Why People Of Conscience Cannot Vote For Abbott

1 Jun
Illustration: Rocco Fazzari

Illustration: Rocco Fazzari

Doubtless some, perhaps many readers of this blog have an inclination to vote for the Liberal Party at the next election.

Your humble blogger will not be one of them.

Here is why (my emphasis added):

When two tribes go to bed

The electoral funding deal was the bad side of that rare commodity bipartisanship, as the public reaction made clear.

Tony Abbott began his public backdown on Thursday morning by saying: “Well, it is pretty clear the people have spoken and the electoral funding bill is dead.” But which people? It’s true that quite a few voters had spoken over the previous two days, phoning and emailing their MPs. “The phones were ringing off the hook,” said one.

Voters were angered to learn that there was a Liberal-Labor agreement to help themselves to nearly $60 million in taxpayer funds to pay for elections. There’s already public funding to the political parties – the taxpayer gave the parties $2.31 for each vote they received at the least election – totalling $53 million at the 2010 poll.

But the news first emerged late on Monday night, and not fully until Tuesday, that the parties had cut a deal to add a further $58.7 million over four years.

The people whose voices rang loudest in Abbott’s ear were not the voters but members of his own party, at every level. And everyone, from the public to Abbott’s own inner circle, was affronted that they’d heard nothing about it until the agreement had already been struck in secret between the national secretaries and leaders of the parties.

Abbott’s shadow ministers were upset that they had sat through a shadow ministry meeting on Monday on many matters, but no one had mentioned this. His backbench was cranky that they’d sat through a party-room meeting on Tuesday where nothing was said.

And then, in the decisive moment, he consulted the senior officers of his own party on Wednesday night.

In a phone hook-up with the Liberal national executive, Abbott met a unified chorus of opposition from the party’s state divisions. The presidents of the Liberal party in every state spoke against the deal.

Even the man expected to be keenest to get more money, the official responsible for raising funds for the Liberals at the national level, the party treasurer, opposed the deal.

“I would rather treble my efforts than agree to this,” businessman Phillip Higginson told the conference call. By the time Abbott went to bed that night, he knew the funding deal was finished. The next morning he convened a meeting of his inner circle, the Liberal leadership group, and reports emerged that the group had “rolled” Abbott on the funding deal.

After news of the deal emerged, [Liberal Party federal director, Brian] Loughnane and Abbott’s office had repeatedly assured Liberal MPs that there had been discussions with Labor, but no deal.

Technically, they were protected by the fact that there could be no final, formal deal because the government had not yet shown the Liberals the final bill that it would be submitting to the parliament.

So Liberals were even more outraged when the Attorney-General, Labor’s Mark Drefyus, released to reporters a copy of a letter signed by Abbott the previous Friday that said:

“Thank you for your letter dated 16 May 2013 regarding the government’s intention to introduce and pass the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2013 in the current winter sittings.”

In the letter, Abbott said he had been briefed on the agreement Loughnane had struck with Labor and “I am satisfied with the agreement reached and indicate the Coalition’s intention to support the legislation and to deal with it, as requested, before the end of the sittings. I note that I have been provided with a near-final draft of the bill.”

One of Abbott’s shadow ministers remarked: “The mood across the party was feral. I’ve never seen the grassroots react so strongly against anything they way they reacted against this.”

Why is it that people of conscience cannot vote for Abbott?

It is a simple matter of integrity. And prudence.

When no one knew about it, Abbott supported the parties’ funding deal.

He only backed down, when folks spat the dummy.

Your humble blogger simply does not accept the rationalisation — the attempt to excuse his first action — that “at least he listened”.

That’s fine when you’re in opposition.

What about when you’re in power?

We have already seen Gillard demonstrate the corruption of power.

“There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”

I think we have now seen Abbott present us all with a vivid glimpse of his true character.

“Whatever it takes.”

Or perhaps more accurately, “Whatever I can get away with.”

And what of the Labor Party?

Needless to say, they are, with the exception of two, even worse:

Labor, on the other hand, was much more thoroughgoing in its internal consultations. Labor’s negotiator and national secretary, George Wright, had not only won the approval of his leader, the Prime Minister, but he had also put the deal to Labor’s national executive for formal approval. The executive passed it unanimously on March 13. It then went to the caucus committee on electoral matters.

And for Labor, this was where the trouble began. As soon as the detail was explained to the committee on Monday morning, two of its members objected forcefully. John Faulkner and Daryl Melham spoke against the bill, and they carried their objections into the full Labor caucus meeting on Tuesday.

