An Honest Man in Seventhirtyreportland

Obviously Tony Abbott’s complete meltdown on The 7.30 Report last night – and to think, just last week they were making a huge deal out of Kevin Rudd just getting a little snippy with Kerry – is something that should be repeatedly played to anyone who is considering voting Liberal this year. Tony didn’t just misspeak. He repeated his declaration that some things he says shouldn’t be taken seriously – and we’re not talking about jokes, we’re talking about specific policy promises – even after Kerry O’Brien highlighted to him precisely what he was telling the electorate.

It’s a video all Australian voters should watch. Particularly if they’re thinking of making this bloke Prime Minister.

The lame “defence” cobbled together by Liberal Party supporters – that “oh well, all politicians lie: at least he’s honest about it” garbage – reminds me of this old John Clarke routine from the early 1980s about then Treasurer John Howard, “The Honest Man”:

Ah, yeah g’day. Now I’d like to have a few words with you concerning the very interesting remarks made during the year by that nice little Mr Howard who is employed as a reader by Malcolm. And now that the dust has paid settlement tax a couple of things do seem to demand analysis.

The first of course is that Small John has been making a courageous attempt to redefine the concept of the honest man. Now you, or I and certain other head-in-the-cloud no-hopers I can think of might cling to the antediluvian view that an honest man is a man who is honest. And, on a purely superficial level, this would appear to be not totally unreasonable. But apparently, on close and heavily subsidised inspection, this transpires to be unsatisfactory thereby failing to incur satisfaction tax as laid out in Schedule 6E of the annual map of the buried treasury.

An honest man is not a man who is honest; an honest man is a man who is dishonest but is quite honest about it. A man who hides his dishonesty, now he’d be a dishonest man. But disarming honesty about previous dishonesty is apparently OK. Of course the dishonesty in the first instance is annulled by the subsequent honesty and any reference back to it would be the act of a dishonest political point scorer.

If a man decides to be honest about his dishonesty, not only is he an honest man but, if he does it consistently, he can be said to be a man of principle. Although having to be dishonest in the first place, in order to be honest about it later might worry some of you older people who foolishly accept that being a man of principle is something akin to being a man of principle.

A good example of all this, is the way Malcolm and the Gang of Plus Fours have turned the country upside down in order to get inflation down. And now they say this time next year, inflation won’t have come down. And unemployment won’t have come down either and the CPI won’t have come down and the only thing that will come down is the honest and highly principled August Budget and with any luck, it’ll go down with all hands. I’ll get out of your way now, I’ll see you later.

The fact is, “all politicians” don’t have to lie, and the quicker you refuse to vote for the ones that do, the quicker there’ll be some consequence to it and they’ll stop. Those slippery politicians are there because someone’s voting for them. If it bothers you (as it should) – don’t!

UPDATE (19/5): Want to know what relentless barracking for one party regardless of what they do or say does to a person? Check out the stupid:

  • Lacho of Central Coast Posted at 4:37 AM May 18, 2010
    Pffft, the labor party will backflip on their promises even if they are written down. I will still be voting liberal

  • sophie of bris Posted at 5:14 AM May 18, 2010
    You know what? The fact that Abbott has just admitted this makes me more inclined to vote, i’d rather a Gepetto than a Pinocchio and the fact he’s been honest enough to say this makes me trust him a bit more. Anyone is better than Rudd anyway.

  • Dave of Sydney Posted at 5:52 AM May 18, 2010
    Of course there is a difference between off the cuff remarks and considered statements. Hardly news.

  • DD Ball of Carramar/Sydney Posted at 5:58 AM May 18, 2010
    I saw the entire interview and this is not what Mr Abbott said. Mr Abbott was graceful in ways that Rudd wasn’t when Rudd was asked an easier question. Mr Abbott gave a good answer, and Red Kerry seemed unhappy with it and gave the same response Frost once gave Nixon, claiming and inflating a lie. The Question was of the type “When did you stop beating your wife?” and shows a new low with ABC journalism. Mr Abbott answered the question well and kept his head. He also answered it honestly in ways that the ALP will not .. Rudd crumbling and Tanner or Gillard answering questions from their own world.

  • mangajack of Petrie Posted at 6:10 AM May 18, 2010
    Still, with all the shooting off at the mouth that Abott does, he is still a much better candidate than Rudd whom I can not trust with anything.

  • rob of northern nsw Posted at 6:45 AM May 18, 2010
    Typical Tony Abbott, says what he thinks. That’s why he is popular. On the other hand, Krudd is just a grandstanding, egotistical liar. And he leads a team of grandstanding, egotistical liars!!!

  • Tom Posted at 6:34 AM May 18, 2010
    At least he’s honest about it, most politicians insult your intelligence by trying to convince you that you misinterpreted what they said, regardless of how clear it was.

