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Friday, March 22, 2013

Liberals threaten Tony Abbott on trade

Simon Benson and Tim Vollmer The Daily Telegraph August 31, 2011

SENIOR Liberal frontbenchers have privately threatened to withdraw support for Tony Abbott if he continued down a "protectionist" economic policy agenda.

The warning came after a keynote economic speech where the Opposition Leader appeared to hedge his bets on a commitment to free trade, and promised to protect jobs in the ailing manufacturing industry.

A senior Liberal source said there had been a flurry of phone calls following the speech, expressing concern about the mixed messages Mr Abbott was sending.

They fear the Liberal Party's economic credibility is on the line if Mr Abbott did not start articulating a strong economic argument, which also meant tackling the "elephant in the Liberal Party room" of industrial relations and labour market practices.

One frontbencher, an Abbott supporter, said they would have to "pull the pin" on Mr Abbott if some "sense" wasn't re-established in the Coalition party room - a reference to the National Party's Barnaby Joyce having too much say in the joint party room. (Read more ...)

Abbott lines up with left-wing union on protectionism

Chris Berg The Sydney Morning Herald August 14, 2011

The Coalition's position on anti-dumping laws is part of a worrying trend.

RARELY does the federal opposition line up with the Australian Workers' Union on economic policy but that's where they are on free trade. Unfortunately, the nominally market-orientated Coalition is playing fast and loose with one of its core philosophies. (Read more ...)

Abbott must spell out policies


The parliamentary vote on legislation to abolish Wheat Exports Australia has cast the Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott in a role which it should never play – that of opposing deregulation. Instead the Labor Party has forced the bill, which abolishes the authority and its small levy on wheat, through the House of Representatives against Liberal and Nationals party opposition. The bill is now expected to pass the Senate.

Although their position was not to halt deregulation, only delay it and retain certain safeguards, this is a sad day indeed for the Liberals. The party should never be seen on the side of protectionism, even when that protectionism was a shadow of its former self. The Liberals’ opposition to the bill also highlights the broader question of Mr Abbott’s failure to articulate his policies. What exactly does he stand for? (Read more ...)

Abbott stuns WA wheat growers with experience claims

October 29, 2012

Western Australian farmers are stunned over Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s claims that the WA wheat industry remains divided over the issue of deregulation...

“It is incredulous that Tony Abbott and his Federal Liberal cohorts continue to make the case for collectivised wheat marketing by taking their advice from those ‘senior and experienced wheat growers’ who fully supported the activities of the corrupt Australian Wheat Board rather than listening to those growers who simply want to exercise free choice in the sale of their product,” PGA Western Grain Growers Chairman, John Snooke said.

“He now diminishes and refuses to listen to the same growers whose advice he ... desperately sought when, under Brendan Nelson’s leadership, the Liberals broke free from the Nationals and voted to begin the process of deregulation.”
“It would appear that the Liberal Party’s short holiday from the protectionist policies of the Nationals is truly over and their brief flirtation with supporting a free market for wheat is at an end.”

“One has to wonder whether this refusal by Mr Abbott to allow the Liberals to stand up against the Nationals on a simple issue like wheat deregulation is an indication of things to come if the Coalition ever forms Government.” (Read more ...)

Coalition conflicts clear between the lines

Dennis Atkins From: The Courier-Mail December 08, 2012

"Turnbull says any commitment to freedom [by some forces in the Coalition] was overshadowed by a willingness to transfer the private property of farmers and miners to feather-bed manufacturers through tariffs..."
Malcolm Turnbull launched The Modest Member: The Life and Times of Bert Kelly, a biography by author and polemicist Hal Colebatch this week and gave us some coded insights into the forces that would be at play if a Tony Abbott-led Coalition is in government this time next year.

Turnbull was, of course, talking about one of the Liberal Party's great anti-protectionists, the late South Australian farmer and politician Bert Kelly, who was first elected to federal Parliament in 1958.

Kelly was a free trader who devoted his political life to the causes of consumer rights and open markets, neither of which were in vogue in post-war Australia when the self-interested policies of strong-willed conservatives such as the Country Party's John "Black Jack" McEwen held sway.

The lesson Turnbull takes from Kelly's policy advocacy is to warn his colleagues that not all "opponents of freedom - economic, social, political - are only to be found on what we like to call the left" and people pushing for "big government" are often found on the right of the spectrum.

Political watchers who like reading between the lines will not miss the coded message in Turnbull's speech.

Abbott's handout proclivity, which is best illustrated by his generous parental leave scheme, might meet some resistance in a Cabinet containing Turnbull and Hockey. As Turnbull said recently he will be in Cabinet, if people vote for Tony Abbott. His Bert Kelly speech told us a little of what's behind that promise. (Read more ...)

Peter Costello demands Julia Gillard axe advert

KATE LEGGE | The Australian | August 10, 2010

PETER Costello yesterday sought to cleanse his criticism of Tony Abbott's economic credentials from the public record....

Mr Costello's dim view of Mr Abbott is set out at length in the former treasurer's memoirs published in 2008.

"Never one to be held back by the financial consequences of his decisions, he had grandiose plans for public expenditure," Mr Costello wrote of Mr Abbott.

He then lists the projects Mr Abbott wanted the commonwealth to fund. ...

"He used to tell me proudly that he had learned all of his economics at the feet of Bob Santamaria," Mr Costello revealed in his book. "I was horrified. ..." (Read more ...)

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