Tony Abbott believes that his election alone - before he made a single decision in the Prime Minister’s office - would be enough to send a jolt of confidence through the national finances.

Ah, yes and once I'm PM copies of my book will also be available at a discounted rate. Photo: The Australian

Last week he promised “an instantaneous adrenaline charge in our economy” should the Coalition win on September 14. Joyful business owners would, it seems, be out on September 15 hiring more staff and making bigger investments.

Why Mr Abbott expects this immediate response has not been fully explained, because the Coalition is yet to fully explain its fiscal and spending policies. It is waiting for economic figures which it is confident haven’t been filtered by the Government. That could mean a wait until just a few weeks before the election.

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  • Christian Real says:

    06:45pm | 18/02/13

    Borderer Even Malcolm Fraser resigned from the Liberal party because he had said it had moved too far to the right. Didn’t Abbott intimidate female students at University when they beat him at the students Elections for president.? And Read more »

  • Tator says:

    06:41pm | 18/02/13

    Steve, Rudd and Gillard increased spending from 23.1% of GDP (Costello’s last budget in 07/08 to 25.2% in 08/09, 26.0 in 09/10, 24.7% in 10/11, 25.1% in 11/12 and back down to 23.5% in this current financial year. )  Howards average spend was at 24% of GDP over his 4… Read more »


Nick Minchin is spot on. Making Peter Costello chairman of the Future Fund would have been a very bad decision. If Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and the rest of the coalition’s current economic brains trust can’t see that, it is a real worry.

Cartoon: Peter Nicholson

“The fund must be and be seen to be independent, professional, completely above politics and entirely apolitical,” Minchin wrote yesterday in a letter to The Australian newspaper. Appointing a former politician—even one of the stature of Costello—as chairman would therefore be most unwise.”

He added that those members of the Fund’s board of guardians who favoured the appointment of the former Treasurer to the job were “naïve”. Minchin knows what he is talking about. As Finance Minister for the last six years of the Howard Government, he was—with Costello—the co-creator of the fund set up to make provision for unfunded Commonwealth superannuation liabilities.

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  • RonaldR says:

    12:25pm | 19/03/12

    Well all Abbott done for Costello. when he was in Government was shaft him. And Costello was to Gutless to stand up to him and Howard -if he had challenged Howard he would have been Prime minister and Abbott on back bench where he belongs instead of Prime Minister in… Read more »

  • splash says:

    11:35am | 19/03/12

    TIick tock shane, the carbon will be voted out by tthe people, you and the this so called labor party have forgotten we live in a democracy and the majorities wishes will and Must always rule.                     After all we are… Read more »


In music, “polyphony” is when a composition has more than one melody playing at the same time. This term should be adapted for the political sphere. So, all and sundry, I hereby declare the label ‘polliephony’ be applied to those times when pollies try and win both sides of the argument - in other words, when they try to walk both sides of the street.

It might take two to tango, but only one to lead. Photo: AFP.

Polliephony is unfortunately a technique that is pervasive in almost all Australian political debates. However, for purposes of “programmatic specificity”, I’ll focus on its use in the asylum seeker debate.  This is because the asylum seeker debate is ripe for the use of polliephony, as it has two distinct sides of the street to walk on: one ‘tough’ and the other ‘humane’. 

Which brings us to one of the more remarkable and indelible uses of polliephony in modern Australian politics. Kevin “Bonhoeffer” Rudd’s notorious “tough but humane” approach to border protection.

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On Tuesday, Tony Abbott implored his troops not to blow it. But some in the Coalition worry that it’s not their ill-discipline that could derail them so much as his unflinching faith in populism.

Like this race, the election lead-up is gonna be one heck of a long haul. Pic: Nathan Edwards.

Dragged to Canberra for an unwelcome interruption to his barnstorming “stop the carbon tax” tour, Abbott is solidly on track to become the country’s next prime minister. If there is an “embuggerance” to the plan, as military types say, it is that the next election is more than two full years away.

Still, his success is remarkable given how improbable it seemed when he emerged as the wild-card winner of his party’s late 2009 leadership conniptions.

