Abbott picks his priorities

Tony-Abbott

I would like to start by wishing everyone a very Happy 2014.  This year, and hopefully not too far beyond is certainly going to be a challenge.

Shall I say it; Tony Abbott has exceeded expectations.  I think that all know from Abbott’s gilt-edged promises that “the Abbottoir” would fulfill his destiny and do his best to dismantle anything and everything which does not fit in with his perception as expressed in Tony World.  In Tony World for example, women of calibre are worth every single taxpayer dollar to enable them to employ au pairs and live in nanny’s.  In Tony World one visit to an indigenous community once a year means “taking an interest”.

Tony World is superficial.  Tony World avoids anything awkward such as having to provide truthful answers.  Tony World runs and hides, and hopes that it will all go away.

It was therefore shortly after the election, and with some feeling of dread that I read the announcement that Abbott had decided to take control of both indigenous and women’s issues, both of which require avoidance of the superficial, a commitment to provide truthful answers, and a determination to NOT run and hide.  These qualities being the antithesis of what all have come to expect from the person Tony Abbott.

My immediate impression was that by taking control of these two very important and to Abbott, somewhat vexatious issues, that he could grandstand – take the high moral ground by claiming that these issues were “so important to him” that he had decided to take direct control, whilst at the same time not have a minister who had to answer questions.

Almost two years ago, I wrote this article:  A Stint in Jail which in part reads:

Late June last year a report was tabled to the House of Representatives:  Doing Time – Time For Doing.  As well as the above, this report includes that:

  • Between 2000 and 2009, the incarceration rate for Indigenous Australians rose by 66%.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, the actual number of Aboriginal men in prisons rose by 55%, and the number of women rose by 47%.
  • 70% of remote Indigenous adults have hearing loss or problems, but that Australian Hearing, “which provides free treatment for children under the Hearing Services Program, doesn’t visit juvenile detention centres”.

So why are Indigenous young people imprisoned at 28 times the rate as white kids?  Creative Spirits provides the following:

Non-Aboriginal indifference

Police remain hard-hearted and indifferent to prison rates and, in some cases, to Aboriginal prisoners themselves. The Children’s Court is often being told imprisonment is the only option due to lack of accommodation.

“Incredibly trivial offences”

There is evidence to suggest that police treat Aboriginal people differently for trivial offences, for example some Aboriginal people end up in jail because they did not get the postal notifications of court dates after which bench warrants are issued and bail is unlikely.  Another example is being caught with 1.5 litres of any alcohol including beer in a restricted area carries with it a 18 month jail term.

Peter Collins, Legal Director of Aboriginal Legal Services in Western Australia (ALSWA):

“Every day of the week we act for Aboriginal people who’ve been charged with disorderly conduct. “Their crime: To swear at the police. They use the F word, they use the C word. Often they’re drunk or affected by drugs or both, or they’ve got a mental illness or they’re homeless or whatever. But it seems to me the only people in this day and age who are offended by the use of the F word and the C word are police. And so these [Aboriginal] people are hauled before the courts for these incredibly trivial offences.”

Lack of understanding of white law

More than 90% of people in Arnhem Land, NT, could not answer basic legal questions.  95% of Yolngu people could not explain the 30 most commonly used English legal terms, such as ‘bail’, ‘commit’, ‘arrest’ or even ‘guilty’. Even 90% of community leaders, school teachers and council representatives had no understanding of these legal terms.

This might explain why in 2008 over 80% of the Northern Territory prison population was Aboriginal. Many of them might as well be innocent because they didn’t understand what ‘guilty’ meant.

Richard Trudgen, CEO of the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services:

“People thought that pleading guilty actually got them through the court quickly and they didn’t go to jail. When they realised what the term guilty meant they were able to identify some of the things that they were convicted of that they never had anything to do with.”

