News

Tony Abbott: a ‘sharp pencil’ or an economic dumbo?

WHEN you introduce politics into a column, 50% of readers will be with you, 50% against you.

So it was not surprising I got a few complaints that I was being too tough on Tony Abbott in last week's article.

One person pointed out he was a Rhodes Scholar and therefore must be a sharp pencil.

Fair enough, but he's a bit of an enigma.

In his recent address at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, Abbott became the darling of the rich and famous when he said governments should stay out of people's lives and leave things to private enterprise.

Immediately he got home to Australia he announced that he was putting aside $20 million to provide couples with relationship counselling.

How's that for consistency?

So just how apt is the comment that as a Rhodes Scholar Abbott must be sharp?

Abbott's history is remarkable, to say the least.

He left Sydney University with a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Economics.

In the early 1980s as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he completed a Master of Arts in the philosophy, politics and economics course designed for people eyeing entry into political life or journalism.

He returned to Australia and jagged a journalism job at The Bulletin magazine, then The Australian before becoming Dr John Hewson's press secretary from 1990-1993.

In a 1994 by-election Abbott entered the Federal parliament.

Far from laying claim to being a proud economics graduate, Abbott can be judged by his comments to an assemblage of politicians, high flyers and prominent economists at a Melbourne Institute knees-up nearly three years ago.

In defence of his Direct Action scheme over the market-based approach to climate change favoured by the world's prominent economists he said: "Maybe that's a comment on the quality of our economists rather than the merits of argument."

In attendance was the now-boss of Treasury, senior economist Martin Parkinson.

In 2003 he said: "I have never been as excited about economics as some of my colleagues. I find economics is not for nothing known as the dismal science."

Clever words, but is there more to the man than a disdain for economists?

Celebrated academic economist, now Professor John Hewson, employed Abbott as his press secretary and speech writer in 1990.

Hewson later described Abbott as functionally "innumerate".

Former Treasurer Peter Costello described Abbott as a "DLP stooge and economic illiterate". Julia Gillard described Abbott as an "economic simpleton".

So what do you think? Sharp pencil or dumbo?

For the record, the DLP (Democratic Labor Party) was a Catholic party set up by the highly politicised Melbourne Archbishop Daniel Mannix and Catholic bigot Bob Santamaria in the 1950s.

What do you think about Tony Abbott?

This poll ended on 11 March 2014.

I think he's doing a good job under difficult circumstances - 18%

It's clear by now he has no idea - 66%

I'm still waiting to be pleasantly surprised - 5%

He's everything I expected, and then some - 9%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  bob lamont economics gladstone opinion tony abbott



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

'Not a pipe dream': Man wants to launch rockets from a Gladstone island

HOUSTON WE HAVE LIFT OFF: John Moody needs $2 million from the council to get his space centre off the ground.

Could Gladstone tap into new $6 billion industry?

'Refused': State MP says smelter had "ample” time to save jobs

Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher pins a white ribbon on Boyne Smelters General Manager Joe Rea at a community function.

Glenn Butcher says BSL were "rolling the dice” for past two years

Local Partners

GALLERY: Goondoon Street beginning to look great

Stage one of the Goondoon Street upgrade is almost complete.


New Year New Yard

Win $1000 Bunnings Voucher
Learn More

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Noll meltdown won't affect Gympie Oz Day concert

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

Shannon Noll is still expected to perform in Gympie next Thursday

11 huge events coming to Gladstone in the next 6 months

Events coming up in Gladstone in 2017.

Your guide to exciting events coming to the Gladstone region

J.K. Rowling writes through severe back pain

An aching back couldn't stop J.K. Rowling catching inspiration

Elsa voice actor's son hates Frozen

Idina Menzel's son "hates" his mother's most famous film 'Frozen'

Chrissy Teigen likes her "soft" stretch marks

Stretch marks are no problem for Chrissy Teigen

Naomie Harris in the dark over Daniel Craig's future as 007

Naomie Harris has no idea if Daniel Craig will be returning as 007

Songs that get Gladstone 'hot, sweaty and wild'.

Cold Chisel concert at Stockland Park, Kawana.
Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

What song gets Gladstone people "hot, sweaty and wild”?

REVIEW: Will Kasey Chambers' Dragonfly take off with fans?

Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly gets 3.5 stars from Cameron Adams.

CHAMBERS is back with her 11th studio album.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gladstone market's confidence coming back for 2017

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 16.7% to $275,000 in the September quarter.

Region's median house price drops 16.7% to $275,000

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!