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Tony Abbott Has To Go

by Joshua Kurlantzick
February 5, 2015

tony abbott g20 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott delivers his keynote speech during the B20 Summit in Sydney, on July 17, 2014. (Lisa Maree Williams/Courtesy: Reuters)


Important: The views expressed on this blog are my own. The Council on Foreign Relations takes no positions on matters of policy or politics. 

Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialized democracy? Of course, a leader’s popularity, to some, depends on that leader’s political orientation. Many conservative Republicans think Barack Obama is one of the worst presidents in modern history, while many liberal Spaniards think conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is one of the worst leaders in Spain’s modern history.

But competence and popularity are not necessarily the same things. Even conservative Republicans would admit that Obama has achieved major accomplishments in office – they just do not like those accomplishments at all. And Obama, Rajoy, and other rich world leaders, whatever their problems, usually seem to be making their policy decisions based on advice from a retinue of advisors and after careful consideration of policy options. Even leaders criticized for acting too slowly, and offering uninspired policy ideas, like French President Francois Hollande, appear to be capable of running their countries’ day-to-day policymaking. There are world leaders who appear dangerously unhinged, making policy based on whims, advice from a tiny handful of advisers, or some other highly unscientific formula. Argentina’s president, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, comes to mind, as does Ecuador President Rafael Correa, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, or Russia’s Vladimir Putin. But none of these leaders run a rich and powerful democracy.

Tony Abbott, however, is in charge of a regional power, a country that is the twelfth largest economy in the world and the only rich world nation to have survived the 2008-9 financial crisis unscathed. Yet in less than two years as prime minister, Abbott has proven shockingly incompetent, which is why other leaders within his ruling coalition, following a set of defeats in state elections, may now scheme to unseat him. They should: Abbott has proven so incapable of clear policy thinking, so unwilling to consult with even his own ministers and advisers, and so poor at communicating that he has to go.

Abbott’s policies have been all over the map, and the lack of coherence has often made the prime minister seem ill-informed and incapable of understanding complex policy issues. In press conferences, Abbott has offered mixed public messages about some of the health care reforms that were at the center of his agenda, and sometimes has seemed unsure himself of what health legislation has actually been passed on his watch. He also has seemed unsure of what he promised in the past regarding Australia’s major public broadcaster – he promised not to touch it – before he went ahead and made cuts to it. He also looked completely baffled on climate change issues at the G20 summit in Australia last year.

Abbott also does not seem to think it necessary to even discuss policy proposals with his top ministers and other leading members of his conservative coalition. His lack of consultation has made it harder for him to pass some critical legislation. In addition, he appears to have one of the worst senses of public relations of any prime minister in recent Australian history. At major economic summits, he has embarrassed Australia with his coarse rhetoric. He recently decided to give an Australian knighthood to Prince Philip, husband of British Queen Elizabeth II, even though nearly half of Australians would prefer the country to be a republic, and even those who support the monarchy disdain actions that look like Canberra sucking up to the British royals. Australia had not given out its own knighthoods for nearly decades, and even to many monarchists the very idea of Australian knighthoods seemed archaic. And if Abbott was going to give out archaic knighthoods, Prince Philip was a bizarre choice. Even among the conservative supporters of Abbot’s coalition, giving a knighthood to the notoriously gaffe-prone and fusty Prince Philip went down badly. Abbott did not appear to have consulted with most of his top ministers before deciding to give Prince Philip the accolade.

I take no position on whether a left or right coalition can govern Australia better – whether Australia needs a revolt from within the ruling coalition or a national election victory by the left. But a country that for decades has punched above its weight on nearly every international issue surely can do much better for a prime minister than Tony Abbott.

Post a Comment 136 Comments

  • Posted by David

    Anyone who says that Australia has a left wing media should immediately be ignored, as they have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about. Just for the sake of anyone who is not Australian & may not be aware, the overwhelming majority of Australian media in either run or influenced by Rupert Murdoch. How left wing do you think that would be?

  • Posted by Katie

    Torben it is completely incorrect that our prime minister is hired and fired by the voters. In Australia, we do not have a direct election for the position of PM. In the Liberal and Labor parties at least, the person who will fill this position is chosen using the collegiate system, by elected members..

    If that party is successful in being elected, then the leader of the party becomes the PM.

