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ICAC, Abbott and rottenness at the heart

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Sanctimonious Tony Abbott may pour scorn upon Labor, but when it comes to corruption, the NSW ALP are rank amateurs compared to the Liberals and their country cousins, writes senior correspondent Barry Everingham.

When it comes to corruption, Tony Abbott may be treading on dangerous ground in accusers others.
When it comes to corruption, Tony Abbott may be treading on dangerous ground in accusers others. (Caricature by John Graham / johngraham.alphalink.com.au)

JUST WHEN I thought I'd seen it all in a long career in the media Tony Abbott pops up on TV being holier than thou and pouring scorn over the ALP and accusing the Party and Rudd of everything under sun because of the ICAC report.

It was a scathing report, no doubt about that, and both Ian Macdonald and Eddie Obeid will no doubt have the book thrown at them and rightly so.

But Captain Catholic surely has learned that people who live in glass houses are better off not throwing stones.

The Liberals and their country cousins ‒ the Nationals/Country Party ‒ are past masters at dodginess.

Abbott will surely remember Bob Askin — that is, Robin Askin. He dropped the "Robin" for "Robert" when he awarded himself a knighthood, which he didn't have to pay for, unlike those who were awarded with the gongs during his premiership. If my memory serves me correctly, the going rate was some like 20,000 big ones — in a brief case, not a paper bag.

A gentleman of my acquaintance was called and told Askin wanted to make sure he was awarded for his work in the community and he duly fronted Askin with the brief case when he left Bob's office.

Sadly, my bloke got himself into all sorts of strife, which was duly reported in the media and the letter from the Queen never did arrived. He fronted Askin and reminded him of the contents of the brief case, but he didn't get either back. All he did get from the Premier as he was ushered out of the office empty-handed was a short homily ringing in his ears.

It went something like:

"Well, Mr  X, I learned a long time ago that, in life, you win some and lose some.”

Askin, of course, was a Liberal politician.

While on the subject, Abbott himself “inadvertently” claimed dodgy travel expenses when he was promoting a book he wrote. He reimbursed the Government for the "oversight".

North of the border, up Queensland way, the National Party premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and his henchman Russ Hinze made the likes of Macdonald and Obeid look like rank amateurs in the corruption stakes, ably helped by a crooked police commissioner who eventually was stripped of his knighthood and gaoled. A rum lot those conservatives Abbott so dearly loves.

And while we are on the subject of the Imperial honours David Flint raves about ‒ hoping that if Tony gets the job those anachronistic, idiotic, titles will get an airing ‒ there is no mention of how much the recipients will need to hand over.

Now as far as conservatives ripping off the public purse, we need go no further than Abbott's political father, John Howard, OM; readers will recall the Queen awarded Howard her Imperial honour for his wording of the referendum question, which made a win impossible.

Howard and his charming wife Janette cost taxpayers millions of dollars ‒ in fact, many millions of dollars ‒ by living in Kirribilli House while they jointly ran the country. It is to the ALP's shame they let the Howards get away with that — but not as shameful as them remaining mute when Howard was instructed by Bush to help the massacre of many thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens during his illegal invasion of Iraq.

One day, hopefully, Bush, Blair and Howard will be charged with war crimes for their involvement in the Iraqi mess, which has left the country one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Abbott dismissed the death of a brave Australian warrior fighting the "war on terror" with the words "shit happens".

Has anyone ever asked him is that his attitude when babies are found floating in the water after the boats carrying asylum seekers (sorry Tony, illegal migrants") are sunk in rough seas.

Abbott is a disgrace to his Party and the country and we don't deserve the likes of him in the top job.

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