Another reason why Aboriginal people make ‘false’ statements in court is that they are hearing-impaired through a cycle of poor health. There is a clear relationship between hearing loss and early Indigenous justice problems – 90% of Indigenous inmates in Darwin Correctional Centre suffer from hearing loss.

Priscilla Collins, North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA):  “Half the time our clients break the law because they don’t understand it”.

*** Note:  this young offender was given a custodial sentence, was raped while in jail and killed himself upon his release.

The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who are convicted of non-violent offences, border on the unimaginable. Prison rape not only threatens the lives of those who fall prey to their aggressors, but it is potentially devastating to the human spirit. Shame, depression, and a shattering loss of self-esteem accompany the perpetual terror the victim thereafter must endure.

Ref: Heilpern, David M, “Sexual Assault of Prisoners: Reflections” [2005] UNSWLawJI 17; (2005) 28(1) University of New South Wales Law Journal 286

Tony Abbott as Prime Minister: Indigenous legal aid to be cut by $13.4 million

The biggest blow toIndigenous funding was to legal aid – $13.4 million will be taken out of the sector over the next four years.

But the treasurer says it is part of returning the budget to good health.

“Much of the projected growth is from social programs, including welfare, education and health. Spending reform will inevitably require difficult choices about the policies that Australia needs now and in the years to come,” Treasurer Joe Hockey says.

As an example:  Those services cut (will) include the $45 million that was promised during the election campaign to set up four training centres that the government is hoping will train 5,000 Indigenous people.

Tony Abbott however will, set up a committee which will “meet three times a year with the Prime Minister and senior ministers, starting next month, and will inform the policy implementation of the government”.

I am highlighting just one of Tony Abbott’s delusions, that he intends to help indigenous people.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt, that he is delusional rather than stating specifically that he has lied.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s Christmas time.

And with that I’d like to offer good blessings to you all and best wishes for your health and happiness over the Festive Season and throughout the New Year. Whatever you are doing on Christmas Day – be it shared with loved ones, family or friends – I hope your day is filled with love and the good spirit of togetherness that Christmas brings.

And, again whatever you are doing, you will probably be sweltering somewhere under the scorching Aussie sun. Now that’s something Carol and I don’t have to worry about: by the time I press ‘Publish’ on this little post we’ll be enjoying a Northern Hemisphere Christmas, and who knows, possibly a white one. I’m dreaming of it. We will let you know. :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Xmas

Abbott’s health

While aspiring to be prime minister Tony Abbott promised:

The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has reiterated that if elected he wants to secure the jobs of today and build the jobs of tomorrow. He’s told AM there will be no cuts to education, health or pensions, and that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s talk of a $70 billion black hole will be proved wrong. The Coalition is preparing to outline how it intends to balance the budget should it win on Saturday.

The above pledge made on the 5th September must have been one of the most short-lived in political history, as by the 22nd September, and as reported by news.com:

The Coalition will also begin unwinding key “nanny state” agencies such as the Australian National Preventative Health Agency, established to lead the national fight against obesity, alcohol abuse and tobacco use . . .

Two major health agencies – the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the year-old National Health Performance Authority – are under review and could have their combined budgets – of around $40 million a year – slashed.

Create jobs?  Protect the health of the nation? Nanny state?  Let’s not forget the obligatory derogatory put-down, just for emphasis.  It could of course be argued that these are not cuts to health per se, just the services aligned to health such as preventative care.  It gets worse.

27th November via the Sydney Morning Herald:

One of the nation’s oldest health organisations has been placed in voluntary administration after its funding was cut by the government.

The Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, which has operated since 1966, learned on Monday its funding would cease immediately.

President of the council’s board, former Liberal MP Mal Washer, said the decision was a ”devastating blow” that would undermine years of work.

There is yet more devastation for the health of Australia, with details going mostly under-reported such as:

The loss of funding for Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE’s $63million Health and Social Wellbeing Learning Precinct means the region will miss out on more than 300 job opportunities.

Local member, Mal Brough of course blamed Labor.

