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Australia, you asked for it

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.


43 comments

  1. Matters Not

    Lots of angst in the US as to whether Putin interfered with their election(s) or not. In Australia, we seem far less concerned when an American national pays a flying visit and uses his local minions to undermine and then dismiss a Prime Minister.

    As for Abbott, now that Turnbull is probably toast, Dutton shouldn’t rest easy because Tony tends to reach and then over-reach. Another attempt to reach to again be the top dog is not beyond him. Recall his last ‘come from the clouds’ putsch. Certainly, Hockey, Turnbull and Abbott well remember.

    Suspect that the temptation might be too much.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Dutton’s potential ineligibility could see the far right without a candidate – Scott probably burned his bridges with the hug. Knowing Tony, it is not inconceivable that he will try again if Dutton is ruled out. The ego is strong with that one.

  3. Matters Not

    Technically, how can Dutton be ruled out given the Parliament (HoR) won’t sit for a few weeks? The SG’s advice will be very interesting. But I suspect it won’t be definitive. Besides it’s only advice. More along the lines – let the High Court decide.

    Will the Party room be prepared to gamble? Who will lead the charge to ‘delay’? Turnbull? So many questions. So few answers.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Of course he can’t be ruled out by anyone but the high court – but it must cause them some pause. Even if the parliament doesn’t refer him, an individual who has been negatively impacted by a decision Dutton made could challenge that decision in court on the grounds that he was ineligible to make it and get it tested that way. I can see the immigration lawyers already lining up.

    I would also not be surprised if there was a voter in Dickson who was prepared to lodge a challenge within 40 days (as citizens are allowed to do) of any Dutton re-election.

  5. David Bruce

    I seem to remember Rupert was “grooming” the current foreign minister to take over the reins? One way to dismantle the boys’ club

    So here we are, telling our neighbours in the south pacific islands how to run a democracy! They are too polite to laugh in our faces, they just smile and change the subject…

  6. Matters Not

    Kl what you posit is all perfectly logical BUT tomorrow’s decision day and emotion and fear rather than rationality will reign supreme.

    They are all wishin and hopin ..

    And so am I. But I suspect their dreams are not mine.

  7. Kaye Lee

    David,

    I am practising saying fush and chups. It would be nice to be on the winning side in rugby again, not to mention having the guts to tell the US to piss off.

  8. Kaye Lee

    It is perhaps instructive that the type of people who aligned with Tony when we were at uni were those who were lacking in confidence themselves and who were in awe of Abbott’s absolute certainty that he was always right. The trouble for the rest of us was, if you ever questioned Tony, he had nothing to back it up. NOTHING. He was only ever capable of repeating what he was told. His conviction was always ideological rather than any sort of considered position. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t listen. He doesn’t think. He isn’t open to learning because he thinks he already knows….which is why we find ourselves with people mistrusting scientists and experts and listening to the radio shock jocks that Tony so loves..

    I have spent over 40 years dismissing Abbott as yesterday’s man. And they wonder why I am twitter and bisted. How long can you have the same arguments with a moron?

  9. paul walter

    The entitlement bit re Abbott chimes nicely with Samantha Maiden and Fioravanti Wells moaning about how “disillusioned” the crank right are over life and how we should all feel very guilty indeed for upsetting the wallflowers.

  10. Terence Mills

    Turnbull is handling this fiasco with a degree of dignity and cynicism that I hadn’t expected of him.

    Firstly insisting on a list of forty three names gives this a Shakespearean twist as the traitors are required to reveal themselves publicly and then we have the pretender Dutton who it seems has breached section 44(v) of our constitution by feeding of the public purse through his child-minding centres.

    Can you manage the irony of Peter Dutton running child-minding centres with his track record over children in detention ?

    There is a message for Dutton as he faces inevitable defeat and that is never accept advice from somebody with a track record like Tony Abbott.

    Chris Uhlmann has also gone up in my estimation for saying some things that needed to be said about News Corp, Sky and the shock-jocks who have been undermining our democracy for years.

  11. Carol Taylor

    How can Bishop, a moderate be any more palatable to the far right than Turnbull? Unless they opt for a repeat of the Turnbull experiment in allowing a ‘people’s choice’ PM swing them over the line at the next election; then ditch her. I’m inclined to think that they will opt for Dutton in the full knowledge that they will win Queensland but lose the election, count it as 4 years in the wilderness, regroup and re-emerge with quite possibly Abbott as leader.

