Abbott’s legacy of destruction

Do you sometimes wonder how the Turnbull government has managed to get itself into such a mess?

Of course Malcolm Turnbull must shoulder much of the blame himself. A piece that I will post next week: Thirty pieces of silver attests to this. By sacrificing his long-held principles and values on the altar of his enduring ambition to be Prime Minister no matter what the cost, he has brought about many of the vicissitudes he is now enduring.

A look further back though uncovers a set of circumstances and decisions that were made before Turnbull assumed leadership, made by just one man – the malevolent Tony Abbott – who masqueraded as Prime Minister from 18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015, three days short of two years. Yet in that short time he managed to destroy so much of what this nation needs, leaving an untidy mess for his successor, who still struggles to repair the damage.

Abbott has not changed. Just a few days ago he once more exhibited his destructive nature when he publicly attacked Turnbull’s leadership and policies, which he predicted would lead the LNP to electoral defeat if it "didn't lift its game". This time his destructiveness was aimed at his leader and his party.

If you need any persuasion, it will not take too many examples to convince you of Abbott’s destructiveness. Here they are.

Deliberately ineffectual action on climate change
There is no more disastrous area than this to illustrate Abbott’s destructiveness.

It was well before his election as PM that Abbott exposed his denial of the reality of global warming. In July 2009, he told the 7:30 Report he thought the science of climate change was "highly contentious" and the economics of an ETS "a bit dodgy…”.

Then he let it slip at a meeting in Beaufort in October of that year that "The argument is absolute crap … However, the politics of this are tough for us. 80% of people believe climate change is a real and present danger." He toyed with the idea of supporting Rudd’s ETS proposal, as he thought it would not be "a good look for the Opposition to be browner than Howard going into the next election". He habitually thinks politically.

Quizzed about his Beaufort remarks by Laurie Oakes, Abbott said: "I think that the science is far from settled on all of this. But there are good prudential reasons for taking reasonable precautions against significant potential threats. That's why I think there is a strong case for an ETS but it's got to be the right ETS. It's got to be an ETS that protects Australian jobs and protects Australian industries... I am confronted by a hostile Liberal audience on this particular issue; I am trying to bring them around to support the position of the leader and the shadow cabinet.” When challenged about his Beaufort meeting statement, Abbott said he had used "a bit of hyperbole" at the meeting rather than it being his "considered position". Later, he conceded that on climate change he was a bit of a ‘weathervane’.

Clearly, Abbott saw political advantage in opposing action on climate change.

We all knew back then what Abbott’s climate change tactics really were, but just a few days ago Peta Credlin publicly exposed Abbott’s political chicanery. An article reporting this in BuzzFeedNEWS began: “Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin has let slip that one of the most damaging political campaigns in recent Australian political history was based on bullshit.”

Credlin made her comments during an episode of Sky’s Sunday Agenda: “Along comes a carbon tax. It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know. It was many other things in nomenclature terms but we made it a carbon tax. We made it a fight about the hip pocket and not about the environment. That was brutal retail politics and it took Abbott about six months to cut through and when he cut through, Gillard was gone.”

The article continued with Credlin's comments:
“It wasn’t a carbon tax, as you know.

“Okay, okay, okay. Let’s just provide some context. Australia has a complicated history in trying to do what many countries have already done – put a price on carbon emissions.

“Emissions trading scheme proposals contributed to the demise of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010. Julia Gillard finally introduced a carbon-pricing scheme in 2011.

“It was Tony Abbott who re-framed Gillard’s scheme as a “carbon tax”, even though after the first year the price on carbon emissions was no longer fixed, and was instead set by the market.

“Abbott rode the anti-carbon tax movement all the way into The Lodge and eventually had everyone, including Labor and the media, calling it a carbon tax".
There it is – the brutal truth - straight out of the horse’s mouth!

'Direct Action' fraud
To placate voters who believed that Australia ought to take some action to combat carbon pollution and global warming, Abbott invented the Coalition’s ‘Direct Action Plan’. From the beginning it was a hoax. This is how Turnbull described it: “Direct Action is “a con, an environmental fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing” and “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”.

As part of the DAP, Abbott created his ‘Green Army’ that was supposed to employ lots of young people in conservation pursuits, but we will never know how big or effective it was because it was axed by PM Turnbull and Treasurer Morrison before a review of it had been undertaken. We certainly didn’t hear much of what it was doing. Another ‘fig leaf’.