    It follows that elected members of the party also have the power to remove the PM from office. This is what happened to ex-PM Rudd and despite the outcry from voters who THOUGHT they had voted Rudd into the prime ministership, the way he was removed from the position was in fact perfectly legal..

    Frankly, I for one am delighted that we do not elect our Prime Minister. The thought of being bombarded with months of campaigning as happens in America would do my head in.

  • Posted by Val Doxan

    “Is Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott the most incompetent leader of any industrialized democracy?”

    Yes he is, and yes Australia, as a nation are deeply embarrassed that Tony Abbott is our elected leader.

    The next Australian Prime Minister should apologise to a full sitting of the United Nations in Washington.

  • Posted by Christine Casey

    In my more than 40 years of voting in Australian elections, I believe Abbott has to be the worst Prime Minister and the present Government the most incompetent we have ever had. Everything Joshua said is spot on. The majority of Australians whether they vote Liberal (Abbott’s party) or Labor (currently in opposition) just can’t stand him as each successive public opinion poll has shown. He’s a total joke and it’s so embarrassing to be Australian. I long for the day when we had great Prime Ministers like Malcolm Fraser (Liberal) or Paul Keating (Labor). Before the election, Paul Keating said that “if Tony Abbott becomes Prime Minister, God help us, God help us”. How right he was. Abbott’s days are numbered because, if the Liberal Party doesn’t dump him as Prime Minister and appoint current Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in his place before the election due next year, Labor will win in a landslide, without a doubt. He has just got to go.

  • Posted by Tony Abbott The Village Idiot

    A message to all our friends around the world from the people of Australia . HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Posted by Bill Jorgensen

    An informed opinion, hard to find outside of Australia. There are so many nuances and additions that could be made to this, yet the choice of points was a fine selection. Helpful for those of us who are embarrassed by the ignorance our fool prime minister displays so broadly across the world stage. Expect a radical change somewhere not far down the line.

  • Posted by Yoda

    Wow. Very biased analysis. Some reasonable points, but very shallow.

    Comparing Fernandez with Correa? Putin with Kim Jong-un? Whether you like their policies or not, you can’t say that Correa and Putin are not consistent, successful and popular with their people.

    When your analogies are that bad, it is pretty hard to take the rest of the article seriously.

  • Posted by Kent

    Type your comment in here…you are right the man must go

  • Posted by Susu Ibie

    Shut up! You have enough domestic problems of your own instead of interfering with the incompetent Australian Premier! Sort out race and your incompetent law enforcement agents, as well as your flawed judicial system, before commenting on the weaknesses of other nations or their leaders! America is not what is was, and your misguided opinions are no longer welcome! While it is true that the Australian Premier is manifestly incompetent, the US is not in a position to condemn him! Let his people do that through their electoral process. Your selfish blindness to important issues precludes you from commenting on the plight of the Aborigonal people in Australia, and the fact that despite many centuries having gone by, they are still not recognised in the Australian constitution! You pick and choose which issues to promote, and they are often almost always issues that further American interests! Your style has gone past its sell by date! So shut up!

  • Posted by Qanit

    Without a doubt he is the most incompetent leader in the world right now.

  • Posted by Peter

    “A Rhodes scholar and graduate of Oxford, he is a lifetime student of politics. It is illogical to believe that a man who has risen to the top of his chosen profession is incompetent.”

    This sums up the problem quite well. He has not have any experience with real life, his only achievement is a life of scheming and following the tracks leading to power.

    He manages successfully to cover up a $60k education grant to his daughter awarded by a business friend without any proper process.

    The woman discovering it was dragged in the court. This reeks like Russian democracy..

    Last thing yesterday, According to him, the Human Rights Commission should be ashamed of its findings (of children in detention e.g.)

    It’s not worth a note on his Facebook page. It’s crowing about “stop the boats” instead today.

    A “decent human being” indeed.

    BTW: I did not achieve anything worth mentioning in my life if I write “Rhodes Scholar” on top of my resume.


  • Posted by Maggie

    Tony Abbott and his government are liars and bullies. Just today they have launched a personal attack campaign against Australian Federal Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs as a response to the dam ing report on children incarcerated in the refugee gulags set up by Australia. I doubt they can sink much lower at this point. I will welcome the day that all involved in this brutal regime of terror for refugees are dragged before the International Court of justice for abuses of Human Rights.

