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How Abbott will check mate his critics

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Thursday, 12 February 2015


I wager that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has a “thing” for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. A “thing” in the philosophical sense of course.

She was a part of a generation that was asked to sacrifice, asked to pull one’s own weight, asked to show respect to one’s elders and asked to stand up for one’s beliefs.

As the Member for Finchley in north London and later as Prime Minister, she had a vision for Britain, she could articulate that vision and most of all, she could sell that vision.

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If the Abbott Government v1.0 has a vision, it’s darn good at hiding it. And given it is hidden, it’s unsurprising the alleged vision has not been embraced by the backbench let alone marketed to the rest of us.

The, “age of entitlement” ethos that was identified by Treasurer Joe Hockey nearly three years ago and which like a virus infects all corners of society has over the six years of hard labour under Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard witnessed a misallocation of funds for education and welfare, the increase in political divisions, the allergy to economic reform and the reluctance to criticize anyone (such as special interest groups) who may be subtracting from society. Rightly the Abbott government opposes such an ethos.

Outside the inner circle of ministers and the occasional talk back radio host, the expression “personal accountability” is rarely heard in polite company. Its steadfast opponents littered within the Labor Party and the Greens promote the canard that all problems – economic and social - are always someone else’s fault.

Illegal arrivals? Blame it on Australia’s lack of an open door policy. Drug smuggling? Blame the Australian Federal Police for not giving Andrew Chan and Myurun Sukumaran a “get out of gaol free” pass. Childcare too expensive? Don’t blame yourselves for choosing to reproduce and assuming you can socialise the cost of child rearing. Instead blame the government for not offering free childcare. The cost of Medicare spinning out of control? Certainly don’t wind back the rebate for the proverbial 6-minute general practice consultation. Not if such a policy impacts on the take home pay of members of the militant and monopolistic physicians union. Blame the government for not raising the Medicare scheduled fee.

The list goes on.

For those promoting an entitlement state, the mirror is never pointed in their direction. Instead it reflects a utopia that would be possible to obtain if only what Labor wasn’t blocking what it calls the Abbott government’s so-called “unfair” and “mean” budget policies.

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Leftist politicians in Canberra who exhibit the trifecta of economic illiteracy, populist prostitution and a pathological lack of shame ignore the evidence from the European PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) where inept parliamentarians oversaw out of control welfare spending which not only sapped the self respect of its citizens and bred a disinclination for millions to vocationally connect with the economy, but tellingly also drove several Eurozone nations to the brink of financial disaster.

 This is not the Australia most of us want. We do not want to swap the meat pie for the souvlaki.

Margaret Thatcher’s advice to her trembling colleagues was as pertinent in the 1980s as it is to Abbott and his colleagues today. With regards to dilemmas that have befallen Abbott’s front bench Liberal Party, four pearls are worth recalling.

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at jonathan@chinamail.com.

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