Abbott is gone but the lies carry on

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Andrew Bolt rained tears and lies over Abbott's demise (Art by John Graham / @JohnGrahamArt)

There is a furious contest going on in Rupert Murdoch’s hack army to see who can tell the most lies about Tony Abbott's time as PM, writes Alan Austin.

WHAT IS IT about Tony Abbott and direct, blatant lies?

Not just the man himself, but those around him. Abbott made an impression as a barefaced liar well before leading the Liberal Party. Then, as leader and finally prime minister, he set an astonishing record of 65 deliberate falsehoods — a score unlikely be beaten anywhere in the democratic world. Ever.

Right now, there is a furious contest, it seems, between rival snipers within Rupert Murdoch’s army of mercenaries to see who can tell the most lies about the failed PM now he is gone.

This started with Greg Sheridan at The Australian last week, with more than 15 falsehoods about the Abbott years (or should that be months?) and his multiple fiascos in office.

Not to be outdone, Andrew Bolt penned a piece yesterday for the Murdoch tabloids with more than 18 clearly false assertions about the man and his mission.

Titled ‘Loss of Tony Abbott as prime minister is a time of sorrow’, it included these loopy lies:

1. Abbott fine human being

‘In fact, you got one of the finest human beings to be Prime Minister.’

No. Abbott has been shown to have broken more than 85 promises and told more than 65 blatant lies. That is not fine. It is shameful.

2. Abbott too moral for the job

‘In many ways he seemed too moral for the job...’

No. Lying to the nation and the world is immoral.

3. Abbott achieved more in two years than Labor in six

‘... he achieved more in two years than the last two Labor prime ministers achieved in six.’

There were no positive achievements. Only very costly negatives. These include deterioration of the economy, divisions in his own ministry and making Australia the object of global derision and despair.

4. Labor left Australia with record deficits

‘Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard left us with record deficits... ’

Not true. Australia’s budget deficit in 2013 was only -1.2% of Australia’s GDP, ranking equal ninth in the OECD. 

In 2014, Australia’s deficit blew out to -3.1%, falling from ninth-ranked to 22nd. The 2015 deficit is higher still. The record deficits are all Abbott’s.

5. Labor blew billions on school halls

‘... after blowing billions on trash — on overpriced school halls ...’

The opposite is true. That stimulus spending helped save Australia from recession — alone in the developed world.

6. Free insulation killed people

‘... free insulation that killed people ...’

Not at all. The rate of fires, accidents and deaths fell to about one quarter of the rate prevailing in the insulation industry before 2008. The number of lives actually saved by the rapid roll out of the pink batts scheme number between 350 and 450.

7. ‘... stimulus cheques to the dead ...’

Not at all. They may have been sent. After all, speed was of the essence in responding to the GFC. But they weren't cashed, were they?

8. Labor opened borders and drowned immigrants

‘They meanwhile opened our borders to 50,000 illegal immigrants and drowned 1200.’

The opposite is true. John Menadue has shown convincingly that the flood of refugees and deaths at sea were the result of actions by the Coalition — led by Tony Abbott.

9. ‘They hyped the global warming scare ...’

The science on this is clear. Bolt has been found elsewhere to be wrong in this area.

10. Carbon tax killed jobs

‘... and forced us to pay a job-killing carbon tax just to pretend they were saving us.'

There is no evidence that the carbon tax killed jobs. The jobless rate has gone up markedly since it was abolished.

11. ‘... he stopped the boats’

The boats are still setting out. Some are turned back. Some are sunk after refugees are loaded into orange lifeboats. Some are towed away. Others sail off after the Government pays people smugglers to go elsewhere.

12. ‘... curbed spending’

Just blatantly false. Spending went up enormously to an all-time high during the Abbott years.

13. ‘... scrapped the useless carbon and mining taxes’

Scrapped, yes. Useless, no. Since they went, the economy has deteriorated disastrously.

14. Led the world's defiance of Putin

‘... led the world’s defiance of deadly Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.'

Not at all. He threatened to shirtfront him, but wimped out when the chance came – much to the world’s amusement.

15. ‘... and made us safer from terrorism.’

The opposite is true. He made Australia more of a target.

16. Trade deals secure jobs for our kids'

‘He even signed three free trade deals to secure jobs for our kids.’

No. The versions of the trade deals we now have secure jobs for children in other countries.

17. Best record for PM volunteerism

‘... a record of volunteerism no prime minister has equalled — working in Aboriginal communities, lifesaving, firefighting, helping people in natural disasters .... And none of it was done just to puff his CV for an election pamphlet.’

Nonsense. Of course it was.

18. Astonishing heckling and vilification from media

‘And he did all this in the face of astonishing heckling and even vilification from our media class.’

Just breathtaking hypocrisy. The media gave Abbott an easier ride than any PM in memory. All newspapers, except The Age, campaigned vigorously for him in 2012 and 2013.

Well, that certainly out-puffs poor old Greg Sheridan at The Australian!

But wait. What’s this? A “reporter” at The Oz is hitting back.

A story yesterday is titled:

‘Family First senator Bob Day says Tony Abbott ‘up there with Menzies and Howard’.

This compiles falsehoods about Abbott from other fabricators.

Here’s a sample:

1. Abbott great Liberal leader

‘“Honour Tony Abbott. Talk up his contribution. Put him up there with Robert Menzies and John Howard in the pantheon of great Liberal leaders,” [Family First] Senator Day said.’

Tony Abbott is not in John Howard’s class. And Howard is certainly not in Menzies’.

2. No immediate policy changes means Abbott got it right

‘Noting there had been no policy changes since he left office, Mr Abbott said the lack of movement showed “we got it right”.’

Good grief! Policy shifts do not happen overnight. Let’s wait a month and see.

3. Abbott a fundamentally decent man of integrity

‘“He is a fundamentally decent man, a man of integrity. But what we seem to value today is more what’s said about people than what they’re actually trying to do,” former Queensland premier Campbell] Newman said.’

Not true either. A man of integrity keeps promises, does not lie and does not wreck a sound economy by shifting wealth and income from the poor to the rich.

4. Abbott a good man

‘West Australian Premier Colin Barnett ... said on Sunday he was a “good man” and felt “very sorry” for him.’


Those who had hoped that the departure of a PM who lies routinely might mean an end to that insidious political ploy in Australia have been disappointed. It is continuing. At least within the influential Murdoch empire.

Such is Australia’s doom.

You can follow Alan Austin on Twitter @AlanTheAmazingThe original John Graham artwork featured at the beginning of this piece may be purchased from the IA store HERE.

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