Part Two – the evidence.
By John Lord and Michael Taylor
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.
None of these events is in chronological order. They are just as they come to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.
When the President of the US visited, he broke long-standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition leader.
He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.
He did the same when the Queen visited.
He would not allow pairs (another long-standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley; an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.
More recently, he refused a pair whilst Prime Minister Gillard was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.
At university, he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.
Referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing”.
He was accused of assaulting a woman at university and later acquitted. A QC defended him and the girl defended herself.
Another woman accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborated her story.
He threatened to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a women’s right to an abortion.
In 1978, a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. He punched him in the face. It never went anywhere. A legal team of six represented Abbott and the young man could not afford to defend himself.
And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match? Yes, he did.
He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.
And let us not forget the role he played also in the jailing of Pauline Hanson. After One Nation shocked the Coalition by winning 11 seats in Queensland in June 1998, Abbott was determined to dig up every piece of dirt he could on Hanson. In his own words, on her demise he boasts this was
“All my doing, for better or for worse”
It has got Tony Abbott’s fingerprints on it and no-one else’s.”
Yes, even after saying that, he still lies about the existence of the fund.
He was ejected from the House of Representatives once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.
In 2000, he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.
Abused Nicola Roxon after he had turned up late for a debate.
Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook or a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying at the same time. After all this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.
Together with Christopher Pyne seen running from the House of Representatives to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.
Being the first Opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.
The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?
The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.
In addition, in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Archbishop George Pell.
During the Republic Referendum, he told many outrageous untruths.
His famous “Climate change is crap” comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question: “Is that what you always do?”
His almost daily visits to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the ‘carbon tax’ (a scare campaign best described as fraudulent). None of which have come to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.
Moreover, of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so in Parliament the next day.
Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.
He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.
And of course there is the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.
Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.
And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.
I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh, wait.
We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden. I used to think that John Howard was a mean-spirited, nasty piece of work, but in comparison to Tony Abbott, he appears as kind, caring and compassionate as Mother Teresa did. Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and the way he belittles those who are suffering from it. He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he has been inherently nasty for as long as people have known him, but it was not until 2005 that I first took notice of his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:
The day after Mr. Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr. Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behavior . . . Mr. Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”
Nasty. To the core. And to a mate.
He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.
When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported the listing of the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it was not disrespectful, enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.
Yesterday, Mr. Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition. “It was a stunt,” Mr. Abbott said on the Nine Network.
“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”
He loves making fun of dying people. Does he expect we will all laugh along with him?
He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam was not even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.
The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an extremely wrong note.
He said she was a”woman of style and substance” and”a marvelous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister”.
”There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam,” Mr. Abbott said.
Nasty. To the core.
If politics is fundamentally, about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece, I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On three occasions, I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially, he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican, party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis has done nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye, he is most effective in attack dog mode. However, he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies. Or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbles over tough questions. This is particularly noticeable when he tries to explain the complexity of policy detail.
The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character. A man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy The Lodge. Given his performance of late, he would do well to consider these words Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It’s easy to understand what Abbott says because he only speaks in slogans. The difficulty is knowing what he means.
I have used this line in one of my short stories and it aptly sums up the character of Honorable Leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition.
As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception.
Tomorrow in part three: “If you think that’s all think again”,