Tony Abbott: Faking it but not making it

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(Image by @JohnGrahamArt)

Through tragedy incompetence and political disaster, fake it till you make it is the Abbott Government’s signature mode — they are just not doing the making it part.

Meanwhile, excuses and explanations are failing to woo an increasingly weary electorate. It seems voters are losing their appetite for oxymorons, as Abbott’s popularity sinks.

Tragic reports of the Sydney siege reveal that two hostages have been killed. The horrifying trauma of the siege in the Lindt Café in Martin Place, Sydney highlights just how much we need a real – not a fake – government.

By two in the early hours of the morning, the 16-hour siege had ended. ABC local Sydney radio reported that the Iranian gunman, named as Man Haron Monis by news reports, had been known to police and was, in fact, on bail for a string of alleged serious violent offences, including being an accessory to the murder of his former wife.

So, he is undoubtedly a disturbed damaged individual — but does he fit the profile of a dangerous killer, or a terrorist?

Little is absolutely verified at this stage but Tony Abbott prematurely announced, earlier today that the act could be "politically" motivated.

This aided the assumption that this was a “terrorist attack”, thus paving the way for mainstream media (News Ltd) to declare:  

‘It was a sign to the world of a grim reality: Islamic fundamentalist terrorism had landed in Sydney’.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott went even further, telling reporters this morning.

As the siege unfolded yesterday, he [the gunman] sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult. Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence.”

Abbott asserted an ISIL link despite measured cautious statements by Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione saying this was a "critical incident" that was being investigated.

Our faking it prime minister has assumed the pose of a leader managing an implied “terror threat”, while graciously receiving expressions of support from world leaders.

As he did over the two Malaysian Airlines tragedies, Abbott has adopted an “image” of gravitas.

At this point, what is now known worldwide as the “Sydney Siege” has however, understandably, overshadowed the debacle of the Hockey MYEFO budget denouement.

In the last sitting week of Parliament, after a bad week that topped off a bad year, Abbott offered a feeble mea culpa. But directly admitting he was wrong, or offering the sorry word is not merely hard for Abbott. He just can’t do it.

Like Fonzie from the Happy Days comedy, he can’t say the “sorry” word or the phrase "I was “wrong”. But, unlike Abbott, the genuine master of cool and faking it till you make it – Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli – actually makes it.

Pleading for another chance to implement his ruinous plans, Abbott admitted that he had told an untruth or two. It had been a ragged week and sure he has delivered cuts to the ABC and SBS- as he said he never would do; but he would be even better from now on. Besides this government had achieved his three slogans.

  1. Stopped the boats’ (while victimising and endangering refugees, at a cost of billions).
  2. Axed the tax(dumping carbon and mining taxes, costing the country billions, putting money in the pockets of polluters and cutting a credible way of lowering emissions).
  3. 'Fixed the budget’ (although the deficit is forecast to double and the budget is being called out as a shambles).

Meanwhile Abbott and his band continue to fake it:

  • The GP Medicare co-payment, rejected by the Senate, has morphed into a reduced Medicare rebate. Doctors would pay through lost income or hustle their patients for an extra five dollars.
  • Julie Bishop and arch coal spruiker and denier Minister for Trade and Development Andrew Robb, headed for the United Nations Lima Climate Change talks. They were all set to pretend to participate constructively in negotiations — Julie Bishop feigning climate change action and concern and bowing to global pressure pledged $200 million to the Green Climate Fund to help poorer nations adapt to climate change. This was pilfered from the already reduced overseas aid budget. Bishop distracted the talks from legally binding targets by lobbying against recognition of the greater fiscal responsibility of wealthy versus developing nations. The increasingly inundated islands, like Kiribati in the Pacific, beg to differ from Bishop. It has been wealthy nations historically who created the climate mess by emitting most of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the first place.
  • The public are to be treated to a flurry of expensive  propaganda about the unpopular, Senate rejected, deregulation of university fees legislation — until we all learn our lessons.
  • Refugee children are to be released from Christmas Island, as a Christmas present, on the proviso that the Refugee Convention has been further eroded. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called out minister Scott Morrison as a sociopath for holding "children as hostages in order to change fundamental pieces of legislation". In effect, Morrison was saying: Pass this bill giving me sweeping powers, to bypass the refugee convention, or the kids stay in detention. Minister Scott Morrison could have released them at any time.

  • After kvetching and moaning endlessly about debt, Joe Hockey is now encouraging stretched households to spend up big – no doubt on credit – for Santa. But you need consumer confidence for that and it’s down to a three year low. Hockey and Abbott must have cried wolf about the "debt and deficit disaster", once too often.
  • Attorney General George – "people do have a right to be bigots" – Brandis was addressing a Human Rights Ceremony (in itself a paradox) when a member of the audience, former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks was described as heckling him. Hicks accused Brandis of belonging to a government that, under John Howard, had turned a blind eye to the human rights abuses and torture he had suffered. Brandis responded in a typically dignified fashion, calling Hicks a "terrorist".
  • Two of Prime Minister Abbott’s Literary Award winners were certainly not affirming of his policies. Novelist Richard Flanagan promptly donated his 40,000 dollar prize money to The Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Children’s fiction award winner Bob Graham donated his 10,000 dollar prize money to the Refugee Resource Foundation. Both authors have been critics of Abbott’s policies.
  • The Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt did not attend the Lima climate talks. He has been busy in the last year, approving mega coalmines.
  • The promised return to surplus has turned out to be a bigger budget blowout to $40 billion dollars in the MYEFO mid year budget projections.

Individual resilience is not best served by unmitigated pessimism, or blind optimism, but by realistic optimism enabling effective responses. The same holds true for our community and our nation. 

Head in the sand avoidance, or an unfounded sense of optimism is not a pathway to resilience.

A hit and miss faking government cannot lead us to a safer, more resilient future.

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