Without Change, The Karma Bus Will Come For Abbott

AFTER YET ANOTHER self-inflicted political strike that will do the government far more damage than a mere sick joke, the aggregation of own goals, mistakes, snafus and staggering displays of bad judgement raise an inevitable question: when does this reach critical mass, the tipping point at which political survival becomes a greater imperative than the presentation of unity? Without change, the #69 bus will call on Tony Abbott soon enough.

First there was the election, won in a landslide.

Won in the wake of senseless promises that should not have been made.

Then came the staff: hand-picked to obey, not to perform; not to contribute, but to enact.

And the Prime Minister’s Office, the supposed flagship of the government fleet, in oversight of them.

Next came Gonski, in a preview of trouble, and a test of the senseless promises.

For the first time, not the last time, the government was forced to back down.

The cuts it promised, foolishly, it would not make had been scuppered.

Just a month after winning, its numbers collapsed; its fortunes early in the slide.

But worse was to come.

The budget — the great opportunity for reform — was squandered.

Spending cuts botched, taxes hiked, its initiatives senseless, this budget targeted the government’s own supporters.

For almost a year, the government persisted, wasting political capital and breeding public resentment.

And a Prime Minister’s Office wielding a deliberative veto over it all.

And all the while, uproar: travel entitlements, botched policies, abandoned promises, ministers justifying bigotry.

A total lack of tangible acumen around political smarts, tactics, strategy or communication.

An inability to bring a hostile Senate to heel, and a refusal to frame dealings with it in advantageous terms.

The political strength and authority of a mugging featuring a wet sock.

And the Prime Minister’s Office giving sanction to it all.

All the sacred cows have been attacked — Medicare first and foremost — along with those promised to be left alone.

The Abbott government is a disappointment to its supporters and a red rag to its opponents.

Yet still the unbelievable fuck-ups come fast and thick.

A “reset” to divest the government of “barnacles” that seems instead to have left it wallowing in excrement.

A ministerial reshuffle that squibbed most of the hardest — and most crucial — changes.

Abuse of critics of the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, who must be sexist or misogynistic.

A refusal to heed constructive feedback, listen to the public, or show it recognises mistakes.

Rumblings of serious disquiet from government ranks over the head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

And the Prime Minister’s Office, true to form, retaining control over the government with an iron fist.

A new year and a new approach, with Tony Abbott pledging consultation and inclusion.

A stated persistence with the budget that may well prove the harbinger of the government’s electoral doom.

A “fix” to its Medicare policy, conceived by the Prime Minister’s Office, hastily dumped in the glare of public hostility.

Calls to backbenchers framed publicly as an exercise in shoring up the Abbott leadership.

Pledges to sail into treacherous waters — IR and the GST — without the requisite political navigational skills.

The ridiculous charade of the investiture of Prince Sir Philip of Australia, on Australia Day.

And the Prime Minister’s Office remaining smugly in the thick of the action.

The mutterers are muttering, and the whispering has commenced.

Among the contenders — and the pretenders — is a ready-made potential replacement.

Someone acceptable to both the liberal and conservative wings of the Liberal Party.

Someone public opinion has revealed to be acceptable to the Australian public as Prime Minister.

Someone — almost (but not quite) alone of her ministerial peers — who has been an unqualified and standout.

Someone known to have little time for the methods of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Someone who could be expected to fashion a competent outfit that might salvage the Liberals in office.

Across the country, people know that if Abbott falls under the bus, Julie Bishop is the best option to replace him.

Today Australia returns to work, and Abbott — and the Prime Minister’s Office — resume the task of governing.

We hope the new week turns a page; but for every fresh start to date, a fresh disaster has ensued.

And the capacity of the Prime Minister’s Office to fashion and approve political ineptitude seems endless.

The snafus may continue and the damage to the Coalition may compound, but it will not drag on to an election.

At some point (it may have been yesterday) a call will be made by key Liberal Party figures: enough is enough.

