The remarkable thing was not so much that Tony Abbott said what he said in student days - it was typical of conservative thinking at the time, it remains the thinking of many conservatives today - witness Tony Abbott's cabinet for starters - as for what he said when he was confronted with his ancient thinking on Four Corners on the 15th March 2010:
(On screen text: I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons).
LIZ JACKSON (to Tony Abbott): What do you think about those views now?
TONY ABBOTT: Well, I just don't want to go over old ground too much Liz.
Ah, I don't want to repudiate what was said, but I don't want people to think that what I thought as a 21 year old is necessarily what I think as a 52 year old. (more here)
He didn't want to repudiate what was said!
Which would suggest that he still thought that what was said was valid, though perhaps it might, in later years, be perceived as politically unwise or a tad indiscreet.
Which is why, when the pond is in receipt of advice that Abbott, courtesy of his paid parental leave scheme, has gone feminist, always seeks permission to roll a few Jaffas down the aisle ...
It gets even more risible when you see the likes of Paul Sheehan scribbling a dewy-eyed column, The tweak that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had to make, which sees that wretched sourdough and magic water man propose that Tony Abbott is feminist to his bootstraps.
Tell that to his cabinet:
Uh huh. Those physiological reasons are certainly there for all to see.
But back to Sheehan, shedding his hypocritical crocodile tears ...
In 2008, after the Howard government had been swept from power in the 2007 federal election and Tony Abbott's dream of becoming Liberal leader seemed dead and beyond revival, he was at a low point. Abbott did something most politicians do not do. He wrote a book. He called it Battlelines. He dedicated it to his three daughters. It was launched by Sarah Murdoch. Women, women, women.
Yep, there's nothing like doing a book launch, up against being asked to waste your time in a cabinet.
But do go on, magic water man:
Written in 2008, published in 2009, and later projected to cost about $5 billion a year, funded by a levy on big business, with an upper income limit of $150,000. It should have been welcomed by working women and endorsed by progressive feminists, but instead it was subject to incessant attack for its elitism.
Um, could that have anything to do with the reality that the scheme is nakedly, unashamedly elitist? Rewarding a better class of women more handsomely for undertaking the onerous duty of having babies - one for themselves, and one for the country, and one for Peter Costello?
It is of course just another bout of hagiography and knob-polishing, dutifully trotted out by the resident Fairfaxian knob polisher, in the mistaken belief that he's being published in The Australian:
This scheme was hit by a pincer. From the left it got class war. From the right the scheme was seen as an affront to budget hawks. Even from the centre it has been beset by claims that it was tax churn and would be better directed at the high cost of childcare.
The Prime Minister capitulated last week and the formal announcement came on Wednesday. The $150,000 limit will drop to $100,000. It won't save much money, because about 98 per cent of working women will not be affected. The scheme remains. Abbot has prevailed. This was a tweak.
Abbott has prevailed? Now where did we leave those Jaffas?
Yes, you prevail by breaking a promise, by retreating from your cause, by acknowledging the unashamedly elitist nature of your scheme, and by keeping women out of cabinet while strutting about pretending to be a feminist ...
Or some such thing.
As for prevailing, let's see how Abbott and his scheme prevail in parliament, before we all get swept away by the knob polishers ...
Meanwhile, the lucky country will today be blessed with another epic bout of fear-mongering.
Fear and simple-minded slogans have been the staple fed the country since Abbott became opposition leader.
Here's how it's done:
You don't need to read any more to realise you're in company with a classic Chicken Little.
It's a necessary precursor to any slashing and burning, themselves necessary strategies so that the business of ongoing wealth transfer can be conducted in peace behind closed doors.
The notion that Abbott and his government are actually in the business of class warfare - and making sure that the rich pay their way - is yet another reason to roll Jaffas down the aisle.
With all the fuss that is liable to ensue about the audit due out today, the real clue will be what is said - or more to the point, isn't said - about superannuation and its many flaws.
Here's what was said back in 1996:
The existing superannuation framework appears to be designed to have maximum effect for those individuals with steady income streams. While one focus of the policy is to provide a somewhat more fair treatment of retirement income support between lower and higher income groups, the policy may increase the relative disadvantage of individuals who experience lengthy periods of unemployment. (here)
Since those days, superannuation has turned into an even more gigantic boondoggle for the well-off, especially those who know how to work the angles.
Will it be touched by the Abbott government?
Fat chance, but you're sure to hear more caterwauling from the likes of Greg Sheridan explaining how things are terribly tough and how everybody must share the pain, especially pensioners ...
By golly, the pond almost forgot to mention How I learnt to love Tony Abbott, A bromance for the ages, essential reading for embarking on anything written by Greg Sheridan ... (remember to take your Jaffas with you)
There's going to be a lot more of this sort of stuff:
Fatuous sloganeering of the mindless Abbott kind, dressed up as commentary.
Uh huh. Make that man the governor of California ...
Well since the pond is now talking about pain, it's probably as good a time as any to contemplate the digital numbers for News Corp Australia, as discussed in Concerns News Corp is 'massaging' digital numbers as Supercoach users added to tally:
Senior media buyers are questioning News Corp Australia’s claim today it has reached 200,000 digital subscribers, pointing to the inclusion of non-news properties including fantasy football league Supercoach in the tally.
