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The Credlin thing

I don’t get all this Murdoch-inspired hoo haa about Peta Credlin, the Prime Minister’s embattled Chief of Staff.

Ms Credlin has been in the spotlight ever since her boss was Opposition Leader.

Remember how her IVF journey was so thoroughly manipulated as to become “evidence” for Abbott’s “compassion” for women? Ms Credlin gave generous media interviews about this most personal of experiences, and never once mentioned her partner in the journey, her husband, Brian Loughnane. Instead, it was entirely about how her boss was helping her by keeping her eggs in his fridge. I can’t think of any other situation that compares, in which a Chief of Staff so publicly reveals her or his private life for the sole purpose of helping her or his boss win an election.

It was Abbott’s apparent unpopularity with women voters that provoked the Credlin IVF pieces. It was intended to portray him as a softie with the ladies, as was hauling out his three daughters who giggled on cue about their lovely churchy dad.

I may have a limited imagination, but I find it hard to visualise a male chief of staff being so forthcoming as was Credlin about his personal life, in order to make his boss more popular with the voters.

It therefore makes a kind of bizarre sense that when things go as badly wrong as they have for Abbott, ridding himself of Credlin is seen as the first move that might lead to some kind of improvement. It won’t, of course, because the man is beyond all help, but they have to try something as they aren’t ready to replace him. Yet. May they continue not to be. He is the ALP’s best asset.

As far as Ms Credlin is concerned, the situation sucks. She obviously isn’t responsible for the numerous outstandingly appalling decisions the Abbott government has attempted to inflict on an electorate that trusted them to behave in entirely different ways. It is, of course, impossible to know what her input has been into these decisions, nevertheless, Abbott has taken them, and being above Ms Credlin in the chain of command, is entirely responsible for them. With great power cometh great responsibility.

There was a period in which Ms Credlin and Mr Abbott were photographed so frequently together on occasions when one would have expected Mrs Abbott to be at her husband’s side rather than his Chief of Staff, that prurient speculation as to the nature of their relationship was rife. It has today been suggested that Mr Abbott is “psychologically dependent” on Ms Credlin. (That link may be paywalled, but it may not. I did my best). Psychological dependency on another person can be a problem, especially for a political leader. It can cloud his or her judgement, and lead him or her to become deafened to other points of view.

We cannot, of course, escape the gender issue in this latest government drama. Is Ms Credlin easier to scapegoat because she’s a woman? It was her gender that was exploited in Abbott’s election campaign, and nobody much complained about it then, least of all Ms Credlin. Female gender was exploited to gain Abbott votes. Female gender will be exploited again if it is considered to be a factor in losing Abbott votes.

When a man is an idiot, blaming the woman behind and beside him is a common default position. There is in our culture a pervasive belief that women are responsible for controlling men in almost every situation one can think of, and this belief could well be at work in the Credlin situation. Of course, we women aren’t and can’t be responsible for what men do, and the sooner we all divest ourselves of that mythology the better.

I have suddenly remembered footage of Wendi Deng hurling herself in front of her then husband Rupert Murdoch at the News of the World hacking hearings, when somebody attempted to assault him with a cream pie. Sometimes we ladies are our own worst enemies.

This article was first published on Jennifer’s blog No Place for Sheep.

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  1. DanDark

    Peta deserves everything she gets, I have no sympathy for her just because she is a woman
    She played the game and is now paying the price for her well documented control over Tones
    Good riddance to bad rubbish, of course she will get the blame now for the LNPs woes,
    Because she got all the credit for getting Tones and Co into power, she might be the scape goat,
    But she has served her purpose and will be sacrificed….that’s how politics works…

  2. Pudd'nhead

    I take no joy in the advocated demise of M/s Credlin. Is she Elizabeth to the mercurial and ‘creative’ Doctor Victor Frankenstein and has his monster come to wreak revenge on her and then chase Herr Doctor across the icy pages of the publishing world? It would be fitting end.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    If Peta has that power, it is the way Abbott likes it. Abbott is a PM that needs baby sitting all the time. Unable to operate on his own.