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  • Joni says:

    12:18pm | 14/06/11

    I bow down hublmy in the presence of such greatness. Read more »

  • jf says:

    05:54pm | 30/05/11

    persephone says: 10:14pm | 28/05/11 “And I do love how all of you guys have become all concerned about the conditions of refugees all of a sudden. Such a touching conversion!” And I do love how you all of a sudden want an offshore solution aimed at stopping the boats.… Read more »


Julie Bishop late yesterday confirmed that there had been some throwing of crockery in the shadow cabinet room and the office of her leader Tony Abbott.

Not quite a death stare. Pic: Ray Strange

It was a comment which also confirmed that the Opposition lost the week to the Government because it could not get its leader out of the spotlight.

``It’s a shame that the Labor Party doesn’t have robust policy debates within its cabinet,’’ Bishop told Parliament.

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  • Eldo says:

    09:57am | 14/02/11

    Imagine how much more we would lose if the Born To Rule were in power. Read more »

  • Paul says:

    08:39am | 14/02/11

    Gutter journalism in the reporting of this story…I don’t think so.  You need to ask yourself the question, ‘When given the news tapes by the DoD to review the coverage, why did the Liberal Party insist on the footage of Abbott discrediting a dead soldier being cut from the “officially”… Read more »


It’s time to put an end to all this partisan negativity. At a time when people are looking to our leaders for vision, it is great to see a political party step up with a long-term vision for the nation.

Cartoon by The Australian's Jon Kudelka

I am referring of course to the Coalition’s decision to destroy the National Broadband Network and all who promote it and instead uphold Australian values by promoting a more leisurely pace of download.

While the public may be firmly behind the NBN as detailed in today’s Essential Report, I wonder how many have really thought through the implications of faster efficient broadband on their already busy and cluttered lives.

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  • National Socialist Broadband Network says:

    03:51pm | 11/10/10

    The speeds arent neither here nor there, esp over 40 years in the future. The physical infrastructure : same (be it cable, wireless, sat or other). The NBN is not a replacement for the ‘copper’ network. It is TOTALLY NEW logical design which includes aggregation and Inspection with storage of… Read more »

  • Mick says:

    10:07am | 29/09/10

    I would rather have a hospital bed and doctor available if needed than to have access to online medical advice. The majority of band width will be used for recreation not business.  Regional Australia needs access to broadband, people in dial up only areas need broadband, people in cities downloading… Read more »


While Tony Abbott managed to resurrect the Coalition from its electoral death bed, to come so close and not seal the deal leads to questions of how the Coalition ultimately failed.

Here’s five things that they stuffed up in their bid to form Government:

A cycling path too far

1. Broadband:

Tony Windsor said this was critical in his decision to back Labor. The Coalition’s decision to spike the National Broadband Network policy in its entirety is questionable, but it was compounded by Abbott’s almost wilful ignorance of the issue during the campaign.

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  • kosmiester says:

    06:22pm | 09/09/10

    I don’t understand why everyone is back slapping “Daffy Duck” Abbott. All the coalition did is sure up its conservative base since the disastrous election 2007. It won seats it had lost in the previous election and lost some it held in the last election. What is the big deal!… Read more »

  • James says:

    03:46pm | 09/09/10

    six:  Tony Abbott is Tony Abbott and therefore completely unelectable. Read more »


UPDATE 4.40pm: Barnaby Joyce has just put out his first press release as Shadow Finance Minister. You can read the full text after the jump - believe me, it’s worth it.

Tony Abbott has just announced quite an extensive reshuffle of his front bench, which, incidentally, rewarded a raft of Punch contributors including Scott Morrison, Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews with promotions.

Shadow Minister and beat poet Barnaby Joyce. Picture: Kym Smith

You can read Sam Maiden’s news report of his press conference here. (The best line related to The Punch’s own Bronwyn Bishop, who’s been appointed Shadow Minister for Seniors - as Mr Abbott said: “She will be one of them” as well as representing them.)

But the biggest move was the appointment of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce as Shadow Finance Minister. “Barnaby is an accountant from St George. He knows what it’s like to ensure the books are in order,” Mr Abbott said.

We’d thought we’d re-introduce you to some of the world according to Barnaby, as posted on The Punch, starting with this line from his debut:

What is it that differentiates the political parties? Or is philosophy now no more than a bib handed out to be worn before the political chamber game, a contrived or acquired vocal tribalism?

