The combover, Maurice Newman, climate change denier and intimate of Tony Abbott, seems to be suspicious of Four Corners’ efforts to understand the Zali Steggall campaign to unseat Tony Abbott, stating they are “risking time and money to capture the surreal moment when Abbott may be out of the parliament”. Then he states that it is a “consummation devoutly to be wished by the Left”. This is where he is to some extent wrong, unless he includes much of the Liberal Party among ‘the Left’, because the moderates in the Liberal Party actually agree with Andrew Probyn who opined that Abbott has been “the most destructive politician of his generation”1. It is those moderates which cannot wait for Abbott to get the boot from his electorate. There are actually some in the non-Liberal Left who would like Abbott to retain his seat, mostly because of the damage he has done and will continue to do to the ‘Liberal brand’, as well as for the comedic aspect of his presence. Indeed, the damage that Abbott and his ilk have done to Menzies’ Liberal Party, with much help from John Howard, is enormous. This is even to the extent that people like Steggall and Phelps, who would have been a natural fit for the Liberals, or people like Yates and Banks who were members of the Liberal Party, are now running as independents2. That tells you plenty about the destructive nature of Abbott and the other hard right buffoons.
Laughably, Newman describes Abbott as believing in “fiscal responsibility, smaller government, micro-economic reform, affordable and reliable energy, coal, slower immigration, strong borders and Christian values”. These are either lies or neoliberal equine ordure. Firstly, ‘fiscal responsibility’ has led to a doubling of the national debt3. Secondly, ‘smaller government’ is a way of shovelling money to your donors, by privatising government organisations4 or paying businesses exorbitant amounts of money to undertake formerly government functions. These businesses donate to political parties; this is therefore a form of money laundering of taxpayer funds into political donations5. Thirdly, microeconomic reform is about improving economic efficiency, but in the Liberal lexicon, it is about such things as decreasing tax to the top end of town, cutting penalty rates, and suppressing wage growth6. Fourthly, affordable and reliable energy is code for coal-fired electricity. Affordable energy is something that Abbott promised when he became Prime Minister, by maintaining that all households would save $550 per annum, with the repeal of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS)7. It didn’t come close. But then again, Tony Abbott maintained Port Augusta would become a ghost town if the CPRS was introduced (it is now a sustainability centre). Fifthly, thermal coal is history. The outlook for coal in Australia is for a long slow decline in local sales and exports8. But then Tony Abbott, as well as Maurice Newman both seem to think that climate change is plot by the left to do something nefarious (what, is unclear)9. Sixthly, Abbott wants to slow immigration. This is a coded dog-whistle to the ‘base’ of racist voters that the Liberals want to reclaim from One Nation and other far right parties. Seventhly, Abbott wants strong borders. This is another dog-whistle to the far right and is a Coalition justification for locking up people in perpetuity on the islands of Manus and Nauru10. Finally, and even funnier, is Newman’s assertion that Abbott has Christian values. Abbott is one of the modern faux Christians who are mostly concerned with making the rich richer, obtaining and retaining power, and maintaining the ability to discriminate, and who seems to have jettisoned the ‘thou shalt not bear false witness’ commandment, along with the one about adultery11.
Newman uses a shotgun to denigrate all those he presumes are behind the dastardly plot to oust Abbott. These, of course, include Steggall, the ‘Green giant GetUp’ (to which I donate), “crony capitalists in the renewable energy sector” [yes, he actually said that], trade unions, and obliquely, ABC political editor Andrew Probyn. The lack of self-awareness of Newman is astonishing. He refers to crony capitalism while writing for one of the Coalition’s biggest crony capitalist media organisations.
Newman also retreats to the fact of the small contribution of Australia to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Every jurisdiction is in that position. If the US alone reduced its emissions to zero, while the rest of the world did nothing, global warming would continue. We are all in this together and everyone has to reduce their emissions eventually to somewhere near zero. He also uses the same lie that Morrison and others in the government have used, that our emissions ‘per capita’ are falling12,13. Unfortunately, it is absolute emissions which are important, not the per capita rate, but the Coalition never let the facts get in the way of their drivel. This also seems to be the methodology used by combover Newman. My old man used to say ‘never trust a bloke with a combover; they are trying to hide something. In Newman’s case, he was right.