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An Abbott in the Lodge – “NEVER”

the lodge

The Lodge, Canberra

By John Lord and Michael Taylor

Part One

David Marr’s recent quarterly essay “Political Animal” (now a book) gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. Moreover, given that Mr. Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision-making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph:

“Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.”

Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis, the negativity of Abbott has spread itself like rust through the community. He has sought to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day has passed since the last election without Mr. Abbott referring to Prime Minister Gillard as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face, I might add. He has sought to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined “NO.” Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have the republicans) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

More recently of course, Mr. Abbott has just gone through the most astonishing personality transformation any politician this country has ever achieved. What his secret is no one knows but those in the field of treating psychiatric personality disorders might like to study his case in great depth. Remarkably, he has gone from gutter politician with an overwhelming negativity disorder, misogyny traits and pathological liar complex to jolly nice bloke in the course of six months. In fact, the date of this transformation can be pinpointed to the Prime Ministers announcement of the election date.

In the US, the Republicans with all this propaganda sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite of the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for nearly three years Prime Minister Gillard was demonised by right wing MSM pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it. Now Abbott and the MSM have achieved their objective and forced her out of office but political historians will speak kindly of Prime Minister Gillard. She stood tall among men and her policy legacy will be remembered and experienced well into this countries future.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo-conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo-conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a woman with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office and the parliament has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are, I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character? I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven.”

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Alternatively, that’s just politics. However, my focus here is on character and whether Mr. Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behavior over a long period he simply does not have the essence of character, which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

Tony Abbott in The Lodge? Never!

The evidence follows in part two tomorrow.

 

16 comments

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  1. J.Fraser

    Editorial from Fairfax in N.Z. : http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/editorials/8852372/Editorial-Gillards-axing-political-gamble

    Makes me wonder where Australia is headed.

    For some unknown reason I thought The Guardian Australia would be an improvement on the world wide discredited Murdoch …. wrong !

    Looks like Rudd is now doing to Abbott what Abbott did to Julia Gillard M.P.

    With Rudd & Abbott its all about looks.

    With Julia and Abbott it would have been all about intelligence.

  2. Mish

    This is well articulated and touches so well on Tony Abbotts continual misjudgement of what constitutes a leader, role model, and decision maker, which is what any top job is about isn’t it? As a leader, he uses cheap and nasty techniques such as ‘ditch the witch’ which in my mind is the lowest point Australia as a nation and also our political arena in this country could possibly ever reach. A witch hunt is what he was conducting, and if that isn’t a man who hates women for being intelligent, innovative and influential, then I don’t know what does. As a role model for young men, and women of this nation, the nation he is hoping to one day (God forbid) lead, what messages and imprints does Tony Abbot leave in the minds of growing children and young adults when he shows such little respect for the country’s PM by calling her a liar, and a witch, backing that up with cartoon like characters depicting her on a broom. This is disgraceful and disgraceful for ANYONE in this day and age to refer to a woman in a position of responsibility in such a way, or any woman for that matter. It’s downright red neck and filled with sexual discriminatory hatred which is dangerous. I am also disgusted at other women who chime in repeating it. I think he’s doing this country and it’s morals and values a huge disservice and taking us backwards as a civilised people not forwards. As a decision maker, well, his values are so skewed against women, gay people (he’s intimidated by the gay population which I guess means both women and men who are gay, and quite possibly their children and extended families as well), minorities or people who are battling for whatever reason. These demographics, which possibly account for 2/3 of the Australian population, means there is simply no way that this man could, or should ever be alone in any kind of decision making regarding the people of this nation. 2/3 of the population go unrepresented. That isn’t a democracy! Please do not vote for Tony Abbott come election day, for all our sakes.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    If anyone ever had any doubts about how phoney Tony is then this comparison between 2010 and 2013 60 Minutes interviews of Tony by Liz Hayes, who a long standing respected journalist with many years experience behind her knows a fake when she comes across one.

    60 Minutes Reporter Liz Hayes shares her thoughts on Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amJn9J_nmlg

    That testimony from Hayes on its own should be enough to illustrate why Abbott is unfit for PM.

  4. wantok

    I saw Mr Rudd’s press conference at lunch time and I have to say that I am impressed with his frankness and his command of facts. Unlike Tony Abbott he tried to answer every question fully and openly and not walk away. Whilst I was sorry to see Julia Gillard go after doing an amazing job in extremely difficult circumstances there was no way she was going to overcome the media bias against her personally and whilst Abbott may not be a misogynist he certainly is a bully.
    So far so good for Rudd and if he keeps it up he will deserve to be re elected.

