The Member for Warringah, Tony Abbott has written another piece of mostly drivel in the Australian ‘newspaper’, which was published on September 6, 2017. There are so many lies and misleading statements that it is disgraceful that the Australian would publish it. I wonder if the Australian has considered that its falling revenue and circulation may be in part impacted by its publication of this sort of drivel. That was what drove me to cancel my subscription some years ago.
In Abbott’s piece, there are too many lies and misleading statements that to refute all of them with facts and sources would require numerous pages. So, I’ll have a crack at a few of the more egregious specimens, and leave the remaining garbage, and there is a lot of that, alone. Extracts from Abbott’s piece are in italics.
Our country is drifting because the Labor Party and the Senate won’t allow the government to do its job.
What this is really saying is that Abbott believes we do not need a parliament. He seems to think that the party that gets the most votes in an election should have an unfettered right to do anything they wish. The Senate is a house of review to safeguard the rights of individual states, particularly the less populous ones1 and, hopefully, to prevent any idiotic legislation getting through both houses. The voters elected it and they elected it to do that job, not to pander to the whims of halfwits who do not understand the Westminster system2. This was the reason he was completely out of his depth when trying to negotiate with the independents after the 2010 election, and why he was outmanoeuvered by Gillard who ran an effective minority government.
But even though Bill Shorten has done enough damage already, if the polls are right, he’s going to be prime minister soon and make a bad situation much, much worse.
It is good that Abbott admits that the nation is in a bad situation, but cannot help himself in sheeting home the blame to Bill Shorten (makes a change from blaming Turnbull), despite his party having been in government for 4 years. If it is mostly Shorten’s fault, then it makes you wonder what the government has been doing all that time, if they cannot overcome the supposed depredations of the leader of the Opposition.
Power prices are now among the highest in the world, despite a super abundance of readily available energy.
And when did power prices start to rise? Almost at the very moment that the Carbon Tax was abolished. That is also the time when Australia’s decline in carbon dioxide emissions reversed3,4, so that we now have little hope of reaching our targets agreed to at the Paris Climate Accord. This doesn’t bother Abbott, because he is a climate-change denier, like those backbenchers (Ian Goodenough, Eric Abetz, Ian MacDonald, Tony Pasin and Craig Kelly) who called for Australia to withdraw from the Paris agreement after Trump announced that the US would5.
On some measures, our kids’ academic rankings are worse than Kazakhstan’s even though we’ve nearly doubled school spending in the past decade.
This is lying by omission. Australia’s public spending on education has increased dramatically over the last decade, but only because it reached a minimum of 4.6% (of GDP) in 2008 under policies from the Howard Government. In 1978, it was 6.0%, trailing down to 4.7% in the late 1980s and bouncing around between there and 5.6% ever since, before hitting the Howard minimum6,7. Like most of these lies about spending they refer to dollars only8, they do not take into account population increase or inflation and therefore do not portray reality.
Our construction costs, telecommunications costs, and regulatory costs are among the highest in the world and we’re falling down the global rankings on competitiveness and ease of getting things done.
Ah, yes, competitiveness. This is code for ‘my donors in big business want a tax cut, and wage increases need to be moderated and it would be better if penalty rates could be abolished’. ‘Ease of getting things done’ is also code for ‘decreasing regulation’, whether it be Workplace Safety or Environmental Protections, to make donors’ businesses more profitable. Abolition of some of these measures is currently happening in the US under the Trump regime.
Wages are stagnant while necessities such as food, water and rent cost more all the time.
And why does Abbott think wages are stagnant? Could it be because he and his ilk have been constantly trying to screw the union movement? Given that the Governor of the Reserve Bank indicated that the remedy for stagnant wages may be worker activism9, it is likely to be one of the causes.
Not content with a 23 per cent renewable energy target, Shorten wants half of all our power to come from renewable sources by 2030. Yet power prices are already 50 per cent higher in the one state (South Australia) that now gets half of its power from wind and solar. And there was a statewide blackout last year because the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine and you can’t always get power from another state that still has reliable, affordable baseload coal-fired power.
Blaming the South Australian cost of electricity on the proportion of renewables in that market is again a lie, as was the assertion that renewables led to the blackouts in South Australia, when it was a storm which knocked over power lines10. All but one of the mainland states, in the absence of any sensible policy from the Federal Government, have signed up to dramatically decrease their emissions to net zero by 205011. Tasmania already gets most of its energy from hydroelectric generation. So, if all the states are going to be close to net zero emitters, where does that leave the Federal Government’s whining about renewable energy targets? Simply trying to hold back the economic tide to aid their donors. That is a losing battle.
The re-establishment of an all-fibre NBN will add further tens of billions to the cost of telecommunications.
It may well add to the cost of telecommunications, but it will probably work. While my ADSL is a little sluggish by modern standards and may drop out once a week or so, the Turnbullised NBN I recently experienced dropped out up to half a dozen times a day, and was even slower than my ADSL. Some of the copper wires going from the node to your premises already need to be replaced because they are decades old, and those copper wires limit the speed possible for your internet connection. If they are rubbish, your internet speed will be rubbish. It currently costs about $1 billion per annum to maintain the copper system. The NBN has scored over 600Mbps (megabits per second) for its souped-up copper lines. However, depending on what is buried in your street, the download speed could be much slower, maybe much less than 100 Mbps12. New Zealand fixed-line telco, Chorus, started upgrading its fibre broadband last year, and it is going to have download speeds of 1000 Mbps13. In case you missed it, that is ten times the rate of Australia’s likely maximum from our FTTN system.
The remainder of this ludicrous Abbott diatribe was relating what he thinks Shorten will do if he becomes Prime Minister, with rants about socialism, lazy policymaking, more equality equalling less prosperity, more taxes, blah, blah, blah. One of the funniest sentences was him explaining what you need to do to earn the prime ministership. In his case it was to lie, something at which he was, and seemingly still is, very adept. It does make you wonder what has happened to the editorial standards of the Australian, that such drivel can be published apparently seriously.