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Abbott’s Bingle

March 23rd, 2010

Having just watched the media tear down their former darling, Lara Bingle (I tried to avoid it, but omnipresence defeated me), it seems likely we’ll now see the same with Tony Abbott.

The most common comparison has been between Abbott and Mark Latham, but we’ve seen plenty of examples of the celebrity style of reporting applied to rising politicians – Bronwyn Bishop and John Elliott were prime examples.

Celebrity politics has a well-established story arc – the fresh face, not scared to say what they think, with off-the-wall new ideas is built up until everyone is on the bandwagon. At that point, the only new angle points down, to the feet of clay. The alpha wolf in the journalistic pack is the one who can pick this moment to turn. Then the rest follow and before you know it, yesterdays fresh face is today’s wet-behind-the ears, authentic becomes aggressive, create ideas become a sign of flakiness. (sorry for all the mixed metaphors – it’s impossible to write this stuff any other way).

My guess is that Tony Abbott’s performance at the Press Club marks the turning point in the celebrity narrative. His bungle on maternity leave and the attacks from Keating and Costello set him up for the make or break performance in the movie. The fading star (Piaf, or maybe Rocky) has to go on stage and win over a hostile crowd. Instead, he ended up with rotten tomatoes.

To break away from meta-narrative for a moment, the debate reminded us that Abbott was an undistinguished health minister whose policy agenda, to the extent that there was a consistent one, went nowhere. His only contributions of any note were attempts to turn his personal prejudices into law. Now, he has no policy, and it’s a safe bet that anything he comes up with won’t stand up to even momentary scrutiny, as with his alternative to the ETS.

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  1. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 07:17 | #1

    As far as the financial crisis is concerned we are not out of the woods yet. The US congress is currently laying the groundwork for retaliatory action against China for its ‘undervalued’ currency. This is happening mainly to secure a few extra votes in the next round of US elections. If the US does start a mini trade war next month things could get ugly rapidly with negative consequences for the global recovery.
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3134 http://www.michaud.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=969&Itemid=76

  2. Donald Oats
    March 26th, 2010 at 08:45 | #2

    Minchin never does something without first figuring out how to maximise the hard-right’s advantage. I’ll wager that he “announced” is retirement before budget night as a means of getting Joyce out of harm’s way and having someone competent enough (for a Liberal) to replace him. Sure, Minchin almost certainly had family concerns at the top of his list of competing priorities. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have figured out how to use his leaving the opposition’s front bench to his – er, the Liberal party – advantage.

    Meanwhile, if Labor want to win this election they had better get someone to counter Joyce’s rubbish he speaks in country beer halls and stockyards – especially if they want water issues and the ETS issues to be considered seriously rather than dismissively. Joyce’s main asset from the Liberal perspective was that he could very effectively poison the well concerning environmental issues in the bush.

  3. March 26th, 2010 at 09:44 | #3

    I’m sorry to mention this guys, but I feel people should be alerted to the full scale assault the Melbourne’s Herald Sun mounted on evolutionary theory today. They devoted a two page spread to an attack on science. It was written by ex-footballer Gary Ablett. It has to be seen to be believed. I blogged about so use my link if you like. This is not a cheap stunt to get hits, I’m actually stunned by the article. Pass the links around without my blog URL. I don’t care. With Andrew Bolt spreading his misinformation about climate science, the HS has begun an war on all science. I feel something has to be done about this. If you know bloggers, writers or people connected with science (science associations, teachers etc.) please let them know just how uch space the HS gave to this attack. Write letters to the HS editors. Let’s get them to publish something which explains science and evolutionary theory correctly. This is why we have to fight not just the attack on climate scientists, but resist the war on science itself.

    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/the-herald-suns-war-on-science-1-evolution-is-just-a-theory/

    I

  4. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:00 | #4

    Re: the Herald Sun and Gary Ablett’s raving, surely this is a mistake? Tell me they had intended to publish this on April 1?

  5. Tony G
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:03 | #5

    Fran Said

    “and it is small consolation that I am also relieved of this debt. It turns out that the whole thing is a fantasy”

    Fran you can be in denial if you want, but the debt is real and growing as we speak.

