Campbell Newman, and the coming reign of Abbottism I

In the wake of Queensland Labor’s epic defeat, I’ve been having a number of interesting conversations with friends and comrades about what it all means.

Those chats have not been about where the ALP and Anna Bligh went wrong. I distrust instant analysis, and I think it’s worth reflecting further on what was by any scale an event without adding to the attempts of the commentariat to reinscribe something actually significant into their normal narrative.

There is no doubt that there is significant disorientation and disorganisation on the left, and fracture lines around gender and class (also reflected obliquely in the Gillard v. Rudd Wars, as well as more directly in the tension between Labor and Greens) are at play.

It’s more important, though, to note that Campbell Newman, with his disdain for process, his early embrace of culture wars, his combative temper, and his perverse decision to deny funding to a major solar project on the grounds that the federal government had a carbon price (while later signalling a challenge to the legislation itself) represents the first wave of real Abbottism to hit the nation.

It would be a mistake for those outside Queensland to dismiss all this, and what occurred on March 24, as merely some particularity or peculiarity of Quinceland politics (though it is partly that). In reflecting on what has occurred, I’ve heard many say that our own complacency, our own incorporation into structures of governance, our own obsession with micro-differences on the left, our own sense of blocked forward movement: all contributed to this event.

We lack solidarity and we lack a sense of meaning in politics, and often, a failure to relate our lived experience to political economy as well as cultural politics is telling.

I will have much more to say, but let this be said: if our friends and comrades down South regard Queensland as an island, that in itself will be a major contributor to the Newman/Abbott project’s success nationwide. Tony Abbott is Campbell Newman for PM, and that should spur action, and shatter illusions.

More to come.

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4 Responses to Campbell Newman, and the coming reign of Abbottism I

  1. Interesting.

    Yet… would you have predicted Abbott’s more generous parental leave scheme or nanny scheme? (In hindsight you will label it a cynical attempt to buy votes, yada yada yada but there’s no way in hell anyone saw it coming).

    Abbott, although I most probably won’t be voting for him, will not be the devil that has been predicted. If you look at his political career he has always gained the loyalty and respect of anyone who has worked under him. No one ever seems to leak behind the bloke’s back. There’s a man behind the caricature that nearly everybody who knows him warms to, partly because when entrusted with real responsibility he is actually quite pragmatic.

    The carbon tax is something that needs to happen hence why my vote will almost certainly be for Labor.

  2. gmhendo says:

    Why so bleak? It has not happened yet – Abbott I mean. And while it is clearly possible, I think a lot of LNP voters are especially uncomfortable with Abbott as PM. Turnbull yes, but Abbott no. Stranger things might have happened: what would have followed if Latham made it to PM?

    Anna Bligh took hold of a tainted challice. Her election victory was significantly due to a lack of opposition. She then blew it lying about asset sales and overseeing a cabinet brimming with fools. And she spun our socks off, wating all government credibility. Queensland voters rightly retired her government in favour of the Newman led LNP.
    Give Newman some opportunity to perform well – he might achieve a good outcome for all citizens, whatever political preferences might be held. It is not yet time to call the outcome in such dismal terms.
    As far as some alter-ego relationship twixt Newman & Abbott – I think Newman might stop short of that – let us hope anyway.

  3. gmhendo says:

    typo – “…wasting all government credibility.

  4. Eric says:

    Spot on Kim. Queensland left really needs to get together locally and re-build, lets face it and actually deal with it, because Do Nothing Newman and his mob of far right religious nutcases are gonna set the bar for Abbott to jump over, for sure.

    “JEFF SEENEY: I wonder about why UNESCO needs to be involved at all. To suggest that we have to inform them is something that doesn’t sit easily with me. I think Queensland is a state on its own, Australia is a sovereign country and we have all of the capabilities that are required to administer our development and our own environment.” http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3476089.htm?site=sydney

    Oh yeah, these people are just really nice sensible evenhanded guys, Newmans tunnels are not bankcrupt, hey give ’em all a chance, Abbott is really an OK nice bloke as well, you know people really love him really really, he’s gonna be really really nice to Nanny, honestly you lefty doom sayers.

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