At a recent lunch I got into a discussion about the current tensions within the Liberal Party, and more particularly the extent to which they were due to what a friend called the ’irresponsible’ behaviour of Mr Abbott. I had written about Mr Abbott’s situation before, and offered some of that comment at the lunch. My friend would have none of it. Mr Abbott should have left Parliament at the first opportunity, and if he stayed, should have maintained a dignified silence. My view, set out in the conclusion to the essay linked above, is that, ‘He ought to be allowed to say what he thinks without his automatically attracting the ‘naughty boy’ label by doing so.’ His address to the Centre for Independent Studies on 29 June is a good example. He does not say anything adverse about the Turnbull Government, says that he should have been more forceful when he was PM, and offers an interesting discussion of the options about submarines. But the media comment was about yet another attack on Mr Turnbull.

Other matters intruded into that my conversation, but I have thought about it since, and devote this essay to whether there is any rule or convention that should, most of the time, guide former PMs in their behaviour after their fall from power. There is, as it happens, no formal guide, and there are of course different reasons for the fall from power, and of course different outcomes as well.

You can lose an election, where the losing leader offers his resignation (not always taken). You can be defeated in a party-room vote, as happened to Mr Hawke, and later to Mr Rudd, then to Ms Gillard, then to Mr Abbott. Ms Gillard manoeuvred Mr Rudd into agreeing that whoever lost the vote would leave Parliament. She lost, and perforce left. He left shortly after his defeat at the polls some months later. R. G. Menzies resigned in August 1941 when he felt that the government’s position was unworkable, probably anticipating a vote against him in the joint party room. He was replaced as leader by Billy Hughes, and by Arthur Fadden as Prime Minister. But he didn’t leave Parliament, and indeed returned to power in 1949, for another sixteen years or so, retiring as PM and from his seat at a time that he chose.

There isn’t much guidance from the mother country, either. Since the 18th century about one in four former prime ministers have come back to serve in other Governments. They don’t automatically leave Parliament. Lloyd George stayed in Parliament for twenty-two years, and Edward Heath for twenty-seven. Tony Blair left at once, as did David Cameron. The United Kingdom does have the possibility of kicking former PMs upstairs into the House of Lords. From the middle of the 19th century a former PM who was not a peer could expect a hereditary earldom as a consolation prize, but the last one to do so was Harold Macmillan. As the author of a useful essay on the topic says, There is no fixed or predetermined role for former Prime Ministers in Britain. What they do after they leave office depends on their personal choices and on circumstances… there is therefore little in the way of a common pattern…

 I think the same goes for Australia. Mr Abbott appears to have no greater interest in life than parliamentary politics. Mr Rudd had his eye on a UN post, or so it was said. In any case, it was plain that he saw the world, rather than Australia, as his oyster. He is presently, or was in February, the president of the Asia Society, a think tank based NewYork which I once visited and spoke at. Ms Gillard is a sort of roving adjunct professor, but for the most part stays out of focussed comment on Australian politics. John Howard has joined the ranks of the international former political captains, having failed to gain election as president of the International Cricket Council. Paul Keating thunders from time to time in the prints, radio and television. Bob Hawke recently launched, or was at the launch, of a beer in his name. Malcolm Fraser had a property in Victoria to return to. There’s not much of a pattern there.

So, let us to return to Mr Abbott. If the Liberal Party were a strong, united and confident party, then Mr Abbott might well be a senior member of its Government, as former PM Sir Alec Douglas-Home was in the Heath Government. It is not. I cannot be sure how much of what I read, see and hear is the work of the press gallery, but it seems to be the case that the Liberals now have two streams or factions, a ‘progressive’ faction and a ‘conservative’ one. Mr Turnbull is very much of the progressive camp, while Mr Abbott is very much of the conservative group. The latter faction is not even conservative enough to satisfy Cory Bernardi, who left the Liberal Party altogether to form a Conservative party, which apparently has some supporters within the Liberal Party, though no one yet has come out to join him.

