Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Abbott: In His Own Words

Going in to last weekend's election, Tony Abbott asked us to trust him.

This made sense. He hadn't released much policy detail and his costings came at the last minute, so he recognised that a vote for him would be a leap of faith for many. He must have also felt that in terms of trustworthiness he compared favourably to Kevin Rudd, a man who had told the nation that he would never return as Labor leader 'under any circumstances,' and then had returned in that position when the circumstances had suited him.

Abbott's team sought to portray him as solid, honest and reliable. A man of his word. A kind of, you may not agree with him but you know where he stands, approach.

And so it seems appropriate to have a look at his record and see where he does stand; in his own words, from his own mouth, straight from the public record. A selection of quotes:


'I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.'

(March 15, 2010: 'Four Corners' interview).

'Now are you suggesting to me that when it comes from Julia, no doesn't mean no?'

(August 3, 2010: Abbott makes a joke out of sexual assault, commenting on what he said was Julia Gillard changing her mind about debating him).

'While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it's inevitable and I don't think it's a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework.'

(August 6, 2010).

'They're young, feisty, I think I can probably say they have a bit of sex appeal.'

(August 14, 2013: Abbott's response when asked to name positive attributes of the Liberal candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, and her predecessor, Jackie Kelly).

'I was oblivious, absolutely oblivious, to the fact that I had said something that could be remarked upon.'

(September 5, 2013: Abbott comments on the negative response his 'sex appeal' remark generated).


'Abortion is the easy way out. It's hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.'   

(March 17, 2004).

'The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother's convenience.'  

(March 17, 2004).


'The Australian people need to understand that every interest rate rise over the next 12 months is due to the irresponsible spending spree of the Rudd government.'  

(December 1, 2009).

'If interest rates go down it's because this government is presiding over an economy that is in much more trouble than the government has previously been prepared to admit.'  

(August 6, 2013).


'If Australia is to greatly reduce its carbon emissions, the price of carbon intensive products should rise.' 

(July 27, 2009).

'Cost of living for families is unnecessarily higher because of the carbon tax.'

(2013: excerpt from 'Our Plan: Real Solutions for All Australians', a policy manifesto heavily spruiked by Abbott). 

'A new tax would be the intelligent... way to deal with reducing emissions.'  

(July 27, 2009. Abbott's speech, 'A Realists Approach to Climate Change,' is here).

'The carbon tax hits households, threatens jobs and damages the economy without, it turns out, ever significantly reducing Australia's domestic emissions.'

(September 2, 2013). 

'We do want to reduce our emissions and those targets stand.'  

(December 1, 2009.  The day he was elected leader, Abbott re-committed to the Coalition's target of reducing carbon emissions to 5% below 1990 levels by 2020).

'We will get as much environmental improvement, as much emissions reduction, as we can for the spending that we have budgeted.'

(September 2, 2013 Abbott confirms that he will not allocate additional funding to emissions reduction, even if his Government missed their long promised target. The target had been official policy since the Howard era). 

'The climate change argument is absolute crap.'

(February 2, 2010).

'Just ask yourself what an emissions trading scheme is all about. It's a so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one.'

(July 15, 2013) 


'Environmentalism might hurt the environment.'

(2009: from Abbott's book, 'Battlelines').

'More energy efficient buildings and more research into geothermal and tidal power could lead to greater carbon dioxide reduction than the proposed ETS.'


'On day one, the Treasurer will notify the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that it should suspend its operations and instruct the Treasury to prepare legislation to permanently shut down the corporation.'

(August 2013, Press release, announcing Abbott's plan to disband the CEFC, one of the Government's largest environmental agencies. Among the CEFC's responsibilities; improving the energy efficiency of public buildings and investing in alternative energy). 


'Whether it's a stealth tax like the emissions trading scheme, whether it's an upfront and straightforward tax like the carbon tax, there will not be any new taxes as part of the Coalitions policies.'

(December 1, 2009).

Four months later, in March 2010, Abbott announced his generous Paid Parental Leave Scheme, to be largely funded by 1.5% new tax on large businesses.

'Sometimes, for very important reasons, for very good reasons, you have to make departures from principal.'

(March 2010, when questioned on his sudden reversal on tax policy).

'You can trust most of the things I've said. Allright, you can
trust some of the things I've said. Look, just trust me, ok?'


