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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tony Abbott: Begging For His Job. Round 1. - The AIM Network

Tony Abbott: Begging For His Job. Round 1. - The AIM Network

Tony Abbott: Begging For His Job. Round 1.

Something truly remarkable is happening in Australian
Politics. Unprecedented in my memory. An Australian Prime Minister is
being given the chance to transform from bastard to saint. Or somewhere

Even after 40% of his colleagues have declared him unfit (and there were
probably many more including 6 ministers) to lead our nation. Even in
the face of polls that overwhelming reflect the public’s opinion of our

Even after the media and his closest right wing supporters have
condemned him. Even though he leads a dysfunctional and chaotic

They still think he is the best person for the highest office in our
nation. Even after all the lies, his trust deficit, his support for
inequality, his arrogance, inflexibility and hypocrisy, his governance
for those who have, his inability to understand technology and science
and an incapacity to understand women’s needs and sexual equality.

The captain’s calls, back flips, and his monarchist allegiance. His
negativity, thuggish demeanor and his contempt for the conventions of
parliament. Add to that his inability to adapt to the demands of office
which stem from the fact that he is fundamentally a creature of the
past. Yes, they still think he has all the characteristics of

If he is to transform himself who are we likely to end up with?

Leigh Sales on the 7.30 Program put it this way:

“We’ve had the Tony Abbott in opposition, the guy who
promised no more chaos, the adults back in charge, the ‘no excuses and
no broken promises’,” Ms Sales said.

“Then there’s the Tony Abbott we’ve had so far in government with the
surprise policies and broken promises and the captain’s picks.

“Now you’re offering us a third Tony Abbott – one who’s going to change. Who are you?”

As David Marr puts it:

“The prime minister’s problem is not the captain’s picks,
not his failure to consult, nor the micromanagement of the cabinet by
his office. He just failed to grow”.

In his 20 years of parliamentary service he has been a politician of the past believing his duty is to save us from the future.

No Opposition Leader in Australian Political history
has made a greater contribution to the decline in public discourse, the
lowering of parliamentary standards and the abuse of our democracy than
Tony Abbott.

No Prime Minister in Australian Political history
has made a greater contribution to the decline in public discourse, the
lowering of parliamentary standards and the abuse of our democracy than
Tony Abbott.

Yet his party believes he can convert a lifetime of thuggish
negativity into motivational, inspirational leadership. A Prime Minister
in whom the people can trust. He deserves the chance they say. We owe
it to him.

The conundrum of course for the LNP is that they don’t want to be
portrayed like Labor who had little hesitation in dumping leaders but at
the same time know they cannot win the next election with Abbott.

When the spill motion was defeated, what followed was an avalanche of
contrived support spewed from the mouths of ministers and hangers on
that could only be described as nauseating in its insincerity.

Everyone knows that the Abbott brand is dead. In all my years of
political ears dropping, never have I seen such a cavalcade of
fallaciousness from politicians who could only be described as silly
enough to believe their own bullshit. Watching this line up of Abbott
apologists was not only excruciatingly painful but seriously saddening.
Do these idiots, I asked myself, really believe that I accept as true,
the crap they are emitting?

Showing an exterior of suitable chastisement Tony Abbott announced
that “Good Government starts today”. One was apt to wonder why it didn’t
start when he said that the adults were in charge.

Then in Parliament the same day, when a no confidence motion was
moved he immediately went to negative mode in a speech that amounted to
nothing more than repetitive old Tony. Transformed Tony was nowhere to
be seen. His near death experience seemed not to have registered.
Perhaps he was blinded by the white light.

Later on The 7.30 Report the old Tony was still fighting like an Opposition Leader.

I beat Gillard, I beat Rudd and I will beat Shorten he said, missing
the point that Australian’s are after a leader, not a pugilist.

It was as Malcolm Farr said on the Insiders program on Sunday:

“He can’t understand why people aren’t grateful”.

He, his Treasurer and his Ministers have never been able to admit
that the budget was unfair. On the same program Mathias Coremann said

“no Minister had complained that the budget was unfair”.

He must have been lying because Malcolm Turnbull, the alternative leader that 50% of the party want as leader said this:

“it is vitally important, both as a matter of social
justice and political reality, that structural changes are seen as being
fair across the board”.

“That means not only must tough decisions be justified, but that the
burden of adjustment is not borne disproportionately by one part of the

An alcoholic cannot address his problem until he admits he has one.
The Government cannot possibly govern for the common good until there is
some kind of ministerial acknowledgement that indeed the budget was

The pugilist might have won round one, just, but the fight for
Liberal leadership is far from over. He might have dodged a left hook
but the Liberals remain deeply divided. They are all over the place with
policy and a treasurer who seems incapable in the job. Pressure has
mounted on Abbott to appease the back bench. It is demanding that Hockey
and Credlin go.

