Abbott Blusters Over Double Dissolution Threat

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pic by Jes

TONY Abbott has gone on the front foot to head off talk of threats to block supply in the Senate, warning he’ll risk an election over the federal budget if they get in his way.

Over-reaching disastrously, he has surpassed his mentor John Howard’s abandonment of ‘core promises’, and ignored the lesson of Howards catastrophic introduction of WorkChoices. Taking a massive gamble, he has unleashed draconian measures he never put before the people at the last election, and dared anyone to oppose him.

Despite winning the support of less than half of eligible voters, Abbott is spoiling for a punch-up in defence of his ideological love-children. A halfway sensible politician, knowing his grip on power to be tenuous, might be expected to spend his first term shoring up the voters he already has and wooing those he has yet to convince. Instead he’s calling on his opponents to square off in a brawl over  “who runs the country”.

Well, at the end of the day Mr Abbott, we the voters do. And if our chosen management team shows itself to have landed the job under false pretences (as you did), then our representatives in the Senate have every right to refuse to support you, and turn you out. It’s a distinct possibility.

Clive Palmer called the budget a heartless cruel nightmare. He said it was in “breach of promises made to the people of Australia by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and a betrayal of the trust the Australian people have put in the government,” 

Bill Shorten promised to block the Medicare co-payment, the fuel excise increase, and the rise in the pension age.

Christine Milne won’t support the Medicare co-payments either, or the allegedly ‘temporary’ deficit levy, calling the budget “divisive, brutal and backward looking.” If the PM wants a double dissolution, she has posted a video welcoming the challenge.

In other words, one of the centrepieces of the budget, the Medicare co-payments and the Medical Research Fund that was to receive them, is already dead in the water.

All three parties – Greens, PUP and ALP – would in all probability gain votes in any double dissolution election over this budget, with Labor taking votes from the centre, the Greens from the left, and Palmer from the right.

Abbott would be caught in a perfect pincer movement, which is why he’s trying to scare his opponents off with talk of their likely losses. In reality, he has much the most to fear, and to loose.

The combined opposition parties and Independents should call his bluff, band together. Not even Tony’s friends in the media – who despite a massive propaganda exercise, only just got him over the line at the last election – will be able to save him now.

Unless, of course, he decides to take a leaf from his heroine’s playbook, wrap himself in the flag, and start a war over an unimportant little island somewhere.

Well, it worked for Maggie.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)