Alan Jones rings death knell for Tony Abbott | radioinfo

Alan Jones rings death knell for Tony Abbott

Tuesday 08 September, 2015
Alan Jones. Image: still from Lock the Gate TVC

Opinion from Peter Saxon

If a radio station had had 30 consecutive surveys as poor as the federal Coalition has had News Polls, by now they would have changed the breakfast show, if not the whole format. 

It seems the only thing keeping Tony Abbott in power is Bill Shorten - and Tony’s conservative mates in the media. Now even one of his staunchest allies, Alan Jones, has all but deserted him - like he deserted Campbell Newman in Queensland before that state’s election earlier this year. 

Mr Abbott would do well to take heed that Mr Jones’ previously stated “pick and stick” policy is no longer as sticky as it once was.

Alan Jones has not just criticised Abbott government policy on his own 2GB breakfast show but has taken to social media and the unusual and daring step of crowd funding a TV campaign which condemns the Coalition’s proposed ban on community groups and conservationists to oppose, through the courts, mining developments which they see as potentially harmful to the environment. 

In the TVC, fronted by Jones, which also has a radio version, he says, “The latest move by the Abbott government puts at risk not just our environment but our very democracy.” Tony Abbott threatens democracy? That’s worse than the Grinch threatening Christmas. Ouch!

Predictably, this has met with anger from some far right corners accusing Alan Jones of being a turncoat for opposing a Liberal Prime Minister - regardless of the cause. On the left, it’s been more a case of “who knew?” when they heard he has taken to an ideology generally associated with tree hugger types.

The trap that the Coalition seems to have fallen into is more prosaic than ideological. It goes to the core of their leader’s inability to sell policy and, as they say, take the public with him. 

The Liverpool Plains project is a standout example of how, by trying to quietly push the project through, they’ve managed to split the support of their own core constituency by pitting the interests of mining companies against those of farmers.

In this Mr Abbott has backed the wrong horse while Mr Jones is on a winner. 

The voting public, whether Liberal, Labor or Greens, will almost certainly prefer the image of the honest and oft-struggling man and woman on the land, who grow thing, against giant multi-national mining companies that make billions from from depleting our non-renewable assets. 

As they did in 2010, in their highly successful effort to oppose Labor’s mining “super” tax, the industry has produced their own slick TVC that focuses on the benefits of mining to our economy - which is inarguably substantial. 


But the TVC forgets to mention that mining's success comes at a cost to other industries such as agriculture and tourism that rely on the preservation of natural eco systems to survive. And let’s not get into the nuances of free trade agreements where we must import, say, fruit from certain countries in order sell them iron ore, undercutting our orchardists to enrich our miners.

Last time, the Rudd government, already on the nose with the electorate, was unable to get traction with any semblance of cogent argument against the mining industry’s relentless campaign that had the backing of the Abbott Opposition and most of the conservative media.

Now with the passionate and articulate Alan Jones pitching his tent firmly in the farmers’ camp, I have little doubt which way sentiment will flow on this occasion.


Peter Saxon


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