  • Posted by Julian S in Sydney

    This editorial hit the way I feel directly firm and center …Tony Abbott… has lied on all his election promises, constantly blamed the last mob and has made no clear policy as he just can not as he is just not able.

    I have lost faith in his leadership and would like to see the end of his rhetoric. Although right now our two main parties seem to be locked in he said she said he said she said and a non stop circle of nothing happening. Apart from de-valuing all our assets and reducing education and R&D and support for the elderly and stripping so much from our government departments and merging others. He has put many people into our unemployed statistics that have never been so high.

    the other problem is although there may be better Liberal Party leaders and potential prime ministers . There is no one party or person I actually want in power that can make a difference. they seem to be all just following the same party line.

    As a voter in Australia. I want change… Not scare tactics. I want to see Australia lead the world not follow it. Our low population for land size makes us a good test area for a future that other countries can observe and learn from. We do not need to suck up economic superpowers to make them happy. Although this is what is happening.

    I want change, I want Tony the Phony out and I want something new in.

    NO FAITH in Tony Abbott.

  • Posted by James

    I know it’s popular to hate Tony Abbott (I hear it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days), but this post doesn’t actually give us any specific evidence as to why he’s so terrible! I want a good government as much as everyone else, so can we please have some informed opinion pieces on the webs? The only actual issues this article covered were the knighthood mess-up and Tone’s poor handling of himself at G20. But are these really grounds enough for him to go? For such a strongly-worded post, there’s a distinct lack of concrete evidence. It refers to his inability and proneness to belligerence, but not to any real examples of this. If he’s so incompetent, you should be brimming with examples! Look, I really want to jump on the “I hate Tony Abbott” bandwagon. But it’s full! It’s like a rickety asylum-seeker boat: way too crowded, full of people who don’t really know where they’re going or who’s leading them, who are more or less doomed to be dashed on the rocks of a (surprisingly) cohesive Abbott government. Even if they DO arrive at their destination of a double dissolution or other form of leadership change, they’ll find something else to hate. Booting Tony isn’t going to make us happy, Australia. Where’s his fair go?

  • Posted by John

    I live in Australia and have to suffer this fool of a PM as my American relatives take the piss out of us, but one reason for Abbott’s extreme unpopularity is his governments rotten policies.

    They started with a fear campaign of a worsening budget, then attacked the low paid and poor, but at the same time giving benefits galore to tax-dodging multinationals and extreme rich and decimating the renewable energy sector. Even if they get rid of Abbott, it won’t change their policies as nearly all the ministry are myopic warrior wannabe Tea Party types..

  • Posted by tony magrathea

    Mr Abbott is in parliament illegally. This is a transcript of the most recent phone call to his office where it was stated that he has not renounced his British citizenship.
    Further info in blog and here

  • Posted by Michael

    It is very strange that there is so much harping on his being a Rhode’s Scholar.

    5 mentions above.

    A few of being a “good bloke”.

    All of that is irrelevant when it is the political party that hires and fires.

    If the party feels threatened then they will “let him go”. Something he narrowly avoided early this week.

    11 people out of 100 in his party changing their votes would have brought on an open vote on leader.

    Have to face the politics. Just 11 votes out of 100 can decide whether his is in or not.

    Rhode’s scholar, nice bloke … it is not working with either the Australian public (20% like him) or his own party.

  • Posted by Philip Shehan

    Torben Retboll misunderstands the position of Prime Minister in the Westminster system, which also operates in Australia.

    There has been a tendency over recent years for the media to concentrate on the leader of the governing party, as if he held the same kind of position as the President in the US system.

    Abbott keeps making the claim that the voters elected him and only the voters can fire him. This is wrong. Abbott was elected only by the voters of the electoral division of Warringah.

    The party or coalition of party’s that holds the most seats in parliament forms the government. The parliamentarian members of Abbott’s Liberal (actually conservative) Party elected him as their leader, and thus Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is ‘first among equals’ in the executive of the cabinet ministry.

    Abbott’s mentor and role model and the last Liberal Prime Minister before him correctly stated that leadership is the gift of the party room.

    Prime Ministers have often been replaced resigned or retired mid term.

  • Posted by John

    Isn’t Argentina a democracy?