News has previously not included Supercoach in its numbers, and claims last July it had passed 100,000 digital subscribers only included figures from major mastheads such as the Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian. However, today’s announcement sees the inclusion of paid members of the AFL tipping competition and also the investment newsletter Eureka Report.
One major media agency CEO, who declined to be named, told Mumbrella: “200,000 is obviously a good headline, but without a breakdown of where the numbers are coming from it is quite meaningless. “The question we really want to understand is how many people are paying for quality journalism, in something like The Australian, versus someone signing up to win some money by tipping footy. “Obviously those are two very different consumers and both have very different ways of using the platform. We want to understand the difference between those two.”
There's a deeper and richer joke here - the notion that the reptiles at the lizard Oz are delivering quality journalism, as opposed to fear-mongering and simple-minded slogans and a relentless examination of Clive Palmer's garbage bin (yep, Hedley Thomas is at it again today), but let's see how quality journalism is winning in the Murdoch tabloids online.
Many will not have noticed that the Daily Terror has undergone a makeover of its online presence. After all, it's trash no matter how it's shaped and ordered.
What's been unveiled is a shameless imitation of the Daily Mail's sidebar antics, which in one has made the Mail the most read and the most loathed form of online crack doing the rounds. (4 Lessons From The web's Most Ruthlessly Addictive Site)
Here's how that mindless monstrosity worked in the Mail today (screen cap, no hot links):
And here's what you get in the newly fitted out Terror:
So here's the rub. If everything is hard, and Australia's in such a shocking state, and we're experiencing a dire budget emergency, and everybody must share the pain so we can do the gain, and so on and so forth, why are the Murdoch tabloids indulging in such frivolous shit?
As always, the pond turns to an expert in the game, while tossing a few coins into the Godwin's Law swear jar:
The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.
Right. Now where were we?
Ah yes, back in the world of the simple-minded slogan, the two-edged sword:
No new taxes.
Yes, they've already begun to do a collection of the rhetoric over at Crikey.
Here are a few of the thoughts they assembled on taxation:
Then-shadow treasurer Joe Hockey in a media interview, June 29, 2010: “Because under us, let me tell you, Tim, I say it with absolute, absolute conviction and with no qualifications, we will always spend less than Labor, and we will always tax less than Labor.”
Then-opposition leader Tony Abbott, February 10, 2011, in a speech to Parliament on Labor’s temporary levy after the Queensland floods: “Why should the Australian people be hit with a levy to meet expenses which a competent, adult, prudent government should be able to cover from the ordinary revenues of government? … The one thing [people] will never have to suffer under a Coalition government is an unnecessary new tax, a tax that could easily be replaced by savings found from the budget.”
Then-opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, January 25, 2011, on the flood levy: “This is a dumb idea … It will indirectly affect everyone because there will be less money and less spending in the community …”
Hockey on the flood levy, January 26, 2011: “It’s just plain stupid, dumb stuff.”
Abbott to a No Carbon Tax rally, August 16, 2011: “No tax collection before an election.”
Abbott speech to Parliament, September 14, 2011: “I say to this Prime Minister there should be no new tax collection without an election.”
Abbott, media conference, March 12, 2012: “What you’ll get under us are tax cuts without new taxes.” Abbott media conference, November 20, 2012: Abbott: We are about reducing taxes, not increasing taxes. We are about getting rid of taxes, not imposing new taxes.
Journalist: Is that a promise?
Abbott: This is my whole reason for being in politics, in the Parliament. (more here, may be paywall affected)
And the capper? Well surely it has to be Abbott back in the day accusing assorted tossers of class warfare and the politics of envy:
Abbott in his budget reply speech, May 10, 2012:
“The fundamental problem with this budget is that it deliberately, coldly, calculatedly plays the class war card … families on $150,000 a year are not rich, especially if they’re paying mortgages in our big cities.”
And so that envious politician Tony Abbott plays class warfare with the folks suffering on 150k a year, and is hailed by Paul Sheehan as prevailing with a tweak, and the virtuous fatuous circle of stupidity is complete.
Which leads the pond to conclude that if you live by the simple-minded slogan and clickbait Murdoch tabloid shit, you'll die by the simple-minded slogan and tabloid shit.
Which in itself isn't such a bad simple-minded slogan, and the pond commends it to Murdoch commentary writers and tabloids in search of fresh shit ...
As usual, David Pope manages to put it all in a simple image, which replaces the need for a thousand words.
Does Pope have any idea how dispiriting this can be to the average blogger? More Pope here.
And so is First Dog, but at least he needs a few panels! More First Dog here, and lordy lordy how Crikey must miss him:
Conclusion: the world and cartoonists need an Abbott government because there's no surer way than that to guarantee a proud bunch of feminist, high taxing, socialists intent on ruining government can lead Australia to a dire budget emergency and financial disaster, so that in due course we'll be worse off than Greece and have to get rid of the national broadcasters because there can't be any gain without a lot of pain and Murdochian gain ...
Or some such thing. Put it another way: