Tony Abbott ‘wins’

It’s the understatement of the year to say the Liberals are in for a very difficult few months until the election, now Tony Abbott has assumed the party’s leadership by one vote (with one informal/abstain vote)

This was as much an ideological contest as a personality contest or one based predominantly on leadership skills.  While it is nice to see a contest around policy and ideological arguments, rather than charisma or cuddliness, such a line ball result seems likely to entrench division rather than resolve it.

A single vote win makes it hard enough, but in the absence of anything else, a win is a win and can provide a chance to move forward.  But….

A single vote win with one informal vote dilutes the definitive nature of the result.

A single vote win with one informal vote and two new people likely to be elected on the weekend to join to the Party Room is worse still.

A single vote win with one informal vote, two new ones set to join and one MP absent ill – who had been seen as a supporter of the losing side – all adds up to making the victory anything but definitive.

And hard times ahead for the Liberals.

Assuming there are not seven Liberals willing to cross the floor and pass the CPRS this week, there is likely to be a majority in the Senate to delay a vote on the legislation, as Steve Fielding has also called for a delay and Nick Xenophon’s past statements suggest he’d have the same view. (While there are undoubtedly seven Liberal Senators who support passing the CPRS, I doubt they’d feel like causing more division at this stage.)

There are differing views about whether delaying a vote on the CPRS legislation, including by referring it to a Senate Committee, constitutes a ‘failure to pass’, as required under the Constitution to provide a trigger for a double dissolution election.   However, I think it is fairly clear there are sufficient grounds for the government to argue the Senate has ‘failed to pass’ the legislation, which would enable them to successfully request the Governor-General for an election.

It is possible the High Court might think otherwise after the election, if the CPRS is subsequently passed by a joint sitting.  But that would just negate the legislation, not the election.

That doesn’t mean the government will call an election on this.  Just that they can.  The Senate is due to resume on February 2 next year.  Calling an election prior to that, so early in the year, is problematic.

But regardless of whether the election is called in January or October – or somewhere in between – it seems likely it will involve significant debate about climate change.  Having a solid focus on this most important of issues throughout an election year can only be a good thing.

(crossposted at The Stump)

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  1. Andrew.

    I think you’re right in many points in this post. You’d have to think that the way this vote unfolded was unfortunate for Joe Hockey, and if the wets really want the leadership, they could continue to agitate. However, I think they don’t have the spine that the Uglies do, and as a result will cower behind Abbott.

  2. The main thing is we managed to kill of this bill, albeit only temporary.

    The longer its held up though the less chance it has to pass and more and more people are questioning this monster tax with no real benefit.

    Tony was the man of the day but there’s big money in this tax (for both finance houses, governments and unelected bodies overseas) so the push will continue.

    For now though the little man has won. Thousands of pensioners, small businesses, small farmers and everyone on a lower fixed income have had that one moment of glory.

    Its been a tiring week as Andrew would know. I have been beating the pavement, taliking to Senators and writing, phoning and emailing with some success. To all those in the coalition that made a stand …… I thank you, the people of Queensland salute you….

    Its a shame that the ALP senators were prepared to lay down and let the poorest members of society suffer. As they say ….. career of principle anyday for the ALP.


  3. Tony: I take it by “little man’ you mean ‘the ordinary person”?

    In general .. I hope that this means we get more explanation form the government and a more thoughtful consideration by the public of what it all means. In the end, accordign to what I have read, most peole believe in takign action against climate change, or what action we can take, and if it is explained in terms the ordinary person can understand, we’d all be better off.

    I wonder when our grandchildren have an largely uninhabitable planet to try to exist on whether the concerns of the selfish citizens of today’s world will be damned by name, e.g. John Howard, Tony Abbottt and the rest of them, or just called “The Greedy Generations”?

    Our grandparents went to war becuase they thought they were making a stand for the nation, at a huge cost, and we can’t even turn down our thermostats, time our showers, use public transport or walk, use less glass in our buildings and use cloth bags for our groceries … what a generation.

  4. Trust me, they will pass the bloody CPRS without reference to the people at all. Julia Gillard has taken it upon herself to be the mouthpiece for every Australian. This is what she calls “showing leadership”.

    I think she is a Dictator from “Northern Screw Loose”.

    I’m sure all of the smaller parties are champing at the bit for an election at the moment. What a pity it won’t happen. Giving both Liberals and Labor a swift kick in the guts would suit me nicely.


    Don’t worry, once you’ve been taxed to the eyeballs, you’ll be back to using candles.

