The Gambler

Posted: July 4, 2012 in Politics

During the campaign for the NSW State election in March 2010, I often referred to Barry O’Farrell as the Steven Bradbury of politics. My reasons for giving Barry this dubious honor, is because Barry chose to use what is known as the “small target” approach to campaigning. This basically means sitting back with your mouth shut and waiting for your opposition to fall over.

Barry chose to do this because he figured that Labor was so down in the polls in NSW, he didn’t need to win, he thought he could just stay down and let them lose. After all Labor had been in power for so long people wanted a change, if Barry had made his intentions known it would have only cost him votes, not gained any. Seeing the aftermath of his win at the polls, I can understand why he kept his cards tight to his chest.

I have found myself wondering lately if Tony Abbott wishes he had chosen the same option.

The polls have been consistently bad for Labor for at least a year now. There is no escaping that fact. Another fact, and one that is often ignored in the main stream media, is that in the same polls, Gillard and Abbott are quite level in the preferred Prime Minister polling numbers, often with Gillard leading Abbott.

Many times I have heard debates over why the preferred PM numbers are so close, but the answer is really quite simple in my mind. People don’t trust Tony Abbott. The famous “In your guts, you know he’s nuts” theory.

I know many friends, family, and other acquaintances who are Liberal voters of old. It seems however, many of them have doubts when it comes to Tony Abbott, many view him as bordering on extreme. Many have commented that they simply don’t trust him.

A trustworthy face?

I believe that the Liberal spin doctors are aware of this, and this is why the Coalition have been so keen to paint Julia Gillard as a liar, and not to be trusted. It seems, to date, they have been getting away with it as well.

In Australia, I don’t believe the vast majority of the population put 100% faith in everything a politician tells us. I believe that most of us expect a bit of political spin, and therefore accept it, to a certain point.

What I don’t think people like to see in a potential Prime Minister, however, is someone who is willing to take huge risks to score cheap points.

Tony Abbott has shown his hand, so to speak, and what is fast becoming apparent is that Abbott is a gambler playing for the highest of stakes.

When I talk about Abbott’s gambling, I am not talking about the Coalitions blocking of any reform on Poker Machine regulations, although it can be used as an example. What I am referring to is Abbott’s seeming belief or “sense of entitlement” as Joe Hockey would put it, that he was born to be Prime Minister. This belief it appears means he will seemingly risk all that is not his, to fulfill his destiny. Happy for others to risk their careers and credibility for him, happy to risk the Australian economy, happy to risk the integrity of the parliament, and of course more than glad to risk your standard of living. Whatever it takes…

If you have been following my posts lately, or been following the news, you would have seen that there are Liberal Party fingerprints all over the James Ashby case against speaker Peter Slipper. This has seen Christopher Pyne and Mal Brough risk their credibility, and their careers on trying to embarrass or bring down the government, and to alter the number of votes in the House Of Representatives by 1 vote.

Drinking with Ashby? Pyne has no specific knowledge of it…

Some would call it a scandal, other way call it an attempted coup.

Why would you stick your neck out this far if you were so ahead in the polls. All this dodgy behind the scenes carry on to publicly humiliate and ruin someone who was recently one of your team. In fact, Slippers vote was the single vote that got Abbott over the line when he took a gamble and challenged Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal leadership.

The more that surfaces on this matter, the more it shows just how big Abbott’s gamble is. He is risking his Party’s lead in the polls for an act of revenge. That to me sounds unnecessary to the point of being reckless, not exactly PM material.

You may have also noticed that as the HSU saga has come under more scrutiny, once again there are Liberal fingerprints starting to show up, particularly with the so called “whistle-blower”, Kathy Jackson and her partner Michael Lawler, VP of Fair Work Australia, and appointee of Tony Abbott.

Jackson seems to have found a great deal of new Liberal party buddies lately, which some would say is odd given that she is a union leader. Now she performs speeches at HR Nicholls functions and receives hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free legal support by Liberal Party connected lawyers.

Fancy Abbott gambling his credibility on a union leader like Kathy Jackson. That seems a bit crazy and senseless to me. Still, at least we know the type of woman that Abbott respects at last, until this I thought he had no respect for them at all.

