Thursday, August 26, 2010

Abbott Reverts To Type

Two days after publicly calling for a "kinder, gentler polity" approach to politics, Tony Abbott has shown his true colours. He has gone hard against some of the requests of the Independents, whose support he wants to become Prime Minister. It's the hard-ball political bully many people believe him to be.

In particular, he is refusing to submit any Coalition policies to treasury for funding. Instead, he has offered access to the report from the accounting firm WHK Horwath. The firm has significant links to the Liberal Party through the family of former Liberal WA Premier Sir Charles Court, & his family. The firm has a significant conflict of interest, not declared by Abbott. At the same time, he has also claimed that treasury costings of Opposition policies will damage our Westminster system of democracy. Well, I hope you recognise that as poppycock; a distractor from the real issue of Treasury costings which he clearly does not want.

If the Independents are to adequately compare the costings of both Labor & the Coalition, the costings should be done by Treasury. It means that the same methodology & measurements will be used, giving a comparison that is more reliable.

Abbott is a formidable politician,  and he's trying to publicly stare down the Independents. But they, too, are hardened politicians, especially Bob Katter and Tony Windsor, and they will not resile form a political dog-fight, if that is what Abbott wants. If they hold out and say 'no deal', Abbott will have to find a way to save face.

Abbott is risking much with this anti-Treasury stance: antagonising the Independents, and antagonising the very Treasury that he needs, IF he becomes Prime Minister.