    BTW I hope you aren’t using more than 10kW per person per day at your house. If so, the climate police will soon be out to get you, if your empty purse doesn’t get you first.

    We are told electricity prices are to rise by up to 30%. In Queensland, water prices are to rise exponentially as well, along with the axing of the Traveston Dam.

    The CPRS is about taxation, taxation, taxation.

    If our grandparents knew what was happening, they would crawl out of their graves and start using machine guns on all of the communists who would allow huge corporations to take over.

  5. Tone’s favourite film ‘the Alamo
    quickly followed by Independence day and back up, anything with Chuck Norris in it
    Film he wants made “sorting out the poofters in the ’70’s at Sydney uni’
    apparently he wants John Howard’s son to take the lead role
    Favourite pastime standing on decks at bbq’s boring the socks of people about his Torquemada vision of the world
    Entertainment value high
    Thinking capacity negliable
    Connection with Hitler not a racist or murderer but locked into an ideological world view that will cause lots of pain
    Is he a good laugh
    you betya!!!
    And to think I was going to buy the family Fawlty Towers for Xnas no need!!!


    Togret Says: In general .. I hope that this means we get more explanation form the government and a more thoughtful consideration by the public of what it all means. In the end, accordign to what I have read, most peole believe in takign action against climate change, or what action we can take, and if it is explained in terms the ordinary person can understand, we’d all be better off

    The CPRS is a Tax on the population for the purposes of driving how they live.
    Instead of a Rewards based systems that have worked, someone in the UN has decided that we should all be puniished and not only that we should help fund the developing countries improve their lot.

    In reality though financial institutions, brokerage houses etc will be able to cash in on our pain. While the poluters will gain windfalls from both the credits and additonal funding that our pensioners and workers will provide. Large TNC’s will be able to transfer credits and so the big end of town is keen to cash in on this windfall, at the expense of gulible citizens that believe in this nonsense.

    Remember to have a corporate socialist system, the population must be controlled under the adminstration governments to allow the corporate raiders to prosper.

    I think thats the basic concept.

    Not even Lewis Carrol could have thought up a more bizarre scenario.
    But fits in with the story line of 1984.


  7. Any ETS although publically much discussed world wide is’nt really understood by the general public at large and I very much doubt it is fully understood by Australian politicians of any persuasion, particularly possible future ramifications. There would appear however no doubt that it it will prove to be costly both to industry and the general public. I believe that the Labor government felt an obligation to at least do some thing positively as a nation before Copenhagen. The Liberals through their childish delaying tactics and childish internal squabbles have caused the proposed ETA Bill to be emasculated(but in industry’s favour) and stopped any possible public enlightening deep discussion on the Bill. It is now in the Senate and will go to a Committee and then its inevetable destruction. Tony Abbott is a Liberal leader purely by default. Tony Abbott is a Leader the Liberals deserve. Can one imagine an Australian Government composed of like people as evidenced in the Liberal internal squabbles of recent days??

  8. “a very difficult few months until the election” ? Do you know something the rest of us don’t?

    The PM is under a lot of pressure to declare a double dissolution, considering the Libs are completely unable to arrive at a semblance of a policy on dealing with climate change. They’ve had over two years, for Christ’s sake, and what do we hear from Abbott? He’s not going to allow a conscience vote, unless it’s on a moral issue (and not even then if the moral issue is abortion.) So the future of the planet is not a moral issue for him. OK. Go for it Kevin!

  9. .Jack Randles says: Can one imagine an Australian Government composed of like people as evidenced in the Liberal internal squabbles of recent days??

    Whats even more frightening is that someone would vote for the ALP. Although many were against it, none stood up. The worker, pensioner and small business are obviously way off the ALP radar these days.

    The ALP Senators should hang their heads in shame. Gutless politicians that have forgotton why they’re there.

  10. Tony Abbott says he will design a new scheme which will not be about taxation.

    Liberals have invited Barnaby Joyce onto the front bench. I think they will just use him to win the next election, before going back to their global corporate agenda.

    A double dissolution is now expected in a few months’ time, with an early election in August.

    If the electorate was actually interested in being taxed to the eyeballs, I don’t think Liberals would want Barnaby on their side.

    Labor just want to keep talking up their load of bulldust to keep the people who really run our country (huge corporations) happy.

    At the same time, we have Amnesty International breaking their necks to get their hands on the $55,000,000,000 Australians are expected to pay to third world nations EACH YEAR.

