Tony Abbott has a reputation as a hardline Catholic conservative which has tended to alienate enough people to keep him just out of leadership contention. In the last poll he ran 4th (with 10%) behind Peter Costello, Joe Hockey and Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Liberal leader. At least he made the poll question.
But what does he believe? Abbott’s book comes out today, and I haven’t read it. But I have been watching with interest as his various views on a range of issues have been edging their way into the media.
On the negative side, Abbott has said that the Liberals should just give up and pass the ETS (even though he’s previously suggested a carbon tax might be better), and he rejects the ideas of competitive federalism in favour of centralised government.
The last point especially is a big negative in my mind. While the idea of political decentralisation isn’t a sexy or popular idea, I think that jurisdictional competition is the only real hope we have of safeguarding our freedoms from the natural inclination of governments to grow. Competitive federalism also allows greater choice and diversity, and allows for more experimentation of new policy ideas and the quicker abandonment of bad policies.
But then… no leader is perfect. So the question I put to you, dear reader, is whether Tony Abbott would be a good leader for the Liberal Party. Would he be better than Malcolm Turnbull? If you don’t like either, then who is your preference? Joe Hockey? Julie Bishop? Wilson Tuckey? You tell me…