  4. Roswell

    I blame Abbott. I blame Credlin. I blame everybody.

    But on a serious note, I found the disclosure about that stuff in the fridge beyond bizarre.

  5. Blanik

    I’m no fan of Ms Credlin, but to blame her for the stupidity of Captain Catholic is as stupid as he himself has proven to be. Ms Credlin has a brain – I don’t like how it works but she has one – whereas the captain’s brain is situated in his scrotum and neither of the neurons are connecting.

    Murdoch is a foolish old man who has a failed investment in the captain and simply wishes to play the gender game which the LNP is so good at.

  6. David Stephens

    Need to look at why there is this psychological dependence. Lack of mother love as a child? Early onset dementia? Synapses on the fritz? Alcoholism? Small dick syndrome? Something about the way the guy walks, carries himself, speaks in public is not quite right. He is the oddest PM since Billy McMahon (by half a head from Rudd) and that’s saying something. Expert assessment needed, even if it has to be from a distance. Though the experts will have to be quick, I suspect, if they are to perform the task while the man is in office..

  7. Geraldine Reid

    Now you want to blame the chief of staff for Liberals problems. No, no, you are on the wrong track, she is only a woman, what problems could she cause TA….The problems for the Liberal party belong to TA, Murdoch, Reinhart, Bishop, Pyne, Hockey and their cohorts (to name but a few). We as voters have to pounce on the fact that our government’s are allowing big business to govern and that even the PM is not free to do as he pleases. Credlin is just a very small pawn on a very large chess board…

  8. Pingback: SHIT TONY ABBOTT SAYS #2 | The UnsimpleLife

  9. oldfart

    the egg thing was a bullshit story, they are kept in liquid nitrogen, a tad colder than an office fridge. Most men are idiots but have the good sense not to blame the nearest female, which seems to be a more consistent reflection of the situation. Tony is just one of natures incompetents, who has been promoted to the level of his incompetence and beyond

  10. khtagh

    He will not & can not remove her, she knows the truth about some very sorted occurrences, where all the skeletons are buried.

    She knows the truth that Abbott is still a UK citizen,
    she knows how she got off 2 DUI charges scott free, through corrupt intervention by Brandis,
    she knows how Abbott was instructed by Murdoch to destroy the NBN,
    she knows where all the money came from & the favours it bought,
    she knows how Abbotts daughter actually got her scholarship,
    she knows how his other daughter got her job at BMW, after Abbott spends millions on his new armored cars, the list is endless.

  11. Terry2

    The eggs in the fridge was one thing but it was the alcopops that got her caught for DUI.

  12. paul walter

    The Dependency Thing. I was going to take that up elsewhere… he drools after her like an orphaned puppy.

  13. Rex Alfie Lee

    Whilst the PM’s Chief of Staff is entirely innocent of this screw-up of Abbotts, she remains entangled in his decisions & she should go, along with the whole front bench. Their misrepresentation of their presence is nothing short of fraud…

  14. Itsazoosue

    Would anybody take on a position that required them to scapegoat themselves for their bosses mistakes? I think not. Were Rupert’s tweets meant to imply that Credlin has the power to veto Abbott’s decisions? Otherwise, I cannot follow his logic in blaming Credlin for Abbott being a royal brown-nose. Nor do I understand why this, of all Tony Abbott’s gaffes, was the straw that broke the media moguls back. Maybe the mighty Rupe is miffed because he missed out on a knighthood.

    Murdoch’s use of Twitter (rather than a telephone) to confirm essentially his meddling in our politics is very strange. Is he really ignorant to the machinations of social media or is he weaving a tabgled web? Perhaps it is simpler than that; since he unmuzzled his MSM attack dogs, the PM won’t take his calls. Whatever motivated Rupert to weigh in on this issue, he has placed Abbott between a rock and a hard place.

    I wonder who Murdoch has selected to be the next IPA sock-puppet-in-chief. No doubt he also has a compliant chief-of-staff in mind to replace Credlin when she does her “patriotic duty”.

