December 22, 2012

Tony Abbott

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

[No] cuts to education.
No cuts to health.
No change to pensions.
No change to the GST.
[No] cuts to the ABC or SBS.

Tony Abbott (1957), SBS World News, 6 September 2013.

So far it's climate change policy that's doing harm.
Climate change itself is probably doing good — or at least more good than harm.

Tony Abbott (1957), Global Warming Policy Foundation, 10 October 2017.

(Sarah Ferguson, The Killing Season: The Long Shadow, ABC Television, 2015)

(Adam Elliot, Harvey Krumpet, 2003)

Refusal to believe a problem exists.
(Wiktionary, 24 May 2014)

Tony Abbott (1957):
[If] you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax?
(How to successfully market an ETS, Sunday Extra, ABC Radio National, 16 July 2015)

Coal is essential for the prosperity of Australia.
Coal is essential for the prosperity of the world.
[Coal] is the world's principal energy source and will be for many decades to come.
(Geoff Thompson and Deborah Richards, The End of Coal?, Four Corners, ABC Television, 15 June 2015)

John Quiggin (1956):
Tony Abbott was, by a wide margin, the most anti-science prime minister in Australian history.
(Innovation: the test is yet to come, Inside Story, 10 December 2016)

Daniel Kahneman (1934):
[A] reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. …
[People] can maintain an unshakable faith in any proposition, however absurd, when they are sustained by a community of like-minded believers.
(Thinking Fast and Slow, 2011, pp 62 & 217)

George Megalogenis (1964):
Before Abbott, the conservatives had replaced three sitting prime ministers: In each case, the basic complaint was leadership style: arrogance …
(Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal, Quarterly Essay, Issue 61, 2016, p 4)

Keri Phillips:
Within a few hours of being sworn in as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott announced a significant reorganisation of several government portfolios.
Just short of its 40th birthday, AusAID, an independent statutory body, would become part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
(Australian Aid, Rear Vision, ABC Radio National, 22 December 2014)

Raimond Gaita (1946):
National pride and national shame … are two sides of the same coin …
The wish to be proud without sometimes acknowledging the need to be ashamed is that corrupt attachment to country … that we call jingoism. …
The present and the past of most countries is a mixture of good and evil.
One can be proud of the good things and ashamed of the evil while loving the country and its people.
Sometimes it is a painful love. …
I do not remember a time in Australian politics when I heard the word "un-Australian" used so often.
Nor … a time when jingoism was so persistently mistaken for patriotism.
(Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics, Quarterly Essay, Issue 16, December 2004, pp 8, 10, 15, emphasis added)

Tony Abbott (1957):

Niki Savva:
Under Labor, more than 800 asylum seeker boats, carrying more than 50,000 people, attempted to make the journey from Indonesia to Australia.
No one is sure how many people died [at sea, but] the known tally was more than 1,000.
In 2014, one boat made it, with a significant saving to the budget.
It was a staggering achievement.
(The Road to Ruin, Scribe, p 220)

Barbarians at the Gates

Richard Nixon (1913 – 94):
[We] live in an age of anarchy, both abroad and at home.
We see mindless attacks on all the great institutions that have been created by free civilizations in the last 500 years.
Even here, in the United States, great universities are being systematically destroyed.
(Ken Burns & Lynn Novick, The History of the World, The Vietnam War, Episode 8, PBS, 2017)

George W Bush (1946):
There's no neutral ground in a fight between Civilisation and Terror.
Because there's no neutral ground between Good and Evil …
(Michael Kirk, Netanyahu at War, PBS Frontline, Season 34, Episode 1, 2016)

John O’Sullivan [International Editor, Quadrant]:
Every organisation that’s not explicitly right-wing, over time becomes left-wing.

Tony Abbott (1957):
The key to understanding the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is that: it’s not merely about Western civilisation, but in favour of it.
(Paul Ramsay’s Vision for Australia, Quadrant, 23 May 2018, emphasis added)

Robert Bolton:
[Simon Haines, Director of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation says they] will offer 30 scholarships a year covering about $30,000 in living costs, text books and tuition for each student.
Another 30 students will be enrolled every year on a non-scholarship basis.
The two universities to partner the project have yet to be announced but it’s understood they’re both on the east coast [— the Australian National University and Sydney University.]
Professor Haines says the endowment will also allow the Centre to fund as many as 10 university teaching positions:
University autonomy won’t be compromised.
We won’t do the teaching.
The money comes from us but the unis do the hiring.
(Paul Ramsay donation paves way for new centre to study Western civilisation, Australian Financial Review, 19 November 2017)

Frank Bongiorno [Professor and Head of the School of History, Australian National University]:
[The] whole debate about Ramsay from the point of view of the Right has been very stalked by [what happened with] the US Studies Centre at Sydney University, which was funded by the Howard government and … Rupert Murdoch [among others.]
The intention was that it would promote Australia-US relations, and now it's seen as … just another part of the left-wing university. …

[Abbott's article in Quadrant] announced … an ambitious … neoconservative political purpose for the whole project.
[That] did at lot to erode confidence at the ANU … that this was a legitimate academic program …
I'm not really sure … that a muscular defense of one civilisation's … superiority or virtues is … a very useful [starting point for academic] enquiry …
(Will the Ramsay Centre find a new home?, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 4 July 2018)

Geraldine Doogue (1952):
[In] today's Financial Review … Robert Bolton has a story [on] the background to the discussion around the Ramsey Centre:
  • that [Vice-Chancellor] Brian Schmidt at the ANU was about ready to agree to the Centre when Tony Abbott [wrote that] column which did seem to cause a great deal of trouble.
  • that Professor Schmidt rang former Prime Minister John Howard, [and] asked if he could distance … the Centre from the comments by Mr Abbott.
    [Mr Howard] said he could not, and told Dr Schmidt he'd have to "Suck it up!"
Two days later Dr Schmidt sent his letter withdrawing from the negotiations.
(Glyn Davis on the Ramsay Centre and Hannah Arendt, Saturday Extra, ABC Radio National, 16 June 2018)

