Tony abbott

Who would risk being a government adviser?

Poor Tony Abbott. It would seem being prime minister of Australia doesn’t bring you to the attention of the British media. To come into its sights you must be put forward for a role as UK trade adviser. Then they will discover your existence and aim to destroy whatever reputation they didn’t know you had with the usual modern British charge-sheet. This time the charge was led by Kay Burley. The latest advertisements for her Sky television show boast that Burley is ‘always formidable, rigorous, fair, honest and searching’, among much else. Perhaps Burley hadn’t seen the advert. Certainly she displayed no such qualities when she discovered the existence of

The Australian way

 Sydney Most ordinary Australians are shocked that our immensely civilised country is reviled in polite society here and abroad, when the world has so many blatant human rights abusers. The latest accusation comes from a New York Times article complaining that our policies on asylum-seekers are harsh, insensitive, callous and even brutal, and urges European nations not to copy them. Yet the policies on border protection of Tony Abbott and John Howard before him should be a lesson to Britain. At the heart of the matter is a firm but fair post-war policy that mass migration is conditional on government control over ‘who comes to this country and the circumstances

What have you changed your mind about? A Spectator Christmas survey

Grayson Perry In 1992 I created a graphic novel called Cycle of Violence. Reading it now, the initially striking thing is that it predicts the rise of cycling culture in the UK and a working-class boy called Bradley winning the Tour de France. But it mainly reflected the state of my mind at the time — it contained a lot of perverted sex, dysfunctional parenting and mercilessly mocked the process of psychotherapy. In 1992 our daughter Flo had just been born and my wife Philippa seemed to have read every parenting book under the sun. Our house was full of the jargon and ideas associated with psychotherapy. Words and phrases

How to save Brexit

It’s pretty hard for Britain’s friends, here in Australia, to make sense of the mess that’s being made of Brexit. The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn’t seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it’s baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny. Let’s get one thing straight: a negotiation that you’re not

Australia at the crossroads

 Sydney For decades, Australia has been known as ‘the lucky country’. At the end of the world geographically, we are separated from the global troublespots by vast oceans. We have recorded 27 years of uninterrupted growth, partly because of a surge in exports of commodities to China. At the same time, our tough border protection policies boost public confidence in, as John Howard put it, ‘who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come’. As a result, our politics have not been profoundly affected by the kind of populist forces dismantling established parties across Europe. Nor have we witnessed an anti-globalisation backlash. Not for us any Trump-

The centre-right is failing world-wide – so what’s the secret of Cameron’s success?

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”James Forsyth and Isabel Hardman discuss the PM’s centre-right secret” startat=628] Listen [/audioplayer]There are times when Westminster’s obsession with US politics is embarrassing for even the strongest believer in the Anglo-American relationship. Monday was one of those days: MPs debated banning Donald Trump, the reality TV star turned presidential hopeful, from entering Britain. Leaving aside the illiberal absurdity of this, Trump hadn’t even said he was planning a visit. It was a pathetic attempt by MPs to insert themselves into the US presidential race. But what cannot be denied is the extent to which Trump is shaking up US politics. After the angry Republican primary and the failure

The Australian example

For many years, Australia has been turning away boats filled with migrants. From a remove, this looks cold–hearted — a nation built by immigrants showing no compassion for others who want a better life. But it is precisely because Australia is an immigrant nation that it understands the situation: if you let the boats land, more people come. People traffickers will be encouraged, migrants will be swindled, and their bodies will wash up on your shores. Any country serious about immigration needs a more effective and robust approach. Tony Abbott, the former Prime Minister of Australia, made that point clearly this week on a trip to London. Delivering the Margaret

The Spectator’s notes | 17 September 2015

When the Labour party began, its purpose was the representation of labour (i.e. workers) in the House of Commons. Indeed, its name was the Labour Representation Committee. Its goal was gradually achieved, and then, from the 1980s, gradually annihilated. With the victory of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader is supported by only 10 per cent of the party’s MPs, and yet it is imagined, at least by his backers, that he will eventually be able to get into government with them. It is an impossible situation. What is needed today is the opposite of how it all started — a Parliamentary Representation Committee in the Labour party. When the history of

Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has just been put to the sword. Here’s why

Australian conservatives just showed their prime minister all the mercy that a pack of hungry hyenas reserves for zebra prey on National Geographic. In a dramatic Liberal party-room leadership vote late this evening – morning in Britain – the former leader Malcolm Turnbull toppled the first-term prime minister in a 54-44 vote. It was done with a speed no one could have guessed 24 hours ago. Even more remarkably, Turnbull – a former merchant banker who was famous in Britain in the 1980s for the Spycatcher case — has become party leader (again). When Abbott himself knifed Turnbull in late 2009, no seasoned observer of Canberra politics had predicted a comeback. Now Turnbull

David Cameron must now lead a green Conservative government

Those on the left tend to think that British Conservatism is a derivative of US Republicanism. But environmental policy shows that it’s a far more pragmatic mix. The latest Conservative manifesto encompasses George W Bush’s marine conservation ambition and Obama’s selective interventions to raise the pace of clean technology innovation.  This partly reflects the fact that the environment is still a largely non-partisan issue in British politics, but also that Cameron has protected discreet space for Conservative modernisers to bring forward new green ideas. As one of them I’m pleased with the progress we’ve been able to make. The manifesto commits our party to making ‘almost every car a zero

Is Twitter about to claim its first prime ministerial scalp?

