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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the new Abbott? « Previous | |Next »
February 1, 2012

Moir's cartoon depicts the highly successful negative strategy adopted by Tony Abbott to remove the minority Gillard Govt from power. One consequence, though, is that Abbott is commonly seen as a boofhead and headkicker who opposes everything the Gillard Government does. He just pounds away.


In his "My Plan for a Strong Economy and a Stronger Australia", speech to the National Press Club Abbott endeavours to present a more positive persona. He begins by saying that Labor is hapless, lazy, complacent and hopeless at everything but deception and dirty tricks.

Abbott's message is that Labor trashes the economy, it shouldn't be trusted to remain in power, and it is only interested in its own political survival. Abbott is no one trick pony though. He has positive message for voters:

The only foundation for a successful country is a strong economy. The only way to take the pressure off family budgets, to increase job opportunities, and to have the better services and infrastructure that every Australian wants is to build a stronger economy....My vision for Australia is to restore hope, reward and opportunity by delivering lower taxes, better services, more opportunities for work and stronger borders....At the heart of our plan for a stronger economy is getting government spending down and productivity up so that borrowing reduces, the pressure on interest rates comes off, and taxes can responsibly come down.

His plan for a stronger economy is to scrap unnecessary taxes, cut government spending and reduce the red tape burden on business. So it will be cutting and cutting to get the budget into surplus, beating up on the public sector and all things governmental (except the military) and doing so in the context of the widespread recession in the US and Europe. The Right does this nonstop, since all their talking points disparage the role of an oversized federal government: government is nothing but oversized, wasteful, bureaucratic, corrupt, and oppressive.

Contradictions run through Abbott's speech. He favours economic responsibility and a quick return to a surplus budget on one hand, but expensive new social benefits on the other, such as a paid parental leave scheme, dental treatment on the Medicare schedule at a cost of $4 billion a year, and a disability insurance scheme for another $6 billion. These are not Magic Pudding promises since the contradiction is resolved by saying that once the budget is strongly back in surplus, then the government can provide the additional services .

Abbott says that he favours a capable manufacturing sector, a growing knowledge economy and a sophisticated services sector as well as strong resources and agricultural industries, but the national broadband network will be dumped and better broadband will once again be delivered through market competition, just like the old days. The inference here is that the Coalition's emphasis will be on Quarry Australia not on a knowledge economy, since funding for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and a number of other tech projects would be redirected to building roads and tax cuts.

Abbott's emphasis is on a strong, prosperous economy moving from one state of equilibrium to another that will be delivered through small government, low taxes and individual freedom. That means that the end of a carbon emissions trading scheme since Labor’s "carbon tax" is just socialism masquerading as environmentalism. The best approach to greening the economy is not the market, but big subsidies ($10 billion) to the agricultural industries and industry to reinforce what businesses are already doing plus volunteerism and “self-organization”

Abbott says nothing about how the prospects for future economic growth rest on the ability of governments to wean societies off fossil fuels; or the need for big government to deal with big storms and floods caused by an unraveling climate system.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:02 AM | | Comments (11)


The new golden age will come about through the necessity of austerity. Abbott says nothing about how Australia’s mining boom and the high exchange rate for the Australian dollar that the boom has caused makes it making it cheaper to buy from importers and on-line sellers.

The high exchange rate results in a downsizing of the manufacturing, educational and retail sectors. That suggests the Australian labour market will enter a prolonged period of weaker growth that results in higher unemployment.

The fibre roll-out would be scaled back, with the use of fibre to the node (FttN) in some areas, and opening up the hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks of both Telstra and Optus to competition. Thats $16 billion.

According to Abbott people don't need the national Broadband Network and don't want to pay more for. It is not the governments job to build and operate multi-billion dollar broadband networks at the tax payers expense.

I think it is unfair to regard the 10 billion as a subsidy to anything other than the environment. Agriculture being one of the few Australian industries competitive in the world market deserves to at least not be nobbled - as opposed to being propped up.

His positive note sounds a bit familiar. Like every potential leader from Botswana to Ballarat has said the same thing at some stage.

Have you tried the 4g yet Gary? Zooooooommmmm

The coalition cannot have it both ways. If government money to green the Australian car industry is a subsidy that they will withdraw, then government money to green Australian agriculture is a subsidy that should be withdrawn.

The Coalition, those supposed advocates of “small government,” are the greatest fans we have of the ever increasing oppressive powers of the biggest of governments--The National Security State.

They take their cue from the US Republicans --militarize the problem.

Abbott claims that "better broadband will once more be delivered through market competition". This is the standard Liberal Party line.

But the competitive market created by deregulation in 1997 has consistently failed the country's telecoms environment, over and over again. This history shows that relying on the private sector will never deliver equitable services in rural and remote Australia.

When Abbott speaks of "market competition" in the telecommunications industry he is really talking about Telstra and its ability to block most efforts to unseat it. Telstra still has a continuing dominance of both regional backhaul and the last-mile services to the premises. Its still is and acts like a monopolist.

Gary, list the other services that remote and rural communities have equal access to cities.

I said regional not remote. How about roads, electricity, rail

From what i can see the 4g uses the existing towers but there is extra boxes fitted to the sides.