Cecil Rhodes (1853 – 1902):
[I bequeath all my] estates and effects of every kind … to the Secretary of State for the Colonies … for the purposes of
  • extending British rule throughout the world,
  • for the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom to all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour, and enterprise,
  • the consolidation of the Empire,
  • the restoration of the Anglo Saxon unity destroyed by the schism of the eighteenth century,
  • the representation of the colonies in Parliament, "and finally,
  • the foundation of so great a Power as
    • to hereafter render wars impossible and
    • to promote the best interests of humanity.
(Last Will and Testament)

[An] exaggerated or aggressive patriotism.
[From Chauvin, Napoleonic veteran, character in an 1831 French play]
(The Oxford Reference Dictionary, Joyce Hawkins, Editor, 1986)

Tony Abbott (1957)

Paul was not only one of Australia’s richest men but, like Cecil Rhodes a century earlier, he had no immediate family waiting for an inheritance.
In another echo of Rhodes, he had strong views on the kind of people he liked and respected and the sort of world he wanted to support and build. …
Rhodes was the philanthropist who most fascinated him because he’d invested his fortune in the leaders of the future. …

When Paul was young, a good education meant familiarity with our great books,
  • the New Testament and Shakespeare, and
  • the study of British history where “freedom slowly broadens down from precedent to precedent”.
Paul’s intention was to give our future leaders something of the intellectual formation that he had received but which is largely absent in the postmodernism of today’s schools and universities.
These days … the [only] culture that is not … allowed to celebrate and cherish itself is our own. …

The Ramsay centre is now in the midst of discussions with universities about where to base its undergraduate courses.
The challenge will be reconciling the Ramsay mission with university autonomy while avoiding capture by the left.

(Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation looks to a golden age before us, The Australian, 20 November 2017)

Paul’s gratitude extended far beyond the material blessings provided by [our] country … to the deeper cultural and spiritual heritage that’s necessary for a free market economy to work. …
What this current generation was missing, I put to him, was familiarity with the stories and the values that had made us who and what we are.
Largely missing, even from Catholic schools, was a deep focus on the Christian faith.

The study of history was no longer [a] narrative, starting with the cradle of civilisation and moving through Greece and Rome to the story of England and the birth of the modern world …
[Every] element of the curriculum was [now] supposed to be pervaded by Asian, indigenous and sustainability perspectives.
Almost entirely absent from the contemporary educational mindset was any sense
  • that cultures might not all be equal and
  • that truth might not be entirely relative. …

So why not, I said, put the Ramsay fortune to work to give people a formation in the knowledge and the values that had once been taken for granted but were now at risk of being forgotten … ?
[Perhaps he] should devote the bulk of his fortune to something like a Rhodes scholarship based here in [Australia? …]

[Shortly before he died, in 2014,] Paul asked John Howard to chair the project …

The fact that respect for our heritage has largely been absent for at least a generation in our premier teaching and academic institutions makes the Ramsay Centre not just timely, but necessary. …
[While left-wing capture is] a serious risk for the Ramsay Centre … I’m confident that this fate will be avoided … because even in Australian universities there is still a cadre of teachers for whom history can’t be re-written …

The Ramsay Centre is close to finalising an arrangement with the Australian National University for a Bachelor of Western Civilisation degree to commence next year. …
A much more invigorating long march through our institutions may be about to begin!

(Paul Ramsay’s Vision for Australia, Quadrant, 23 May 2018)

Too Much Mercy

Tony Abbott (1957):
DAESH is coming, if it can, for every person and for every government with a simple message:
Submit or die! …
The tentacles of the death cult have extended even here …
(Opening Address, Counter-Terrorism Summit, 11 June 2015)

The world has woken, this morning, to another televised decapitation.
This just demonstrates [that] we are dealing with pure evil.
This is a hideous movement.
That not only does evil: it revels in evil, it exalts in evil. …
Sometimes dire and dreadful measures are necessary in response to the pure evil we are now seeing.
(The Wrap: real estate, Islamic State and vaccinating paramedics, Drive, ABC Radio National, 12 June 2015)

We are also determined to engage in every closer consultation with communities, including the Australian Muslim community.
When it comes to counter-terrorism everyone needs to be part of Team Australia …
(Heath Aston, Tony Abbott dumps controversial changes to 18C racial discrimination laws, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 August 2014)

My position is that everyone has got to be on Team Australia.
Everyone has got to put this country, its interests, its values and its people first, and you don't migrate to this country unless you want to join our team …
(Lisa Cox, You don't migrate to this country unless you want to join our team': Tony Abbott renews push on national security laws, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 2014)

[While] the overwhelming majority of Muslims don't support terrorism … many still think that death should be the punishment for apostasy. …
  • Some Muslims want to kill us (and many other Muslims).
  • Therefore, all Muslims are a threat.
  • If you are not with us, you are against us.
A triumph of moral reasoning worthy of Aquinas and Loyola.
Clearly, a first class education does not invariably succeed in broadening the mind:
  • Jesuit primary and secondary schooling,
  • University of Sydney (BA Law and Economics),
  • Queen's College, Oxford (BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics) on a Rhodes Scholarship, and
  • three years in Jesuit seminary.
[No] country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself.
This is the risk that the countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism. …

Our moral obligation is to receive people fleeing for their lives.
It's not to provide permanent residency to anyone and everyone who would rather live in a prosperous Western country than their own.
That's why the countries of Europe, while absolutely obliged to support the countries neighbouring the Syrian conflict, are more-than-entitled to control their borders against those who are no longer fleeing a conflict but seeking a better life.

This means turning boats around, for people coming by sea.
It means denying entry at the border, for people with no legal right to come; and it means establishing [concentration] camps for people who currently have nowhere to go.

It will require some force; it will require massive logistics and expense; it will gnaw at our consciences — yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever. …
Perhaps for the better.
Historically, the US and Australia benefited enormously from fleeing Europeans at the time of the Second World War — and from Vietnamese refugees after the American War.
That is to say, refugees can make countries stronger rather than weaker.
[Too] much mercy for some necessarily undermines justice for all. …
This is not about justice.
It is about self-justification.
The victory of narrowness of spirit over breadth of mind.
Of ideology over conscience.
(Second Annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture, 27 October 2015, emphasis added)

Simplistic Ideological Solutions

Tony Abbott (1957):
The [Student Representative Council] is unnecessary and superfluous.
(As a student representative on the Sydney University Senate)

[All] human works are quite insubstantial in the parade of eternity — only God endures.
In all ages progressive thinkers have announced the death of God. …
For most of us, he refuses to die.
(Student Representative Council Presidential Address, Orientation Week, 1979)

Monty Python:
NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! …
AMONGST our weaponry are such diverse elements as:
  • Fear,
  • Surprise,
  • Ruthless Efficiency, [and]
  • An Almost Fanatical Devotion to the Pope …
(BBC, 22 September, 1970)

Honi Soit [Student Newspaper, Sydney University]:
[After narrowly losing a vote for a position on the university senate Abbott] came down to the SRC and kicked a glass panel on the front door in …

Lawyer and former student political activist:
I can't recall a constructive policy for the benefit of the student body that he ever put forward …
My lasting impression is of negativity and destruction.
(David Marr, Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott, Quarterly Essay, Issue 47, September 2012)

Tony Abbott (1957)

President of the Student Representative Council, University of Sydney

[In] the economic environment, in the marketplace, you have workers and employers involved in … an economic struggle for survival.
But if you look, on the other hand, at students and administrations, there is no clash of economic interests between the students and the people who run the universities.
[This] is the fundamental difference between the two situations.
And I think that eliminates the need for a compulsorily funded student organisation. …
I don't think the government has any real interest in victimizing students in anything like the same way that employers might have an interest in putting the knife into their employees. …

At Sidney University, we've always had a penchant for getting involved in esoterica and, what one might say, trivial extravagance, particularly in the Arts and Economics faculties.
There's an awful lot of courses here which can only be described as so much nonsense.
For instance, the General Philosophy course, Aesthetics courses — devoted entirely to a study of punk rock.
However enjoyable that might be, it doesn't seem a suitable subject for a course leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In the Government Department, for instance, you have extensive courses on things like:
  • Feminism, and
  • The Political Exploitation Of Women …
[These courses are not only trivial] but they are attempts by unscrupulous academics to impose simplistic ideological solutions upon students.
[To] make students the cannon-fodder for their own private versions of the Revolution.
If there were further cuts to the education system, then we would certainly see the universities cracking down on that sort of course.
The fact that they can offer that sort of course at the moment is proof to me that there is room for further cuts. …
Certainly Political Economy and General Philosophy are thinly disguised attempts by, as I said, unscrupulous people to impose a very simplistic, and … quite wrong ideological solution on students. …

I find it a little alarming that people today think of themselves … not so much as members of the community, but as women, blacks, migrants, homosexuals, or whatever.
Similarly, people on campus don't seem to think of themselves as students — but they very often think of themselves … as women, homosexuals and what have you. …
[It] seems to me, that if there is adequate representation for students as a whole [this would automatically provide] adequate representation for all these other groups [as well. …]

[All] people should have equal opportunity …
… I think, certainly, there should be provision for the severely underprivileged to get to university for free …
… I strongly support the idea that those who are underprivileged should certainly have the state intervene to try and correct that situation.
So that — if they are sufficiently capable in themselves — the fact that they were born into a poor family will not permanently disadvantage them. …

The people attending universities are … an overwhelmingly middle-class group. …
[So] I do not think that the government should … be going around giving all students handouts to study. …

I would like to see the universities brought back to a situation where they cherished excellence and learning.
And where they actually inculcated into students a real love of truth and learning, and what have you.
And I think, with the enormous expansion of the universities, this has been lost to a certain extent.
I'd also like to see a situation where all students were assured of jobs when they left university. …
So not only would I like to see universities revert back to this quest and hunger for excellence and learning, but I would also like to see the numbers at university reduced and the courses made … more attractive to employers.
So that everyone will have a job when they leave.

I would to see the universities prepare students, more than they are at moment, to take a role in changing our society — not into some Marxist Utopia, because I don't think that can exist — but into a society which is based on a genuinely Christian principle.
And into a society where every [man or woman] is free to develop his or her unique talents in the way they best see fit as individuals. …

I see women as having having an equal opportunity in every area as men have.
Just as I think all groups should have an equal opportunity.
Mind you [I should emphasize] that while I think men and women are equal, they are also different.
[So] it's inevitable … that we will always … have
  • more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework, and probably
  • more men doing things like digging ditches …

(Steven Horrocks, Campus Wide, TUNE FM, 1979)

Would you like to know more?

Your Policy, My Policy

[Once in government, the] Coalition will …
  • repeal the carbon tax,
  • abolish the Department of Climate Change,
  • abolish the Clean Energy Fund. …
  • repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act …
  • abolish new health and environmental bureaucracies …
  • {repeal the mining tax …
  • stop throwing good money after bad on the [National Broadband Network. …]}
  • deliver $1 billion in red tape savings every year. …
  • develop northern Australia. …
  • create a one stop shop for environmental approvals. …
  • privatise Medibank Private [and]
  • trim the public service …

(70th Anniversary Dinner, Institute of Public Affairs, 4 April 2013.)

The Accidental Prime Minister

Phillip Adams (1939)

We should remember of course that Abbott won the [opposition leadership in 2009 by just] one vote from [Malcolm] Turnbull
Mungo MacCallum (1941):
… and only because Joe Hockey didn't want it.
Joe Hockey refused to bend on giving the party a free vote on climate change and therefore the great warlord Nick Minchin said:
No, you're not acceptable, we're going to have to go to Tony Abbott.
He was always the fallback.
(Campaign 2013 wash up, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 30 September 2013)

Paul Kelly (1947)

Editor at Large, The Australian

I can't begin to describe the extent and depth and confusion as Turnbull, Hockey and Abbott were manoeuvering in those last couple of days before the party meeting.
And, eventually, the three of them … ended up as candidates.
[Hockey expected] that he'd end up Liberal leader because he didn't think, if the leadership was declared vacant, that Turnbull would run.
[So Turnbull and Hockey] misunderstood one another.
Abbott, when he went into the party room meeting, didn't think he'd end up leader.
… I think Abbott's comment — that he ended up leader by accident — is correct. …

The only way the conservative side could stay united [and electorally viable] was on an anti-carbon pricing position.
[Abbott succeeded by turning opposition to carbon pricing] into a very populist campaign. …
Abbott … stands for opposition to carbon pricing.
That's his ideological position. …
Now, depending upon what happens in the world in the [next] couple of years … it may well be that international developments render obsolete the position Abbott now has.

(The Rise and Fall of Labor, Big Ideas, ABC Television, 24 October 2014)

The Language of Evil

Raymond Gaita (1946)

Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy, King's College London

[The] concept of evil, really, has no serious place in politics.
I can't think of any political event whose understanding is deepened by describing it as 'evil'.
[It's] just absurd to say that the beheading of that person is an act of pure evil. …
{[It doesn't have] any explanatory value …
[To] call someone evil, or to call an act evil offers no understanding of its genesis and motives and so on …
That doesn't mean it plays no role in the characterization of what was done, and some of our responses to it.
But that's quite different from thinking it has any explanatory role in our thought at all.}

There are things that are morally terrible, and … much of what ISIL has done is morally terrible.
But, obviously, if you were to say: … we're going to wage war against the morally terrible.
That doesn't have the same kind of rhetorical appeal as: we're going to wage war against evil.
Especially if you imply that this is a [Manichean] war between Good and Evil. …

I can't take seriously [Abbott's] concept of evil when … a few months before — when he was confronted with the evidence about torture in Sri Lanka — he said: oh well, sometimes bad things happen (something to that effect). …

There's so many different conceptions of evil.
But, in so far as I take it seriously, I don't think it characterizes the person.
One thing … is uncontroversially true, which is: that evil deeds can be done for quite banal motives. …

[In] the case of ISIS we have perfectly good concepts in international law to describe what they're doing.
They're no doubt committing crimes against humanity.
They no doubt, also, have genocidal intent.
That's enough.
What more do you need?

James Dawes

Professor of American Literature, Literary and Language Theory, Macalester College, Minnesota

[Calling something evil] is a sign of insecurity and weakness. …
If you are fighting evil, you are not a helpless victim of a traumatic event in a declining empire, you are a powerful enactor of almost mythic heroism. …

In the case of the United States … evil is often more about what we want to do, than what is happening. …
Genocides have occurred and the United States has not condemned them as evil.
Calling something 'evil' is just our effort to psychologically, collectively, prepare ourselves to do injury to others — because it's hard to make citizens tolerate the images of death and destruction at our hands, abroad.
So evil is a word we use to prepare our population for violence …
And once you get your population embedded in this notion of the absolute evil of the other, it makes it almost impossible to step back from violence.
And you've seen some pretty catastrophic American invasions resulting from this. …

We don't want to treat opponents as if they have ideas … or beliefs that need to be understood. …
They rise only to the level of moral condemnation and not ideological discussion.

(Good v Evil: The politics of language, Sunday Extra, ABC Radio National, 19 October 2014)

Would you like to know more?

Countering Violent Extremism

Tony Abbott (1957):
There are now well over 100 Australians fighting with terror groups in Iraq and Syria.

Andrew Zammit:
[Most] of the people who go fight with jihadist groups overseas don't become a threat on [return; however, the] very small number [who do] often prove extremely dangerous …
[Thomas Hegghammer, a prominent European researcher, has said that] up to a maximum of one in nine has ended up proving a threat in return, although he has often said that the real figure is more likely to be around one in 20.
The one in nine estimate, the maximum one, is the one that gets used a lot.

David Malet [Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Melbourne]:
The vast majority of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria today are from Arab states.
Out of 25,000 there may be 3,000 or 4,000 Westerners. …
It's hard to get an exact count, but Australia has been one of the leaders per capita in Western countries or even the entire world of foreign fighters, first in Syria and then in Iraq. …

[Osasma Bin Laden] is exhibit A of what happens when somebody is stripped of their citizenship, which is what Saudi Arabia did …
[In] continental Europe you're seeing a very different approach [compared to the hard] line taken by Commonwealth countries.
Denmark in particular is offering not only amnesty but they are offering rehabilitation services, job training, psychological counselling, anything you want to foreign fighters, and they are saying their numbers of people going off to fight have dropped off from a couple of hundred to just one last year.

(Tackling foreign fighters, Rear Vision, ABC Radio National, 15 July 2015)

Andrew Zammit

Researcher, Global Terrorism Research Centre, Monash University

The Australian Government has described the foreign fighter threat as its “number-one national security priority” and raised the National Terrorism Public Alert from medium to high in September 2014.
(p 11)

In response to the threat [posed by DAESH, the Australian] Government has
  • joined the US-led military coalition against IS,
  • provided $630 million in extra funding to intelligence and security agencies, and
  • introduced extensive new counter-terrorism legislation.
The Government’s response also includes a softer element, in the form of a renewed (CVE) effort.
This term refers …
(p 2)

After its election in 2013, the Abbott Government … made substantial funding cuts to [Countering Violent Extremism programs ie non-coercive efforts to dissuade involvement in terrorist activity.]
However, in August 2014 … it announced that it would [spend around $35 million on CVE.]
(p 13)

Thomas Hegghammer’s study of all known jihadist plots in Western countries between 1990 and 2010 found that 46 per cent involved foreign fighters.
Moreover, those plots that involved foreign fighters were more likely to result in fatalities.
This is consistent with research conducted by Marc Sageman and Paul Cruickshank that also found that plots were more likely to succeed if some of the conspirators had fought or trained abroad. …
(p 3)

In May 2014, a gunman who allegedly had returned from training with IS in Syria murdered four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium.
The incident was only unusual in that the attack was successful; in Europe, Syria returnees have been involved in around ten alleged jihadist plots so far.
(p 4)

Van Zuijdewijn’s study of Western jihadist foreign fighters involved in European terror plots found that two-thirds had trained, while only one-third had actually engaged in combat.
A study by Jonathan Githens-Mazer on UK foreign fighters … found that many jihadist combat veterans often went quiet on return or actively discouraged others from becoming involved …
(p 6)

ASIO has estimated that, as of February 2015, around 90 Australians were fighting for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, that up to 30 have returned, and that over 20 have died.
Several have appeared in propaganda videos for Jabhat al-Nusra and IS, three are believed to have carried out suicide bombings, and some Australians are occupying leadership positions.
Some have also boasted of war crimes, and explicitly threatened Australia. …

So far, neither Jabhat al-Nusra nor IS appear to have made attacks in the West as high a strategic priority [as al-Qaeda. …]

