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Glimpses of the Real Tony Abbott

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Tony Abbott reveals much about the man behind the public persona – unknowingly – whenever he speaks. Peter Barnes looks at Tony Abbott’s recent interview with Michelle Grattan, where glimpses of the man – the real Tony Abbott – came to the surface.

Michelle Grattan’s interview with the Prime Minister produced some more intimate glimpses of the PM than we normally get during the heavily scripted and rehearsed interviews on the news.

Here are some I thought revealing.

The first glimpse was of a PM who is still in Opposition. When asked about his experience of the job he answered a different question and said:

Hopefully the people’s experience of the new government will be that it’s competent and considered, trustworthy and candid, in a way that the former government wasn’t.

In general people seem to think that this continuing obsession with the previous government represents a failure by the PM to switch to governing, however after six months I think it’s much more likely to be a deliberate strategy. Whether accidental or deliberate, it’s not what we want from the leader of our Government.

The second glimpse was of a generation gap. You only have to look at a photo of the cabinet to understand that if you’re middle-aged or older, white, male, healthy and well off you’re well represented by this government. Otherwise, your mileage will vary. However this glimpse reveals a PM who clearly has never used social media, and really doesn’t understand social media. Why? Because although it might seem trivial, he says:

The thing about social media is that it is anonymous

With that single, massive misunderstanding, he goes on to dismiss social media as:

kind of like electronic graffiti

In this way, the infrastructure that lay behind Occupy, Arab Spring, March in March and numerous other popular movements is pigeonholed in the PM’s mind as trivial vandalism. This, from the PM who wants to be “the infrastructure PM”, but who totally misunderstands a major piece of the single most important piece of infrastructure – the internet – to be built in the last twenty years.

The third glimpse is, I will admit, pure snark on my part. The PM can’t add up to six. When asked about fatigue, he says:

Yes, but I’m lucky in that I’ve got quite a bit of stamina, Michelle. I don’t need more than six hours sleep a night . . . I can bound out of bed at five o’clock in the morning . . . I find I can go through the day till about ten o’clock pretty comfortably.

Mr. Prime Minister, from ten to five is seven hours. Churchill, you’re not.

The next glimpse is more conventional, of a politician buffing and polishing the facade. Asked whether he has informal “sounding boards”, he nominates, amongst others, the fire brigade he serves with. That certainly sounds like an admirable man, serving his community and staying in touch with people from all walks of life. So how often does he consult the firies? Well, he says he spent two shifts with them in October (resulting in blanket coverage of the PM in firefighting gear), and since then he has had just two additional shifts. That’s two shifts in five months. Mr Prime Minister, can we just admit you dragged the fire brigade into the conversation by their yellow braces, and they’re no more a sounding board for you than the members of Destroy the Joint?

The same goes for the rather bizarre answer to Grattan’s question about the most rewarding areas of the job:

. . . contact with the military at every level, from the service chiefs to the squadies that I’ve been lucky enough to do PT with, has been a special highlight

This sounds like another case of a topic being dragged in, kicking and screaming, by the epaulettes. Can you imagine the pre-election interview:

“Mr. Abbott, why do you want to be PM?”

“I want to be PM because it will allow me contact with the military at every level, including doing star jumps with squaddies”


The next glimpse is telling, and disturbing. When asked from whom he gets advice, the PM nominates a number of people and groups (including the firefighters). When he’s finished, Grattan observes:

Michelle Grattan: You didn’t mention the public service in that list.

Tony AbbottOf course I should have, but in the end the public service is there to implement the policies of the government as well as to offer frank and fearless advice.

In other words, in the PM’s mind the Public Service is there to do as it’s told. He’s not even slightly interested in their advice, in any form. The PM’s clear contempt for expert advice that doesn’t match his already held beliefs is well documented. He has already abolished a number of expert bodies, and has dismissed advice from people and groups eminent in many fields, simply because it isn’t what he wanted to hear. That is a very dangerous trait in someone who should freely acknowledge their own limited expertise in practically all subjects, and whose contribution should be in listening, then balancing needs and demands for the greatest good of the nation.

