Saturday 25 2017
1 Yesterday the failed former Prime Minister Tony Abbott gave Malcolm Turnbull yet another lecture about how to run the Government. It was without doubt his biggest rebuff yet of Turnbulls leadership.
Leadership can be a very strange beast indeed. Abbott lost the leadership of the nation for one very good reason. He had not the ‘character’ that leadership requires.
Turnbull took over his job thinking he had the character to lead the nation only to find that he had as little as Abbott. Now Abbott who failed the test of leadership wants his job back and is willing to shaft his boss to do so.
Of course we shouldn’t forget that when Abbott was leader he trailed Bill Shorten 30% to 48% as preferred prime minister. Defeat would have been a virtual certainty under his leadership.
”My government Said Turnbull. has a record of achievement. In the last six months since the election we have achieved more … with fewer seats in the House and fewer seats in the Senate than we did in the previous three years”.
He went on to list his compelling list of accomplishments:
”I have not talked about abolishing the Life Gold Pass for former MPs and ministers – I’ve abolished it.”
”I haven’t talked about restoring the rule of law to the building sector – I’ve done it.”
Now character in my view 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
The Prime Minister said that Tony Abbott knows exactly what he is doing. He didn’t say it in words but he will do everything within his power to destabilise his party to the point where the PM, in order to stabilise his own position, will have to bring on a spill motion.
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.
When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Alternatively, that’s just politics. However, my focus here is on character and whether Mr. Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period he simply does not have the essence of character, which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.
None of the following events are in chronological order. They are just as they came to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.
So this is Abbott’s resume for re-election as Leader of the Liberal Party.
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 personal 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.
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 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 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 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.
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…’.
There are probable more since I compiled this list but I WILL FINISH HERE.
On three occasions over time I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his re-election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all.
He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis did nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye he was most effective in attack dog mode. However he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies.
The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character.
Or Turnbull for that matter, a man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy the seat at the head of the table. A man who’s hypocrisy knows no bounds.
My thought for the day.
”The way you think and feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. When you love, accept, respect and approve of yourself, you validate your existence.”