Australian voters have made their choice. A long stretch of politically correct social democracy has ended and a new conservative era is beginning. The incoming prime minister is quite a character. From British newspaper The Telegraph:
Conservative leader Tony Abbott has celebrated a landslide victory in Australia’s general election, after reducing the Labour Party to its worst result in a century with promises of tough action against immigrants and scrapping a tax on carbon emissions. The 55-year-old British-born former student boxer was long regarded as unelectable even by some of his own ranks and struggled to connect with voters, particularly women, thanks to sometimes abrasive style.
It might be a good idea for all politicians who aspire to be leaders to practice some sort of martial art. It helps build your character, makes you mentally better prepared to meet difficulties and challenges – and it vastly boosts your overall confidence. Best of all: it elevates self esteem over cockiness.
What today’s politically correct media perceive as “abrasive” character traits are often expressions of confidence and strong self esteem, nothing else.
With confidence and self esteem comes ideological fervor. Tony Abbott seems to have that:
Mr Abbott, an Oxford-educated father of three, delivered a solemn and restrained victory speech to a cheering crowd in Sydney, declaring that “Australia is under new management and once again open for business.” … Bob Hawke, Labour’s former popular prime minister, said the party had suffered “a devastating result”. … An outgoing Labour minister, Stephen Smith, admitted: “Tony has been very disciplined. He will now have members of the Liberal party who will want to see an ideological approach. He will have to be careful.”
Apparently he has already shown some ideological fortitude:
In opposition, Mr Abbott led four years of blistering attacks on Labour, deploying effective three-word slogans such as “great big tax” and “stop the boats” to target the government’s carbon tax, mining tax and its softer stance on asylum seekers. He has pledged to reduce foreign aid, to pay rewards to young unemployed people who find work and plans to travel to an Aboriginal community for a week each year to govern from the outback.
That is a very interesting idea. I’d like to see the U.S. president spend a week with a Native tribe on Alaska’s North Slope. That aside, though, he is the first political leader in a major industrialized country to seriously take on the ridiculous “green house” taxes that the falsified global warming “research” has given us. This could be a source of inspiration for other political vertebrates.
Back to The Telegraph:
With the economy beginning to slow after a minerals boom that defied the global recession, he has pledged to lower the deficit, cut red tape, lower taxes and reduce the size of government. Mr Abbott also intends to adopt a military approach to stem the flow of boat people, including using the navy to turnaround asylum seekers and expanding Labour’s plan to deport all boat people to remote Pacific islands. A staunch conservative and devout Catholic with a strong commitment to social justice, he opposes same sex marriage, supports the monarchy and has expressed concerns about abortion. But, as opposition leader, he has largely restrained his more conservative impulses and has instead demonstrated a willingness to confer with colleagues and to moderate his views.
Lead by example, not by dictate. That is a good principle for social issues. As for the economy, it is absolutely critical that Abbott’s administration combines tax cuts with spending cuts, or else he will end up in the European trap.
But even this liberty-minded man has been shaped by the machine that is modern politics. After appearing at a rally against a green-house tax where Australia’s former female prime minister was depicted as “the Bitch”, Tony Abbott has fallen for the temptation to bribe voters with taxpayers’ money:
Mr Abbott has sought to soften his image and has pledged to introduce one of the world’s most generous parental leave schemes. He has frequently appeared during the campaign alongside his wife, Margie, and two younger daughters, Frances, 22, and Bridget, 20.
That said, I still like this guy:
Many Australians appear to accept that Mr Abbott has changed – or grown up. “In Abbott’s younger days, even by his own admission, he wasn’t always a gentleman,” wrote a political commentator, Peter van Onselen, in The Australian. … He later confessed that he once pleaded guilty after being caught trying to “bend over a street sign in a test of strength with a fellow student” – a conviction was not recorded. He proceeded as a Rhodes Scholar to Queen’s College, Oxford, where he was persuaded after a heavy drinking session to take up boxing. He won all four of his heavyweight bouts. His boxing style, according to a sparring partner, was neither attractive nor predictable but it reveals much of the tenacity and discipline which has helped him to Australia’s top job. “Tony used to club them into submission,” a fellow boxer recalled years later. “He waded in and just kept punching until the point of exhaustion.” As opposition leader, Mr Abbott never flinched as his pugnacious style helped bring successive leaders to their knees.
In short: it’s cool to be a man again. And conservative.