Boring is good in government
SHOCK! Horror! Hold the front page! The Abbott Government’s doing, er, an OK job! Yes, I know that’s not a sexy, eye-popping headline, but that’s the problem with news these days. Thanks largely to the endless adrenalin rush of social media we have become hooked on endless explosive headlines.
So a story that says something like “Since last year, the Abbott Government has opened livestock export markets with Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Cambodia, Thailand, Lebanon and China” is unlikely to grab your attention. Yet it’s true, and it stands in stark contrast – particularly if you happen to be in the live-cattle export market – to the abysmal performance of the Gillard government, which shut down a $100 million industry because some frightbat at the ABC told them to.
So how, two years in, is the Abbott Government really doing? Its failures are largely confected – “Shock! Tony Abbott winks at a Nazi onion!” – or a result of the appallingly irresponsible Labor/ Greens/independent senators blocking every sensible move to rein in our Rudd/Gillard/Swaninduced spending spree.
The Government’s successes, on the other hand, break down into two categories: the dramatic and the dull-as-dishwater.
In the dramatic camp there is one clear winner – a knockout success virtually unparalleled in our political history. That is, of course, “stopping the boats”. It’s easy to forget the vitriol, the scorn and derision heaped on Tony Abbott during his time in opposition for his firm, unequivocal commitment to close down the peoplesmuggling business.
I can’t begin to recount the number of chat shows I sat on where sneering lefties and Labor politicians would lecture me with patronising authority that the boats could never be stopped or turned around, that it was evil to do so anyway, and that the policy prescriptions would never work.
They were wrong and have never bothered to apologise for the deaths at sea that resulted from their stubborn refusal to acknowledge what is now a universal truth – if you open your borders, people from crap parts of the world will flock to them, many dying in the process.
There are a couple of other dramatic successes – the free-trade deals that will open a host of new markets to our small and large businesses and entrepreneurs.
And of course scrapping Gillard’s ineffectual carbon tax has been a real plus for households and businesses alike. Interestingly, Abbott’s “direct action” is doing a far better job for far less money. There’s also his unblinking approach to the world’s bad guys – predominantly ISIS and Vladimir Putin – that puts him at odds with most of the world’s spineless, cringing Chamberlainesque leaders.
After that, the successes vary from the bland and boring to the downright snooze-inducing. But that’s the point about good government (or at least it should be): it’s boring.
More than a third of a million new jobs have been created. Our annual rate of growth is the fastest it’s been in four years. Job participation is up, and the female participation rate is now at its highest in decades. The growth in tourism spending is at its strongest since the Olympics. We’ve got the highest number of new business creations ever recorded. All these are actually more important to your children’s future living standards than whether Bronwyn Bishop hopped in a chopper.
There’s a raft of other tedious facts and figures, all of which demonstrate a government methodically trying to tackle the small but important issues that make the difference to our everyday lives, whether it be the “no jab, no pay” legislation to protect kids from the morons who don’t vaccinate, or the “nanny” trial that helps rural communities and shift workers get childcare.
Happy second birthday, Abbott Government. Keep up the good, but unbelievably boring, work.