Faulkner is a party elder and a long-time campaigner for transparency and integrity; Melham is former secretary of the caucus who has been a fellow campaigner.

They couldn’t believe that the party on trial in ICAC for corruption, the party of Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, the party whose former national president Michael Williamson has been charged with fraud, the party led by a prime minister whose biggest liability is public trust, could propose a bill that would help itself to tens of millions of public funds yet preserve many of the opacities and loopholes of funding system. Melham told the caucus: “You don’t need $10 million a year to do administration work, and the punters won’t wear it.”

Faulkner won widespread media coverage for his remark: “I am no longer angry or disappointed. I am just ashamed of this bill.” They were the only voices raised against it in the caucus. It was reports of the Faulkner-Melham objections that first rang the public alarm bell, the bell that then sounded so loudly across the way in the offices of Liberal MPs.

They had broken the conspiracy of silence and it foreshadowed the end of the deal.

Neither of the major parties can be trusted with power.

That much is crystal clear.

So, do you vote for (what you hope is) the lesser of two evils?

Do you look for alternatives; perhaps Katter’s Australia Party, or Clive Palmer’s PUP?

Or do you act on principle and Conscience, recalling that your vote is a legal expression of your desire for a particular person/party to represent your wishes, and, that you are only required to attend a polling booth and have your name crossed off … and vote for none of them.

18 Responses to “Why People Of Conscience Cannot Vote For Abbott”

  1. herculene June 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Who wrote this? It should not be on this page if the writer is not specified. I wondered at first why Barnaby Joyce was standing for the Coalition at the election against that money grabbing “sucking up to Gillard” Windsor. and writing this article. Then I saw it was not written by him.
    I am a person of conscience and I believe that Abbott is trustworthy and a person of integrity. Before signing any letter like he did without approval, was a .bad mistake But it WAS NOT a promise as Julia Gillard and the Carbon Tax even though she likens it to mistrust. Just read up the conditions for becoming a Rhodes Scholar, it is not just awarded for scholarly reasons but for personal integrity reasons. Tony absolutely believes in assisting others with his bike rides for charity, voluntary work as a fireman and lifesaver. This article is talking about one person in the Liberal Party, not the whole front bench of very capable individuals including Tony Abbott. Some of the small parties you mention don’t have a chance and the Greens are a blot on the landscape. They are the ones that people should avoid like the plague. Tony must listen to the people and I feel he has learnt a lesson. Howard was a great Prime Minister yet made mistakes but rectified them.

    I for one will certainly will vote for the Coalition. Here I might add that I am getting personal letters from Julia Gillard, Anna Bligh, entitled “Join the Fight”, become a volunteer. How do they get our email addresses??? What a nerve.

    • mick June 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Abbott honest??? Are we on the same page?

      You state that you are “a person of conscience”. So how does your “conscience” reconcile that Abbott’s first decrees will be:

      1. “Give back the mining tax” – to the richest of all Australians who have tax incentives, sweeteners and avoidance which most Australians will never have open to them.

      2. “Repeal the carbon tax” – to the benefit of rich coal miners. The carbon tax was going to put a price on carbon but a gutless Labor government caved in to the mining media scare campaign and also paid out the brown coal industry. So now Abbott intends to enrich the already well off.

      3. “Lower the company tax rate” – as if corporate Australia has not thrust its collective snout deep enough into the feeding trough and does not have enough tax minimisation and avoidance schemes available to it.

      Seriously herculene, are you are Liberal Party stooge or is this post for real. Lets deal with the facts. And I have not even started on the complicit media which has run a one sided attack on the government for the past 5 years.

      Do yourself a favour: make your vote count and do not support either side of politics. This is where the problem lies.

      • freedomsmoker June 8, 2013 at 10:27 am #

        Yes we need to get rid of all these taxes that labor has invented to cover their inability to manage the budget. Australia’s economy is in decline. We are too expensive in international markets. The labor government is adding to this cost base. It’s as simple as that. We need a new government before we have no economy left to save.

        • mick June 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

          “….we need to get rid of all the taxes…” So how do you think that government provide roads schools, hospitals, health care and much more? All governments have taxes. The difference is that the liberals will send a heap of tax money to the mega rich whilst Labor has plowed them into the nation. And yes some has been misused (boat people and social security over kill).

          “We are too expensive in international markets”. I spend at least 2 months a year in the US, supposedly one of the wealthiest nations on earth. What you need to understand is that this is a 2 class society where the rich plunder and pay next to no taxes and the poor are unbelievably poor. Many ordinary workers are little more than itinerant workers who earn less than $10 an hour. So this is what you propose for Australia, a place where average people used to get a fair go. This is already changing as is the divide between rich and poor and the calls from the rich end of town for ever lower tax rates.