However, [research indicates that it is] those foreign fighters who receive training but see little actual combat tend to be more likely to attempt attacks on return than jihadist combat veterans.
Combat experience increases their likelihood of foreign fighters becoming disillusioned, killed, or coming to the awareness of Australian authorities. …
Moreover, a decade ago Australia’s security services were far less prepared for terror plots than they are today, having gained dramatically increased funding, powers, staff, and counter-terrorism experience.
(p 10)

Therefore, while the scale and seriousness of the Syria-Iraq mobilisation greatly exceeds any of Australia’s earlier jihadist mobilisations, suggesting a greatly increased threat, the actual threat may prove less than feared.
Apart from any decisions by IS to use foreign fighters for terrorist attacks abroad, much will depend on
  • how many return,
  • what their intentions are,
  • what activities they undertake on return, and
  • what influence they have on like-minded individuals. …

A blanket attempt to imprison foreign fighters (such as in France, which recently jailed two underage boys who had returned voluntarily after becoming disillusioned with IS) could have a radicalising effect on the returnees' friends, families, and communities, reinforcing a perception of a wider war between the West and Islam.
Just as the justice system allows flexibility in dealing with a range of non-terrorist criminals (such as diverting some offenders into drug treatment rather than jail), including a CVE element in Australia’s counter-terrorism approach can allow similar flexibility.
(p 11)

[There] are currently some community-driven CVE efforts in Australia, which work directly with individuals on a radicalisation trajectory, but these programs are struggling to operate with little to no support.
Moreover, the poor consultation by the government with the Muslim community on much of Australia’s new counter-terrorism legislation as well as the Prime Minister’s claim that Muslim leaders are not doing enough to speak out against radical ideas have undermined the prospects for effective cooperation. …

Framing social-cohesion programs (that are often worthy in themselves) as counter-terrorism initiatives risks further stigmatising large sections of the population as potential terrorists and prompting backlashes that may worsen the problem.
However, that these programs will be run by the DSS rather than the Attorney-General’s Department may reduce this risk.
(p 15)

(Australian Foreign Fighters: Risks and Responses, Lowy Institute for International Policy, April 2015)

Gerard Henderson (1945)

Executive Director, Sydney Institute

Sure, the overwhelming majority of Muslim Australians are peaceful and law-abiding.
But a small minority are not.
All those who are serving, or have served, time in Australian prisons for terrorism-related offences are Muslim. …

It is unlikely the radicalisation of young Muslims can be substantially reduced by a change of tone on the part of the government. …

Australia has large communities of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, among others.
Yet there are not even small minorities within these communities who wish to wage a war against Australians or to overthrow democracy and establish a theocracy in its wake.

Australia is a tolerant, accepting country.
This can be gauged by the fact Australia has a relatively low level of ethnic-motivated crime and a relatively high level of intermarriage between the various ethnic groups. …
[Consequently, calls] on Australians to unite against a backlash directed at Muslim Australians [are] quite unnecessary since there is no evidence of acts of murder or assault by non-Muslims against Muslims just because they are Muslims. …

The Muslim community in Australia and elsewhere is deeply divided — between the Sunni and Shia sects and more besides.
This is vividly demonstrated in the Syrian civil war.
In recent years the Australian Defence Force has been dispatched to Afghanistan and Iraq to protect some Muslims against attack from other Muslims. …

It is unfashionable to say so, but Abbott’s “Team Australia” makes a lot of sense.

(Ex-PM Tony Abbott’s ‘Team Australia’ makes a lot of sense, The Australian, 10 October 2015)

Free Tertiary Education for One

David Marr (1947):
In Tony Abbott’s Australia, a young woman faces jail because word got out that one of his daughters was given a $60,000 scholarship to study at the Whitehouse Institute of Design. …
{The chair of the institute is Liberal Party donor and friend of the prime minister, Les Taylor.}
News of Frances Abbott’s [windfall] provoked a two-month investigation by the New South Wales Police and a charge of accessing restricted data without authorisation.
Penalty: imprisonment for a maximum of two years. …
(Freedom Abbott, The Monthly, September 2014)

Chris Graham

I don't think that people who act in the public interest should be charged with a public crime.
I think if you act in the public interest you deserve the protection of the public.
But if you are going to charge whisleblowers for acting in the public interest … then this sort of outcome is preferable.
Not only is she on a bond, but importantly no conviction will be recorded if she behaves herself [for the] two years. …
In the case of the Whitehouse Institute of Design, it accesses public funding to provide education but people who work [there] not afforded the same [limited] protections as [are] public servants. …

… Frances Abbott was not awarded this scholarship on merit, as the Prime Minister claims. …
Frances Abbott was the only person to whom this scholarship was available. …
The college's own website [clearly states] says that scholarships are not available …
Frances was pursued by the Whitehouse Institute of Design to study there when she was considering studying at a rival school …

[Keep in mind] that the government [has] just handed down a federal budget that was proposing to, in many cases, double the cost for everybody else to get a tertiary degree. …
[Furthermore, this] very same government is now seeking to make available to these … private colleges $800 million in [new] public funding …

… Tony Abbott has used [the] parliamentary interests register to tell people when his daughter Frances … got free tickets to the movies.
How he can apply that standard to a free movie ticket and not to a $60,000 secret scholarship [is remarkable.]

For a scholarship to be acceptable to the Australian Tax Office … it must be available to a wide number of people …
[This] scholarship was not known to anybody outside a couple of very senior people and the owner at Whitehouse Institute of Design and, of course, [the Abbott family.]
It wasn't available to any other students …
It wasn't even known by other senior staff at the college …
[So] you've got a private institution seeking access to large buckets of government money, and a recipient of the largesse of that institution is the daughter of the [then federal opposition leader (and soon to be Prime Minister) …]
If that's not a matter of public interest … I don't know what is. …

We saw Christopher Pine, Minister for Education, today tweeting that he thought the sentence was inappropriate. …
I understand why people in Christopher Pine's position, a position of enormous power and privilege, will feel that this sort of whistleblowing deserves a much much stiffer sentence …

(Could whistleblowers be better protected?, Drive, ABC Radio National, 25 November 2014)

NewSpeak Dictionary

  • Budget Emergency = Austerity
    Keynes, Masters of Money, BBC Two, 17 September 2012.

