Tony Abbott says he would have won election, defends ‘fundamentally fair’ budget

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has said his controversial 2014 budget is a “badge of honour” and “fundamentally fair”, while predicting an Abbott government would have won this year’s election.

Key points:

Tony Abbott defends his prime ministership in 4,000-word essay
Says 2014 budget was “fair” and a “badge of honour”
Says he and Joy Hockey were “careful to avoid breaking promises”
Former PM confident he could have won 2016 election on budget savings
Mr Abbott has penned a 4,000-word essay for conservative journal Quadrant defending his prime ministership, which argues his government’s achievements “will stand the test of time”.

An extract of The Economic Case for the Abbott government, soon to be published, has been published in The Australian newspaper.

In September last year Mr Abbott was toppled by Malcolm Turnbull, who argued the Member for Warringah had not shown economic leadership.

But the now-backbencher denied this, writing: “The government’s economic narrative had been clear from the beginning — lower taxes, less regulation and higher productivity.”

The Coalition’s 2014 budget put forward billions of dollars in cuts to health, education and foreign aid, and saw it lose ground in opinion polls.

It included trying to introduce a $7 GP co-payment and making unemployed people under 30 wait six months for the dole, along with university fee deregulation and pension indexation changes.

“Judging things by polls, many commentators have identified the 2014 budget as the Abbott government’s biggest mistake,” Mr Abbott wrote.

“I regard it more as a badge of honour because it showed that we were serious about long-term budget repair and could therefore be trusted with the long-term economic management of the country.

“Overall, it was a fundamentally fair budget because it sought to end the intergenerational theft involved in piling up debts for our children and grandchildren to meet.”

Mr Abbott said he and then-treasurer Joe Hockey had been “careful to avoid breaking promises” during their time on the expenditure review committee of Cabinet, but his “no surprises” commitment was challenging, given there had not been pre-election debate about a Medicare co-payment or university deregulation.

But he thought people would accept the changes, seeing them as part of the Coalition’s pledge to control the budget.

“Especially after we had rejected the business subsidy requests of the type that previous governments had regularly approved, a tough budget should have been predicted,” he wrote.

Mr Abbott said he was confident an Abbott government could have won the 2016 election campaigning on budget savings and lower tax.

San Bernardino Police Chief: Possibly Nothing Of Value On Shooter’s Phone

I’ll be honest with you, I think that there is a reasonably good chance that there is nothing of any value on the phone. What we are hoping might be on the phone would be potential contacts that we would obviously want to talk to.

This is an effort to leave no stone unturned in the investigation. (To) allow this phone to sit there and not make an effort to get the information or the data that may be inside of that phone is simply not fair to the victims and their families. The worst-case scenario obviously, is that maybe there was some information on there that would lead to a larger plot or to a larger network and therefore are other people out there that are still a potential danger. I think the probability is probably low, but it could be.

A U.S. magistrate judge has ordered Apple to help the FBI break into an iPhone used by one of the two shooters in the San Bernardino attack in December.
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FBI-Apple Showdown Is The Latest Battle In A Bigger War
Lawyer Ted Olson, shown at the Los Angeles premiere of HBO’s The Case Against 8 in 2014, is representing Apple in its legal face-off with federal investigators.
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Lawyer For Apple: ‘What In The Law Requires Us To Redesign The iPhone?’
On whether the investigation is being used to advance an encryption agenda

No, no. I’d keep in mind that law enforcement across the board is concerned about this encryption issue. You know, I’ll be honest with you, I have an Apple phone. I have an iPad. I am a bit of a fan of Apple products. I don’t necessarily see this as a fight of the FBI against Apple. In this particular case, Apple is challenging the FBI’s request, so to speak, to overcome that encryption. But the larger issue here is do we want companies to have the right to create something that would be that much of a potential danger?

On the potential impact on iPhone security

At the speed of technology, this particular operating system will be obsolete in six months to a year. It’ll be completely replaced by a new system and whatever version of iOS this is will be, you know, useless in a short period of time.