  • Ian of Tathra Posted at 6:26 AM May 18, 2010
    Refeshingly candid Tony and its about time this country saw that attitude – thankyou.

Of course, the vast majority of people complaining in that thread about “both sides” being “liars” (or “liers”) will still be voting 1 for one of the two majors. If they’re both liars, people, vote for someone else!

UPDATE #2 Tony’s now making himself (and the country) look stupid in the international press.

31 responses to “An Honest Man in Seventhirtyreportland

  1. Wisdom Like Silence

    The Greens need a new media consultant. Where the hell are they?

  2. Being ignored by the media, as usual.

  3. Wisdom Like Silence

    They should be Ninja’ing into every doorstop media gaggle, apparating into the 7PM project studios. The only way people are going to know there’s an alternative to the honestly dishonest government or opposition.

  4. The Greens either don’t have a clue how to market or don’t care/want to.

    Perhaps they think marketing is a bit impure for their message. I dunno.

    To be honest now they are wise being silent, cos the two major parties are both looking shoddy on their own.

    But they should at least be getting their name out there in the orbit of the major parties right now. At the moment they aren’t really in the landscape and they should be. Just sitting there in the background not being too obvious.

    Pretty soon an opportunity for them will open up so some acknowledgement of their existence would be good right now just to keep them in the background noise. Then when that moment comes (and these moments always do) they can step forward a bit.

    They don’t need the MSM either. They should be going hard online and virally etc etc. Because really they want to build the habit of voting green in people who have just enrolled to vote. If they become a genuine first option for young people then as they age they will consolidate their position. Thats a long term strategy that seems absent right now.

    They don’t seem to have an election strategy either, or tactics or anything.

    I’m no advertisician but you know how it is – some things become obvious if you live in a marketing saturated environment.

    Aren’t the greens the closest thing politics has to hip young things?

    You’d think they’d have some media, and especially new media savvy.

  5. Splatterbottom

    jules: Aren’t the greens the closest thing politics has to hip young things?

    No that is GetUp! Rudd has already been poaching their talent.

  6. Perhaps I should have said “party politics”.

    (And closest is a relative thing. Pluto is closest to the sun if you compare it to Arcturus and NCG 1999. (Which is a nebula with a hole in it. Whatever that means.))

    The greens are nowhere at the moment, yet they could probably gain some great mileage with some well aimed shots at the tweedle’s.

  7. confessions

    As I commented elsewhere this morning, the other interesting thing about this interview is the completely different way in which it has been transcribed to the Rudd interview last week. Abbott’s has none of the umms, ahhs whereas Rudd’s did. Teh ABC obviously went verbatim on the PM in a cynical attempt to feed into the media narrative of a ‘meltdown’. I do wish the ABC would stop pretending it’s a commercial outlet, and just stick to public interest news and analysis.

  8. I watched both the Rudd interview and the Abbott interview as they were aired. Rudd was more composed than reports suggest, and I reckon it’s good that Rudd actually fired up and went in for a bit of a fight on climate change – Labor does have a point that they did try to get the CPRS through three times. (And for those who keep wanting to push the CPRS to a DD election – have a bit of a political reality check – there’s no point doing something that takes you OUT of office.)

    In his own interview Abbott just looked sloppy, out of his depth – and if his performance is being interpreted as ‘oh well, at least he’s honest’ then people really need to think about voting for him and his ilk.

    In many ways I’m a fan of the Greens, mostly because their views are clear (if not at times whacky, though less so these days). But I do wish they’d stop doing deals with the Coalition to secure preferences. Stay true to your ideals, Green-types!

  9. “But I do wish they’d stop doing deals with the Coalition to secure preferences.”

    What are you talking about? The ALP often claims that, and it’s utter bullshit. The ALP claims that the Greens are “preferencing the Coalition” when they do a split HTV card in particular local lower house electorates where the ALP candidate is indistinguishable from the conservative – ie, one side of the card shows voters how to preference one major, one side the other. Which is not the Greens “preferencing” anyone – but the ALP will run paper ads in the last week showing the non-ALP side and claiming that “the Greens are in bed with the Coalition”.

    It’s a shameless lie – as is almost everything the ALP claims about the Greens. Take its smear on the ETS, blaming the Greens for not supporting it, when the ALP’s fundamental principle from Day 1 was to refuse to in any way negotiate with the Greens. It wanted an ETS the Coalition could be tied to. If you want to know the absolute opposite of what the Greens have actually done, listen to anything Lindsay Tanner says about them.

    And what Green policies are “wacky”?

  10. confessions

    I read somewhere recently that at the 2004 and 2007 fed elections something like 80% of Greens preferences went to the ALP.

    I think Abbott’s problems with coherence will only become worse during the sharp end of the campaign. Everyone remembers that Bernie Banton remark he made, so it’s highly likely that voters have already formed an impression of him as a hot head who can’t control himself. All this ‘authentic’ rubbish is just designed to try and spin that impression into something positive.