Abbott tried to convince voters that his DAP would cut emissions with little cost. Turnbull’s assessment was blunt: “First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal fired power stations with cleaner gas fired ones, or renewables like wind let alone nuclear power or even coal fired power with carbon capture and storage is all going to cost money. To get farmers to change the way they manage their land, or plant trees and vegetation all costs money. Somebody has to pay.

"So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, "bullshit." Moreover he knows it.”

Abbott engineered an LNP party room vote against an ETS, challenged Turnbull over his support for it (known then as a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) and defeated him as leader by a single party room vote. But in the end it was Kevin Rudd who put the final nail in the ETS coffin by shamefully reneging on action to combat climate change which he had pompously proclaimed was: “The greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time”.

Enough said. Climate change denial, abolition of the ‘carbon tax’, deliberate inaction via the DAP, opposition to an ETS and to existing renewable energy targets, together expose Abbott’s careless and destructive approach to the problem of global warming, which left unchecked will destroy our planet.

And in the process, Abbott injected his own brand of personal invective against his arch enemy, Julia Gilliard.

Demolition of the NBN
Here is another stark example of Abbott’s destructiveness. I hardly need remind you of Abbott’s infamous instruction to then Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “Demolish the NBN” after Labour had launched its groundbreaking Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network, which would have given this nation a competitive advantage in a globally-wired world.

Instead, Turnbull’s multi-technology mix, combined with a second rate Fibre to the Node (FTTN) scheme has left us languishing 45th in the world of Internet speeds, behind schedule in rollout, and likely even more expensive than Labor’s plan. You know the distressing details of a good system ruined by Abbott’s malevolent interference, all in pursuit of destroying what his opponents had created.

In the process, he has set this nation back, damaged our competitiveness, left individuals and businesses struggling with an inadequate, fault-ridden system, and all this from a Liberal leader, who ought to have embraced the NBN as essential to our nation’s prosperity.

Abbott sacrificed his Liberal principles in pursuit of destructive vengeance against his political opponents. Shameful! Disgraceful!

Strangling marriage equality
Abbott wishes the status quo on marriage to remain. Whilst conceding that a relationship other than between a man and a woman can be legitimate, he maintains that “…however deeply affectionate or long lasting it may be, the relationship between two people of the same sex cannot be a marriage because a marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman...

Whilst most people would concede that he is entitled to his opinion on this issue, the question is whether he is entitled to impose his views on the whole electorate. We know that his religious affiliation governs his attitude, which is understandable. But it is his devious way of engineering a decision on this matter that is so despicable and destructive of social cohesion.

He knows full well that the elected members of parliament are entitled and indeed competent to reach a decision on this matter, but fearing that this might result in a positive vote for marriage equality, he has deviously pushed the decision to a plebiscite under the pretence that this is the most democratic approach. He pushes this line despite a clear majority of the electorate being in favour of marriage equality, and also in favour of a parliamentary vote deciding the matter. While they are not objecting to a plebiscite, they see it as unnecessary, a waste of taxpayers’ money with a price tag of $160 million, and a pointless delaying tactic. The Coalition’s hard right inveigled Turnbull into agreeing to a plebiscite in return for their vote for him to topple Abbott.

Abbott knows that opponents of marriage equality will use the debate leading up to the plebiscite to unleash their venom on LGBTI people who are already vulnerable. The so-called Australian Christian Lobby, which does not represent any church or religious group, is ready and well funded to launch destructive opposition that will upset, damage and threaten the mental health of LGBTI folk. There is fear that those already on the edge may take their own life, so fragile are they.

Shortly after becoming PM, when the ACT Legislative Assembly passed the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013, a bill to allow same-sex couples to legally marry, Abbott mounted a federal government challenge to this decision in the High Court, which ruled that the Act be dismantled as it clashed with the Federal Marriage Act 1961. This was Abbott’s first win; he is determined to have another, and kill off marriage equality once and for all.

Does Abbott care? No. A man with such destructive predilections is more concerned about political triumph than he is about the feelings and wellbeing of LGBTI folk. This issue is redolent with his mix of deviousness and destructiveness.

Imposing his moral views on others.
We know that Abbott has strong views grounded in his religious upbringing as a Roman Catholic. But he is intolerant of the views of others. Here are a few examples:

He is a trenchant opponent of embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia, and is uneasy about abortion, which he insists should be "safe, legal and rare". You will remember that in 2006, as Health Minister, he opposed access to the abortion drug RU486 so strongly that an angry Parliament voted to strip health ministers of the power to regulate this area of policy. Religious conviction overrode any vestigial concern Abbott might have had for women with unwanted pregnancies.

In his 2009 book Battlelines, he advocated at-fault divorce agreements between couples, which would require spouses to prove offences like adultery, habitual drunkenness, cruelty, desertion, or a five-year separation before a divorce would be granted. He argued that this would be a way of "providing additional recognition to what might be thought of as traditional marriage".

Abbott harbours hard line moral attitudes. He is unconcerned about what others believe. He will not change his beliefs to accommodate others, no matter how damaging his position might be to them..

This piece is already long enough. I could mention the 2014 Abbott/Hockey Budget that brutalized the less well off, and his punitive attitude to asylum seekers, but there is no need here to elaborate further on Abbott’s legacy of destruction. If you need any more detail, I recommend Wikipedia’s account of Abbott’s career.  

Abbott is politically combative, adversarial, vengeful, and pitilessly destructive.

His dictum is that if an opponent develops a policy framework, it must be destroyed, simply because it is not his or his party’s. No matter how beneficial it might be to the prosperity, competitiveness or security of this nation it must be destroyed. No matter how beneficial it might be to groups or individuals, it must be destroyed.

It is Abbott who has shaped so many of the adversarial policies with which Turnbull has now to grapple. It is Abbott’s destructiveness that has left a trail of damage and distress that will take years to rectify, if indeed they ever can be.

This man, who promised 'There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping' after he was overturned by Turnbull, after lurking in the shadows for years has finally come out into the open with a clear intent to destroy his nemesis, and his party with him.

Last Friday he launched an all-out assault on Turnbull and his government, even suggesting another set of Abbott slogans: ““In short, why not say to the people of Australia: we’ll cut the RET, to help with your power bills; we’ll cut immigration to make housing more affordable; we’ll scrap the Human Rights Commission to stop official bullying; we’ll stop all new spending to end ripping off our grandkids; and we’ll reform the Senate to have government, not gridlock.”

It is now obvious to everyone that Abbott’s destructive hand is around the throat of his party and its leader. Writing in The New Daily, Paula Matthewson put it this way: “The increasing intensity and destructiveness of Mr Abbott’s behaviour belies his claim to be interested only in protecting the Liberal Party’s conservative ethos. His behaviour is not one of protection but of destruction; a flagrant display of smashing the bat and ball, then setting both alight to prevent anyone else from playing.”

What a destructive blight on this fair nation Abbott has been, and continues to be. Has there ever been anyone worse?

What do you think?
What are your views about Tony Abbott?

Have you other examples of his destructiveness?

Let us know in comments below.

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Comments (19) -

  • paul walter

    2/26/2017 1:46:30 PM |

    Credlin reckons on the guardian that Abbott is "Frustrated" (Margie...Peta?).

    The only thing he is "frustrated" at is Turnbull having all the fun, as in penalty rates and Centrelink for example.

  • Florence nee Fed up

    2/26/2017 3:25:40 PM |

    Abbott is no more than a spoiler, head kicker, dirt collector and bully.  All he has been all his life. With a little cunning, he managed to dislodge Turnbull the first time.

    He thinks he is another Rudd. Sorry, like Rudd or not, Abbott doesn't have his skills.  

    It was Rudd that brought Gillard down.

