The LNP's dirty tricks campaigns against Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson have Tony Abbott’s fingerprints all over them, says Bob Ellis.

The modus operandi of the Slipper and Thomson smears bears striking resemblance to Abbott's work in getting Pauline Hanson gaoled on what some suggest were false charges.

THE SLIPPER SAGA continues and will today abort another promising scenario when LNP hard-heads give Brough the pink slipper and the dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

For Brough is, unfortunately, guilty of treason — or so I am told. He has conspired in wartime, or he seems to have, against the third-highest official in the land after the Queen and Quentin Bryce, and would in another time have been shot for it; and, talented though he may be (above Abbott and Hockey and on a par with Turnbull) the LNP can no longer afford the foul mess growing around him.

And around James Ashby too, who seems, like Iago, to have led his commanding general into error, in wartime also, treasonously also, and sought either to depose or blackmail him, conspiring with his enemies, and thieving, like Bradley Manning, documents he had no right to see. Manoeuvres more befitting Neil Armfield’s Belvoir Theatre have been played out before an abashed and shuddering nation; a bisexual marriage exposed and children and step-children shamed; and, should Ashby go to gaol, a further angry tussle for preselections between the Small L’s and the Cane Toad LNP.

It exposes, too, the dirty tricks that, since the Pauline Hanson false charges, appear to have been Tony Abbott’s stock-in-trade. You slime a man, like Slipper, or like Thomson, you swear that Parliament has been stained by him, you move no confidence in him and you leave the chamber in disgust. It was what was done in other fields of endeavour to Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne and Andrew Johns and Dawn Fraser; and Mark McInnes, of course. You use acts that are not crimes to ensure a dismissal or a prolonged suspension; you act ‘outside the law’ to achieve your political ends.

Or, if need be, you break the law. You push the boats back; you send home Tamil refugees to execution; you send in the army to look up little girls’ anuses if they are black, but not if they are white; something Mal Brough approved, or ordered. What an ugly bunch they are.

It is not certain, however, that gay bashing of the Slipper sort works for the Liberals as it used to. It is now known that a Liberal Prime Minister, Billy McMahon, was gay; a Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Neil Brown; Abbott was privy to a ‘homosexual culture’, according to his biographer at St Barnabas’; his sister is gay; one of his senior ministers looks like he may be…

And sympathy has moved towards Slipper in the past eight weeks, since he is ‘standing down’.

And we will see, this afternoon, how far.

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