Friday, 6 September 2013

The Liberal Party's Latham Moment: letting the Real Team Abbott out.

Last night saw an incredible piece of Political Theatre unwind. The ABC's Jake Sturmer wrapped it up for Lateline: first a policy is announced, then there's a monumental backflip. We're told "nothing to see here".

A relatively unknown MP, Paul Fletcher, went on-record to Josh Taylor of ZDnet about the latest LNP Policy slipped under the wire on the last day - a Back to The Future Internet Filter "for kids safety", Mandatory and Opt-out. Just the policy that in 2012 the Australian Christian Lobby was calling for after the ALP/Conroy Internet Filter was put to death.

Joe Hockey, the putative Treasurer didn't know of it. Malcolm Turnbull, the minister-in-waiting who's portfolio covers it, was on-air explaining how it wasn't filtering (though the Policy (or Scribd) does say "filter") at all and the Prime Ministerial candidate, Tony Abbott said quite clearly that he had read and authorised this Policy the evening before.

Then the back-pedalling began. Turnbull tweeted maniacally (13 tweets), including a statement "That is not our policy and has never been", which formed the narrative of a statement on his website, when it came back on-line, and the Liberal Party.

There are a number of massive FAILS by the Liberal Party. Like the Latham handshake in 2004, they cannot deny any of these.
  • This was an official Liberal Party Policy that followed their process, was formally approved, and released.
    • There was NO ACCIDENT.
    • This last-minute under-the-wire release jibes with Abbott's promise:
      • NO Surprises, NO excuses.
      • It goes directly to a "referendum on Trust". Do we now trust anything Abbott says?
  • How could the responsible Shadow Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, not be aware of a critical Policy in his Portfolio.
  • How could Turnbull NOT understand this was political dynamite?
  • What does it say of Turnbull and his position within the Liberal structure that he could not veto the release of this policy within his portfolio, that he had to go out and promote the party line with all his usual passion, aggression and certainty?
  • Why did it take Turnbull more than an hour to remind the Liberal Party, "That is not our policy and has never been"?
  • Turnbull is now saying, "This was released by Campaign Headquarters" and he had to correct it. What?!?! The central puppet-masters don't know their own policy inside and out?
    • Is that really something you want to broadcast?
Clearly, it was an early insight into exactly how an Abbott government will work.

Turnbull is persona non grata to the Inner Circle. He is tolerated to some extent, and is told what to do and happily complies. Others make the Policy in his area, Turnbull has to sell it.
That does NOT bode well for all his promises and assurances about an NBN.

Nothing has happened by accident in the Liberal campaign. We just caught a glimpse of the inner workings: Paul Fletcher issued a Policy, read and approved by Abbot, without informing or consulting with the responsible proto-Minister. Just who's in charge?

This is Kevin '07, but more extreme. One man, Tony Abbott, is micro-managing ALL Liberal actions and policies. This megalomania can only end badly.

Further, Abbott has just been shown to have very, very poor judgement. Either he & his inner circle meant the Policy to be out there OR it was slipped past Abbott, when he failed to recognise it was "Not the party policy and never had been".

Either way, this is a damning insight into the Abbott "team": Policy on the run, inconsistent and contradictory and without regard for prior public commitments.

Whither the Abbott commitment: NO Surprises, NO Excuses?
That's blown completely.

If this Election is a "referendum on Trust", then what did we just learn about the nature of an Abbott government? It says one thing and does another.

This Policy was NO accident, no mere mistake. This was NOT a policy ripped off in an afternoon. This policy was carefully compiled, written, checked, authorised and released.

No matter how Turnbull spins it, in such a controlled, buttoned-down campaign, nothing happens by chance, there are no mistakes. We just looked into the future. This is how an Abbott government will work, You ain't seen nothing yet.


  1. Yes all of this true but unfortunately for the Australian people it will not make any difference to how people will vote. We will rue voting in this joker and his cronies.

  2. Rosie,

    yes, there are many people who won't listen. The Libs under Menzies ruled from 1945 to 1972. A period of intellectual, social and policy stagnation. This only occurred because too many voters are apathetic and disengaged.

    If you tell this story to as many people as you can, you'll know that YOU have made all the difference you can.

    Thanks for your comment. Don't be disillusioned, do what you can.


    1. Steve,I couldn't have said it any better,glad you recognised the LNP years as you have.Only way forward to a 21cent country is with ALP.

    2. Wayne,

      Thanks very much.



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