On 24 August 2010 Tony Abbott famously stated, “I think we can have a kinder, gentler polity”. How that all changed just weeks later when he realised he was not going to be Prime Minister after all. In fact, he immediately and deliberately set out to trash and disrupt Parliament with a relentless barrage of negativity while at the same time claiming how dysfunctional the government was.
Just three years later, and after more than 70 failed attempts to suspend standing orders, the polls now tell us that he is set to become the next Prime Minister. His frustration at having had to wait a full term shows as he continues to call this government 'the worst in history'.
However, if the government was so bad, why did Tony Abbott once wistfully opine that the Howard government should have signed the Kyoto Protocol and given the apology to Indigenous peoples?
If it was so bad, how was it able to pass such important legislation such as the Better Schools Plan, aged care reform, the national disability insurance scheme and to invest more in rail than all the previous governments in Australia’s history?
If it was so bad how was it able to resolve the Murray-Darling basin wrangle and build a real NBN?
Even the contentious carbon price, subject to one of the most dishonest scare campaigns in recent Australian political history, actually achieved a reduction in carbon emissions by 8.6% and drive a 30% increase in the use of renewable energy.
Indeed, it should be remembered, that despite holding minority government, and despite one of the most negative, disruptive and disingenuous Oppositions in Australian history, Labor was still able to secure a remarkable number of significant and far reaching reforms.