Tony Abbott’s affectionate cross referencing with the “golden age” of John Howard’s prime ministership is starting to be more of an embarrassment than an advantage.

The day before yesterday's man…

So much so that the Opposition Leader, who has boasted he and 15 current colleagues were members of Howard ministries, now seems to want those days regarded simply as history.
Ancient history at that.

“But let’s face it: John Howard is two prime ministers ago. John Howard is three Liberal leaders ago. That was then, this is now. There is no going back to the past,” Mr Abbott told reporters on Monday.

Compare that to his pledge, just 10 days before, to reproduce that ancient regime: “The Howard government now looks like it created a golden age of prosperity which is lost. Our task, to which we are wholly and solely dedicated, is to recreate those great days for our country and we will.”

One minute he’s speaking of the Howard administration as if only a Homer could do it justice, the next he is patting it on the head in a patronising dismissal.

There is no doubt that aspects of the 11 years of Mr Howard’s government are warmly remembered by many voters, for the massive boost to middle class welfare, climbing house prices, the relatively calm global economy and domestic output which chugged along nicely. Plus his leadership during times of international emergency.

The man and his government were turfed out in 2007, but as decisive as that rejection was, the electorate is not totally repulsed by memories of the period which Mr Howard himself would blush at it being called a golden age.

Then again, there are still scars from the Howard years and few more visible than the political welts left by the workplace relations debate.

Tony Abbott’s task is to pick the bits of those 11 years of policy which are re-usable and ignore those which are not. It’s the sort of sifting process which makes any blanket homage to the last Coalition government look dodgy.

And Mr Abbott is not finding it easy to do, now that the Finance Review has published some frank Howard assessments delivered to a confidential briefing of Westpac executives earlier this month.

He says the economy is doing well when compared to other industrialised nations (and, while he didn’t say it, when compared to the Australia of the Howard years in terms of cash interest rates and debt to GDP at least).

This is not what Mr Abbott has been saying.

Further, Mr Howard wants a return to Work Choices and individual contracts with a no-disadvantage clause to protect workers. Mr Abbott is sprinting in the other direction to the words “work choices”.

John Howard wants an examination of putting the GST on food to help the states get more cash from the tax. Nobody is going anywhere near that one.

The tally of policy differences grows bigger when the issue of Chinese investment is canvassed (Mr Howard says bring it on, Mr Abbott and some senior colleagues are worried by it).

Mr Abbott will contest the election, expected to be held late next year, as his own man with his own policies. He will not be able to defer examination of those policies in detail for much longer.

That’s why the back references to the Howard government were once useful: They revived some of those fond memories and allowed Mr Abbott to avoid delivering his own policies by essentially telling voters, “What he said.”

Well, he can’t do that any more now Mr Howard has given his frank assessments on key matters.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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    • Bill says:

      01:30pm | 28/08/12

      The fact remains that if John Howard was still PM we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now with that socialist in charge.

    • Greymatter says:

      01:56pm | 28/08/12

      So what you are saying is that instead of having low unemployment, low interest rates and an economy the envy of the world we would have high unemployement, high interest rates and an economy like Greece.

      Nah, I rather have this minority government.

    • Economist says:

      02:08pm | 28/08/12

      Disagree. Firstly the Howard government put forward $36b in tax cuts, of which $31B was matched by the labor government. Are you saying the liberals would have changed their mind and not offered these.

      Secondly, in order to maintain economic stability they would have received the same advice from treasury as Labor in response to the GFC and that would be to spend, or offer further tax cuts etc. The nature of the spend would have potentially been different, but personally we’d still have gone into debt. Nobody would have complained because it was the Liberals to spend.  But the actions the same, would the debt mantra of it been bad have been used? No, it would have been considered economical prudent.

      Finally John Howard was a socialist, but I’d be making wild speculations to say what else they would have done. But there would have been some positives in relation to immigration policy being continued, but I do not beleive for one second that they would not have tkane action on climate change and other issues advanced by this Labor government

    • Craig of North Brisbane says:

      02:24pm | 28/08/12

      Oh no!  Not a socialist!

      (Here’s a hint mate: the only people who find that word scary are rusted on LNP supporters who won’t be voting for a woman anyway)

    • Lindsay says:

      02:34pm | 28/08/12

      @Bill So you are telling us that John Howard would have stopped the globall financial crisis?? Please tell me how as I wait in an awed silence?

      @Greymatter, love that comment.

    • maria says:

      03:05pm | 28/08/12

      and if we had a system of direct democracy a la Switzerland in which only the people are sovereign with the legal DEMOCRATIC right to repeal or modidy any laws and any section of the constitution we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now and shits wouldn’t happen everyday as it is happening under our system of political party’s absolute power.

    • Arnold Layne says:

      03:07pm | 28/08/12

      What mess is that Bill?  Who is “that socialist” and what’s wrong with socialism anyway?

    • Dash says:

      03:45pm | 28/08/12

      @Economist - The LNP disagreed with the size of the second stimulus for starters. And they were proved correct with teh RBA having to lift interest rates to slow an over heated economy. What’s that $20billion saved. The NBN waste would also not have happened. Whats that $36billion? BER rorts wouldn’t have happened, $4billion on insulation fiasco, $23million on Fuelwatch, $13million on grocery choice. Where would you like me to stop.

      Yes the expansionary fiscal policy would have happened. But no way we would be in the same state we are now in.

    • Carol says:

      03:52pm | 28/08/12

      The fact is most Australians saw Little John for what he was, it took a long time, but at last they saw the truth.
      Little John presided over a period of national stagnation. Instead of growing our economy via new and better infrastructure, he bought votes with tax cuts.
      To stand Little John beside Malcolm shows just how little he really was,
      far, far worse the Gough and little, if any better than Abbott.

    • Economist says:

      04:31pm | 28/08/12

      Dash opposition is very different to government. You’ve completely not understood my point. Think of it this way. Howard would have been on a high winning an election that looked unwinnable (2007). To maintain the momentum don’t you think he would have gone on a massive spending spree/ tax cut spree to increase the chances of the Liberals winning in 2010? I do, but sure I’m speculating, but he was happy to spend, just in different areas. And you’re probably right, we wouldn’t have had BER, possibly more cuts to education and standards falling further. We wouldn’t have the NBN in the pipeline but a service that puts us behind the rest of the world, he had plenty of fights with Telstra. We wouldn’t have had other wasteful programs, but I’m sure we’d have a regional assistance package that would rival Labor waste if history is any guide.

    • Douglas says:

      05:00pm | 28/08/12

      A week ago, Abbott said Let’s go back to the Howard golden age (sic). Now he says, That’s the past, let’s not go there.

      All spin, no substance!

    • Dash says:

      05:02pm | 28/08/12

      @Carol - I trust you gave your 5 years of LNP tax cuts back did you? You’d prefer to be still paying under the ALPs margin tax brackets?

      Stagnation? WTF? The Australian economy grew more under John Howard than any other western nation! Real wages grew significantly. Unemployment was at it’s lowest level in 29 years. The LNP government repaid $96b in ALP debt, set up the Futures Fund and introduced financial Services legislation which helped to protect the balance sheet of our banks come the GFC.

      Gough Whitlam was the worst PM this country had until this lot of nincumpoops turned up! Khemlani loans affair, hyperinflation, double digit unemployment, Al Grazby, Rex Connor and his briefcase full of bank notes, Step into my office Jim Cairns.

      Bloody hell Carol, what is going on with you today?

    • mikem says:

      05:23pm | 28/08/12

      Get real Bill.  The 2007 loss was the worst ever for the Liberals and John Howard lost his seat to a political lightweight because he was so on the nose.  All attitudes like yours show is how out of contact the Liberals still are with reality and they are kidding themselves if they think they can get away with the current policy deceit all the way through to the next election.  The swinging voters aren’t quite that gullible

    • Carol says:

      05:29pm | 28/08/12

      In answer to your question. No, I did not give the tax cuts back. However. I’d have much prefered the money went into infrastructure this country so badly needs.

      As to the national debt; Howard paid it off by selling the people’s assets. Worse, he then had to rent many of the back!

      Get a grip Dash, you are almost politically blind.

    • andye says:

      05:32pm | 28/08/12

      @Dash - “The Australian economy grew more under John Howard than any other western nation! “

      BZZZZT! Sorry, Dash. You have revoked your right to compare performance against the world unless you admit we are going pretty well at the moment.

    • Douglas says:

      05:40pm | 28/08/12

      Howard was a “fair weather” economic manager.

      His time as PM coincided with the most spectacular burst of global growth ever seen.

      Coupled in the latter years with the biggest domestic resources boom in a generation.

      Only to be expected that those phenomenal conditions were reflected on the domestic economy. Not really much to do with Howard, though. He was simply in the right place at the right time. His government was the biggest-taxing in Australia’s history.

      While Howard was treasurer (1975-1983) the global economy was in a much worse shape. He presided over Australia’s worst recession since the Great Depression. Stagflation, and debt and deficit that climbed year after year.

      Facts about the Howard legacy that many Liberals prefer to ‘forget’.

    • Babylon says:

      05:41pm | 28/08/12

      wouldn’t it be nice to have a Liberal Government in charge that didn’t have to spend it’s tenure cleaning up after a Labor governments reckless spending spree?

      It’s so unfair to have to be the ones to bring in economic sanity all the time.

    • Little Joe says:

      06:12pm | 28/08/12

      @ Economist

      No ...... the Howard Government wouldn’t and couldn’t have gone on a massive spending spree. There as no need to ..... we had very low unemployment and very low underemployment. Remember, Labor just ran with his budget for the next 7-months ..... and Rudd went on his media tart show.

      He also wouldn’t have torn down the pacific solution!!!

      At the start of the GFC he probably would have built infrastructure ..... not stupid school halls.

    • Carol says:

      07:09pm | 28/08/12

      Please tell, when was the last time we had a “Liberal government”?
      As to your claimed “Labor spending spree”, this is only due to coalition governments doing little or nothing in the way of national advancement. We could all save money if we stood still like the coalition.

    • Bailey says:

      01:34pm | 28/08/12

      It’s all coming unraveled for Mr.Abbott.

      Do I hear the sounds of knives being sharpened in the party-room?

      Abbott got them back in the game, now it’s time to put someone with more than NO and one-trick into the leadership position and return the party to the centre.

    • Carz says:

      02:01pm | 28/08/12

      Funnily enough if the Libs moved to the centre they would be more left leaning than the ALP, which can only be a good thing.

    • maria says:

      03:08pm | 28/08/12

      Do I hear the sounds of knives being sharpened in the party-room?

      Do I hear the sounds of knives being sharpened in the MAFIACRACY-room is the right sentence?

    • Dash says:

      03:46pm | 28/08/12

      @Bailey - they only have a 10 point lead on two party preferred! Yeah it’s all coming unraveled. LMFHO!

    • Bailey says:

      04:41pm | 28/08/12

      Nielsen Poll - two-party preferred figures give the Coalition a lead of 54-46.

      I thought you were an accountant.
      Why are conservatives so bad with numbers?

    • Dash says:

      05:08pm | 28/08/12

      Wow it’s down to 8 points now! Gee things are look up for the ALP/Green leftie coalition.

      Nah, it’s actuaries that can make 1+1 equal 4. Us mere accountants just round our numbers. (e.g.  8 to 10).

      Conservatives are bad with numbers?? LOL. I tell you what, when Swan manages to balance a budget, let alone generate a surplus, look me up. Your self proclaimed “progressive left” only got the budget wrong by $22billion last year. Record defecits and debt. ha ha ha ha.

    • Babylon says:

      05:58pm | 28/08/12

      G’day Bailey!

      I thought you’d be enjoying the fruits of the bail out package that saved your job in whyalla from the carbon tax?

      Where would Whyalla be without all that carbon tax money to keep it’s industries afloat eh?

      It’s just a pity we Aussie mugs believed that the carbon tax monies was for investment in Renewable energies, rather than vote buying stints and industry rescues.

      The Gillard Government makes fools of us all I guess

    • Onlooker says:

      01:52pm | 28/08/12

      I remember the work choices protests very clearly, I marched in them with my husband, Everybody in those marches, lost wages by going there and all felt strongly about the issue. Would I trust Abbott after listening to Howard?!!
      None of us can afford to lose time off work again, so why give him an opportunity

    • Bill says:

      02:06pm | 28/08/12

      So what if you lost wages? You chose to leave your workplace so you deserve to have your pay docked.

      No sympathy here.

    • WEENY says:

      02:12pm | 28/08/12

      The reason you can’t afford time off work anymore is because all state charges - electricity etc etc are going up.  WHY? because of labor governments.  Govt debt is through the roof which you will have to stay at work to pay.

    • Zaan says:

      02:28pm | 28/08/12

      Onlooker, keep up the good work, unions rely on little sheeple like you and your husband. Believe any crap they feed you. Look what is happening in Melbourne, then you lot scream when firms relocate overseas.
      I bet your union reps didn’t lose any wages.

    • Steve says:

      02:31pm | 28/08/12

      But you can afford to lose $200 billion in lost investment in projects like Olympic Dam under the unions ??
      How many years is it going to take to pay off Labors billions in debt ?
      No business = No work = No Wages

    • Esteban says:

      02:38pm | 28/08/12

      You posted that under workchoices you were able to afford to take time off to protest.

      Now, without workchoices, you could not afford to protest if called upon.

      You do realise that means you were better off under workchoices don’t you?

    • Gordon Bennet says:

      02:41pm | 28/08/12

      @Weeny, Ah yes I miss those perfect times under Howard when rates weren’t going up… ever… and everything was completely perfect… always… Here is some news, rates have always been going up, are going up and will always be going up, thus our wages rise and thus the cycle continues. Government debt (still the best in the western world mind you) and rates have no correlation at all so, no, that is not why, the real reason is the GFC so come back when you are less biased and can see the truth.

    • Mear says:

      02:42pm | 28/08/12

      The real reason why people can’t afford time off work any more (two words, by the way), is because most people lack the capacity to rein in their appetites, to eliminate unnecessary expenditure from their lives.

    • Mickey T says:

      02:48pm | 28/08/12

      WEENY says - “electricity etc etc are going up.  WHY? because of labor governments”

      Yeah, those power hungry greedy government bastards…it’s got nothing to do with our own greedy increased power consumption…has it WEENY?

    • Dash says:

      03:51pm | 28/08/12

      Did you march in the Cavalcade to Canberra too? Damage public property? Loot some shops? Put some security personnel in hospital whilst Greg Combet cheered you on?
      John Howard presided over the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years!

    • Nick says:

      04:51pm | 28/08/12 you actually know where your union fees go???

    • Douglas says:

      05:08pm | 28/08/12

      John Howard as treasurer presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Liberals are the only party in history to bring Australia the ‘Trifecta of Misery’:

      double-digit unemployment
      double-digit interest rates
      and double-digit inflation

      ...all at the same time.

      The Liberals are the only party to have brought Australia ‘Stagflation’: the combination of recession and high inflation.

      Under Treasurer Howard debt and deficit climbed year after year.

    • Dash says:

      05:24pm | 28/08/12

      @ Douglas - The Keating government brought us the highest unemployment rate since the great depression and lost our AAA credit rating! And from a party that holds itself up as being for the workers!- tut tut tut

      btw - I think the record debt and defecit might currently be held by the current crop of ALP morons!

      @Nick - perhaps she should ask the local hookers?

    • Mickey T says:

      05:58pm | 28/08/12

      Dash - But no Labor government has ever brought us the ‘Trifecta of Misery’

      double-digit unemployment
      double-digit interest rates
      and double-digit inflation

      Basic economics tells us that this trifecta should be impossible to achieve…but the lying little rodent achieved it…congratulations John Howard.

      Come back to us when the ALP have achieved such figures, meanwhile our economy is humming along very nicely.

    • Babylon says:

      06:10pm | 28/08/12


      Why don’t you tune into what the Gillard Government is doing to the Australian worker.

      - We are known as the Part Time Nation of the world, full time jobs becoming part time for affordability.
      - You must have noticed in the newspapers that in the past 9 months we’ve shed thousands of jobs.
      - The Government is happily giving out 457 visas to cheaper overseas workers to enjoy the benefits of our mining boom.
      Meanwhile, the Australian workers job is threatened by a carbon tax.
      - We have unprecedented migration, the economic benefit of which is to drive down wages. Unfortunately for established Australians with mortgaged and families, things are tight.
      - This Government is borrowing $100 Million per day, making our dollar artificially high, just to fuel their reckless spending.
      - The Mining boom is on the wane now, thanks to the Carbon and MRRT taxes, how will your kids pay back the $300 Billion without the inheritance of the mining boom?

    • Greg in chengdu says:

      07:41pm | 28/08/12

      The way things are going with Labor your right you won’t need to take a day of to protest because you probably won’t have a job. The Liberals are not stupid they know that they only lost the last election because of workchoices. They will not bring it back. Individual eployent agreements is not the whole work choices package just one thing and it was the only good thing about the stupid package. But to say that the liberals are going to bring it back just because they are talking about individual bargaining is ridiculous

    • Steve says:

      01:58pm | 28/08/12

      Yeah Mal it was terrible under John Howard, growing economy, stable laws, no class hate rants, no race hate riots on Australia day, billions of dollars in the bank, safe border control + a free and open press that wasnt afraid of the political commissars. Yeah, it is sooooo much better today under the Union / Labor regime.

    • Muggles says:

      02:23pm | 28/08/12

      Steve, apparently there is “fondness” now for the Howard years.

      I’m not sure Mal wrote about Howard with any fondness, and he certainly hasn’t done so for Abbott, but it’s nice to know that things can change over the years.

      Such is the state of journalism/blogging these days.

    • spell checks before posting to the Punch says:

      02:32pm | 28/08/12

      Steve, if you are going to have a rant then try using some facts and contextual data.

      Firstly the race riots on Australia Day – are you referring to the Cronulla riots? If so that occurred on December 11 2005. Howard Government was in power I believe. Didn’t he also quietly stand by while Pauline Hanson denigrated Asians and immigrants in general?

      Growing economy. Did the Howard era face the global economic down turn of 2008? Or are you actually laying blame for a global economic crisis on the Australian Labor Party?

      A free and open press? This is a News Limited website you do realise? They are not impartial to giving Labor a kick in the teeth when warranted.

      Safe border control. Name one person or boat that has slipped onto the mainland undetected. Go on, name one. Yes boats keep arriving, and boats keep getting intercepted, but Australia has not opened its borders as you imply.

      Stable laws? What laws are you referring to which by definition are now unstable?

      Instead of spewing forth absolute dribble, how about submitting something constructive. Abbott is yet to give a clear statement on what the Liberal agenda will be come 2013. It is time we learnt what he stands for, instead of what he is against.

    • Limited News says:

      02:33pm | 28/08/12

      glad you agree Steve.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      02:33pm | 28/08/12

      @Steve, Howard seems to think the ALP has done well, or is he an ALP sycophant?

    • Hugh Bris says:

      03:05pm | 28/08/12

      No hate rants Steve? I seem to recall at least 2 elections won on boat people hatred!  Billions of dollars in the bank Steve?  Surely you recall that every year Howard was in gov. were boom years right round the world!  What has happened since?  Well we all know the answer to that..  Free and open press HAHA!!

    • Rickster says:

      03:14pm | 28/08/12

      You forgot to mention the war…...............ssssshhhh I told you not to mention the war! I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.

    • steve says:

      03:19pm | 28/08/12

      Sneering Spell checker:

      The Race Hate riots were started this year by a union official whipping up race hatred that resulted in the Gillard being dragged to her car by security.

      Growing Economy, last time I looked we are part of Asia and their economies are going from strength to strength, growth rates or 5, 6, 7, 8% pa. Its only dodgy Swann and his cheer squad who continually try and compare us to other failed socialist economies in Europe. If Australia was compared to China or Singapore we are looking very sick indeed.

      If you think the media isnt scared of Labor you must also believe that the unions are corruption free and that there is only “one bad apple” in the HSU, AWU, CMFEU, MUA etc etc

      Safe Border control. Can you or any Labor stooge, give a personal guarantee that all the asylum seekers that are flooding in, are who they say they are? Give me a guarantee that 100% of them don’t have any criminal records and that YOU will pay compensation to victims of criminal activity carried out by people who arrived with no identity documents.

      Stable Laws, “there will be no Carbon Tax under any government I lead” blah, blah, blah.
      Immigration laws, yes / no / maybe ?

      I notice you didn’t mention the Class Hate rants and Billions of dollars of debt.

      Typical sneering leftie.

    • Richard says:

      03:53pm | 28/08/12

      The GFC was/is primarily a US/European phenomenon precipitated by excessive levels of sovereign debt, which is why Howard and Costello’s achievement in paying off Australia’s sovereign debt, unparalleled in the annals of modern western history, is such an astounding success which insulated Australia from the worst of the GFC.

      Only Liberal governments have the courage to be fiscally prudent…look how much flak Campbell Newman is copping for trying to do the responsible thing! Without Howard and Costello, there is no doubt that we would be much worse off as a nation than we are today, Labor’s bungling notwithstanding.

    • Chris L says:

      04:23pm | 28/08/12

      How many people injured in this years “riot” Steve? Anywhere near the injuries during the Cronulla riot?

      Asia gets credit for our growing economy, but previously it as all Howard? No bias there?

      Media scared of Labor? Got any evidence? How do you learn of all these terrible things Labor has done? Secret resistance movement perhaps?

      Can you guarantee the asylum seekers during any time were 100% legitimate? I suspect that might be why they get processed instead of released directly into the populace. Just a guess.

      No laws changed under Howard? Would that be a good or a bad thing if it were true anyway?

      Hate it when people use a sneering tone? Does that mean you hate your first post on this thread?

