Abbott deceives the nation right to the end: 65 porkie pies in two years

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Even on his political death bed, Tony Abbott cannot tell the truth. Alan Austin closes a sad and sorry chapter in Australia’s political history.

PLEADING FOR HIS POLITICAL LIFE last night, Australia’s 28th prime minister, Tony Abbott, said passionately:

“Our team has stopped the boats, improved the budget, cut taxes and increased jobs ... You can trust me to deliver a stronger economy and a safer community.”

Unfortunately for the hapless ex-PM and the nation he failed to lead effectively for two years, there are five direct lies in just that one short grab.

To seal the ledger on one of the most brazen liars ever to attain high office in a modern democracy – in the hope that history will not repeat – here is the final score.

The last five bring the tawdry tally to a staggering 65. The first 30 were documented here.

This is the update:

65. Delivered a stronger economy

The truth is the opposite. Of the 22 economic variables Abbott and his disgraced Treasurer Joe Hockey promised to strengthen when in Opposition, all 22 have weakened.

64. Increased jobs

According to the latest Bureau of Statistics figures, unemployment has increased since 2013 and the ratio of total hours worked has declined.

63. Cut taxes

As shown by Crikey and others, taxes overall have risen markedly.

62. Improved the budget

According to the Finance Department, the AMP and all analyses except the Liberal Party’s, the budget has deteriorated dramatically. Deficits are now around four times those projected under Labor.

61. Stopped the boats

Untrue. Boats are still setting out. Some are turned back. Some are sunk after refugees are put in orange lifeboats. Some are towed away. Others sail off after the Government pays people smugglers to go elsewhere.

We just no longer know how many refugees are still sailing. Or still drowning.

60. Refugee intake

Abbott, September 2015:

“We are a country which, on a per capita basis, takes more refugees than any other.” 

The Conversation fact checker showed this is quite false.

59. Criticising the royal commissioner

Abbott, August 2015:

"It is actually a criminal offence to attack a serving royal commissioner. It is actually a criminal offence.” 

Fact checkers described this falsehood euphemistically as "oversimplified".

58. Adani mine jobs

Abbott, August 2015:

“This is a $21 billion investment, it will create 10,000 jobs in Queensland and elsewhere." 

Completely false. Adani's testimony to the Queensland Land Court said 1,464 jobs would be created.

57. Addictive drugs

Abbott, August, 2015:

“Ice is ... far more potent, far more dangerous, and far more addictive than any other illegal drug.” 

A patent porkie, according to The Conversation.

56. Speakers Slipper and Bishop accused of rorts

Tony Abbott regarding Peter Slipper, April 2012:

“It’s also incumbent upon the Australian Federal Police to swiftly investigate the potentially criminal allegations that have been made against the Speaker.”

Tony Abbott regarding Bronwyn Bishop, August 2015:

“The problem is not any particular individual, the problem is the entitlement system more generally."

One of those statements is untrue.

55. Emissions targets

Abbott claimed Australia's per capita emissions targets for 2030 are

"... the best in the developed world."

Incorrect. They are behind those of Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

54. Labor spending

Abbott, May 2015:

"The former government were spending ... at a rate of 3.6 per cent a year. We are spending at a rate of 1.5 per cent per year."

Dodging the truth is putting it mildly.

53. Cadbury handout

In July 2015 Abbott denied that the $16 million promised to Cadbury was to expand production, exports and jobs.

A detailed YouTube clip reveals these denials are direct lies:

52. Relations with Indonesia

Abbott, June 2015:

“The great thing about stopping the boats is that it has very much improved our relationship with Indonesia.”

Indonesia’s vice president exposed this as untrue the same day:

"It is wrong for a person to bribe, let alone a state. Such an act is definitely incorrect in the context of bilateral relations.”

51. No comment on paying people smugglers

Abbott, June 2015:

“The consistent position of this Government has been not to comment on the operational details of what is necessary and what has been done to stop the boats.”

Comments by the foreign minister, immigration minister and the attorney general on operational details show this to be completely false.

50. Citizenship revocation

Abbott, June 2015:

“What we are doing is precisely what was recommended by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, as Madam Speaker so well reminded us all last night on Q&A.” 

The independent monitor, Bret Walker SC, immediately repudiated Abbott’s falsification of his words.

49. Labor’s red carpet for terrorists

Abbott accused the Labor Opposition of "rolling out the red carpet for terrorists" in June for simply querying whether the Government's plan to strip citizenship from suspects was constitutional.

This is one of the most malicious lies on this list for two reasons. First, it is untrue. And, second, it repudiates the cornerstone Westminster tradition of bipartisanship on security matters — which Labor is honouring, to its political detriment.

48. GST changes

Abbott claimed the goods and services tax must be changed by the states, not the Federal Government. The ABC showed this is nonsense.

