Want to know how bad the ALP’s campaign has been; want to know how bad the Rudd Government was at selling anything? At the Liberal Party campaign launch, the big policy announcement was the plan to introduces mandatory prison sentencing for people who harbour asylum seekers. The policy Abbott was most proud of was announcing the return of the Pacific Solution.
In 2007 the voters were pretty much of a mind that Pacific Solution was the type of policy only a backward looking, racist and morally bereft nation would employ. Now it is Abbott’s set piece.
He also announced a “Three Month Plan” so absent of anything of substance that it alone should render him unfit for office. Let’s go through it:
FROM DAY ONE:
- End the threat of the mining tax
Oh good, give back $10.5b in tax revenue to some of the wealthiest companies in the world, even though they have agreed to pay it. That’s real smart. Remember the Mineral’s Council of Australia called the MRRT “a positive outcome for the country”.
- End the threat of the carbon tax
Oh good, let us ignore the market system and pretend incentives can work just like they didn’t in the Soviet Union.
- Invite talks with Nauru's president on re-opening an offshore processing centre
Yep let’s start up a process under which almost every asylum seeker sent to Nauru will eventually come to Australia anyway.
- Act to stop marine parks
Yes let’s overfish the sea so that the next generation of fishermen will have nothing to do.
- Suspend Building the Education Revolution payments to states and redirect the money to school communities
Yes, so you should after all a 97.3% satisfaction ratting is pretty crap, unless you compare it to … well.. any other program ever undertaken by a Government.
IN WEEK ONE:
- Mr Abbott would chair a National Security Committee meeting with full attendance by ministers
A pathetic swipe at Gillard, but about as weighty in policy as Greg Hunt’s credibility on climate change.
- Establish a debt reduction taskforce
Oh my God yes – because we must quickly pay back a debt which is the smallest in the western world and easily manageable. A debt which has Asutralia struggling with a AAA rating and according to Moody’s": “Australia's strong institutions and low government debt levels mean the country is highly likely to keep its valued triple-A rating for years to come”. Yeah we really need a taskforce…
IN MONTH ONE:
- Issue an economic statement
You mean like every other incoming Government does?
- Release the Murray-Darling Basin Plan for consultation
You mean like the Government is intending to do?
- Visit the countries in our region
Hang on, you guys criticised Rudd for spending too much time overseas when he became PM! And you’re taking Julie Bishop? Remind her to take along some of those ASIO forged passports she has.
- Implement new arrangements to reimburse householders for insulation batts safety inspections
Yes, you should do that, because otherwise those people who took part in a scheme that increased the safety standards of the insulation industry might get some benefit from it, and hell we wouldn’t want that.
- Recall parliament and introduce legislation to toughen people smuggling penalties and introduce Temporary Protection Visas
Oh my God, you’ll recall parliament!! You mean you weren't planning to take the rest of the year off, instead of sitting for the 8 weeks that are already scheduled? Oh and by the way, good luck getting that TPV Bill past the ALP, the Greens and Nick Xenaphon in the Senate.
- Publish all modelling associated with the Henry Tax Review recommendations
What even the modelling that advocated a mining tax – you know the tax you slaughtered due to political reasons completely at odds with economics?
WITHIN THREE MONTHS:
- Prepare for an emissions reduction fund
A fund? So you’re in favour of big government, and against the free market. How interesting.
- Finalise recruitment arrangements for a green army of environmental workers
Yeah, I can see so many people rushing to work in a green army in this period of low unemployment. Nice idea. Pity the people who would maybe volunteer to do it would prefer a price on carbon
- Start small business reforms
Oh wow. We hold our breath. The Howard Govt was so good at reducing the red tape for small business.
- Establish a national violent gangs squad
Yep, because that’s what has been missing from our nation, now that the Cripps and the Bloods have taken over our once safe streets here in South Central.
- COAG will meet to secure agreement on hospital boards and beds
Yeah, sure they will.
- Visit Afghanistan to support Australian troops and their mission
Oh goody, that will make them feel so much safer.
Geez. What a pathetic list.
Oh and you know Abbott’s policy for disability education that I was so concerned about? They still haven’t submitted it under the Charter for Budget Honesty. Interesting don’t you think, given they have submitted the costing for the National Violent Gangs Squad that was announced a day earlier than his disability policy...
Yesterday I ripped into the press gallery following Gillard for their useless questions. Today I missed seeing her press conference in Darwin but Bernard Keane of Crikey congratulated them for their focus being almost completely on policy – the transcript is here. And their work was much, much better. The journos probed her announcement about “No school; no play”. Here’s a few of the better ones:
JOURNALIST: Can I just ask how new is this? My understanding is that this sort of No school No play has been going on in quite a few schools for quite a while and how does a federal government implement this in each and every school and how does it apply just to Darwin across the board?
JOURNALIST: Is there risk though there that some children may suffer if this, their parents responsibility that they haven’t been attending school?
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister. On No School No Play, the funding has been allocated from the Indigenous Education Program. Is this something for all children or is it targeted at indigenous children?
JOURNALIST: When you say working together with the sporting codes, I mean, sporting codes get a lot of government grants. Is this going to be one of the conditions abiding to government grants to (inaudible) enforce this? You can have all the voluntary codes in the world but at the end of the day, as Nick says, you know, some of the country teams would play their best players regardless -
Good stuff. Let’s hope they keep it up when it comes to some more complex policy than the fairly straightforward one on display today. Let’s hope those following Abbott do likewise (and perhaps the media should also make some noise about how Abbott is only answering at most 9 or 10 questions – he is absolutely petrified of policy examination).