Tough-guy Tony and the decline of the Liberal Party

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Political pugulist Tony Abbott takes the Liberals right down — to his own low level. Barry Everingham comments.

When a political party is reduced to electing a thug to lead it — the membership has to wear the ignominy.

Think the ALP and Mark Latham.

Witness Tony Abbott and the Liberals.

There’s a thin line dividing those blokes — both bright, both in secure family situations, both physical and verbal pugilists.

Abbott, though, has got an air of being a winner and this has excited his membership who, in the main, are displaying a nervous arrogance that is becoming frightening.

The thought of Abbott in The Lodge taking orders from the likes of George Pell, Michael Kroger, Hugh Morgan and Andrew Bolt – and others of that ilk – is frightening in the extreme.

Back to the once great party which Abbott is disgracing — the party of Menzies, Harold Holt, Dick Hamer, Richard Casey and others whom, I’m safe in saying, would never in a month of Sundays have worn political detritus like John Howard, Nick Minchin, Peter Reith, Abbott  and others of that odious cabal.

How many Liberals must be thinking “come back Peter all is forgiven”.

And there’d be many good people who sat on pre-selection panels and unthinkingly chose people for safe seats who scrubbed up well at interviews, had good qualifications, but whose dark sides were not apparent.

But the advent of Abbott has brought many of them out of their shells and allowed them to emerge from under their dark rocks; like Abbott, they will bring disgrace on the Liberal Party while ever they hold their safe seats.

Before going into details, let’s have a look at some of the women who sat in Parliament before the current crop.

Women of substance, women of impeccable political background, proud women.

Margaret Guilfoyle, Nancy Buttfield, Annabelle Rankin left their marks on Australian politics.

Moving to today’s Liberal women — it’s not good.

A few illustrations.

On last week’s ABC Q&A the audience of thousands of Australian must have been horrified at the outrageous arrogance of Kelly O’Dywer, who’s succeeded Costello in Higgins.

She came across as an out of control harridan, who thought she was being ever so smart.

Wrong sweetie, very wrong.

I happen to live in her electorate and the feedback I’m getting is one of absolute horror that someone so base – so “common”, as one matron sneered (not my choice of word, but hey!) – could have that rolled gold seat.

Then, moving on, the good electors of Indi must be wondering what they have done to get the dreadful Sophie Mirabella as their member. She’s infamous for not only her foul language but her racism, telling Aboriginals in her electorate “I’m not sorry!”

And what about the poor New South Wales electors being lumbered with that appalling Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells or the South Australians with their “hokey pokey” jigger (and recently arrested shoplifter) Senator  Mary Jo Fisher?

Tony Abbott’s negativity, his out of control arrogance and his banal one liners  which get him headlines  (shame Murdoch press, shame) have given those mentioned above and others  the green light to unleash  a barrage of insults and unacceptable behaviour which has the Speaker, Harry Jenkins, tearing  his hair out.

Long serving Members like Bronwyn Bishop and Julie Bishop are out of control and both should know better – but they are aided and abetted by the clown of clowns, Christopher Pyne.

Julie Bishop, who it is said irons Tony Abbott’s shirts is the perennial Deputy Leader – three Leaders one deputy, think that one out.

It’s interesting that O’Dwyer, Mirabella and Bronwyn Bishop are tossed out of the Chamber on a regular basis because of their unseemly behaviour.

Abbott’s latest insanity is his $70 (seventy!) billion black hole — he laughs that one off.

There’ll be others on a daily basis until the next election.

If the Liberals are to get the dignity being MPs and Senators has attracted in the past they have one, and only one option.

And that’s Malcolm Turnbull – and he is needed urgently.

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