  15. Lee

    “I don’t get all this Murdoch-inspired hoo haa about Peta Credlin”

    Because it distracts from the appalling efforts of our politicians.

  16. diannaart

    I blame Abbott. I blame Credlin. I blame everybody.

    But on a serious note, I found the disclosure about that stuff in the fridge beyond bizarre.

    – Absolutely Roswell

    Anyone (apart from Murdoch) who blames her for the Prince Philip knighthood thing – just don’t get it, sure a man can be manipulated by a woman (and vice versa) but not all the time and given Abbott’s cack-handed interaction with women in general I have to wonder just how much Credlin does manipulate this man – Abbott can and should shoulder the blame – he is the PM – not an assistant.

  17. stephentardrew

    Oh boosy, hoosy, woosy so sorry how sad.

    Play with the mad and dance with the bad.

    What does she expect?

    Sympathy for the Devil!

  18. Kenneth Hall

    Abbott has been a jerk his whole political career. He is responsible for his decisions. The sooner we hold politicians accountable the better Australians will be.

  19. David K

    “oldfartJanuary 30, 2015 at 11:56 am
    the egg thing was a bullshit story, they are kept in liquid nitrogen, a tad colder than an office fridge”

    I thought it was fertility drugs?

    Either way it was a bizarre revelation.

  20. ' george hanson '

    Get it right people …….you cannot keep unfertilized ovum in a FRIDGE . They need to be kept in sub-zero nitro freezers . What is kept in the fridge would be the injectable hormones and chemicals that would help her body accept a fertilized ovum[ i.v.f.] , which can only be determined by the time of the month and her body temperature .I don’t know the woman , but i won’t deny her the right to have a child , no matter what it takes . Unfortunately , there are other unkind people , who should educate themselves.

  21. donwreford

    I have been informed by free range egg suppliers, not to put eggs in the fridge?

  22. eli nes

    the man is an amoral believer so disciplined that he has never allowed evidence to moderate or change belief.
    I had left uni and was teaching when my darling started. Often I would read a history text (or english) and tell her what I thought it was about and she would write a ‘distinction’ essay. his advisers have the task of reading and disregarding anything that they thought might offend the pm. This keeps him pure. The history of ‘women’ is clearly his positive opinions on women under him or his fear of women who are better than him. Those women incur an unacceptable rage

  23. DanDark

    Credlin and her dirt file on Julia, Credlin is a nasty, insecure piece of works
    Julia Gillard runs rings around Credlin as a decent human and Credlin knew it
    She was the driving force “to get” Julia whether under instruction or not,
    and she executed that with precision, politics can do without the Peta Credlins of the world.
    Bye Bye Peta….

  24. corvus boreus

    Suggested caption for the article photo:
    “Hold still, you silly boy, and let nanny get you cleaned up. You’ve got loopy schemes leaking out of your head.”

  25. Audioio

    ‘george hanson’, no one has the ‘right’ to have a child no matter what. Some things aren’t meant to be, and maybe they weren’t for her, however sad that is for her.

    But if ova must be stored in that way, then it either makes Credlin her dwindling fertility’s own worst enemy or a liar. Since she’s a member of the Liberal Party, I’d say the latter.

  26. Kaye Lee


    I thought you were joking about a dirt file. That pic makes me sooooo angry. How much time and money was spent on Julia Gillard and the AWU. These supposed adults are nothing more than nasty vindictive children – the type who jump on other kids’ sandcastles because they can’t build one of their own.

  27. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Bear in mind the photo DanDark posted came from the satirical “shovel news” site.

  28. DanDark

    Corvus, the Credlin thing done everything in her power to destroy Julia and we all know it…..

  29. Kaye Lee

    Not to mention the woman who is being touted as a possible successor to Tony…

    “Like Monday, the opposition used every one of its questions – all asked by Deputy Leader Julie Bishop – to focus on Ms Gillard’s time as a partner at law form Slater & Gordon. ”

    And we pay these people millions to waste time in Parliament. Who could ever forget the weeks of questions about the “convicted Egyptian jihadist terrorist kept behind a pool fence” who turned out to be an accountant.

