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ABETZ ASCENDANT: With frenemies like Alex Hawke, PM-to-be Tony Abbott is desperately going to need friends like Eric Abetz

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Provoked by VEX’s recently Iranian-attacked editor’s sympathies for Alex Hawke and the IPA’s questioning of Tony Abbott’s very generous paid-parental leave scheme that could give some families as much as $3000 a week of taxpayers’ money to high-income earning parents to change nappies for six months, VEX stalwart Christian Lyons has returned to argue for the pro-family policy and that the Liberal party – through champions like Eric Abetz – must keep the conservative faith against the rising ride of libertarianism in Australian conservative politics.

The current white-anting of Tony Abbott’s generous paid parental leave is a curious development.

A pro-Liberal think tank – the Institute of Public Affairs – joins with Labor to openly question Abbott’s signature social policy, focusing on its alleged largesse just months before a Federal election. Contrast this with the praise that has been heaped on it by feminists who would otherwise attack a Liberal policy as if they were defending Stalingrad for Uncle Joe and it is as though this storm-in-a-thimble was masterminded by Liberal Party CHQ.

There is, however, a darker side to this development.

Coalition MPs and Senators are both publicly and privately denouncing the party’s paid parental leave scheme. This is yet more evidence of the problems that Tony Abbott is going to encounter between now and beyond the next election.

On the one hand Abbott is derided for not having any policies, but when he does come up with a policy he is subjected to media criticism from not only the government but also those on his own side. It is the rankest of rank hypocrisy.

VEXNEWS has reported before about the fact that since the departure of Nick Minchin, no one in the Libs has really been looking out for Abbott.

Many will remember the internal white-anting of Prime Minister Howard in his first and less than glorious first term, which included a large and chaotic backbench.

The one MP who has shown loyalty and the temperament to fill Minchin’s shoes has been Opposition Senate Leader, Senator Eric Abetz.

Abetz has demonstrated the qualities of someone who is well suited to looking out for Abbott. Take for example his disciplined holding of the line on industrial relations policy.

While the economic rationalists in the Party and media and the carpet-baggers from big business have been agitating for the Libs to reintroduce something akin to the electoral poison of Workchoices, the good Senator has held the line and resisted all comers.

This means that what could have been a genuine electoral albatross around the neck of the Libs at the upcoming election has so far been relegated to a non-issue.

For this Abetz deserves enormous credit.

Abetz is also very solid on social issues, and in many respects is more conservative than Abbott. On issues such as gay marriage and other moral issues, Abetz can be guaranteed to fight tirelessly in the trenches, in a way that the Leader mostly cannot.

The other thing Abetz has in common with Abbott is his Menzies-like belief in the importance of the family, free enterprise (as opposed to unfettered free markets) and small business. These are the pillars that Menzies established and built the electoral success of the Liberal Party on and they are under threat by those Liberals who are more libertarian than conservative.

After all, the Libs have long claimed to be the party that stands for and supports the traditional family. A government-provided paid parental leave scheme is therefore consistent with this position. Those within the party that criticised it as fiscally irresponsible are either ignorant of what the Libs supposedly stand for (Menzies and Howard were no enemies of a sustainable family-orientated welfare state) or they are actively working to move the party further and further away from its traditional values.

Even Joe Hockey has had the good sense in recent times to voice his disciplined opposition to gay marriage and to defend the proposed paid parental leave scheme as a productivity reform, despite his ‘end of entitlement’ views.

(Joe realises there is an election on. Why can’t the backbench?!)

ericabetzEric Abetz may not be a darling of the Canberra Press Gallery (which is actually a positive); he is not a self serving publicity seeker (ie. no gushing love letters from Janet Albrechtsen or to the fair-weathered PVO in the OZ); he is someone who embodies the type of Liberal Party MP who is not captured by economic theory and the need to embrace the latest trendy social cause because he/she feels the need to be loved by all (step forward Kelly O’Dwyer and Sarah Henderson).

Abetz is an unalloyed conservative and if Tony Abbott wants to run a successful and stable government, he needs Abetz as his hyperactive sheepdog, ensuring that Tony keeps the conservative faith in the face of a left-liberal Zeitgeist.