A major blow to public health followed which brings us to the precise lie, that it is not just organisations which provide preventative care and education, but that health has been cut, and cut directly to public hospitals.  It was a dire warning from some that one should look at Tony Abbott’s stint as Health Minister to note what his likely attitude towards health would be.  We have all read about the $1 billion dollars gutted from public health, but there is also this:

He (Abbott) saw health as a matter of individual choice, and ill-health in medical terms around the prevention and cure of particular diseases.

Abbott is therefore worse than anticipated, not only clearly perceiving things such as alcohol and drug prevention as “luxuries” Australia cannot afford, but has cut precisely into public health, where it is clear that lives will be put at risk:

NSW will miss out on more than $150 million in funding for vital health services that has been cut by the federal government.

“This is bad news for public hospital patients” 

People living in western Sydney will be hardest hit by the cuts, with Westmead Hospital losing $100 million over three years. The Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Westmead Millennium Institute will also lose tens of millions of dollars.

It is an expectation that in wealthy country such as Australia, that an obligation of any government would include to “tackle chronic diseases, provide faster access to newly approved medicines, invest in Australia’s medical workforce and prepare the health system for the demographic changes ahead“.  Perhaps included might be “a four-fold increase in medical research funding“.  The Millennium Institute, is one of the largest medical research institutes in Australia working on cancer and leukemia research has had $12 million slashed from it’s funding.

Note:  the above quote is  from The Coalition’s Policy to Support Australia’s Health System will . . . The Coalition will?  It seems that the Coalition won’t.

The Abbott form of Social Engineering

I am grateful to John Lord for allowing me to reproduce his frightening piece, first published today on The AIMN.

social-engineering

In recent weeks I have written on three subjects relating to what I shall loosely call “The Psychology of Politics.” The first was titled Hidden Persuaders, the second You’re Being Manipulated and the third Political Lies and Who Tells Them. This one deals with Social Engineering.

This week I posted on Facebook the following statement.

“I have seen many governments come and go in my lifetime. All incoming governments naturally implement their policies within the constraints that exist within the two Australian Houses of Parliament.

The Abbott Government, however, seems to have embarked on some form of social engineering.”

I was taken to task for this statement by one person in particular and I told him I was writing an extended piece this week. To put my piece in some sort of context I begin with some quotes.

In one of his most influential essays, (Milton) Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum, what I have come to understand as “the shock doctrine”. He observed that:

“Only a crisis – actual or PERCEIVED – produces real change”. . . A variation on Machiavelli’s advice that “injuries” should be inflicted “all at once” – Naomi Klein, “Shock Doctrine”

In other words, manufacture a sense of crisis and you can get away with anything starting with maximum harm. Therefore, the conservatives are manufacturing a non-existent debt crisis.

Margret Thatcher said this (paraphrased):

“There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making their way. The poor shall be looked after by the drip down effect of the rich”.

Abraham Lincoln said this:

“Labor came before capital and is not related to it. Capital is what’s acquired from labour, and would never have come about if it were not for labour. Therefore, labour is superior to capital and deserves the higher significance.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said this:

They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers . . . call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”

This is one of mine:

“The GST burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life—food, clothing, rent, heating, power etc”.

Before addressing the issue of Social Engineering I should say exactly what I think a Government should be regardless of its ideology.

Good government is about making and implementing decisions that serve the common good. That give security to the people it governs. Follows the rule of law and is truthful about its intentions. When making decisions it must be responsive to the will of the people. It should allow its citizens to be participatory in the function of government. It should be inclusive, equitable and supportive of the people’s right to know. By equity I mean the people have a right to a fair reward for the fruits of their labour. And above all it should be answerable to the people.

What is ‘Social (political) Engineering?’

Social Engineering is when a political party seeks to use selective deceptive, manipulative and insidious psychological techniques to influence and bring about a change in the attitudes of masses of people to its point of view.

