Conservative landslide in Australia: Tony Abbott will crush Kevin Rudd

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

24 August 2013

9:00 AM

Sometimes only a cliché will do, especially when the subject is the Australian Labor party. Labor is holed beneath the water line and is sinking fast. No one, not even its newly reinstated skipper, Kevin Rudd, is capable of keeping the boat afloat as the nation heads for a general election on 7 September. In a couple of weeks, barring an act of God or a military coup, the conservative Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal-National coalition, will replace the left-liberal Rudd as prime minister of Australia.

It was not meant to be like this. In June Labor’s greatest electoral handicap — its party leader and prime minister, Julia Gillard — was stabbed in the back and replaced by Rudd, who three years earlier had in turn been backstabbed and replaced by Gillard and her gang of Labor heavies. The brutal reinstatement of Rudd seemed at first to have been a stroke of genius. For a few weeks, Labor was united and the Australian people appeared to be willing to give Rudd another go. The nervous nellies in Abbott’s coalition became more than usually jumpy.

Today it’s a very different story. Abbott is preferred prime minister, Rudd’s approval rating is in free fall, and after adjustment of Australia’s preferential voting system, support for the coalition is at 54 per cent, well ahead of Labor’s 46 per cent. That compares with a 57-43 split at the end of Gillard’s reign, but it still points to an electoral landslide. No wonder Labor’s true believers are angry and alienated while the party’s urban sophisticates — rich, well-educated and congenitally liberal — are staying away from sharp objects.

Credit for all this must go to Abbott. Since he became opposition leader in late 2009, the monarchist, Rhodes scholar and devout Catholic — he was educated at the Jesuit Riverview College, the Stonyhurst of Australia — has resurrected the conservative cause, which had languished in the Antipodes since John Howard’s inglorious downfall in 2007. In his four years as leader, he has comprehensively wrong-footed Rudd, Gillard and Rudd. Nothing better demonstrates his political nous than his decision to take issue with the global warming consensus and oppose a carbon tax, a position that won overwhelming popular support.

That’s not to say that Abbott is universally applauded. The prospect of having to accept him as prime minister fills the left with fury, but there is also a lot of hostility from elements of the press. Unlike David Cameron, Abbott does not subscribe to the liberal consensus. The affluent and well-educated folk of Sydney and Melbourne are full of scorn. Abbott is 55, married with three daughters, religious, broadly pro-life and anti-gay marriage; in other words, a neanderthal! He believes in individual enterprise, family values and respect for tried-and-tested institutions.

The Fairfax group, publishers of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age, tend to treat Abbott as so loathsome a character that the ordinary rules of fair play need not be applied. Hence stories of a misogynist past: it is alleged without any evidence that he threw a punch at (and missed) a university feminist some time in the 1970s.

When not a hate figure, he is a figure of fun. He is now known the world over as a macho man who goes about the beach in ‘budgie-smugglers’. He is also widely seen as being gaffe-prone. Earlier this month, for example, he provoked howls of derision when he said that ‘no one’ (meaning Rudd) was the ‘suppository’ (instead of the repository) of all wisdom. But was that really a gaffe? To some, it sounded like a good joke.

Few, however, would deny that Abbott has been a politically astute leader of the opposition, though he has been helped enormously in his work by Rudd, who now seems not only incompetent but a fraud, too. The perception has changed over the years. When he led Labor to power in 2007, he was a reassuring presence to Middle Australia. He seemed like a reasonable bloke, especially to voters in Queensland’s sun-belt seats and Sydney’s western suburbs, which are mortgaged to the hilt. What he offered was John Howard lite: fiscal conservatism, tough immigration laws and an evangelical approach to saving the planet. He appealed to climate geeks and at the same time managed to persuade the so-called ‘Howard battlers’ — mainly working-class voters who had switched from the ALP to the Liberals — to come home to Labor.

But Rudd’s leadership was an exercise in bad faith from the beginning. From border protection to carbon pricing to fiscal policy, he has been all over the place. He has been an opportunist of such proportions that the only thing that has exceeded his grasp is his reach. Nothing has changed since his return: there is always an air of detached calculation about his performances, a sense that in different circumstances he could just as happily be arguing the opposing case. He ran a chaotic cabinet, silenced internal critics, punished those against whom he held a grudge, failed to distance himself from a union movement that represents only 15 per cent of the private workforce, and now leads a big-spending and debt-ridden policy agenda that has led to a $70-billion budget black hole.

Many Australians regard ‘Heavvie Kevvie’ as a nerd and an embarrassment, with his taste for such cringe-inducing Australianisms as ‘Happy Little Vegemite’ and ‘fair shake of the sauce bottle’. But his disgruntled Labor colleagues go beyond the cringe and speak of him as abrasive, arrogant, aloof and autocratic.