Only Abetz has the skills to challenge the destructive chewing of the timber work by the wets, the ambitious and the seriously under-talented (yes, you know who you are!) who will invariably inhabit the treasury benches post 14th September.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Christian Lyons, you are a nuff nuff.

    Posted by Ronnie | May 8, 2013, 8:13
  2. Pity this is not reported in a decent newspaper

    Posted by Hillary Bray | May 8, 2013, 9:12
  3. You can take the man out of the priesthood, but you can’t take the pastimes learnt there involving children out of the man ever.

    Posted by anon | May 8, 2013, 10:34
  4. Sensible piece. It is amazing how the wannabies like Hawke, O’Dwyer and others are prepared to put themselves forward, and attack their colleagues, using the likes of Nicki Savva and Joe Aston to spread their crap, when shutting-up would be more sensible.

    Why they think this will impress Abbott is beyond belief.

    Remember, it was Hawke who caused problems at the last election. If there was a plebisite in NSW, like SA and Victoria, Hawke would not survive. It is only corruption of the branch process that keeps him there. He and his mates are responsible for the stuff-up in western Sydney at the last election, and are not helping with this kind of calculated attack on Abbott, let alone their interference in pre-selections.

    What a joke.

    Posted by Jonathan | May 8, 2013, 10:47
  5. $5,000 baby bonus and now up to $75,000 in payments for 6 months.

    $80,000 of taxpayers dollars for what? People should be taxed and money paid to those who want babies? What a joke.

    Middle class welfare at its most ugly.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 8, 2013, 10:48
  6. I support NDIS, not a problem. I seriously resent my Tax being spent on wealthy yuppies having babies on full pay. A modest ‘means tested’ paternal leave scheme is just tolerable.

    Posted by Reggie | May 8, 2013, 11:01
  7. O ‘Dwyer is simply getting ready for the change of leadership.

    Posted by Anon | May 8, 2013, 12:45
  8. If I can get my Ross Turnbull in the mood after a few of his infamous little blue pills, I might consider another baby after dear Tony’s paid parental leave scheme comes in. It has been too long since my down stairs has seen any action.

    Posted by Bronny Bishop | May 8, 2013, 13:51
  9. Jonathan is spot on. O’Dwyer in Victoria, and now Hawke in NSW. Neither are known amongst colleagues for their deep-thinking or policy work. Both are paranoid that party members will see the light – and that other colleagues will be promoted ahead of them. At least Hawke has had the guts to put his name to his comments, unlike Missy Higgins.

    Posted by Ted | May 8, 2013, 14:22
  10. Alex Hawke spent 6 years in the Army Reserve to 2000. His Officer Cadet Training Unit(OCTU) course would have taked about 2 years but he left 4 years later. What a waste of the ARES training time and money.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | May 8, 2013, 20:38
  11. Why does everyone think I am a lightweight opportunist?

    Why does everyone think that I have never done nothing in the Party and simply been a sycophant of Peter Costello and a lackey of Scott Ryan?

    Why are Higgins branch members starting to think the seat is wasted on me?

    Why has Michael Kroger deserted me?

    Why has Michael Ronaldson deserted me?

    Why has Josh deserted me?

    And why is everyone still always questioning my integrity?

    Posted by KOD | May 8, 2013, 21:18
  12. there can be only one, black hand

    Posted by Highlander | May 8, 2013, 21:52
  13. crikey Victoria.
    If you want to know how to fund public roads look no further than the city of Tauranga in New Zealand.
    The local council took out a loan its self and quickly paid for the road with a cheap toll and has since build many other roads using the same methodology

    Posted by Malvern | May 8, 2013, 22:10
  14. Missy Higgins! Ha ha ha. Didn’t she sing Any Day Now: “How long, how long, how long will we take to come undone?”

    Posted by Marty | May 9, 2013, 6:25
  15. luv you, Eric!

    Posted by wtf | May 9, 2013, 8:35
  16. I reign supreme.

    Posted by Rivers | May 9, 2013, 9:22
  17. Who will replace Kelly at the 2016 election?

    Posted by Higgins 16 | May 9, 2013, 10:59
  18. any piece of shit the liberals put up will win

    Posted by the Insider | May 9, 2013, 11:47
  19. Lets not get too misty eyed about Minchin afterall he had his limitations. Who can forget his comments to the HR Nicholls Society back in 2006 that WorkChoices didn’t go far enough.

