Sunday 3 September 2017
I well recall in 2013 when Tony Abbott faced the ABC’s most capable and ferocious interviewer, Kerry O’Brien, about the benefits of the NBN. He was later to appoint Malcolm Turnbull to destroy it because he didn’t think it served any real purpose other than watching pornography. Anyway, on this night Abbott, being so technically incapable, almost begged O’Brien not to ask him any questions of a technical nature.
At the time he was campaigning to become the next Prime Minister of Australia. It occurred to me that if he was so deficient of any knowledge on that subject then, how on earth would he get away with explaining his views on something like the science of climate change.
Over the years he has been able to get away with it by using three-word slogans and simply telling lies. His former Chief of Staff has admitted it to be so.
Incredibly, next month Abbott, as though he were some authority on the subject, will give the annual lecture to an international London-based climate sceptic group. Abbott will give his speech, entitled “Daring to Doubt'”, to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).
But please forgive me. This post is not about Climate Change or indeed the NBN. It’s about plundering the public purse. The art of doing a lot of travelling the world, making speeches, promoting things that serve your own self interest, making a profit from public taxes.
Tony Abbott was always on about money. Politics may give you power but it doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with wealth. Since Abbott entered parliament he has made no complaints about the generosity of the public purse.
Besides being Australia’s all-time champion political liar he must also be our greatest grafter. He has always had more front than Myers and as a monumental failure as Prime Minister has the gaul to think he is some suppository of wisdom.
It’s rather like having had this taste of power he now lusts over it, craves it for the self gratification he needs to supplement his overgrown image he has of himself.
But all this self embellishment costs money and it has never been, will never be Tony that pays for it. He says his future is as the member for Warringah, where he will have “more time to be a very conscious local member” yet he seems to spend more time out of it than in it.
Last week the usually Abbott-friendly Herald Sun reported that in 2016 Abbott clocked up huge travel and expenses costs jetting round Australia. When criticised by fellow Liberal MPs he became very testy. He has always seen the advantage of expenses as his divine right.
Anne Summers in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that:
Rather than be embarrassed about this, he attacked the Liberal Party colleagues who had leaked the information.
My calculations, based on the figures published by the Department of Finance for 2016, show that Mr Abbott spent $79,236.13 on “domestic scheduled fares” and received $37,471 in travel allowances, a total of $116,707.13.
The other five former prime ministers – Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, John Howard, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd – between them in 2016 spent a total $73,152.21 on “domestic scheduled fares”.
(For the record, Abbott’s predecessors claimed for domestic travel as follows: Gillard – $22,631.24; Hawke – $13,971.31; Howard – $30,837.91; Keating – $2,149.86; Rudd – $3,662.49.)
Abbott managed to outspend all of them by travelling around Australia for an incredible 65 days. This was in addition to the 51 sitting days of federal Parliament in 2016 that required him to be in Canberra. All up, the “very conscious local member” spent almost four months away from his beloved Warringah.
Its interesting that none of the other former Prime Ministers make similar claims. Oh well, as he says, he is just a simple backbencher. I kid you not. We can only determine what the official business is by taking note of the media interest that surrounds him. Then we know what he is up to.
He seems to be a man undeterred by criticism from the public and acts as if he were the Prime Minister in waiting. He is fire suited against criticism from former friends and colleagues who now despise him.
”Quite self-indulgent” and ”deliberately destructive” as Mathias Cormann has said.
He however is immune to it all and tell lies and contradicts himself as though his views should be taken more seriously than others and we should overlook the exaggeration. Anyway, he can always rely on the shock jocks for support.
Like most attention seekers he seems to have a ‘’look at me” image of himself tattooed on his chest. Like his admission that he was so drunk in 2009 that he couldn’t make it to the chamber to vote on critical legislation. Most people would back of the fact in embarrassment when everyone was aware that for years that he had denied it. But who cares. It was the taxpayer who was paying the bill. Fine wine and all.
What is it with this man who has used the public purse to fly North South East and West to promote a book he wrote. A man who cost more in office as Opposition leader to sustain than the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. A man who went on police Pedal rides on the public purse to raise money for charity but was really on an exercise of self promotion. A “serious act of community engagement” and not just “a frolic” he said.
A man who falsely gained a scholarship for a daughter in dressmaking that wasn’t available to other students. A man who, in 2012, charged taxpayers $9000 to attend the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Having gained the taste for it he then on to spend more than $10,000 so his family could attend Derby Day and the AFL grand final.
A man who feigns a devoted commitment to our indigenous folk while at the same time saying that to teach Indigenous history in schools, as is being proposed by Nigel Scullion, the federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, would be ”a capitulation to the left” unless schools also taught British history and the rise of the West.
What sort of a brother would tell his lesbian sister that her children would be better raised by different-sex parents? Only scum would say such a thing. He doesn’t even have a regret that it was he who caused this mess now known as a survey.
Only a man like Abbott would stand in front of a banner that read “JuLiar Bob Brown’s Bitch” and delight in humiliating the country’s leader.
The only decent thing you can say about the man is that he is working hard to bring down this dreadful government. Just as his predecessor did.
My thought for the day
“Some countries make a habit of institutionalising mediocre minds.”