          Please do not talk about getting rid of taxes as this is what our American counterparts did to get where this nation now is. The same game plan is under way here.

          The truth is that we will never be able to compete with a wage rate of $10 a day in China. Forget it. All the rhetoric cannot change that and we either have to put up the trade barriers eventually or reduce wages to meet the market. Perhaps you could explain to me how Australians could pay off a house (or rent), put food on the table and bring up a family on a wage of $400 per week. I am all ears. In the words of a famous Australian….PLEASE EXPLAIN??

          My advice for what it is worth: vote Independent if you can find somebody worthy of your vote. This is the only way of making both sides of politics do what is in the interests of the nation…which may actually on some issues require BIPARTISAN SUPPORT – Mr No needs to read this.

  2. mick June 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    “Why is it that people of conscience cannot vote for Abbott?” Answer: because Abbott’s rhetoric of what he will “give back” to the wealthiest of all Australians demonstrates that he is the disciple of the rich. Robin Hood in reverse……robbin’ from the poor to give to the rich.

    The funding deal was a sham and most Australians would be happy that it blew up in their faces. Funny how you got bipartisan support on politicians’ pay rorts and this issue would also have gone through had it been handled in a different manner.

    Australians need to clip the wings of those who are unaccountable and who spend the national wealth like confetti whilst selling out the nation to overseas investors. So why is the voting public so stupid? Lord help us all as the nation is entering a death spiral.

    • freedomsmoker June 8, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      This is not about rich vs poor. The Australia economy as a whole is suffering. Rich people and poor people are losing their jobs. Companies cannot compete in international markets. Every week there is a new company closing down or moving offshore. If this keeps up everyone will be poor.

      • mick June 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        The are several reasons why people are losing their jobs and pinning the tail on the (Labor) donkey, a cheap shot normally reserved for Tony Abbott disciples who do not have the intelligence to decipher the political lies from the truth. The main reasons why job losses are occurring are:

        1. the GFC….that is the event which the Howard government did not have to contend with. Lucky them. And now it is easy to point to deficits and try to compare with their own surpluses. A bit like comparing apples with oranges….a nonsense which avoids recent history!! The Liberal government would not have done much different without putting many Australians out of work. Not the bosses of course!!

        2. both sides of politics have collaborated in destroying Australian jobs for several decades. Whilst the nation made money from the mining boom business was allowed to outsource to the third world. We now even have the ludicrous situation where the building industry and the mining industry have been importing cheap labour to displace Australian workers. This sort of moronic behaviour cannot last. When the mining boom finally ends (already under way) then the poo will hit the fan with little national income whilst imports and overseas wages bills continue in Australian money leaving the country rather than doing the rounds internally. STUPIDITY OF THE WORST KIND and behaviour truly worthy of our single digit IQ politicians. These folk would all be failures in any business venture but the population is not smart enough to put an end to the game, so it goes on. Sad. But our grandchildren will pay the price for this generation’s stupidity.

        So lets not spend too much time in mud slinging at the Labor government. Whilst I detest much of what has been going on we are getting the NBN (this is no waste of money) and a recognition of climate change, a topic which the media attacks but never gives proper information about. Other nations are doing heaps and if you believed what you hear and read here you could be forgiven for thinking that Australia is going it alone. It isn’t.

        As I have stated before I consider a vote for Abbott as being a vote for extreme wealth, nothing more. He will do for small business what previous liberal governments have, bugger all. Lets face it only large business and the very wealthy contribute to election coffers as they want a kickback. So guess who is going to get their palms greased first up? Read my original post and here we are. If you don’t accept my analysis then lets wait for the fat lady to sing as Tony Abbott has stated what I have repeated. Nobody can say that they were not told.

      • Kevin Moore June 9, 2013 at 9:57 am #

        Free Trade in my opinion is the problem.

