Wednesday 28 June 2017
1. Tony Abbott lost the leadership of his party and the Prime Ministership for a number of reasons. He was/is a liar of monumental proportion, appallingly incapable, but mainly he didn’t have character.
Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven
Trying to convert a lifetime of negativity into motivating inspirational leadership was a bridge too far. To say the least, he was totality uninspiring. In fact, I can think of no other person in Australian public life who has made a greater contribution to the decline in public discourse, the lowering of parliamentary standards, and the abuse of our democracy than Tony Abbott.
Let’s look at his history.
None of these events (below) are in chronological order. They are just as they came to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile of Tony Abbott.
1 When the President of the US visited he broke long-standing conventions by politicising his speech as opposition leader.
2 He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.
3 He did the same when the Queen visited.
4 He could not help but play politics with the death of an Australian icon in Margaret Whitlam.
5 He would not allow pairs (another long standing convention) so that the minister for the arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley (another Australian icon). Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.
6 He refused a pair whilst the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.
7 Then there were the callous and inappropriate remarks he made to Bernie Banton, a dying person.
8 At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.
9 Referred to a woman Chairperson as “Chairthing”.
10 He was accused of assaulting a woman at university, and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.
11 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 corroborate her story.
12 He threatened to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a woman’s right to an abortion.
13 In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. Abbott had allegedly punched him in the face. The charges never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.
14 And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match.
15 He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.
16 He was ejected from the House of Reps 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.
17 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.
18 Abused Nicola Roxon after turning up late for a debate.
19 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 and a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying. After all, at the time this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.
20 Together with Christopher Pyne he was seen running from the House of Reps to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.
21 Being the first opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.
22 The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?
23 The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.
24 And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Cardinal George Pell.
25 During the Republic referendum he told many outrageous untruths.
26 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?”
27 His almost daily visits as opposition leader to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the “carbon tax,” (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.
28 And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so the next day.
29 Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy at Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.
30 He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.
31 And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.
32 Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.
I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait. Lest we forget:
33 We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of NSW Liberal politician John Brogden.
34 And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.
35 His “dying of shame” comment in regards to Julia Gillard’s father..
36 His “lack of experience in raising children” comment.
37 His “make an honest women of herself” comment.
38 His “no doesn’t mean no” comment.
Then of course there were these Tonyisms. Similar ones have continued into his Prime Ministership.
Lest we forget:
39 “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
40 “These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers.”
On rights at work:
41 “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband … you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss.”
42 “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”
43 “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
44 “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”
45 “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year…”
On climate change:
46 “If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax.”
47 “I’d probably … I feel a bit threatened.”
48 “If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things…”
On Indigenous Australia:
49 “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage.”
50 “Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that…”
51 “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”
On Nicola Roxon:
52 “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”
The list is by no means complete and I am sure readers could add many more to it. His ludicrous statement about our navy’s problems with navigation and blatantly lying about turning boats around as opposed to turning them back, and his ‘hot phone’ to the ship’s captains are a few that come to mind.
2. The news that Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union organiser John Lomax and his right-hand man are to be charged with blackmail will have a negative effect on Bill Shorten and the Labor Party. Whilst I generally support unionism, I cannot support rogue ones such as the CFMEU. Why Labor does is totality beyond me.
In an effort to offset the damage Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has unveiled his party’s policy on combating union corruption, a package of measures he says will improve governance and transparency.
3. The Prime Minister has released his innovation statement. In doing so he has reinstated science to its rightful position. One that Abbott had devalued for reasons of capitalistic advantage. It is to be hoped that the country might now see a new era where political parties see the value of thoughtful progressive thinking. One where innovation might also be applied to the new economy and renewable energy.
Labor had already announced much of Turnbull’s policy but incumbency gives government ten times the coverage.
4. Warren Truss has asserted the National party’s demand for a greater share of cabinet positions as the deputy prime minister pushed back at criticism of his secret talks with Liberal defector Ian Macfarlane.
The leader of the junior Coalition partner addressed the media alongside Macfarlane in Queensland on Monday and stressed the need for Turnbull to deal with the cabinet proportion issue “in due course”.
It seems they are determined to make their leader look weak. No love lost there.
“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved.”
My thought for the day
“It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.”