    These people do not have a clue on how to be constructive.

  30. DanDark

    Princess Asbestos runs along the same veins as the Credlin thing
    Oh yeah there was a concentrated effort by the shopping Bag Lady Bishop to destroy Julia
    If she thinks she will lead the LNP next she is going to land face down in the mud and so deserves it
    She is prancing and parading but you cannot make strawberry jam out of pig shit and Julie Bishop is a pig and does a lot of oinking …

  31. Terry2

    I see that today’s ‘Weekend Australian’ has mercilessly savaged Rupert Murdoch for his intemperate remarks about Peta Credlin on Twitter and his unwanted meddling in our democratic arrangements……………….sorry about that, it’s not true but I couldn’t resist it as our national daily has chosen not to comment or even acknowledge the twittering of their boss.

    They do not miss Credlin, however :

    “Abbott has been unwilling to move Credlin on, despite her clear and present failings.
    It is now beyond a joke the way she is hanging on to her tainted role, unwilling or unable to
    show Abbott the same (misplaced) loyalty he is showing her, by resigning .”…………Peter Van Onselen : Commentary

    and the troops at NEWS are mustering in support of Abbott, giving Shane Stone – remember him, former CLP Chief Minister in the NT and former Liberal Party President – editorial space to say this :

    ” (Stone ) lashed out at Mr Abbott’s conservative critics and demanded that the knighthood decision
    be seen in the context of the Rudd Labor government’s failed roofing insulation scheme.”

    In the immortal words of the late Mandy Rice-Davies “well, he would say that, wouldn’t he ?”

    Have a good weekend all.

  32. paul walter

    Geez Terry2, what jellyfish they are at that place. Enjoyed the post.

  33. eleanawiEleana Winter-Irving

    I can’t understand the attacks on Peta Credlin. One of my Facebook Friends insists that she is really a man. Not that I particularly like the woman, but fair is fair.

  34. madeleinekingston

    Thanks very much AIM Network or this article and for providing access in such a way as to facilitate at least brief comment, especially when the topic remains pertinent. All too often the MSM does no cater for late arrivals to a commentary; prematurely shuts down ongoing dialogue and runs to a 9 – 5 schedule which does not suit everyone. Much appreciated.

    If we take the view that we can learn from other commentators as well as from the author, and in the arena of politics at least, the importance of retrospective lessons learnt may be of real value, to say nothing of the recurring themes in politics when such lessons are not learned enough to have a lasting impact, if at all, or in any case; then could readily see the value of open-endedness in collecting responses, including chance responses.

    First, I like this article, which now links most conveniently with your more recent article of 23 September, following the ‘time up guys’ event that led to the de-throning of Credlin and Abbott in one fell swoop. Of course it had to be that way, but Brian Loughnane, President of the Federal Liberal Party is still loitering and who knows what damage he may do all him himself; or alternatively in consultation with the “beguiling” Ms Credlin his wife.

    The Credlin thing

    The demise of the Credlin-Abbott duo is very recent, and well-deserved.

    I have responded today at greater length to your more recent article of 23 September 2015 “Credlin It’s not me, it’s them.” and this has been published.

    Credlin: It’s not me, it’s them

    Annabel Crabb has described the charms of Peta Credlin as being both magnetic to the eye and to human opinion. Now I have to put my foot down there. I cannot agree.

    The perceived magnetism may not be so much about Ms Credlin’s mesmerising charms of one description or another as described by journalists intrigued by her, but rather a desperate attempt of the electorate at large to educate governments as to their personal preferences for the type of leadership that is acceptable

    Ms Crabb does not acknowledge any more than others do, if at all, that Credlin’s alleged charm and magnetism are possibly elements of delusion. This is by no means the first time that I have found a personality attracting more negative than positive public opinion being placed in the kindest possible light. Ms Crabb also did this with our much-missed Bronwyn Bishop……

    Of course, lighthearted amusing opinion pieces can only take us so far.