47. Metadata protection

Abbott, March 2015:

"When I was a journalist, there were no metadata protections for journalists and if any agency ... had wanted my metadata, they could have just gone and got it on authorisation.”

Pure fabrication. Abbott quit journalism in 1990, four years before the first internet web browser appeared in 1994. Whether this is deliberate intent to deceive or evidence of ignorance is for readers to decide.

46. Debt ratio of 50 per cent

Abbott, March 2015:

"A ratio of debt to GDP at about 50 or 60 per cent is a pretty good result looking around the world."

In Opposition, Abbott condemned Labor for its “$133 billion of net debt”.

That debt was less than 12% of GDP. So one position or the other is false.

45. “I never said that. I never said that.”

Soon after Abbott declared publicly the debt ratio at “about 50 or 60 per cent is a pretty good result”, he flatly denied saying it.

A clear instance of lying to the Parliament.

44. Superannuation changes

"It's not an adverse change. No-one is going backwards," Abbott said last September.

Blatantly false according to the ABC and others.

43. India’s nuclear record

Abbott, September 2014:

"India has an absolutely impeccable record when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation."

Exaggerated, according to the fact checkers.

42. Labor’s deficit

Abbott, December 2014:

“The then government was telling us the deficit for that year would be $18 billion; it turned out to be $48 billion.”

Another malicious lie. That debt blow-out was the direct result of decisions taken by the Abbott Government, not by Labor.

41. Medicare co-payment

Abbott, December 2014:

“Why should people like [opposition leader] Bill Shorten and myself expect to go to the doctor and not pay a cent?”

Quite false. The wealthy pay through the Medicare levy.

40. Consultation with doctors

Abbott assured one media outlet he had discussed the proposed GP visit tax with doctors. The AMA immediately confirmed he was lying again.

39. Iraq war

Abbott, September 2014:

"I think strictly speaking it's best described as a mission rather than as a war."

Strictly incorrect, said the fact checkers.

38. Stealth fighter spending

Abbott, June 2014:

"I want to stress that this is money that has been put aside by government over the past decade or so to ensure that this purchase [Joint strike fighter aircraft] can responsibly be made."

Senator Scott Ludlam’s interrogation of Defence chiefs revealed money had not been set aside.

37. Obama’s climate change plan

''I am encouraged that President Obama is taking what I would regard as direct action measure to reduce emissions, this is very similar to the action my Government proposes in Australia.''

Outrageously false.

36. Children and politics

Abbott, May 2014:

"I've always said families should be kept out of the front line. That's the way I've always tried to run my political operation."

A barefaced lie as shown by his repeated use of his daughters in electioneering.

35. Flight 370 black box

Abbott said in April last year he was "confident" about the position of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370's flight recorder to "within some kilometres".

Complete fabrication.

34. Letters patent and knighthoods

"On my recommendation, Her Majesty the Queen has amended the Letters Patent constituting the Order of Australia." – Abbott, April 2014.

As shown by Independent Australia and others, this is patently untrue.

33. Always against a carbon tax or ETS

Straight to the cameras in June 2014:

"I’ve always been against a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme."

But as this famous 2009 clip reveals, it is totally false.

32. Intelligence gathering

Revelations by Edward Snowden in The New York Times in 2014 show that Abbott

“... immediately, blatantly and demonstrably lied about Australia’s intelligence-gathering.”

31. Howard era growth

Abbott speaking in 2013:

“GDP growth ... has been only one third of the GDP growth per head in the Howard era.”

Growth in the Labor period was only marginally lower than through the Howard years, not down to one third.

The greater lie is ignoring the impact of the GFC.

The first 30, documented fully here, relate to:

  1. Anti-Pauline Hanson slush fund
  2. Electoral Commission re donations
  3. Meeting with Cardinal Pell
  4. Climate change
  5. Labor’s emissions scheme
  6. Trip to Afghanistan
  7. China’s CO2 emissions
  8. Asylum seekers “illegal”
  9. BHP's Olympic dam mine plans
  10. BHP Olympic Dam mine announcement
  11. Australia could end up like Greece
  12. Carbon taxes nowhere else in world
  13. Carbon tax damage economy
  14. Malcolm Turnbull and the internet
  15. Opening mines
  16. Howard era prosperity
  17. Broadband roll-out
  18. Election spending
  19. Debt spiralling out of control
  20. Deals with the Greens
  21. Daughters living at home
  22. Cardinal Pell’s reputation
  23. Worker entitlements
  24. Productivity
  25. Carbon and mining taxes spooked investors
  26. Carbon and mining taxes threatened jobs
  27. Carbon and mining taxes increased cost of living
  28. End of the mining boom
  29. Tasmanian forests
  30. Immunisation

Let’s hope the world never sees the like of this again.

You can follow Alan Austin on Twitter @AlanTheAmazing.

The John Graham artwork featured in the piece may be ordered from the IA store.

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