    Joseph Stiglitz (1947):
    In the United States, a full time male worker, median, income has stagnated for a third of a century.
    No increase.
    Household income today is the same as it was 15 years ago.
    All the increase to the income has gone to the top. …

    [As] the incomes of most American's were stagnating, or declining.
    We said:
    Don't let it bother you.
    Keep spending as if your income was going up.
    And they did that very well. …

    [The] remarkable thing is that countries, like the UK [and Australia,] that have a choice, are voluntarily putting themselves through austerity.
    And, almost certainly, we know what will happen.
    The economy will get weaker.
    Unemployment will go up.
    And there will be an enormous amount of unnecessary suffering.

  • Efficiency Dividend = Funding Cut
    Fran Kelly, Nationals Senator protests ABC cuts to rural services, RN Breakfast, ABC Radio National, 25 November 2014.

    More than 400 people [at the ABC] will lose their jobs as a result of federal government funding cuts. …
    Among sweeping changes … Bush Telegraph here on RN [will be axed,] and five small regional radio stations will be closed. …
    Bill Shorten (1967) [Leader, Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition]:
    Did the Prime Minister say, on the night before the election on SBS television …
    No cuts to the ABC or SBS …
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    I never said there would be special treatment for the ABC.
    Everyone knew there was going to be an Efficiency Dividend applied across government. …
    [What] we are doing to the ABC, is applying an Efficiency Dividend …

  • Advocacy = Criticism of Government Policy
    David Marr (1947), Freedom Abbott, The Monthly, September 2014.
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    {I’m a passionate supporter of free speech.}
    [However, the] problem with a bill of rights is that it takes power off the elected politicians. …

    George Brandis (1957) [Federal Attorney General, 2013]:
    [We] in the Liberal Party are the party of human rights. …
    [George Brandis decrees that] artists who refuse private sponsorship on political grounds may be stripped of public funding.
    Troubled by Transfield’s links to offshore detention centres, a handful of artists had pressured the company to withdraw sponsorship from the Sydney Biennale. …
    He directs the Australia Council to find a formula for deciding when public funding will be withdrawn because private sponsorship has been “unreasonably” rejected.
    … Brandis wants artists to know they will pay a price for embarrassing the government. …

    [Scott Morrison (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection)] strips the Refugee Council of Australia of half a million dollars allocated in the budget only ten days before. …
    Scott Morrison (1968):
    It’s not my view, or the government’s view, that taxpayer funding should be there for what is effectively an advocacy group. …
    [Under Labor, government] funding for NGOs [came] with the guarantee that they were
    [Free] to enter into public debate or criticism of the Commonwealth, its agencies, employees, servants or agents.
    Under Abbott, [this] guarantee disappears [— as do] many sources of independent advice.
    The budgets of
    • the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service,
    • the Environmental Defender’s Offices and
    • the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
    are slashed.
    Axed are
    • [the Climate Commission,]
    • the Social Inclusion Board,
    • the National Housing Supply Council,
    • the National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing,
    • the National Children and Family Roundtable,
    • the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, and …
    • the Immigration Health Advisory Group.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques = Cruel and unusual punishment (including torture)
  • Business As Usual = Recipe For Disaster
  • Saving Lives At Sea = Destroying Lives On Land
  • Illegal Maritime Arrival = Legal Asylum Seeker
  • Western Civilization = Straight White Male Civilization
  • Alt Right = Alt Reality
  • Economic Rationalism = Moral Insanity

Bipartisanship and the National Interest

Greig Gailey: President, Business Council of Australia
Tony Abbott (1957):
[An emissions trading scheme is a] so-called market in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one.
[The Business Council of Australia (BCA)] supports the [Rudd] Government’s intention to introduce an emissions trading scheme …
[And we] agree that industry must assume part of the burden in doing this.
(p 13)

It is probably the most significant economic decision any government will have made since the introduction of the GST [by the Howard Coalition Government in the late 90s. …]
As such the BCA believes that it must be a bipartisan decision.
Uncertainty is the great enemy of investment. …

The BCA implores the Government and the Opposition to work together constructively on the design and implementation of the CPRS.
The impact of the CPRS is just too great for us to be at the mercy of party politics.
We ask both parties to forswear opposition for opposition’s sake. …
The payoff from emissions policy bipartisanship will be a stronger Australian economy.

(The Great Climate Change Challenge, Address to the Sydney Institute 27 August 2008, p 12)


Barbarians at the Gates

Too Much Mercy

Free Tertiary Education for One

NewSpeak Dictionary

An Accidental Prime Minister

An Australian Hero

Simplistic Ideological Solutions

(Big) Business as Usual

Extremism in the Defense of Liberty

Shooting the Messenger

The Committee of Public Safety

A Political Jesuit

The Politics of Climate Change

Quotes by Tony Abbott

Climate Change: Direct Action Plan

Tony Abbott (1957)

28th Prime Minister of Australia (2013-2015).
Minister for (Anti-)Science, Women, Coal and Roads.

  • Abbott's non-delivery of substance?, PolitiFact Australia, 17 July 2013.
    Richard Holden: Professor of Economics, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  • Address to Institute of Public Affairs 70th Anniversary Dinner, 4 April 2013.

    Andrew [Bolt], thank you so much for that truly lovely introduction. …
    [And thank you to] Gina Rinehart, who has given what I’m sure is the best speech that any one will give tonight …

    In the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve could do almost as they pleased but freedom turned out to have its limits and its abuses …
    Yet without freedom we can hardly … be worthy of creation in the image of God. …

    The IPA … has been freedom’s discerning friend.
    It has supported … capitalism with a conscience.
    Not for the IPA, a single-minded dogmatism or opposition to all restraint …
    [Rather,] a sophisticated appreciation that freedom requires a social context …
    [That] much is expected from those to whom so much has been given. …
    [In particular, I commend you] for your work in defence of Western civilisation. …
    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the foundation of our justice.
    “Love your neighbour as you love yourself” is the foundation of our mercy.
    Faith has weakened …
    [But not the] high mindedness which faith helped to spawn and which the IPA now helps to protect and to promote. …

    [You campaigned successfully] against
    • the bill of rights because you understood that a democratic parliament, an incorruptible judiciary and a free press, rather than mere law itself, were the best guarantors of human rights. …
    • the legislative prohibition against giving offence and I’m pleased to say that the author of those draft laws is now leaving the parliament.
      (Well done IPA! …)
    • against the public interest media advocate, an attack dog masquerading as a watchdog, designed to intimidate this government’s media critics …

  • Abbott to 'shoot the messenger' on climate, The Age, 4 April 2013.
    Ben Cubby.

    Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he 'suspects' Tim Flannery, the head of Australia's Climate Commission, would be made redundant if Mr Abbott becomes prime minister. …
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    When the carbon tax goes, all of those bureaucracies will go and I suspect we might find that the particular position you refer to goes with them …
    It does sound like an unnecessary position given that the gentleman in question gives us the benefit of his views without needing taxpayer funding.
    (Macquarie Radio, 3 April 2013)

    Tim Flannery (1956):
    Ignoring it or shooting the messenger will not reduce the threat of climate change …
    [It] will just mean that Australia is less prepared …
    A Climate Commission report released on Wednesday examined links between Australia's extreme weather and human-induced climate change. …
    [Eight] of Australia's 21 hottest days on record have occurred this year.

  • Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott, Quarterly Essay, Issue 47, September 2012.
    David Marr.

    A Political Jesuit

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    I have been under the Santamaria spell ever since [1976. …]
    He was the greatest living Australian …
    [Bob Santamaria's] real role was to create a type of secular religious order, something like a band of political Jesuits …
    [A] group of men and women whose religious values translated into strong commitment, not necessarily to any political party, but to a set of social principles.

    Fighting The [Counter] Revolution

    From the moment he arrived at Sydney University in the late 1970s he showed himself to be a muscular reactionary of extraordinary, boisterous energy. …

    Thousands of words of campaigning journalism poured out of him, an extraordinary number of them attacking homosexuals, male and female.
    He proudly announced the Democratic Club had established a Heterosexual Solidarity Society. …

    … Democratic Clubs across Australia [fought] to prevent student representative councils channelling money to causes Santamaria feared might tear society to pieces. …
    [Communism] was enemy number one …
    Santamaria deplored
    • the Pill,
    • homosexuality,
    • rampant materialism,
    • married women in the workforce,
    • environmentalists,
    • drugs,
    • abortion,
    • anarchy on campuses,
    • economic rationalism,
    • dissident theologians,
    • [no fault] divorce … and
    • the cult of the moral autonomy of the individual.
    [At stake] was the authority of family, church and state …
    The precedent was Paris in 1968. …

    The right's determination to control or crush [the Australian Union of Students] had been revitalised by the students' [support of] the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
    The [anti-AUS] campaign brought together
    • the Liberals,
    • the right of the Labor Party,
    • the National Union of Jewish Students and
    • Santamaria's people.
    It proved to be the training ground of a new cohort of leaders on both sides of politics:
    • [Tony] Abbott,
    • Peter Costello,
    • Eric Abetz,
    • Michael Yabsley,
    • Michael Danby,
    • Michael Kroger,
    • Nick Sherry and …
    • Julia Gillard. …

    [At age 19 he] was making his mark.
    But these wild times and all they promised for his future seemed suddenly about to end.
    His girlfriend … was three months pregnant.
    It was the old Catholic catastrophe: no chastity, no contraception, no abortion …
    As it happens she had also practised Vatican roulette once or twice with her flatmate [but neither she] nor Abbott doubted … that the child was Tony's. …
    At first Abbott was going to marry her but then he pulled back.
    Marriage would not only rule out the priesthood but also his more immediate ambition to win the Rhodes Scholarship. …
    They split up in the seventh month of her pregnancy. …
    Abbott came to the hospital in July 1977 and held the child for a few minutes before the boy was given away. …

    Santamaria's strategy was to starve student bodies of funds so cash did not fall into dangerous hands.
    Every student at Sydney University had to pay $10 a year to the SRC.
    [Each] SRC across Australia then delivered $2.50 of that into the hands of AUS, which meant about $700,000 a year was available for leftist causes.
    The plan pursued by Democratic Clubs and their allies … was first to make SRC fees voluntary, and then to cut their links with AUS. …

    The first great political campaign of Abbott's life — which he would pursue by one means or another for nearly thirty years — was to drain the money from university politics.
    His plan was to win the presidency of the SRC and collapse it from above. …

    [A trainee teacher] was at the microphone defending AUS [when she] heard someone shout,
    Why don't you smile, honey?
    and … felt a hand groping between her legs.
    I jumped back, turned around, and saw Tony Abbott laughing about two feet away.
    The people in the audience began laughing and jeering.
    Abbott would give the court a different version and produce a number of witnesses to support him:
    She was speaking about me in a highly critical way, calling me an AUS basher and noted right-wing supporter.
    To let her know I was standing behind her I leaned forward and tapped her on the back, about the level of her jeans belt.
    The charges would be dismissed early in the new year but they were still hanging over him as he went into the university election season and lost — to a woman — his campaign for the presidency of the SRC. …

    [The winning candidate] thought he was coming over to congratulate her. …
    He came up to within an inch of my nose and punched the wall on either side of my head. …

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    [I don't recall the incident.]
    It would be profoundly out of character had it occurred. …

    … Abbott's noisy behaviour and hard-line views were winning him a following.
    And he was learning some political lessons.
    He didn't have to be a nice guy.
    He didn't have to go with the flow.
    It was possible to stand against the political tide. …
    Malcolm Turnbull [Political Journalist, National Review]:
    The leading light of the right-wingers in NSW is twenty-year-old Tony Abbott.
    He has written a number of articles on AUS in the Australian and his press coverage has accordingly given him a stature his rather boisterous and immature rhetoric doesn't really deserve.
    AUS was on its last legs.
    Its income had nearly halved.
    Eleven campuses had seceded.
    AUS Travel had collapsed among allegations of corruption. …

    One night that winter of 1978, the Sydney police ambushed a demonstration in Kings Cross, bashing and arresting lesbians and gay men. …
    [He] cast a lone vote against the SRC's decision to send its protest to the NSW premier. …

    [In] September 1978 he … won the presidency of the SRC. …
    [He] won it without being less than himself:
    • bully and charmer,
    • speaker and propagandist,
    • hard-line advocate and
    • tireless organiser. …

    He didn't like the SRC and made no secret of being happy to see it bankrupt. ..