When he first challenged Gillard for the leadership, in February last year, it was in some ways worse. His colleagues denounced him then as a ‘psychopath’, ‘disloyal’, ‘dysfunctional’, and ‘a complete and utter fraud’. Even his former mental health adviser has said that he is ‘not fit’ to be prime minister. Australia’s voters now seem certain to endorse that judgment.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Tom Switzer is editor of Spectator Australia.

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Show comments
  • sandfly

    A devastating but accurate analysis of a politician lacking any semblance of conviction not directed towards bolstering his own inflated ego. Rudd fooled a lot of people first time around ( not me ) but he’s now living proof of the maxim that you can fool some of people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    • anyfool

      35% are still fooled, here in the UK Labour have 40% fooled at the moment. vegemite seems to be an apt word for these idiots in search of a village.

  • mountolive

    A fantastic trashing of what remains of Kevin Rudd’s reputation can be found at Oz radio channel 2GB:

    Alan Jones – Kevin Rudd Editorial (http://www.2gb.com/article/alan-jones-kevin-rudd-editorial#.UhiqRECoGA4)

    Where was the BBC when this had to be written about the last Labour Government? No need to ask.

  • tedpeters

    “Nothing better demonstrates his political nous than his decision to take issue with the global warming consensus and oppose a carbon tax, a position that won overwhelming popular support.” Ahem… this could well be center stage here in the US in 2016, as our present environmental fanatics are hugely responsible for keeping economic expansion in the doldrums.

  • lgeubank

    “He has been an opportunist of such proportions. . . an air of detached calculation about his performances. . .silenced internal critics, punished those against whom he held a grudge. . . now leads a big-spending and debt-ridden policy agenda. . .”

    Say, how would you like to come over to the U.S. and write about the Obama administration? You’re right on the mark.

  • John Robertson

    Fortunately both Rudd and Abbott are statute barred from standing for Parliament; the Electoral Commissioner has been told. Both must fix their own problems or both of the parties must select new leaders.

    Gillard would not sign an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen and this constitutional breach has flowed on to Rudd; an application for an Injunction to the Court has been filed.

    I am central to Abbott’s problem; he is stuck to Rupert Murdoch, an American citizen and foreign power. More later today.

  • John Robertson

    ——– Original Message ——–

    Subject: Abbott is barred from the House of Reps by the Constitution or email me ….Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2013 01:48:51 +0100From: John Robertson To: info@aec.gov.au

    For the personal attention of Mr Edward Killesteyn PSM, Electoral

    Dear Electoral Commissioner, Candidates and Voters

    In reading the comments onhttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/25/its-clive-palmer-party-launch?commentpage=1 I Googled to see the steps to proceed with an injunction and immediately found the Injunction
    papers for Brian W Shaw

    I am aware that Julia Gillard wanted to evade recognizing
    the Queen so Shaw’s conclusion that Kevin Rudd is barred
    from Parliament may be correct. I am not going to research
    Shaw’s merits but refer to it here as I press on with my own

    This Election IS a Dog’s Breakfast with Rudd and Abbott
    apparently both being ineligible to stand for Parliament.
    The solution is for both Labor and Liberals to elect new
    leaders for the September 7 2013 Election.

    You cannot knowingly permit anyone
    to stand for Parliament who is statute barred. I am
    sticking my nose in because my 1993 Electoral experiences
    makes me an expert in this narrow field .

    There are thousands of capable voters
    who will have 40 days to Petition for a re-election.

    There are hundreds of candidates
    capable of filing an Injunction before the Election to have
    the High Court decide on the eligibility of Rudd and Abbott.

    (1) Where a person has engaged, is engaging or is proposing
    to engage in any conduct that constituted, constitutes or would constitute
    a contravention of, or an offence against, this Act or any other law of the
    Commonwealth in its application to elections,
    the Federal Court of Australia (the Federal Court ) may, on the application of:

    (a) in a case where the conduct relates to an election–a
    candidate in the election;
    in any case–the Electoral Commission;

    grant an injunction restraining the first-mentioned person from engaging in the
    conduct and, if in the opinion of the Federal Court it is desirable to do so,
    requiring that person to do any act or thing.

    My own complaint relates to the 1993 Election where Murdoch’s Cairns Post clearly breached the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

    I want compensation for the Electoral Commission negligently
    damaging me. The whole world population has been severely
    damaged for 20 years by not using OZOne’s Money Solution and
    Opal Lands Waterway. There were 3 weeks for the Commission
    to get an injunction or to tell me they would not do it; I was strung along.

    Public Notice

    To PM Kevin Rudd and the ALP
    And To Clive Palmer and the PUP
    And To Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party

    If I am right you should not be recognising that Tony Abbott is qualified to be an MHR. You are wasting tax payers’ money if you treat any Liberal candidate as a legitimate candidate – for every voter will be able to claim they were misled and petition for a re-election. The Election is only 2 weeks away; you must immediately tell the voters that Abbott is barred from the House of
    Representatives by the Constitution or email me to tell me where I am wrong.

    The URL that provides some background is:


    The URL of my 1993 High Court of Australia Petition is:


    After my Petition was decided, the law on not defaming candidates in a relevant period was repealed!