    If they opt for Bishop, she will be seen as just as weak and ineffectual as Turnbull, nothing more than a puppet of the far right. Bishop is seen as more at home in a Paris fashion show than doing any work whatsoever for the good of the nation. In fact I was surprised that she was prepared to give her give up the Foreign Minister gig which takes her to so many places more suited to her talents, fashion shows, Ascot… I personally think that her so-called popularity is highly over-rated, mostly because there is no one else in the Liberal Party when a poll is taken as to who you want to see as leader.

  12. Carol Taylor

    Terence, I noted an article which mentioned Dutton’s association with ABC Learning Centres. Also associated was National Larry Anthony (former minister around 2004 and son of Doug) and Eddy Groves. Perhaps that helps explain Dutton’s interest in child care. I definitely note the irony of it all given Dutton’s attitude to sick and injured children on Nauru. One would expect any child care centre he’s asssociated with to be run along the disciplinary lines of Auschwitz.

  13. Möbius Ecko

    What is getting to me at the moment is just about everyone interviewed outside of the Greens and Labor is stating what a great job this government has been doing to now. Also, they keep mentioning how close one previous poll was as though it was enough to have them winning the election. They have even gone on about Morrison’s last three budgets as being great budgets. I guess compared to Hockey’s they are an improvement, but great?

    If the last five years are an L-NP government doing a great job, then I would never like to see one that is mediocre, let alone bad.

  14. Adrianne Haddow

    Dutton’s (and Abbot’s) pecuniary interest in child care centres has nothing to do with the well being, care or education of children.
    It’s more about the profit margin you get when you have a business staffed by workers on low wages.
    It’s also a bonus when you can manipulate the economy and force social conditions that require both parents to work, ensuring your business will succeed.
    So no irony, just the usual profit motive for the cynical bastards.

    It’s time they were gone, preferably to one of the hell holes they have incarcerated asylum seekers on. I’d love to see them living in mouldy tents.

  15. Regional Elder

    Thanks Kay Lee for your historically informing portrait of Tony Abbott, in part based on your personal acquaintanceship with him years ago, a perspective that takes us back into his late adolescence, a developmental period which Tony has ever since, had difficulty emerging from.

    Your view confirms what we know of him now as a narcissistic, self-entitled, ‘all-knowing’ yet deluded ideologue, a bullying character who is compulsively oppositional and negative to ideas other than his own, a man who possesses some winning skills in superficial bonhomie, but who displays a deficit in social empathy that borders on the pathological.

    When the period 2009 to 2019 is appraised by historians, Tony Abbott will be seen as one of the primary political agents stymying Australia’s development as a progressive nation. This is in spite of Abbott gaining the leadership of the Liberal Party in 2009 by default, and subsequently, establish himself as a consummate political liar so as to acquire the Prime Ministership, a position that proved to be well beyond his limited competencies.

    Having successfully under-mined two Labor Prime Ministers, Abbott who began his Prime Ministership with considerable political capital and the breathlessly hot and cynical support of NewsCorp, proved to be so awful that he could not maintain the position for even two years before Turnbull mercifully acted to replace him.

    Abbott’s sense of entitlement was so massively violated that he assumed the unusual course of remaining in parliament on the backbench as a former Prime Minister, and from his position of deep resentment, continuing to exercise his resentment against the new incumbent.

    Yes, in a sense, as you say Australians asked for this, in part because in a commonly dissociated way, we have come to see politicians as ‘other’ than us, ( eg. ‘they’re all the same, in it for what they can get’ ) rather than the fact that they are a reflection of us as a vast and diverse nation. When civic and political education in schools and civic and political involvement in wider adult life is routinely minimised, we in Australia leave the development of our nation to darker, less democratic and often sinister forces.

  16. Kaye Lee

    These people are delusional. Kevin Andrews just said “I would hope everyone involved in this will act honourably and do what’s in the best interests of stable government in Australia”. It’s a bit late for that Kevin.

  17. Ian Hughes

    Thanks to Murray J Sorrell for the following:

    These three truisms seem appropriate:
    *Ego knows no bounds when delusion rules the mind.
    *No Builder is a Wrecker and no Wrecker is a Builder.
    *Abbott has no peer among vindictive suicide-bombers.

    Such a perfect fit for your wonderful piece, Kaye.

  18. Kaye Lee

    Malcolm has the solicitor-general’s advice and will release it publicly. Sky News is reporting the solicitor-general’s advice finds that Mr Dutton is “not incapable” of sitting as a member of parliament.

