Abbott reached the stratosphere of uninspiring shopkeeper today, in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his ideological hero Howard. In his marquee speech at the launch of the Coalitions campaign, Abbott showed that he does not have an original positive idea in his head. It was a speech high on negativity, missing an alternate vision laying out where the country would go under an Abbott government. The speech was full of ‘back to the Howard future ‘, of small government, retiring debt and stopping the arrival of people smuggler boats. Small government here seemingly means more public funding of the private sector, reduced public services and a return to the worst of Howard’s neo-con socio-economic agenda. The second point Labor’s debt is a play from the conservative handbook promoting a narrative that perpetuates a myth that they are better economic managers. Lastly, the boats again fear of the other, playing to an inherent insecurity Australians have about ownership of this land, which Menzies effectively played on in maintaining his power in the 1950s and 1980s.
Our future does not lay with the conservative’s retro-view of life, but in pursuing a vision that better suite who Australia aspires to be.