Tony Abbott betrays Peter Reith triggering WorkChoices v2.0

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by Barry Everingham

Hell certainly hath no fury like a Liberal scorned. Senior correspondent Barry Everingham stands clear of all the spat dummies.

Just when he should have kept his big mouth shut really tight — Tony Abbott’s done it again.

He’s been caught lying — and lying to Peter Reith of all people.

Reith was crazy not to get Tony’s support for his bid for the presidency in writing; the Opposition leader is on record admitting he can’t be believed unless what he says is in writing.

So when Reith – one of the biggest liars in the dishonest Howard Government – was urged by Abbott to try and roll Alan Stockdale and promised his support, Reith thought he was home and hosed.

Abbott might at this stage be the preferred Prime Minister but he’s made a huge mistake.

He’ll be pilloried up hill and down dale by Reith and his supporters on the Liberals’ federal executive, including Alexander Downer, who is not a good enemy at the best of time.

Downer, Australia’s longest serving and most ineffectual foreign minister, is a giggling buffoon and was described by Paul Keating as an Australian version of Billy Bunter.

Like Reith, Downer is a champion of the appalling WorkChoices horror devised to reduce working Australians to serf status.

And he was silent when Reith lied about boat people throwing their children overboard.

Had Reith been elected to the party’s presidency, Abbott would have had no choice but to push for a return of WorkChoices in the event of a government led by him.

But, dear readers, don’t think for a moment Reith will take his defeat lying down.

In yesterday’s The Agenewspaper Peter Reith threw down the gauntlet.

He compared Abbott’s “conservative position” unfavorably with the bolder approaches of Victoria’s Ted Baillieu and NSW’s Barry O’Farrell on work place issues.

Reith wasn’t shy in letting his readers know that both premiers voted for him and not Alan Stockdale.

But he also wrote that he promised Abbott that, if elected, he would suspend public advocacy of workplace reform, thinking this was the best way to support the now embattled Opposition Leader.

We now won’t have the opportunity to see if Reith’s promises are worth anything.

He might roll Stockdale next time around but who will be in Abbott’s shoes by then?

So all bets are now off and Abbott (who it has to remembered got the leadership by just one vote — just like Reith lost by just one, Tony Abbott’s) will need to spend a lot of time looking over his shoulder. The WorkChoices warriors in Parliament will be biding their time.

The hapless Abbott now has two groups to contend with — Peter Reith’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s.

When Parliament resumes next week Abbott won’t be singing “Happy Days are Here Again”.

He might have been given the latest Newspoll but that big mouth opened too wide again.

And Julia might just think there is a God after all.

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