Abbott shows support for derogatory terms for women

Some would say Tony Abbott’s willingness to take wild risks explain some of his decisions as the Health Minister under John Howard. Some of these risks would include the public berating of national hero and campaigner for those suffering the effects of asbestosis , Bernie Banton, shortly before his death from asbestos poisoning. Abbott was forced into a public apology eventually. His failure to show up until the end of a debate he was supposed to be having with Nicola Roxon during the 2007 election campaign. And of course his decision as Health Minister to ban the abortion pill RU486, thus ensuring invasive medical procedures for victims of rape, and women placed in the awful position of making this choice. Abbott’s choice to make this process as punishing, as mentally devastating, and as humiliating as possible for women, had nothing at all to do with his friends in the Catholic Church I’m sure, however unlike most western countries, RU486 remained banned in Australia, I guess Abbott thought he could gamble with the female vote.

Speaking of his Catholic pals, record numbers of victims of pedophile abuse are emerging, causing public outrage. Tony would like to ensure the Catholic Church is not targeted in any parliamentary enquiry he says.

Why? They have the greatest number of complaintsagainst them. Not focusing on Catholics would be like giving the Nazi’s an exemption from War Crimes investigations, a totally offensive notion. Once again Tony is gambling that we will understand him putting his religion ahead of the protection of our children from rape and sexual abuse.

Tony Abbott has also risked his own political career to destroy another’s. When it looked like One Nation may make an impact on the political landscape, Abbott decided that Australian’s could not be trusted with democracy, he knew better. To say that Abbott used every vile tactic at his disposal, and invented a few more to boot, would be an understatement. Abbott went after Pauline Hanson like a rabid Rottweiler going after a stray cat. So little respect did Abbott have for democracy, that he would not rest until Pauline ended up in jail under false circumstances. Interestingly also, Hanson was a former John Howard staffer. I’m glad none of my friends, or colleagues are from the Liberal Party, I’d be watching my back if they were.

Abbotts own words on the matter are nothing short of pure arrogance.

“Obviously in hindsight I shouldn’t have done it. But if I had my time again and it was necessary to make an alliance with some pretty unusual people to stop a very serious threat to the social cohesion of the country, well, I would do it. I mean, how else were we going to stop One Nation at the time?”


How about letting the people make that decision Tony, it’s called a democracy, you may want to Google it.

Looking at the current debate on Climate Change, Abbott has chosen to gamble on our economy, and our children’s future. Tony Abbott clearly thinks that his arrogance, his persistence, and his clear belief in the public’s stupidity, will carry him through.

Nobody likes a new tax, that is clearly true, and the Labor Party is totally to blame for allowing the Carbon Price to be called a Carbon Tax. They are made to look even more foolish when Christine Milne of the Greens is about the only one who doesn’t refer to it as a tax, fair play to her.

What Abbott is gambling on here are three main things. That people will believe that Australia has become a place too expensive to live in now the Carbon Price is in place. Much better to love somewhere like Greece, Spain or Ireland. That people ignore what is going on around the world, as other nations start to make drastic changes. Lastly, that people don’t believe in Climate Change, preferring not to listen to scientists but to take the word of people like Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, and bizarre blow-ins like Angry Anderson.

Who says Angry Anderson would sell his soul for a dollar?

The economists agree, for the most part, in the Carbon Price, model that is now in place, as the most economical way to tackle the issue in Australia. Yes, there are some that disagree, but go back a few years and you will find they agreed with the remarkably similar scheme John Howard had as his policy, that would seem to indicate their true reasoning.

But why would Abbott listen to the country’s leading economists anyway? His economic team would know better apparently. After all when it comes to money, they know how to find the real experts. Just like the team that put together the costings for the Liberals last election campaign, the ones that had to balance the Coalitions $11Billion black hole. Well, they succeeded apparently, and the Coalition rejoiced at the superb Audit of their figures. That was until each of the accountants who worked on the shady figures were fined by the industry watchdog for the work they performed for the Coalition, apparently bringing the industry into disrepute. Nice work. I guess that gamble didn’t pay off real well for those guys….

