Tony Abbott: The opposition prime minister

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(Cartoon courtesy Bruce Keogh, keoghcartoons.com.au)

Tony Abbott's relentless undermining of Turnbull is becoming more than a political embarrassment for his own party, writes contributing editor at large Tess Lawrence


The ignominy of the punch-drunk Tony Abbott, down for the count, still bleeding and still needy to reclaim the wattle crown of prime minister is becoming more than a political embarrassment for his own party. 

He is now a liability to Australia's national security.

His demeanour is that of a critically injured politician who has been spurned by the majority of his party and the majority of Australian people. He fails to grasp that the nation is just not that into him anymore.

He is a tragic and pathetic figure. We have already reported concerns by colleagues for his seemingly pathological hatred for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that has not diminished since his older nemesis deposed him, but instead has increased in histrionic desperation — more so in recent months and days.

For no other reason than to satisfy his own thwarted ambition and mongering for power, he is prepared to humiliate himself to daily assail Turnbull and, clearly, to destroy his party and the Coalition entire.

His outbursts are the equivalent of President Donald J. Trump's headline-grabbing tweets, that grow increasingly bizarre and maybe deliberately so, to deflect the attention of the media and the nation from his ineptitude and the pressing matters of state that he is ignoring or mishandling.

Donald Abbott has learned that it is easy to capture media attention, given he is a former PM.

No doubt, the daily headlines and interviews satiate in part his self-importance and hunger to be the politician uppermost in the public domain. For the most part, he succeeds.

He's been singing his own praises to like-minded on-siders.

It is easy for this once aspiring priest to preach to the converted and wallow in the political safe environment they provide. He has always done that.

Real leaders and real politicians reach out to the unconverted. We seem to have few of either in Australia. Taking a walk on the wild side is not in our nature, it seems.

Abbott finds himself adrift on the political seas, straddling a backbench turned into a leaky boat. No-one really wants him anymore for his long expired talents. He's a liability. He is superfluous. Yesterday's man with yesterday's ideas.


The anti-life joyless doomsday rhetoric of conservative jihadists like Senators Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi, and their ilk, have since ploughed the barren soil Abbott once tilled.

They have already planted the genetically modified seeds of racism, hate and bigotry. They don't need him to keep their devotees in thrall.

He's too gutless to start his own political movement in case he threw a party and nobody came.

Besides, he's a political adulterer; an opportunist. If he were to accept any invitation to join another party, within minutes he would be plotting to usurp the leader. He's incapable of being faithful, despite his promises.

Those once close to him have drifted away and forged their own careers. His then co-prime minister Peta Credlin is now a formidable TV commentator and her views are far more authoritative and more often heeded than those of the man she once dominated as his chief of staff.


His silly manifesto is the baby talk of a delusional man. He had his chance to implement such hoary non-progressive ideology when he was prime minister.

If Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was a stronger performer, Abbott would not receive as much publicity. The reality is that Abbott fills the void for some strange reason left unfilled by Shorten.

Democracy is enhanced when the proper contest between a government and opposition is more equally matched.

Tony is obsessed with Malcolm and has been for years. I reckon there's some jealous homoerotica in his public feelings towards his former colleague at The Bulletin and fellow recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship.

But the wider electorate is fed up with him, and his constant carping and swiping at Turnbull.

It is becoming tedious and predictable, and it is wasteful vanity politics.


Regardless of one's political inclination, or how critical one is of Turnbull's Coalition and policies, I think the general public actually feels some sympathy for him over Abbott's relentless undermining.

He has remained remarkably patient towards Abbott and has now made his intention clear:

“I can assure you, I will be prime minister for a very long time."

Yesterday, Acting Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek spoke with ABC Radio National's Fran Kelly and echoed what many of us feel — that Abbott's interventions would be taking 

"... way too much of the PM's intellectual and emotional energy ... I feel bad for the country.“

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