However the most revealing glimpse is the last. Again, it reveals a PM still trying to portray himself as battling in Opposition, rather than governing. It reveals a PM still talking in three-word slogans. It reveals a PM who can apparently simultaneously claim to have stopped the boats, and yet still not have stopped the boats. It reveals a PM whose every achievement is defined in terms of stopping and undoing.

It reveals a PM completely devoid of vision. Here are his absolute top priorities for Australia in the next twelve months.

Michelle Grattan: Just finally, if you were to fast forward a year, what are the three things you would most like to have achieved by this time 12 months on?

Tony Abbott: We’ve got to stop the boats, get the budget under control and repeal the carbon tax and the mining tax. They’re the things that we have to get done in these first 12 months.

This article was first posted on Peter’s blog “infinite8horizon” and reproduced with permission.

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  1. Nigel Stanley

    This makes depressing reading but I fear it is a reasonable assessment of our fearless leader. How sad for all of who have endure the next parliamentary cycle.

  2. dafid1

    The lump of sewer dropping revolts every fibre of my being. I have never loathed as I loathe this non human. I give a rat more respect.

  3. Pingback: Glimpses of the Real Tony Abbott « The Australian Independent Media Network « SNAFU

  4. dafid1

    Graeme the head of an alien, it is not of this world. That or he is sicker than I can imagine. The one word keeps coming to mind is evil.

  5. Carol Taylor

    Excellent article Peter, and re

    ..a failure by the PM to switch to governing, however after six months I think it’s much more likely to be a deliberate strategy.

    In other words, could anyone be that stupid? I sincerely believe that yes, he can be. There is something very wrong with a person whose way of thinking is so inflexible that he cannot perceive anything being different to that which exists in his imagination. Yes dafid1, I think..sicker that (we) can imagine.

  6. kathysutherland2013

    As a former public servant, his comments made my blood boil. Doesn’t he understand the hard work that the poorly resourced members of the public service do? Can’t he acknowledge that our public servants perform a hugely important job?

    Agree with other points made in this article too, but I had to say something about our public servants.

  7. Ange Kenos

    Was Dame Quentin Bryce really a dame when Tony Abbott said she was?
    April 2, 2014 – 5:54PM
    Comments 218 Read later
    Peter Hartcher, Jonathan Swan
    submit to redditEmail articlePrintReprints & permissions


    Outgoing Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, known for her good works.
    Former governor-general Dame Quentin Bryce.
    Tony Abbott announced last week that Quentin Bryce had been made a dame and Peter Cosgrove a knight. But had they really?

    The Prime Minister’s surprise statement began: “On my recommendation, Her Majesty the Queen has amended the Letters Patent constituting the Order of Australia.”

    Letters Patent are the official instrument, the parchment signed by the Queen’s own hand with her distinctive “Elizabeth R”, that give force to her decisions.

    General Peter Cosgrove is sworn in as Australia’s new Governor-General.
    New Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Andrew Meares
    But, mysteriously, although they are public documents published in the Government Gazette, no one has been able to provide evidence that one was signed.

    Or show that the Queen had signed the parchment at the time of the Prime Minister’s declaration.

    This raises an awkward question. When Mr Abbott publicly pronounced Ms Bryce a dame in time for her official reception on March 25, was she? General Cosgrove started using the title Sir on March 28 after his swearing-in as Governor-General, but again was he officially allowed to claim that title?

    After repeated requests over several days, neither the Prime Minister’s office nor Buckingham Palace would give Fairfax Media the exact date on which the monarch signed the official instrument.

    On Wednesday afternoon – after Fairfax Media published this story online – a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said “the documents” had been signed by the Queen on March 19.

    But the Prime Minister’s office continued to refuse to release the signed parchment, saying the Letters Patent, which are public documents, would be published “in due course”.

