Abbott: a prime ministership in its death throes


Nicholas Stuart thinks that when Tony Abbott sacked Chief Whip Philip Ruddock he lost the conservative core of the Liberal Party.

From the moment Ruddock’s removal was announced, late on Friday afternoon as part of a desperate attempt to bury the revelation, it became quite apparent Abbott’s time is up. His prime ministership is in its death throes. The only question is when. The issue that decides the timing of his demise will be the budget.

On the budget Stuart thinks Joe Hockey has simply given up and Mathias Cormann can’t do it on his own.

The key question facing Liberals when the party next meets in March is whether a new leadership team can craft a budget in the time available. Urgent action is required to both raise income and curb spending. The biggest problem for business confidence at the moment is that no one trusts the direction of the government. This crisis becomes apparent if you project the forward estimates out beyond the budget. Expenditure is growing faster than revenue. It’s unsustainable.

Meanwhile Abbott tries to distract us with talk about bad people treating us like mugs and terrorism. When Parliament meets next week he is going to address the gathered assembly on security.

Stuart finds that it is “in the national security space that Abbott’s egregious blundering has becoming most apparent.”

In Iraq our troops effectively watch from the sidelines. Iraq doesn’t even want our aircraft based there.

On submarines “Abbott wants to blind us into a tight alliance against China and he’s selling out our manufacturing and intellectual industries while he does so.”

Abbott has no concept of Australia producing anything. Defence research has been slashed, and now the government’s arbitrarily changing specs for our new armoured vehicle project.

On pay and conditions:

Effectively cutting remuneration for those in uniform is not just political suicide, it’s economically idiotic. It targets morale. It should also be a great way to win votes in marginal electorates – for Labor.

In the Fin Review Phillip Coorey says (paywalled) says MPs are angry and that the Ruddock sacking beggars belief.

He says that Ruddock struggled to get a hearing with Abbott, so he encouraged back benchers with concerns to take them to the Prime Minister’s Ofiice. There they were either refused a hearing or had their concerns dismissed.

One MP reported that under Howard the Chief Whip always attended full ministry meetings but this practice was stopped under Abbott.

Mungo MacCallum thinks the problem is with Abbott’s style:

Abbott has always believed that the best, indeed the only, form of defence is attack. At a long-ago bout in Oxford, an admiring reviewer said of the then Rhodes scholar: “No-style Abbott’s a real smasher!”

He won both that fight and a university blue, and in the 35 years hat have followed, not much has changed. Our Prime Minister is still reluctant to consult and conciliate when unbridled aggression will suffice – and it’s more fun, too.

Meanwhile Essential Poll found that LNP voters were spit over whether Abbott should stay on as PM.

Some 48% of LNP voters believed Abbott should stay on as leader until the next election, 34% said he should be given six months to improve and 14% said he should be removed immediately. Overall though:

39% said he should be replaced as soon as possible, while 22% gave him six months and 28% said he should be kept on until the election.

At New Matilda Ben Eltham writes that Tony Abbott’s biggest problem is not leadership instability, it’s the economy. The government has been asleep at the wheel on the economy from the outset and now is in a state of paralysis, more concerned with its own political survival.

The previous post on the Ruddock sacking is here.

9 thoughts on “Abbott: a prime ministership in its death throes”

  1. Ruddock was pretty specific in an interview that Abbott had his support in the spill and extremely specific that he would not suggest that he does now.

    Abbott is demonstrating blow by blow that he has no understanding of people in general, and his ministerial roles for both women and aboriginals can only be just plain offensive.

  2. To give Abbott credit it is claimed that he had a critical role in the Labor victory.
    In Qld the timing and nature of Abbott’s Sir Phil captains call gave Labor the handful of votes it needed to win.

    With a record like that I hope he survives till the next federal election.

  3. I see Abbott as Mandrake the Magician.
    How else to explain the outpouring of sympathy he conjured for Philip Ruddock, the architect of the Pacific Solution, the drafter of ” no same sex marriage ” laws in 04, the man that helped Frazer scunt Whitlam?
    Abbotts hypnotic powers have made Feminists weep for the ” Farther of the House ”
    So too have the people that once thought Knighthoods were ” inconsequential relics of the past, unworthy of even recognition ” become so outraged that this Honour be bestowed on a Pom !! it needed a State Premier to suffer retribution.
    Mandrake has everyone believing he has CUT,CUT,CUT but Government expenditure is higher than ALP had.
    Look into is eyes, he will cut taxes. ( but nah )
    He has created the illusion in the media that he’s a tough, no back down, ideology driven pugilist, even though he has backed down from almost everything he is said to stand for like a coward.

    With Lothar Credlin ( invulnerable to any weapon forged by man, impervious to heat, cold and possesses the stamina of a thousand men. She also cannot be harmed by magic directly (fire bolts, force bolts, spell incantations). She can lift an elephant by one hand easily ) by his side, what could possibly trump his powers ?

    Peanut head ( the accused rapist and illegitimate leader ) ?
    Pliberty ( the drug dealers wife ) ?
    The Cobra Conroy ( red underpants on his head, ruins tenders with a single leak) ?

    Stay tuned for the next exciting episode !!!

  4. KN, at the risk of drawing attention to it, that “accused rapist” bit is out of line. Otherwise an amusing comment!

  5. Brian
    Ooh, ok, but he still is by the woman involved.
    I see it may be awkward.
    I’ve no problem with substituting with ” Asian pie Lady abuser ” or ” Faceless stabbing facilitator “.

    Or simply deleting the 2 words plus your @4 and this.
    I’m fine with whatever you choose.

  6. KN, Abbott is a sociopath, not Mandrake. I doubt that anyone real gives tuppence for Ruddock’s reputation. The point is that Abbott, especially, should for all of the reasons you give, but he doesn’t, and that is because he IS a sociopath, that is what they do.

    Peta Credlin may be able to lift elephants, but the only elephant in this story is that LNP’s ratings are going through the floor. Let’s see her lift that one!!

  7. I’ll leave things as they are KN. I just want to warn against the reputational damage that can flow from unsubstantiated allegations.

    Shorten didn’t do any faceless stabbing. We all knew about it. And he wasn’t a prime mover in either case.

  8. It was encouraging to see someone this morning to take Abbott to task for his zero performance as the minister for women, pointing out that despite there being many weighty issues of great importance to women demanding attention Abbott as the minister has not made a single representation on women’s behalf. What output there has been has come from distant staffers.

    The man is a failure in every aspect of his professional being.

    Not surprisingly in his politically motivated (media coverage at any cost) advocacy for the death row drug criminals he has now kicked off political tension by linking the executions to aid funds, a tactic that is guaranteed to put the executions back on track.

    Three step Toxic Tony, one step forward, two steps back, which if you graph that it roughly matches the LNP poll ratings.

  9. Apparently “real government” involves threatening cutting off Indonesian tsunami aid in an attempt to protect 2 criminals that the previous LNP Howard government dobbed into Indonesian officials.

    Any normal person would have predicted that the Indonesians would react badly to such threats and not been so belligerent. Naturally Acehans are now conducting a coin collection to repay Australian “aid”.

    What’s in a wink.

    Abbott video’d drive away from his most recent gaff (its hard to be sure which one), both in the rear seat Credlin eyes Abbott curiously, then gives him a big wink.

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