Tony Abbott and his latest Manifesto

Ah, Tony Abbott. “No sniping, no wrecking, no undermining.” Well that’s proven to be about as believable as the “No cuts to education, no cuts to the ABC…” One thing about old Tony, he’s consistent.

And how about this new 6 point plan? They always go so well, just ask Jaymes Diaz. I will now – largely for my own bemusement, I suspect – explore this manifesto. Here’s what it says:

Fix the Parliament.

Hang on, didn’t we just do that? Wasn’t it the Liberal’s great masterstroke to change the rules about how we get to vote for Senators, just before the last election? How’s that working out? And if Tony’s planning on trimming the Senate’s constitutional powers, well, good luck with that. I assume he knows that will require a referendum…

Live within our means.

Here we find the Standard Neoliberal Groupthink. Government debt is not like private debt, unless the government has debts denominated in someone else’s currency (and they don’t). They – and they alone – issue our currency. It is literally the one thing they have in endless supply, and spending it no more puts our grandchildren into debt than Menzies’ string of unbroken deficit budgets indebted you or I.

The government’s “means” are the physical and human resources available in the economy that can be put to work. Not the small pieces of paper.

Take the pressure off power prices.

Apparently Tony thinks we must end subsidies of green energy, but it is perfectly OK to subsidise Adani, Rhinehart and the various other usurers that dig up and sell fossil fuels. Here’s the thing: the reason coal fired electricity is cheap is because the pollution costs of it are not borne by the producers. In economic terms, these costs are “externalised”. What that actually means is that we are putting the costs of that power “on the national credit card”. The cost of fixing the climate, or the effects of its changes – they’re the debt we’re leaving to our grandchildren.

Make housing more affordable.

It’s those immigrants, apparently. Not the toxic combination of capital gains tax discount and negative gearing that have caused the dramatic spike in house prices. Never mind the fact that we’ve always had immigration, but real estate has only skyrocketed since ’99, when Costello tweaked the CGT and NG rules. No, clearly it’s all down to the brown people who somehow manage to simultaneously take our jobs, buy our real estate and bludge on our welfare. And clog up the M4, according to former Liberal MP Fiona Scott. Remember her? Tony thought she was a bit of all right.

Make Australia safe.

You are more likely to die in Australia from a collapsing chair than you are from terrorism. Having Police shooting people in the street, or soldiers patrolling the city do not strike me as measures that will make me feel safe. I’m perfectly happy to go about my normal life, confident that the cops know what they’re doing, that they have eyes and ears on any trouble-makers, and that we can only be terrorised if we allow ourselves to be. And I say that as someone who knew Curtis Cheng personally, and considered him a friend. He was horribly unlucky to cross paths with that radicalised kid, and his death was a shocking, senseless act. But if you want to defuse home-grown terrorism, you need to get to the root causes, not sow division and increase the us vs them mentality.

Celebrate Australia – don’t run it down.

Tony wants to “End funding for bully bureaucracies”. I assume he’s talking about Centrelink, and their “robodebt” debacle, sending the debt collectors around to people to collect debts they don’t owe? And by “straight talking”, is he referring to Brandis’ line that “people do have the right to be bigots”?

So here’s some straight talking. This manifesto is some of the most transparently racist, bigoted and economically illiterate garbage to ever be promulgated by a so-called “senior politician”. If you really want to “Make Australia Work Again”, what you need to do is implement policies that provide the means for people to work. If you’re not doing that, you’re full of shit. As if that wasn’t patently obvious from recycling a Trump slogan, of all things.

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