  • Graeme Henchel

    2/26/2017 5:16:56 PM |

    The Thug from Northern Beaches

    There was movement in the party, for the word had passed around
    The Thug from Northern Beaches could not stay
    He had told so many lies, that the punters had surmised
    They could not believe a thing, he had to say

    So the politicians plotted from locations near and far
    As the centre fought against the rabid right
    They all agreed the thug was becoming more bizarre
    but they knew he'd not go down without a fight

    Turnbull had made his score from banking and the law
    But he'd lost out to the thug some years ago
    His plan was just to wait, for the thug to meet his fate
    He did not quite have the numbers yet to show

    And Bishop from the west, played at sitting on the fence
    Though she thought to throw her own hat in the ring
    She was quick to take offence as the thug became more tense
    And with Malcolm she would stay on a good thing

    Some others liked their chance so they jockeyed to advance
    Scott Morrison and perfidious poodle Pyne
    They gave the Thug some space but in case he'd run his race
    They positioned to survive in Turnbull's line

    Others from the right, thought the Thug must win the fight
    Andrews, Corman, Brandis, Hockey and Robb
    But by far their biggest fear was for their own career
    As Turnbull might relieve them of their job

    As the leaks came in a flood you could smell the scent of blood
    Even Murdoch's mob were calling for the end
    The Thug was sticking fast but his fate it seemed was cast
    It was not a case of if, but only when

    The party had a spill but they couldn't make the kill
    Though the Thug was nearly beaten by a chair
    With hand upon his heart good government would start
    But still the smell of failure filled the air

    As the time flew past the thug kept up the farce
    With help from Smokin Joe and his big mouth
    With a blunder every week they went further up shit creek
    And the polls just kept on trending further south

    When Bronwyn got caught out, the public had no doubt
    The Thug and all his crew were on the take
    They tried to drag in Bourke but it really didn't work
    And another captains call was a mistake

    Then  six months on the Thug looked to be gone
    As lies and bad decisions took their toll
    The public had concluded the Thug is quite deluded
    They knew that the Thug's head was going to roll

    Did the party have the guts to remove someone who's nuts
    Or would the Thug just take them to the grave
    disunity is death but then in the same breath
    to keep the Thug was surely crazy brave.

    As things came to pass, they gave the Thug the arse
    And the thug said he'd not snipe or undermine
    Turnbull got the vote but the right still held his scrote
    And the Thug set out to snipe and undermine

    Turnbull started high as the nation gave a sigh
    Of relief that the thug had now departed
    Turnbull seemed able, everything upon the table
    But it wasn't long before the troubles started

    Turnbull had won the fight by sucking to the right
    and the public saw that nothing much had changed
    Even worse the ex banker was now seen as a wanker
    A snake oil man for a Thug had been exchanged

    Turnbull's great solution was a double dissolution
    A master stroke the media said for sure
    They had a pyrrhic win as they only scraped back in
    With Senate now even worse than before

    Since the election Turnbull has given no direction
    And Jobs and growth are further out of site
    Thanks to Ley and Centrelink, Turnbull moved closer to the brink
    As Hanson lured the looneys further right

    The party seemed bereft as that fool Bernardi left
    But most were glad to see him out the door
    Just as Bernardi jumped, Turnbull was being Trumped
    The polls continued going through the floor

    Turnbull was on the ropes so he tried to raise some hopes
    With a petulant attack on Labor's Bill
    They rallied a few days before resuming the malaise
    And the Thug still an errand to fulfil

    Their energy security scare wasn't going anywhere
    Mainly because it was so full of lies
    Soon the shit would hit the fan as the Thug released a plan
    Go further to the right. What a surprise.

    Now no-one can be sure quite what we have in store
    But one thing is easy to deduct
    The Thug will take out Mal and destroy himself as well
    And these pack of fools will finally be fucked.

  • lawrence winder

    2/26/2017 5:17:33 PM |

    Rabid-the-Hun is nothing but the destructive office boy to the IPA's agenda. As David Marr pointed out today on "Insiders" he has a martyrdom complex and if he can't get his way he'll wreck the joint so no-one else can use it. The tactics have been learned from the Tea-Party in the now Un-united States with his fellow travellers Vichy Abetz, Cap'n-Catlic Andrews and Bestiality Bernardi happy to follow his nihilistic spiral into oblivion but there are others in this Neo-Fascist party, young ones like  Pasty Paterson who see this as their future as well....

  • fred

    2/26/2017 7:18:27 PM |

    Abbott is not, never was, the problem.
    He was and still is just one politician.
    responsibility for his policies must lie with his broader group of supporters and mentors.  
    As lawrence has pointed out above Abbott is just the office boy for the IPA and similar groups.
    The BCA, Murdoch, Gina, the ABC, the shock jocks, the capitalist corporate class that decided to groom him and run him and put him on the front page spouting their preferred lines.
    His removal as #1 polly has made no difference to how Australia is being governed, Malcolm has simply taken his place as will the next face to front that party on behalf of the powers that be.
    We need to stop individualising politics - a la US presidential personality competitions - and focus on the classes and groups that actually exercise the political influence, their motivations and who they serve, how and why.
    Otherwise when things get iffy for the present incumbent the powers will just press the 'reset' button, shove another masked face out the front and continue on with the same games happily.