  • Posted by Helen Georgiou

    Who cares that Abbott went to university and is a Rhodes scholar? Many dictators and other human rights abuses have university degrees. Abbott is an embarrassment. He is a sham leader that bullies and perpetrates mistruths. He attacks anyone that speaks the truth. His latest attach on Prof Trigg is all too telling. It is he that should be ashamed. Ashamed for not caring for the asylum seekers, children, disabled, the elderly, the sick, our indigenous peoples and other vulnerable people. Abbott and his team need to be tried in the Hague for human rights abuses.
    He is the worst Prime Minister we have ever had, and his cohorts are complicit. There is only one word that describes him perfectly and that is EVIL.

  • Posted by Dave

    Hey Torben – you’re mistaken about one fundamental assumption – that we live in a democracy. We have a representative government which is not a democracy. While the politicians may cloak themselves in democratic virtue a visit to the ballot box once every three (ish) years is not democracy.
    We back a dog and get the fleas in a two dog race. Abbot is presented by the party as their nomination for leader – he is not directly elected. ( the flea thing)
    In a democracy the demos gather in the forum and decide on an issue, until now an impossibility due to our successes in populating the planet. Now we have a reformed forum it’s time to take back the franchise.
    Really, very few people could continually show such disregard for human decency and common sense as Tony Abbot and that he is our “leader” is so telling as to how broken and corrupt the political system is.
    Suck it up mate, Tony is a complete knob and a dreadful disgrace, just one step from the criminality of Howodd in engaging us in another disastrous war.

  • Posted by John Regan

    I believe the Westminster system of government itself is obsolete. The fundamental flaw, in federal politics at least, is that we are electing politicians to represent an area on a map That may have been appropriate back around the time of the English civil war, but no longer.
    When we hire a politician at a federal election, the only information that appears on the ballot paper is the candidate’s name. I know of no other profession where you will be hired on no other information than your name. If you want to be a carpenter, electrician or a plumber, you have to serve an apprenticeship, gain practical experience and demonstrate your suitability for the craft. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or teacher, you have to get a degree from a university and complete some vocational training before you are considered competent.
    If you want to be a politician, all you need to do is get up on a soapbox, make a speech full of plausible lies and convince enough suckers to vote for you.
    Why do we not demand relevant qualifications and experience from politicians as for any other employee? Why should not the Minister for Health be a qualified doctor? Why should not the Attorney General be a qualified lawyer? Why should not the Treasurer be a qualified economist? Why are these jobs handed out as rewards to the Prime Minister’s cronies instead of being filled on the basis of merit?
    Instead of voting for the member for Wide Bay or Bennelong or Chifley, we should be voting for a member of the Health portfolio, the Environment portfolio, the Immigration portfolio based upon the candidates declared relevant qualifications and experience.
    It doesn’t matter a damn whether the Minister for Defence comes from Tasmania or Western Australia, and his or her geographical origins should play no part in the election. Neither should his or her political party.
    In fact, the best reform we could make to our political system is to outlaw political parties and all other conspiracies to deceive the people so that we have rule by parliament where members cooperate to achieve the best outcomes for the nation instead of squabbling among themselves for political gains.
    Let’s make it a criminal offence for any member of parliament to belong to any political party or other conspiracy to deceive the people.

  • Posted by MarkL

    Tony Abbott and his gang of four behave like adolescent public school bullies, their demeanour and their behaviour demonstrates that they have never grown up.

    Since Abbott was elected opposition leader his disruptive take no prisoners tactics have made our parliament dysfunctional and our country will suffer the consequences as a result.

  • Posted by john

    The question that should be asked , is why the Australian people voted in a liberal government with Tony Abbot at its head , Julia gillard was the best leader Australia had, had in 30 years a forward looking leader yet the media hounded her , Rupert Murdoch got his way when the Village idiot was elected, well now you have to live with him, next time you vote think about what you are voting for and who’s agenda you are blindly following

  • Posted by Gail

    Torben, the knighthood in and of itself was not given as a reason Tony Abbott should go. The reason he should go is his incompetence. His incompetence is based on his unclear policy thinking, his unwillingness to consult with others and his poor communication skills. The author is very clear on this.

    There are numerous examples of his incompetence but one of the most recent is the knighthood. Again, the knighthood is not a reason he should go, but an example of his incompetence. His incompetence is why he should go.

