Abbott, Knight and Bishop

In making my predictions for 2015, I was tempted to predict that Abbott would last out the year, mainly on the basis of inertia, but decided it was too risky (Commenter Fran B sensibly went the other way). I’m already glad of that: even before Sir Phil, it seemed as if he was on the skids.

Assuming Abbott goes (still not certain, but looking more likely with every hour), Julie Bishop looks like a sure thing to replace him. She has looked pretty good as Foreign Minister (if you’re willing to overlook a massive cut in foreign aid), but that’s relatively easy, largely a matter of not messing up. If she does take over, she’ll need to do more than that.

To demonstrate that there’s a real change, she’ll have to break with Abbott on some major issues. Presumably that will include dumping Hockey and the most unpopular of the 2014 budget measures, but most of those are already dead.

The really big break would be to return to some kind of bipartisanship on climate change. There’s some precedent, given the way she stood up to him over going to the Lima meeting. But it would entail a break with the (numerous) denialists and tribalists in the party room and the broader party apparatus (including the Murdoch Press and bodies like the IPA). Still, if she could carry it off, she would be a force to be reckoned with.

104 thoughts on “Abbott, Knight and Bishop

  1. @Donald Oats Therein lies the problem, dumping Abbott won’t change their policies and it is their policies, or the implementation of, that the electorate don’t like.

    Turnbull is on the nose because of his ETS – backbenchers are still predominantly in denial.

  2. PM Tony Abbott has tried it on again. Will his people—the LNP—give him the benefit of the doubt yet again? The 1.5% cut in business tax should help out there, but I’m blowed if I can see how cutting government revenue—yet again—will solve the (urgent) budget emergency; sure, in the longer term, it could result in some businesses hiring more staff, but the change in both the dollar’s exchange rate, and the price of petrol, are likely to affect businesses more significantly than a 1.5% cut in tax.

    In any case, who knows if the 1.5% cut will ever eventuate…and that is the problem with this government. If ever there were a case to block supply, this government had made that case in spades.

  3. Toxic Tony keeps claiming he is a competent captain. To continue his analogy, all one can see from him is a string of ducks with the bat and a complete inability to set a field or manage his attack. Maybe a better name for him is Captain Catastrophe.

    I find his interviews embarrassing. A grown man and a PM standing up before the media pack and the country and saying earnestly “I am a competent captain. I am, really.” There’s an air of desperation about him and a distinct sense he is falling apart inside. It strikes me that despite his bluff and bluster he is in a fragile and unstable state. His ego can’t handle the fact he is a complete flop.

    John Howard was a cricket tragic but a competent PM, albeit competent in a bad way. Tony Abbott is a Prime Ministerial tragic.

  4. ” Nobody joins the Liberal Party to be left-wing. If you stand for compulsory student unionism, drug-injecting rooms and lowering the [homosexual] age of consent, you can choose the Greens, Labor or the Democrats. ” [alex hawke, quoted in Mascarenhas, Alan (18 May 2005). “Young Lib taunts the wets: go to the Greens”. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 May 2011 and found in wikipedia 2015-02-01]

    and no one knows better out in right field than alex hawke & brian loughnane & peta credlin the home truth in paul keating’s “you change the gov’t, you change the country” quip.

    ok, so, pace rupert murdoch & associated punditry, the issue isn’t primarily peta after all. peta is just part of an alignment (there are no factions in the liberals) of “usa-inspired hard christian-right interests” who – with no electorally acceptable public persona of their own – have positioned themselves instead into the role of keeping “soft, reform conservatives” out of pm&c.

    they have achieved this – in the current electoral iteration – by maneuvering into pm&c – over & against the turnbull option – an empty vessel sufficiently aligned with their values on certain core social issues and over which they have since exercised control by limiting access & setting agenda – having ensured that the position of chief of staff of pm&c is held by one of their own, peta.

    to remove abbott (or peta, or both as it will probably have to transpire) will require someone – and their allies in conservative politics & media – to commit to (1) engage in mortal combat with a powerful highly-motivated trans-parliamentary / party-room interest-group backed by murdoch & accustomed to prevailing, or (2) acquiesce & reach an accommodation with it, as after all “the alignment” goes up to the party chairman and includes key socially conservative senior liberals in cabinet & party positions. this isn’t just about tony abbott or peta or gov’t communicating its message, &c. its about contesting, here locally, the usa-inspired hard christian-right for the soul of the australian liberal party and the tenor australian conservativism will assume in the face of the unfolding natural & social emergencies coming up. removing abbott & peta won’t on its own secure the minimal safety of sensible conservatism in australia in current conditions. magnums of schadenfreude will be polished off on the night to be sure but i fear there will be little durable to celebrate out of this. -a.v.

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