    Then there are the articles that appear to be on the one hand, seriously taken in by questionable charms; or else employing the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ approach; or alternatively simply aims to generate traffic through the technique of a) polarisation b) equivocation c) a stab at humor {see for example Katherine Murphy’s Guardian article 23 September 2015 promoting Peta Credlin as a role model even though she was apparently confronted with a live rendition of Credlin’s self-obsession and grandiose delusion at the Women’s Weekly event that “everybody is talking about.”

    “I refuse to be defined by insider gossip”

    [ = [paraphrased] I am superior to them lot. I am more powerful than they are. He is dependent on me, the PM, as it should be. I am the one who is safe – so say pardon me ‘stuff’ the lot of them. If they want to get to him, they must go through me. That’s all there is to it.]

    See here she is “coming through” like a beacon of inspiration … to us ordinary women; since who but the powerful would want to rise and shine at 5 AM and do a hard day’s work?

    “I wanted to be a voice for women that aren’t successful,” she told the audience.

    “People say to me you know that ‘you’re really lucky to have the best job in the country’, and I am like, ‘there’s no luck involved’.

    “I worked my guts out for six years to go from Opposition to Government, 5 am in the morning, really late nights, huge pressure and it’s relentless.

    “But that’s life, you’ve got to own what you are, you’ve got to own what you do. No one can take that away from me and I refuse — and I said to media at the weekend — I refuse to be defined by insider gossip, from unnamed sources where no one has the guts to put your name to it.

    “And if you’re a cabinet minister or a journalist and you’re intimidated by the chief of staff of the Prime Minister then maybe you don’t deserve your job.

    “Because I think it’s really important for women. No career goes in a straight line and I think it’s really important for women that if you hit a period where resilience and stress is required then we don’t give in. Women like Jesinta, who is going through a tough time, need to see old women like us come through the end.”

    You will want to have women like me in politics. You will want to have women like me sitting in power .. you want women in places where they can make a difference, because half the policy in this country is for us, but only about a tenth of it is by us.” [courtesy Annabel Crabb’s contribution to examination of this woman’s innate charms; ibid Crabb, A 2012 ABC

    “And if we do not stand up and put women in the epicentre of decision-making, whether it’s boardrooms, government boards, politics, cabinet rooms, wherever, if you don’t have women there, we will not exist” [also courtesy of Annabel Crabb’s contribution to this woman’s innate and magnetic charms, ibid, Crabb, A, 2012 ABC]

    So of course the feminists at the event lapped it up and curtseyed and clapped. Here comes the Queen.

    Crabb says Credlin looked like Boadicea riding into battle whilst the element of criminality that she refers to relates to the cameramen who camped at the locked back gate waiting for the arrival of the Queen. Crabb says that this implied royalty is exactly why Credlin is camera catnip. Who would have though it?

    Annabel Crabb also claimed that she spent a twitchy weekend wondering what would befall her when she turned up for the Women’s Weekly event [which placed Credlin on a pedestal whilst she lapped up attention – my words]

    Crabb says she should have opted for a bottle of gin and potato chips and tears. The Credlin has no insight so gin would have been the last thing on her mind to drown the sorrows that she does not have. How could she be expected to give up an attention gig all about her? No. Crabb was wrong. Bottle of gin as a poor substitute for an attention-seeking gig was never an option.

    Crabb: [verbatim]:

    “Many in her position would have opted for the sensible alternative; a night of gin and tears on the sofa with the second series of Breaking Bad, under a light dusting of potato-chip crumbs.”

    By all accounts, the lady nibbles at salads in public places, and scrapes are uneaten steak onto the plate of her former employer, Tony Abbott, ex-Prime Minister of Australia.. So why would she want to risk potato-chip crumbs?

