2 Aug 2013

Say Hello To Tony Abbott And Friends

By Alan Austin

How well do you know our Federal Opposition? They're an intriguing bunch, as Alan Austin demonstrates in this week's highly informative quiz

1. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s cabinet comprises 20 members, of whom six are women.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s shadow cabinet is also 20-strong. How many are women?

(a) two
(b) four
(c) six
(d) eight

2. The Liberal Party’s leading Senator from South Australia, Cory Bernardi, has written a book on how Western civilisation might be saved from imminent destruction. It is based on six “F-words”.

The first three are Freedom, Faith and Family.

What are the other three?

(a) Forests, Farms and Factories
(b) Flora, Fauna and Free range eggs
(c) Flag, Free enterprise and Federation
(d) Food security, Fortitude and Fighting spirit
(e) Friendship, Forthrightness and Fidelity

3. Which of the following is the response of a Coalition spokesperson to the Rudd Government’s proposed PNG solution regarding asylum seekers?

(a) It is never going to stop the boats. And if it does, it'll only be temporary.
(b) Rudd's Papua New Guinea solution would be very likely to stop the boats, if managed well.
(c) This is not a policy to stop the boats. This is simply a pre-election fix. This is simply something that is held together with Blu-tack and sticky tape to last until the election.
(d) The Coalition sees some merit in these measures and they can certainly complement the measures that the Coalition stands by. The problem is not with the idea but with this Government's inability to implement ideas.
(e) All of the above.
(f) None of the above.

Bonus point: If your answer is other than (f), which spokesperson said what?

4. An opinion piece attacking Labor on Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s website includes this:

“The Howard Government had to find the funds to pay down the $96 billion debt inherited from the Keating Labor government.”

Yes. We know. But how much of that debt did the Hawke/Keating Government inherit from the Fraser Government?

(a) none
(b) about a quarter
(c) about half
(d) about three quarters
(e) almost all

5. Julie Bishop has been one of the most prolific writers of opinion pieces in the current Parliament. In the first 14 weeks this year she penned 14 articles for Online Opinion and her website. And a total of 44 last year.

In the 17 weeks since mid-April, after the federal Coalition shifted to election mode, her rate of output has changed dramatically. In the last 17 weeks Bishop has written:

(a) 25 articles
(b) 12 articles
(c) five articles
(d) none

6. According to Tony Abbott's speech at a dinner in April, who are the three greatest Australians ever?

(a) Rupert Murdoch, Howard Florey and Sir John Monash
(b) Sir Robert Menzies, Saint Mary Mackillop and Sir Keith Murdoch
(c) Sir Donald Bradman, Caroline Chisholm and Sir Charles Kingsford Smith
(d) Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, Dame Enid Lyons and John Howard

7. Which member of the federal parliamentary Opposition was forced to repay taxpayers more than $9300 fraudulently claimed as travel expenses in 2009?

(a) Craig Thomson
(b) Peter Slipper
(c) Sophie Mirabella
(d) Tony Abbott

Bonus point: how many reports on the issue have there been in Australia's mainstream media?

8. In a recent speech, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said his party would “lay down a base for strong economic growth, more jobs and greater prosperity for all Australians. This is what the Coalition does.”

Is that true? On how many of these 25 variables was Australia performing better during the Howard/Costello years than now?

1. Income – GDP per person
2. GNI income per person
3. Interest rates
4. Income disparity
5. Inflation
6. Health care
7. Pension levels
8. Superannuation
9. Personal tax levels
10. Company tax rate
11. Indirect taxation rate
12. International credit ratings
13. Economic freedom
14. Personal savings
15. Current account as a percentage of GDP
16. Foreign exchange reserves
17. Value of the local currency compared to the US dollar
18. Value of the local currency compared to the Euro and the Pound
19. Productivity
20. Overall quality of life
21. Balance of trade current
22. Balance of trade history
23. Terms of trade
24. Government 10 year bond rate
25. World ranking on economic management

(a) 12, about half
(b) Only four
(c) Two
(d) One
(e) One

9. Which former federal Liberal Party leader lamented the tawdry performance of the federal Opposition in Parliament in late 2012?

“In our Parliament every sitting day has a question time in which most of the questions are asked of the Prime Minister. For the last two years the questions from the Opposition have been almost entirely focussed on people smuggling and the carbon tax. Are they really the only important issues facing Australia? A regular viewer of Question Time would be excused for thinking they were.”

(a) Malcolm Fraser
(b) John Hewson
(c) John Howard
(d) Malcolm Turnbull

10. In his speech in July to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne, Tony Abbott said “tax reform starts with abolishing the carbon tax and the mining tax, which have done so much to … threaten jobs and hurt every family’s cost of living.”

So what has happened to jobs in Australia since the carbon tax was introduced in June 2012?

(a) 17,200 jobs have been lost – not too bad considering the urgent need to bring in the carbon tax to reverse the effects of dangerous emissions.
(b) No jobs have been lost at all. The number of people employed is the same as in June 2012.
(c) More than 17,200 new jobs have been created – suggesting Abbott may not have evidence for his assertion.
(d) More than 172,000 new jobs have been created, during the period when more than 1,000,000 jobs were lost in the Euro Area and many other developed countries saw thousands of jobs disappear.

11. Over several years federal Opposition members joined the Australian media in attacking Julia Gillard’s character and fitness to lead over the so-called AWU affair.

Tony Abbott and others demanded Gillard stand aside until the matter was resolved. All allegations were found baseless, despite exhaustive investigation. No summons was ever served.

A summons was served on Tony Abbott in April in a matter arising from alleged illegal past activities. The matter was first heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court in May, then adjourned to the Federal Court in Canberra.