If we set aside Mr Abbott’s understandable crossness at having been displaced by the man he earlier displaced as Leader of the Opposition, and his feeling that the current Government is just ’Labor-lite’, what ought he to do? It would be difficult indeed to sit on the back-benches and maintain a dignified silence. He could do it if he thought that after the electoral shambles in 2019 (assuming such an outcome), Mr Turnbull would resign, and he (Tony Abbott) would valiantly pick up the reins again, as Menzies did after 1944. He is young enough to put in a couple of terms waiting to return to office.

His difficulty is that he has ideas and he wants to share them. Like Kevin Rudd in a similar position, he has support from discontented back-benchers, and in the present case from the true conservatives within the party. They look to him for leadership. And as I wrote in my own essay, whatever he does, whatever he says, journalists will point at yet another example of destabilisation. It’s not an easy path.

Those who want the business of government to proceed in an orderly way because they are part of it or have been part of it, find all this inter-party feuding detestable, if only because while it is going on Ministers are distracted from their real work, whicb is getting policy discussed, developed and put into place. For them Mr Abbott should leave Parliament for the good of the nation, or if he must stay, become the first Trappist MP, speaking only when it is absolutely necessary.

I see no reason why Mr Abbott should remain silent, and there is certainly no convention, let alone rule, to suggest that that is the proper thing for him to do. Indeed, we are used to Labor heavies quarrelling with one another, and using the State and Federal conferences of the Party, not to mention those of the ACTU and the major unions, to argue out their positions. It may not be what we are used to in the case of the Liberal Party, but I see no better alternative at the moment. Nor can I see why it is OK for Labor but somehow wrong for the Libs.

My summary is that what we are seeing is a further example of the crumbling of the old two-party system. The Liberal Party was always a coalition of ’liberals’ and ‘conservative’, ‘dries’ and ‘wets’, held together by the reality or prospect of power. You can say comparable things about the ALP. At the moment the ALP can simply shut up and watch its opponents strangle themselves.

For both sides governing is not the fun it used to be. Too many issues are unsolvable, too little money is available, there are too many demands on the public purse and too many single-issue lobby groups. No leader can bring the warring factions together, not Mr Turnbull and not Mr Abbott. What we may be seeing is the move towards two new parties, a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party.

It won’t happen now, but it might when non-Labor is in Opposition.

 

 

Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • margaret says:

    King of the Mamils should get on his bike and keep on riding. I don’t sense his true understanding of Australia and Australians.

    • margaret says:

      From a speech to the Queens College Oxford in 2012 …

      “Like about a million other Australians, including Prime Minister Gillard, who also came to Australia as a child, I was born in Britain. As well as people, the British Isles have given Australia our language, our system of law and our parliamentary democracy. The conviction that an Englishman’s home is his castle and faith in British justice, no less than the understanding that Jack is as good as his master, have taken strong root in Australia….

      So when the plane bringing me back to Britain flew low up the Thames Valley and I saw for the first time as an adult Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s cathedral and the Tower of London, I had a sense of belonging…”

      wtf …

      • spangled drongo says:

        Your ADS makes you very insensitive and obtuse, marg.

        TA was an Australian Rhodes scholar at Oxford where he completed his studies. Oxford and Cambridge have a deep and complex relationship going back centuries.

        I thought as an educator you would be a little more aware.

        • David says:

          FFS SD. Abbott only got a Rhodes scholarship because he made a priest feel young again. Three Ds and a C on his report card is hardly anything to crow about

          • spangled drongo says:

            Stop blithering, davie, you are starting to sound like a few others here.

            Do you have any idea what it takes to be a Rhodes Scholar?

            Your mates Bob Hawke and Bill Clinton were, only Bill didn’t finish his degree like Abbott did:

            “Cecile Rhodes’ criteria were all encompassing: literary and scholastic attainments; energy to use one’s talents to the fullest, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports; truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; moral force of character and instincts to lead and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.”

            And on top of that TA got second class honours at Oxford.

            How did you get on when you were there?

        • margaret says:

          PM Turnbull also received a Rhodes scholarship.

          • margaret says:

            I would say it takes sufficient intelligence, a university education, huge ambition, and the right connections definitely wouldn’t go astray. Why do you have heroes Spangled? It’s weird.