    There will be a wide ranging debate between Abbott and Rudd at the National Press Club, probably next week. I don’t think Abbott realized with his hectoring of Rudd in parliament yesterday that he committed to this debate, something his minders have been trying to avoid for months; finally we will see his true colours in a forum where cheap slogans will not suffice.

    Bring it on !

  5. passum2013Ron Barnes

    I find this a very balanced read to the point and very accurate with the backup of the facts as given.

  6. Billy moir

    It is irony that makes Australian politics so terrific. I saw the new PM shaking hands with the leader of the opposition.
    For the last three years, Rudd has stood in silence whilst Abbott, with innuendo and lies, waged an attack, often personal and nasty, on Julia Gillard. Both the print and broadcast(including the ABC) media were in a frenzy to follow Abbott’s lead by publicising, at every opportunity negative predictions, using provocative language and down-playing or simply ignoring, any of the Gillard Government’s positives.
    The result was the removal from office of a woman who was an excellent PM and who lead a successful government and the installation of a man who, because of gender, may be able to gain the support of the media to win the election for Labor.
    So how ironic is it, that a petulant sook, could defeat the man whose nasty streak and misogyny demonised Gillard, by using the anti-Gillard media to sell her hard work to the electorate?

  7. johnlord2013

    Excellent thoughts Billy.

  8. Wen

    I too listened to and read Tony Abbott’s speech to his troops, to call the experience unsettling would be the understatement of the century. Everything we fear from the conservatives is there for analysis and after viewing the Liz Hayes segment I am even more convinced that Mr Abbott neither has the skills, certainly not the character or demeanour to be PM of our country.

    If anyone believes that a person can do a 360 degree turnaround and reinvent themselves to become who he wants us to believe he has become should think again. Watch him closely in QT and it is not hard to see that under a very thin veil is the ‘real’ Tony Abbott struggling not to unleash his true self. If it wasn’t so bizarre and disquieting it would not be without humour, but it isn’t humorous it is dangerous and very, very scary. I found the article’s authors reference to personality disorders very relevant and timely in respect to this.

    Abbott’s treatment of Julia Gillard and his consequent behaviour towards women and those marginalised by their sexual orientation, race or circumstances should be remembered as the lowest time in our social and cultural history. This is who Tony Abbott really is, no matter what supposed changes he feels he has made and wants us to believe.

    As Liz Hayes remarked, think before you vote. Do you really want a PM who lies consistently without care for the consequences and thinks we are naive enough to buy the reinvented Tony?

    I look forward to reading part 2 of this thought provoking article.

  9. Jacquie Wyatte

    I do not believe that he has changed at all as regards women .. his deep rooted Catholic psyche would not allow this.

  10. mis

    to speak of misogyny and then derogatorily refer to the “woman with a bad hair-do” alongside a third rate actor….is that really the best critical point you could make of this person – her hair-do? it’s so ridiculously insidious that even in an otherwise thoughtful and well-argued article, resorting to picking on a woman’s appearance seems the best, logical choice for the denigration sought…..makes me sad

  11. johnlord2013

    Depends on your point of view. Even women found Thatchers hair style rather……..

  12. mis

    @johnlord2013: is your implication there that women are somehow immune to jumping on culturally-sanctioned sexist bandwagons, and never fall into the trap of basing judgments on faulty gender-specific appraisals? reminds me of the “i’m a woman and I still think she’s an ugly bitch” line as an argument (poorly) attempting to deny the inherent sexism involved in current political discourse……. my point is, that of all the possible criticisms to be made (and there are certainly plenty – no shortage to choose from!) of the person, the “bad hair-do” was the quickest shortcut to denigration – not bad policies, not actions, decisions, statements, or anything that was DONE, but rather, what she LOOKED like – yep, that’s the most salient point which can be made about a woman’s achievements (or lack thereof)…..again, saddened by the fact…

  13. johnlord2013

    Min I am the most non sexist man you would ever meet. I champion women’s equality. I have a Bald head and am often ridiculed for it. It’s also a bad hair do.

  14. mis

    i don’t doubt it sir, and glad to hear you champion women’s equality. I would however encourage you to reflect on how frequently the (lack of) hair-do you possess is used as a reference to your competence in your work, or used as a defining feature of your employment….again, my only issue here is that in the context of an article that denounces the “vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate [which] the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on” in reference to the public treatment of first female prime minister of this country, I find it disappointing and disheartening that referencing another female former leader is reduced to a pejorative jibe about the woman’s hair, rather than her achievements or lack thereof in the role….

  15. johnlord2013

    It was a writers way of identifying two individuals without mentioning their names in an historical context. I regret it upsets you but I think most people take my point. Anyway I appreciate your comments and take them seriously.

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