    Government House was unable to shed any light on the mystery. An official said Government House had not seen the Letters Patent or any copy of them.

    The spokeswoman had earlier said that an “electronic version” had been sent and signed in mid-March and that the signing of the paper version was “under way”.

    However, there is no electronic version of Letters Patent, according to people familiar with Palace workings, and only the parchment bearing the monarch’s signature has any force.

    An email exchange, in other words, may be no substitute, nor carry any official weight.

    However, a former official secretary to successive Australian governors-general, Sir David Smith, said that the standing of electronic versions of Letters Patent would be a decision for the Queen: “If the Queen was prepared to receive an electronic recommendation and send back an electronic copy . . . it must be OK. It has to be.”

    A Buckingham Palace spokesman would not confirm when Her Majesty had received the Letters Patent from Mr Abbott or whether she had signed it before the Prime Minister’s announcement.

    “All correspondence between the Queen and her prime ministers and governments is treated in a confidential way by Buckingham Palace,” the royal spokesman said.

    “Buckingham Palace is not able to confirm signature of any Letters Patent, however, there is no objection if the Prime Minister’s Office or Australian Parliament wish to confirm the date, when this is known.”

    Asked why he had “blindsided” colleagues by announcing knights and dames without informing his cabinet or party room, Mr Abbott stressed the importance of observing proper protocol in his dealings with Her Majesty the Queen.

    “In the end the relationship between the prime minister and the monarch is very much a personal one,” Mr Abbott told The Conversation website on Friday.

    “When it comes to the constitution of the Order of Australia, which is headed by the monarch, this is governed by Letters Patent, which are a matter between the prime minister and the monarchy.

    “I think the prime minister is entitled to make these sorts of decisions with the monarch.”

    As a former director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, Mr Abbott has spoken often of the respect required to properly honour Australia’s relationship with the Crown.

    Mr Abbott has expressed this respect for the Crown consistently throughout his career.

    In 2008 he told a gathering of young monarchists: “To me, supporting the monarchy is as natural as respecting your parents”.

    Read more:

  8. mars08

    Almost a decade ago I met an American who would visit Australia every two or three years. He said that it reminded him a lot of what was good about America many years ago. But… he told me he noticed that we were accelerating down the same road as the US. He said we’d better keep out eyes open or the “crooked” politicians would trash the place.

    Even though this was during the Howard years, I suggested to the yank that “maybe” we were smarter than his countrymen. We were quite capable of filtering out most of the political bullshit, I said. We would NEVER elect a feeble-minded oaf like Bush, I said. Seems I was wrong.

  9. lawrencewinder

    BLoody reactionary aspirational bogan….running, still from polling scripts with hate enough for all.

  10. olddavey

    Frightening but true.

  11. David Salomon

    This highly amusing report of an interview between Tony Abbott and Michelle Grattan reminded me of the 1975 Norman Gunston Show. I wonder if the Australian public have been victim to an uncontrolled Quantum paradox and become entangled in a parallel universe where Abbott is in fact a Gunstonesque satirical comedian impersonating a Prime Minister. What thing ye? It’s as Australian as pineapple donuts.

  12. Graeme Rust

    he said he’s stopped the boats, then he says he would like to stop the boats ?? what the bloody hell is going on in his head ??

  13. mars08

    David Salomon… we don’t get out of it THAT easy. It isn’t a cosmic prank, nor is it just a bad dream.

    The banality of evil, is a term coined by Hannah Arendt about Adolf Eichmann. It applies not to cartoonish cackling, moustache twirling villains, but to uninteresting, ordinary people who accepted the principles of a harmful and inhumane ideology without question and convinced themselves that they are the chosen vanguard of something great.

    Sadly it’s more grotesque than Gunstonesque.

  14. Stephen Tardrew

    He stopped the boats and they are all out there floating in one the spot waiting for his royal sheisteness to be Knighted so he can turn back the tide; open the waters; walk the Malaka straits; and lead all those illegals off to Manus Island where they will be duly mistreated, imprisoned and eventually handed over to isolated Native New Guineans. Much money will change hands and NLP politicians will live happily ever after.

