Albanese’s perverse problem

by ERIC ABETZ – AUSTRALIA’S first term Labor Government is wishing and hoping that 2024 will bring with it a new start. 

They say a new broom sweeps clean. Most of us hope a new year will do the same. 

Having finished 2023 in a degree of mayhem – from an overseas absentee Prime Minister, a spectacularly failed referendum, a population facing very genuine cost of living pressures, with an energy policy (if that is what it can be called) in disarray and soaring energy costs, together with an inept handling of asylum seeker issues – it was little surprise to see the government beginning to struggle in the polls. 

The PM needs to do more than splash pre-election cash. Dejected Australians are expecting a wholesale attitude change.
Eric Abetz
Former Federal Senator

The post-election honeymoon was well and truly over by the end of 2023, and the government’s task in 2024 is to rekindle the romance it once enjoyed with the Australian people.


Rekindling romances will take more than the splashing around of money as pre-election sweeteners. The dejected partner – the Australian people – is expecting a wholesale change in attitude.

What would also be concerning for those supporting the Labor Government was that while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was seen as a nice guy in comparison to his counterpart, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, the nation’s leader lagged in areas of hard-nosed policy such as border protection and economic management.

Australians will vote for the Party whose leadership is perceived as best able to deal with the tough issues.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was not elected because he was seen as a nice guy. Possibly, he was elected for the exact opposite reason in that he was seen as a no-nonsense guy who would stop the boats (people smuggling), and axe Labor’s new and extra taxes.

Mr Dutton has a similar reputation, so Labor strategists need to be aware.

Turning up to the cricket and rubbing shoulders with sporting elites will not be enough.

To make 2024 an effective year, being the lead-up year to the next election, Labor must remove some very real barnacles and provide a fresh, new focus. This will not be easy.

Having been overseas for an inordinate length of time the Prime Minister will have to restore the Australian people’s trust that he is genuinely interested in them and not globe-trotting.

Once having established a reputation for globetrotting, every overseas trip will be perceived in the wrong light, even the vital ones such as the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government) meeting in Samoa later this year.

More time at home and travelling to meet his fellow Australians are going to be needed.

While having established himself as a “fighter of Tories,” Mr Albanese needs to remake himself as prime minister for all Australians.


His massive personal defeat on the Voice referendum was a clarion call to stop dealing in ideologically woke, feel-good posturings that have no on-ground beneficial outcomes.

A refocus on the cost of living, interest rates, energy prices, and future energy security is what the people rightly expect from their government.

Yet it appears this admonition by the people at the referendum ballot box has not taught the government a lesson to truly refocus.

While acknowledging the defeat of the Voice has set back the government’s policy of destroying Australia’s highly effective constitutional monarchy in favour of a republic, which was scheduled to be held in its second term, the government persists with a taxpayer-funded ministry for the republic.

It reflects a perverse set of priorities by a government whose citizens are fully invested in concentrating on real-life issues such as cost of living pressures, not republics with all the uncertainties that would of necessity create in uncertain times.

As the international status quo (if ever there was such a thing) continues to be shaken to its core, a consistent message from the government is needed.

In politics, you have to be brave enough to lose votes to win other votes. You cannot be all things to all people.

With various ethnic and culturally diverse segments in the Australian population, the government cannot straddle the barbed wire fence on issues. If it does, it will upset both sides.

The response to the ugly Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, which saw the killing of the most Jewish people on any day since the Holocaust, sees the government with a policy looking like a pack of Licorice Allsorts, minus any hint of alluring taste.


Similar policy afflictions are seen in the response to the communist dictatorship in Beijing and the Pacific.

With the need for such a comprehensive refresh of policy positioning for the government across a suite of portfolios, the best start may well be for the Prime Minister to undertake a substantial ministerial reshuffle with a focus on matters domestic and practical real-world issues, while crab-walking away from issues like Voices, republics and emission targets.

A few heavy-hitting ministers in areas such as housing, infrastructure and finance may well help clean up the 2023 leftovers (with emphasis on the Left).PC

Eric Abetz

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Anthony Albanese.  (courtesy Stan Sport)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on January 9, 2023. Re-used with permission.

5 thoughts on “Albanese’s perverse problem

  1. I can’t understand why Eric would give the PM advice on what to do now.
    The way forward for the coalition is quite clear, go back to the values that most Australian cherish, a better standard of living than most, a secure future both militarily and economic, that means bring down the cost of power and reducing our dependence on China for almost all things that are manufactured.
    For once in a lifetime show some real support for Australian farmers, this country, where everything we eat can be produced here, is increasingly reliant of imported food, pay no attention to how many millions outside of Australia we feed, that is all counted in calories and we are a major world exported of grain and oil seeds; what we are importing in ever increasing amounts is processed or packaged food. We bought frozen raspberries at Christmas from Serbia! Peaches recently for sale in Australia from Bulgaria!
    Now tell me the supermarkets don’t run the country when they can scour the world for the cheapest produce, cheapest to them I might add and for sale just below the local product.
    The next thing the coalition can do is listen to Gina and the miners, they are all we have at present that is keeping us from becoming what Keating forecast, a banana republic (know you are a monarchist Eric)
    The third thing is get the state governments under control for if they don’t they will ruin us with their debts and wild expensive schemes.
    Lastly, the third tier of government, local councils. Get them back to rubbish and roads, take them off the federal teat every election, control them through funding.
    Happy New Year!