    They’ve talked it up (along with Climate Change) at the National Press Club, and they have younger people also doing it in the shopping centres.

    I’m wondering how we can ever repay a $1.2 trillion (and climbing) gross foreign debt, other than by giving our creditors all of our superannuation moneys. Oh, that’s right … they’ve already grabbed 20% of it, and been given a golden handshake of taxpayers’ money as a reward.

    Before long, they will be coming back for more. Otherwise Rudd would not be suggesting that he collect a Bank Bailout Tax in anticipation.

  11. Dear Tony, I repeat, your recent internal party sqabbles were childish, demeaning, undisiplined, and surely showed as a party, you are quite unworthy of being a future responsable Australian government.
    The issue obviously is the confusion between an ETS and direct Climate Change policy. I would suggest you read Mr Wilson Tuckey’s website for enlightenment.

  12. I understand the views so far and that many didn’t want to see the ETS passed. I also understand that their is little love lost for the Libs or Labor, but putting all of the political leanings aside … what is the plan now?

    I am reading a lot of rhetoric across Australian political blogs speculating about the DD and nucs … but it seems to me that everyone is distracted from the immediacy of the situation.

    What will our Government actually agree to in Copenhagen? Are we going to be players or passengers in the battle for the future? Have the Libs and Labor both just abdicated responsibility?

    Personally, I am not immediately concerned about Rudd approval rating, if Gillard has a screw loose or will be the new PM, or if Abbott’s agenda will be the Liberal Party’s demise. We will have plenty of time to debate these topics in the months to come. I am alarmed by the here and now.

    Does the Rudd Government have a fallback for Copenhagen that will allow us to stand with our face forward, rather than ashamedly staring at our shoes. If so, what is it?

  13. Jack Randles Says:
    Dear Tony, I repeat, your recent internal party sqabbles were childish, demeaning, undisiplined, and surely showed as a party, you are quite unworthy of being a future responsable Australian government.
    The issue obviously is the confusion between an ETS and direct Climate Change policy. I would suggest you read Mr Wilson Tuckey’s website for enlightenment.

    What internal party sqabbles. I am not a member of either the liberal party or the National party. So what sqabbles were they ?

    The most incouraging thing I did witness was genuine concern and debate, right across the two partys. When attempting to bring in a tax of this magnitude that will damage many areas of the economy and some fately then one would hope that did occur.

    Something that was completely lacking in the ALP ranks. Thats why many think a vote for an ALP senator is a wasted or useless vote.

  14. I think Margi Pridaux’s comment moves things onto a more real space.
    Todays sequel to Turnbull’s defeat, the overthrow of Nathan Rees by a NSW Labor right faction with such similarities to the Federal Liberal right faction that you can only despair, demands attention be played to how things work out, now that the die has been cast for the short term.
    On another topic briefly, It appears that far from being the exclusive eight-legged member of shadow cabinet, their deputy leader may have been one of the very few of the two legged variety operating from that body. A bad hair day for Malcolm, tho?
    If the story today is true, I’d say maybe there is more to Julie Bishop than we might have thought, after all.

  15. I’m sure Julie Bishop has looked very tired and stressed in recent times.

    Perhaps she and Tony Abbott were hatching a plot to overthrow Turnbull for quite some time, because they don’t want our country men and women ripped off at a global level.

    I think Barnaby Joyce would be wise to give the front bench a miss. Otherwise the Liberals may try to manipulate him towards a change of agenda.


    I think Jack was talking about Tony Abbott, not you.

    I think the DLP needs to move away from its support of Middle Class Welfare and concentrate on looking after the ordinary worker and the poor.

    I will reiterate that a couple living on 2 middle incomes amounting to $150,000 with one child is not poor.

    At the moment, there is no real Labor Party in this country. A couple of changes leading in a better social direction could see the DLP occupy a niche that seems to be currently vacant.

    Otherwise the only choice voters will have is a move towards Communism/Socialism, as is happening elsewhere.

    If you want to call yourselves a Democratic Labor Party, you will need to improve the options of ordinary people, especially in areas of Health, Education and Housing.

    People are always complaining to me that politicians haven’t got a clue how ordinary people live – nor do they go into places such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes to measure their ideas against the realities of what providers and consumers face.

    If Abbott or Rudd are reading here, I would like an immediate increase in Medicare rebates to reduce pressure on public hospitals, and a Medicare rebate applied to Dentistry – instead of cuts, cuts, cuts affecting the vulnerable and the poor.