          • spangled drongo says:

            “Why do you have heroes Spangled? It’s weird.”

            Where did I indicate that, marg?

            It’s called simply stating facts and possibly giving credit where it’s due.

            Unlike ADS, which is Abbott Derangement Syndrome.

          • margaret says:

            Stop blithering spangled and go lay some eggs for nev. Your “fondness for and success in sports; truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; moral force of character and instincts to lead and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.” is evident in everything you write so … Relax!

            Relax with the august company of your heroes including mr Turnbull, be sure to have a new Hawkie beer and see if mr Clinton can join you now that he’s not campaigning for Hillary. I hope Tony can come but I doubt it cause he’s busy in the house of cards sharpening knives.

          • spangled drongo says:

            Try answering the question, margluv.

            Or maybe you should check out the whales in Ceduna to keep us all on the straight and narrow like your heroines do.

            Who knows? You might even get taxpayer assistance.

        • margaret says:

          What’s ADS? I never understand acronyms.

  • Neville says:

    Every poll points to a Labor win in 2019, but who knows? Abbott certainly has the right to speak out about policy and offer his two bobs worth, but I don’t think he appeals to the average voter as much as Shorten or Turnbull.
    He would certainly be my choice, but we have too many loafers in OZ today and they would never ever vote for a conservative. Turnbull perhaps but I think clueless Shorten is their natural choice.

  • PeterD says:

    A former Liberal Opposition Leader, John Hewson, wrote in the SMH yesterday that Tony Abbott is ’Bitter and Twisted’. This type of observation moves political commentary into the realm of psychological analysis rather than policy analysis, or even the freedom of backbenchers to float innovative initiatives, reform agendas etc. Some readers in this forum might accept terms such as ‘relevance deprivation’ in relation to Kevin Rudd or ‘wobbly dancer’ for Bill Shorten. In these days of Trump is it reasonable that we require political leaders who are psychologically integrated and mature?

    How valid is psychological analysis anyway? Is it as free-ranging as climate science seems to be, open to all sorts of permutations, vagaries, false modelling, personal discipleship, cronyism in the peer-review process, controversies, orthodoxy, zealotries and wilful misinterpretations?

    The co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,’’ Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough , for instance, note that “It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women: From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children.”

    Don sees ‘no reason why Mr Abbott should remain silent.’ As one with a significant professional background in political science, Don argues for freedom of discussion and constant policy analysis, especially within a political party that has yoked progressive and conservative elements, with a real danger of these disparate horses trampling each other or indeed bolting.

    Psychological analysis is problematic to say the least, but it could be argued that Abbott is delusional, forgetting how repulsive his polices were as PM and how destructive and negative he was as Opposition leader – effective, though!

    Most Australians resist a return to old style, elitist British values, of ‘sirs’ and ‘dames’ yet Tony sought to engineer this antiquity without widely consulting colleagues. Most Australians support a Republic, so Abbott is essentially out of step with basic questions around an independent Australian identity.

    In leaving politics, Julia Gilliard claimed she would not be a commentator. Similarly, Tony is rhetorically opposed to becoming a ‘wrecker’ and it may be that the motivations behind his policy musings are misconstrued as indicated in Don’s column but clearly Abbott is alienating former colleagues and his bitterness is becoming more palpable, almost along Rudd-like tracks.

    Tony barely squeezed into the PM’s job in the first place – wouldn’t have if Joe Hockey had remained firm. But Tony adopts delusional, ungracious Australian thinking and harbours being ‘hardly done by’. He is more comfortable with Australia as a boys club. The charge of misogyny has been raised against him. He lodged with the police in Canberra, he hangs out with firies, surfies, cyclists etc. His choice for GG is an ex-military man and ‘defence’ and ‘war’ are key concepts in his vocabulary. He boxed as a youth and some would argue that he is a pugilist by nature.

    It is commendable that Tony lived with aboriginal people for a week each year, circles Australia on his bike, saves people in the surf etc but is it not the case that more discretion and balance is required of our leaders in these days of Brexit, Trump and Macron rather than setting bizarre standards that actually undermine Australian family life.

