Peak euphemism? #Ozfail

We’ve been used to imagining the global supply of euphemisms as limitless, but if Dennis Shanahan keeps at it, the world will be running short by the time the Abbott government leaves office. In a single column (Google it) he manages to refer to “accusations of broken promises”, “the shift on the Gonski education promise”, “the repudiation of Labor’s Gonski education promises”, “The management of the Gonski “unity ticket” on education funding”, ” accusations of broken promises” (again), “The readjustment of expectations on Gonski” “the painful Gonski process” and “a cusp of credibility”. Given his leader’s penchant for three word slogans, perhaps a three-letter word starting with “L” might be what Shanahan is reaching for here.

79 thoughts on “Peak euphemism? #Ozfail

  1. Perhaps Shannahan sees his role as being one of suppressing reality until the Liberals have completed the task of rewriting history by eliminating forgettable speeches from their party records.

    No doubt there is a think huddle going on somewhere right now considering how to expunge all of Abbott’s election (finally blatantly obvious to a dumbfounded press gallery) lies from the National Library as well.

    How could Australians have been so stupid as to elect this lot of losers to government?

  2. Oh there are a few more still in the toolbox …

    Facing the painful realities of government; the hangover after the party the night before; conflicting imperatives; difficult choices; hard decisions are what responsible government is all about; lowering expectations; clarifying the grey areas in previous commitments; the need to shift the conversation away from the business of opposition and transition to government …

    I should say that at the time the Opposition made its “unity ticket” remarks (and similar) there was no doubt at all what they intended people to believe about their policy, nor has anything that might not have been foreseeable arisen to render the promise inviable, so this move now strongly implies bad faith at the time — making it a form of lying. This also distinguishes it from the “carbon tax” disavowal of Gillard on August 16 2010, because in that case, there was no suggestion by anyone at the time that she had proposed abandoning carbon pricing — which was still ALP policy. Gillard assumed that if she won, she’d be able to have her “deep consensus” established by the “climate assembly” and didn’t rule out legislating “a market price on carbon” in the next parliament.

    As it turned out, she came to lead a minority regime — something not anticipated at the time — and so the climate assembly was dumped. One can’t infer even bad faith on this matter for her, though as I’ve said in the past, she was either stupid to mention it at all, and one suspects she was doing a bit of dogwhistling at the soft deniers in an attempt to guard her right flank, inviting them to imagine that in practice, there’d be no carbon price at all for some time — in essence duplicating Rudd’s position in practice.

    But Abbott here has definitely misrepresented LNP policy in an attempt to neutralise a policy difference between the parties that could harm his campaign so that the vote could be seen as a straight vote on the ALP as managers. He used the “unity ticket” formulation for NDIS and “aged care” as well — in the latter case during the debate at Rooty Hill. In short, this was no throwaway line late in the campaign, but one of those “carefully scripted statements”.

    In short, he clearly was lying on this. I note also the LNP’s claim that they had “200 policies ready to go” (presumably including Gonski) and yet now they aren’t sure what policy funding model should be adopted. That must also be counted a lie in the strongest sense unless those 200 didn’t include one on funding education. Their cover was the unity ticket claim.

    I’d say “sleazy” was an apt term here.

  3. Now the ultimate National shame, Abbott is taking this intelligence “u” turn to the G20 in Australia’s name. And Campbell Newman is right there beside him.

    It seems Newman’s price to be an Abbott education toady is just $130 million.

  4. That is just downright sickening, MikeH.

    Zero impartiality of the press there………full stop!

    Clearly the Australian is nothing more than a party political rag,…… that people pay for?

  5. This just on ABC News from Abbott:

    We’ll deliver the education promises we made, not the education promises the public thought we made.

    Of course, if one puts that line, it’s an admission that one’s “mandate” is for what others thought they meant. Thus, whatever they said, if people thought they meant they were implementing the “Better Schools” program or “NDIS” or FTTN by 2016 at a third the cost or their unity ticket on Aged Care policy then that’s what they have to do to keep faith.

    Someone should explore each of these things with them and invote them to say what they thought most folk who voted for them thought they meant. That would be instructive.

  6. Watching Abbott speaking in Brisbane, watching not hearing, there is no point in having the sound on…if Abbott’s lips are moving he is saying nothing that he won’t do the opposite of or renege on next week or sooner, that the ground work is being laid for an election again in February next year.

  7. Dennis is a hopeless unalloyed supporter of the Lib’s conservative arm: I gave up on his opinion pieces long ago—peak opinion piece veracity, perhaps?