    I would also like a means test applied to the Child Care Rebate, so that comparatively wealthy men’s wives are not being paid the equivalent of a pension to go out to work!

  16. Lorikeet, Must you always use such hyperbole? It’s a scary image people crawling out of their graves to machine gun us. Anyway back to the point, I really don’t think that Abbot will be the disaster so many people are predicting. I think the very nature of assuming the leadership will make him much more circumspect and considered in his expressed opinions. (Although Mark Latham puts paid to this theory). I never ever thought I would end up on the same side as Abbot, Minchin and co in terms of supporting the rejection of the ETS, although for very very different reasons. They are cominate sceptics, I support nothing less than a 40% reductions in emmissions by 2020.

  17. James:

    My father belonged to one of the most powerful unions in the country. Like many others of his generation, he was a patriot.

    I wouldn’t be scared if those people crawled out of their graves and started using machine guns on communists, but you might have some reason to live in fear.

    I hope you intend to pay all of the tax that goes with your extremely unrealistic target of 40%, especially considering Rudd’s importation of peoples to the tune of 250,000 per year.

    A target like that would probably send a lot more jobs offshore, to Asian countries which have reneged on the deal, leaving us with huge numbers of unemployed workers with nowhere to live.

    Only tonight, Anna Bligh said she is having to cater for 2000 arrivals in Queensland each week.

    We already have Nepalese nurses here on visas virtually begging for a room in which to doss down for the night.

    Lots of people are complaining about huge increases in car registration grossly outstripping other states, and a further projected increase of 30% for electricity – probably even worse for water – to say nothing of the hike in rents as a result of increased competition.

    I fear Queensland is quickly becoming “The Homeless State” and “The High Taxing State”, even without an ETS in place.

  18. James Bennett Says: They are cominate sceptics, I support nothing less than a 40% reductions in emmissions by 2020.

    Complete de-industrialisation.

    Yet you have the hide to say this
    Lorikeet, Must you always use such hyperbole


  19. “Complete de-industrialisation”?!

    Is this some competition to see who can come up with the most ludicrous exaggeration?

    You must have a very low opinion of peoples’ ability for innovation and adaptation if you think a 40% reduction in carbon emissions will automatically lead to de-industrialisation. With even an average level of innovation, efficiency and appropriate use of technology, along with perfectly feasible behavioural change, a 40% reduction can have a minimal impact on overall economic growth and modernise our economy.

    Keeping an economy stuck using 19th century technology from the dawn of the industrial era is obviously a silly idea. Our ability to transform our economies and technologies fully into the post-industrial era will not only have a big impact on our climate, lifestyles, economy and livability, it will determine how well we can position ourselves for future economic opportunities, instead of being stuck with old technology.

    The amount of greenhouse emissions does not equate to overall wealth or prosperity. It is used as a means to an end. There are other means to get to the same end with less damage. We can either adopt them, or keep our heads in the sand

  20. i have had a thought
    tony abbott will bring on a double dis ellection and the govt will get a big supprise because they are being stitched up good .
    its not climate change tax debate that will see the govt come unstuck there downfall is comming buy the boatload .
    tony abbott will bring some needed colour to the debate if nothing elce
    in regards to Copenhagen didnt to govt sign something in the 50s without thought for australias future just to keep other countrys happy.
    only fools rush in .

  21. I read in today’s SMH, that the proposed tax via the GST was about 3.7 and ended up at just over 3%. The tax via CPRS is only 1.5%! What is all the hysteria about. To think that we could reduce climate change without cost is a nonsense, the same as going to Afghanistan & Iraq wouldn’t cost us, or keeping asylum seekers on Christmas Island wouldn’t cost. The nay sayers or sceptics or whoever, haven’t produced evidence to back their assertions. Abbott has changed his stance numerous times, to fit in with his current agenda.

    What if the nay sayers are wrong? What will you do then? Say ‘ooopppsss’? Apart from anything else, to think that we can constantly put s**t into the atmosphere without causing any problems is beneath ridiculous? Where do you think it goes? To another planet? This is just childish nonsense at best, and at worst, irresponsible, and a deterrent to making the big polluters change their ways. After all, we can’t interfere in their profits to benefit the whole world, now can we?

    We give billions each year to the fossil fuel industry, while showing scant regard to other essential policies – like aboriginal health etc. I’m getting more disgusted each day! It’s pathetic!

  22. Well look what’s happened already.

    White goods industry completely gone to Asia.