  19. PAULINE O'RIELLEY

    There are some great comments listed here which make much better reading than those from the Murdoch “wreckers”.
    Tony Abbott is such a liar – “no sniping etc etc ” he has done that to Turnbull on a daily basis. Turnbull should have given
    him a minor ministry e.g Aboriginal Affairs that would have kept him from the daily sniping. Tony Abbott’s ego will always
    be there, and wait for the day he will challenge Dutton and make his return to ruin our country again.
    An election should be called immediately.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Hmmmm….not quite as clear cut as Sky were reporting….

    “While I consider the position summarised above to represent the better view, it is impossible to state the position with certainty. That is so for three reasons. First, the facts concerning Mr Dutton are unlike those that have previously been assessed against s 44(v). Second, as I note below, there may be further facts of which I am presently unaware. Third, there is a significant division of opinion on the High Court as to key questions concerning the legal operation of s 44(v), which creates some difficulty in predicting the manner in which the Court would analyse the facts. There is a possibility, consistently with the approach that the High Court recently took in the context of s 44(i) of the Constitution, that the Court might endeavour to create a clearer line in the interests of certainty, which might involve a broader reading of s 44(v) than was reflected in some of the judgments in Re Day (No 2).”

  21. Kaye Lee

    The new kingmaker – Ray Hadley

  22. Kaye Lee

    “For those reasons I consider there to be some risk, particularly in light of the substantial size of the payments that appear to have been made by the Commonwealth to RHT Investments, that the High Court might conclude that there is a conflict between Mr Dutton’s duty as a parliamentarian and his personal interests.

    Then roll through to paragraph 69, and the SG says it’s “not possible to reach a definitive conclusion on that matter without more detailed factual information”.

  23. Wun Farlung

    Agree with you Mobius. Just saw Alexander stating all the wonderful social and economic policies “balancing the budget” he said “gay marriage” he said
    He may of been talking about another country. I thought the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ had turned into (in CONservative language) a catasrophy and they couldn’t bring themselves to vote in Parliament on gay marriage without the charade of a postal survey

  24. SteveFitz

    As the curtain is pulled back, a disturbing trend emerges within the ranks of the Liberal Party. Fundamental right-wing ideology includes: – Focus: On the individual, Economy: Deregulate, Family: Self-reliance, Society: Survival of the fittest, Homeless: They deserve it, Naturals Order: Rich get richer poor get poorer.

    This suggests that liberals are self-serving with an “all for me and nothing for you mentality”. It goes a long way to explain the people who are drawn to the Liberal Party. The lure of power over others, the visions of personal wealth and grandeur, take what you can and screw the rest of us, is woven into the way they think.

    It appears to me that respect is earned by displaying some degree of intellect, common sense and logic. From observation, those without these qualities believe they command respect by being over-bearing bullies, full of smoke screen, diversion and cover-up to hide their true identities and the lack of grey matter. The MO is attack because they have no defence.

    There are two political appointments in the FWC and the directive from the top was give corporates whatever they want. Among other things, the green light for unlawful bullying and harassment and unlawful unfair dismissal. I think it’s ripe that Malcolm Turnbull has the hide to call foul, by saying he was bullied by his parliamentary colleagues, when he is the supreme leader in that arena.

    One explanation for why the Lids are floundering – They have no brains and, subsequently, no empathy – It doesn’t go with who and what they are and nature dictates that it never will.

  25. Kaye Lee

    Andy Vesy, the head of AGL who refused to keep Liddell open or to sell it, has been sacked/resigned. Expect coal-fired power to be a demand from the Nats.

  26. Kaye Lee

    There are reports from several politicians that the Dutton camp threatened they would lose their preselection if they didn’t back him. That’s true Abbott bullying style.

  27. SteveFitz

    It’s directly proportional – When the bullying meter goes up the brains, intellect and empathy meter goes down and visa versa. So, it’s really easy to spot the brainless dickheads in society.

  28. Diannaart

    Enjoying the anticipation while the 43 names on list, as requested, are now being individually checked, phoning each signatory, “Did you freely sign for Dutton, with no blackshirts holding cricket bats standing over you?”

    However, am disappointed Turnbull did not request a “partridge in a pear tree… “ – could’ve played along till Christmas.

  29. Peter F

    Kaye, as usual, an excellent post. Your description(s) of Abbott are consistent with those of a friend who was in the Seminary at the same time as Abbott. His often stated opinion is that the Australian people deserve to know the circumstances surrounding Abbotts departure from the Seminary. Naturally, he did not elaborate.