Abbott is also gambling that the people of Australia have a love affair going with those big rich polluters. He must think that. He believes that people would rather see compensation for action on climate change go to polluters rather than those struggling with the household budget. I’m not so sure on this wager Tony, I think people would be enraged at your policy of paying people like Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer compensation, instead of families. No wonder, because if I’m blunt, it is F#%king idiotic.

As for Australia making a bold leap ahead of anybody else, once again Abbott takes a gamble on the public being stupid.  Below is a chart that is taken from the Coalitions own policy document the “Direct Action Plan”. The chart shows which of the world’s economies are moving on climate change.

Climate   Change Policies of Major Economies in 2009
Country  National   Emissions Trading (Y/N) Emissions   Taxes (Y/N)
Argentina N N
Australia N N
Brazil N N
Canada N Y
France Y Y
Germany Y Y
India N N
Indonesia N N
Italy Y Y
Japan Y Y
Mexico N Y
Russia N N
Saudi Arabia N N
South Africa N POSSIBLE
Turkey N Y
USA Power Stations Only Y
Source: Parliamentary Library   December 2009

Geez, is that Japan in there? Our biggest trading partner… France, the UK, Italy, and Germany even. Germany was the first to put a scheme into place, and has it wrecked their economy, or manufacturing industry? On the contrary, they are now bailing out most of Europe and have a huge manufacturing sector.

Bear in mind this chart is from 2009, a lot more has happened in the last 3 years. China is shortly to come on board in several provinces, and are reportedly aiming for a national ETS in 2015, the US has several more states either pricing carbon or putting in an ETS at the beginning of next year.

So as the good people of Whyalla stumble out of their bomb shelters, they will be pleased to know that we are far from the only nation to be taking action on climate change.

Abbott is gambling nobody here will notice.

Judging from his bully tactics, his arrogance, and his bull at a gate attitude, I think that the people who claim Tony Abbott to be the Liberal Party’s Mark Latham, are on the money. I think Abbott is a bullet that the country needs to dodge.

In Australia we are trying to crack down on problem gambling, and help those that are affected by it. What we don’t need, is Australia’s biggest gambler sitting in the Prime Ministers office, hoping that if he can’t hit the jackpot, at least some of his rich buddies will get the free spins feature.

It’s like the song say’s…

He don’t know when to hold ‘em,

Too arrogant to fold ‘em,

Not man enough to walk away,

But he knows when to run….

  1. Sue says:

    I believe Abbott gambled on Ashby and Jackson, because
    He thought they were odds on favorites to make Gillard fold
    He had been TOLD to get into office before the Carbon price starts

    Abbott has now failed on all 3 options. Abbott has lost his enthusiasm and is resorting to tactics that are failures, such as his blood oath and a campaign across the country for only 2 weeks. So far we have seen, Abbott holding fertiliser, Abbott with fisherman in Darwin, (big deal he had to be in Darwin) and today apparently he will be at a cordial factory, hardly news headlining stuff.

  2. Ken Jobling says:

    Don’t forget Tony Abbott’s promise not to change the medicare safety net in the 2004 election campaign. It seems it is OK for Tony Abbott to change his mind but not for anybody else –

  3. Sandra says:

    Another great article Peter. It would be great if you could get this somehow into the MSM. You are right on the money about TA and his cohorts.
    Please keep hammering out these stories, we’ll keep on trying to get these messages out through social media.

  4. William says:

    Good article, Peter. I take exception with one comment, though. Abbott isn’t relying on Australians being stupid, he’s relying on us being horribly uninformed. And we are horribly uninformed. Paul Kelly (Australian) knows it’s not a tax, but doesn’t feel the need to let the public know this. And Fran Kelly doesn’t even know the most basic facts about the package and the increase in the tax free threshold. Then we get to Bolt, Jones, Hadley and so on.

    Australians are many things, but we’re not stupid (well, no more stupid than anyone else). We are, however, most definitely uninformed by the worst media I’ve witnessed in my too many years.

    • Lachlan Ridge says:

      Hear hear, or as the yoof on teh interwebs say, +1

    • savetherange says:

      Frustrating that the media still treat Tony Abbott with respect after all the lies, hypocracy and idiocy he carries on with. William you have hit the nail on the head for me. Horrifically uninformed by the worst media ever.

