By denying the Australian Government representation at Margaret Olley’s funeral, Tony Abbott shows what a Philistine he really is. Barry Everingham comments.
Tony Abbott once again trashed the Australian Parliament; he trashed its traditions and he trashed his own sleazy persona.
Let me explain.
Its time honoured tradition that when a member of the serving government is unable to be in the House or the Senate, that member is “paired” with an opposition member — that means the voting numbers are in sync.
Until Wednesday, our Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd – recovering from heart surgery – was “paired” with an opposition member.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister was required to absent herself from the House while she attended the ceremonial arrival in Australia of the President of the Seychelles.
Abbott, on his quest to wreck time-honoured traditions, removed the “pair”.
In Sydney, a State Memorial Service was held in honour of one of Australia’s leading and much loved artist, Margaret Olley.
The Governor General was there.
The Premier of New South Wales was there.
The Australian Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, wasn’t there.
The Federal Member for Wentworth, a friend of Margaret’s and her local Member, Malcolm Turnbull also wasn’t there.
The thuggish Abbott refused “pairs” for this Australian icon’s funeral.
As well as being a liar and a thug, Abbott at once showed his Philistine side.
His quest for power has overtaken his sanity — he wants to be the Prime Minister of Australia, to turn this country of ours into a right wing reactionary disgrace.
It’s a fair bet that if his mate George Pell had died, then Abbott – who ignores the history swirling around Pell’s golden robes – would have been inconsolable.
He regards Pell as God — and even went so far as to lie to Tony Jones on Lateline about a meeting with Pell.
But he treated one of Australia’s national treasures and her memory with total contempt.
Back to this week.
Abbott has the beleaguered Member for Dobell, Craig Thompson in his sites.
Thomson has all sorts of allegations swirling around him — none proved, none in the courts, yet.
So, on Wednesday, Abbott set his mincing attack dog, Christopher Pyne, on to the matter and under Parliamentary privilege demanded the Prime Minister face the House and “explain” what conversations has passed between her and her backbencher.
Pyne went over the top — followed, of course, by Abbott at his sanctimonious best, heaping on Gillard and Thompson all the shit he could think of and more.
Frothing at the mouth, spittle spraying and occasionally turning to his front bench – the moderates looking as though they’d rather be anywhere else — Abbott let it rip.
Alas to no avail and he didn’t count on the brilliance of House Leader Anthony Albanese, who demolished Abbott mercilessly.
Albanese went straight to Margaret Olley:
“Today,” he said, “there is a funeral of a great Australian, Margaret Olley”.
“The Australian Government was to be represented at that funeral by Simon Crean and her friend Malcolm Turnbull.”
“Last week,” Albanese went on, “in this chamber we acknowledged Margaret Oley’s passing.”
“In that, the Prime Minister, moved the motion of condolence.”
“She – that is Margaret Olley – did habitually what we all find difficult: doing good without being found out.”
Albanese went on:
“This was supported by the Leader of the Opposition who had this to say:
“‘I rise to support the eloquent words of the Prime Minister. She – that is Margaret Olley –did habitually what we all find difficult: doing good without being found out.’”
Then Albanese went for the jugular.
“It is indeed extraordinary that the Australian Government will not be represented at her funeral today.
“I say to the Opposition that they should have a good look at themselves for the way that they are determined to wreck proper process, wreck parliamentary conventions, and wreck common decency when it comes to their behaviour.”
Back to Thompson.
“We know there is only one member of the Australian Parliament currently under charges — well, that we know of, because we do know that the member was charged in May and we only found out anything about that until July.”
Pointing to the Opposition, Albanese said:
“We know there is a history of that side of the House— there were multiple police investigations into members opposite, including the great print-gate affair (Andrew Laming) with Ross Vasta and Gary Hardgrave allegedly misusing public money.
“Peter Reith and the telephone card, Alexander Downer and the AWB and Joe Hockey and the Malanda farm scam.”
Tony Abbott displays daily his total unsuitability to be the political leader of this country.
He’s an out of control, unstable, control freak.
He’d have been better placed to stay in the priesthood, preferably in one of those enclosed Orders his Church operates.
Then we would never have heard of him.