Now let’s get to the crux of the matter. You cannot possibly believe in democracy if you believe that your party is the only one who should win. Therefore, any party who wins an election is entitled to govern.

My problem with the Abbott Government is that it has embarked on a programme that is ideologically targeted at changing the way we think. This is social engineering.

Tony Abbott, for six years in Opposition created a negative image of our nation. He has never had a positive word to say about his country. He uses simplistic slogans to talk about complex problems and in doing so suggests he has answers when he doesn’t. He has spread negativity like rust throughout the community. This is because he sees a need to promote a sense of crisis, an Armageddon about everything. Everything is wrong and he is the only one who can fix it. There is a budget crisis when none exists. There is a debt crisis (while adding to it) when none exists. There is a crisis about the cost of living when Australians have never had it better. It’s a deliberate tactic of social engineering. Create an illusion of disaster and people will believe the perception is in fact a reality. And of course keep on doing it when you attain government.

Another form of social engineering is making the people feel threatened. Tell them that the poor souls seeking asylum are below humanity, demonise them so that the people hate them. Take away all their rights and appeal to the base instincts of ordinary people and the racists. Apply a code of conduct and treat them like animals. Even take away the basic human right of association. Tell the people the absurd lie that their borders are under threat. And keep repeating the same slogans in government. Perpetuate the lie that you have stopped the boats when in all probability it was the other party’s policies that were responsible. It’s called social engineering.

The conservative Abbott Government has taken away from middle and low income earners, the School bonus and a superannuation discount to low income earners, mainly women. In addition they have blocked a pay rise to low income Child Care Workers. The annual small lump sum to pensioners to pay for unexpected bills was also abolished. And when the commission of audit reports I should think the assault on the middle and lower income earners will be on in earnest. The abandonment of all these benefits in the name of austerity is a smoke screen. It is taking from one group to give to another. The Paid Parental Leave Scheme comes to mind. Also the 15% tax rebate for the highest wage earners. This is not equity, it is social engineering. If the budget truly demands cuts, they should be equitable.

When a Government seeks to backtrack on election promises like the Gonski reforms and reimpose its own elitist inequitable policy with not the slightest thought for those who can least afford a better education: it is practising social engineering.

When it deliberately downgrades a policy like the NDIS on the basis of unaffordability but at the same time gives tax breaks to the wealthy industrialists including the richest women in the world: it is applying social engineering.

This Government came to office saying they were adult and trustworthy. That there would be no surprises. Yet what we have seen is an attack on the less well-off. It is making it very clear that there are untouchable cohorts and there are those that will have to support the untouchables.

The refusal to pay a miserly pay increase to Child Care Workers was an attack on Unionism. Taking money from aged care workers by dumping the Workforce Compact which provided a $1.2 billion fund to give aged care workers a much-needed 1% pay rise is another example.

The very premeditated, deliberate government induced exodus of GMH is not just the expulsion of the car industry but also a government attempt to rid the country of unions. There will be no government assistance for companies with union shops. It’s called social engineering.

If there were just a few instances of stamping a Governments ideological philosophy on the community you would say, fair enough. But there is a have, have-not form of serfdom running through this government’s work. They came to government without any policies and are more intent on destroying Labor’s legacy than governing for the common good.

We now have a Prime Minister for undoing, not for doing.

It seems the Abbott Government is attempting to socially engineer the minds of people. Nowhere is this more evident than its willingness to downgrade education and in particular, science. Any pretext to the scientific understanding of environmental impacts has been thrown out the window to appease the sponge of capitalism. We have seen in the past few days the reversal of Australia’s ocean reserves. A policy hailed throughout the world. God only knows what they intend for the Murray Darling.

To belittle science in order to create doubt in the community is social engineering of the very worst kind. And to suggest that excellent learning should only be available to the well-off is yet another example of social engineering.