  5. Buff McMenis says:

    Again and again and again, Peter .. brilliant take-up of the true state of affairs. I am still amazed beyond belief as to why the main-stream media do not take up these marvelous articles/blogs/essays (whatever) and make them their own! Either they are stupid or they are frightened of the money-managers .. ie.: owners .. with regard to their own jobs and be damned to the many others who will lose their jobs and security if Abbot and his cohorts do get into power! Keep ’em coming, friend … great reading.

  6. denni says:

    Excellent article Wixxy…and mark my words…the GST WILL go up under Abbott…he will need to do it to cover his $70B+ black hole….and have you notice the last couple of days he has been promoting himself as this caring, sharing “you will see no megaphone poltics from me” kind of bloke? You can tell his advisers have changed tack to try and extinguish his Mr Negative title…now he’s this fawning “I’m Mr Perfect” …ugh…

  7. mary says:

    Thank you peter,

    Have you linked this to twitter, it worries me only people who think like i, this will read it

  8. Lachlan Ridge says:

    Abbott will lose if he is still leading the Libs in 2013, and the hardheads in the Liberal Party must understand that. The polling looks good now, but polls are bullshit; elections are what counts. Andrew Elder over at Politically Homeless has been writing the most astute political commentary in this country for the last two years on this very subject. People that enjoy Wixxy’s work would do well to look him up (and for those who are obsessed by such things, Mr Elder was once a member of the Liberal Party, and for disclosure’s sake I was once as member of the Greens, so the blogosphere is nothing if not politically ecumenical).

    Everybody loved Mark Latham in early 2004, but what happened in the election that year? The LNP’s numbers are very soft, mainly flooded with people that are agin’ the gummint, but the LNP would be in the same boat if it was the government – we are a society going through great change and flux, the liberal democratic west is in decline, people are reasonably justified in being pissed off with things as they stand, especially after four decades of neoliberalism has benefited few outside the kleptocracy. Gillard is doing the best thing she can do, ignore the polls and the self-obsessd commentariat in the MSM who churn out great prolix of personality based soap opera drama and say nothing about the stuff that affects our day to day lives twhich government has influence over.

    I don’t agree with everything the Gillard government is doing – especially their obsession with market based solutions in areas like education, health, welfare and labour market regulation, and the supply side economics of Emerson and Ferguson and coy is a bit rich coming from those invested with defending the interests of the household sector against corporate Australia – but they are building up a pretty impressive raft of achievements in a hung parliament, probably because it IS a hung parliament.

    The Libs want the ALP to curl up in a ball like it did for a decade under Kim Beazley, etc. But Gillard is not for turning, and there is a grudging admiration building for her in the community. People don’t like her, but they never loved John Howard either, and my guess is that in 2013 when people get into the cubicle with the pencil they’ll have as good hard look at Tony Abbott staring up at them from the Liberal How To Vote card, shake their head and vote for the mortgage and more of the same like they did for ten years under Howard.

    As for the Carbon Tax killing us all in our shoes, well I saw petrol in Blaxland today for 1.20 a litre. Yeah, Tony, end of the world mate.

    • wixxy says:

      I do like Eldres work actually, and I would also recommend his page, however my browser doesn’t like the blog site he uses, so I only go there on my iPad. I don’t know why this is. it just doesn’t scroll properly…

    • Marilyn says:

      They are doing well on everything that does not require an actual interest in human rights of minorities.

      Like punishing single parents when the kids turn 8, the brutal intervention which must now be challenged in the high court as racist and utterly offensive to human rights and the ridiculous notion that we can shove away asylum seekers when they arrive here simply by trying to legislate out the high court and the constitiutional rights of very person in this country to apply to the high court for legal relief.

      They have had massive defeats in the high court on refugee issues in the past few years as their laws get closer and closer to those of brutal dictators.

      • Charlie says:

        Marilyn…frankly that is mostly nonsense.

      • Marilyn says:

        REally Charlie, what is nonsense?

        On infrastructure and other changes and reforms like the NBN they are doing well, on social and human rights policy they are utter failures.

  9. Rx says:

    What’s going on with Abbott here?

    • Rob Alan says:

      ‘What’s going on with Abbott here?’

      Mind meld kneel before thee function, not working as marked on the box?