At that point, the numbers will be worked and the calls will be made.

At that point, the proverbial karma bus will pay the Prime Minister a visit.

Tony Abbott is almost out of opportunities to fix his government.

A good candidate as Prime Minister risks squandering it on misplaced loyalty and an aversion to hard calls.

Another good candidate awaits.

And this column, if push should regrettably come to shove, will back Julie Bishop to the hilt.




8 thoughts on “Without Change, The Karma Bus Will Come For Abbott

  1. Yale, a good summation of Abbott’s prime ministership to date and it begs the question where is the adult leadership that he promised to bring.

    Ill thought out knee jerk reactions and blind devotion to three word slogans with no underlying strategy shine a light on the real Abbott.

    Here’s a three word slogan he should pay heed to – go quickly Tony!!

  2. Unfortunately Mr Abbott is turning into a major liability for the Liberal party.

    If he is still there at the next election, the Liberals will be defeated in a massive landslide

    The carbon tax and the mining tax will be bought back in , and Shorten of all people will be PM.

    This is a very scary prospect !!

    The Liberals must turn this around, and unfortunately the only option I can see is a change of Liberal leader.

    Julie Bishop seems a reasonable choice, maybe Morrison.. (please… NOT Turnbull)

  3. Julie Bishop has been good, but was poor as shadow treasurer and lost me completely with her recent $200mil donation to the UN climate Con. She has done a good job where she is, but I don’t believe she is able to take the next step. Morrison remains the one who has done the hard yards in the impossible job. Turnbull is impossible as he lacks Liberal principles.

  4. The Fascist Party, I mean Liberal party are between a rock and a hard place. They can’t change leaders midway between elections after the way they went on after Gillard replace Rudd.

  5. The only option is to change leaders as there needs to be a circuit breaker but the LNP will have to wear the flak

    Morrison is an unscrupulous thug with not enough experience, Hockey is damaged beyond repair and although Bishop would win a staring contest, she is a female and that counts mightily against her in the Liberal Party. Remembering that Turnbull only lost the leadership to Phoney Tony by a tiny margin, do the Libs have enough brains and balls to install him as leader to stop the train wreck that
    Abbott has become

  6. Tony Abbott didn’t keep the ALPs policies.
    Tony Abbott failed to implement the Greens manifesto.
    Tony Abbott isn’t a member of the CFMEU or the Socialist Alliance.
    Tony Abbott refuses to become what the left wing media want.
    When Labor awards someone with patronising tokenism it’s good,when Tony Abbott does it it’s bad.Tony Abbott isn’t making the Senate pass his Bills,how dare he. Tony Abbott won’t give me everything i want. Tony Abbott caused the M17 disaster. Tony Abbott should declare war on Indonesia to save the Bali 9. Tony Abbott is just a revenue raiser. Tony Abbott said there is no free lunch .Shit Happens,Not pure of heart.He said he instead of she ,she instead of he.Suppository ,climate crap .Why Tony Abbott really is a bastard.
    Tony Abbott refuses to wear boardies.Tony Abbott is the only person to wink.Tony Abbott isn’t gay.Tony Abbott won’t turn atheist or protestant.Tony Abbott wasn’t born a women.Tony Abbott is not you or me.He just has to go because only then will all be right in the world..I forgot that Menzies Howard Fraser were exactly how everyone wanted them to be and do.Sounds like the Canberra press gallery and the main stream left journos have been blowing smoke up the backsides of nameless imaginary back benchers and soft cock Liberals who just blindly follow what they hear.So called internal Liberal critics sound more like Shortens mouth piece and stooge.

    • Robert, the soft cock Liberals and imaginary back benchers you refer to are only reflecting what is readily apparent to all of Australia – the Abbott government is in deep trouble courtesy mostly due to their leader and things need to change.
      Strap on the jackboots and retreat to your bunker if you wish, and keep the cyanide capsules close if it all gets too much for you.

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