        Australian poet C.J.Dennis railed on about Free Trade in his “GLUGS OF GOSH”

        “……………But a Glug stood up with some very large ears, And said, “There is more in this thing than appears! And we ought to be taxing those goods of the Ogs, Or our industries soon will be gone to the dogs.” And the King said, “Bosh! You’re un-Gluggish and rude!” And the Queen said, “What an absurd attitude!” Then the Glugs cried, “Down with political quacks! How did our grandpas look at a tax?” So the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book. “No tax,” said he, “wherever I look.” Then they fined the Glug with the prominent ears For being old-fashioned by several years; And the Ogs went home with the stones, full-steam. Did you notice the scheme? Nor yet did the Glugs in their dreamiest dreams.
        Then every month to the land of the Gosh The Ogs, they continued to come, With buttons and hooks, and medical books, And rotary engines, and rum, Large cases with labels, occasional tables, Hair tonic and fiddles and ‘phones; And the Glugs, while copncealing their joy in the dealing, Paid promptly in nothing but stones. Why, it was screamingly Laughable, seemingly — Asking for nothing but stones!

        And the King said, “Haw!” and the Queen said, “Oh! Our drawing-room now is a heavenly show Of large overmantels, and whatnots, and chairs, And a statue of Splosh at the head of the stairs!” But a Glug stood up with a cast in his eye, And he said, “Far too many baubles we buy; With all the Gosh factories closing their doors, And importers’ warehouses lining our shores.” But the Glugs cried, “Down with such meddlesome fools! What did our grandpas lay down in their rules?” And the Knight, Sir Stodge, he opened his Book: “To Cheapness,” he said, “was the road they took.” Then every Glug who was not too fat Turned seventeen handsprings, and jumped on his hat. They fined the Glug with the cast in his eye For looking both ways – which he did not deny – And for having no visible precedent, which Is a crime in the poor and a fault in the rich…….”

  3. geoff June 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Mick at 5:45Pm. Your item 1, mining tax. a useless piece of legislation that has cost more in company and government paperwork than it will ever produce in net gain to government. Make the pen pushers do something constructive.
    Your item 2: Carbon tax, a tax on nothing. another great useless cost burden on everyone. Cost to companies will be passed on to the consumer, as always. Government relief to consumers. Where does that come from ? The consumers , taxpayers, with a rakeoff for administration. Fine for the ego and affluence of the deniers who in reality are those who deny that climate is a natural event and has always been so. Get to live with it and adapt as has always been done, mostly successfully.
    Item3 : Lower company tax. Lower it in a positive way. Make profit funds used to increase production, employment and efficiency non taxable.
    If not voting for Coalition or ( Labor, heaven forbid on performance ) vote informal is the only rational option. in a compulsory, preferential voting system, Anything else, like multiculture, creates a disruptive and fragmenting force.

    • mick June 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm #


      1. THE MINING TAX:

      The mining tax is a shadow of its former self because the government caved in to the campaign run by the wealthy miners with help from their lieutenant Tony Abbott. The reason for the tax in the first place was that the mining industry had all sorts of subsidies and tax dodges and then expatriated around 80% of net profits (they’re the ones after all the dodgy accounting) to overseas. Yes….the mining industry is heavily overseas owned. Surprise, surprise.

      You are correct that not much has been collected but then the iron ore price has collapsed from $190 a ton to $120 a ton so not much collected as you stated. At least not at the present time. But why should Australian taxpayers subsidise the mining industry for overseas investors and miners to become obscenely rich? That’s more than very rich by the way. And why should Australia essentially give away such high grade ore for a few measly jobs? And when its gone what then? I’m sure the Arabs would not give their oil away but then Australians are not that bright.

      2. THE CARBON TAX:

      Whilst I have to run up the white flag somewhat, as I do not agree with carbon credits trading, the idea is that you make dirty technologies more expensive so that renewable have a chance to compete and eventually become the dominant energy source. Whilst the world is happy with the cheapest current method (coal) nothing will change. And when you and I are long gone our descendants will curse us for what we have done. Ok, so you don’t care because you are looking after number 1. I am sad for you. By all means put your head in the sand and continue to deny what scientists have been elaborating for years. Ice cores from the Antarctic arenot manufactured to deceive. Only self interest businessmen and politicians do that.
      Personally I agree with Abbott’s position (God help me) on direct action. At least that way the criminals of the world will find it harder to profit from their criminal attempts to rort the system.

      3. COMPANY TAX:

      If you really think that lower company taxes will do much of anything other than buy another multi-million dollar house for the rich then believe in the tooth fairy. Have you not seen that gap between rich and poor has been growing exponentially for the last 10 to 20 years? The rich are not poor and they have had their personal rates lowered from 65 cents in the dollar (from memory) to the current 49 cents in the dollar. But not content with that the rich have been pushing their snouts hard into the feeding trough with cries of poverty, sacking workers and cutting hours. All a ploy my friend to get more money. Obscene isn’t it.