    Clothing industry nearly all gone to Asia.

    Car manufacturing industry – mostly gone to Asia.

    Pink batts – imported from Asia.

    Desalination plant steel (defective) – imported from Asia.

    Pickers, nurses, postal and insulation workers – imported from all over the world (mostly non-European) – driving wages down for the Green slave economy.

    50 years worth of natural gas (95%) being almost GIVEN to China.

    Carbon tax where? Anywhere but Asia.

  23. I think Tony Abbot will be positive for the coalition in the relatively short time until the next election. Polarising public opinion and creating a clear differentiation between the major parties is never a bad thing electorally I guess. While I don’t agree with some of the things he says I think that he’s actually one of the more intelligent and articulate conservative politicians and his views and beliefs are at least grounded in a solid political philosophy. He’s not Wilson Tuckey or Bob Katter and non-conservatives who write him off as part of the loony right do so perhaps not at their peril but at their cost I reckon.

  24. Matt Goudie:

    The Liberals have shown themselves to be as Green as grass. They have contributed to the rise of the corporates over the last 30 years, no matter how much Barnaby Joyce wants to point the finger at Labor for being the only culprits.

    No sensible person would buy the current pretence that they are not interested in an ETS so they can win the next election.

  25. Matt Goudie:

    I happen to like Wilson Tuckey. At least he doesn’t run with the crowd on every issue. He has an opinion of his own.

    I cannot complain about Tony Abbott, since out of those on offer, I chose him myself.

  26. Tony, you cannot have a debate unless you have an alternative to the other side. Your so called debate on Tuesday with Kevin was one sided, and thus not a debate at all.

    Kevin conned you because you are a gullible politician, you think you are smart, but you act as if you are punch drunk all of the time, you was a boxer in earlier life, wasn’t you?

    My advice to you Tony is to avoid debates with anyone unless you have an alternative policy, because without one, you condemn yourself to defeat each and every time. How many fights in the square ring did you win btw?

  27. A footnote Tony to my previous comment.

    You did win that battle on Tuesday with Kevin, because unless he won at least 85% approval from the studio audience, then he was not as convincing at selling his argument as he should have been, particularly given that he was in a fight he could not lose.

    I am a labour inclined voter, who every now and again swings. I see your talent, and I like you, I must admit though, that at first I didn’t, but I have swung. Now deliver, because if you don’t, then I am certain to swing away from you.

  28. Don:

    Please do us all a favour and never vote for a major party again. For 50 years, they have been working to a Global Plan to sell their own country down the river.

    Please read the following:

    General Agreement on Trade & Services (GATS)

    General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs (GATT)

    Lima Declaration & Plan of Action on Industrial Development & Co-operation (1975).

    Please look beyond all of the ducking, weaving and finger-pointing and you will soon begin to see that neither side has the overall best interests of Australians at heart.

  29. LORIKEET – And yet you like Tony Abbott? Who organised the free trade agreement with the US? His govt? Read, ‘The killing of a country” (this one?) re what we lost re the agreement with the US. As I recall, it was only through the insistence of Mark Latham that Howard didn’t go along with the US Pharmaceutical companies! If we sell them goodies, we have to take theirs too! Look what globization has done to the impoverished peoples – been flooded with cheap imports that do their people out of their modest livlihoods – a good example is what happens to corn crops re Ethanol as opposed to growing it for food. I read an article by Fidel Castro several yrs ago decrying this situation, and the poverty it’s bringing! It’s not the communists who are causing the grief, it’s the US, the IMF(International Monetry Fund) and the World Bank. China & Nth Korea don’t rule what’s happening to too many poor people – it’s the ‘developed’ and rich countries who are the biggest threat. And our country doesn’t speak out in support of them – we’re guilty by silence! The same with Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan,Somalia etc!

    Countries like Argentina had many uprisings before the people finally turfed them out. thanks to these illustrious organisations, water went up in price by ??? and to make the most profit out of these people, sewerage pipes and drinking water were interacted to save costs. When kids started to die, the people said ‘enough’? The US supported what was happening to these people, as usual!
    Watch, ‘The Fourth World War’?

    When it comes to so-called communist countries being the only ones that oppress their people, you might like to ask the peoples of Latin America, Sth Korea, Somalia, Sierre Leone, Haiti – not to mention the horrors in Afghanistan & Iraq! What happened to the people of Diego Garcia – Britain and the US? I’m against any form of dictatorship, left or right, and that includes the US/British involvement/s?Shameful!

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