Dear Mr Abbott. Unlike god, the people are not infinitely forgiving

9 Feb

 

Good Government

 

“Good government starts today,” promised Prime Minister Tony Abbott, fresh from his party’s first failed spill motion this morning in which 39 members of his team turned against him, and one of them cast an informal vote. We are moving on, the difficulties are now behind us, is the vein in which he continued.

All of which begs the question, what kind of government does he think we’ve we been enduring since the LNP won power in September 2013?  Many of us already sensed it wasn’t a good one, and it’s reassuring to have this view validated by our PM, who is, after all, responsible for its lack of substance and quality.

These last seventeen months, as Bill Shorten remarked in a splendidly energetic display during Question Time this afternoon, are seventeen months of the nation’s life it will never get back, and what has it been good for?

Abbott’s determination to put all this behind him and make a fresh start reminded me that he is a Catholic, and so is very used to making fresh starts and putting awkward things behind him.

This is one of the many things I fail to understand about the Christian god. He is, apparently, infinitely forgiving and that to my mind is just plain stupid. Generous human beings will forgive much, but we have the sense to know when forgiveness is a waste of time and the offender has no intention of changing his or her behaviour.

One of the many problems in believing in a god who will forgive infinitely is that it can make you morally sluggish. It doesn’t actually matter what you do, you can count on being forgiven. We’ve seen this played out a million times in the Catholic priest pedophilia scandal, for example. Those priests surely confessed their crimes against children and were forgiven every time, then went right out and did it again, because why not?

And didn’t Abbott give one of them a reference once?

The concept of putting things behind one has much to be said for it, on the proviso that one has learned the lessons to be learned first. To be honest, I don’t have much trust in a government that admits it’s only starting good governance today, seventeen months after it took office. That’s a little long to stay on the training wheels, and they weren’t actually out of office long enough to forget how to govern.

I am also becoming more than a little aggravated with mainstream media commentators who are busily writing a new narrative about volatile, over-sensitive voters causing leaders to crash and governments to fall. This is codswallop. With the advent of social media and the twenty-four hour news cycle, voters are more engaged and more vocal than at any time in our history and we often do not like what we see. Politicians are more scrutinised than ever before, and we all too often and with very good reason take a set against what our scrutiny reveals.

The problem lies not with an hysterical (and therefore feminised, don’t you love it) electorate, but with the lack of substance and integrity of many of those who seek high office. The Abbott government (and the Newman government in Queensland) attempted to inflict its pathological ideology of inequality on a nation whose general ethos is still, miraculously, the fair go. We’ve turned on them. We’ve done this because we are largely a decent people who don’t believe those at the bottom  of the food chain should be ground even further into misery, while those at the top profit obscenely. We haven’t done it because we are volatile, over-sensitive and hysterical.

Politicians and mainstream media can find democracy a struggle.

Abbott is on notice, from his party and from the electorate. Not only does he have 39 home-grown dissidents to contend with, his personal polling figures are abysmal. I have no idea what the PM’s idea of “good government” might be, but I do think it is an admission of grotesque failure that he is promising the electorate good government from today, when he’s been in office all this time and only now because of a revolt and attempted coup. In other words, Abbott has been forced to consider “good government.” It hasn’t come to him naturally.

Prime Minister Abbott might well be about to learn the hard way that unlike god, we the voters are not infinitely forgiving, and he’s likely had his one and only shot at reforming himself and his ideologically driven party.

A song for the changed Tony Abbott: Bruno Mars and Today my Life Begins 

“I will leave the past behind me…”

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38 Responses to “Dear Mr Abbott. Unlike god, the people are not infinitely forgiving”

  1. Robert West February 9, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    I really do like him as he is not without failings and I reckon his catch cry is better “than the real Julia

    Like

    • doug quixote February 10, 2015 at 7:54 am #

      “he is not without failings”

      You can’t parody this shit, Jennifer.

      It writes itself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert West February 9, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Was he ever going to get your vote?

    Like

    • Mayan February 9, 2015 at 7:07 pm #

      It’s rather obvious that the vast majority of Turnbull fans would rather self-immolate than vote Liberal. It’s rather like listening to rusted on Liberals say who they like to have as ALP leader.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote February 10, 2015 at 7:52 am #

        Uh? No genuine Labor supporter wants Turnbull as PM. Only that he might do less damage to the nation than Abbott, before being turfed out whenever they go to the next election.

        Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      Robert, I don’t live in his electorate so no!

      Like

  3. Mayan February 9, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Newman shot himself in both feet when he went out and said that electorates that didn’t vote for his party wouldn’t get goodies. Sure, we expect that of governments, but for one to come out and say it proved unforgivable.