    Posted by Dryasachip | May 9, 2013, 12:06
  20. Don’t worry KOD. The secret to life is not caring about what others think about your integrity.

    Clearly most people think very little of my own integrity given I’ve adopted almost every Greens’ policy as Lord Mayor – but who cares.

    Drink up.

    Posted by Fatty Doyle | May 9, 2013, 13:57
  21. Posted by Malvern | May 10, 2013, 0:06
  22. well this was well timed – I thought Bill Shorten’s performance on Lateline very very lame. No Workchoices scare campaign this year Bill. Just go back to f@#*ing up superannuation!

    Posted by wtf | May 10, 2013, 9:08
  23. Keeno. Rorts. Lies.

    Posted by AKD | May 10, 2013, 11:44
  24. Oh piss off ‘the Insider’… what would you know! Now, Sergie, pack the kit bag babe, we’re off to Shep to let the local lucky’s know who’s boss. I wonder if there will be a door prize? I reckon there is another pipe we could plug, so I hope it’s gift wrapped!

    Posted by THE REAL DONNA PETROBITCH | May 11, 2013, 7:45
  25. Why did Tony and Eric ignore my advice to bring back Work Choices?

    Why is everyone in the party room ignoring me?

    And why is everyone always questioning my integrity!

    Posted by KOD | May 12, 2013, 9:51
  26. Kelly will be dominated by the new backbenchers that will join the partyroom after the next election. She will no longer be able to stand out in the crowd. Real talent is coming.

    Posted by Bruce liberal | May 12, 2013, 13:20
  27. I wish to express my complete support of Senator the Honourable Eric Abetz and the Honourable Tony Abbott.

    The reason the ALP has such a monumental task ahead of it is the combined efforts of these two members of the parliamentary leadership team together with the mature advice of Kevin Andrews. The external administration and parliamentary staffing are under the guiding hand of Brian Loughnane and the balanced nuanced strategic implementation and review of Peta Credlin.

    These five heroes were able to resist and fight back against a generation of people whose minds were poisoned by the Soviet or Maoist inspired infiltration of our centres of academic excellence and mass media outlets as well as some of the traditional churches.

    Much as I trend philosophically on the side of radical reform, economic libertarianism and unfettered free markets, I cannot deny the electoral appeal of the conservative reassuring paternal approach.

    The existence of a broad church of views in the Liberal Party is one of its strengths. Its electoral appeal is buttressed by the war of ideas within.

    From Victoria Tony Smith, Kelly O’Dwyer, Scott Ryan, Josh Frydenberg are all going to play a huge role in the future as senior front benchers but they will all have a future in government only because of the electoral success derived from the five pillars of conservative Christian socially just values embodied in Abbott, Abetz, Andrews (the triple A rating of the Liberal Party) and Credlin and Loughnane.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | May 12, 2013, 20:09
  28. If he kissed my grandchild I would vomit

    Posted by Argus Tuft | May 14, 2013, 11:51
  29. Why are people saying that the only difference between me and Alex Hawke is that Alex does it publicly?

    Why do they say that I can never be trusted by anyone?

    Why doesn’t Helen Kroger trust me anymore?

    Why doesn’t Sarah Henderson trust me at all?

    And Why Is Everyone Always Questioning My Integrity?

    Posted by KOD | May 14, 2013, 22:48
  30. I’m now not certain where you’re getting your information, however good topic.
    I needs to spend a while learning more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for excellent information I used to be looking for this information for my
    mission.

    Posted by online car buying experience | May 15, 2013, 6:49
  31. return of Tolkien

    Posted by Freddy | May 16, 2013, 21:48
  32. Show us those teef o’dwyer

    Posted by Horse | May 16, 2013, 22:21
  33. I’m sorry but I cannot see any evidence in this article (or any where else) to suggest there is a ” rising ride of libertarianism in Australian conservative politics.

    That would, if it were the case, be really interesting for Australian politics at this particularly disappointing and profoundly boring time.

    Posted by Colonel Hogan | May 19, 2013, 18:55
  34. Posted by Sex Bomb | May 19, 2013, 18:56
  35. DUTTON IS A DUMB ARSE

    Posted by jeremiah | May 20, 2013, 10:08
  36. If you had a impotent husband and a boss with a roving hand, you would a have few drinks as well.