In the area of communications we have a concerted attempt to eliminate the reasoned voice of opposing views. The dual attack on the ABC by the Murdoch Empire is an attempt to stifle debate. When a government condemns a perceived bias of one outlet without acknowledging the bias of another it is practicing social engineering

And when it appoints a person like Tim Wilson from the right wing think tank, IPA to the position of Australian Human Rights Commissioner at $330,000 a year (an institution that he and the IPA advocate eliminating) they are saying loud and clear that they are intent on telling you how to think. It’s called social engineering.

On his appointment he tweets this.

@Stimwilsoncomau: “To those who have welcomed my appointment, I give thanks. To those that have not, I welcome the chance to defend your free speech.”

Lying of course is the Social Engineers most effective tool. Throughout his career Tony Abbott has used this tool most effectively. He admits it and the people accept it but its effectiveness is in its persistency and continuity. Abbott has reached a stage in his Social Engineering where he is convincing people that truth is what he convinces us to believe rather than truth based on fact.

Here is an example:

“Let’s be under no illusion. The carbon tax was socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

The statement has no basis in fact.

Another tool of Social Engineering is secrecy and the Abbott Government has displayed a propensity for it. It’s called lying by omission.

We also see Social Engineering in policy and decision making. Here are a few: T

- The broken promise on the NBN will effectively mean that those who can afford it will become information rich and those who cannot will remain information poor.

= Done deals with every state and territory government to gut and downgrade national environment laws by giving approval powers to state premiers further erodes the public’s capacity to disagree. It removes the community’s right to challenge decisions where the government has ignored expert advice. By removing funding to the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia it has taken away the participatory role of the people in government.

- By challenging the ACT Marriage Equality laws in the High Court it has ensured the ongoing discrimination against same-sex couples despite the vast majority agreeing with the proposition. By moving to repeal protections in the Racial Discrimination Act it is flaunting public opinion. By scrapping the Advisory Panel on Positive Aging, established to help address the challenges we will face in coming years as the number of older Australians grows it has taken away the voice of the people. And in abolishing the Climate Commission it has sought to silence science.

All of these things contribute to how we think act and feel. By manipulating society into thinking that the entire realm and ownership of knowledge is found in one ideology, one individual or cohort of individuals is a form of Social Engineering.

Collectively I believe these four pieces make a solid case that Abbott in Opposition and in Government is embarking on a course of Social Engineering. A course of inequality, of privilege and serfdom. Of manipulating society into believing that if the rich become richer their lot will advance at the same rate.

I remember Peter Costello being asked at the end of his tenure as Treasurer about the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. His answer was to say “but at least the poor have not become poorer.”

I will leave you to ponder that.

PS. And I didn’t even mention the malevolent treatment of women. Yet another example of Social Engineering.

I can’t think of anything that Tony Abbott has going for him

Public service cuts

I don’t remember too much about Paul Keating. I do remember his arrogance, which many argue was the driving force behind his 1996 election loss. Nobody likes an arrogant politician. But I will say this about him: he was a brilliant economist and outside of politics a straight forward, normal bloke. No pretenses. You got what you saw. He had a lot going for him and his legacy is being widely hailed.

John Howard, well, I remember too much about him. What sticks in my mind the most was that he was a mean-spirited, lying little prick. I’m being honest here. But I will say one thing about him: he had some dignity. There was no way that he would have allowed his senior ministers to stand under “Ditch the Witch”signs at public rallies. He would have been silently appalled at the behavior we’ve seen from Abbott et al on that occasion.

I worked under Kevin Rudd and he was a hard task-master, verging on being a control freak. And he had difficulty grasping the concept that not everyone was as brilliant as him. But he was only doing what he thought was best – in the long run – for society’s battlers. He also had the strength to stand firm and stand by his convictions. A couple of his political decisions were monumental stuff-ups but all in all, he did try very hard to understand and deal with other people. And he listened to them.

Julia Gillard should be ashamed of whoever headed up her public relations department. She, personally, gave the impression that she was above all the criticism that she and her government faced. However, there was no way that she was above it. It was a misconception. But I’ll give her lots of credit where it’s due: she had guts and she had dignity. And having also worked for her I can vouch that she worked diligently to improve the lives of all Australians.

