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Abbott: "bigger government means smaller citizens" « Previous | |Next »
June 25, 2012

Paul Kelly in The Australian spells out The Coalition's blueprint to decisively change Australia's national policy that goes beyond the attempt to destroy Labor and establish conservative hegemony.


He says that Abbott and the Coalition now stand, above all, for three core ideas.

The first is a deep commitment to the prudent state typified by surplus budgets, debt reductions, dismantling "Labor values" spending and an attack of sorts on the entitlement culture, an idea pushed by economic spokesman Joe Hockey, long seized by the fiscal task he faces.
Second, the Coalition seeks a rebalancing between enterprise and the environment with a sweeping agenda to dismantle Labor "green and red tape", purge regulatory complexity, facilitate development, promote northern Australia as an export food bowl and run environmental policies that are more direct and practical ...
Third, as a social fabric conservative Abbott wants to curb the idea that "government knows best", limit interference in people's lives, cut social engineering and, as a perpetual volunteer in his personal life, promote Edmund Burke's concept of "little platoons"-Abbott's notion of social communities based on individual initiative and much greater personal responsibility.

Interesting isn't it--the traditional commitment to the free market and small government is buried. It has to be because Abbott's conservatism represents big authoritative government in spite of the rhetoric about Edmund Burke's concept of "little platoons".

The small government + free market rhetoric epitomized in Abbott's slogan "bigger government means smaller citizens" mostly refers to the dismantling of the environmental state rather than empowering citizens to deepen the democracy in representative democracy. It is about knifing the environmental state swiftly on behalf of Australia from the United States.

The rhetoric about Edmund Burke's concept of "little platoons"--- which refers to social communities based on individual initiative, social solidarity (traditionalism) and much greater personal responsibility---fills the poverty gap that emerges from the winding back on the welfare state that is covered up by surplus budgets, debt reductions, and ending the entitlement culture. It is more volunteers taking over the legitimate functions of the state rather than ordinary citizens working co-productively with the professionals for solutions to social problems.

This is conservatism not liberalism and the market capitalism that underpins it, a conservatism that is organic-corporate-hierarchical in nature.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:08 AM | | Comments (14)


Ordinary Australians have absolutely no idea about all this and the Gillard Govt. seems unable or unwilling to tell them. I have never seen a Govt. less able to defend itself than this one - except perhaps the short-lived McMahon Govt. of 1971-72.

Abbott's "new" new socio-economic vision based on a revival of civil society, would be little more than an ideological device employed to facilitate the further entrenchment of neoliberalism and the power of the corporate sector.,

It would involve the increasing marketisation of the public realm and, crucially, the dismantling the 'Big (Welfare) State'.

Abbott's sloganizing fear campaign has been very effective.

I feel the coalition is more likely at this stage to go to the next election with Turnbull as leader.

Some interesting stats revealed on Insiders about 18-39's polled and feeling that Democracy isnt important. Perhaps some didnt understand the meaning of the word and perhaps many feel that as long as thongs are good it isnt important.

Dont so called conservatives love to rail against the term "social engineeering".

Thereby presuming that their world-view is somehow free of any kind of ideology or social engineering, or is somehow the "natural" or even divinely ordained state of affairs, and possibility.

If anything the Oz and Paul Kelly too, are "conservative" "catholics".

Speaking of applied "conservative" poltics as dramatized by the "catholic" church I have just read the book by David Yallop titled The Power and The Glory Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II's Vatican. The activities of the banks associated with the vatican are truly shocking. And of course the vaticans unqualified support of and assistance to the murderous psychopath Ante Pavelic.

A book which clearly describes how deeply and fundamentally rotten the "catholic" church truly is.
Among other things it describes how the vatican gave very deliberate support to the right-wing death squads who systematically murdered any and every one who stood by the side of, and supported the "little platoons", or attempted to help the villagers organize themselves to resist and create different humanizing possibilities to the predatory activities of USA big business.

The same right-wing ghouls were all universally supportive of the murderous toxic outfit described here:

Plus to me, this reference provides a unique understanding of the unstated manifesto or mind-set which energizes such toxic "conservative appliede politics.

And watch the neolib mortgage belt maggots flock to him like a new messiah for it.

I am quite sure that some of the younger set only care about their "things" like "thongs" but my comment should or read "things".
Terribly thorry.

Interesting thing about democracy....

Individually we may not get the government we want, but collectively we ALWAYS get the government we deserve...

Kelly is lazily importing US conservative talking points and projecting them onto Abbott. The idea that Labor has transformed the role of government in less than five years is plainly silly, and it is certain that Abbott's mob will do little to change it. The WorkChoices scar is still too raw to permit anything by way of fundamental changes to our social institutions.

The events of the last couple of weeks might conceivably signal the beginning of the end of the mass commercial news media. What a welcome new era if we can finally be rid of the likes of Kelly and Oakes and Sheridan and the rest, opinion columnists who decided being unaccountable kingmakers was much more fun than journalism.

Ken_L, I don't think it will be an advance if we end up with a splintered, internet-based set of hermetically sealed little groups each listening only to its own prophets and interpreting events according to their own sects' received wisdom.

I suspect that the Coalition have been briefed about the UK Conservatives idea of a Big Society. A key aspect of the Big Society rhetoric is to insinuate that the culpability for a range of social and economic ills can be attributed to the inefficiencies, inefficacies and profligacies of the public sphere, the Big State, as well as the personal inadequacies it has 'nurtured'.

This rhetoric redefines the dismantling of the big state in terms of freedom, choice, empowerment, localism, communitarianism and personal responsibility. The winding back of the last vestiges of the post WWII social democratic model is legitimated through a combination of the demonizing of the dependent, and a concomitant renewed emphasis on self reliant individualism, a romanticisation of the local community, and framing of the state as burden and corrupter.

"The WorkChoices scar is still too raw to permit anything by way of fundamental changes to our social institutions."

free markets, privatisation and competition are, once more, being advocated as the panacea for our socio-economic ills. its the moral (neoconservatism) plus markets (big business) model in which economic liberalism becomes a cover for monopoly capitalism.

for neo-liberals inequality is the way to achieve greater prosperity for all

It's amusing that Abbott's commitment to reducing government interference in people's lives doesn't extend to women's reproductive rights ...

Still, I've always thought he's a bullshitter (as defined by Frankfurter in "On Bullshit").