Dec 012013
 

Following an article in The Age titled Tony Abbott’s more controversial speeches disappear, I thought I’d have a look and see what I found find.

Thankfully, nothing ever really goes away on the internet. As always, the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine has a copy of just about everything that was posted to the site since May 2001!

The items ‘lost’ in the retranslation of tonyabbot.com.au to the liberal party web page include some jems. From the article in The Age:

Some of Tony Abbott’s most controversial speeches have been airbrushed from Coalition history since the election, including a 2009 speech in which he backed a carbon tax, and a 2004 speech in which he described abortion as ”a question of the mother’s convenience”.

During Mr Abbott’s 2009 carbon tax speech, in which he described himself as a ”climate change realist”, he poured doubt on climate change being man-made, saying: ”We can’t conclusively say whether man-made carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to climate change.”

But he went on to say: ”If Australia is greatly to reduce its carbon emissions, the price of carbon-intensive products should rise … a new tax would be the intelligent sceptic’s way to deal with minimising emissions.”

So I did a little digging.

This is an extract of the speech that Tony Abbott gave to the Adelaide University Democratic Club on 17th March 2004 – Keep in mind that at this time, Tony Abbott was the Leader of the House and federal Health Minister:

Christians aren’t required to right every wrong in the political arena, but they can help change the nation’s culture, suggests Tony Abbott DESPITE the debt that political institutions owe to the West’s Christian heritage, there is the constant claim that Christians in politics are confused about the separation of church and state. There’s also a tendency among Christians in the community to think that Christians in politics have to sell out their principles in order to survive. Christian politicians are often warding off simultaneous accusations that they are zealots or fakes. Indeed, the public caricature of a Christian politician is hypocrite or wuss, in denial about the ruthlessness and expediency necessary to wield power, or too sanctimonious to be effective.

Take the challenge of abortion.

The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience. Aborting a first trimester fetus is not morally identical to deliberately killing a living human being, but it’s not just removing a wart or a cyst either. Even those who think that abortion is a woman’s right should be troubled by the fact that 100,000 Australian women choose to destroy their unborn babies every year. What does it say about the state of our relationships and our values that so many women (and their husbands, lovers and families) feel incapable of coping with a pregnancy or a child? To a pregnant 14-year-old struggling to grasp what’s happening, for example, example, a senior student with a whole life mapped out or a mother already failing to cope under difficult circumstances, abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.

What seems to be considered far less often is avoiding situations where difficult choices might arise. Our society has rightly terrified primary school children about the horrors of smoking, but seems to take it for granted that adolescents will have sex despite the grim social consequences of teenage single parenthood. If half the effort were put into discouraging teenage promiscuity as goes into preventing teenage speeding, there might be fewer abortions, fewer traumatised young women and fewer dysfunctional families. Why isn’t the fact that 100,000 women choose to end their pregnancies regarded as a national tragedy approaching the scale, say, of Aboriginal life expectancy being 20 years less than that of the general community?

No one wants to recreate the backyard abortion clinic (or to stigmatise the millions of Australians who have had abortions or encouraged others to do so). But is it really so hard to create a culture where people understand that actions have consequences and take their responsibilities seriously? As a local MP, I am regularly challenged over the Government’s policy on the detention of boatpeople. “HOW can you live with yourself as a Catholic,” the argument runs, “when your Government treats women and children with such cruelty?”

When it comes to lobbying local politicians, there seems to be far more interest in the treatment of boatpeople, which is not morally black and white, than in the question of abortion, which is. Christians are not required to right every wrong. Christian politicians are not required to promote policies for which there is no demand in the community. As it happens, the Government gives nearly $1 million a year to pro-life family planning groups (but $13 million to pro-choice groups) and provides $250,000 to the Federation of Pregnancy Support Services.

In numerous important ways, the Howard Government has not been a creature of the zeitgeist. The Government has, for example, facilitated the parliamentary overthrow of the Northern Territory’s assisted suicide law, banned human cloning and, most recently, sought to allow Catholic schools to offer scholarships to male teachers. Even so, as a measure of the moral health of our society, 100,000 terminated babies is a statistic that offers no comfort at all. Tony Abbott is Leader of the House and federal Health Minister. This is an edited extract from his address to the Adelaide University Democratic Club yesterday.

I’m not sure I feel comfortable of a man with these views being the Federal Health Minister, but that is exactly what was happening.

In 2009, its widely reported that Tony Abbott supported a carbon tax. Now Tony is the PM, this view has had a massive revision – the the point that he will do anything to get it axed. Rather convenient that this speech has now been removed from the public eye. However, the Wayback Machine has it! Titled A REALIST’S APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANGE, Tony says:

If Australia is greatly to reduce its carbon emissions, the price of carbon intensive products should rise. The Coalition has always been instinctively cautious about new or increased taxes. That’s one of the reasons why the former government opted for an emissions trading scheme over a straight-forward carbon tax. Still, a new tax would be the intelligent skeptic’s way to deal with minimising emissions because it would be much easier than a property right to reduce or to abolish should the justification for it change.

If you need more proof, here is the video!

All that aside, this part says the most for me. Tony Abbott appeared on QandA on the ABC on the 5th April 2010. The clanger of a line he comes out with was “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”

Wow. And this guy is now actually our Prime Minister. *facepalm*

  One Response to “The Liberal Party airbrushes history”

  1. Abbott is another example of a politician in the business of being a politician. He opts for cheap political points for the short term gain of power rather than doing what (from an evidence based perspective) is right. It is so sad that the term ‘do-gooder’ is used as an insult by some (that have a here and now understanding of life) to criticise ideas that allow sustainability or a more compassionate society. Let us hope that those that fly in the face of science will shift their position if they value the lives of their descendants and this planet. Perspective taking is not difficult nor is the task of impartially researching issues that will impact on all that inhabit this planet. It is easy to take a point of view about issues when it may financially or socially empower one. Itt is more difficult to do what is good and proper. My hope is that more people can look outside their immediate situation and take an empathetic socially responsible attitude – and act accordingly.

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