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Abbott in denial over broken promises

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Tony Abbott denies being untrustworthy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott defends the Budget, claiming it is "fundamentally honest". Nine News.

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Phase one of Tony Abbott’s strategy to sell the budget is to deny, point blank, that it is based on the deceit of broken promises made before last year’s election.

More than that, it is to assert – again point blank – that there were no broken promises and, in effect, that black is white.

''I stand by what I said before the election!'' a defiant Prime Minister told an incredulous opposition after an attack that was anticipated from the moment Joe Hockey delivered his speech on Tuesday.

After eight questions demanded an explanation for the ''deceit'' of the jobless, motorists, the sick, the states and families, Bill Shorten asked Abbott to ''look Australians in the eye and apologise for his lies''.

After the question was rephrased using parliamentary language, an utterly unfazed and confident Abbott simply dismissed the Labor leader as ''all politics, no policy; all complaint, no solutions''.

When Shorten followed with one final attempt to extract contrition, an unbowed Abbott replied: ''You know what the Australian people were looking for in the election last year? After six years of dysfunction, the people of Australia were looking for some leadership.''

Behind the bravado was the conviction that Tuesday’s budget would be for this government what Peter Costello’s 1996 effort was for John Howard’s administration – tough medicine that would set him up for a decade or so in power.

Yes, Abbott has factored in some short-term unpopularity, and admitted as much on commercial radio, but he is convinced the bad news in the budget will ultimately be accepted as the hard but fair decisions the country needs.

The backlash, reflected in pre-budget polls informed by leaks of the deficit levy and fuel excise increase, continued on talkback radio and social media.

An analysis of 120 talkback calls by iSentia found 68 were unfavourable, 35 neutral and only 18 supportive. The budget’s big positives, the medical research fund and new spending on roads, had zero cut-through, says iSentia’s Patrick Baume.

Favourable calls focused on it being a responsible budget that was needed to clean up ''Labor’s mess'' – the message Abbott and Hockey have pushed for months. The hostile ones homed in on the broken promises and the impact some measures would have on the vulnerable.

It is early days, but the one-dimensional formula that Abbott developed in opposition to tear down Julia Gillard is unlikely to work as well for Shorten, assuming he intends to replicate it. His task begins with Thursday’s budget reply.

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163 comments

  • His does a government that only looks after the top 1%, get into power in a democracy?

    Commenter
    Casa
    Date and time
    May 15, 2014, 8:03AM
    • Form a "coalition" with the media group that controls 70% of print, 100% of pay TV and has like minded friends running two FTA TV stations.

      Commenter
      Paul
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:04AM
    • @casa He got in by telling lies. Don't worry, in time he will pay. Even the many people that voted for this lightweight will realise he's an empty liar by now and will also make him pay at the next election. The suppository of wisdom is destined for one term.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:06AM
    • Hear, hear.

      This guy is the George Bush of Australian Politics. Once he is gone, good luck trying to re elect the Liberal party. People will never trust them again.

      Same thing every time.. before the election - trust us, health and education and the ABC will be safe. Then after the election... every single time. And people are dumb enough to believe them.

      It's time Bill Shorten started calling them the worst government ever.

      Commenter
      Shaun
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:12AM
    • Backed by a media behemoth, bankrolled by big business, ethics optional. You can do it too if you have the resources.

      Commenter
      mary
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:14AM
    • By lying......

      Commenter
      snifferdog
      Location
      Victoria
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:19AM
    • Abbott is swimming in that river in Egypt.

      Commenter
      Good Logic
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:26AM
    • The Big Lie - Abbott's strategy
      Htler from "Mein Kampf"
      "...in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

      Commenter
      rod steiger
      Location
      toukley
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:35AM
    • Thats an easy one Casa.

      They lie and lie and lie and lie.......

      Then deny and deny and deny...

      And wait for their paid up defenders and media trolls and owners to justify it all for them.

      Commenter
      mirrorsofsmoke
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 9:36AM
    • By lying and whingeing. Most comments only focus on the lying, but tapping into the great Aussie pastime of whingeing was equally as important. I think that will be proven in the coming months. Australians may have swallowed the lies about good governance being bad governance, but it's a totally different (and impossible?) trick to make them believe bad governance is really good governance.

      Commenter
      isteve
      Date and time
      May 15, 2014, 10:28AM

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