Will Abbott stand aside until the matter is resolved?

The answer is, of course, no. This is because:

(a) The Liberal Party does not regard itself as bound by the same principles of integrity as it demands of others.
(b) The Australian mainstream media will not report on any matter or support any moves likely to damage the electoral chances of the Coalition.
(c) Abbott is a liar and a hypocrite.
(d) Other. Please specify below.

12. According to prominent news reports in April, Tony Abbott’s director of policy was demoted and counselled after publicly threatening violence against another person.

What is the most profoundly shocking revelation here?

(a) That a senior employee of a parliamentarian could be so offensive in public.
(b) That the offending employee would then threaten the journalist who witnessed the incident.
(c) That the only penalty was demotion and counselling.
(d) That the Opposition leader has a director of policy.


1. (a) two
2. (c) Flag, Free enterprise and Federation. Refer here.
3. (e) all of the above.
So which Opposition spokesperson said what?

(a) Joe Hockey
(b) Malcolm Turnbull
(c) Tony Abbott
(d) Scott Morrison

4. Depends how this is measured. In dollars, about half. But as a percentage of GDP, the Hawke Government inherited debt at 19.6 per cent of GDP. The Keating Government left office with debt at 20.8 per cent of GDP. Taking accrued interest into account suggests (d) or (e) may be more accurate.
5. (d) none
6. (a) Here is the actual quote:

“John Howard has said that Rupert Murdoch has been by far Australia’s most influential international businessman; but I would like to go a little further. Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world.”

7. (d) Tony Abbott. For the bonus point, the answer appears to be one: the Canberra Times.
8. (e) none. Data on all these variables available on request.
9. (d) Malcolm Turnbull
10. (d) More than 172,000 new jobs have been created.
11. Opinions invited.
12. Just kidding.

Disputes welcome and correspondence will be entered into.

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Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 - 13:23

For question 8, there is an N missing from answer e.

For question 11, I wouldn't have expected Prime Minister Gillard to have received a summons nor a Liberal Party Member or supporter to have called for one. Undoubtedly, there were calls for the Federal Police to investigate and Gillard to be prosecuted for an indictable offence (but not a summary offence). A former client would have been more likely to sue Slater & Gordon had Gillard committed an impropriety when she worked there.

Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 - 18:34

Alan Austin love ur work.

Now Q. 8 is a Good One. Any one from the Labour party here.

Read and learn or give this man a job, his got more brains then u lot.

Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 - 23:28

I'm voting for Julian Assange for the Senate.

Posted Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 07:07

Fantastic Idea.


Lets get a variety and good people in their as checks and balances.


This win or loose Political football game between 2 once very extreme ideologies just to see who's turn it is to Rape, Pillage and Plunder the Nations resources has got up my nose and is no longer sustainable.


The Trough is empty u Liberal Party supporting Grubs, Aust. is no longer the Nation of the get rich quick and the quick rip off.


Our Health systen seems to be a licence to print money, as well.


Now all we need to do is become a little more civilised instead of survivalistic and we might actualy become a nation.

Whitfield L'Strol
Posted Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 15:29

Fantastic work as usual, Alan.

What I'd love to see, if anyone has the skills to do it, is a standalone interactive quiz that I could email to my misguided right-leaning relatives and friends. One that perhaps gives you a running score as you go. That way, you could say, "You don't have to do the whole thing. You can stop whenever you like... perhaps when you've decided who to vote for."

With Alan's approval of course, any of his other great questions could be included as well.

Posted Saturday, August 3, 2013 - 17:35

I was able to read about Tony Abbott repaying $9300 in travel expenses, via "mainstream media" in Perth, Western Australia. Copies of the Canberra Times are rarer than hen's teeth on this side of the Nullabor. A quick internet search threw up 5 articles on this issue, including ones from: The Age, The Guardian and The Advocate, published between the 8th and 10th of July this year.

I respectfully, submit that the answer to your bonus question regarding question 7 is wrong. Was this an honest mistake? Or a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive your readers?

Alan Austin
Posted Sunday, August 4, 2013 - 07:08

Thanks for all these responses. Excellent.

Well done, Speed, for spotting the error in the options for question 8. Not sure how that happened. But thanks for drawing to our attention.

@Speed, the Victorian Police have been investigating the AWU, not the Federal Police. They will neither confirm nor deny that they are investigating Ms Gillard, but do confirm an investigation into matters relating to the AWU has been underway. The fact that there have been no charges after all these years would suggest there’s nothing much amiss.

@jackal012: Thanks for the affirmation.

The ALP knows these facts.  So does the Coalition and all the economists and commentators who work for Murdoch, Fairfax and the ABC.

All the mainstream media appear to have agreed that it is not in the interests of having Labor defeated at the next election if the reality of Australia’s economy is generally understood.

There’s not a lot Labor can do about that.

@Whitfield L'Strol: Permission granted. With credit to New Matilda, of course.

@Smurfette27: Thanks for that observation. At time of writing, only Bianca Hall’s report in the Canberra Times was accessible online.

It seems we can now access the same story at www.smh.com.au and another from www.theguardian.com.

Not much else, however, which seems a bit odd, don’t you think, Smurfette27?

Imagine the screaming headlines day after day for months if it was Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd who had tried to rip nearly $10,000 off the taxpayer.



This user is a New Matilda supporter. Tokujiro
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - 17:36

And I'm voting Alison BROINOWSKI (Wiki-Leaks Party) for the Senate in NSW

Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 18:03

If Assange actually runs for the senate in my state I'll put him at number 1 too. I'd also vote for Allan Austin. (A really fine fellow!) We need more people like them in Parliament.