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      05:34pm | 28/08/12

      @Richard- umm no. Individual countries’ experinces with sovereign debt varied. Spain and Ireland- Rampant property speculation (private debt) turned into public debt by bank bailouts. Until the GFC, Spanish government debt was generally within the Eurozone target of GDP. United States- the same thing private debt accumulated by investment banks holding CDOs and Credit Default Swaps turned into public debt by bailout. Ok, the huge tax cuts and defence expenditure by the Bush Administration didn’t help public finances. Australia’s success in surviving the GFC is due more to the fact that Australia didn’t have to bail out any private financial institutions than anything John Howard did.

    • Babylon says:

      05:53pm | 28/08/12


      We didn’t have Amnesty International joining aboriginal leaders condemning the Gillard Governments polices in the Northern Territory as ‘Ethnic cleansing’. With Amnesty leaders making comparisons to the dark days of South Africa.

      Human rights groups have challenged the Gillard Government to put it’s new and improved Intervention to the Human Rights test. Of course they refused.

      Even though the Gillard Governments proposal for Malaysian Concentration camps was condemned by the High court of Australia for being illegal and inhumane, it was all the Government would offer on a stand off with the opposition and human rights groups. Even after people died.

      I don’t think in the history of Australia has a Mob been manipulated by the PM’s office to target an Opposition Leader. Definitely one of the low points of this Government.

    • Richard says:

      07:50pm | 28/08/12

      @Shane from Melbourne~ yes, on the surface, but your thinking is simplistic. I would defeat you in chess because I grasp abstractions two and three layers of complexity deep. Because you must ask, why was there such excessive property speculation in those countries? It was because interest rates were too low, which provided artificial incentive to speculators. Why were interest rates too low? Because central banks fixed them too low. Why did central banks keep interest rates too low? Because governments had too much sovereign debt, and if interest rates were allowed to rise to an appropriate level, too much public money would have to been needed to service the excessive debt.

      So, the thing is, the GFC isn’t over, in fact its just gotten worse. We’re at the point now where even ZIRP can’t keep governments solvent, and rampant money printing (quantitative easing) is the last best hope for the economy, which is ironic to me because I remember Pauline Hanson being portrayed (correctly) as a moron for proposing money printing in the late 90’s.

      But thankfully, starting in the late 90’s instead of doing quantitative easing like Pauline Hanson wanted to do, our government started paying back our sovereign debt, and they managed pay back all sovereign debt, a feat unmatched by any other government in the developed economies. So, when we ask why Australia survived the GFC comparitively well (so far), its the answer more likely to be, a) because Labor did their stimulus package (which every other country in there world did as well), or b) because we had paid off all our sovereign debt (which no other country in the world had done)?

    • nihonin says:

      02:11pm | 28/08/12

      Ooooooooo…...........workchoices…..........workers divided shall be united.  Come on all youse Unions people let’s call it again…......workers divided shall never be united.  Lets not let the unions become irrelevant, think of the hacks who’ll have to (god forbid) get real jobs.

    • DJ says:

      03:48pm | 28/08/12

      you claim to not support either party day in day out yet all you ever reply with is rubbish like this - disagreement is fine but try saying something sensible. Do you enjoy your 40 hour week, sick leave, paid annual leave, public holidays, workplace health and safety laws that the corporation fairy gave to you?

      Try and add something to this blog rather than drivel

    • Dash says:

      03:55pm | 28/08/12

      The Unions represent less than 15% of the workforce and less than single digits in terms of the PAYG taxes paid by their members. Yet they direct the ALP Government. What complete bullshit!

      What about government for and on behalf of the 85% of workers not in unions!

      Down with these socialist corrupt unions!

    • pa_kelvin says:

      04:09pm | 28/08/12

      @nihonin…....Sarcasm….......Love it . smile

    • Rickster says:

      04:11pm | 28/08/12

      @Dash yes your right but 100% of workers enjoy the conditions that unions fought for and won or we could go back to sending children down the mines, they’re smaller so you don’t need as big a whole.

    • Dash says:

      04:34pm | 28/08/12

      @Rickster - The achievements for the coal mines and shearing sheds of the 1930s do not make unions relevant today! The point I make, is that the union movement represents less than 15% of our workforce, yet the ALP is stacked with union hacks and ex union bosses. The party is funded by the unions and formulates policy for the unions.

      The other 85% of workers vote and pay most of the tax! That’s part of the reason the ALP only has 30% of the primary. They are out of touch and governing for and by the minority.

      There is a stench around union curruption and fraud which translates into a stench around the Labor party.

    • Dot says:

      05:58pm | 28/08/12

      There is a stench around business / financial services corruption and fraud (GFC) which translates into a stench around the Liberal party.
      fixed that for you.

    • nihonin says:

      06:27pm | 28/08/12

      DJ, I use to be a member of the CFMEU and have previously voted Labor (not in quite a while though), Paul Keating was PM the last time I voted for them, so what’s that tell you about my opinion of this current Labor government.  Why should I comment, when obviously the truth via sarcasm seems to prick the right people.

    • year of the dragon says:

      06:49pm | 28/08/12

      Dot says:05:58pm | 28/08/12

      “There is a stench around business / financial services corruption and fraud (GFC) which translates into a stench around the Liberal party.
      fixed that for you.”

      Not really. What you are missing is evidence.

      Not evidence that private individuals committ fraud because that is not really a new thing.

      Evidence that is systemic. Evidence that there was any link what-so-ever between the corrupt entity and the Liberal Party.