  • Posted by Unmentionable

    There are some very strident comments here. Writers suggest that the author “butt out of another country’s business”.

    Well, most of the world watched and cheered when George W finally left the White House. Should we have stayed silent and presumably uncaring? Does a nation’s leader not have an international effect? Maybe we should all stop criticising Vlad Putin, and Kim Jong-Un, and others of that ilk – because they are “that country’s business”? Or maybe in an interconnected and globalised world we do have things that are worth saying to each other; whether as friends, commentators or critics?

    Then there is the suggestion that “he was elected by the Australian people and only they can get rid of him”. Hmm – I’m Australian, I voted in the last election, and I did not see Tony Abbott on my ballot paper. In fact, very few people did – he was elected by the people of his local seat. Moreover, only 32.02% of Australians voted for his party, and a total of 45.55% voted for the coalition his party leads. So most Australians did not vote for a Tony Abbott government! To be more precise, the position of Prime Minister is not recognised in the Australian Constitution. Regardless, there has never been any suggestion that Australians had control over who should be Prime Minister until Mr Abbott decided to play with the issue at the expense of the then-government, which had just switched leaders.

    The most absurd I have read so far is the statement “…he is a decent human being and a Rhodes scholar, leading a government that has already chalked up quite a few achievements with three major free trade agreements and having stopped the almost” unstoppable” people smuggling trade into Australia”.

    To answer this comment by Frederika Westerman, Abbott has totally failed to prove himself a decent human being. He became prime minister of Australia through a promise to ‘stop the boats’, with the implication that these boats were engaged in smuggling deadly terrorists into Australia. In fact, he and previous governments (from the 2001 Tampa election onwards) have used human lives as a cynical ploy to turn out the racist vote. Australia does not have a refugee crisis; look at Italy or Spain for comparison, or even the southern states of the US.

    Tony Abbott was a boxer when young, and has been accused of using physical intimidation against political opponents. Not really very decent-sounding. Rhodes scholar? We should be impressed by that, and ignore the actual person?

    Then you mention those “three major free trade agreements”. Fantastic – some trade agreements have been signed that were a decade in the making; how is this ‘his’ accomplishment? Worse, he is likely to sign the TPP, and to sign away Australian sovereignty. Trade agreements are not all good, and in none of these cases have the Australian people been allowed to the table.

    Tony Abbott is a feckless, reckless and incompetent prime minister who would prefer Australia to drift gently back into the 1950s. As Health Minister this is the man who prevented the use of oral contraceptives by Australians – they go against his religious views. Yet those contraceptives are much safer than the alternatives.

    The world, for people like Tony Abbott, is black and white. He cannot produce considered and reasonable policies, and he is incapable of leading a government. He was a brilliant opposition leader, who limited himself to ‘three word slogans’ – unfortunately, in government you have to have some ideas; Tony doesn’t.

  • Posted by John Hermann

    This article is entirely accurate. Moreover the Australian people now clearly recognise the mistake they made in electing Abbott’s party into office at the last election; a long string of different opinion polls unanimously indicate that his party would be swept from office in a landslide if an election was held any time soon, and also that Abbott is a very unpopular prime minister. It seems very likely that he will be rolled in a party spill sometime within the next six months.

  • Posted by Barry Wakelin

    Nothing like the old republic word to get some going. No one I know has yet explained the precise difference between an Australian republic and an Australian constitutional monarchy. The simple truth is that the impact on our lives is a big zero because there is no difference – either way we remain an independent democracy – end of story. Many Australians actually like the Queen and Duke as great leaders of unity in a very divided and violent world.The reality that the so called Royals have said simply tell us when you want us to go and we will – end of story. They have no influence on our lives whatsoever except as a pleasant ,reasonable voice above the hubbub of daily life fully committed to the rule of law and fairness for all. Not bad values presented sensibly and never pushed down our throat like the republic change for change’s sake approach. I prefer the term that I am a citizen of an Independent Democracy of Australia and move on from the division and simply vote for a symbolic head of state which reaches back in history in respect to our evolution as a great democracy where Prince Philip has played his part admirably and done a great job supporting the greatest symbol of stability and humanity yet seen in our world represented by a great lady known as the Queen.