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  • Reality bites says:

    11:44am | 10/12/09

    “DocBud said :01:16pm | 08/12/09 Hopefully Barnaby will come and stand in Dawson and we can be rid of this clown: “ READ THIS ARTICLE LINKED BY DocBud This is very scary ... an elected member of parliament looking forward to the end of the world? How about those… Read more »

  • Honest says:

    08:50am | 10/12/09

    The one thing we can only hope for, is that he is better than Wayne Swan who is totally not a Treasurer!!! Read more »


It’s a somewhat over-worn cliche that in politics disunity is death. Malcolm Turnbull may have emerged from yesterday’s party room with a result, but there’s no denying at the moment the Federal Coalition is far from unified, and voters have started wondering if indeed it might be fatal for the political career of the Opposition Leader.

What is the public's problem with Malcolm?

Two weeks ago The Punch set out to explain exactly why Kevin Rudd was so wildly popular according opinion polls. This weekend we wanted to find out what it was that has driven the Opposition Leader’s polling figures into the mud.

And we found Mr Turnbull’s biggest problem is the perception he’s lost authority over his troops.

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  • open your eyes says:

    01:47pm | 01/02/10

    Malcolm is still too busy working for the interests of Goldman Sachs to work for the interests of Australians. Read more »

  • Anna says:

    09:49am | 27/10/09

    Debbie, your description of Kevin Rudd is spot on! Read more »


In conventional Wayne Swan fashion, he was triumphant as he unveiled Treasury’s stern rebuttal of Frontier Economics research report into an alternative emissions trading scheme.


Given the Rudd Government’s deeply flawed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the Coalition had commissioned the report in order to inform discussions about a better carbon trading scheme. But yesterday Mr Swan informed reporters that a $3.2 billion hole had been found in Frontier’s alternative by the Treasury Department.

So where is the modelling? Mr Swan has refused to release it and until he does, Treasury’s alleged rebuttal amounts to zip.

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Whether you sit on the left or right side of the political spectrum, it is important the Australian public are aware of the coalition’s current agenda. It is an agenda which puts at risk everything this country has worked hard to achieve, including financial prosperity and security. It is an agenda which is self interested and is not in the best interests of this country.

Wake up Mal: Nicholson in The Australian.

The job of any opposition is to hold the government of the day to account and to stand up to legislation it believes is not in the best interest of the Australian people.

This is a job the Labor Party did extremely well towards the end of Howard’s reign as Prime Minister. However, since that fateful day on 24 November 2007, the Coalition has done nothing to help this country or hold the government to account.

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  • alan cotterell says:

    10:39am | 16/08/09

    I CAN believe Fielding’s background is in engineering. He show all the simplistic lack of appreciation of science, so common in that profession.  If you want to know something, just ask an engineer, they’re ‘experts’ in everything despite the limitations of their education. Read more »

  • groucho says:

    06:46pm | 12/08/09

    No abuse from me, son. Critical examination of postings to hand, is all.  Difference in view is not the issue here. When a man represents 1/6th of a State,  is paid $127,000 a year (plus 30-odd thousand electoral allowance, plus travel etc etc) to do so, and holds in part… Read more »


This first piece should inspire the question about the political basics.

What is it that differentiates the political parties? Or is philosophy now no more than a bib handed out to be worn before the political chamber game, a contrived or acquired vocal tribalism?

A tribalism based on the coincidence of the party a person joined, rather than what they believe - as what they believe has either no genuine differentiation, or does not exist.

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  • Andrew Thomas says:

    01:33pm | 23/03/10

    Barnaby, I just read this article in reverse with bottom paragraph first to top paragraph. It made just as much sense? Was this an intentional “palindrome” article technique or do you just have no idea how to write things without them coming out as a series of random thoughts? Andrew Read more »

  • Ben Aveling says:

    12:37pm | 06/06/09

    Barnaby, You wrote “The Right has only political commentators to ventilate right issues. They do not have a political party like the Left has the Greens.” Could you expand on that?  In particular, could you expand on the role that you think the Liberal and the National parties respectively should… Read more »


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