    Then he will rise up in gorgeous, glowy, golden glory and sit at the tight hand of Dog.

  15. mikestasse

    Tony Abbott: We’ve got to stop the boats, get the budget under control and repeal the carbon tax and the mining tax. They’re the things that we have to get done in these first 12 months.

    Meanwhile, BP shuts down the third oil refinery in the country (out of seven…) exposing our fuel security to serious problems…

  16. Norman from Ngunnawal

    We all know that public servants are all Labor voters, therefore they are not worth anything.

    Proof – John Howard trashed Canberra and reduced the population when he came to office so that the ACT would lose a seat in parliament. Down from 3 to 2. That seat would almost certainly have been won by Labor.

  17. Rick Facer

    Once again Abbot fails to front an interview with anyone that will give him the slightest bit of grief or to put it another way anyone with a shred of journalistic integrity. The tactics and media imaging of this purile dribbling idiot by other obviously more intelligent but equally morally challenged individuals are of the lowest form. One can only surmise that some statistician decided that there was a sufficient degree of rascist, bogan, mindless media junkies that were far enough down the evolutionary ladder to swallow what can only be described as a witless conjob of merely sufficient complexity to befuddle the feeblest of mental capacities, that it was worth appealling to them by putting up a politician who was so retarded, backward and simple that they could relate to him. In the time since his ‘election’ he has taken what was regarded as an intelligent, well run, forward thinking country and mired it deep into a backwards, hillbillyesque farce. If he is a representation of what the majority of australians truly think then we are truly lost in the murdochracy of mediathink.

  18. CMMC

    Norman Gunston? More like Norville Barnes, the gormless fool played by Tim Robbins in “The Hudsucker Proxy”.

  19. billabonglime

    Reblogged this on Nuclear Ideas.

  20. contriteshadow

    I never favored Abbot as a candidate. But, as a realist, wouldn’t let that stop me from voting for a political party whose campaign “promises” seemed like they would best serve Australia. In my (moderate) opinion, the Coalition’s did not. Even so, they were elected and I, ever the optimist (I’m only a realist at election time), thought that it couldn’t be any worse than the Howard years, where a majority in the Senate and House of Reps meant one conservative policy after another could be made reality. Of course, it’s much, much worse; bad enough to get at least one hundred thousand shell-shocked but angry voters from all walks of life into the streets in protest. And, as you say, the clues were there all along. Which beggars the question; who voted for this government? Other than the self-serving businessmen and women who feed off this country (seemingly uncaring that it will ultimately be to it’s detriment) I think a lot of the people who fell for Tony Abbott’s patently obvious charade are the same voters who would read this and think, “Yeah, but he stopped those boats!”

    I hope that I’m wrong. I hope that conservative voters in this country are slightly less racist, and slightly less ignorant than those that stalk the internet preying on passionate idealists; seemingly oblivious that the values which shaped conservative politics in this country were grounded in ideology…though this point is open for debate, on many fronts:

    A lot of what you propose is valid, but I’d argue one point you make; about his apparent inability to count. Our elected leader might be going to bed at ten (which means he’s getting more sleep than I am since the nightmare of this government became a reality), but that doesn’t mean he goes straight to sleep. He might be lucky enough…nope, too horrible to contemplate. Or he might, like me, lay awake worrying, “What have we done to this country?”

    If only for the crime of turning me into a person who leaves comments almost as long as the original article, this government must be brought to book, and let’s make a heavy book; perhaps one on international law, or the Good Book; lots of great stuff in there about honesty, charity, humility…and not facilitating murder.

  21. helenmarg

    I am amazed that he can sleep at night.How far down can this appalling cruel government go.