    It is hard to get around the fact that social media, and especially Twitter, trends left, and so has more of the hard left than the general population. The previous government got itself into a mess by caring too much about what that echo chamber said. There is also probably some truth to the conjecture that journalists tend to follow more of this echo chamber than others, potentially swinging between reporting it as public opinion and projecting whatever they want onto it. Social media is not to be confused with general opinion. Mind you, it is interesting to see how it varies from real life observations and conversations.

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      I don’t spend much time in it but there are huge right wing Twitter populations & FB

      Like

      • Mayan February 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

        w.r.t. Twitter, they are a small number compared to the left, while Facebook is a somewhat more even split.

        Like

  4. Team Oyeniyi February 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    Good government starts today? So is he admitting before today was crap? No wonder John Birmingham said his columns write themselves with Captain Abbott.

    *shakes head, needs a bundy*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Team Oyeniyi February 9, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Oh, I’ve got it!! Today was the confessional and political Hail Marys!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 9, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      Yes, it would have been an Oprah moment if we had an Oprah

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter February 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

        A bit like Himmler saying he was sorry for Auschwitz, just move on?
        Once again, it is their policies.. the one issue the media won’t touch.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michaela Tschudi February 9, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

      Robyn, snap! Exactly what I posted to Twitter. In retrospect I think once he got the act of contrition out of the way, he left the praying to the voters. Long time since I prayed!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thevenerable1 February 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    You’re brilliant at this stuff ! I shall re-post (a link to) this on my blog, which is private, but with sports a top-class assembly of thinking people. Thanks, and keep on keeping on ! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. paul walter February 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

    Hey, if you all want a REAL laugh, try and catch Leigh Sales’ 730 interview with the Monk this evening..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. paul walter February 9, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    I felt glad for Leigh Sales though. The previous interviews have been vindicated, yet she has never been baised against him; fortunately for her (probably the opposite if anything)

    Speaking of amusement watching the chameleon Annabel Crabbe on the Drum. If you think some of the other stuff has been macabre, have a look.

    Like

  9. paul walter February 10, 2015 at 2:15 am #

    There is usually a key phrase in Jennifer’s posts. The one for me came with the line about MSM cooking up the fairy story about voters being “oversensitive”.

    The journo and pollie fat cats have lived on the dole, let alone in a detention centre or Aboriginal camp?

    I go along wholeheartedly with the protest about knee-jerk sexism and “hysteria”,
    What a subculture!

    Given that I’m a bloke, what can my excuse be?

    Like

  10. doug quixote February 10, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    The media are still playing catch up with those of us who have known Abbott would be a total disaster years ago.

    The mass media acted as his cheer squad and they need to justify themselves and the crap they helped to inflict on the nation. Even the Looters Party partyroom are now partly (ie at least 39 out of 100) convinced of his terminal incompetence, mendacity and unsuitability.

    Abbott was is and will be a total disaster. Not everyone realises this yet, but they are getting there.

    Like

    • helvityni February 10, 2015 at 8:47 am #

      I have been surprised that anyone takes him seriously; there’s no substance to the man. I had him sussed out when he was the Minister for Health in the Howard government.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson February 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

        Totally without substance. You’re right.

        Like

        • paul walter February 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm #

          Unfortunately, there is no substance with Labor, either. If Greens
          Sen. Whish Wilson is to be beleived, Labor just colluded with the Tories to block release of the latest FTA details under what seems an informal press and media blackout.

          Liked by 1 person

      • doug quixote February 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

        Agreed, Helvi. Johnny Howard’s bovver boy and absurdly reactionary health minister. They had to take his right of veto away from him to allow access to the so-called “morning after” pill.

        But the Australian voters deserve him. Or at least the 53% two party preferred who voted for his party do.

        I know I don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. hudsongodfrey February 10, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    Now isn’t it a pity that out of god and Tony Abbott on one of them is imaginary!

    As for believing in the merits of either….. We could be waiting some considerable time.

    And hysteria, from the Greek has a particular feminine connotation of which the better educated, and fans of QI, will be well aware. To the great unwashed, and writers of click bait for News Ltd, I gather its just a fancy word for “losing it”.

    English is a living language so words occasionally take on different meanings. Maybe hysterical has been “taken back” sometime between the invention of the vibrator and the sit-com. Either way in a contest between ignorance and sexism it might seem churlish not to assume ignorance 🙂

    Like

  12. paul walter February 10, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    Good..sorts it out.. now I can go to church with a clear concience.

    Like

    • olddavey February 10, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      I’m just going to do a Competitive Evaluation Process” on him.
      If it’s good enough for submarines it is certainly good enough for Tones.
      I doubt if he would get the go ahead to tender for a second term.

      On a more serious note, what a bunch of sycophantic lying hypocrites.
      Even the two WA morons who brought on the vote are now saying how wonderful he will be, along with the likes of Amnesia Sinodinos and a few others I’ve seen today.

      Like

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