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Abbott’s down, but is he out?

By Ad astra

Tony Abbott has been on the way down for years.

His time in the sun began unexpectedly on the 1st of December 2009 when he became Leader of the Opposition after toppling Malcolm Turnbull in a spill brought about by Turnbull’s support for Kevin Rudd’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Abbott had the backing of many Liberal members who were climate change sceptics and opposed the ETS.

You will recall the astonishment he expressed at his first press conference where he said that if he won the coming election he would be seen as a genius, but “if we don’t win I’ll probably be political road kill at some point in time.”

He lead the Coalition in the 2010 election which resulted in a hung parliament, and a Labor government under Julia Gillard, supported by two rural independents. He lost the contest for their support, and thereafter set himself on a course of destructiveness the like of which we have not seen in recent times. I will not bore you with the details; I’m sure you’ll remember his deliberately ineffectual action on climate change, his ‘axe the tax’ and ‘ditch the witch’ rhetoric, his ‘demolition’ of the NBN, and his opposition to marriage equality.

Although he did win the 2013 election for the Coalition, his performance as PM was so bad, his behaviour so destructive, and his management of the economy so poor, that the electorate turned against him and after thirty negative Newspolls in a row, Turnbull upended him on 15 September 2015 in a spectacular coup.

At that time, as he recoiled to the backbench with no prospect of a cabinet position, he could have been classified as road kill, but he loitered around looking for ways he could sabotage Turnbull and seize the reins of power again. His promise: “There will be no wrecking, no undermining, no sniping” proved to be like most of Abbott’s promises. He went about doing all three, overtly and repeatedly.

Abbott chose marriage equality as a movement he could readily sabotage because he strongly opposed it personally. He chose to make it as difficult as possible for the cause to be advanced. As a delaying tactic, he insisted on it being put to a plebiscite, to which Turnbull agreed when he toppled Abbott as part of his deal with the conservative clique in his party to gain their support. It morphed into the ‘voluntary postal survey’, just completed.

Abbott campaigned vigorously for the No campaign, and tried to divert attention by associating irrelevant issues with marriage equality: ‘And I say to you, if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom, and freedom of speech, vote no. If you don’t like political correctness, vote no – because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

The results came in Thursday November 15. His electorate did not listen to his poisoned rhetoric. Abbott found himself defeated once more. Not only did the nation return a decisive Yes vote of 61.6% and a No vote of 38.4%, but his own electorate of Warringah returned a 75% Yes vote, the tenth highest in the nation. What a telling slap in the face this was for Abbott, who found himself the MP most out of touch with local and national views on marriage equality. Is he now road kill?

After he realized that only 25 per cent of his electorate voted ‘No’, he adopted a more conciliatory tone, and in an interview on 2GB he was at pains to mention no less than three times that the original plebiscite was ‘his idea’, adding: “It’s a vindication of the process that was put in place by my government and continued by the Turnbull government”.

He said he would not attempt to “frustrate the will of the public”, adding that the bill should now be passed as quickly as possible. Time will tell whether this dishonest, destructive man has more nasty tricks up his sleeve.

Abbott must be near the end of his tether. Will his electorate reject him at the next election as decisively at it has rejected his No rhetoric?

He is down but is he out? Time will tell!

What do you think?

This article was originally published on TPS Extra.

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23 comments

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  1. Cool Pete

    Well, I hope he’s down and out for the count. He can only be referred to as an historical curiosity and an intemperate child in a man’s body, not an in touch politician. The best thing he can do is force a by-election in Warringah.

  2. kerri

    Regardless of what Abbott chooses to do for the next 6-12 months, I am betting that if Dean Smith’s bill passes into law Turnbull will seize the moment of victory and call an election to try to undo all those arrogant dual citizens. Until then Turnbull will continue to throw mud at Shorten and Abbott will continue to throw mud at Turnbull and Bernardi will throw mud at everyone because he has no idea what else to do.
    And Lyle Shelton will continue to cry poor, because we all know how badly-done-by the Christian faith is.

  3. Roscoe

    if he actually spent some time in his electorate instead of anywhere but, he might have a vague idea of what was going on around him

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    I believe Abbott is finished. Politics is now moving too fast. Out of control of the Coalition.

    Shorten after nearly five years has taken the gloves off. He is a man that chooses the battles he will fight. Going in boots and all, he is certain this is a battle he will win, with winning the law not far away.

    The Coalition has left it too late to change horses. Would not surprise me if we see the Liberal party split. Split, with great rump ending up in Bernardi’s camp. Like the DLP of the 50, the 60s into the 70s. Tied to religion.

    I wonder how much support he now has in his electorate. Quick to say he would vote yes. Not joining the Bernadi & co attack.

