Thursday, May 13, 2010

In which the Leader of the Opposition replies to the Budget

It was hard, particularly as the radio was on in the car on a shopping expedition so I only caught bits of it, to concentrate on what was actually being said in Tony Abbott's formal reply to last night's Federal Budget. I did take in the unrelenting negativity, and pick up a few linguistic infelicities (the misuse of 'shirk', for example, and the weird construction 'class war envy', which suggested to me that Abbott isn't especially familiar with either 'class war' or 'class envy' as concepts) and a number of clichés ('crystal clear') and tedious catch-phrases: is 'Great Big New Tax' already even more annoying than 'Working Families'? You decide. Why oh why, etc.

[UPDATE: two other things I've just remembered:

1) This gobsmacking moment when Abbott talks about health care as though it were just another for-profit commodity whose providers' profits should be protected as a top priority:
More GP “super clinics” sound like a good idea too except that 36 were promised at the last election and only two are actually operational. In fact, fee-for-service under Medicare has already produced hundreds of private sector equivalents and these don’t deserve unfair competition from government-funded rivals. (From here),

2) the disgraceful, repetitive, harping dog-whistling about China, a country that of course everybody knows you can't trust, because they're, you know, Chinese, and communists, and anyway Kevin knows a lot about them and can talk to them in a language that real Australians don't understand, so that must be really bad, right? I mean, who knows what he's saying to them?]

In any case, I was constantly distracted from the substance of the speech, such as it was, by the voice delivering it. As a child of the twentieth century and indeed a direct product of the Second World War, I tend to react quite badly to nasal, high-pitched, hectoring, aggressive, negative, bludgeoning male politicians' voices. They remind me of something I can't quite put my finger on.


Bernice said...

I bet he'd call you Mrs Goldsworthy too.

headbang8 said...

"They remind me of something I can't quite put my finger on."

Billy Hughes, perhaps?

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Bernice, nothing would surprise me.

headbang8, touché.

Helen said...

I wouldn't want to put my finger on him. Ew.

nasal, high-pitched, hectoring, aggressive, negative, bludgeoning male politicians' voices.


Chris Grealy said...

Well spoken. Abbott managed to complain that a) The Government has only been able to build 2 Super GP clinics in two and a half years, and b) They shouldn't build any more.

Labor brought a lot of good policy to the 2007 campaign, and the Health policy was, and I think remains, excellent. The thing that I always bear in mind with regards to private health providers is - they are only there to make a profit. If your particular ailment is uneconomical to treat, then it's off to the public system for you, regardless of how much insurance you might think you have.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, Kerryn, call down the curse of Godwin. With any luck it will make TA vanish in a puff of sulphur

Lord Sedgwick said...

Substance aside (and there was precious little of that) he is really NOT good at reading speeches. Most of his set piece presentations are lacking in emotion and at times quite stumblebummed - not a good sound for an alleged 'conviction politician' - whatever that is supposed to mean, and I want most politicians convicted!

Ampersand Duck said...

Heh. You leapt straight to Godwin's Law without even waiting for the trolls.


Mindy said...

On ABC2 this morning I was surprised to hear them say that TA was long on rhetoric and short of anything actually meaning something. They also said that while Rudd is on the nose, people aren't yet turning to TA because they aren't willing to risk it.

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the cunning plan here. Abbott avoided any credible response to the Government's Budget (which, silly me, I thought a Budget Reply would be) and has deferred to Joe Hockey next Wednesday to put the gutz into the gutless (love the new widespread usage of this word) Budget "reply". Since Parliament is not sitting next week they avoid the kind of scrutiny they deserve, as we know they won't receive any adequate scruting from the media. (Please Kerryn excuse my tortured language - it's embarassing to use it on this site!)

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Au contraire, I think 'scruting' is a truly magnificent word. If the g is a typo for the y, then that just makes is serendipitous as well as magnificent.

Nigel said...

I turned him off after 90 seconds. He just reminds me of the kid in class who knows absolutely nothing but is so very, very keen to be popular. Not interested (or interesting).

Plus there's the whole proposal to defund renewable energy projects. I mean, what planet is the Mad Monk actually from?

Anonymous said...

"nasal, high-pitched, hectoring, aggressive, negative, bludgeoning male politicians' voices"

What it reminds you of is every male voice from the 1950s telling what you should not do or think or aspire to or say because you are a gerl.

There is an equivalent female voice, also.

cristy said...

I didn't watch it. Couldn't bear to. However, my father who is an economist and a life time Labor supporter did and claimed TA was making a lot of sense... This worried me.

Dad is pretty sensible and I imagine it means that whatever TA said (or intimated, perhaps?) will get a lot of economically conservative types onboard (and I don't mean those that are already longterm Liberal voters, but rather those that feel that the Rudd government has let us all down on do many fronts that they are no longer worth supporting).