    Fran that $8000 per person has to be serviced by your wife, your husband, each of your kids, your Mum, your Dad, your siblings – each and every one of them at some point. It is just like your visa card, you have to service it and pay it of eventually. The difference is you didn’t get any benefit from spending the money, because Krudd squirted that up against the wall.

  6. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:05 | #6

    Gary Ablett, poster boy to show children what drugs can do to you. See, I told you marijuana is dangerous.

  7. March 26th, 2010 at 10:06 | #7

    Freelander :Re: the Herald Sun and Gary Ablett’s raving, surely this is a mistake? Tell me they had intended to publish this on April 1?

    It’s no mistake – go get the paper. Seriously, it’s as high profile as it gets.

  8. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:09 | #8

    @Tony G

    Two hundred thousand extra kept in jobs. No recession. All the extra GDP that resulted from no recession. All the extra wealth generated from no recession. All the businesses that avoided going bust because of no recession. Sounds like a great deal to me. Let’s hope they do it again when it’s needed.

  9. Michael
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:12 | #9

    @Tony G
    So you understand as much about Monetary theory as you do about climate theory. Only a miniscule ration, enough for you to get everything backwards. Spare us your agnotology.

  10. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:12 | #10

    @Tony G

    Oh. And did I remember to say? No recession.

  11. Tony G
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:33 | #11

    Freelander,

    China’s large purchases of our iron ore, coal and LPG as well as record low interest rates kept us out of recession, but Krudds debt will eventually put us in recession.

  12. Doug
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:47 | #12

    Tony G:
    Eventually? How long before the recession happens? Is it inevitable? How will it happen? How will we know that the recent deficit caused by the stimulus package caused the recession?
    How do you know that the deficit has and will produce no economic benefits?

  13. Tony G
    March 26th, 2010 at 10:57 | #13

    “How will we know that the recent deficit caused by the stimulus package caused the recession?”
    When we have 2 quarters of negative growth due to the constraints put on the economy from Krudd’s excessive government.

    “How do you know that the deficit has and will produce no economic benefits?”
    The same way you ‘know’ that it supposedly produced economic benefits.

  14. Bemused
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:10 | #14

    I am amazed at the ignorance of the likes of Tony G.
    The record low interest rates he approves were in fact the RBAs direct response to head off recession.
    The stimulus spending was a counter-cyclical fiscal response to prop up the economy as private sector activity showed sign of collapse. It was not simply a Government, political response, it was endorsed by Treasury. All part of some conspiracy Tony G?
    A large part of the deficit is through the collapse in government revenue [tax] and that would have been far worse had the economy gone into a deep recession.
    By maintaining the level of economic activity, automatic stabilisers kick in and with higher than otherwise revenue the govt will be able to move back to surplus sooner rather than later.
    This is all basic Economics 101 counter-cyclical policy and is clearly understood by Treasury, the RBA, the Govt, almost all economic commentators, but sadly not by Tony G and Tony A.

  15. Michael
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:36 | #15

    @Bemused
    Good old Barnacle had a handle on the real goings on in the ECONOMY that’s why they’re trying to shut him up so more Australians dont’ find out what’s REALLY going on.

  16. Tony G
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:49 | #16

    Bemused

    This is basic Economics 101;

    “economists don’t understand the economy so they overcome their ignorance by making assumptions. This is actually the root of the problem. The assumptions usually destroy any chance of the modelling being correct.”

    Let’s kill all the economists

  17. Don Wigan
    March 26th, 2010 at 11:50 | #17

    Where’s Tony G going to get his economic briefings from with Barnaby no longer spokesman for Finance?

  18. Fran Barlow
    March 26th, 2010 at 13:06 | #18

    @Tony G

    Fran you can be in denial if you want, but the debt is real and growing as we speak.

    The question is “what does real and growing” actually mean? Is it growing relative to the capacity to service the debt? Whose debt is it actually? What assets are at risk? What provisions exist for effective debt recovery, in the event such might be contemplated?

    Given your distaste for “computer models” I can’ty but wonder why you even think you can put such a precise figure on per capita debt in 2012. Decisions about public and private sector debt retirement, equity held and other matters are being made all the time by states and private traders and assuming that either borrowing on the one hand or repayment on the other will continue to reflecvt eany given month in the cycle is simply reckless at best.

