Long past memories do fade, but can anyone remember a period in federal politics when there was more destructive behaviour from an opposition than we are suffering today? Last week Tony Abbott averred that his Opposition was the most effective in Australian political history. He said that was so because he had stopped the Great Big New Tax of the ETS/CPRS, had forced Julia Gillard to change her asylum seeker policy, had forced a change to the mining tax – another GBNT, and had played a part in getting rid of a Prime Minister – all destructive actions.
It seems to me that everything the Government says and does is countered by a destructive comment. This not only damages the Government, which is its intent, it also damages our democracy and the governance of our nation. Its only purpose is to destroy the Government and seize power.
Even before Julia Gillard had announced her climate change policy Greg Hunt was out on the ABC’s AM
on 23 July with: ”Julia Gillard has failed her own test of action. Instead she has produced a 2020 summit meets the Copenhagen conference.”
– a slick piece of meaningless but destructive sloganeering. He went on: “All that Julia Gillard has done is provide an excuse not to take any action before the 2013 election. She has talked the talk but she has not walked the walk. This is classic Labor chaos. She believes nothing. They have achieved nothing. They are about to do nothing. But they are talking as if Kevin Rudd were in office and all of a sudden a summit becomes an excuse not to take action.”
Negative, destructive, dismissive, schoolmasterly, arrogant – Coalition style, Abbott style, Hunt style. Hunt finds this sort of talk easy – he’s always instructing the Government what to do – because he knows best.
Talking with Eleanor Hall on The World Today
on 23 July about Labor’s climate change plan, Abbott said: “Look I think it's a camouflage for Julia Gillard's plan to bring in a carbon tax. I think that she wants a price on carbon; Bob Brown wants a carbon tax. Thanks to the secret preference deal with the Greens there will be a Green balance of power in the Senate. So we will get a carbon tax if this government is re-elected.”
He’s onto the Great Big New Tax theme again, a theme that played such a large part in destroying the ETS that the Government, Malcolm Turnbull and Ian MacFarlane had negotiated, and would have passed had Abbott not destroyed it.
Negative, destructive, dismissive of community opinion, and once more on the GBNT scare bandwagon.
Later that day Tony Abbott had this to say in Western Australia in I will be next PM: Abbott: “I can sense there will be a change of government come August 21”
and "Yes, I think that there will be a change of government and yes, I think that I will be the next prime minister of Australia"
Hubris – he fancies his destructive actions will be rewarded by victory.
Reflect on Joe Hockey’s approach. Asked by Lyndal Curtis last Wednesday on AM
about the Coalition’s Budget ‘savings’ Hockey said: “Well you will see that during the course of the campaign, but what I can tell you absolutely is that at the end of the election it will be perfectly clear to the Australian people that under the Coalition we will spend less than Labor, we will tax less than Labor, we will pay off their debt again and we will go down the path of easing part of the pressure. You can't ease all the pressure but easing part of the pressure on those family budgets and taking upward pressure off interest rates.”
And later: “Well the bottom line here is controlling inflation and at the moment the government has its foot on the accelerator. It is borrowing $100 million a day, every day, just to fund its expenditure today and then it's got the debt on top of that. So this government by, with its reckless spending is putting upward pressure on inflation and so the Reserve Bank is trying to put its foot on the brake. It's trying to slow things. It's increasing interest rates and the electorate is hit both ways. We've got higher electricity prices, higher water prices, higher public transport prices, higher house prices and Labor's spending more and more money with its foot on the accelerator. The Reserve Bank is slamming its foot on the brake with higher interest rates and if it doesn't happen this month it will happen in the next few months unless we get inflation under control.”
A destructive rant not based on verifiable fact. Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens said last week that Australia does not have a serious debt, but that is discarded by Hockey with the wave of his hand. According to Hockey the Government is wrong, on everything - incompetent, hopeless.
Hockey goes on to say: “We are the only party that has a climate change policy. Labor has just done a deal with the Greens, Labor has no climate change policy, but I bet you, I bet you that deal, which we'll never hear about until after the election is about introducing higher electricity prices, which is what the Greens want. Higher electricity prices and making life even less affordable for everyday households.”
Can you believe that he really thinks the Greens, or any party for that matter, wants higher electricity prices with the object of making living LESS affordable? Yet another destructive rant.
Later he says: "Tony Abbott is I think the best person to lead the country. You know he is a conviction politician, he believes in things. When he talks, he talks in real terms. At the moment we have someone who is not disclosing what she really believes in, I don't know what Julia Gillard believes in Lyndal. I really don't. I ask myself every day - what does Julia Gillard end up sleepless at night about? What really burns in her heart for our country? I don't know what it is and Julia Gillard...
Even allowing for Joe being slow on the uptake, how can he say such destructive things, how can he be so keen to assassinate her character, how can he be so negative when every day Julia is telling the people what she believes in. Some may not like it or agree with her, but we can all hear what she’s saying. Joe is deliberately seeking to destroy Julia Gillard in the eyes of the Australian people.
on 20 July Hockey said: “This Labor Government never has delivered a surplus. In fact the last time Labor delivered a surplus was 1989 - 1989 when the Bangles led the charts."
Many times he has repeated that Labor has never delivered a surplus since 1989 and this Government will never deliver a surplus. On the 7.30 Report
Hockey said: “Julia Gillard will never deliver a surplus. I said before that Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan would never deliver a surplus. I was right and here we go again. They'll never deliver it, Kerry.”
He asserts he will deliver one: “Well, you know, we were running surpluses. We were running surpluses, the country was in good shape, we had four per cent unemployment. That's all gone. Surpluses are gone. We now have $90 billion of net debt, we're facing $40 billion of deficit this year, we're borrowing $100 million a day under Labor. Everyone has to pick up the pieces and ultimately it's the taxpayers and we've got to do the hard yards on that.”
