After the spin - The AIM Network
After a week which saw Tony Abbott’s government berated by both Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, The Australian has joined the chorus of discontent saying
“Limply, the Prime Minister is losing the battle to define core issues and to explain to voters what he is doing and why.”
What did they expect from a man who counts off his policies on his
fingers as he presents three word slogans that Mark Textor wrote for
What did they expect from a man who said “I have never been as
excited about economics as some of my colleagues; you know, I find
economics is not for nothing known as the dismal science”?
What did they expect from a man who said “I’m no tech head” as he
explained to us why we didn’t need a National Broadband Network?
What did they expect from a man who thinks that “climate change is crap” and that Ebola is due to the carbon tax?
Ok… he may not have directly said that last one but if it wasn’t the
carbon tax then it was the mining tax, or the debt and deficit disaster,
or something Labor did, as Abbott was at pains to point out to the
assembled leaders of the world at the G20.
The truth of the matter is that Tony Abbott has no idea of why they
are doing what they are doing other than to reward their friends, to
wipe any Labor reforms off the books, and to do what lobby and focus
groups tell him to.
Let’s take “stop the boats” as an example.
We were told that we must stop the boats to stop deaths at sea, to
break the people smuggler’s business model, and to stop supposed queue
Having achieved success in this at huge cost (reputational, financial
and humanitarian), we are now stopping refugees registered with the
UNHCR from coming – you know, the ones that are in the queue. We have
also closed our doors to anyone coming from West Africa because they
might have germs (fingers crossed no return).
In his campaign launch, Tony Abbott said “we won’t increase the
humanitarian migrant intake until such time as it’s no longer being
filled by people smugglers.”
Far from increasing the intake now that the people smugglers are
apparently out of business, he cut it from 20,000 to 13,750 and
‘resettled’ 29 unaccompanied minors on Nauru. Unfortunately, the locals are beating them up.
And who could forget the high fives when they “axed the taxes”.
Tony warned the carbon and mining taxes would cripple industry and
wipe out investment. In fact, as reported in The Australian Financial
Review, corporate Australia paid out a record $53 billion to shareholders in 2013, despite the carbon and mining taxes, with fund manager Perpetual calculating dividend payments rose 6.1% in 2013 from 2012.
AMP chief economist Dr Shane Oliver said “ the  results have been impressive”.
“So far 55% of companies have exceeded expectations (compared to a
norm of 43%); 73% of companies have seen their profits rise from a year
ago (compared to a norm of 66%); a whopping 78% of companies have
increased their dividends from a year ago (compared to an average of
around 62% in the last two years)… Key themes are a massive turnaround
for the resources stocks (notably Rio), banks doing very well (with
great results from CBA and ANZ), help coming through from the lower $A,
ongoing cost control, improved outlook comments from cyclicals (like
Boral) and soaring dividends.”
In February Tony Abbott said ‘‘We are all mourning the closedown of
the Alcoa plant at Point Henry near Geelong but I regret to say that’s
the carbon tax doing its job’’.
What he failed to mention was that, in the first year of the carbon
price, the industry was eligible for maximum compensation. This meant
94.5 per cent of the industry’s average emissions were paid for by the
government, reducing by 1.3% each year.
Alcoa Inc recorded a $53 million gain in its annual report. That
document, which dealt with the year to December 2013, contained the
following declaration: “… a favorable [sic] change of $53 [million] in
prepaid expenses and other current assets, mostly caused by the sale of excess carbon credits in Australia”. Ironically, removing the carbon tax not only cost the government revenue, it also cost the aluminium industry.
But what can we expect from a Prime Minister who admitted he didn’t
read the company reports that stated the taxing regime in Australia had
nothing to do with their decisions to close mines or smelters?
How can we believe Abbott wants to “cut the waste” when he spends
hundreds of millions on new planes big enough for his press contingent,
or fleets of bomb proof cars, or who decides to live in Kirribilli House
rather than Canberra, or who keeps caucus waiting while he has a photo
shoot to justify claiming overnight accommodation and flights to a
private function, or who spends millions on his ‘‘Strategic Communications Branch’’ to monitor social media?
And I would suggest that Hockey’s upcoming MYEFO will put pay to any
talk of debt and deficit repair. After all, he has a war to pay for and
all the toys that go with it.
The Australian went on to say “Voters are left with the impression
that Mr Hockey’s May budget was a litany of broken promises, designed to
inflict severe pain on low-income workers and the poor, and that the
deficit crisis was not as acute as the Coalition presented it.”
I would suggest that is an accurate appraisal backed up by the figures rather than an impression.
The Australian further suggests that “The Abbott government is doomed
without narrative”, but sooner or later, spin with no substance gets