  30. diannaart

    Scott Morrison Australia’s PM!

    Tony Abbott will be a tad upset.

  31. JohnL

    It just gets wierder! Let stage 2 of the rift to the ultra right commence!

  32. Michael Todd

    Morrison was a safe choice and policies will be the same as had Dutton won? These Liberal reps are conservative remember. Dutton carried the risk of being dumped in say a month over childcare payments or au pair visas.

  33. MöbiusEcko

    diannaart at 12:54 pm

    He was. Listen to his words as he left the party room.

    Scott Morrison PM. So now we get six months of Shorten bashing and it’s all Labor’s fault until he gets voted out by the people. No lucid policies or sensible government.

  34. MöbiusEcko

    Wow, we have all known how inept this government was and you have posting a stream of facts on that ineptness. But this #libSpill has to go down as one of the greatest fuckups by any party ever. Worse is the fact that the government was shut down, which never happened during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd spills. This is without getting into the cost of all this, like the nearly $1billion wasted on the super Saturday by-elections.

    Think about this. The Dutton Liberals convinced most they had the numbers when they never had them. Because of this three Turnbull Liberals voted for a spill. If those three Turnbull Liberals had voted against the spill, Turnbull would still be PM now and most of the shemozzle would not have occurred, saving the country international embarrassment and a fortune.

  35. Zathras

    The word is that Abbott’s sister is considering running in Turnbull’s vacated seat. Somebody else suggested that Clover Moore should have a go as well.

    Whatever happens, it’s going to be a bumpy road ahead for the Libs.

    I wonder if Ray Hadley will be willing to take Morrison back as a regular radio guest now?

  36. Kronomex

    Yay, Thug Man and his sidekick Thickhead Kid.
    Coming soon, Trembles the Treasurer? Maybe go back to being the Minister for Communication?
    The LNP is still doomed.

    Potato Man seems to be crawling. Probably wants his super department back because he’s having refugee torture withdrawals.

  37. Mark Needham

    Thank gawd, Turnbull has gone. Though I think we are going down the gurgler, who ever and what ever happens.
    There is not “Leader” in sight, unfortunately.

  38. MöbiusEcko

    And the #LibSpill fuckup gets worse. Yet another FAIL by Turnbull. If he had called a spill yesterday morning he would still be PM. Instead, he toyed with a 43 signature petition.

    ABC, instead of singing Turnbull’s extolments, how about listing his long list of fails.

    Whilst you’re on it, instead of propping up Morrison and extolling him, how about telling Australians how he got preselection and listing his many fails.

  39. SteveFitz

    If you are thinking some degree of equality, a fair go for everybody, sharing our wealth, consideration and concern for others, the well being of our home planet and the future prospects for our children and grandchildren then Step [1] has just been accomplished. Getting rid of Malcolm Turnbull and total disarray within the Liberal Party.

    Step [2] – Next federal elections we need a government that focuses on what is best for every-day Australians and what is best for all of Australian society – Not just the liberals and those at the top nor, those driven purely by money, power and greed at the expense of their fellow countrymen.

    Step [3] One of the forces driving corporate and political collusion and corruption is the lack of a federal independent commission against corruption (National ICAC). I for one will be holding Bill Shorten to his “if elected” promise and, I’ll be pushing for the legislation to be retrospective.

    One step at a time, one person at a time and one vote at a time – We can protect our country from the ravages of corporate greed and those in government who pander to them to feather their own nest. That’s what just unfolded and lets hope this echo’s.

  40. diannaart

    Who is “extolling ScoMo’s” virtues?

    He is a part of the LNP Right – which is not difficult, BUT he is NOT Abbott’s pick, Mr Potato-head is/was probably remains as his pet boy.

    FFS can’t make a simple comment without an inquisition?

    Just in; ABC has the list of 43 – many of whom did not support Dutton in the spill.

  41. SteveFitz

    God help us – Thanks Kronomex for putting me into a state of shock – I was just about to celebrate. Part of the reason for the disarray and collapse of the Libs is because of the Liberal Party Corporate Coalition screwing Australian society to feed themselves at our expense.

    I had to read it to believe it – POINTING into the camera, Scott Morrison had one message for the public: “We are on your side.”

    So, the first words out of our brand new PM mouth are, as so elequently put, “complete and utter bullshit!” and here we go again.

  42. Kronomex

    Liberal National Party, the mutant bed bugs of Australian politics.

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