There is no longer any rational justification for voting Abbott

The last remnants of the promise of good fiscal management evaporated on Thursday
Photo: Jay Cronan, Sydney Morning Herald

Coalition voters will be voting on Saturday for a fantasy. A responsible party, that will take care of all Australians through strong Government is now a complete mirage.

The last and most tightly held tenets of the coalition believers – sound economic management – vanished yesterday as Joe Hockey revealed his costings. Reminiscent of the 2010 costings that earned Australia’s fifth largest accounting firm a reprimand, Joe Hockey has shunned the Charter of Budget Honesty in favour of a couple of pieces of paper with some numbers written on it.

The Abbott campaign has been built on fantastic promises of economic reform, honesty, and strong government that now lie in shreds on the floor. But Tony’s confident that his two attractive daughters will distract us from the mess on the floor until Saturday evening.

Below are some of the more embarrassing claims made by the coalition:

  1. Labor is addicted to spending: Mr Abbott has promised 600% more spending than Mr Rudd during the election campaign.
  2. We have a budget crisis: Joe Hockey reveals, it wasn’t that bad, or if it is, the coalition doesn’t really care that much.
  3. The carbon tax will be a wrecking ball through the economy: Demolished by Leigh Sales, who exposed Abbott hadn’t even read the report he was making claims about.
  4. Abbott claimed the carbon tax doubled a pensioners electricity bill: She doubled her own bill by doubling her electricity usage.
  5. Mr Abbott and the coalition have repeatedly accused the Government of wrecking the economy. Foreign economists find this claim laughable, especially since Wayne Swan has been named the world’s best treasurer in 2011.
  6. On economy: In 2011 Mr Hockey and Mr Abbott showed that they either do not know the difference between, or deliberately mislead voters on, the Eurozone and the International Monetary fund.
  7. On the coalition’s costings of their climate change plan economic modelling show’s Mr Abbott’s direct action plan will be less effective and cost an extra $4 to $15 billion, and that’s with the generous assumption that every project under the scheme would yield 100% delivery.
  8. Of 140 economists asked about the Abbott climate change policy, the vast majority could not back the policy.
  9. The minority government is a failure: It passed a “substantial” 485 bills including landmark reforms like, national disability insurance scheme, the Gonski reforms, Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme, and boosting funding for mental health.
  10. On health: Labor changes to private health rebate will cause people to drop health insurance: 800,000 joined private insurance following the change.

Mr Abbott’s campaign has been built on deception.

47% of Tony Abbott’s statements analysed by PolitiFact were false, or mostly false, and another 27% were only half true.

One of the other deciding factors in coalition votes is the need for strong Government. Strong Government comes from respectful, well informed debate. The Coalition has fostered a culture of misdirection, dishonesty and disrespect for the public and the parliament. The latest polls suggest that we are likely to get a coalition government that can easily negotiate and trade favours with one or more extreme conservative micro-parties. This may make for easy passage of legislation for a liberal government, but it will not give us a robust democracy.

Voters are also voting on character. There are some serious shadows over the character of Australia’s next Prime Minister:

  1. Tony Abbott once punched Joe Hockey. Joe Hockey claims he was knocked out by the punch.
  2. Tony Abbott is accused of threatening a woman by twice punching the wall beside her head.
  3. He threatened to punch a man in a pub over his views on abortion.
  4. It is alleged that Tony Abbott kicked in a glass panel door at Sydney University.
  5. In 2011 he made an asylum seeker joke about a boat that sunk and took the lives of 11 people.
  6. When Aboriginal elders took 3 days to get to parliament to talk to a committee, Tony Abbott allegedly showed up late, and then fell asleep.

Tony Abbott is, though, just one man in the party, even if he is the leader. Does this bully culture extend to the party? Looking back a mere two days certainly give hints:

  1. The creator of this website has been harassed, had his career threatened and his personal details disseminated online, after his personal details were given to coalition lawyers. Yes the website uses fowl language and some would say it’s in poor taste, but the author is as much within his free speech rights as the Murdoch press is.
  2. In April this year, a senior staffer to Mr Abbott made a throat-slitting motion at the CEO of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

Coalition voters hopes that they will get a Government that is honest, strong, economically sound and of good character are hopes that have been utterly dashed.

Unfortunately, it is the very lack of these qualities has obscured the truth about all parties, and that will make it very difficult for many coalition voters to understand that there is a party that champions the qualities they imagine the coalition has.

About Chris Jensen

Chris Jensen is the lead trainer for WOW Kampung, the education arm of Ground-Up Initiative, where he works on character and leadership development. He is interested in how the environmental and social issues currently faced by society are interconnected with character and social development.
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  • Nigel

    Well done mate. Nicely written.

  • James Bovill

    Hi. I’ve just posted your article and every article it links to on Facebook, because I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Except in one place. The Costa Concordia wasn’t carrying asylum seekers.

    • ChrisJJensen

      Thanks James, I’ve corrected that reference.