LOGIN
Politics

Newman and Abbott: Parallel lives

By | | comments
(Image via @geekrulz)

As in Plutarch's Parallel Lives, the fates of Abbott and Newman may be seen by future historians to have a similarity.

Newman called a snap election in January to avoid being sacked by his party. And Abbott, in February, will do, perhaps, the same.

Because of the two coincident crises, Newman will lose his seat; and his party, possibly, though not certainly, government. And Abbott's Liberals will be wiped out.

Or this is one scenario of what will happen on Saturday and Tuesday. There may be a trip to Yarralumla by an affrighted Abbott when Palaszczuk is being sworn in. Or Turnbull that day may stand up in Question Time as Prime Minister.

It is hard to see either Newman or Abbott surviving. Both have behaved in a similar, stupid way, imagining you can get away with barefaced lies; imagining sacked people will forget the pain of their ruined lives and vote for you anyway.

Abbott's narrative, thus far, is of the two the more peculiar. All he had to do to survive – and, perhaps, prevail was not revive knighthoods, and drop the billonaresses' baby bonus when it was first derided by nearly everyone. But he stuck with those two things,

The baby bonus policy is easily explained. His girlfriend Kathy Donaldson, deprived by him of her first baby and raising, later, a second illegitimate baby on her own without help, suffered monetarily for her maternal misfortune, and, after she died, he wanted to make reparations to her ghost.

The knighthood matter is more deep-rooted.

Abbott is an English migrant, with a migrant's insecurities. A day-boy with a funny accent in a boarding school, he was initially disdained by his fellow pupils. Like a migrant, he tried various stratagems to achieve acceptance. He reconfigured his personality, several times.

He was a football jock. He was a DLP student activist. He was an amateur boxer. He was trainee priest. He was an Oxford student. He gained a law degree. He began to be a journalist. He considered an ALP preselection. He tried celibacy, then marriage. And then he turned thirty-four.

One thing he stayed, though, was English. He wrote a book in support of the monarchy. He felt when entering Oxford he was 'going home'. He re-proclaimed the Knights and Dames of yore (Sir Robert, Dame Pattie) and did it unexpectedly.

"Sometimes," he has said, significantly, "it's better to seek forgiveness than permission."

And he emphasised his Englishness on Monday, by absorbing the royal family into his bizarre tribe 'Team Australia', on what he probably thought of as Team Australia Day.

And here he is, in big, big trouble, with a week to go, perhaps, as Prime Minister.

He has the option, of course, of knighting himself, and he may do that. He may 'dame' Peta Credlin, and give, like Edward VIII, an abdication speech, about how he could not do without her.

Or he may immolate himself and his party in a snap election, as Newman did.

And we will see what we shall see.

Monthly Donation

$

Single Donation

$

Join Newsletter

*
*
Please fill the text in this image in the field below to assist us in eliminating spam
 

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

 
Recent articles by Bob Ellis
On turning forty

On Friday 20 May 2016, the Sydney Writers' Festival is holding a special tribute to ...  
Desperate times for Australian literary legend Bob Ellis

As Bob Ellis continues his battle with cancer, his daily diary, Table Talk, cont ...  
The old Fairfax #Ipsos poll trick

Despite all the scandal, division, discontent and negative publicity, a Fairfax- ...  
Join the conversation
comments powered by Disqus