There I was, a middle-aged woman in jammies enjoying quite a nice life, looking forward to retirement, getting rid of my mortgage, grandchildren, travelling, spending time with my friends, divesting myself of responsibility.
Tony Abbott was leader of the Liberal Party, something that those of us who knew him when we were young found bemusing and amusing, but surely people could see what he was like.
Then it started to look like some were taking this inconsequential bovver boy seriously. I went from complacently amused to a little concerned, but not really because look at what Gillard was achieving.
When Abbott went into the mode that I recognised so well from our uni days – the personal attacks, the bullying, the need for an audience, the misogyny, the homophobia – I got worried and figured I needed to do my bit to show the real Abbott because it seemed others couldn’t see it.
But it wasn’t Abbott I should have been focusing on. The Labor Party imploded and handed this inadequate man the reins of the country.
I was flummoxed. Actually, I was horrified because I knew what he was like – a mediocre man who had been encouraged to believe he was something special who, because he was always punching above his weight, only had biffo to counter with. Tony was never able to debate, just dictate. Even at football, he was so ordinary that he considered his finest moment to be when he got in the first punch. I was at that game – Tony punches because he can’t play.
Abbott just loved to argue for the sake of it. Bill Wright, a priest and church historian, who was vice-rector at St Patrick’s whilst Tony was there studying for the priesthood, understood the real Tony.
“Tony is inclined to score points, to skate over or hold back any reservations he might have about his case. Once Tony had beaten the system and was no longer able to locate the ‘struggle’ as being between himself and authority, he had no-one much else blocking his path but himself.”
Tony wrote an article in the Bulletin about how the church had failed to live up to his expectations.
This was the response from one reader when the article was reprinted on nofibs.
“As a catholic myself what struck me about Abbott’s account here was his overweening self-importance and sense of entitlement. There must have been many quiet prayers of thanks when this restless soul left the seminary. He seems to be a man driven by the need to oppose. Debating, boxing, rugby, student politics marked him in youth as a formidable adversary. He took that fighting spirit to St Patrick’s which let him down because it did not offer enough ‘bravura’ to sustain him. Now of course the admiration for belligerence as Opposition leader has probably provided a new yardstick for assessing the success or failure of future incumbents of that position. I would like Tony Abbott to explain why he wanted to be a priest rather than why the church did not meet his expectations. I would also like to know why he wants to be PM and whether this country will have enough ‘bravura’ for him or whether he will have to reshape us in his own image.”
Greg Sheridan was one of Tony’s sycophantic audience/followers when we were at uni and he still is. Abbott has his promoters but that alone would lead me to really question their motives because everyone who actually knows him realises the package is empty – all he can do is repeat ideology, unable to mount a convincing argument.
All I can say is the debacle we are currently experiencing was inevitable when the Liberal Party were stupid enough to give this bully a toy and then try to take it away from him.