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22 responses to “An Abbott government: active or passive conservatism?”

  1. hannah's dad
  2. akn

    Hannah’s dad: thank you for that link above! What a demolition job.

    Abbott, like many religious people, outsources his conscience to a church. Not all believers do this, in my experience, but many do. He is not to be trusted and nor is he to be extended any sympathy on the basis of his conscience or his struggles to bring his conscience into line with political pragmatism or vice versa.

    Old school Church hypocrisy in Australia has had its day. The bulk of the population can read and write these days and we want no more to do with civic worthies who claim to attend to moral and ethical issues in the privacy of their church while equivocating, lying and back flipping as required in public life.

  3. Ronson Dalby

    The Loon Pond has been around for about 3 or 4 years now and is one of the best all-round commentary blogs on the ‘Net. It’s a pity it doesn’t get more exposure.

  4. David Irving (no relation)

    You’ve been missing a treat, Brian. The Pond can deliver manic sprays almost worthy of Dr Hunter S. Thompson.

  5. John D

    It is useful to separate morality into the “shared morality” that has wide support across the community including seculars and people belonging to most religions and “subgroup specific morality”. (Think “not stealing” vs “observing the sabbath.”
    The problem I have with Abbott is that he doesn’t recognise that things like prohibition on gay marriage have moved from widely shared morality to something that is not widely shared across the community. His decision not to allow a conscience vote on this issue does not set a good precedent. His decision as health minister to try and block acceptance of the abortion pill is not a good sign either.

  6. Luxxe

    While on the topic – Anthony Albanese said yesterday that he is committed to “the Catholic church, the ALP and Souths” – does anyone know his position on abortion rights? Has he publicly stated a position? It’s probably wise to keep an eye on “blue ties” on both sides of parliament re this issue.

  7. Phil263

    Brian @ 3
    There is much to worry about, even more with the likes of Robb, Kevin Andrews, Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop, George Brandis, Barnaby Joyce et al.

    I agree with you there, we should be more worried about the die-hard Thatcherites in Abbott’s team than about Abbot himself. Look at the IPA wish list to get an idea of what some of these people have in mind, no doubt encouraged by Uncle Rupert and Aunty Gina [Rinehart]. The big unknown is to what extent Abbott would listen to the public and to his own convictions versus giving in to his colleagues.

  8. Paul Norton

    Luxxe @7, Albo certainly took a pro-choice stand on RU486 and I’m pretty confident that he would not have been a stalwart of the so-called “hard left” from his youth if he wasn’t reliably pro-choice on abortion.

  9. Paul Norton
  10. faustusnotes

    I don’t see any strong evidence anywhere that Abbot is committed to the idea of not allowing religion to interfere in public life. I think a lot of christian ALP members (e.g. Garrett and Albo) hold this position, but I don’t see it in the behavior of the liberals. See e.g. Cory Bernardi.

    In general politicians of all stripes in Australia tend to leave their religious morality at home, and it’s reasonable to expect this tradition will apply to Abbot to some extent. But I think we’ve seen evidence this doesn’t extend to abortion.

    Also there’s a flipside to the claim that Politics Abbot will trump Religious Abbot: what happens when he needs to dog-whistle his base at desperate times? Then I think Politics Abbot will be more than happy to bring Religious Abbot to the fore. We’ve seen some of that with the unpleasantness he’s been willing to tolerate from his fellow travellers on Gillard. But if he were in power, and a couple of years down the track his base were getting restless, that’s when politics Abbot and religious Abbot will find it altogether too easy to agree on policy …

  11. Christian

    Assuming the Coalition win, I don’t believe for a second that Abbott will allow a conscience vote on same-sex marriage after the election. He will use his authority as PM to stomp on the dissenters quick-smart. He’s already laid the groundwork for this by suggesting recently that he doesn’t think there will be “much of a mood for change” on the issue.

    However, you wouldn’t believe the number of gay men and lesbians I speak to who seem utterly convinced that he will allow a conscience vote. I don’t know if they genuinely believe it or are just lying to themselves (or me) in order to justify a vote for the Tories.

    The other great myth that I keep hearing is that the Liberals will replace PM Abbott with Turnbull shortly after the election. Again, it seems to be a favourite of people who are trying to justify voting for the Coalition.

