Grace Collier writes in The Australian giving seven, spot-on reasons for the Coalition’s growing unpopularity. Such suggestions and similar have been mooted throughout 2014 but someone at government HQ, and that someone might be the PM himself, must view sound advice from “useful idiots” as irksome interference from troublesome voters who just don’t get it.
The only possible reason for Mr Abbott’s limp-wristed dawdle across the nation’s political landscape, pausing only to piddle on the spinifex, is that they have in their arsenal the mother of all plans that will immediately reverse the flow of disillusioned supporters who shall rise like a phoenix from the ashes of blunder to save their day.
The government will cry, and justifiably so, that Palmer’s gaggle of snotty snouts in the senate trough are preventing the very policies they went to the election with and decisively won, and are vital to recovery from Labor’s vandalism. Does this mean we must suffer a useless government for the next several years before the last elected senators are flushed like caustic contaminants from a system so easily hijacked? The alternative, delicious to the thought, could be a double dissolution letting the chips fall where they may? Or will they govern without the senate by starving various departments of vital funding?
Sadly though, history has proved that power does strange things in the name of ambition. Despite decades of brown-nosing denials about not wanting his respective boss’s job, Mr Abbott’s long burning desire to get his hands on those levers of power will hang on like a terminal cancer patient does in fervent prayer of a new, miracle cure.
If Mr Abbott, and or his strategy gurus do read Grace Colliers column, all of it without dismissal, that elusive phoenix just might rise from the ashes of a Coalition orchestrated bonfire. After all, Tony is a volunteer rural firefighter and prudence might guide him to ask his brigade crew where they believe he has caused political spot-fires because NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers are permitted to ask such questions of their captain! But will he do that?
Abbott government risks losing support unless it changes policies
OUR embattled Prime Minister says he is trying to repair Labor’s damage. Perhaps Australians, especially those in South Australia and Victoria (where the polls are especially bad), are just ungrateful whingers with unrealistic expectations. What exactly did people expect from this government, and do the voters really want Bill Shorten? He strikes me as an intellectually diminutive changeling.
Yet, if I am honest, this government has disappointed our household and social circle, too. In the spirit of the giving season, here is some unsolicited advice for Tony Abbott and his team. Some of the comments are mine, some are taken from others.
Make serious spending cuts but take from the poorest last. Is there any reason, other than pride, that the budget cannot be significantly recast? This government hasn’t earned the right, and it is the wrong time, to introduce vainglorious expenditure items. People don’t need to be encouraged to be more dependent on government; people need to be encouraged to be more independent of government. We had hoped the government’s first budget might take us in this direction.
Reverse the high-income earner debt levy and cut income taxes. Since when does a conservative government raise income taxes? This was a useless, symbolic kick in the teeth. However, the real problem is the gates have been opened for the Labor Party to do the same, and more, next time. If Labor wins the next election, the high rates will stay, but as the Coalition’s shameful legacy. Those in favour say the rich can afford to pay more. Of course they can, but that is not the issue; the issue is the tax system should provide people with incentives and not take so much money off them that no matter how hard they work, they never become rich.
Put the interest of consumers first. Josh Frydenberg, the new Assistant Treasurer, says retailers are fighting with one hand tied behind their backs. Consumers, then, are blindfolded, hobbled lambs to the slaughter. Does anyone seriously believe that putting a tax on consumer items will create jobs? All it will do is add to our already high cost of living. On a whole raft of issues — financial reforms, internet piracy, car prices, online purchases — the government is not putting consumers first, and it should be.
The Coalition should always stick up for the ordinary person and let Labor be known as the party of big business. Labor and its corporate mates, the employer groups and the unions, all believe problems are solved by “sitting around the table”. This daft expression means the rich and powerful meet to create protectionist policy and carve up taxpayer dough. Uninspiring stuff and great for those inside the circle, but for everyone else it means higher prices. With wages stagnant and the lowest paid struggling, we need to bring prices down dramatically. The Coalition should champion our access to global markets and promote competition domestically as a solution to cost-of-living pressures.
Do the job fearlessly or go home, and get with the times. One of the most annoying characteristics of this government is its craven, grovelling, timidity. Government is not a prize to be jealously hoarded; power does not last longer if it is hidden. One day this government will be history. In the meantime, it is in power, and should act like it. Further, Abbott should stop turning the other cheek. Supporters don’t enjoy watching him being slapped. We prefer competent managers led by a strong prime minister over compassionate social workers led by a pastoral carer. Topics other than the pedestrian “families” and “jobs” should be discussed and, no, people do not need taxpayer-funded marriage counselling. Our society is modern and diverse; we are not all married employees with children and relationship problems. If our elected representatives cannot reflect society’s mixture they should at least regularly acknowledge it.
Look after your friends, or at least stop slapping them in the face. Everyone needs friends. The Labor Party is great at looking after its friends; as a result, it has many. The Coalition is hopeless at looking after its friends; as a result, it has hardly any, a fact it constantly bemoans. Hopefully, one day the penny will drop. The Coalition should try to keep faith with its base; an obvious rule: never give the enemy of your supporters a job. Two key appointments (to protect the identities of the appointees, they shall be known only as “Natasha X” and “Greg X”) constituted unforgivable insults.
Speak your truth, even when it is bad news. Unfortunately, Abbott gives the impression when speaking that he is desperately scanning his mind for the list of things he has been told he is not allowed to say, before hesitantly letting a few words escape. This is most unsatisfactory. The man is either intelligent enough to speak to the nation or he is not, in which case he should be removed from the job. We suspect he is and hope to hear him speak a bit more freely about our challenges and how we might best address them. And when he does, the outrage on social media should be ignored. Anyone who talks politics on social media all day is unemployed or at work but bludging; either way, their opinion is probably without value.
Source: The Australian