Tony Abbott. Well, he has nothing at all going for him. He has nothing in the bank. He is devoid of any of the good human qualities that the above are remembered for.

What are our Ministers up to?

After six years in opposition some of our Ministers have had plenty of time to hone their portfolios, or so you would think. Some of them – those who have been in the public eye – have made an absolute meal of their jobs, aka Hunt, Pyne, Turnbull and Morrison. But what of those not in the public eye? What have they been up to?

I headed over to the Liberal web site to find out. Surely they’ve been working hard. If they have, the Liberal web site, their media releases or their own personal web page would be filled with examples of their tenacious work ethics and hopefully, portfolio related. I honed in on a handful who we haven’t heard much of.

Kevin Andrews: Minister for Social Services

Mr Andrews hasn’t been very busy. Apart from a media release that the Government would deliver a genuine PPL scheme he went out of his way to invite Manningham and Maroondah residents to propose ideas for the local celebration of the Centenary of ANZAC. From his web site we also learn that he has given two interviews and given two talks. What a bulldog.

Bruce Billson: Minister for Small Business

Mr Billson hasn’t been very busy either. On the eve of the election he popped up to promise that an elected Coalition Government would contribute $20,000 to the Frankston City Council to fund the renewal of the roof on the Seaford Community Centre to keep the Junior Library dry and operating. Wow.

Since the election he has paid tribute to the founding fathers of Vegemite for their entrepreneurial spirit; has been encouraged that his vision of a new commemorative site for our service men and women has progressed with Frankston Council endorsement of the proposed Beauty Park/Baxter Street site; has welcomed the report from the Productivity Commission on its study on Regulator Engagement with Small Business; and helped launch the expansion of a state of the art polyurethane manufacturing and technical centre at Carrum Downs. The latter was accompanied by the obligatory comment from one Owen Stam, General Manager of Pacific Urethanes (the company involved with the expansion) who boasted:

“. . . it hadn’t been all smooth sailing for the small business in the current manufacturing environment, but thankfully it had (temporarily) avoided a carbon tax king-hit by a sheer technicality.

When the carbon tax was introduced our costs looked like ballooning.

The planned removal of the carbon tax by the new Federal government enables us to plan for the future with confidence.”

No wonder Bruce was there. With all that excitement about the carbon tax it would have been too hard to keep him away. He has since gone back to sleep. No doubt he’ll be up and about to open something exciting such as a rubber-band factory any week now.

Peter Dutton: Minister for Health and Minister for Sport

Mr Dutton has been flat out. Since the election he announced careers expo, announced that the Coalition’s education programs would help some Queensland schools and has encouraged local residents (presumably in his electorate) to enter the ballot for places at the 2015 Gallipoli Anzac Centenary Commemorations.

What were his portfolios again?

David Johnston: Minister for Defence

According to his web site he hasn’t opened his mouth since a week before the election.

Michael Keenan: Minister for Justice

Mr Keenan’s web site draws a blank. If I want to learn what he has been up to I first have to subscribe by email. Where’s the justice in that?

Oh, he does provide a few links to nasty stuff that Labor had done, however, the last one is dated July 30.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Indigenous Affairs

At least Mr Scullion has been busy, engaging in more or less two things: talking and taking.Talking about all the good things he is going to do, such as this:

My goal will be to achieve a demonstrable improvement in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next three years.

And taking, such as this:

The Abbott government has taken funding from a key indigenous education advisory group, citing the “tight fiscal environment” and the need to cut red tape.

The letter from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said that while he appreciated the expertise of members of the group, the fiscal environment meant the government had to consider any expenditure “very carefully”.