    350. (1) A person shall not make or publish any false and defamatory statement in relation to the personal character or conduct of a candidate.
    (a) if the offender is a natural person – $1,000 or imprisonment for 6 months, or both; or
    (b) if the offender is a body corporate – $5,000:

    Provided always that it shall be a defence to a prosecution for an offence against this subsection if the defendant proves that he or she had reasonable ground for believing and did in fact believe the statement to be true.

    So Rupert Murdoch has now been allowed to defame Candidate Kevin Rudd during the relevant period in 2013! Australia is turning itself into a media joke.

    I now know that Rupert Murdoch, an American, heads a foreign power, News
    Corp, that is being investigated by UK Police for using electronic surveillance to spy on UK citizens.

    On February 20, 1993 the Electoral Commissioner, like me, did not know Murdoch’s Cairns Post had defamed the Ozone Party and candidates to evade billions of dollars of tax over the following 20 years. Prior to the defamation
    that destroyed the Ozone Party, Murdoch’s Courier Mail published a good, humorous and accurate story that alerted their tax planners that the Money Solution was designed to eliminate tax evasion, avoidance and extortion.

    Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan should raise a $20 billion tax assessment forthwith and confiscate all Murdoch assets, or be sacked. Party Leaders are asked to state what they are going to do about Jordan extorting money from small taxpayers and leaving Murdoch alone.

    And what are Party Leaders doing about Electoral Commissioner, Edward Killesteyn, who has shown no sign of organizing the Prosecution of the Cairns Post – look what the 1993 nonfeasance of his predecessors has led to! Murdoch’s defamation of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd!

    The Electoral Commission is clearly corrupt; they did not want my tiny OzOne Party in 1993 and now they do not want PUP. Will any of you three Leaders do something about the corrupt Electoral Commission? Please publish a statement.

    Murdoch and Abbott

    Assuming no repealing has been done, SECTION 44.of the Australian Constitution is:

    Any person who–

    (i. ) Is
    under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or
    adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or
    entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen
    of a foreign power:

    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a
    member of the House of Representatives.

    Murdoch is American by virtue of his Oath of Allegiance to the US. Murdoch is a foreign power by virtue of his nation-size wealth and his corporations
    illegally using electronic surveillance of foreign citizens (British).

    Does Abbott have any
    acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence
    to Murdoch?

    Adherence sticks him.

    To continue campaigning Abbott must denounce Murdoch forthwith.

    All three Party Leaders are welcome to use OzOne’s 1993 Policy of full employment, bigger profits, fair and efficient cascading tax, increased pensions,
    more outback rainfall and less global warming.

    Meanwhile, only Kevin Rudd and Clive Palmer are left in the race – Tony Abbott being entrapped by Murdoch – to sell more newspapers for Murdoch; will Tony break free?


    John Robertson

  • John Robertson

    The Dog’s Breakfast

    Ian Ward QC of Sydney used the phrase as we discussed my proposed claim against William Parker, a Rat of Tobruk and former Acting Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, Adelaide. I liked Bill Parker as a man, but not as a senior tax officer.

    Taxmen used fighting language. Crase said, “When we attack the taxpayer” Burgess said, “Bill Parker shot from the hip”. Bowman said, “If we were in a different country, we would have taken you down an alley by now and shot you”. Herd said, “The worms have come out of the woodwork, they are flexing their muscles, they know Canberra won’t stop them.”

    At a meeting organised by Senator Jessop, Parker’s boss, Deputy Commissioner Kahl said, “We destroy no records.” I said, “Yes you do, you have shredded Avery’s letter to you.” Kahl repeated his denial and Hann, Parker’s legal officer, knowing I had proof, interrupted and said, “We did shred that letter.”

    Soon afterwards Kahl flew into a rage when I said, “I am fairly experienced and this has happened to us, what else is going on?” Kahl said, “I don’t have to listen to this, get out!” Jessop said afterwards, “I have never seen anything like that.”

    Parker carried on with his extortion and that is how I know the present Commissioner has the power to extort $20 billion from the Murdoch Empire.

    Parker and his crew of extortionists caused me to devise a tax to replace income tax and close down the whole damned Australian Tax Office. The Money Solution does this in one paragraph; look for my next Post.

  • Fergus Pickering

    I do hope all you say is true!

  • JohnDale49

    Let me give you a warning from the USA.

    DO NOT accept social relativism whatever you do. This homosexual marriage, let’s kill babies barbarism has destroyed America’s social fabric. It’s not progressive, its regressive, right back to Paganism and the Canaanites. This country is so balkanized, dislocated, and unmoored from our founding principles, we languish under president OBlunder.

    If Australia wants to survive as a society, close the borders to the Indonesians, and get back to the family values that served us well for 2000 years. Things really weren’t so bad before modernism took hold. Modernism has been the death of America.

    Why did the Western world reign victorious for so long? Because we had the best book to live by. The Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, none of it comes close to what we have.