  22. Michael Faulkner

    When Abbott has finished doing the bidding for Emperor Rupert and the Gina Rineharts of the world, while simultaneously labouring to trash the nation on many fronts, he will saunter back to an even grander News Corp. than when he last worked the 25 years ago, and within that ecclesiastical circle of economic fundamentalists and ecological troglodytes, claim his reward.

    So much work needs to be done to make this a one term government. As Prime Minister, Abbott is working about 10 levels beyond his competence.

    Thank you for this revealing article.

  23. Matters Not

    The real story of the ‘interview’ was the complete failure of Grattan to ask any probing questions. Again and again, the journalists fail to do their job.

  24. VoterBentleigh

    Yes, Indeed, David Salomon. I had to laugh, too. It sounds like the Prime Minister needs twice the sleep he is getting or to cut down on the PT with the “squaddies” ( a term used to describe soldiers of low rank!) , because he’s definitely suffering from brain fatigue.

  25. john921fraser


    The moron Abbott told the world that there was "new and credible information" in relation to missing Malaysian flight MH370 and the whole world turned its attention to Australia.

    That turned out to be rubbish.

    Now the whole world thinks Australia's Prime Minister is a moron.

    The whole world with the exception of Limited News.

  26. Wayne Turner

    Um,eh,um,eh.He’s always been an idiot.He just sucked up enough,to people like Rupert to promote him,and too many of the non-thinking public followed.What did people expect with someone like this (An example of too many):-

  27. Fed up

    What concerns me more, no matter where on looks, one can find no more to Mr. Abbott.

    What we still do not know, is what he is really about.

    We can only hope that the upcoming budget gives us some insight into what is going on.

    I hate to think we have a PM , that is indeed stupid.

    What is more frightening, if this is true, what are the people who sit behind him like.

    It is hard to say one disagrees with the man, as we have no idea what he is saying.

  28. Paolo Soprani

    Dreadful person, his overbearing presence a terrible shock to the thinking people of this nation. He is the ultimate symbol of the glaring flaws of the democratic process.

  29. Paolo Soprani

    Following on, I don’t think he is stupid as such. I suspect he is a character that I have met many times in my life – the rat-cunning ignoramus. Has not really developed beyond student politics, probably not very good at general knowledge, sociopathic (asylum seekers, wall-puncher next to woman’s head, crotch grabber, abandoned pregnant girlfriend, Bernie Banton etc) and quite possibly undiagnosed physical and/or mental illness.

  30. Brian

    A person need only observe that in an age of huge technological change and advancement and the vast challenges with which the Australian people and economy are faced as a result of these changes, we have a Prime Minister who believes that science does not deserve a place in the ministry. Instead he retreats to a bygone age where all it took was the sale of the nation’s raw materials and all is hunky dory. So tear it up, rip it down and ship it out. We have an ape at the controls of a locomotive and we are nothing but passengers. I for one have no wish to participate in Abbott’s train wreck but that I think is where we’re all headed. We can only hope that the people of W.A. have seen enough to forestall his control of the Senate. Perhaps then the damage can be minimised until we are rid of this simian buffoon.

  31. idontcarewhatyousayorthink

    Well he knows they haven’t stopped the boats they are just towing them back. How long will they keep it up? How long can they afford to keep towing them back? Forever? What happens when they stop towing them back?

  32. Kerri

    Good article! Good insight! But I would add one thing to his dismissal of social media. It isn’t just that he doesn’t get it, it’s also that he doesn’t want to get it! If he doesn’t have to engage with the public on social media he doesn’t have to listen to them, take their concerns seriously or at all and therefore doesn’t have to please them. Tony is all about shutting down his detractors or those annoying members of the public whose needs he has no interest in. If he had to accept social media, he would have to deal with a whole new area of public expression. Hence his comment that social media is “anonymous”. Forget the technical stupidity in that statement, by calling bloggers and the rest of us “anonymous” we don’t exist!! So therefore he doesn’t have to deal with us or our complaints. This was further proved in his blanket refusal to even accept that March in March happened. His comparison to graffiti is merely putting a tone on social media, that it is something that is annoying, antisocial and belongs to the fringe dwellers. It’s a problem, but hey what can you do? Coz it’s anonymous!! Also to acknowledge social media, Tony would have to read, and we all know how much he hates reading and that is why he has a Government Department to do the reading for him on social media and present him with a precis in smaller form, probably a verbal report. Besides I am sure he has at least an inkling that social media is largely anti Abbott so by ignoring it he avoids negative feedback. He can dish out but he can’t take.