  11. “I read somewhere recently that at the 2004 and 2007 fed elections something like 80% of Greens preferences went to the ALP.”

    That would be in the House of Reps, I’m guessing. In the Senate it’d be higher, because their ticket preferenced the ALP and fewer people choose their below-the-line Senate candidates than people who choose their own preferences in the House of Reps.

    And if some Coalition voters want to put the Greens first, that’s fine with me – so long as the Greens don’t sell out in any way to achieve that. And, contrary to ALP spin and lies, they haven’t.

  12. confessions

    To be honest I can’t say, but you are probably right.

  13. Well the report on the greens in on the 7.30 report tonight proved me wrong. Thats exactly what they should be doing (or should have done a month ago.)

  14. Indeed.

    And more Lindsay Tanner bullsh!t. He knows perfectly well that the ETS Labor proposed was designed to be unacceptable to the Greens, and Labor refused to negotiate with them. And then be tries to blame them for its failure! Shameless. “A sinister purpose”! Get stuffed, Lindsay.

    If Lindsay Tanner is as progressive as the ALP gets, sod them. They don’t care about us, why should we care about them?

  15. Wisdom Like Silence

    Can’t fault the government for having a better poker face than the greens. They should have called their arrogant bluff and got some traction down, let the country see the ETS fail, and then push for a stronger one.

  16. No they shouldn’t – the government’s ETS was a step backwards, rewarded polluters and punished non-polluters, and would’ve seriously damaged momentum towards a real climate change policy. Good on the Greens for refusing to vote for it.

  17. usesomesanity

    Abbott is a snake in the grass. He is a sly sneek. He takes the public for fools, we want acurate details of want he stands and the longer he stalls the more sneeky he appears. Another religious coward who thinks because I go to church each week i dont have to do anthing for the poor because you know i pray and that. Sneeks who hide behind made up religions and treat people in real life like shit are living the lie, much like our friend SB. Although SB does want to become a teacher and give something real back, not sure he will have the guts to do what he wants to do tho.

  18. Pingback: Treating asylum seekers badly is expensive « An Onymous Lefty

  19. Blast Tyrant

    I hate to sound like a broken record but again I agree with Jeremy re the Greens and ETS.

    I also saw that “A sinister purpose” bullshit from Tanner last night. What a complete dildo that guy is.
    Accusing the Greens of having this sinister purpose on the sole basis that the Greens actually want to represent progressives rather than just keep the worst party out of office.

  20. citrustickle

    the ALP will run paper ads in the last week showing the non-ALP side and claiming that “the Greens are in bed with the Coalition”

    The devastating effectiveness of this tactic come polling day is awe-inspiring. As someone handing out Greens HTV cards, it’s been wrist-slashingly depressing (in the last state election especially) to hear this nonsense repeated back to me parrot-style by an endless stream of people who felt the need to explain why they were taking the ALP card instead.

    I recall indicating to a few of the less belligerent folks that the cards (and the full senate preference list triggered by above-the-line votes) offered no evidence for such a deal. But for the most part it seems the damage is too great amongst those traditional ALP voters who happen to be toying with the idea of voting Greens. Mission accomplished, in other words.

  21. Jeremy, Tanner was shitting himself last night. I think he knows he will lose his seat.

    It would be a pity imo if he lost his seat, cos as far as Rudd’s lot go, he’s one I don’t mind that much.

    But you know, make a bed and you have to lie in it.

    And people in his electorate can still pref the greens first then him, that way they don’t have to vote for the conservatives.

    His argument on that score … well you could argue thats a problem when a whole bunch of people vote for Ralph Nader and Dubya gets elected, but its not an issue when people have preferences.

  22. they should stick with professional actors like reagan…for someone with rhodes scholar training, this is a piss weak performance

  23. Splatterbottom

    The reason most people will not be voting Green is precisely because they understand that the Greens mean exactly what they say.

  24. “The reason most people will not be voting Green is precisely because they understand that the Greens mean exactly what they say.”

    You honestly think the ALP and Coalition scare campaigns have precisely no effect on potential Green voters? That everyone sees through the shameless lies they tell?

    Dear me, you’d think the Coalition and Labor would stop wasting so many resources lying about the Greens if it has no effect. So you don’t think they’re just dishonest and shameless – you also think they’re a bit stupid?

  25. usesomesanity

    More sneeky tactics from Hockey at the press club today, surprize surprize. Do these snakes in the grass really think the people will enjoy being scamed and used like this?

  26. Pingback: Look, Kerry, even if I sign something you can’t rely on it | An Onymous Lefty

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  28. Pingback: What message would you really send by switching your vote from the ALP to the Liberals? | An Onymous Lefty

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