    John Hewson’s analysis of Abbott in the SMH[30June] is problematic, very contestable, even dangerous but is it a form of analysis that offers any insights; furthermore, if it was adopted widely, who would be spared?

  • Art says:

    I find myself in the uncomfortable position of disliking much of Tony Abbott’s attitude but yet agreeing with most of his latest statements. For example, the urban housing crisis is attributed to too many city dwellers and not enough stock. According to census data, a much higher percentage of migrants choose to live in the city than is the case for the average. Why shouldn’t we cut migration back to 100,000 / year? The choice of the French submarine bid for a submarine yet to be designed rather than the Japanese bid, or better yet the leasing of American nuclear subs has greatly increased he cost of the project greatly including the need to keep the Collins class operable for an extended period. Why shouldn’t we build super-critical coal-fired generators and cut subsidies for the renewal sector? Why with the enviable abundance of coal, gas and uranium have we lost our ability to supply cheap, reliable power?

    Why is it left to Tony Abbott to ask the sensible questions instead of the current prime minister? The answer to that is obvious and sadly, we are very likely to be saddled by a Shorten-led government as a price for Liberal ineptitude that ignores good advice because of the person offering that advice,

    • tripitaka says:

      “a much higher percentage of migrants choose to live in the city than is the case for the average. Why shouldn’t we cut migration back to 100,000 / year?”

      Why shouldn’t we encourage migrants to move to the country?

    • PeterD says:

      Hi Margaret:

      You write: “Abbott as too tied Catholicism”. Do you say that about Shorten? Do you say that about Turnbull? Do you say that about Pyne? Did you say that about Hockey or Andrews? All of them Catholics or Catholic educated, with Jesuit dominance!

      Perhaps a more nuanced way to consider it, is to ask: what models of Catholicism are they committed to? Do they separate church and state? or even: Does their professed Christian alignment have any influence at all upon their political policies?

      If for instance, one’s model of Catholicism was Opus Dei, with some daily flagellation thrown in, plus a private confessor etc that is more of a worry – not that I’m linking that specifically with any of the above.

      If one drew only on Catholicism for its social teaching – rather than its sexual abuse of children practices, or its institutional secrecy and allegiance, or its medieval celibacy etc – then one might have the basis for a society with less contrast between the well-off and those on the margins. If a 1% tax cut in the US leads to 20+million vulnerable people being medically uninsured, then that’s the sort of social justice that progressive Catholicism fights against; if, in another medieval model of Catholicism, you don’t mind taking away the widows’ cow when her husband dies, leaving her entirely destitute – as tithing, church dues etc – then you have another form of oppressive religion.

      Abbott’s preoccupation with coal, with Muslims, with war, generals, military, police etc are not Catholic-inspired, in my view, but you could argue that some of his community service and genuine commitment to aboriginal people has some connection with Catholic social justice etc.

      The nexus between religion and politics is always tenuous: check with Trump!

      • margaret says:

        PeterD
        I know you’re attempting to encourage a more considered debate and less gut reaction from those of us who take a dislike to the particularity of a person but the voting public is not looking at all those nuances that you’ve mentioned.
        They like the person’s modus operandi or they don’t like it.
        I don’t like Abbott’s previous early life in student politics or in the seminary – from there to where he is today doesn’t gel with me. In fact, I have never taken to him in any way shape or form. I dislike him and was relieved when Turnbull took over. I’m not sure his week with the indigenous every year is enough to balance out the closeness to George Pell, whether that makes sense to those who think he’s a great guy and just the ticket to have taken the job of Minister for Women, I care not.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “I dislike him and was relieved when Turnbull took over.”

          But who did you vote for at the last election, marg?

          I just love all the lefties who sing Turnbull’s praises over Abbott’s but wouldn’t vote LNP in a fit.

          Says volumes for Abbott.

        • margaret says:

          I voted Labor in the last election Spangled. I can’t remember what the candidate’s name was … I voted for the party. I live in a very safe LNP seat.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Abbott, a lone voice stating the very obvious solutions to many problems in a confused country, cops endless criticism from a majority left wing press.

    I wonder what percentage of the vote a conservative leader would have to win to get any respect from lefty press?