  2. “…the government’s task in 2024 is to rekindle the romance it once enjoyed with the Australian people…”
    With respect, sir, what romance did we ever enjoy with this pack of clowns?
    They won power on a record low vote. We didn’t vote Labor in, we voted the Liberals out. And since their arrival on the Treasury benches they have done everything to ensure they’ll be vacating them at the next election.
    Romance? In this case it was a box of Cadbury Roses, full of emptied wrappers.

  3. “To make 2024 an effective year, being the lead-up year to the next election, Labor must remove some very real barnacles […]”.

    Incorrect. They need to scuttle the vessel and sack the entire crew.

    “[…] provide a fresh, new focus.”

    A “new focus” for willfully blind navel gazing idealogues who are determined to destroy this once great country by flooding us with demon worshipping foreigners: those who harbour a visceral hatred of the West, and whose avowed aim is to establish a global theocracy? What have you been smoking, Eric?

    “The dejected […] Australian people […]”.

    Dejected? DEJECTED? Exactly how feckless do you think genuine Australians are, Eric? We are not “dejected”: we are scornful, we are derisive, and we treat the garrulous grandstanding narcissist and his
    pathetic band of addle brained acolytes with the utter contempt that they so richly deserve.

    I must say, I’m most surprised to see someone who is a “former Federal senator” peddling such patronising nonsense. If you intend to write any articles in future, please get in touch we me for advice before they go to print, because the conservative cause in Australia simply can’t afford the luxury of presenting as slipshod and mediocre, the supposed celebrity of commentators notwithstanding.

  4. A reminder, 1996-2007 Howard Government terms defence and national security was a high priority list item. The 2006/07 Budget delivered $19.6 billion, an increase of 37% in real terms since Labor 1995/96. And a commitment to a real funding increase of 3% every year for the following decade.

    Defence spending included the Joint Strike Fighters now F-35 Lightning stealth jets the RAAF are now flying, but Albanese Labor have cancelled the 30 of 100 yet to be supplied. Two large amphibious ships with flight decks carrying helicopters including gunships and other land based assets and personnel. Rudd Labor cancelled the plan for the flight deck to be capable of handling F-35 STOL fighter jet aircraft. New heavy lift aircraft were ordered and since delivered for the RAAF. New Air Warfare Destroyers were ordered and since delivered. New helicopters. Generally more and better equipment for the ADF.

    Labor cut back defence spending and therefore ignored the 3% in real terms commitment of the Howard Government for defence spending. Labor even ignored the planning for replacement of the six RAN Collins Class submarines leaving that to the Abbott Government after September 2013.

    Did the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments do enough for defence and national security?

    I do not believe that they did, although the revival of the Quad Agreement and creation of AUKUS partnership 2019-2021 were encouraging achievements. As are the many AUKUS projects now underway or planned.

    But do not ignore the achievements rarely mentioned like now flying drones or Ghost Bat MQ-28 jets designed and built here by Boeing Australia for the RAAF and for export potential to other Joint Strike Fighter allies, a force multiplier to fly alongside Air Force aircraft or on ground controlled missions. And the large drone Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (submarine) being designed in Sydney for the RAN by a US firm, to be built here and offered for export to allies. And other projects including armoured mobile artillery designed in South Korea to be built here, a range of missiles including long range and hypersonic to be built here. Complete replacement of all small weapons for the Army, Navy and Air Force and new helicopters on order of various types including helicopter gunships.

    Australia needs the Coalition back in Federal Government, national security and defence is a very important.

  5. I am very concerned about Labor’s lack of anything more than any political credit they can gain from AUKUS partnership defence agreement and the many projects planned and proposed, and described as being a forever partnership between the three nations.

    Also related was revival of the Quad Defence Agreement between India, Japan, Australia and United States that was achieved while AUKUS was being discussed before the announcement by Prime Minister Morrison in September 2021.

    The latest example of Labor’s disinterest is their failure to cooperate when an RAN warship was requested to patrol sea lanes with our allies against attacks by Houthi military pirates. There was one suggestion that RAN ships could not defend themselves against drone attacks. But all are equipped with the excellent Phalanx automatic targeting anti-missile/drone/aircraft/small ship weapons system, and an upgrading programme has been underway for a few years to date. In 2021 one Air Warfare Destroyer and one Frigate demonstrated defence and attack capabilities firing Sparrow and other missiles during an exercise overseas with allied navy warships. The RAN operates three not very old Air Warfare Destroyers and eight older Frigates (nine new ones on order and being built), and various other large and small ships, there are at least twelve new Patrol Ships being built in WA as replacements. And new weapons systems being evaluated for installation on those smaller ships.

    However, Albanese Labor have been stalling defence procurement programmes, cutting order quantities or cancelling them, and generally reverting to the same lack of interest and progress of the Rudd, Gillard and Rudd governments 2007-2013.

    Trotskyite Albo and comrades and the far left factions now dominate Union controlled Labor, to the dismay of Labor’s far more sensible and realistic centre left members.


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