gets enough support to win the day we’ll have to wear it but the idea that Labor should simply wave him through on this is bizarre.

  16. Hi Jordan

    It was my understanding that Gillard’s Carbon Price scheme operated as a tax for the first several years – i.e. each taxpayer’s ‘permits’ are calculated based on an end-of-year assessment of their emissions. That is, they pay a price to compensate the country for their emissions during the year just passed.

    Actually, as I write this I realise that you’re right – it’s open to Abbott to offer to refund all the tax collected from Australian business prior to his election. Assuming, of course, that the money hasn’t been spent by the time he gets his hands on it.

    But I suppose in principle if he was serious about repairing the alleged damage Gillard will do with her policy then that’s what he should offer.

  17. jordanrastrick

    Hi Mondo

    It was my understanding that Gillard’s Carbon Price scheme operated as a tax for the first several years – i.e. each taxpayer’s ‘permits’ are calculated based on an end-of-year assessment of their emissions. That is, they pay a price to compensate the country for their emissions during the year just passed

    I’m under the impression the controversy arises chiefly because by the time a Liberal government is likely to be able to rescind the legislation, given that they will most likely have to win one election and then trigger and win a double dissolution, the scheme will have already transitioned into trading scheme mode (and so in fact they won’t at that point even be reversing the broken “carbon tax” promise.)

    However, I could be wrong about that timeline.

  18. If ‘the will of the people’ has been ‘constructed’ by a relentless disinformation campaign should it be respected? This is a pretty slippery slope to venture onto.

    Duggy – in all seriousness – the only slippery slope here is the one you are sliding down. The one where individuals start to believe that they can de-legitimise the opinions of their fellow citizens because they think they know better.

    You may honestly believe that 50-60% of voting Australians have a “substantially mistaken opinion” and that therefore their electoral choices are somewhat invalid – hell, you may actually be correct – but I can assure you that they hold the same view of you.

    But in the end it doesn’t matter because we live in a democracy where all votes carry the same value. Which is the way it should be.

  19. Jordan – looking more closely at the detail I can see that the issue is Abbott’s instruction to business not to buy “forward permits”, which I assume are advance purchases of carbon permits which, while useless under the initial “tax” phase, will be valuable in 2015 when the emission trading scheme actually kicks in.

    Abbott is effectively saying that those permits will be worthless in Australia since there will be no ETS once he is elected (and thus no need for them).

    You suggest that he could buy the permits back from all businesses that bought them, which I suppose is reasonable IF the business buys them off the government in the first place. Offsets bought on the open market however . . . .

  20. @mondo
    You wrote – “You may honestly believe that 50-60% of voting Australians have a “substantially mistaken opinion” Should the next election pan out as the polls currently suggest, I do believe that; but I don’t believe this. “that therefore their electoral choices are somewhat invalid”. I didn;t suggest that and one doesn’t follow from the other. Their choices are what they are. My point as I said is that in the probable case of a 55% – 45% electoral outcome there is no ethical responsibility for opposition or cross bench members to ditch substantial chunks of the reason that they were elected in the first place by waving through legislation they strongly disagree with. Our Parliamentary system is fundamentally oppositional. If Labor takes this legislation to the polls its elected members have a mandate to support it should they choose to do so. Full stop. If Abbott wins and can gather the numbers he can have his way. Otherwise he can suck it up. That’s not always but frequently, the nature of our democracy – always has been, presumably always will be.

    Abbott of course in this circumstance will try to fool the electorate that Labor is doing something unethical. They would not be, but you apparently think they would be. Of course Labor may well be so demoralized that under a new leader, they don’t take this to the voters. That would be unethical given the course of the last year but they might do it. Or they might take it to the polls and get such a thumping that they roll over and wave goodbye to all that. Both of these courses of action would be pragmatic based entirely on assessments of what course of action preserves the most political capital and not at all on what is the right thing for the nation. Both are entirely possible. I hope that if things fall out as currently seems likely they grow a spine and fight for what they at least say they believe in but I’m not hopeful. My point is simply that there is no ethical responsibility to put up the white flag. Quite the contrary there is an ethical responsibility to just for once stand up for what is right rather than politically expedient.

  21. don’t worry, Abbott won’t be elected, so businesses can relax.

  22. jordanrastrick

    Ah OK Mondo, yes that sounds plausible – I must have misunderstood wherever I read about the permit compensation details (or perhaps it was wrong/deceptive). In which case, I would tend more toward agreeing with Abbott – forward permits bought on the international market from overseas sellers, anticipating that mechanism of the scheme, are a sensible hedging tool for businesses, but I think a new government would be within their rights to not pay compensation for them.

  23. narcoticmusing

    But buying votes is the LibCo way Jordan.

  24. The extremists are on the rise in the ‘Liberal’ Party.

    And keep in mind that Abbotts opposition to the ETS has nothing to do the objective of the policy, given that the Libs have found it impossible to completely abandon the appearance of doing something about AGW.

    This is just a tactic and Abbott has signalled that he is perfectly willing to deliberately harm business’s (and by extension, their employees) in the pursuit of this tactic.

    Wrecking ball politics in a policy vacuum – he has no idea how he can achieve this objective, though currently it seems he has the bizarre expectation that the Greens and Labor will deliver on his promise.

  25. @Mondo

    But in the end it doesn’t matter because we live in a democracy where all votes carry the same value. Which is the way it should be.

    Tell that to the 11.7% of the voting public, Mondo…

  26. duggy Apologies – I may have misunderstood your post. When you wrote the following above:

    If ‘the will of the people’ has been ‘constructed’ by a relentless disinformation campaign should it be respected?

    I thought you were implying that the majority opinion on this particular issue shouldn’t be given credence since it is misinformed. If your point was merely that politicians should represent and advocate for the views of their supporters, even when in opposition, then I completely agree with you.

    But isn’t that what Abbott is doing here?

  27. Certainly is
    My thought was to counter the idea, that he already promoting heavily, that in the instance of an LNP victory the ALP opposition would be somehow obligated to support his ‘mandate’ on this. Polls are already showing that a solid majority of the electorate believe that if he wins Abbott has a mandate to repeal the clean Energy legislation. I would like to confront this notion both on ethical and environmental grounds.

  28. Splatterbottom

    Duggy, the next election will be fought largely on the carbon tax and the unethical way it was foisted on the Australian people. If Abbott wins it is because the majority of people have formed their own opinions as to the relevant ethical and environmental considerations. Justice and logic dictate that, if Abbott is elected, these hideous laws be repealed.

  29. jordanrastrick

    Duggy, the next election will be fought largely on the carbon tax and the unethical way it was foisted on the Australian people. If Abbott wins it is because the majority of people have formed their own opinions as to the relevant ethical and environmental considerations. Justice and logic dictate that, if Abbott is elected, these hideous laws be repealed.

    We have a Senate for a reason.

    If people hate the Carbon Tax enough, they can vote in a Coalition majority in the upper house, either at the next election, or at the subsequent double dissolution.

  30. Couldn’t agree more.
    refer my previous comment for my clarification of why I bothered to respond to mondo in the first place.

  31. Pfft. Pity Steve Jobs is here no longer – he realised that you don’t ask people what they want, because they don’t know.

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