  10. Rob Alan says:

    ‘That people ignore what is going on around the world’

    Is hard to fathom how the entirety of our corporate political industry can live in an imaginary world where only Australia exists.

    As well as author’s observations it looks to me like Tony Abbott is doing his witless best to impersonate Ted Lapkin using the kick heads, cry victim yah foot hurts routine..

    From Ted Lapkin’s last post a Unleashed:

    “This will be my last Drum column for the foreseeable future. I’ve been asked to re-join the federal Coalition staff as an advisor, and I’ve responded in the affirmative.

    With the Gillard Government in an advanced state of political implosion, it’s an excellent time to get back in the game.”

    Ted Lapkin caught my special interest folder attention a while back. People like Ted working for the hate & fear industry are dime a dozen in America. Our options may wreak but I’ll never place a vote for any mob openly taking advice from the corporate pro war lobby.

  11. jaycee says:

    Succinctly put, wixxy!…those LNPs. are a dirty bit of work, no mistake. I too, like Mr. Combet, am looking forward to the relevant court cases this month and damn the party to bust if a charge of sedition doesn’t come out of them if they fall in the govts’ favour!

  12. Lachlan Ridge says:

    What is happening with Abbott’s defamation case? Does anyone know?

  13. george5au says:

    This is story hits so many nails on the head
    Has got to go viral.I’ll certainly recommend it
    To one and all.please keep up the great work!

  14. Oscar Jones says:

    I think, as Ken above pointed out, that few realise what a brilliant bit of publicity and camera hogging Craig Emerson;s burst into song was.
    Without a doubt, Craig carried the media.

    • Rx says:

      The Liberals hated to be upstaged by Emo. Stunts are THEIR preferred tactic! Hence the tantrum from them and the media.

  15. Steve says:

    wixxy, right on the money again.
    Maybe if JG and a few others put out a public challenge for phoney Tony to appear on his own, on QandA, maybe he would not be able to dodge it anymore and be shown up for the complete idiot that most thinking people know that he is.
    I think it would be one of the most enjoyable pieces of TV so far this century.

  16. Steve says:

    Rx, I doubt that any amount of cut and pate would be able to do that unless they made it the first QanaA that went for only two minutes, and people would realise if the audience and the video questions were that heavily vetted.
    BTW Tony Jones even gave Mirrabella a bit of hurry up last week, maybe someone said something after his appalling attitude towards JG.

  17. Oscar Jones says:

    Rob Alan- try having a rational debate with the ghastly Ted Lapin as I have. In the end I just told the ghastly right wing creature to f*ck off.
    His last column on The Drum is a complete disgrace as it weaves in Labor with the 9/11 attacks but the thought that this is the type of adviser the Coalition has frightens the life out of me.
    He typifies those who justify the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis because someone finally attacked the USA (whether justified or not)

    One of Howard’s most successful and devious acts was to neuter the ABC. To think that a right-wing fanatical idealogue like Lapin and indeed anyone from the IPA is given voice by the national broadcaster is proof.
    They may as well have a Klu Klux Klan member giving opinion.

  18. Oscar Jones says:

    I’ve been reading Andrew Elder for some time as well and I believe he is spot on. In my 60 years I’ve been watching political debates and elections and picked every winner via a number of tactics and ‘moods’. Never been wrong yet here and in the UK.
    I just do not see the main prize within Abbott’s reach and I believe that is what fuels his intense anger that Gillard will not simply handover. He wants it now by any means possible, fair or foul.
    I move in conservative circles and he is extremely unpopular as are his tactics.
    Those circles are natural Turnbull allies but not just because they see Malcolm as at least an intelligent moderate, but because woman simple do not like Tony’s policies.

  19. The way Abbott has been allowed to frame the Carbon Price debate is amazing. There is no mention in the MSM that the 5% emissions reduction target is bipartisan. See the Liberal Environment and Climate Change policy here:
    “A Coalition Government will support direct action on climate change to reduce Australian CO2
    emissions by five per cent by 2020,”

    So if you look at the policy rather than the hysterical ranting, the only issue between the ALP and the Coalition is the method of reducing emissions. Most economists support the approach taken by the Government over the Opposition big government one.

