You just have to love a world leader with the guts to call climate change science “absolute crap” and who abolished the country’s climate commission just after assuming office.
That’s Tony Abbott — the new prime minister of Australia. His election is an unexpected opportunity for Australian conservatives and could provide lessons for how Republicans can regain the White House in 2016.
Once denounced as “unelectable” by the Australian press and the left, Abbott’s conservative coalition won a resounding victory in national elections on Sept. 7 against the Labor Party which had controlled the government since 2007.
Abbott is an Australian liberal’s worst nightmare. He is a monarchist, and a pro-life supporter who opposes gay marriage, and strongly supported the Iraq war. A conservative Catholic, Abbott has the nickname “the Mad Monk” since he once studied for the priesthood at a Catholic seminary. He is married with three daughters.
He has a special appeal to the young, rural Australians, and the country’s macho male culture since he is a fitness fanatic and former boxer. Abbott is also a volunteer fireman and surf lifeguard.
He plans on cutting foreign aid, reducing the number of asylum seekers permitted to settle in Australia, and doing more to protect the country’s borders. He also plans on reversing Labor-backed laws that he claims limit free speech and infringe on religious freedom.
A major factor for Abbott’s win was that Australians were fed up with the Labor Party’s constant infighting and scandals. Abbott defeated former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who first became prime minister in 2007 but was ousted in 2010 by fellow Labor Party member Julia Gillard. Last June, Rudd forced out Gillard to reclaim the prime minister post.
But it wasn’t just Labor Party backstabbing that put Abbott and his conservative coalition in power. The Labor government worn out its welcome due to its radical left policies, especially those concerning the environment.
Under Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Australia implemented a cap-and-trade plan similar to what President Obama unsuccessfully attempted to get through Congress in 2009. In doing so, Gillard broke a campaign promise not to enact a carbon tax. She also put in place mining taxes which Abbott claims have made Australian mining firms industries less competitive and boosted coal and mineral exports from Australia’s competitors like Indonesia.
The author of several books on his vision of the world and how to remake Australian politics, the outspoken Abbott resembles Newt Gingrich who led the Republican revolution that took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 for the first time in 40 years. He also, however, suffers from Gingrich’s tendency for verbal excesses and gaffes, including some comments that his political opponents claim were sexist.
Most Australians shrugged off comments by Abbott during the campaign that the left condemned as sexist. One was when he said “If you want to know who to vote for, I'm the guy with the not-bad looking daughters." Another was when he said a female parliamentary candidate had “sex appeal.”
There are some major differences between Tony Abbott and the GOP. He is not a small government conservative and wants to extend paid maternity leave to six months. He has also shown some willingness to moderate his policies by agreeing to stick with the Labor government’s education and health spending and does not plan to reintroduce unpopular workplace laws of the last Liberal Party government.
Not surprisingly, the left and its allies in the Australian press have already begun to demonize Abbott. The Labor Party called his decision to shut down the climate commission shameful. The Australian green Party responded by calling him a “climate criminal.” He is also being criticized for not including enough women in his Cabinet.
Tony Abbott’s election could provide a blueprint on how the Republican Party can take back the White House in 2016. He won by standing on principle on lower taxes, a balanced budget, and fewer regulations. Abbott was greatly helped by the Australian public’s exhaustion with the poor leadership of the Labor Party. He was unapologetic for his un-PC views and did not let urban elites and the news media faze him.
Republicans in 2016 will be facing a similar situation — an American electorate tired of Obama’s incoherent foreign policy, Obamacare, and an enormous increase in the national debt. The IRS scandal, investigations of journalists by the Obama Justice Department, and the Snowden NSA leaks have also undermined the president’s support with the American people. (I actually think the attacks on Obama over the Snowden leaks are unfair, but that’s the subject for another article.)
After eight years of President Obama’s weak leadership and liberal policies, many Americans will be ready for a move to the right. Tony Abbott indicates how a Reagan-like Republican presidential candidate who presents a clear alternative to the Obama years can seize this opportunity.
Fred Fleitz served for 25 years with the CIA, the State Department, and the House Intelligence Committee staff. He is currently Chief Analyst with LIGNET.com, Newsmax Media’s global intelligence and forecasting service. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.
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