Tony Abbott - A cancerous growth on Australia's body politic

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Senior correspondent Barry Everingham says Tony Abbott's reply to the budget speech was "...a disgrace and just might come back to bite him..."

I have to hand it to Tony Abbott, when he decides to get down into the gutter he doesn’t sit on the curb — and his Address in Reply was an illustration of that.

I guess every MP and Senator has the right to have present in the Parliament family members when important speeches are to be delivered and on Thursday night Tony’s wife, Margie, and two of their three daughters were there to hear him.

Fair enough.

But as Michelle Grattan, the doyenne of the Press Gallery, pointed out:  “Tony started his speech by mentioning his wife and children — subtext, contrast with Julia Gillard!”

Then Captain Catholic went one step further — he identified his family with those worried about the cost of living.

“My family knows something of the financial pressures on nearly every Australian household,” he said.

Julia Bishop and Tony Abbott

I wonder what his deputy, Julie Bishop, thought about that.

Like Gillard, Bishop is childless, is unmarried and in a long term relationship.

But it’s fair to guess that whole speech which was a fizzer, a disgrace and just might come back to bite him on the bum.

Abbott called on the ghost of Robert Menzies — the founder of the Liberal Party, but not the Liberal Party of the extreme right that now disgraces the Opposition’s front bench.

Menzies, for all his pomposity and old world charm, was a man of the people — he knew his people and he understood them

It was a very different Parliament in Menzies’ day

As prime minister and opposition leader he had a good relationship with his opposite numbers, Curtin and Chifley, but not with Doc Evatt — those two loathed each other.

And, like Abbott, he was not beyond getting down into the gutter — his actions in the lead up to the defection from the Soviet Embassy of Vladimir Petrov were aimed at getting Evatt.

He destroyed the man — go back to a 1954 Hansard, when H V Evatt stood up in the House and admitted he had written to the Soviet  Foreign  Minister to ask if, in fact, Petrov was a spy!

Menzies couldn’t believe his ears or, indeed,  his luck.

He rose and to a silent and stunned House said:

“Mr Speaker, we are witnessing the decay of a once brilliant mind” .

That was the end of Evatt.

Bob Menzies with his acolyte, John Howard

And with any luck, Thursday night might spell the end of Tony Abbot — frankly, Australia deserves better.

He didn’t once outlay any plans for the future; well none of any significance. But he did launch a tirade against the government’s plan to freeze family tax benefits for people earning wages in excess of $100,000.

He bleated: why is the government targeting people who want to get ahead?

Just where is this bloke coming from or just what planet is he on?

People earning in excess of $100,000 are surely already ahead!

It is well to remember that Abbott admits that if he says something and it’s not written down, then don’t rely on it/

Malcolm Turnbull must surely, for the sake of the country, have his knife ready .  
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