In his farewell speech on 15 September 2015 after Liberal MPs dumped him as prime minister, Tony Abbott said:
“My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can. There will be no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping.
“I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone and I certainly won’t start now. Our country deserves better than that.”The critical words in this load of tripe are “my pledge today”. That was then and this is now, and Abbott is wrecking, undermining, sniping and leaking like someone overdosed on steroids.
Should we be surprised? Of course not. Abbott learnt to be a serial intriguer while a teenage follower of the Catholic obscurantist B.A. Santamaria. Ever since, he’s been happiest in basement politics and back street brawling.
He didn’t join the Liberals to build the party or form a nation-building government but to create a right-wing clique of like-minded disciples to steer Australia to the right. He succeeded and now he is very reluctant to let them down.
He is delaying until April his decision on whether to stay in parliament or quit. In the meantime, he and his cave-dwelling associates are testing the waters. Each day they come up with a new stunt, diversion or rearguard attack.
Typical headlines: Bronwyn Bishop to seek another term in parliament; Immigration Minister Peter Dutton announces 72 children to be returned to Nauru; Senator Eric Abetz says PM should give Cabinet job to Tony Abbott; Senator Cory Bernardi wants Gina Rinehart named Australian of the Year.
They will say or do anything to embarrass Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and keep their names on the front pages of Murdoch newspapers. It’s a central weapon in their obsessional anti-Turnbull strategy.
Some Abbottistas are so off the planet that “victory” will be accomplished only if Turnbull loses this year’s election and Labor wins. And it doesn’t get much nuttier than that.
Abbott’s dogs unleashed
The Abbott fan club has raised its flag in Penrith where Defence Minister Marise Payne and her husband, Stuart Ayres, NSW Minister for Trade, Sports and Major Events, hold their seats.
Both are from the “wet” faction and they are now being slugged by Councillor Marcus Cornish, a roaring fan of the “Mad Monk”.
In a long email published widely Cornish claims that during Turnbull’s four-month rule “there has already, quietly, been major policy changes that most would consider more Labor than Liberal.”
Taking a leaf from the US Tea Party playbook, Cornish continued: “Our sovereignty has been signed away at the United Nations by Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop [foreign minister] and Senator Marise Payne [defence minister]. Now UN laws override Australian laws thus dictating what countries our refugee and immigration intake come from.” All bollocks, of course, but that doesn’t impede Cr Cornish.
The same kind of arguments are starting to emanate from the Federal seat of Hughes, south of Sydney, where Craig Kelly MP, another Abbottista, is facing a pre-selection challenge from Cr Kent Johns, a Sutherland Shire councillor, vice president of the NSW Liberal Party and a former Labor mayor of Rockdale Council.
Faction fighting in the Liberals, the party of wealth, business interests and preferment, is rarely about anything political. More often it’s about property and making money.
In an address to US Republicans on 16 June 1858 a rising politician called Abraham Lincoln choose the biblical text, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, to deliver his anti-slavery message: “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved – I do not expect the house to fall – but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
Likewise, Turnbull is pulling the Liberals in one direction and Abbott is pulling them in the opposite direction. Take a seat on the hill and grab a pair of binoculars. This is going to get interesting.
Central banker is MIA
The Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia’s central bank since 1960, is the banknote issuing authority. It also sets interest rates.
Its declared mission is “the stability of the currency of Australia; the maintenance of full employment; and the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia”.
Does anyone believe the RBA is fulfilling its charter?
It’s hard to know what the RBA does because the seventh governor, Glenn Stevens, is seldom seen or heard.
While your typical central banker plays an active public role in economic debate in the US, throughout the EU and Asia, Stevens prefers invisibility.
A typical interview with Stevens goes something like this: “Are there are any danger signals for the economy this year?”
Stevens: “Mumble, mumble, mumble … overseas prices … #*^<+… cx%&-v … terms of trade … mumble, mumble, mumble … OECD stats ... oiSv&x0# …” Q: “So do you believe we are in calm waters or not?” Stevens: “Mumble, mumble.” Q: “Well that’s all right then.” Turning to press colleague, “Did you get that?” Stevens’s $1 million-a-year term as governor ends later this year. Will anyone ever know that he once held the job? As he cruised through the appointment, he communicated precious little. The finance writers regarded this as a sign of his immense wisdom and never took him to task. So if you are worried about the Australian economy and how it will be rocked by events in China, Japan, the US and Europe, don’t consult The Mumbler because you’ll be disappointed. Years ago I asked former federal Treasurer Paul Keating, and then Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996, what he thought of a certain RBA governor. “He was a very decent bloke but slightly on the conservative side,” he replied. After a pause he added: “He’s the sort of bloke who would get out of the shower to have a piss.” He wasn’t talking about Stevens but you can probably guess what he’d do. Quotes of the Week
Rupert Murdoch recently bought National Geographic, although possibly he just needed to own something that still showed tits.
– Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle in The Guardian
Unfortunately, this council has made Auburn a national laughing stock.
– Auburn Labor MP Luke Foley, NSW Opposition Leader (without any sense of irony)