  • Posted by Quagmire Poppelsquat

    Abbott is a buffoon and although I would miss all his buffoonery, which I find it all so amusing and entertaining, Tony really needs to hit the road Jack!

  • Posted by Ronny

    As for the whole people voting for Tony Abbott, he has never been particularly popular. Even in the month when he was elected, September 2013, 23% strongly disapproved of the job he was doing as PM:

    I would venture to say the Libs were elected despite Abbott, not because of him.

    @Gregory Copley, a few corrections for you.

    The Australian media is not particularly left-wing. The papers with the largest circulation are Murdoch publications, which are almost without exception very, I might say notoriously, right-wing. Murdoch also controls one of the three major television networks.

    Labor’s policies were not “incompetent”; Swan won an award as Euromoney Finance Minister of the Year at one point. Australia is the only major first world economy to get through the GFC without a recession. The budget is in bad shape because (1) commodity prices – and sales – have dropped; (2) Howard & Costello significantly eroded the non-mining tax base during their years. Australia was for this reason, and remains, one of the lowest-taxing OECD countries.

    Gillard and Rudd are not criminals. Both were subject to royal commissions which cleared them of any criminal wrongdoing. (Although it must be said Gillard had a close call.)

    Australia’s productivity was poor because the dollar was artificially high due to mining revenues. The dollar has dropped, so we’re now paid less on an international scale. Nothing to do with anything Abbott has done.

    Most of the immigrants that are being stopped are actually perfectly legal under international law. Before the “PNG Solution” about 90% of these refugees were being found to be genuine, not “economic” refugees. The country’s treatment of them is on many points illegal under international law.

    (Of course, much of this started on Labor’s watch. They’re not much better in that respect.)

    The “climate change bureaucracy” – by which I assume you mean the carbon tax – is nothing compared to what’s lined up with the “Direct Action” policy… if they ever get around to implementing it.

    Meanwhile, the Libs’ handling of the economy has been incompetent by more or less any reasonable measure. They’re not being punished at the polls for an austerity budget; they’re being punished for an austerity budget which (a) largely penalises the poor – the group where all the nice economic multiplier effects happen (b) explicitly breaks many of the promises that got them into power.

    There have been austerity budgets in the past which were received relatively well. The 2014 budget was received badly because it was so widely seen as unfair, while simultaneously breaking many promises. The reason for the broken promises was to get a balanced budget – but the budget is now in a much, much worse hole than it was under Labor.

  • Posted by Liz Meehan

    As Wikipedia will attest, Abbott got a 2.2 in his degree at Oxford.

    The grading goes: 1.1 then 1.2 then 2.1 then 2.2.

    After that is a fail.

    He got the scholarship based on recommendations from the Catholic church, where he had studied to be a monk, and on the basis of his boxing ability.

    The Rhodes scholarship is awarded on the basis of being a good “all rounder” not academic excellence.

    If people have to keep say, look, he must be intelligent, he went to Oxford, plainly he comes across as anything but smart, in any way.

    How smart do you have to be to lie your way into a job? How dishonest? Eventually the truth comes out.

  • Posted by Diet SIMON

    Two main reasons explain this prime Minister.

    – The Australian electoral system which gives only Laberal or Libor the chance to form government


    – Australians’ utter disinterest in politics.

    A “Motoring Enthusiasts Party” put a member into the Senate with 0.51 [half a] percent of the vote, for example.

    While from 10 to 15 % for the Greens gets them nowhere. In many countries percentages like those would get them a share of coalition government, where they’d keep the big parties honest.

    As long as the beer is icy cold, the BBQ sausages are sizzling, the fish are biting and the surf is up, she’ll be apples, mate [slang for everything’s hunkey dorey] – don’t bother me with politics.

  • Posted by Weary

    Bang on.
    That’s our Tony.

  • Posted by Markie

    So strident in their ideological vehemence is the LNP government that they voted AGAINST a motion to pass a major part of this year’s budget bill simply because the opposition put it up. Parliament in Australia is truly the Mad Hatters Tea Party and the queen is Bronwyn Bishop – probably the worst speaker in our short history. If you want cringeworthy viewing watch our Question Time (when parliament deigns to sit!). We gently weep…

  • Posted by Shayne O

    People criticizing this article really don’t quite grasp how poorly perforing our primeminister is. This is a man who constantly contradicts himself, passes completely bonkers laws and when its revealed he never consulted his own parties cabinet, says it was an “umpires decisions”, has broken almost every promise he made going into power, and advocates positions clearly against the national interest. Within months of getting into power he took a deficit that was one of the lowest in the western worlds and blew it up into a total trainwreck by giving billions of dollars to the federal reserve that the federal reserve did not want, and then had the gall to blame the opposition. Ever since he got elected he’s been one of the least popular primeministers in the countries history.

