Tony Abbott would do well to take a leaf out of Julia Gillard's book and, for the sake of his party, go graciously. But is he sticking around for another tilt at the leadership, asks John Hassan, and will he get another dream run in the media?
TOLSTOY ONCE bravely wrote to the Tsar saying:
But Annabel Crabb’s weekend article implores Tony Abbott to stay, it seems, because he amuses her. Annabel, for one, welcomes Abbott staying but I, one of many, implore Abbott to recognise he is a man out of his time if not a man out of his mind and deplore his presence in our national parliament.
How well I remember Paul Keating asking when Abbott was opposition leader what that dopey lot in the press gallery were doing when it came to Abbott’s policy on global warming:
….”what’s the media doing about this? What about tha,t sleepy press gallery of ours? ….. where is the quality of the national debate and why isn’t Abbott being flogged by the media for this position?”
Laura Tingle and many on line contributors are exempted from this criticism but Annabel’s article – written with the effervescence of a head girl’s tribute to a departing headmaster in the school magazine – is about a headmaster most of the school detested.
Let’s say I’m in a theatre and prior to the film the preview comes on. That earnest voice booms through the darkness:
“The New York Times calls it Robert De Niro’s greatest performance ever...”
Say no more. I am already jumping out of my skin to see this film much like our press gallery assisted Abbott into government with perverse certainty that he is always good copy.
Entertaining, yes, but no serious observer of politics could have expected Abbott to be anything other than a disaster as Prime Minister. From the republic debate to the collapse in public respect for politicians, Tony Abbott has had an unmatched deleterious effect on Australian politics.
Plainly, your Dennis Shanahan’s aren’t being discussed here although for a laugh let’s recall one of his early paeans to Abbott:
'The measure of a calm considered PM… he had members of the international diplomacy core asking where can we get one like him.'
But journalists like Kenny, Hartcher — where were you when the country needed you to proclaim loudly that Tony Abbott was not a fit person to be our Prime Minister?
Usually it's @chriskenny with reptilian idiocy. But Mark Kenny gets political FAIL of decade: "PM Abbott unlikely to be RW & reactionary."— Human writes (@ianw84) September 30, 2015
The Coalition went to two campaigns with dodgy costings. This cost Howard an election in ’87. Hockey at least should have been made to resign but these stalwarts of the gallery let it slide.
How many of us believed Abbott’s pledge:
"There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I've never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won't start now."
But despite this, his past suggests he is canny enough to realise he is personally unelectable so he'll likely remain largely schtum until Turnbull secures the next election whereupon I’ve little doubt he’ll orchestrate another tilt at the Prime Ministership.
Abbott’s brand of militant Catholicism pays no heed to virtue. Santamaria taught him that all that matters is the defeat of atheist communist homosexuals because atheist communist homosexuals represent an existential threat to the church. The church, until recently, flourished for thousands of years by keeping women bare foot and pregnant and men too exhausted by manual labour to imagine beyond their literal needs.
Based on a likely LNP win late this year or early next, what comes after that will be ugly as Abbott’s destabilisation of Turnbull moves into full effect. It could be enough to split the LNP and usher in a 10 year Plibersek/Clare government. While I’d welcome that, I don’t welcome the four years of turmoil our country will experience to get there.
Tony Abbott is the most mendacious force Australian politics has seen. Maybe Abbott is only staying to get a massive payoff to get him out and salve his battered ego. His dark shadow hangs over the nation. Let’s hope he’ll ignore Annabel Crabb who can surely get her laughs elsewhere and, for the sake of Australia, go.
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