Of the multitude of political posters flooding social media – humourous or profound – this is one of the better ones. It really does sum up the Liberal Party.
What have we heard of them since 2010? Every policy or piece of legislation introduced by the Gillard Government will either ruin us, blow our town off the map, leave us unemployed, leave us destitute, unable to afford to feed ourselves, frail and unhealthy, pay exorbitant power fees, have our street over-run by illegal boat people, see our mining companies relocate offshore and maybe, see the sky fall in.
But we can all be saved by voting out this incompetent government, to shouts of “hear, hear” from the media fan club. Then they fall silent. They’ve scared us so they’ve done their job.
Tony Abbott’s ‘mandate’ to scare every Australian half to death about the consequences of the ‘carbon tax’ was a classic example. He has visited every business in the country and predicted with fear and smear how the carbon tax would destroy their respective industries and how he was likely to be the last person to walk through their doors. Butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers; there’d be none left after the carbon tax annihilated them.
Whilst Abbott’s performance was annoyingly desperate and overly passionate, it was not unusual behaviour from a Coalition leader. I have witnessed this code of conduct from Liberal leaders with monotonous regularity over the last couple of decades.
They have generally been powerful enough to win elections for them.
Malcolm Fraser provides an exception. During the election campaign in 1983 he stridently attacked Labor’s financial integrity suggesting that the banking system would be ruined if the Commie Labor Party was elected and thus peoples’ money would be safer kept under the bed than in a bank. There was no substance in this claim. It was a failed attempt to scare the electorate. In 1983 the electorate wasn’t as ignorant as they would later turn out to be.
Future attempts have been more successful as the average IQ of the electorate plummeted.
Opinion polls in 2001 showed that the Howard Government was facing massive defeat. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed all that, but not enough to Howard’s satisfaction. He was able to terrorise the gullible electorate into believing that terrorists were hopping onto any rickety old boat heading to Australia and only he could protect us from the murderous intentions of these alleged evildoers. Abdullah the Butcher and his mates were coming to sacrifice us all. Oh how different it might have been if an election wasn’t around the corner. From 1996 to that point of time 221 boatloads of refugees sailed unhindered into Australian waters. Number 222 – just after the September 2011 attacks – ran into a bit of trouble and running to its aid was the Norwegian vessel the Tampa.
I’m sure that most readers here will have fresh in their mind the stench surrounding the politicisation of the Tampa incident and how it was the turning point for Howard’s fortunes so I won’t recap it here. Dissecting individual incidents is not the intention of the post but will be welcomed in reader’s comments.
Howard didn’t need any more scare campaigns until 2004, and incidentally, during his calling of an election. Electing a Labor Government, he warned, would cost you the family home. Interest rates would go through the roof and as a result his little Aussie battlers would lose the roof over their heads. He was very effective in pushing this message across, taking aim at Labor’s historic spending patterns and Mark Latham’s record as Mayor of Liverpool, both of which were irrelevant points in this election. Didn’t he look stupid when he rode us through eleven straight interest rate rises over the next three years? But it mattered not. We had been saved from the merciless Abdullah and on that point we needed to be reminded.
Dr Haneef helped him.
Howard had to convince the dumbed down electorate that his unpopular counter terrorism legislation was for the good of the country. It protected us from the likes of the despicable and ill-intentioned Dr Haneef. It would protect us from every body and every thing that Howard saw as a threat to his battling Aussies. We were saved by his fridge magnets. Terrorist alerts were upgraded every five minutes and I have it on good advice that these always coincided with political maneuvers. They were not real. Howard only wanted us to be afraid. Very afraid. The only thing he wanted to protect was his job. The terrorists, to him, were the Labor Party.
So were Aborigines, in particular the Stolen Generation. Saying sorry to them would send the country broke. An apology to the Stolen Generations would have legal ramifications and pave the way for huge compensation bills. And that was the unproven basis of his argument, which was rabidly supported from those loyal battlers who didn’t mind the interest rate rises. It didn’t matter if you lost the family home, just as long as those Aborigines didn’t get any money. During Howard’s gloating about the healthy state of the economy he had the complete morons fearful that we couldn’t afford to pay some Aborigines compensation for the mistreatment they had received at the hands of the State. You can read about his hypocrisy here.
Now we have prophet Abbott as the pedlar of fear. Most of it has been over the ‘carbon tax’, which by the time of the election will have been proven to not be as damaging as he had squawked it would. Actually, there has been no damage. He’ll have to move onto something else. Between now and the election what will it be? My money’s on boat people. It worked for Howard.