      I don’t expect to receive a reply as it seems that the ALP’s new modus operandi is guerilla slander. Slime and run. Smear and duck.

      How’d that work out for Anna Bligh?

    • Muggles says:

      02:20pm | 28/08/12

      Another Mal piece attacking Abbott and the Coalition.

      What are the odds?

    • tez says:

      03:27pm | 28/08/12

      Why is stating the bloody obvious on a subject attacking anybody this site needs somebody to balance it occasionally.

    • I hate pies says:

      04:47pm | 28/08/12

      Yes tez, it’s just unfortunate that that person continues with the same old AbbottAbbottAbbott rant, day in, day out. Given that the Labor party are in goverment it’d be nice if he did his job as a political reporter and did some analysis on the government for once, rather than cheerleading.

    • Borderer says:

      02:30pm | 28/08/12

      The man and his government were turfed out in 2007, but as decisive as that rejection was, the electorate is not totally repulsed by memories of the period which Mr Howard himself would blush at it being called a golden age.

      So Howard is no longer in government, thanks for updating everyone below the age of 5 or who have been in a coma.

      Further, Mr Howard wants a return to Work Choices and individual contracts with a no-disadvantage clause to protect workers. Mr Abbott is sprinting in the other direction to the words “work choices”.

      I could have sworn you said he wasn’t in power…

      John Howard wants an examination of putting the GST on food to help the states get more cash from the tax. Nobody is going anywhere near that one.

      Is he making a comeback?

      Oh, I get it, an ex prime minister has an opinion that is contrary to the opinion of the party’s current leader therefore they are unsettled. Must be nice being a labor fanboy, agreeing with Julia all the time….. whatever she said… whatever it was, I’m sure she’s right….

    • JoniM says:

      03:52pm | 28/08/12

      I’m sure Hawke or Keating would have never had an opinion in variance with a current ALP Party leader ?
      Seems Howard is much more influential over a current party leader ?

    • cynic says:

      02:40pm | 28/08/12

      Note to malcolm & unions, AWAs were introduced in 1997 and passsed 3 elections. Saying they were part of workchoices is a direct “misrepresentation of the truth”. What workchoices did was water down the AWA safety net. Arguably, part of the rejection was not AWAs but the reduction of the safety net. That means howard was right and as for the turf out, only 7,000 votes in the 2007 saw the change in government. As for embarrasment, craig thompson, pink batts, BER, boat people, fuel watch, grocery watch and more. Really, mal get a grip or more to the point let go.

    • Rickster says:

      05:03pm | 28/08/12

      @cinic…I’m not being cincical but were the 7000 votes all in Howards electoarte?

    • M says:

      02:43pm | 28/08/12

      Johhn Howard was a SAINT. You lot have no idea how good everythink would have bean if we had kept John. I miss him. A lot.

    • Rickster says:

      03:23pm | 28/08/12

      Hate to be a spelling nazi but….......I thought the site had gone a bit quiet on th LNP supporters side, what with Dr. No stuffing up so badly, everythink has bean very quiet indeed or are you just taking the piss M ?

    • M says:

      03:33pm | 28/08/12

      OK, BEEN, OK? Jeez, can’t anyone write in a hurry? Doesnt lessen the fact that John Howard was the greatest leader this country has ever seen.

    • Andy of Sydney says:

      03:34pm | 28/08/12

      Or maybe they’ve smartened up and just learned to ignore the alp toady Farr’s, BS articles of pure, unadulterated spin. This is the guy who will turn everything into an AbbottAbbottAbbott, even when gillard was being fried by McLellan. Anyone who takes that kind of a one-eyed twat seriously needs to have his head examined.

    • Dash says:

      03:59pm | 28/08/12

      @M - By your own admission, you are a youngin! If you are under 25, you have never seen a balanced ALP budget in your life time! Remember that the next time you go to vote.

    • Rickster says:

      04:07pm | 28/08/12

      @M you forgot everythinG you learned in school and John has one h.and you also forgot that Jack boot Johnny had the worst election defeat in history, Keating was right he was a coarps swinging in the wind and nobody int the LNP had the guts to cut him down

    • Mark says:

      04:07pm | 28/08/12


    • M says:

      04:35pm | 28/08/12

      Rickster, you havent got a clue. Howard had more guts than costello and the rest. He was kniffed in the back!

    • Dash says:

      04:53pm | 28/08/12

      @Rickster, what are you smoking? I think you’ll find that the election result suffered by Whitlam in December 1975 (yes there was a federal election) was way way worse than the defeat for the LNP in 2007!

      Perhaps give up on rewritting history?

      And LMFHO, the corpse swung in the breeze for 11 years! The second longest serving PM in our history. Not bad for a corpse. And the dead man swinging paid off the ALP undertakers $96b in debt!

      If you support the ALP it serves to have a very short memory!

    • Rickster says:

      04:57pm | 28/08/12

      @M the cluless one….....he was stabbed fair in the chest by his own blue ribbon electorate and I wish he was a saint because at least they don’t hang around like a turd that won’t flush.

    • M says:

      05:22pm | 28/08/12


      t least they don’t hang around like a turd that won’t flush.

      Like gillard you mean?

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      05:39pm | 28/08/12

      John Howard was socialist scum who redistributed wealth from singles and childless couples to middle class families via the welfare system. Deserves to go to the other place (the one with flames).

    • Rickster says:

      06:29pm | 28/08/12

      @M ooooooo you cut me deep…takes one to know one…..and so on.