    [He joined] British morals campaigner Mrs Mary Whitehouse on the platform of a rowdy Festival of Light rally … to protest abortion, child porn and the permissive society. …

    On ABC Nationwide he was calling for the slashing of both university funding and student numbers.
    This was to be done in the name of restoring academic rigour to Australian universities by denying Marxist lecturers the wherewithal to teach, for instance, the politics of lesbianism. …
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    Marxists realised that the universities now play a crucial role in the education of the elite of modern society, and they understand if they destroy the academic standards, and perhaps even the moral standards of that elite, well then they have perhaps fundamentally and fatally undermined liberal democratic society. …

    Abbott organised a referendum of students … to decide
    • whether Sydney University should cut its ties with AUS and
    • whether fees for the SRC should become voluntary.
    The first vote passed handsomely and the second lost heavily. …
    He put all his efforts into persuading the university senate to [override] the vote [on] the issue of SRC fees.
    This was the young man's idea of liberal democracy. …

    The senators turned him down. …
    [He then demanded written] guarantees … that anyone who opposed the SRC funding "the 'Active Defence of Homosexuals' on campus" should not have to pay fees.
    The senators [refused]. …

    After a final year spent away from the political front … he was awarded one of the great scholarships of the world: two years at Oxford courtesy of the diamond-mining fortune of Empire loyalist Cecil Rhodes. …
    Winners must be scholars fond of sport who display
    [Moral] force of character and instincts to lead.

    Fathers and Son

    … Abbott came home in 1984 determined to give the priesthood a go. …
    Father Michael Kelly:
    He wanted to be Archbishop of Sydney. …

    Jane Vincent [Sister]
    We were all just horrified …
    [We] felt the priesthood was not the career for him. …
    [Politics is] what he's cut out for.
    It suits his character, and the way he's been brought up …
    [He's] exactly the right sort of person to be prime minister.

    Puppy Love: Canberra, 26 June 2012

    [Here were] two men are denouncing what they once supported: a price on carbon and an emissions trading scheme.
    [Greg] Hunt, the Opposition spokesman on climate change who wrote his final-year thesis at Melbourne University in 1990 on the benefits of countering global warming by taxing polluters.
    And … Abbott, whose support for emissions trading helped persuade John Howard his government should take that course.
    All that's changed is the politics.
    [Since becoming] leader of the Opposition Abbott has driven a scare campaign to convince us this tax will destroy the economy … with flair and immense determination. …
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    [The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] is one of the many organisations which is going to be damaged by the carbon tax. …
    The local CEO … tells us the carbon tax will cost the RSPCA $180,000 across Australia [ie 0.2% out of a national budget of $90 million. …]
    Over the next days, the RSPCA deals with a storm of criticism for taking part in this political exercise.
    Animal lovers are assured the RSPCA supports action on climate change.

  • Tony Abbott joins The 7.30 Report, ABC Television, 2 February 2010.

    Kerry O'Brien (1945):
    What, in your policy, would persuade polluting electricity generators not to build new coal fired power stations? …

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    Well, they can't increase their emissions intensity, because if they increase their emissions intensity, they'll face penalties …

    Kerry O'Brien (1945):
    But they don't face penalties, if they continue to pollute at the same level.

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    Businesses as usual … is not going to cost them more, because we don't want to put their prices up.
    Look, these so called nasty big polluters are the people that keep the lights on.
    I mean, let's not forget how essential these people are to the business of daily life.

    Kerry O'Brien (1945):
    They do keep the lights on, but they do pollute.

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    They [do] put out carbon. …
    But I think we have got to accept that carbon dioxide is an essential trace gas …

    Kerry O'Brien (1945):
    [You] told that audience in regional Victoria in October last year,
    The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.
    In other words, the only conclusion you draw from that is that you are saying,
    We have to have a climate change policy because the people believe it's a danger, but I believe it's crap.
    Tony Abbott (1957):
    [There] was a little bit of rhetorical hyperbole in there which does not represent my considered position.
    I am not as evangelical about this as Prime Minister Rudd is.
    I am not theological about this the way Prime Minister Rudd is, but I do think it's important [politically. …]

    Kerry O'Brien (1945):
    In the Parliament today you described the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme as a giant emissions trading scam.
    If so … it's a giant scam originally introduced by the Howard Government with you in his cabinet …

    Tony Abbott (1957):
    I think the world has moved on, particularly since Copenhagen. …
    The only person who hasn't moved on is Kevin Rudd. …
    I have [on the other hand, have] a clear and effective climate action plan …

  • Town of Beaufort changed Tony Abbott's view on climate change, The Australian, 12 December 2009.
    Stuart Rintoul.

    [Craig] Wilson's article [in the Pyrenee's Advocate quotes] Abbott as saying,
    The argument [for action on climate change] is absolute crap.
    However, the politics of this are tough for us.
    Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger. …
    Since his election as Liberal leader, Abbott has described his use of "crap" as
    [A] bit of hyperbole …
    [It is not my] considered position …
    It was said] in the context of a very heated discussion where I was attempting to argue people around to what I thought was then our position.
    In Beaufort, no one remembers the meeting as heated.
    [Liberal Party] Branch secretary Margaret Barling describes it as "a very happy night".
    Former mayor Robert Vance calls it a friendly gathering of like-minded people. …

    About midday, Abbott left Beaufort for Melbourne in a government car.
    On the way … he had the long phone conservation with [Nick] Minchin that crystallised his new thinking, after which he had decided that:
    The politics of this issue really had changed.

  • Climate sceptics have made their triumphant return, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 2009.
    Marian Wilkinson.

    As a member of Malcolm Turnbull's shadow cabinet [Tony] Abbott cheerfully championed the work of the prominent Australian climate sceptic Professor Ian Plimer.
    I think that in response to the IPCC alarmist — ah, in inverted commas — view, there've been quite a lot of other reputable scientific voices.
    Now not everyone agrees with Ian Plimer's position, but he is a highly credible scientist and he has written what seems like a very well-argued book refuting most of the claims of the climate catastrophists.

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