    Madonna King in her Salad Days eulogy of Peta Credlin bubbles with sickening heroine-worship. The tempter by-line for this article was called “Credlin’s Salad Days with PM”

    On the issue of sexism, I believe that Credlin has over-played her sympathy card and in my view has been hypocritical in every respect on this score. Soft voice she may well have and she appears to have taken in quite a few of the Mainstream Media authors. I have listed and discussed some of those who appear to have fallen for Ms Credlin’s “charms.”

    Ms Credlin wanted and still wants in everywhichway. She wishes to be thought of as the ultimate in feminist inspiration, but at the same time wishes to promote the “fierce warrior woman” image

    “Got them into government”: Peta Credlin at Women’s Weekly Woman of the Future Awards

    I note that tis magazine focuses on feminist issues, cooking tips and such-like and advertisements. The article presents Credlin in en totale air-brushed mode. The full-treated. Loose hair tastefully flowing … so we get the picture. Yes possibly not in colour. In my opinion, black and white photography has infinitely greater potential.

    I am very grateful for the YouTube transcript; Thanks very much @qldahh. The more you read and hear; the better informed.

    Crabb on camera: “So women in politics [interrupted by convenor: sorry what did you just say? “Sorry just a bossy boots reference [or words to that effect; inaudible; of course we know that Credlin was a back-room staffer not a woman in politics]

    Crabb on camera “So women must be seen as either ineffectual and weak; or terrible and bossy ones? Is there actually a [inaudible] spot in-between, or does that not exist”; presumed to mean middle-ground; shade of grey of the like?]

    Credlin: “Eh. I think everyone’s got a shade of grey …” [@3.19 in YouTube video ibid 22 September 2015 ”

    Credlin: “… If I wasn’t strong, controlling and determined, and got them into government, from Opposition, I might add, then I would be weak and not up to it, and should have to go [@3.39 ibid YouTube 22 September 2015.

    Credlin: “It’s very binary when it comes to women …” [I assume here that Credlin is referring to IT issues]

    Credlin: “There’s only been about 30 Chiefs of Staff to Prime Ministers; only three have been women, and I’m now the longest-serving at two years. That’s a pretty horrible statistic. And, And, you want that to change … [@3.51 ibid YouTube 22 September

    Crabb’s article [ibid ABC 23 September 2015] finishes off with comparisons with a previous female PM and decides to do further justice to Credlin’s delusions as follows:

    “it doesn’t explain everything, it doesn’t explain nothing, it explains some things. And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey”

    Of course we all remember that Misogyny Speech by Ms Gillard.

    And so we are, Ms Crabb; so we are; thinking about those very things. And more. Don’t you worry about this. All under control.

    As to whether Ms Credlin could be held accountable; perhaps not solely, but since she has boasted that she got the government into power from opposition and by her own admission was practically the single-handed reason for the government’s success, albeit that her beloved Prime Minister who whom she had been unquestionably loyal and with whom she enjoyed an usual symbiotic relationship; she must take her due share.

    I do however, acknowledge your view that:
    It is, of course, impossible to know what her input has been into these decisions, nevertheless, Abbott has taken them, and being above Ms Credlin in the chain of command, is entirely responsible for them. With great power cometh great responsibility.

    That is a valid point. However, given what appears to have been a co-dependent relationship, how does one apportion responsibility. If one is an adult, but has not quite achieved maturity or insight; what responsibility should in fact be apportioned to caretakers?

    So I again cite from Mark Kenny

    Kenny said on 23 September 2015:
    “In any event, the only fact that should have counted in the end was whether Credlin remaining in her job was in the interests of the government – whether her contribution was achieving that basic goal of making things better.
    Every objective assessment of this question said no. Yet still she remained at her post.
    Abbott was never going to let Credlin down, just as he would stand by Joe Hockey.

    Knowing this made it all the more important for her to act. If she had not recognized this harsh truth by the end of last year, then she was no adviser at all. In any case, the February leadership meltdown sans-challenger, made what was implicit, undeniably explicit.
    Justifiably or not, Credlin had become Abbott’s dead weight.
    No longer helping to solve problems, she had become one herself.”

    So thanks again The Australian Independent Media Network.

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