Tony Abbott is not afraid to hide the fact he has a particular vision for the kind of society Australia should be - and feels he has a mandate to achieveit. He might well agree with the words of former American President George W. Bush: “You are either with us, or against us.”
Abbott recently hosted a media party at the Prime Minister’s residence in Canberra. Invited were journalists and commentators such as Piers Akerman, Janet Albrechtsen and Miranda Devine, all resolute pumpers of the Abbott message during the election campaign. In fact News Corp was overwhelmingly represented while the ABC was absent.
The lopsided guest list was an accurate reflection of the Abbott philosophy. “There tends to be an ABC view of the world, and it’s not a view of the world that I find myself in total sympathy with,” he was quoted as saying.
“But others would say there’s a News Limited view of the world.”
After more than four decades of reporting on election campaigns in several different countries I have become heartily sick of the routine victory speech by winning leader in which they say they intend to govern for all, including those who opposed them.
It is a ritualistic reaching out to defeated opponents which means nothing and is forgotten after election night; the first election promise to be broken. Governments govern for their supporters, for the policies and philosophies they espouse and those who don’t like it can go hang. If there is any compromise, it will be forced upon them by political realities – such as in Australia’s case, a hostile Senate.
The Abbott Government will not be governing for people who want curbs on fossil fuel mining; who want a moratorium on logging in old growth forests; who want a continuation of the carbon tax or its replacement with an emissions trading scheme.
He will not govern for those who want a super-fast fibre optic broadband system; cheaper tertiary education or an increase in overseas aid; not for the supporters of Sea Shepherd, those who believe Australia should have a fast train network rather than more roads, or for those who believe gay people should have exactly the same right as heterosexuals to marry.
But none of this will matter because he will lead a Government for the people who voted for him and will be doing his level best to make sure they get as much as he can give them to keep them happy between now and the next election.
It is the way all Governments have played the game since Federation. In many ways it is an inevitable part of any democratic system.
At least Tony Abbott has the courage to admit it.