    I would have thought that a story where the Conservatives were adopting a “socialist” approach and the “left” were adopting a “capitalist” market approach would be of interest to the MSM. Obviously they are more interested in hysterical sloganeering.

  20. Mr. Eyesore says:

    I’m pretty sure Pauline Hanson was never a Howard staffer. David Oldfield, her right-hand man, was an Abbott staffer before joining her party, though.

    The thing that gets me is how easy the media goes on Abbott. Case in point:

    Earlier in the interview Abbott parrots his standard line of “I think we need {an election} as soon as possible”. Later, he states “…we will detail in good time before the next election precisely where we’ll be making savings”.

    “In good time” before the election we need “as soon as possible”? Logically that adds up to “we’ll release our costings tomorrow”, but Uhlmann completely failed to pick up on that.

    Of course it’s all about ‘information management’ with Tone. Last year he spoke at a meeting in the local Town Hall. Notice that I didn’t say ‘public meeting’ – it was invitation-only!

  21. LEggs says:

    Damned straight, Wixxy. Unfortunately, like most of the posters here point out, the masses tend to feed on mainstream propaganda, and because shock n awe tactics make life easier (and more profitable) for most of the press, we’ll keep seeing the Opposition riding it. Sadly, it will probably mean Abbott and his goons will get to power. Hopefully they’ll seriously stuff up early in the peace and Turnbull will take the lead again.

    But then again, Oscar Jones might be right too. Hope so.

  22. Helen says:

    Made my day again. Keep em coming Wixxy. Am gonna have to stop reading your blogs on the bus though. Pissing myself laughing for no apparent reason can scare people!

    • wixxy says:

      Scaring people for no reason is half the joy of public transport I thought….

      • seb says:

        Off topic – “joy of public transport I thought” wixxy could you get onto your local state MP and get the new train line that might be going under your place to fit the standard double decker Sydney trains?

        I travelled on the M2 for the first time this year and the fact they built all those small road tunnels with only 2 lanes and which they are working on to expanded to 3 is a joke.

        Thanks for all your time on the HSU biz.

      • wixxy says:

        By the time they get that 3rd lane through that tunnel, we will need 5 lanes in there….

        I wouldn’t hold your breath on that rail line, Barry O’Farrell is still trying to get the population density up so he can find funding somewhere….

  23. deknarf says:

    Nice article. I can only hope that you are right and that the voters wake up before they do something really stupid by putting Phoney Tony and the NO Coalition on the Government benches.

  24. alfred venison says:

    dear editor
    bravo some american states, especially the voters of california, who by a large margin rejected a nefarious citizens initiated referendum to repeal their state’s ets. but things have gone seriously backwards in neighbouring canada, with baleful lord harper pulling the country out of kyoto, abolishing the position of chief scientist, reducing staff of statistics canada by 50%, entirely disbanding the national adaptation to climate change research group (just after its last report recommended increased funding for adaptation(!)), abolishing the arctic ice cores research group in dept of natural resources, and that’s for starters. climate action on a national level will not happen in canada for the foreseeable future, or until harper’s conservatives are removed from gov’t, whichever comes first. at present, only quebec is going at greening its economy full on (on the back of its hydro). and british columbia, last time i looked. that’s two out of ten, with alberta, on the other hand, ramping up the bitumen sands project in athabaska to become, this year, the largest part of the canadian national gnp, displacing ontario from that place for the first time in history. unfortunately, the government of canada/gouvernement du canada is a lost cause/cause perdue. i’m afraid you’d have to rate canada as a whole as “mixed” to “negative” on a table of climate action achievers. á bas steven harper !
    yours sincerely
    alfred venison

  25. thereal2bob says:

    Wixxy why don’t you release these articles on the ABC ‘DRUM’ website?
    As a few posters here have pointed out this site is used by far right lobby groups to prosecute their inane arguments and is used weekly by the seemingly unshameable Peter Wrieth.
    I believe that by doing so you would be able to reach a far wider audience and by doing so shame the MSM into some action in regard to disseminating the goings on in Jacksonville, Lawler Creek, Williamstown and the mad Abbotts tea party.
    I appreciate your efforts in assembling and disseminating this information and look forward to your every post.
    Thanks buddy.

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