    What is the alternative to Abbott Derangement Syndrome?

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448992/trump-derangement-only-alternative-democrats-have-no-agenda

    • PeterD says:

      Hi Margaret

      Can’t disagree with any of that. In fact, yesterday, showing my true colours, I tweeted: “Even as an exPM, Julia refrains from pol commentary; she eclipses Abbott in class, & exposes him for the unctuous, odious, sore loser he is.”

      • spangled drongo says:

        No exPM says much while bad memories are still fresh plus Julia has plenty of well remembered earlier baggage with S&G.

        And of course S&G are never short of baggage anyway. This is currently doing the rounds:

        “An open letter to Slater and Gordon

        I write on behalf of some of my peers and fellow Australians with regard to your action in pursuing compensation for the illegal immigrants on Manus Island.

        These immigrants came to Australia without invitation, were rescued by our Defence personnel who put their own lives at risk, were fed and lodged at cost to Australian taxpayers and were free to return to their own country at any time. The conditions in which they lived on Manus Island are no worse than many legal immigrants who have arrived here for many years and who, in times past, lived in conditions much less well outfitted than those on Manus. They were able to communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world courtesy of the Australian people paying for the privilege of providing the internet and telephone services.

        You have stolen money from all Australians, with your alleged human rights claim. We have people in our communities who are homeless, aged and sick who need assistance also. Will you provide legal aid to them free of charge and pay your own costs to represent them? I think not.

        My disdain for your company and their ilk is immeasurable.

        I sincerely wish that I could afford to take you to Court and that my request that every illegal on Manus pay back the cost of their rescue and board and lodging, would be granted. That will not of course happen due to the fact that people like yourself have no shame and are willing to extort monies from Australian taxpayers.”

  • PeterD says:

    Hullo spangled drongo

    There is one point that you and Don don’t explicitly address. It is true, as you write, of Tony Abbott, and indeed of Paul Keating and John Howard, that they offer what they see as solutions to problems in Australia.

    But when one is speaking as a still-serving politician, possibly with some PMinisterial ambitions still smouldering, there is a world of difference to Keating and Howard elder statesmen platforms.

    • spangled drongo says:

      PeterD, are you saying that Abbott is seen by the activist left through a completely different prism because of his leadership potential, whereas Howard and Keating are simply wall paper?

      If so, I agree but Howard [not Keating] would be likewise treated today if he were in a similar position simply because the leftard hate and derangement syndrome is now so all-pervasive.

      A generation ago 50%+ of the population could be counted on to rationalise. Not now.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      The answer is so simple. Legislate that the complete costs of any failed appeal for asylum should be borne by the lawyers.

      No problem.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Thanks Don, a well-considered piece and I agree with everything that you have said. Tony is intellectually sound, has a good mind, and has acquired wisdom. He should have been given the opportunity to make his contribution in the cabinet but Turnbull was too small and mean-minded. I’m sure that Tony would have upheld the tradition of cabinet solidarity. Him speaking out now is all that has been left to him. I agree with all the comments that Art made and I disagree with all the comments saying that he (Tony) is driven by resentment and revenge. He still shows qualities of leadership and it’s a pity he blew his chance when he was PM. I doubt he will get another chance but I would not be against him leading a conservative element in the parliament if his supporters found a way to do it, in whatever party. Turnbull is an empty vessel. On yesterday’s TV news he was shown explaining his Gonski policies to a group of 6-year-olds instead of to the teachers’ union. Pathetic. I have said for years that Turnbull is in the wrong party.

    • PeterD says:

      Hullo spangled drongo

      You posed the question of whether ‘Abbott is seen by the activist left through a completely different prism because of his leadership potential.’

      The key point I was making is that Abbott, Howard and Keating have all made worthwhile comments about improving government policy. But there is a fundamental difference if you remain a sitting MP and still aspire to be PM because everything you say is blown-up and distorted by the media so that eventually you do great damage to the party you serve. You are a stalker. Cory Bernardi – not in any way at the same level of influence as Abbott – resolved the issue by leaving the party. Abbott could resign, leave politics and then speak out on all sorts of policy issues after politics, as Howard and Keating have done.