    The dude really has to go, either by putting Turnbull or Bishop into the LNP leadership, or by him being elected out later this year or next year. Of course the LNP are screwed. If they keep him, they *will* lose the election. But if they swap him out, they’ll be doing the EXACT thing that lost labor the election (The switcheroos of Rudd and GIllard was the prime reason labor lost. People do not enjoy seeing a primeminister knifed. Even though its perfectly legal in the democracy people still feel on some level that they are voting for the primeminister even if they arent)

  • Posted by Ian Joyner

    Frederika Westerman says”
    >>February 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm
    I was flabbergasted reading Kurlantsic’s commentary on Tony Abbott. He may not have been the best of Prime Ministers. However, he is a decent human being and a Rhodes scholar, leading a government that has already chalked up quite a few achievements<<

    Abbott is anything but decent. He certainly has been the worst of PMs. Being a Rhodes scholar does not mean much – you just have to be recommended by your mates (like headmaster at school). There have been some outstanding Rhodes scholars – but someone like Abbott puts it into disrepute.

    As for achievements – you mention the TPP. Done in secrecy and from what most of us know about it, none of us want it. What about the negatives – like scrapping the carbon and mining taxes, and then complaining about deficit. This government has more that shot itself in the foot.

    Joshua is right. Anyone who can be as incompetent and duplicitous as Abbott in any other job would have been fired long ago.

  • Posted by Fed up

    Unmentionable you have taken the words right out of my head.
    Being a Rhodes Scholar does not make him intelligent. He most certainly is not a decent or good bloke. Tony Abbott is a thug, a bully and he lives in a fantasy world of the 50’s.
    There are plenty of reasons why Abbott should be removed other than the fact he is an embarrassment. The LNP are all to blame for this mess.
    In just 2 short years he and the LNP, let’s not forget the party behind the man, have double the national deficit. I’m not sure how they doubled the deficit with all the spending cuts that they have forced upon the public. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his own party think he is an idiot.
    The knighting was just another profoundly dim-witted thing that Abbott has done in full view of the world.
    He has not done one good thing for the majority of Australians. He has helped foreign countries with Free Trade Agreements. China is being allowed to bring their own workers instead of employing Aussies. Let’s not forget that they don’t even have to be competent trade’s people, with the ability to meet Australian skills standards. He has helped the rich 2% of this nation and the other 98% are being buggered. He is even helping the WA government push Australians out of their homes so foreigners can dig up the ground. He also wants to pull all the funding from public schools, why? How about stop funding ‘private schools’ and redirect that money to the public schools where it should be. All the other crap is just a smoke screen to try and draw people’s attention away from the budget.
    I would seriously like to know where the money is, where it has been put to use and who is it benefiting. Why aren’t the media asking those questions? That’s right they are either on his side or maybe they are scared of being threatened again.
    He has also put a lot of effort into infringing on our rights to freedom of speech. He has threatened the ABC. He has successfully gagged the CMC for investigating him, what is he hiding that he had dismantle the CMC? The judge Carmody farce is another fine example of trying, well he actually did, to manipulate the system to his benefit. I could go on and on listing the entire bull twang he has emitted and committed.
    The LNP has bashed the ALP mercilessly but Kevin Rudd and the ALP is the only reason Australia survived the GFC. Australia was the ONLY country to survive it with our economy intact. Abbott has single handedly put us in the spiral down the funnel which is going to take some serious digging to get us out of.
    I’m not going to say that I think that the ALP has all the answers either. Clive Palmar, PUP, hasn’t presented any solid solutions either. The Greens haven’t given any balanced policy.
    There are no other really sensible solid parties that I would put my faith in to run this country. Family first are just a bunch of whining homophobic bible bashers and who are the sex party and are we supposed to take them seriously?
    Something needs to, has to, change. The preferential voting system has to be stopped, one vote is one vote and a vote should not be able to be sold to another party.
    Ian Joyner is also correct, the LNP have shot themselves in the foot.
    To be honest I still don’t know what the Australians that voted for him were thinking? I know a lot of them are really sorry they did, it’s a bit late to be sorry.
    How much time will another party be given to fix all of Abbott’s treachery?
    All countries watch each other because we all have an impact on each other.