Again destructive politics, and disingenuous to boot – Labor will NEVER deliver a surplus, WE WILL.
Defending Abbott’s ‘WorkChoices is dead buried and cremated’ mantra, Hockey tell O’Brien: “We're saying the Australian people want stability and certainty in industrial relations. They've had changes for the last three years - sorry, longer than the last three years - for the last seven years. There have been three major changes to industrial relations. We now accept the Australian people want certainty and stability out of Canberra. They've been on a wild ride. They've been on a ride with a new prime minister only a few weeks old, they've had pink batt programs that are reversed, school hall programs that have been a mess, they've got a boat policy that is in flummox. Give us back a proper government.”
Again, even while defending his own leader’s position, he destructively damns Gillard and the entire Government programme for the last two and a half years. Nothing it has done is of any value.
On The World Today
Hockey said “The fact is the Labor Party is not committed to surpluses. It never will deliver a surplus. You can never repay the debt if you never have a surplus and for so long as the Commonwealth Government, as the 800 pound gorilla in the marketplace, is borrowing at least $100 million everyday in competition with the private sector, it's going to be harder for small business to borrow money. It's going to be more expensive for small business to borrow money.”
Here he is again destructively condemning the Government as ‘not committed to surpluses’, of being the 800 pound gorilla borrowing and thereby pushing up interest rates, although the effect of government borrowing has been shown repeatedly by economists to contribute just a tiny fraction of one percent to interest rates. More lying and deception.
Andrew Robb had this to say to Lyndal Curtis on The World Today
on 20 July on the Coalition’s ‘savings’ in answer to a query about $400 million of savings claimed by the Coalition by not paying for infrastructure: “Well it's still something the Government has committed to so it is a directly a saving. But look the trouble with this government is that we as a government they're living beyond their means, they're making Australia live beyond its means. We haven't got the money. We've got to get our economy back into the sort of resilience that the Rudd and Gillard inherited three years ago.”
Lyndal then asked: “Just a quick question of accounting. If you are not going to raise the money from the mining tax, can you really count the $400 million you're not going to spend from money you're not going to raise as a saving?"
His response was: “Absolutely because if the Government is still committed to that $400 million, which will just mean they will borrow that money as they have done with most of their spending, it's borrowed money. A hundred million dollars a day they are borrowing to pay for their reckless programs - that's for the next two years. So that means that will be an extra four days of borrowing by this government to pay for that $400 million infrastructure fund.”
And so on goes the Coalition rant – destructive, disingenuous, intended to obfuscate and deceive.
On Thursday’s AM
on 22 July, talking to Lyndal Curtis about the costings for the Coalition’s education initiatives and Labor’s challenge to them that showed a large black hole, the cost being double that stated, Christopher Pyne said: “This is a party with absolutely no credibility when it comes to figures, in the last election they claimed that to have computers in schools, that would cost a billion dollars, it turned out it would cost $2.2 billion. So this is the standard Hawker Britton mantra for the Labor party, as soon as the Coalition releases a policy, Hawker Britton says to Labor, go out and say the figures are wrong."
In other words, Pyne decided he wouldn’t address the question and explain how the costings were derived, just destructively condemn the Government’s financial management, and hope the question will go away. But it didn’t. Lyndal suggested the Coalition submit the costings to Treasury, to which Pyne replied: “Well look Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb are the spokespeople for finance and treasury, we'll go through exactly the normal procedures that every opposition and government goes through during election campaigns.”
In other words, don’t press me for justification; just let me rave on for a while about how incompetent financially the other side is. Destructive politics.
It still goes on. Today on Channel Nine’s Laurie Oakes
interview with Joe Hockey, Hockey said “We don’t know what beats in the heart of Julia Gillard. Nor do the Australian people...
Interrupted by Oakes with “But people say that about both leaders.”
Hockey replied: “Well, no, no, no. But I say to you Laurie - everything Julia Gillard has touched in a policy sense has been a disaster. From Medicare gold, to computers in schools, to the school halls program, to the asylum seeker policy, to the mining fix, to the new 20-20 summit for climate change because she doesn’t want to be honest with the Australian people. Julia Gillard doesn’t stand for anything and is not being fair dinkum with the Australian people.”
So there you have it. More destructive politics, more character assassination, more negativity, more ‘nothing the Government has done is any good at all’.
Does the Opposition think the electorate is stupid and dumb, Does it think that its incessant negativity, its carping criticism of EVERYTHING the Government has done, its insistence that it has done NO good, that it will NEVER deliver a surplus, that it can’t get ANYTHING right at all, will impress. Does it believe that its destructive behavior over the ETS, the mining tax, asylum seekers and population and the BER will impress swinging voters to rush from what the Coalition insists is a wholly incompetent Government with hopeless leaders, with no policies or plans, with absolutely no achievements in Government, into the arms of the Coalition begging to be rescued from the disaster this Government has brought about?
Worse than that, does the Coalition and its mouthpieces, Abbott, Hockey, Robb, Pyne and Hunt, as well as Joyce, Bishop and Morrison, believe that the destructive behavior of the Coalition is contributing positively to good governance in this country? How could they believe that by obstructing important Government legislation over and again, by destroying some completely, is good for the nation? How can they believe that continually distracting the Government from its work with spurious claims, outrageously deceptive statements, and downright lies is good for the people? When will they ever realize that we want our elected representatives from all sides of politics to contribute to good governance, not destroy it?
This is adversarial destructive politics gone mad and we’re sick of it.
What do you think?