    As for members of this government, we all know the three letter word which applies to their many flatly contradictory statements from day to day; we all know the four letter word, the noun identifying the individual purveyor of the three letter word; however, if we dare say it, the threat of a law suit is there. I’ll risk it: Christopher Pyne is a liar and the evidence is unequivocal: Fran Kelly nailed it on Insiders this morning. If he doesn’t believe it himself, he can take it up with her. Perhaps cut the ABC to the bone just to teach them a lesson, like the Gonski state government signatories feel they are being dealt…

    As for Tony Abbott, as I’ve said before, he is a political weathervane: he says what he feels the mood of the day dictates, but chucks in a little gifter for his most loyal of the voting constituency, before baldly reversing his direction a few days or weeks later. In opposition he was an awesome depiction of a wildly swinging weathervane, climate-related statements being a perfect demonstration of this marvellous talent.

  8. No surprises there, Fran, but that is a detail I missed (not having the sound on). It just beggars belief. My daughter doing her master of education in Melbourne is livid with at Abbott’s total lack of integrity, and barefaced scamming of Australian’s.

  9. @Fran Barlow
    ..and more to the point, if people only voted for them on the basis of a unity ticket which they do not intend to implement, surely the honorable thing to do is to go back to the electorate?

  10. I look to any government to first of all govern on my behalf. I never expect to get a pony, (I’m doing ok) but I demand that everyone’s children, the sick, the less fortunate, indigenous Australians, asylum seekers, foreigners in general get treated kindly and their needs met where practicable. I can forgive any number of mistakes by a governments as long it holds to this aim.

    What I can’t abide are the kind of self-serving shivs and extremists who want to shove their dogma down everyone’s throat while feathering their own nests. Abbott’s record so far is looking very poor (asylum seekers, education, NBN, climate change, foreign policy, ….) and all this in less than 3 months. I don’t even personally know anyone who would benefit from this regime but I guess religious extremists, the rich and powerful, the stupid and the fearful are out there in great enough numbers to vote them in. What I get is a minimum of 3 years of shame, 3 years of wondering why Australia can’t actually be a great country rather than a third rate pretender run by imbeciles.

    Dennis Shanahan is just broken in the head. I wouldn’t ask him the time of day.

  11. David Allen

    What I get is a minimum of 3 years of shame, 3 years of wondering why Australia can’t actually be a great country rather than a third rate pretender run by imbeciles.

    I’m thinking more like 18 months at this stage. They don’t look coherent enough to get through an entire term without falling apart.

  12. It’s straight out of the Yes Prime Minister scripts, which talk of “political promises” in such a way as to indicate that these are promises that the maker does not not expect to keep and does not expect to be held to, even by a credulous electorate.

  13. @Fran Barlow
    I said to my partner when I heard that gem: ‘This is Tony Abbott’s Humpty Dumpty moment.’ This is an expression of open cynicism and it is astonishing in its candid contempt for the electorate. To paraphrase Howard: we decide what the words we say mean and the circumstances in which they are interpreted.

  14. I suspect that the Queensland Premier is the only one willing to stand beside Abbott today.

    It appears, with this government, it is our fault, if it is seen as breaking promises. Not Mr. Abbott’s fault if we do not comprehend what he said.

    Accordion to Abbott. as I see it, he is saying, we should not listen to the words, as we should know what he means.

    Must say, clever than what Howard came up with. That of core and non core promises.
    By the way, does anyone have any idea, of what Abbott did promise, when it came to education.

  15. Maybe this government should print a guide to Abbott speak.

    Maybe we will then be able to decipher what he really means.

    Could be a problem, that it is so outrageous, that he cannot let us in on the secret.

  16. No, not non core. The fault is ours, for not reading hidden meanings into his words. One could call it Abbott speak.

  17. PrQ

    [Is that an actual quote? If so, it really is his “Humpty Dumpty” moment.]

    Yes and yes. It was on Bolt this morning with a transcript from Peter Martin on twitter.

  18. By the way HAL9000, I liked your rendering of this back into the Howard doctrine that I posted it elsewhere and on twitter. I gave you credit in the first location but I had to amend it to fit it intelligibly into twitter so I didn’t give you the credit there that you deserved.

    I hop you’ll forgive me, but in any event, I’m doing early disclosure so that I can say that I didn’t intend plagiarism.

  19. oops:

    I liked your rendering of this back into the Howard doctrine so much that I posted it elsewhere and on twitter {…} I hope you’ll forgive me …

  20. They were a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative opposition, and are now a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative government. Quelle surprise.

    Leaving aside the dishonesty about the ‘budget emergency’, which seemed to have a surprising amount of resonance in the electorate… more rightwingers should read The Economist, heh.

  21. Dan, it is exactly what I was expecting. Have been annoying many writing about what I expected for a year or more.

    Even I, did not expect every thing I said or predicted to come to be the reality we are in today.