Within the next three hours, the seventeen-month reign of Australia’s conservative PM Tony Abbott may come to a crashing close, terminated not by policy differences but by populism and personality. Could Twitter be about to claim its first prime ministerial scalp? The contrasting characters of Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull could not have been more cunningly scripted had Jeffrey Archer invented them: one a staunch monarchist (whose act of awarding an Aussie knighthood to Prince Philip on Australia Day exactly two weeks ago led directly to this morning’s party room spill), the other the former frontman of the (failed) 1999 Republican referendum. One a fervent climate change sceptic (Mr Abbott

Removing Tony Abbott as Australian Prime Minister is pointless and reckless

In the latest issue of Spectator Australia, the leading article lambasts the Australian Liberal Party for trying to remove Prime Minister Tony Abbott: The determination by many in the media, even among conservatives, to hasten the demise of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership is as pointless as it is reckless. Pointless not because they will or they won’t succeed, but pointless because such an outcome would merely herald the beginning, rather than the end, of a long period of Coalition instability and in-fighting. Make no mistake: it is not Tony Abbott the man who is deeply unpopular (although his poll figures are, at present, nothing to write home about). It is the measures he

Tony Abbott is no common sense speaking politician — just look at his comments on ISIL

Wow. Anyone who still harboured the idea that Australia was led by no-nonsense, common sense speaking politicians should look away now. Here is Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, talking about the motivations of the man who held a shop full of people hostage earlier this week and then murdered two of them: ‘The point I keep making is that the ISIL death cult has nothing to do with any religion, any real religion. It has nothing to do with any particular community. It is something to which sick individuals succumb.’ That is right, ladies and gentlemen. If you or I suffer from a seasonal cold this winter we must

The Spectator correctly predicted that Australia would regain the Ashes

Australia have regained the Ashes, much to the dismay of the British side. But did the Spectator’s Australian edition predict this might happen months ago? Here’s Terry Barnes’s piece from August, in which he suggested that Australian cricket does well under a Conservative government, and terrible under a Labor one.    So the Australian Test cricket team licks its wounds after yet another disastrous Ashes series in which its top-order batting was too brittle and its bowling lacked sufficient penetration. What’s been overlooked, however, is that the crash in Australia’s Test fortunes since December 2007 coincides with the disastrous Labor tenures of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Tellingly, Australia’s greatest postwar Test glory

Australia’s Tony Abbott has made history by abolishing the hated carbon tax

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom down under held that Tony Abbott and his centre-right Liberal Party were crazy to oppose the notion of carbon pricing. The view was so commonplace among Canberra press gallery pundits that it seemed reckless to contradict it. Those were the days, remember, when global warming alarmism was all the rage around the western world. From Sydney to Southampton, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was a blockbuster. An Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, had declared that climate change was the world’s ‘greatest moral challenge.’ Nigel Lawson’s book, An Appeal to Reason, was rejected by every British publisher, to whom it was submitted. As one

Tony Abbott fights the good fight for aborigines’ rights

The status of aborigines in Australia has, to be frank, hardly crossed my radar until now. But that was before I met Tanya Hosch, a representative of the community who’s over here right now campaigning for them to get an honourable mention in the Australian constitution. ‘We just want to be acknowledged in the country’s foundational document,’ she says. ‘It really would make a difference to the way we feel that others see us.’ Australians, it seems, regard their constitution as a bit of a workhorse, clarifying various aspects of life without any of the grander aspirations of the US constitution. Most of them aren’t really aware that aborigines are

Tony Abbott, the Prime ‘Nerd’ of Australia

There are two types of Australian male: the ‘julios’, a modern import who likes soft drinks and hair product, and the ‘nerds’, the traditional breed who like beer and Sheilas. Tony Abbott is a nerd. On his recent visit to America, Abbott could not have done less to counter national stereotypes. The customised surfboard he gave to ‘the dude-in-chief’, President Obama, could only have been bettered in the nerds’ catalogue by a crate of 4X and a cork hat. Mr S is looking forward to the White House releasing pictures of the board in action.

Andrew Neil: Letter from Australia

No rest for the wicked. We touch down before dawn in Sydney after a 22-hour flight and by 7 a.m. I’m live on radio 2GB with Alan Jones. I’m aware talk radio is big in Australia — as you’d expect in a country full of refreshingly forthright people — and Mr Jones’s breakfast show is one of the biggest. Predictably, talk turns to the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Aussie commentators are a bit sheepish about it all. Only 15 years ago, supposedly informed opinion, on the left and the right, confidently predicted that Australia would be a 21st-century republic. They were confounded — disgusted, even — when

The Royal Family beats Australia’s dreary political class hands down

Only a few hours before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed in Sydney for the start of their much-hyped royal Australian visit, Barry O’Farrell, the popular Premier of New South Wales, stunned the nation by resigning. His reason? He couldn’t remember having quaffed a bottle of wine. (No ordinary wine, mind you, but a bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange, valued at around GBP 1,700.) In years to come, no doubt among Barry’s many regrets will be the fact that he didn’t get to hob nob on the harbour with the glam royal couple. A timely coincidence, because what links these two events goes to the heart of why Australia’s

Tony Abbott should lobby David Cameron about the UK’s absurd immigration rules

Sydney – Mr Cameron resisted the calls to boycott the [Commonwealth Heads of Government] summit and will therefore have a chance to meet and have talks with Tony Abbott, who also said this week that he would not ‘trash’ the institution by joining in a boycott, and nor would he give lectures to other countries, especially those that had endured a civil war with atrocities on both sides. This can only be a good thing from Mr Cameron’s point of view, for he seems to go out of his way to avoid meeting genuine conservatives when at home, and he may learn something. Mr Abbott should use the opportunity to lobby Mr