'I'd say I probably feel a bit threatened. As do so many people.'

(March 8, 2010. Abbott's response on '60 Minutes' when asked how he felt about homosexuality).

'There is no doubt it (homosexuality) challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things.'

(March 9, 2010. When asked to clarify his comments on '60 Minutes').

'I think there are lots of terrific gay relationships... but I don't think marriage is the right term to put on it.'

(August 15, 2010:  Response to a question on 'Q and A').

'The marriage ended. For Chris it was replaced by something else that is marvelous. She has regrets but she did something that was brave, authentic, something she felt had to be done. I can respect that even if in every sense I can't understand it.'

(April 7, 2012. In 1992 Abbott's sister Chris separated from her husband and came out as a lesbian. In this interview Abbott described his close relationship with his sister).


'Workchoices was a political mistake, but may not have been an economic one. Workchoices wasn't all bad.'

(2009: excerpt from Abbott's book 'Battlelines').

'I have an election to win. It's the 2010 election and... Workchoices is dead, it's buried, it's cremated.'

(July 2010: radio interview).

'Obviously, I can't give a guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations legislation.'

(July 2010: from the same interview).

'What this policy promises are sensible, careful, prudent, collegial changes to the system.'

(May 2013, Abbott announces his new Industrial Relations policy).


'Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it's not necessarily the right thing for everyone to come to Australia.'

(April 5, 2010).

'I don't think it's a very Christian thing to come in the back door rather than the front door.'

(July 10, 2012)

'It's much better and more sensible to spend a few thousand dollars in Indonesia then to spend $12 million dollars processing the people who ultimately arrive here.'

(August 23, 2013, Abbott announces a new policy to buy boats from people smugglers in Indonesia, to prevent them from using the boats to bring refugees to Australia).

'We may not buy boats back.'

(August 29, 2013).


'In Australia's biggest cities, public transport is generally slow, expensive, not especially reliable and a hideous drain on the public purse. Part of the problem is inefficient, overmanned, union dominated, Government run train and bus systems. Mostly though, there just aren't enough people wanting to go from a particular place to a particular destination at a particular time to justify a vehicle larger than a car, and cars need roads.'

(2009: excerpt from 'Battlelines').

'We have no history of funding urban rail and I think that it is important that we stick to our knitting and the Commonwealth's knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads.'

(August 14, 2013. Abbott announces that a coalition government will provide $1.5 billion to Victoria to build its 'East-West Road Link' project, and $0 to Victoria to fund its 'Metro Rail Tunnel' public transport overhaul. 'Infrastructure Australia,' the Government's key advisory body on major projects, had rated the rail project of more value; economically, commercially and socially.


In 1998, then Parliamentary Secretary Tony Abbott helped set up a private fund to be used to pay for legal action against the One Nation party. Abbott had located a disgruntled former One Nation member, Terry Scharples, who accused One Nation's directors of electoral fraud. Abbott arranged for Scharples to get free legal representation and also promised to reimburse him, from the fund, for any out of pocket 'costs' he encountered during the case he brought. Abbott kept his involvement quiet.

Tony Jones: So there was never any question of any party funds, or any other funds, from any other source, being offered to Terry Scharples?

Tony Abbott: Absolutely not.

(July 31, 1998: 'Four Corners' interview).

Scharples started his case and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was eventually convicted and jailed. Her case was overturned on appeal and she was freed after three months served. An investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald uncovered Abbott's role.

Kerry O'Brien: On July 11, you met him (Scharples) again and you handwrote him a guarantee, didn't you?... Then on July 31 you told Tony Jones, you gave him an 'absolutely not' denial about any kind of funds going to Terry Scharples.

Tony Abbott: I said that I had not offered him money and I stand by that.

Kerry O'Brien: You offered him costs?

Tony Abbott: Well, I said that he wouldn't be out of pocket. 

(August 27, 2003: 'The 7.30 Report' interview).


'Now I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren't happy with Australia Day. I think... Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country's British heritage.'

(April 5, 2010: 'Q and A')

'There may not be a great job (for Indigenous people) but whatever there is, they just have to do it. And if it's picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.'

(June 2010).

'Self determination has set up Aboriginal people to fail.'

(July 2010).


'CreaturesFact' rates a number of Abbott's public statements: Mostly False. And many of them are rated: Completely Batshit.

No comments:

Post a Comment