  • Posted by scott ryan

    This is what we have to do. Australia needs to rise the GST by 2.5% and do a big biz tax like the carbon tax again.

    Them 2 taxes will bring in $28 billion pa to do this to save the public money make jobs and boom the economy. It will also stop a rise in the cost of living “meaning” pay rises.

    This saves the public $1k a year and small biz saved 2.

    We can self fund departments for life by putting the money in banks safe interest funds, that pays for the cost of a publics cost of living. That means public living expanses / department. It would even pay for a rise in cost of the department each year. That’s done buy putting that much money into it, that it even puts back in interest that pays for rising cost each year.

    This is how it would work. It’s for Adelaide Australia but would work the same in America.

    Self Funding publics cost of lining….Adelaide’s water bills.

    Adelaide water company made about $350 million dollars last year.

    Adelaide would need $12 – $14 billion dollars put into and safe interest fund, to self fund it for life. It works by using the interest made “$613 million dollars pa” to pay for it. It makes more interest than what it cost, so it puts back in the extra interest it makes and save it up “making interest” off the interest. We put back in $263 million dollars pa “or” $1.3 billion dollars making 6% pa in 5 years time. Every 5 years the department can have a rise $57 million dollar jump in cost, or $12 million a year. That means each year it will make $12 million dollars. It will rise by $12 million every year for life. That’s $120 million dollar rise in 10 years. That’s like a 33% rise every 10 years in the departments cost.

    The gov still collect their taxes ad more each year.

    In Adelaide that will save the public about $1k – $2+k pa. It will also save small biz big bucks 2. Farmers will be lol and the cost of fruit and veg will drop drastically…Maybe.

    Each year they could save the public $1k a year. That $1k get’s spent in the economy and the gov collects 30 – 40% tax of the $1k * 300 million people. The money small biz owner make will be spent to. So it’s 30 – 40% of the $1k boost to the economy.

    The public would pay a $1k tax a year. So after the second year they save $1k. After 7 years the public would have a spare $5 – $6k pa, and would pump $1.6 trillion dollars into the American economy. The gov will get 30 – 40% of that money spent in taxes. That hands them $600 billion dollars pa. Now add the % of money small biz makes as profits and spends from that $1 trillion left over. Clearly big biz will get a boost 2, so the 1 owner would spend much. It would have to be worked out the % small biz will make and big biz, to work the the extra boom to the economy and taxes paid.

    It’s not hard 2 do, and it would stop the cost / rising cost from rising. In fact it would let everyone have a wealthy life and happy 1 at that.

    All country’s around the world can do this and boom the economy make mass jobs and collect mass billion of dollars each year in their budgets. If it’s not done now it will be to late, as big biz pay big taxes now. Really need to tax company’s a small % of what they should be paying.

    The good part of that, is the departments are self funded for life. It pays for rising cost so it’s done for life. After 7 years and saving the public 45k – $6k. They would self fund the state hospitals and government departments cost for life after saving the public that much cash..

    Not only can the public keep saving 1k a year. All state departments would be fully self funded with sate government getting part of the billions paid in tax each year.

    Make the public wealthy. Makes the state government’s rich and hands the fed’s mass billion in knew funding. It also stops a rise in wages and the cost of living.

    The thing is different departs can save the public more money. If you look at Australia you would see that the power company make $40 billion dollars pa. Too turn AU 100% power grid green it would cost $70 billion dollars. That means within 2 years of that money, they would make all the money back + $10 billion dollars.

    Some departments can be looked at, to save the public more money first. Even doing projects with privet company’s that are already digging up roads and laying pipe lines and so on.

    You fist look at the cost to everyone. Self fund the department that dose 2 in 1 first.

    Such a hard world we live in.

    Lots of that money to self fund it can be handed to the banks to make interest and invest the money. That booms the country even more.

    I would also force the public to put $30 a week extra into there super funds “because” they are saving $6k a years now. That will boost the economy in every way possible.

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