  33. Jay White

    You know things are grim when you look back on the Howard years with a degree of fondness……

    Oh, Australian voters, what HAVE you done?

  34. Terry2

    When Tony Abbott put a first term deadline on himself to conclude free trade agreements with South Korea, Japan and China several commentators called it courageous as he virtually gave away a bargaining position for political pragmatism: in other words he has got to do it or hold himself up to criticism for failing in a signature policy.

    The problem is, he will have to make concessions which inevitably will mean that we will not achieve free trade or fair trade and commodities such as sugar, beef, rice exports will suffer but Holden cars coming from South Korea will get a clear run. So what exactly are we achieving ?

  35. VoterBentleigh

    It appears that the Prime Minister is frustrated that the Coalition cannot get the names and addresses of the people in social media who are criticising the Government. This means that the Coalition and its supporters cannot undertake vengeance upon them, as the Prime Minister is currently undertaking on any policy or initiative (good as well as bad) of the ALP, Greens, Independents and whoever crossed his path in the past. Clearly, the past is not the past as far a that is concerned!

    The Prime Minister insinuates that the anonymous criticisms are invalid because they are anonymous. But just because an individual puts a name to a comment, does not make it valid. Take Rupert Murdoch’s graffitti (the PM’s description) on Twitter, where, without any evidence, let alone proof, he suggested that the Malaysian plane which disappeared was due to Muslims and that it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan! Oh, yeah! ( to use the words the PM often used to sneer at Ms Gillard) We believe Murdoch’s word on everything. Oh yeah!

  36. Anomander

    As a white, middle-aged, (relatively) healthy, (moderately (wealthy) man, this sick curmudgeon does not represent me or my viewpoints in any conceivable way.

    The picture I glean of Abbott’s mind is one that was formed long, long ago in childhood; raised into moderate wealth and privilege, afforded a private school education at an institution that reinforced the model of entitlement.

    Provided with a deep fundamentalist religious grounding – also reinforced through his schooling life.

    Being physically inclined he excelled at one thing – sports and in particular – boxing, where the aim is to out manoeuvre and pummel your opponent. Through this fortunate circumstance, he was then afforded a generous opportunity to attend university, which further bolstered his sheltered existence, and showered him with even more praise through a scholarship scheme that simply reinforced and fed his self-inflated ego.

    Afforded also the chance to pursue a religious career, at which he failed miserably – no doubt because it didn’t sufficiently allow him to achieve the place of power he felt he so rightly deserved.

    Allowed various opportunities to try his hand at other pastimes, none of which proved notable or successful, before being handed the means to political power through his old school and class connections.

    All along the road he has been gifted with opportunities not afforded to others far more deserving, due to his social status and connections. Not once has the man ever had to stand on his own two feet, never needed to struggle, and never faced adversity. A man coddled for his whole life, fully supported, taught to have a deep a sense of entitlement and encouraged to have an unbridled level of overwhelming self-belief.

    It reveals to me a man thoroughly incapable of adaptation. Someone whose opinions were formed in his youth and set in stone, immutable and unchangeable. No grey areas for Tony, he is a man of black and white opinions and rigid beliefs, where anything that falls outside of his predefined paradigm is completely alien and therefore a threat to his long-established viewpoint, to be challenged and pugilistically knocked-down, because it is the only way he has ever been taught to deal with problems.

    He is completely incapable of empathy and a capacity to see life from a different perspective, to challenge his beliefs core beliefs and change his mind. This is exactly why he is to thoroughly challenged by the rapidity of change, by fluctuations in society, by technology and by anything that doesn’t instantly conform to his monochrome view.