    • Rickster says:

      06:48pm | 28/08/12

      @Dash shit man I wish I had something to smoke ......had a look at the news lately…. it seems that old Goth should have been told before he was sacked ....anyway I was refering to John alias Jack alias Jacky was the first primister to loose by such a margin in his own electotrate…good try though….keep up the good work

    • Joan says:

      02:56pm | 28/08/12

      What really counts today is Gillard policies unravelling one by one the latest the unravelling of Combet Carbon Tax as he is set to cut his Carbon Tax as he admits it will cripple Australia

    • Aaron says:

      03:37pm | 28/08/12

      comprehension is certainly not your strong point Joan.

      but you are quite good at putting words in other peoples mouths and it is appropriate that you should admit it as you have.

    • A Concerned Citizen says:

      03:12pm | 28/08/12

      All Tony Abbot is REALLY telling us is how far the Liberal Party has fallen now that its more credible members have retired and we are now stuck with him, Hockey and occasionally Turnbull dragging the party down.

      Then again, the fact he managed to be health minister despite being the least qualified Australian to do it does lower the Liberal Party’s profile in my eyes.

      And I’m saying this as someone who actually would prefer the 2000s Liberal Party.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      04:17pm | 28/08/12

      As opposed to our current, least qualified Treasurer

    • Douglas says:

      05:24pm | 28/08/12

      The Treasurer Wayne Swan has been named International Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney.

      He presides over the fastest-growing developed economy on earth, with among the lowest unemployment and debt per-GDP. Under treasurer Swan Australia was the world’s only advanced economy to avoid recession during the Global Financial Crisis, the worst global downturn in 75 years.

      Swan is the second Labor treasurer to receive the prestigious award.

      No Liberal treasurer has ever been awarded.

    • Dash says:

      05:39pm | 28/08/12

      @Douglas - shame he cant balance a budget let alone deliver 9 surpluses! IF you are under 25, you’ve never seen an ALP balanced budget - lol give the man a medal!

    • ted says:

      03:27pm | 28/08/12

      Malcolm keep going mate…...the Howard era was one of the greatest in the history of this country. If I was you I would be talking about Ben Chifley if you would like to help your mates…..although Ben would probably vote for the Coalition these days.

    • Ian1 says:

      03:42pm | 28/08/12

      No more so than Keating or Rudd’s legacies are a hindrance for Shorten.  I mean Gillard.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      03:59pm | 28/08/12

      So what your saying Mal, is that Tony has respect for Howard, is proud if the work he did under Howard, yet as a leader now himself has differing opinions on some matters. And this is a story how? Somehow this is turned into another stab at Tony? I dont get it…

    • DJ says:

      04:02pm | 28/08/12

      The problem for the Libs is they have not rejuvenated the front bench - there is some talent there but they continue to look into the rear view mirror rather than pointing out a future vision.

      Direct Action - because they had to
      Maternity - Because Abbott had a thought bubble
      Border Protection - back to the future (required) but no nuance or re assessment of position

      Where is the new vision and ideas, I haven’t heard one yet?

      Yes they are popular and may win the next election but for what purpose? I think this is why Mr Abbott continues to show poorly in the polls.

    • Rickster says:

      06:41pm | 28/08/12

      I’ll say they havn’t rejuvinated the front bench…..have you seen them latley…I didn’t know that cryogenic’s actually worked.

    • Dash says:

      04:03pm | 28/08/12

      I expect to hear more of this screaming about Workchoices from these ALP fanboys in crisis mode! Last two elections, the ALP just made shit up for votes. Wow, they’re starting early this time!

      Howard presided over the lowest unemployment rate in 29 years and paid off $96billion in ALP debt. What an evil man he was. LMFHO there are some idiots with short memories and they all seem to vote ALP.

    • DJ says:

      04:46pm | 28/08/12

      Debt was paid of by selling assets Dash - this govt. is lower taxing than Howard was despite the CT and MT. Workchoices up to 2004 was ok, post 2004 is when they went to far which is what they have admitted. Flexibility worked for the employer and the highly skilled in demand worker - in a strong economy going after the lowest paid workers was poor judgement.

      Howard never practiced what he preached though - the APS never could get individual agreements at the lower levels - the reality of having to negotiate thousands of agreements is just not plausible.

    • Dash says:

      05:33pm | 28/08/12

      @DJ - Workchoices wasn’t even in place in 2004!!!! OMG. The workchoices legislation only came into being in 2006. It’s this lack of understanding that the ALP are playing on.

      Howard made the comment that IR laws should return to what we had in place prior to 2005. That’s why this whole argument is just an ALP beatup! Howard did not say the LNP should go back to Workchoices at all.

      And in terms of tax take, you have no figures on the carbon or mining tax yet to back up what you’ve just written. You’ve excluded the flood levy. And you are including GST receipts which went 100% to the state governments. Plus, you are taking account of the Me too’d tax cuts which were LNP cuts! Lies damn lies and statistics.

      btw - what’s the ALPs plan to pay off their debt DJ? Any idea? because to my knowledge, they don’t have a plan!

    • Little Joe says:

      06:25pm | 28/08/12

      @ DJ


      Assets were sold to pay off LABOR’S DEBT!!! But nowhere near all the debt was paid off by the sale of assets. Remember that!!!

      Also Keating and Hawke started selling off assets 10 years earlier .... QANTAS, Commonwealth Bank ...... while running up a $96B Debt.

    • Stan says:

      04:25pm | 28/08/12

      The liberal in full swing showing their true face.
      ‘Leigh can be a real cow sometimes’
      Liberal strategist Grahame Morris apologises for calling Leigh Sales a cow on ABC radio Tuesday morning.
      Mr Abbott told reporters in Rockhampton: “Politicians should be treated with respect, journalists should be treated with respect.

