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What changed in Abbott/Gillard?

Tony Abbott is likely to be the next Prime Minister of Australia.  I think that Julia Gillard has not provided a successful substitute for the unfortunate Kevin Rudd. It’s an interesting and conflicted situation for me since I am a long-term Liberal Party supporter who sees a very poor Labor Government facing the prospects of defeat and yet I feel at best a mixed joy.  Its doubly mixed since I have long had an affection for both Abbott and Gillard. I have long thought Abbott was the most pragmatic and intelligent senior member of the Liberal Party.  I am fairly anti-religious but I liked his commitment to a core set of values that he was prepared to argue in parliament and the fact that he, at least in the past, would sit back and he would listen to an argument.  I liked Gillard because she was intelligent and could rise above politics and deal with the truth.

A turning point for me was a debate I watched between Gillard and Abbott on health reform that was held at University of Melbourne.  Abbott listened and Gillard argued in a non-polemical way for anticipatory policies dealing with chronic health conditions such as diabetes. I liked both approaches and felt this debate, admittedly in a university, was a worthwhile change from the usual pollie babble.  By a margin I gave the debate to Gillard – she was less political and polemical. But I ranked Abbott highly also.

Long since that debate both Gillard and Abbott have become leaders of their respective parties and both have become abusive, non-reflective monsters.  Both will lie and distort to put their opposition member in a bad light and neither displays the political sophisticated and intellectual intergrity each once showed.  Its a disappointing outcome.

 What happened? What changed and what detracted from their revealled intelligence?  Is their current behaviour is a stance forced on them by party mobsters that will be reversed if they gain power.  I almost hope it is although the implication for the outcome of any objective assessment of their individual current moral scruples  is poor.  Or did I just get it wrong in the first place? Was it just that on a narrower issues they sounded better?

6 comments to What changed in Abbott/Gillard?

  • conrad

    “Is their current behaviour a stance forced on them by party mobsters that will be reversed if they gain power”

    Surely the answer to the first half of this question is yes. Given what happened to Kruddy, I imagine that at least for Gillard, the second half of the question is probably yes for her also. Abbott would be more interesting to see.

  • Nick

    I think you got it wrong here Harry.

    Never been a fan of either myself.

    Kevin and Malcom have more going for them than either Julia or Tony imho.


  • Liz

    After watching qanda on abc, I beg to differ. Tony is going to have difficulty matching Julia’s it. It was refreshing to see the wit, humour, intelligence and humility displayed by Julia as she dealt with some difficult and often personal questions. Her diction was noticeably better, she has obviously had extensive coaching. The Liberal party made a big mistake when the got rid of the charismatic Malcolm Turnbull. We need a leader with vision to lead us into an world that has been dramatically changed by the rapid spread globalisation and new technologies, Abbot’s archaic views do not fit the bill.

  • derrida derider

    I think the odds are still that Labor will be returned, and at the time of writing the bookies agree. Still I think I’ll do my usual thing of betting the party I least like gets in, in order to buffer my unhappiness should that event occur (ie at least I’ll have won some money). You should put money on Labor, Harry.

    It’s an election. They bring out the worst in all pollies because swinging voters are differentially the worst part of the population – disengaged and facile. Be an economist Harry – to explain behaviour look to the incentives.

  • derrida derider

    PS I do agree with Liz that if the Libs had kept Turnbull they’d win this one easily.

  • Why is it that some blogs just seem to have it proper, many thanks for being so informative.

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