Brand Abbott is dead. This is why.

For most of my working life I worked in marketing and advertising so I
know how people are influenced, persuaded or swayed by such things as
branding and repetitive advertising or recurring bullshit.

Companies spend millions of dollars to subtly brainwash you. To align
you with a certain brand or product. They will use all manner of
persuasive techniques including sex and deceptive packaging to solicit
your good will and loyalty. They even measure the eye blink rate of
women from hidden cameras in supermarkets to test colour reaction. Yes
it’s that sophisticated. And brand loyalty is what they want. There are
more psychologists employed in advertising in America than in the health
industry. It is all calculated to take power over your decision-making.

Likewise, political parties want your loyalty, or at least they want
to convince you that they are working in your best interests. They use
the same repetitive techniques.

If you tell a lie often enough people will believe you. The Abbott
government stating that asylum seekers are “illegal” and “she told a
lie”, or that families received $550 dollars as a result of the removal
of the carbon tax are but three examples.

The Abbott Government has taken persuasion to another level employing
37 communication and social media specialists to monitor social media
and offer strategic communications advice costing taxpayers almost $4.3
million a year. In addition Peter Dutton’s departments employ more than
95 communications staff and spin doctors, costing at least $8million a
year. In Dutton’s case it is about protecting a slogan. Nothing else.

That’s a lot of people to sell the brand, spin lies, omissions,
monitoring social media and telling deliberate falsities. It’s about
creating or promoting perceptions (rather than realities) about your
political brand as opposed to that of your competitor. There are a
number of ingredients in “successful” political branding. The product
needs a positive image, and a leader with character who is surrounded by
positive motivated people.

A fair dose of charisma is helpful but not entirely essential. What
is essential is a well thought out narrative that the electorate can
relate too and policies that are explainable. Even if they involve some
pain. It doesn’t require popularism so long as it has credibility. John
Howard was never popular but he had the perception of creditability.

Unfortunately the Abbott government and its ministers are nothing
more than a compliment to mediocrity and intellectual barrenness. The
brand has its genesis in contemptuous negativity and has failed to apply
a label to any policy.

Its front bench is full of colorless dour depressive uninspiring
types who will be intent on implementing a second budget of political
expediency rather that economic necessity whilst the current one will
remain an unfinished work in progress.

The collective personalities of Abbott (a self-confessed and proven
liar and a PM for undoing), Pyne (arguably the most hated politician in
Australia). Brandis (an Attorney General who believes bigotry is fine),
Abetz (needs a personality transplant) Hockey (a serial blamer of
everyone else), Joyce (potentially our next deputy PM, OMG). Dutton
(cannot shake off his copper image), Hunt (no credibility on Climate
Change after writing a thesis supporting a tax), Morrison (the
un-Christian Christian. Don’t say I said that. It’s a secret.), Robb
(still wanting Joe’s job), Truss (soon to retire) and Cormann (can’t
throw off the accent), all of which reads like a list of appointments
from a psychiatrist who specialises in personality disorders.

In terms of image the Abbott government comes across as, indignant
angry men with chips on their shoulders. Make that logs. Haters of
science and progressive policies. And some like Bernardi downright

In Abbott’s case you have to wonder if Australia has ever elected a
Prime Minister so ignorant of technology, the environment and science.
So oblivious of the needs of women and so out of touch with a modern
pluralist society.

In the latest polling the Labor Party leads the LNP by 14 percentage points.

More alarming though is the Prime Minister’s popularity. Or more
accurately his lack of it. And 63% of people think he is doing a
terrible job.

The best public relations company in Australia couldn’t do much with the individual images of that lot.

Australian political history is filled with the incompetence of unexceptional conservative men with born to rule mentalities”.

It’s hard to promote a political brand that blames everyone else,
lies continuously, won’t listen to advice, is secretive, won’t
compromise and is full of its own self-importance. Never in Australian
political history has a budget been so motivated by ideology.

The result has been a public backlash of monumental proportions which
is reflected in the polls. So blind is Abbott to his own shortcomings
as a leader that he cannot see how badly he and his cabinet are
governing. Even the right wing media, Murdoch publications and the shock
jocks have deserted him. Social Media is leading the criticism. With
the young in particular seeming to hate the Abbott brand with a

Former Conservative UK Environment Minister Lord Deben put it succinctly:

“I think the Australian Government must be one of the
most ignorant governments I’ve ever seen in the sense, right across the
board, on immigration or about anything else, they’re totality unwilling
to listen to science or logic”.