      I do like your last suggestion about voting informal though. If we all did it then a frightening message would be sent. I don’t know about you but I always find out where the preferences are going before I vote…..and I never vote for Labor or Liberal because the bastards have no respect for ordinary Australians who employ them. That is the truth. Cheers.

      PS Pardon my directness. Political correctness is not one of my stronger attributes.

  4. Pat June 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    I agree with Herculene in most of what he said. I understood that “Barnarbys Right” was written by someone who calls himself the Blissful Ignoramous but often quotes or puts articles in by Barnaby Joyce. To me this one seems to be totally out of character for the Blissful Ignoramous. I was going to write a reply saying how surprised and disappointed I was but I think you are right and some one has broken into this blog to do a bit of poisoning. That makes sense to me now, so thankyou.

    • mick June 2, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      It sounds likely that we have a few Liberal Party stoolies on this blog as ignoring the facts is the game. Rather we read the tired ongoing Liberal Party rhetoric written by those whose own (business) interests are the prime objective.

      What is really sad is that those who have sold out the country and now want another go at doing more of the same have no national conscience. Just greed and self interest.

  5. geoff June 2, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Mick. I note your remarks. I also am not a fan of PC. I think you did not absorb my method of reducing company tax by not taxing profits re invested in productive exercises. As for the increasing gap between rich and poor. I beleive Romney was right in stating 47% have a vested interest in welfare and will vote for whoever they think will give it. I wonder what the Australian figures are. This is the downside of democracy as stated 200 years ago by a french gentleman who went to USA to observe it in action. Perhaps he was right in saying it will eventually bankrupt itself. Maybe that is what we are seeing now

    • mick June 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm #


      I spend a couple of months every year in the US so better not to get me started on Romney. After the last recent massacre of primary school children (with machine guns) the outrage went all the way to the top )Obama). The reaction from Romney and his business owned politicians was to vote against almost every argument and legislative change so that business would not have to lose one single dollar from changes to introduce safeguards. It was despicable. It was ugly. Welcome to the Republican side of politics. The Australian equivalent, albeit not in the same sick class (yet), is THE LIBERAL PARTY.

      The other issue from the Romney Republican side of politics was the running of a scare campaign against Obamacare, the US equivalent of our Medicare. Why? Because rich folk don’t want to pay for health care for anyone other than themselves. Sick!! This the side of politics which has enabled the rich to be almost exempt from paying taxes. Let the poor pay. Yeah right. That is why the US is in deep financial trouble.

      Sorry if I ma being a bit tough. I have seen too much and fully understand the motivation from the liberal side of politics. You only have to look at the first 3 decrees Tony Abbott is going to enact to see where his interests are, and this is not the well being of the nation.

      Reducing taxes is great…..unless it goes into the bank accounts of the rich to buy more and bigger holiday homes and unproductive investments. It has done this in the past and will do so again. Business needs to pay more taxes and have less dodgy deductions (not small business) rather than more money to pay even more money to already hugely over remunerated CEOs.

  6. geoff June 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Mick, I an not a fan of Romney but only observing that any idiot can make a truthful observation on occasions. I noted he was chastised by his supporters for that remark. Perhaps there was more a grain of truth in it. Cheers.

    • mick June 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

      Romney was caught out a couple of times during the election campaign. My issue has never been the man. It is and always has been the politics and the money trail. All the rest is just background noise.

      The trouble with idiots who make a truthful observation, as you state, is that they are idiots because they refuse to see the forest for the trees. Those who cry in the wilderness whilst humanity is manipulated and does what is in the interests of the few suffer to see what is going whilst unable to stop the train wreck..

  7. Tel June 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    I won’t be putting the Liberals first on my ballot, but thanks to preferential voting I don’t have to. When it comes down to a preference between Liberal and Labor I’ll put Labor last this time around thank you very much. They’ve earned it.

    I think the LDP are probably my favoured party (if they run) and actually I like Senator Scott Ludlam from the Greens. I know there’s a lot of loonies in the Greens but Ludlam has stood up very well against Internet filtering and against attacks on free speech. Sadly, living in NSW disqualifies me from voting for Scott. If only the Greens were able to understand some basic economics (and trashcan the socialism), they might be able to achieve something.

    Maybe even the Pirate Party. They should rename themselves the “Freebooter Party”, meaning both pirate and free trader at the same time… maximum annoyance value.

    • mick June 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Good call. I’m so pee’d off with both sides of politics that I’d vote for Pauline Hanson. At least Hanson cares about the future of the nation which neither of the two dunderheads appear to have any idea about. Think carefully about a preference to the wealthy though. This part of our society has more than enough of its share without getting more.

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