Policy for beginners
I have been reading Tony Abbott’s whimsical address to the Party Room. History really isn’t his thing, is it?
He first described the replacement of Julia Gillard by Kevin Rudd as “an extraordinarily grave rent in the fabric of our national life”. Remember the Liberal Party deposing its sitting Prime Minister John Gorton in 1971, the defeat of the UK’s Edward Heath by Margaret Thatcher in 1975, or the loss of Thatcher’s own job to John Major in 1990? Since 1945, more than 100 sitting prime ministers in pure parliamentary systems have been ousted by intraparty politics. We don’t have to like it, but it’s part of the parliamentary process. As Abbott himself famously said, “Sh*t happens”. And it happens in Liberal governments too.
Then there’s his interesting reworking of the history of technology.
“We have a strong and credible broadband policy because the man who has devised it, the man who will implement it virtually invented the Internet in this country. Thank you so much, Malcolm Turnbull.”
I wonder how Vint Cerf feels about that? Not to mention the folk who connected Australia to ARPANet in 1981.
Sadly, the dumbing-down doesn’t stop there. Even “Our Plan” might be a bit too much for the party room.
“…if the plan that I have been demonstrating right around the country for the last six months is too bulky, we have a bookmark version of the plan, and I’d like everyone in Australia to be carrying that in their pockets, but we have a plan for Australia’s future.”.
Oh come on. Even the full version of “Our Plan” is a half-assed collection of newspaper clippings. You can imagine what the pocket version might be like.
“VOTE FOR US! VOTE FOR US! VOTE FOR US!
We’re the Liberals, send us votes
We like cranes and we hate boats
Infrastructure’s Tony’s thing
Malcolm is the broadband king
Spending’s naughty, deficit’s bad
No new taxes “glad, glad, glad”!
Don’t trust Labor, they’re all mean
They dethroned their own Red Queen.
And if you’re not sure we’re quite through…
It’s all about, all about, all about you!!!”
It’s not us, it’s you, Tony.