      What about the people Mr Abbott in our so-called democracy….irrelevant as usual.

      Can anyone tell me why Honest John lost its own seat ?

    • Dash says:

      04:46pm | 28/08/12

      @Stan, you are right, we have a government by the minority for the minority in this so-called democracy.

      We have an ALP run, funded, corrupted and directed by a union movement that only represents less than 15% of the working population!

      What about the othr 85% of workers? Those paying the majority of tax revenue?........irrelevant as usual under Gillards Socialist Republic of Australia.

      Can anyone tell me why Howard (our second longest serving PM), served as PM for 11 years yet Rudd couldn’t even last one term??? And Gillard has become the unelected PM twice!

      Hey….need a union slush fund? I know just the person to set it up for you.

    • Mr. Mustela says:

      05:38pm | 28/08/12

      Gee dash
      You certainly are angry today.
      Is it because you got caught out lying about your salary?

      It’s OK dash I’m sure you can find a way to wriggle yourself out of your lie.
      How about another national party list about the Rudd government as you don’t appear to have much of list about the minority government we have.
      Go ahead dash post another list, that usually cheers you up.

    • Redrover says:

      05:45pm | 28/08/12

      John Howard lost his seat because the demographic of the seat changed and Labor courted and won the Korean vote.

      In regard to looking back on Tony Abbot’s part, the Labor Government won the last election on the back of Work Choices and have not stopped raising it since they have been in Government.
      They talk about Tony Abbott’s scare campaign on the carbon tax. The constant reference to Work Choices by Gillard & Swan is a scare campaign that won them the last election and they are pushing it to win them the next.
      I find Swan repulsive and hearing him utter “work choices"over and over again shows that he is trying to “scare” people. What hyporcrites these Labor politicians are.

    • Rickster says:

      07:03pm | 28/08/12

      Red Rover ....please….. you mean like saying carbon tax everyday for 2 years get real work choices work choices work choice and so on and so on

    • Nick says:

      05:01pm | 28/08/12

      Workchoices was a Union beat up.They will try it on again but most Australians have realized that nothing much has changed except that the Union have more power .1.8 million pay $400 a year to a Union.I wonder how much of that 720millon dollars makes their way into slush funds?
      Unions are for thugs and idiots..

    • Steve says:

      07:59pm | 28/08/12

      Best post of the day

    • the moor says:

      05:02pm | 28/08/12

      Increasingly it looks as if Liberals have not learnt from the experience of being voted out in 2007.  Five years on from that electoral disaster and they still don’t know what their policies for the new economic and social reality should be.  It would now seem that the initial enthusiasm for policy renewal has been replaced by a longing to return to the policies of the past.  That is because the hard liners that delivered that defeat have wheedled their way back into control of the Party.  God help us.

    • I hate pies says:

      06:26pm | 28/08/12

      Not at all. It’s because we are now incapable of having a mature debate about IR policy; the reason being that every time it’s mentioned Labor scream “Workchoices”
      Only today the workplace minister was screaming workchoices at the first mention of John Howard, even though Tony Abbott has categorically stated that he wont bring it back.
      Speaking of policies of the past - did you see the CFMEU’s form in Melbourne today? Or is that different, because they’re on your team?

    • James O says:

      06:19pm | 28/08/12

      It could be my imagination but an impression is forming that the excited media are sniffing a faint scent of blood in the air, Labor are pulling themselves up by their fingernails from the precipice of obivion and starting to rally their doubting true believers to the cause in their hour of greatest need. What does it all mean,well not a lot at the moment, it;s unlikely that the mood that have held sway during the last two years will miraculously change for the better, Gillard’s leadership dilemma will remain a issue during the coming election, her only saving grace will be a return of voters from the Greens, which is now possible with Bob Brown gone, and then theres the damage caused by the poorly thought out goverment job cutting of Newman’s LNP in QLD. Tony Abbott would not be comfortable with either prospect especially Campbell Newman, he cannot afford to put himself offside with the QLD LNP because like him or not Newman is his own man and will cause problems for Abbott if his federal colleagues start pushing their weight around to try to give some guidance to Newman’s tactical inexperience as leader. In comparison, John Howard’s elder statesman commentary will only stir the mud slung at the LNP when he was PM, Abbott should have known better than to try to associate his leadership with choice interpretations of the glories of the past, all along it is his own exclusive vision of leadership that matters, not Howard’s. It probably reveals the house that Tony lives in that the nostalgic Howard era policy is still hung lke a medal for all to see, Mr. Abbott has had to work hard to consolidate the confidence of his party and having John Howard as a guardian was useful at the start but now it is his election to win and lose as the potential future leader of the country. If the Campbell Newman experience is anything to go by the voting public will be suspicious of the reality of vague or brash promises, history has shown that voters are more likely to accept the half truths and potential lies of Labor than the LNP, a country in debt is less of a worry than losing jobs and an established lifestyle.

    • Ron-e says:

      06:33pm | 28/08/12

      Tony Abbotts on the way out - whoa whoa! Best news Australia ever had.

    • Cyrille says:

      07:12pm | 28/08/12

      Julia famous sentence ” there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”.

      Tony will tell us ” there will ne no workchoices under the government I lead”.

      I hope that you know that under our system once you have voted you have signed a blank cheque to the mob .
      Do you remember Honest Howard’s famous sentence
      “we decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.” or
      “we decide how to run the country and the circumstances how to run it”

      Only a direct democracy will stop “shit happens” anything else is worseless under our one way system of preferences to the political parties.


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