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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Abbott, Murdoch, Credlin and the point of no return

Abbott, Murdoch, Credlin and the point of no return

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Tony Abbott is on the ropes

Tony Abbott crossed the line last week and his brief reign as Australia's prime minister is about to end.

Until now if anybody asked who was the worst prime minister Australia ever had, most would say Billy McMahon.

Now Abbott's name will appear in Australia's history as the leader
who could not lead; a man who is untrustworthy, unreliable and
dishonest; who shamed himself and the country he should never have been
allowed to lead because he was totally unqualified by birth and by incompetence.

No sensible Australian believed his argument that Labor had left a debt crisis in its wake, that the budget cuts he demanded were ever necessary.

No sensible Australian believed Joe Hockey's ramblings about a financial disaster left in the wake of a Labor party. 

Actually, Labor had achieved a great deal more
than was generally recognised, the truth buried in an unfortunate set
of leadership changes, seen by a majority of the party as necessary at
the time but punished by an irritated electorate. 

The election of 2013 was the result of shameful dishonesty, shared
between the Murdoch newspapers and the claims the Liberal-Nationals used
ruthlessly in their pre-election desperation and then in their post-election incompetence.

Tony Abbott, maintaining his obsequious relationship with Rupert
Murdoch, over dinner in December, allegedly blamed bad advice from his
communications staff for the failings of the Government Murdoch himself
had installed.

That's when Murdoch said: get rid of them — including Peta Credlin.

Abbott took Murdoch's orders and overhauled his media team, including dumping his press office director Jane McMillan and appointing the ABC's Mark Simkin in his place

But Abbott demurred on Credlin and tried to save her. Murdoch allegedly took to phoning Abbott demanding Credlin's head.

Abbott refused and so Murdoch used Twitter to reinforce his demand.

Predictably, this unleased the dogs of war and
his sycophantic retinue of hacks for hire immediately took up their
master's call.

It is easy to forget that when Labor was in office, Australia achieved triple A financial ratings on a level with Germany, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland — and even better than the USA at that time.

When the Abbott Government took power, Australia had one of the lowest levels of government debt in the western world. The debt is still relatively low, though the Abbott and Hockey financial team managed to double the debt in their first six months in power.

In 2008, the Labor Government under Rudd allowed the Budget to go
into deficit because of the global financial crisis. This immediately
stimulated the Australian economy, kept us out of recession and maintained a record high employment level.

The simple truth is that in 2014 Joe Hockey deceptively inflated Australia's debt level
to produce panic. His Budget projections raised the deficit peak of $68
billion, when Labor's highest level had actually been $54 billion.
Under Labor, spending growth was locked at less than two per cent per
year, the lowest in 23 years.

The fiscal outlook for Australia was praised by no less than the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who congratulated the Labor government's financial stimulus as one of the best designed programs in the world.

At the same time, Labor maintained one of the lowest tax takes in the western world, at just 22.5% of GDP, compared with John Howard's average rate of 25%. 

Put more simply than the figures above,
Australians can now accept that their country has been subjected to a
government that lied its way into power — and now seems intent on lying
its way back to oblivion.

You can follow Rodney on Twitter @RodneyELever.