They haven’t really been doing much, have they? And I’m sure that if I picked another handful to investigate I’m sure I’d find similar results: Zilch. They’re sitting around on their bums all day with nothing to do. No wonder Public Servants are doing the same. As I commented here:

I’ve run into dozens of former work colleagues who are still in the public service. I bump into them in cafés and coffee shops. They have nothing to do. They don’t know what they’re meant to do, either. They have no direction nor leadership. Quite simply, they don’t know what’s going on and it’s been like that in their departments for three months.

But how can they have something to do while their Ministers aren’t doing anything either?

Lazy

There are jobs at Centrelink, apparently

Have a look at the Public Service job vacancies for Canberra. In all there are only 13, with most of them being an invitation to put your name on a temporary register. As you may be aware, the Government has frozen employment in the Public Service as it begins its massive reduction in staff numbers. Before the election the numbers of jobs advertised each week ran into the hundreds.

But if you look closely on the link provided there is one job being advertised. The Department of Human Services is advertising for those seeking irregular or intermittent employment, with the closing date 19/12/2013. The job was first posted 20/11/2013.

I followed it up. They are Centrelink jobs.

Why is Centrelink the only department after staff? Is the Government expecting an increase in the number of people requiring their services? Is the Government, more to the point, expecting a jump in the number of unemployed people?

It appears that way. It is also of their own making.

Centrelink

Someone isn’t making any sense

I haven’t blamed Tony Abbott for Holden’s decision to close down its Australian operations in 2016. From all accounts the decision was made offshore and nothing – absolutely nothing – could be done to change the minds of the decision-makers.

But like the Indonesian phone hacking scandal, again something that Tony Abbott was innocent of, his handling of it has been absolutely appalling. Disgraceful yet comedic might be more to the point.

On each of these issues, every time he has opened his mouth he has showered us with contradictions and given every indication that he has absolutely no idea what he was talking about. The signals have been worrying for those among us who worry about the man’s intellect and leadership abilities.

I have put together a few of his recent announcements which reveal his inadequacy to grasp, simply, the ability to make any sense. Let’s start with this one:

Mr Abbott declared he would not provide Holden with any more than the $275 million pledged by the former Labor government in March 2012.

Yet, now that Holden is going he claims that:

We were more than happy to offer continuing generous assistance to Holden.

There was a very substantial amount of money on the table. The amount of money that is on the table has been there for a long time. It is a very substantial amount of money.

Yet, with all that money for the industry and despite what’s happened to Holden:

Tony Abbott has declared Toyota won’t get additional money from taxpayers to ensure its survival.

The Internet is awash with instances of Tony Abbott’s contradictions and inconsistencies in his response to Holden’s closure. I’ve only referenced a handful but they are enough to demonstrate the point: he isn’t making any sense. Either he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s forgotten how to lie properly.

Who is the Minister for Woman’s Issues?

Help me out here, if you don’t mind. I seem to be missing something.

When Tony Abbott announced his new Cabinet we found that he himself has taken primary responsibility for women’s issues. Some in the media were aghast at his decision to take on the portfolio. For a good summary read Jemma Price’s “Tony Abbott, minister for women? No thanks” in the Sydney Morning Herald or Lenore Taylor’s article “Portfolio details spell out Tony Abbott’s role as women’s minister” in the Guardian. Lindy Edwards, meanwhile, also writing in the Sydney Morning Herald gave her thumbs up with “PM’s role as Minister for Women is not such a joke” while I thought it certainly was.

But while perusing the pages of the Government’s web site, as well as other ministerial on-line sites, there is no mention of Tony Abbott being the Minister for Women. It should have been mentioned here if he was, which provides us with the ministerial responsibilities within the Government, or here where there are details of all the ministerial responsibilities Abbott has ever held.

No women!

The only thing I could find on the Liberal site is that Michaelia Cash is the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women. But there is no Minister for Women. I could have swore that Tony Abbott was the anointed Minister.

Has he quietly relinquished the responsibility? Am I missing something?

Can someone please help me out?

English: Tony Abbott in 2010.

English: Tony Abbott in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)