    Posted by Peta Credlin | May 20, 2013, 10:17
  37. Eric Abetz father was a Nazi. A very high one indeed. He was the Nazi ambassador to France during the pogroms of the Jews.

    Eric has a very strange voice…

    Posted by Nazi Past | May 20, 2013, 11:44
  38. With nuff nuffs like Abetz waiting for his portfolio, the Coalition Government is shaping up like an overloaded manure truck.
    After the OzCar scandal, how can anybody take this idiot seriously?

    Posted by wothers | May 20, 2013, 21:46
  39. Alex Hawke is future PM material. If you don’t believe me then ask him yourself.

    Posted by talihunter | May 20, 2013, 23:30
  40. how about Keating then

    Posted by Malvern | May 21, 2013, 22:15
  41. In short I have been following the paid parental leave debate and have formed several views. At a glance I would agree that paid parental leave at full salary for one year is a good thing. While propositions like it should be paid to “women of calibre” are unhelpful as nobody in my view is less deserving of the entitlement. Whether they are a sales person at a shoe shop or the CEO of a bank. You might ask why I suggest this well my reasons are threefold.

    Firstly, if you look at the tax write down of $17 billion for 2013 and realise that there are some serious structural problems with tax collection. Second, if you consider the equity argument and I will come to both of these in a moment. Thirdly, if you consider the burden that this would place upon corporations if they were charged a levy to pay for the scheme.

    Secondly, in relation to Scandinavian countries, which provide generous parental leave schemes, they do not allow taxpayers to negative gear and then claim payments based on their taxable income. My argument is that if we are to have a new system of paid parental leave that it should be based on your total income before deductions and that this should also apply across the board to any other government payments. After all as we have been hearing recently you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul.

    Thirdly, it has been articulated in the mainstream media that a lot large corporations already offer generous paid maternity schemes. This is all absolutely true, as does the public service across the States, Territories and the Commonwealth. At the moment many people are lucky enough to have access to both their employer’s scheme and the existing scheme funded by the Commonwealth government. Therefore, to some extent it would make sense to have a one size fits all approach to providing paid parental leave. The question is how much should the levy be and as media commentators have suggested how much should companies who are levied be compensated by way of other tax cuts.

    Finally, I would conclude that yes indeed the paid parental leave scheme should be treated as an industrial benefit. One year is an appropriate period of time for a variety of reasons especially if you consider the average waiting time for childcare places for infants under 1 year of age. The question is if we are to have a universal scheme and dismantle existing entitlements how much should we pay parents. Recently, it was proposed on Crikey that we should follow Scandinavian countries and provide parents with 80% of their salary for one year. This seems like a sensible and prudent approach it will now be a matter of resolving this issue with business and governments to see what concessions they will be offered for paying the levy. For too long issues about the provision of childcare and support for families have been hi-jacked by the unions. It’s about time that we adopted a more pragmatic approach.

    Posted by Anonymous | May 22, 2013, 12:03
  42. member of bolono team seeks new sponsor

    Posted by thanks chris | May 23, 2013, 22:10
  43. She plan that i would similar to the patch (obviously, or one wouldn\’t buy it now would ya?) but when the patch arrived we actually was hempressed by the detail itn the patch. It\’s a small littleer that she opinion wet would be even though it had a ruler and sketched wet out – no
    mas, i would suggested this patch to any person!
    the shipping and assistance was better – i wasn\’t going to ups a patch so you accumulate what you question for there.

    Posted by che guevara embroidered | May 26, 2013, 17:36
  44. try china town, south east

    Posted by Long gone | May 26, 2013, 20:19
  45. The new markets

    Posted by Freddy | May 26, 2013, 20:24
  46. Why is everyong saying how terrible my speech at State Council was?

    Why is everyone saying it contained every cliche under the sun?

    Why were people groaning when I spoke about small business drowning in red tape?

    Why were people sniggering when I confused Europe for Asia?

    And why was everyone always questioning my integrity!

    Posted by KOD | May 26, 2013, 22:18
  47. And why is my husband questioning my fidelity?
    It was only a gravy stain on my skirt.

    Posted by KOD | May 26, 2013, 22:39

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