      Another option is to be a powerful advocate for change within the party room and with his colleagues. Even this afternoon, Tony provided leadership on an issue that is important: he is emphasising the Liberal grass-roots membership and trying to reduce the influence of factional power brokers, the role of money, lobbyists etc. This needs to be done for all parties – not just Liberals, so full credit to him; zero tolerance for foreign donations to political parties as well.

      Today Tony illustrated political leadership and in my view it was not directed at undermining Turnbull; it is consistent with values he has long held but the media will always seek to distort his role, personalising it as undermining the present leader, Malcolm Turnbull, and portray him as a wrecker. It’s a fine balance.

      So am I arguing that ex-PMs like Tony Abbott need to leave politics before they can truly speak out? No!

      But they need to be very strategic if they want to help their party win the next election. Wayne Swan, former treasurer {not that I am endorsing him) illustrates another option: in golf they call in the fade!

      Am I ruling out the possibility of Tony Abbott ever returning to the PM role? No, even though my view of him is attuned to Margaret’s; but, like Don, I agree that he does not need to remain silent but strategically needs to win the good will of his Liberal colleagues, and in the final analysis, the Australian people, if he is ever return to the PM role. Not likely in my view, but not impossible either.

      ‘Were Howard and Keating simply wall paper?’ you ask. Both of these ex-PMs can hold their head up and are respected. Tony is not in their company at the moment.

      • spangled drongo says:

        PeterD, I go along with most of what you say but the fact is, when you see your beloved party heading in the traditionally opposite direction and you know a large percentage of members are deserting and you haven’t got the backroom numbers to fix it, your only option is to speak out.

        However the Abbott Derangement Syndrome is so well entrenched in so much of the media, his most polite, tactful and diplomatic speech is purposely distorted.

        BTW, I didn’t ask if Howard and Keating were wallpaper, I said they are today, as retirees. As opposed to a still politically involved Abbott.

        In the fullness of time and in light of the MSM ADS I will bet that Abbott, when he becomes wallpaper, gets hung lower than Rudd and Gillard in spite of his problem-solving compared with their problem-creating.

    • tripitaka says:

      Oh dear A new poll shows that “only 18% think Abbott should stay in politics and be given a ministry, as Labor pulls ahead to 53-47, two-party-preferred” although I was surprised that the poll has found less than half of voters (43%) think Tony Abbott should resign from the parliament.

      At first I thought that was too small a number, but then I thought, I would vote for Tony to stay in politics and keep doing just what he is doing; it makes the delusional and dysfunctional beliefs of the right wing Liberals so obvious to more reasonable people and can only help Labor win the next election.

      But that is what the right wing radical individuals want; the destruction of anything liberal in our country and the continuation of of the imposition of discredited economic and social and scientific policies on ordinary people who are regarded with disgust and disdain by those who call themselves ‘lifters’ despite it being so clear that the lifting they do is to steal from those less able people they call ‘leaners’.

      It could be a good thing for those spoiled little boys who considered themselves to be the masters of the universe to realise that they are now a minority group and have to consider the needs of ordinary people who do need to lean and to be supported and benefit from having a nanny to protect them from the rapacious Capitalists. 🙂

      Then again it could be very bad for those ‘lifters’ who are so rigid and have such obvious ‘personal issues’ that they cannot get over the changes that are coming.

      Has anybody else noticed that Tony is not looking very healthy and how the drongos here are increasingly hysterical and delusional.

      https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/04/guardian-essential-poll-43-per-cent-want-tony-abbott-to-leave-parliament

  • jon gaul says:

    Tony Abbott would not be quite the first Trappist MP in the unlikely event he stayed silent. That distinction is forever with Billy Jack MP, Member for North Sydney 1949-1966, with hardly a word in Parliament. Tony has always been a conservative disrupter, he won’t change. But Malcolm has to, if he wants another term. He has 12 months to summon up enough political nous and swallow enough ego to put the Humpty Dumpty of the Right back together again. Yes: Bernadi, Hanson, Abbott, that Senator with the unpronounceable name, the Nationals, the Liberal moderates and inner suburban trendoids, including those loonies still controlling the NSW Liberals, small business and big business. Nothing less will fend off the strongest Left coalition for generations: Labor, Greens and assorted anti-fracking, anti-Adani, anti-anything and everything, GetUp, ACTU, CFMEU, MUA, Nurses, Midwives and Teachers and a big slab of Catholic parents thanks to Gonski 2.0 – that’s not even an exhaustive list of them.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      Nobody in their right mind would vote for Turnbull, but nobody wants Shorten. There is no credible alternative leader in the Liberal party, so I predict we will be in for more spending, more debt, less electricity, and more asylum seekers, no matter which party wins the next election.

      • tripitaka says:

        Depends I suppose on what your definition of right mind is but apparently 2 out of 3 Liberal voters prefer Turnbull to Abbott and the latest poll sees Shorten even with Turnbull as preferred PM. You can check these results at the Pollbludger blog.

        So somebodies do want Shorten.

        He will be ok because we don’t need Leaders; we need a team of people with ideas and who can work together.

        No way can the coalition do that. They can’t decide if they are libertarian or conservatives. So no coherence and no ideas that can bring us through the changes that are coming from climate change and end stage capitalism.

        • spangled drongo says:

          Poor deluded trip trips up again:

          “He will be ok because we don’t need Leaders; we need a team of people with ideas and who can work together.”

          That’s exactly what we have now, tripluv.

          Have you ever noticed that even good ideas don’t happen just because they are ideas?

          And a leader that is preferred by the people he doesn’t lead, as marg just demonstrated perfectly, is also not a functioning leader.

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          Please describe the rosy future after “climate change and end stage capitalism”.

      • Bryan Roberts says:

        “we need a team of people with ideas“
        “more spending, more debt, less electricity, and more asylum seekers”

        What’s missing under Shorten (or Turnbull)?

        • Bryan Roberts says:

          More Muslims.

        • spangled drongo says:

          “What’s missing under Shorten (or Turnbull)?”

          More gender fluidity?:

          “Being nervous, and embarrassed about my up-coming colonoscopy, on a recommendation, I decided to have it done while visiting friends in San Francisco, where the beautiful nurses are allegedly more gentle and accommodating.

          As I lay naked on my side on the table, the gorgeous nurse began my procedure

          “Don’t worry, at this stage of the procedure it’s quite normal to get an erection,” the nurse told me.

          “I don’t have an erection,” I replied.

          “I do” replied the nurse.

          Don’t get a colonoscopy in San Francisco.”

  • spangled drongo says:

    At least Abbott, unlike Turnbull, seems to be aware that climate future is hard to predict but climate fraud is very predictable.

    Even essential.

    RSS’ Carl Mears has finally done what he has been under pressure to do for years and revisited the data with a 140% increase.

    The fact that it now departs from other radiosonde and satellite data is just by the way:

    https://realclimatescience.com/2017/06/another-correct-forecast-from-roy-spencer/

  • spangled drongo says:

    Where can Australia find another Donald?

    Big energy initiatives announced. We could and should be doing likewise:

    https://patriotpost.us/posts/49964

  • PeterE says:

    I agree with this post. Not only should Abbott speak out, it is vital that he does so because he is advocating the right course and no one else is. The Liberal Party has become the liberal party and is surrendering to Labor on policy. I want to see Abbott do a Menzies and come back to the leadership and to power. Otherwise, well may we say God save Australia because nothing else will. There is huge goodwill out there for Abbott, despite what you read in the fake media.

  • David says:

    Don it must make you feel all warm and fuzzy to see that your blog receives comments from towering intellects like Bryan Roberts (@ July 1, 2017 at 11:26 pm) and SD (@July 2, 2017 at 11:26 am). But seriously, do you ever look at the moronic support you have developed on this site and wonder if you might be wrong about AGW after all?

    • spangled drongo says:

      Never mind, davieluv. It was only a suggestion.

      You go right ahead with your SF colonoscopy if you want.

  • David says:

    Stop press. Don and David are in agreement. Abbott should stay in parliament as long as he wants, and say what ever.

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