From my younger days, I have this memory of someone pushing me. They were heavier and there was no way I was going to win a contest of strength, so I did the only thing I could think of: I moved back faster than they were moving forward and did a neat little side-step. With nothing to push against, they fell flat on their face.
Watching Tony Abbott over the past week, that memory suddenly flashed into my head, because it works pretty well as a metaphor for his time as PM. While there was a government to push against, he was very successful, but now he’s the government the pushing just lands him flat on his face.
If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard the phrase “the mess we inherited”, not only would the Budget be in surplus, but we could bail out Greece (or “Greek”, as Alan Jones referred to it in an interview, where he talked about the problems of “Greek, Italy, and Turkey.)
“Labor have no ideas for reducing the deficit,” moan the Liberals, as if being in Opposition makes it mandatory for you to actually suggest the proper way forward. Not that I don’t think that it isn’t reasonable to suggest things from Opposition; it’s more that the Government would repeat its “We have no choice” mantra to any suggestions from the Opposition. (There is a rumour that Tony meant it when he said “Workchoices” was dead – it’s being replaced with “Worknochoice, even if you’re old or disabled because we believe in fairness.”
And speaking of fairness, I must say that Tony’s use of the word “holocaust” in relation to jobs had a certain element of … well, could I say a man under pressure:
“Under members opposite defence jobs in this country declined by 10 per cent. There was a holocaust of jobs in defence industries under members opposite.”
Before the Opposition could even raise a point of order, Mr Abbott continued, withdrawing the remark.
“That’s what there was Madame Speaker, jobs, jobs, jobs, I’m sorry if I, I’m sorry and I withdraw Madame Speaker. There was a decimation of jobs.”
I’m sorry if I, I’m sorry and I withdraw Madame Speaker.
One wonders what he was going to say with the “If I…” that wasn’t finished. Oh perhaps it was just a pause and it should have no comma be written as: “I’m sorry if I’m sorry and I withdraw, Madame Speaker”.
Of course, the PM was defending the rise in unemployment figures by attacking Labor. One wonders what he’d do if Labor suddenly announced that they’d taken everything he said to heart and were disbanding the Party and there’d be no Opposition at the next election.
In fact, I wonder if we all said, we’re right behind you Tony, nobody’s going to oppose anything you do. How long do you think you’ll need to put your plan into practice?
And, by the way, what exactly is your plan?
Or is that like the “Who are you?” question.
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