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2017 8:14:26 PM |

    paul walter
    Peta Credlin is spilling the beans. She knows Abbott and his modus operandi. He will continue to be frustrated until he brings Turnbull down. He may never achieve that.

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2017 8:16:38 PM |

    Florence ne Fed up
    Your assessment of Abbott is accurate. He is beyond redemption.

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2017 8:19:34 PM |

    Graeme Henchel
    What brilliant verse, modelled so cleverly on 'The man from Snowyl River.'

    Thank you.

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2017 8:25:12 PM |

    lawrence winder
    How right you are. David Marr's analysis was perspicacious.

    Abbott cares not who else he destroys on his suicide mission, so long as he destroys Turnbull.

    It's sick and tragic.

  • Ad astra

    2/26/2017 11:05:47 PM |

    Of course the IPA, BCA, Murdoch et al pull Abbott's strings. But Abbott is not stupid; he is a ready accomplice only too prepared to use the weaponry of these right wingers to advance his own agenda - destruction of Turnbull at all costs, even if he has to blow up his own party. Although only one politician, he occupies a central position in conservative politics, and as such is a powerful figure capable of blowing Turnbull, his party and even himself to smithereens in order to wreak vengeance on those he hates.

  • dannie

    2/27/2017 3:32:02 PM |

    is Abbott REALLY an example of a Roman Catholic????  OMG what hateful, cruel, self loving, revengeful people they must be.  WTF are in their teachings to turn out such a hateful human being line this man?  makes one happy to be a non-believer!  
    He has a long history of hate and revenge, and will he ever change? NOPE!  He needs to be removed ASAP or he will see the Liberal Party blown to pieces with Abbott throwing the hand grenades.  

  • Ad astra

    2/27/2017 4:09:17 PM |

    Thank you for your comment and welcome  to The Political Sword. How right you are. Religious beliefs that manifest themselves in the hatred that Abbott exhibits are dangerous. He will never change. He can't. He is hard-wired to hate. How was he so hard-wired? Your assessment has a ring of authenticity.

  • 2353NM

    2/28/2017 8:26:29 AM |


    No Abbott isn't a representative Catholic - the real Catholics, and Anglicans and so on do good in the world as I discussed here ->

    Recently the Pope - a bloke that you would think has some form in the determination of christian values - made a statement about it better to be an atheist than an hypocritical christian.  Obviously Abbott (and an number of others that 'preach' good christian values while doing the opposite) have been too busy pushing their own agendas to comprehend their behaviour.

  • Golly

    3/1/2017 3:43:53 AM |

    Abbott quite possibly believes his own bullshit. He wouldn't known, his Liberal party doesn't know.
    Turnbull has, to everyones surprise, become a slightly more polished version of the same, a bullshit artist.
    Surely he has time to reflect, and to his horror wonder about his own disintegration.
    Abbott and Turnbull to each others disgust, are so similiar.
    Both have narrow life experience, both told how wonderful they are, both mangle the truth and are bullshit artists.
    And as the polls reveal are hopeless.
    I'd like to believe politics and policy has reached a nadir and then the reality of what is served up invades the moment.
    It's just bullshit!

  • Ad astra

    3/1/2017 10:44:49 AM |

    You've put your finger on the nub of the problem. The tragedy is that they are surrounded by people of the same ilk, babbling to each other in their self-styled echo chamber.

    It's tragic - it's frightening.

  • Ad astra

    3/4/2017 12:22:37 AM |

    Test comment

  • Web Monkey

    3/4/2017 12:23:31 AM |

    Testing comment

  • Jon Chesterson

    3/6/2017 7:46:44 AM |

    Tony had a drongo pony,
    caucus quite contrary,
    jackaroo shoes
    and cockatoos,
    much whacka and baloney.

    [From Malco Turbo and the Twelve Apostles, 2017 - A satirical nursery rhyme]

Comments are closed