  12. Ronson Dalby

    I was watching Abbott on the 7.30 Report last night (soft interview: coincidence that Leigh Sales wasn’t in the chair?) and again on this video where, today, he tells a female reporter to ‘calm down’:


    and I couldn’t help thinking that Abbott may be rolled fairly quickly should the LNP win the election. If Abbott is on his best behaviour now, his ego and communication problems may bring him down in a short time.

  13. Giles Of Green Anthrax

    Abbott is dangerous.

    An Abbott government will effectively remove all environmental protection legislation from the books.

    In deferring environmental protection to the states, Abbott knows that environmental protections will be ignored.

    Also, Abbott’s policy to make all public schools ‘independent’ i.e. reliant on corporate funding seeks two objectives: Reduce tax for the rich; and removal of the awareness of social conscience and its replacement by a corporate consciousness. Its another manifestation of his lifelong ‘Destroy The ANU’ campaign.

  14. mindy

    It doesn’t seem to matter if it is Religious Abbott or Politics Abbott, Sexist Abbott is always there. Illustrated above in Ronson’s link.

  15. Ootz

    Thank you Brian for following up on my thoughts on Tony Abbott. The motivation behind my linked comment is relevant to the discussion here. I brought up the issue because a comment was made up thread how on another blog pop psychology and stereotypical labels were even more excessively used to described Tony Abbott than on LP. My argument is, ‘our’ collective brain thrust can do better then that. The high probability of PM Tony Abbott Government warrants a serious analysis and discussion on how an Abbott Government will effect our Nation.

    I had miss givings with Howard before he became PM and most of them were substantiated. Some of my assumptions about his character played out in rather unexpected way and I expect the same to eventuate with Tony Abbott PM. Nevertheless, I stand by my prediction of “a TA Government wont be as reactionary as many think, more like a Howard lite version, just more divisive and very much guided by common popular sentiments (meaning msm driven).” Thus, while the Cardinal takes Abbott’s confessions, Murdoch and his free marketeers will take his soul. After all he swore a blood oath to that effect.

    Aly and Marr are not the only ones to differentiate between the value driven and pragmatic Abbott. When promoting him to the cabinet, Howard described Abbott as a n effective performer with an endearing style, meanwhile the Opposition described him as a “bomb thrower”. He got his first Ministery (health) to fix two looming problems and was also Mr Fix-it in the disposal of the One Nation threat. There is undeniably a pragmatic side to Abbott. The question is who is his pragmatism serving? I do agree with Peter van Onselen’s lament of “Tony Abbott in danger of being a do-nothing PM”, albeit for different reasons. He will stubbornly hang on to that Government dispatch box at any price, just as stubbornly as he tried to get to it, and thus will continue with LNP in power project where his mentor left it.

  16. Patrickb

    Well found @1. As soon as I read the opening line I thought of Loon Ponds critique. Aly is annoying to say the least, I’ve almost given up on him on RN. Parker’s quotes around abortion demonstrates Abbott’s casual attitude to denigrating large numbers of women in the most hurtful fashion. Morals Abbott, pig’s arse.

  17. Lefty E

    My fear is that an Abbott government would be petty and vengeful, and, in the absence of much policy direction, would court the occasional demented brainfart from the IPA. On the while though, I agree its unlikely to go hard on Catholic social doctrine . Abbott remains an outsider in that sense.

    Tha said: I for one don’t believe we’ll be seeing ‘an Abbott government’ at all. I realise this view is not yet widely held – and certainly, there’s no room for complacency.

  18. Ronson Dalby

    Read the comments on this article for reminders of who we get if we get an Abbott government (or for those who want Turnbull – remember you get this team with him):


  19. Graham Bell

    Thanks for the link, Hannah’s dad @ 1.

    Don’t be too hard on Waleed Aly though; like any of the poor devils in the ABC, he just wants to keep his job after the FedElect circus is over.

    LeftyE @19

    My fear is that an Abbott government would be petty and vengeful, and, in the absence of much policy direction, would court the occasional demented brainfart from the IPA.

    How’s that for a concise and accurate assessment, Folks?.

    Strange events in Queensland will upset Abbott’s plans and his attitudes now that Campbell Newman seems hell-bent on committing political harakiri over the MPs’ salary scandal. Wonder if he will be gentlemanly towards Premier Anastacia Paluszczek or behave as he did towards PM Julia Gillard?

  20. Lloyd

    Loon Pond is true genius. Only in Australia could this person be languishing with 1 or 2 comments a day.

    There is no savvier commentator on the Australian media, especially the Oz and all it’s protected idiots.

  21. Ootz