  5. Royce Arriso

    Abbott has long since been irrelevant. Hardly surprising, given his ideological motivation is a loathing of all things modern. Only Opus Dei nutters and their bedfellows are likely to sympathise with such a stance. His continual need to depict Australia as some sort of battlefield upon which a righteous cultural war is being fought, is standard Rightwing nutso self-delusion. Politics aside, it jars with anybody realistic enough to perceive that the nation, for all its socio-political divisions, remains a peaceful democracy.
    However, Abbott is a prime museum exhibit.
    Should be stuffed and mounted, labelled ‘DLP, circa 1959’ and displayed in a glass case.
    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

  6. Royce Arriso

    Florence said;
    “Would not surprise me if we see the Liberal party split. Split, with great rump ending up in Bernardi’s camp. Like the DLP of the 50, the 60s into the 70s. Tied to religion.”
    Couldn’t agree more.
    The Rightwing religious whackjobs might then have a few electoral successes, followed by stasis and a long gradual decline.
    Perhaps accompanied by a fitting irony–reaching out for support to anti-SSM Muslims !

  7. Max Gross

    The LNP is a party of deceivers, hypocrites, confabulators and traitors but Abbott is demonstrably the greatest – and most incompetent – of them all. His solemn oaths, devout pledges, iron clad promises and sanctimonious declarations have proved time and again to be nothing but piss and vinegar. Abbott is a failure, a petulant, vindictive sook, and a legend in his own mind. I dub thee: Bluffman!

  8. totaram

    I don’t really care what happens as long as his decline is clear. Slow and steady and downwards. But these people are so thick-skinned, nothing will touch them. Look at John Howard, who lost his own seat, after wrecking Australia in pursuit of his ambition. He still has the temerity to pop up every now and then spouting his nonsense, when he should be in the Hague as an alleged war criminal.Perhaps that day will still come, although by then he will claim ill-health like Pinochet.

  9. Philip Moore

    The people of Warringah need to do the right thing by all Australians and vote this irrelevant, homophobic, vile, destructive, poisonous toad out at the next Federal election.

  10. Glenn Barry

    Perhaps it is all a test from god, or maybe, just maybe it’s god telling him he thinks he’s an asshole and that he needs to mend his ways immediately

  11. astra5

    Folks

    Thanks to all of you for your confirmatory comments.

    What’s astonishing to me is the thickness of Abbott’s hide. What sort of personality could continue in the face of the comments so many people make about him, the utter disdain in which he is held, and the oft-expressed desire of the voters that he disappear and never return.

    What sort of disturbed ego could cope with that?

    It is his entrenched beliefs that propel him – beliefs that cannot be changed. He lives in another universe but doesn’t know it. It’s pathetic, it’s tragic. It’s Tony in Abbottland – all by himself.

  12. Rod Campbell-Ross

    The problem is that there is nothing else he can do. Who would employ such a character? He is devoid of any skills, he is churlish and destructive; and he is thoroughly weird. So he hangs around in parliament at our expense causing trouble.

  13. ANGUS

    There were ample reasons for his electorate to reject him at the last election. He has allways been an insufferable jerk yet they still reelected him.

  14. Joe Mohui

    Chimpy has done some serious damage to Australian democracy, he really has always been an insufferable jerk for his entire time in public life & if the rumours are true, during his education years too.
    IMO, miss-informed/uneducated voters have kept this odious clown in office,

  15. Glenn Barry

    @ Angus – I am unfortunately in his electorate, suffice to say that he DOES NOT represent me in any way whatsoever…that said however they are all rusted on Liberals, I am not…the true mystery is what are the machinations behind the scenes which gain him pre-selection perpetually.

    Bronwyn Bishop, the revolting hag, lost her pre-selection at the last election, so the machine willed her gone, hopefully Abbotts time is done.

  16. paul walter

    He will keep kicking out but slowly more feebly as the noose tightens.

    But yes, the main battles have been fought and lost. For Abbott and co there is only the bitter, long and dogged Retreat from Moscow with the solitary consolation being the impulse to take down as many of the foe as possible with them as spoils of defeat.

  17. Kronomex

    Abbott is the cause of his own destruction. Will he vote for the 75% who said Yes or will he vote in favour of the 25%? Not a difficult question to answer knowing the Rabbott.

  18. wam

    memories he won by one vote and thinking about the man it was a tragedy arguably it was little johnnies and rudd’s ets and the loonies were inspirational in their support for the rabbott against labor a stance maintained by the dixxxludbransimkims.
    bernardi is a dangerous man in the climate of trump, brexit and ‘no’.
    ps
    why is lionel murphy and murky labor program on the ABC in the last week of a qld government election???

    We done bill ‘marriage EQUALITY ::))

  19. paul walter

    Just out: the government has cancelled next week’s sitting of parliament because they are afraid rebel back benchers will agree to calls for an inquiry into the banks.

    How’s THAT for gutlessness.

  20. jimhaz

    It is the usual story – he is as relevant as the media wants him to be and they want him to be relevant as he causes emotions in people which helps market share. Hanson is the same.

  21. jimhaz

    A reference to Naomi Klein on Josephs current article led me to this poem. I couldn’t help but associate it with Abbott (or Hanson or Bernardi).

    The Second Coming (WB YEATS)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  22. Patagonian

    Astra asks why Abbott is so thick-skinned. In ‘Political Aimal’ David Marr explains that from birth he was treated as a Sun God by his mother and father. He is just an utterly spoiled man child ho having been raised to believe he is absolutely marvellous, has zero self-reflection ability.

  23. paul walter

    Good one, jimhaz.

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