    There must be many on the right, that do not like or believe in what this man and his cronies are doing.

  22. @Dan

    They were a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative opposition, and are now a completely vapid, negative and unimaginative government. Quelle surprise.

    Very much so. Their “Real Solutions for Australians” booklet was a tour de force in these respects.

  23. It is to be expected because the media didn’t hold Abbott accountable during the election campaign. Apparently whenever he gets a difficult question during a press conference he just walks away.

    As others have stated the media percieve that their role is to bring down an existing governement, but not to prevent a bad one from taking office.

  24. We still have not seen what they have in store for health. What is coming down the IR pipe.

    Cutting those regulations, green, black and red tape, I fear will not be to the liking of many.

    We also have also those investigations, into Gillard, and allegations from 20 years ago. HIP, and HSU.

    All costly, but one can hope, they turn out, as the one that revealed the bottom of the harbour schemes , when they went after the Victorian Painters and Dockers.

    Even with the scandals involving Obeid, there are many more business men, than politicians.

  25. Not that there’s any connection between Abbott’s substantially catholic cabinet and his Gonski lies but it’s worth noting. (Abbott, Brandis(?), Hockey, Joyce, Pyne, Andrews, Turnbull, Robb, Cormann) 8 out of 19. Throw in a couple of Anglicans and a couple of fringe mobs. Would there be a leaning to ensure high funding of non-government schools perhaps? Not exactly a body of lived experience of the public system.

    Is this mix really representative of the Australian population?

  26. I just wonder when the electorate will reach Peak Gullibility and start disbelieving these LNP snake oil merchants.

  27. I suspect the public system is not broken enough for this government.

    They will not be happy until they see the public system, dead buried and cremated,.

  28. There is one thing, I do not understand about Abbott. Is his professed admiration, and onbe could say love for the GG. He thinks she is a wonderful woman.

    On Bolt this morning, he was strident in his defence of her.

    Even Bolt was a little taken back.

    The question is why?. Unless I am mistaken, this woman has spent her life working for woman’s rights. Not a right wing hero in any way.

  29. Now deleted but recorded in the wayback machine is Abbotts “pledge” August 2013

    If elected, the Coalition will:
     
    – ensure Commonwealth schools funding committed by Labor for school year 2014 will flow to all states and territories irrespective of whether they have signed a deal with the Gillard or Rudd Government;
    – amend the Australian Education Act to ensure the states, territories and non-government sectors keep authority for their schools; and
    – match the Commonwealth funding for schools committed by Labor over the forward estimates.
     
    This will provide schools and parents with the funding certainty they deserve. It means that the Coalition will match Labor dollar-for-dollar over the next four years.

  30. @rog

    Your problem is you aren’t reading their policy creatively enough. When they say, “It means that the Coalition will match Labor dollar-for-dollar over the next four years”, you would be thinking that they mean Australian dollar-for-Australian dollar. But what they meant was “East Carribean dollar-for-Australian dollar”.

    I can’t see how you missed that!

  31. I think that in 12 months this will be a non issue – unlike the ALP Abbott is not scared of public opinion (or appears not).

  32. rog, do you really believe all those,,,, from across all sectors of society are going to roll over and die on this one.

    The trouble for Abbott. is that the SES model is indeed broken, unfair and waste of money, that is allowing education in this country to go backwards.

    Same goes for carbon emissions. Neither are not going away.

  33. Catching up :
    There is one thing, I do not understand about Abbott. Is his professed admiration, and onbe could say love for the GG. He thinks she is a wonderful woman.
    On Bolt this morning, he was strident in his defence of her.
    Even Bolt was a little taken back.
    The question is why?. Unless I am mistaken, this woman has spent her life working for woman’s rights. Not a right wing hero in any way.

    Perhaps Abbot is already looking towards a possible constitutional crisis?

  34. Re David Allen’s query, George Brandis was raised as a Catholic and, as far as I know, has never apostatized from that religion.

  35. @Jim Rose
    No, instead of having a government that was just politically incompetent but managerially sound, Abbott’s government is the real deal and they have proven it in record time and the polls are already starting bear that out.

  36. I think Abbott may have said ‘promises some thought we made ‘ ,not, ‘promises the public thought we made ‘ from memory ..? But that wouldnt water down the arrogance of the statement much anyway. They have a public relations problem at the moment that I’d like to see as looking and acting overly blokey. The consequence of an easy ride into office.

  37. @Jim Rose

    whomever they defeated must be worse.

    Not necessarily, and in the circumstances, unsupportable, but moot even if true. If the less worse side is still unfit to lead, that’s still a disaster.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s