    Predictions about 9% unemployment, and then 8% and then 7% all turned out to be overblown. Some people thought the 2009 MYEFO was overly optimistic and yet now the debate is over just how pessimistic it was. At the moment, it is thought that by 2013 the budget will be back in surplus and so debt will be paid down.

    But whoever is paying, it won’t be you or me or anyone we know. Nobody will consult us over how much to borrow, when, from whom and why, or which assets or income to secure the loans against, nor will we determine the currency in which the debt will be repaid or its movement against ours. Nor will we control the demand for Australian exports or the price our exporters can receive for them or whether resources will or will not have a resources rent tax applied to them.

    So your answer, direct from Lib-bot central, with its moronic and simplistic analogy about credit cards does violent offence to the actual way the world works. It may work for people like you who never made it out of high school but taking it onto a blog where people are interested in economics simply sets you up as the group’s resident dimbulb.

  19. Doug
    March 26th, 2010 at 13:09 | #19

    Tony G:

    You asserted certain outcomes with great confidence and then produced no evidence to back them up nor any explanation as to the mechanisms that would deliver those outcomes.

  20. Gaz
    March 26th, 2010 at 14:03 | #20

    Bemused: “It was not simply a Government, political response, it was endorsed by Treasury.”

    And enthusiasticlly championed by none other than the IMF. And if the IMF’s arguing for deficit financed government spending, you know the situation’s so dire that practicality has the ascendancy over ideology.

  21. Tony G
    March 26th, 2010 at 14:12 | #21

    “analogy about credit cards does violent offence to the actual way the world works”

    Fran, debt denial is a terrible thing, it can ruin individuals and counties;
    (1) Have you ever borrowed money?
    (2) Did you ever bother to pay it back?
    On second thoughts, lets not go there, obviously you and me live in different worlds.

    Doug;
    “You asserted certain outcomes with great confidence and then produced no evidence to back them up nor any explanation as to the mechanisms that would deliver those outcomes.”

    Doug, its the economists who do that, see link @ 16 for the evidence.

  22. Bemused
    March 26th, 2010 at 14:40 | #22

    @Gaz
    Good point Gaz!
    It seems to present a rare degree of policy unanimity with governments of all persuasions around the world following broadly similar policies of lowering interest rates, stimulus spending and propping up banks by guaranteeing deposits.
    The exceptions seem to be dwellers of a parallel universe comprising conservative think tanks, the Republican Party, Liberal – National and of course Tony G.
    Tony G’s ‘evidence’ against economists in his link @ 16 is a polemic against the narrow thinking neo-liberal economists that seem to have a few disciples left in Australia.

  23. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 16:07 | #23

    @Tony G

    Oh. And did I remember to say? No recession.

    Re: Joyce. I am amused that even Bare-knuckle Joyce’s colleagues think that his talents are best suited to being a lone voice wandering in the wilderness, hence their choice for his new portfolio!

  24. Fran Barlow
    March 26th, 2010 at 17:19 | #24

    @Freelander

    And already, 24 hours into hsi new job, Barnaby has a problem. Abbott favours a referendum to take over the Murray Darling and Nationals Leader Warren Truss does not.

    Good call by the Mad Monk, eh what?

  25. Freelander
    March 26th, 2010 at 18:04 | #25

    @Fran Barlow

    No accounting for punch drunk love.

  26. Alice
    March 26th, 2010 at 19:01 | #26

    @Mike
    Well Mike – the libs have been marginalising their moderate conservatives for years now. Im wondering how long the doctors and theirw ives are willing to hold on. Generally they are not unintelligent but I think they are losing patience and may be over the bogan vote and bogan activists in their own party of natural choice.

    We generally are not talking bogans here and Labor is centre right anyway….except for the fact that NSW Labor are as mad as any far right wing party (so dont waste votes on that lot – choosing entrenched corruption as a mandate is never palatable no matter what side you may normally normally sit in politics).

  27. Jill Rush
    March 27th, 2010 at 07:49 | #27

    Alice #23
    Tony Abbott is very much in the celebrity mould – not because of the beach but all of those photos of him in his budgie smugglers which leave so little to the imagination. Unlike Lara Bingle or the Paris Hilton’s of the world however he is trying to be the PM and I am not so sure that the population want to see that much flesh of their PM – no matter how toned (pun intended). Flashing the flesh so often seems just too narcissistic. His health policy looks good in comparison.

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