Abbott’s “Yes Minister”-Style Economy Drive

15 Sep

Oh dear, perhaps I’m becoming a tad too sceptical.

Admittedly, this is a good look for the incoming LNP government.

Which, of course, is the whole point of the exercise.

But I for one cannot help but be reminded of the classic episode of BBC’s Yes Minister, the first episode of Series 3, entitled ‘The Economy Drive’:


TONY Abbott has decided to bunk with Australian Federal Police recruits in a $120-a-night flat while renovations are conducted at the possum-infested prime ministerial residence The Lodge.

The modest and unusual digs, in a red brick AFP building close to Parliament, will feature a kitchenette and around-the-clock security from his AFP security officers and their junior colleagues.



Perhaps most importantly for the fitness fanatic, the student quarters also include an impressive gym…

Mr Abbott rejected the other options on offer: a $3,000 a week dress circle rental in the nation’s capital. Mr Abbott currently stays at the five-star Hotel Realm.

Providing proper security to the Prime Minister was the biggest problem in finding a temporary new abode, with many options requiring significant security upgrades if AFP officers were to properly protect the PM. For that reason, staying a hotel was swiftly discounted as an option…

The plan represents one of the most unusual Canberra living arrangements for a politician since former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson camped out in Joe Hockey’s shed to save money after his divorce settlement. When Mr Abbott needs to entertain VIP guests he will do so at his Prime ministerial offices at Parliament House.

And then there is this:

Incoming foreign minister Julie Bishop has already clashed with her department over luxury hotel accommodation on an upcoming trip to New York.

The minister-elect told Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade bureaucrats to slash the cost of the trip after they planned to book $1850-a-night rooms at a swish Manhattan hotel for an entourage of dozens.

Ms Bishop also instructed DFAT not to book her on first-class flights when she travels overseas in her new brief.

It is understood departmental bosses want to take a delegation of 23 public servants to the United Nations leaders’ summit on September 19-20 along with two ministers and three of their staff with the travelling party staying at the four-star Westin Midtown Hotel. The department planned to put Ms Bishop and her colleagues in a suite at the Westin as part of an accommodation package worth $132,048.

But the incoming minister, who has yet to be sworn in, told her department she wanted to stay in an ordinary room and that they should ditch the idea of the suite and that, for future reference they should not book her in first-class on international flights. She sent the public servants back to their department to revise the cost of the trip.

After all the scene-setting headlines, and seed-planting news stories like this are done, and the positive PR benefits enjoyed, I wonder how long it will take for reality to set in.

About as long as Jim Hacker’s ‘Economy Drive’ lasted?

I wonder if any in the mainstream media will bother to follow up on this in … oh, let’s say, a month or three … to see how Abbott’s Economy Drive is really going?

14 Responses to “Abbott’s “Yes Minister”-Style Economy Drive”

  1. Kevin Moore September 15, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters”, but it appears that Tony Abbott has three.
    1. He has already sworn his total allegiance to Israel.
    2. He has promised to well and truly serve the Australian people.
    3. He has his allegiance as a Catholic to the Pope.

  2. mick September 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Whilst I distrust the new government I’ll have to hold fire.

    How can you forget the lying deceitful campaign which played tag with an anything but ‘free’ Press? But maybe the devil will turn the other cheek. Ok, I’m dreamin’.

  3. Kevin Moore September 16, 2013 at 6:07 am #
    “……….The Senate is where it gets really interesting. The Coalition are only likely to end up with 34 seats. In order to get their headline policies through, including abolishing the silly climate tax, Tony, a nice chap I gather, is going to have to cut deals with the libertarian Liberal Democrats, who won the ballot to be first on the ballot and got the important New South Wales donkey vote, Family First, Clive Palmer and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party. That’s right – the motorists got their man in, in Victoria.
    This could lead to sensible state-level policies on gun control, abortion and increasing speed limits. The daft post Port Arthur Massacre gun control legislation looks doomed, there should be fewer dead babies, thanks to Family First, and state speed limits will probably be going up. Great. Current Australian policy on speed limits is to kill as many motorists as possible by lengthening journey times as much as possible, so that they fall asleep at the wheel and drive off the road, or into a road train coming the other way.
    A few years ago in West Australia, an exhausted and bored police officer, tragically managed to kill his entire family whilst driving that long stretch of mostly straight road from Kalgoorlie to Perth. The speed limit is maniacally low, mostly 110 klicks on a road where 150 would be a natural cruising speed for a Holden and you could do 200 in safety. Visibility sometimes goes as far as the horizon, what a pilot would call unlimited. Think I-70 in Kansas, but with less traffic and more kangaroos”.

    • mick September 16, 2013 at 9:25 am #

      A very cynical post:

      “who won the ballot to be first on the ballot” – so is it the fault of the lucky person who gets this position or is it the fault of voters who for the greater part are brain dead and completely apathetic.

      The reference to Port Arthur massacres and dead babies is sad. You can do better Kev.

      As for I-70 I have driven this stretch of road for the past 3 years. Its a great road but not as good as you make out. In fact earlier in the year there was quite a pile up due to drivers not driving to the icy conditions and the previous year there was a couple run off the road within minutes of us passing the section where this occurred. The problem with making ‘rules’, and rules, is that no matter how many you make there will always be some dim whit who will negate the intention. So what can you do? Of course…… in the case of Port Arthur throw the baby out with the bath water. The irony is that the crims ALL have guns which are uncontrollable. I do at long last hear the rumblings of what I have saying: long jail sentences for offenders.

      As for the senate I thank the Lord that the coalition has not won control. Anyone who heard dummy spitting Abbott cry about his “mandate” would have laughed as this was no more than an attempt to intimidate elected members whilst at the same time choosing to forget what happened the day Labor won office. Whilst I do not wish to see the country gridlocked by a bloody minded opposition I would expect that this business owned government gets as good as it gave, kicking, screaming and crying victimisation and “mandate” all the way to the next election.

  4. JMD September 16, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    Seen this one?

    We must be coming to the end of the road, though I guess it’s possible there’s no limit to human craziness.

  5. Ross Johnson September 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I note that the Citizens Electoral Council have sent letters to every politician and senior public servants asking them about the proposals of “bail in”. Abbott refuses to instigate a Glass Steagall Act. How will they get bail in passed ?

    • The Blissful Ignoramus September 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Indeed Ross, I will be quite interested to see how/when they try to pass the necessary legislation. I imagine it will be slipped in with other legislation, and receive no media fanfare.

      • Ross Johnson September 17, 2013 at 7:09 am #

        This is really worth seeing. Karen Hudes for 20 yrs was a senior lawyer for the World Bank. She says the banking cabal is losing its power.

  6. Jazza September 17, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    I hope I don’t read into some comments that you folk would have actually wanted Australia to continue under the Godfather’s six pain-filled years of rule with his union mafia?
    Tony Abbot if half competent would have to be BETTER,and i doubt HE will be hauled into a Victorian law court re a union scam in the 1990’s,but a few lefties well might be and soon!

    • mick September 18, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      You are correct Jazza. Abbott will NEVER have a case to answer. Do you not remember when his travel rorts were tabled? One quest from Lea Sales (7:30 Report). Response: “come on Lea”. End of questioning. Compare that to Peter Slipper who had a similar offence.

      What you are detailing is corrupt associations and protection from the media and all players. Whether or not the courts are in the same game or Abbott has anything to answer for remains to be seen. But the track record is not heartening for a nation which claims to be fair and equitable to all.

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