    In a world of such rapid change, we deserver better than this dangerous, inflexible fool to lead our nation.

  37. Stephen Tardrew

    Seriously it would be interesting to get a professional psychologist and psychiatrist to do a personality profile on Abbott just to see what the outcome would be. It won’t be black and white however we would have a better idea of what we are dealing with and strategies to counter his personality type.

    The psyche evidence concerning conservatives points to poor reasoning and high emotionality. The disjunction between his religious ideology and actions demonstrates a willingness to compromise ethical norms to achieve personal goals. He seems to literally look past any criticism as if it were not there and bleat out some meaningless catch phrases. The inability to comprehend the importance of science demonstrates he does not like change beyond corporate financial rewards. His stumbling and bumbling use of the English language points to some lack of coherent connectivity between thoughts. His propensity for obsessive control and misspeak says that he is primarily a self-absorbed, over controlling narcissistic His misogyny points to issues around intelligent women. Just speculation however it would provide a basis for understanding his motivations and reasoning.

    Like most progressives I had a visceral dislike for Abbott from the moment I saw him. lists and dot points would give us a more rational basis for criticism. It would not be infallible but it would creditably create a stir.

    You know that freedom of speech thingy.

    Would be nice to put some meat on the Brear Rabbit sandwich.

  38. Stephen Tardrew

    certainly create a stir. Apologies.

  39. Callie Ge

    Dafid1 sums it up for me, just the sight of this toads face makes me want to slap him, a most odious pounce . Read between the lines, he has always admired Ronald Reagan, and his plan to Americanize Australia, he wants the military to have a say in how things are done. The “Infrastructure PM” Pfftt. give me a break, he had a chance to give us the Best BB Internet we deserve and blew it, the schools funding and curriculum we deserve, and blew it, we HAD a great economy, and he blew it, It is Tone the Bone head and Hokey Hockey that have blown out our debt & in the record time of 6 short months. Look at the damage he has done to us, our country, our international reputation, If he is allowed to continue there will be nothing left to salvage in 3 years, Please petition the G.G. for the sacking of the Abysmal Abbott Govt before it is too late.,

  40. mars08

    oh for shame Stephen. Can’t you hear yourself? You soubd like one of those nasty, latte-gulping elitists!!! Alan Jones would give you a right serve!

    “…the results of the study
    indicate a vicious cycle, in which people with
    low intelligence are drawn to socially
    conservative ideologies. In turn, those
    ideologies can contribute to prejudices.”

  41. Stephen Tardrew

    I am so ashamed Mars08. I will burn my CV.

    That’s one mother of a controversial study. Do you know if their research has been replicated elsewhere?

    Reminds me of the book “Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone”: Jones would love it. Well researched by the way. They have stood up to a load of criticism while further supporting evidence has been accumulating.

  42. Dan Rowden

    Scorpio Strength Keywords:

    – Loyal
    – Passionate
    – Resourceful
    – Observant
    – Dynamic

    Scorpio Weakness Keywords:

    – Jealous
    – Obsessive
    – Suspicious
    – Manipulative
    – Unyielding

    Scorpios are extremely ambitious, persistent and determined which is shown through a power hungry, controlling attitude.


    There, says it all. I wonder what Myer Briggs result he’d generate. Let’s play “Who is Tony Abbott!?”

    Any bets everyone gets a different result?

  43. mars08

    Stephen… I don’t know if their research
    has been replicated elsewhere. Not really interested. It’s just enough that MY prejudices are reinforced!!!

  44. Stephen Tardrew

    Partially true Dan:

    There are other ways to do personality profiles that don’t rely upon traditional psyche tests. There are ways of evaluating personal reports and general behavior but you need to be trained. Even using WISC, WAIS, Myers Briggs etc. you need expertise to flesh out the closest possible profile. The internet is dumbing down psych testing which is standardized and rigorous demanding consistency, coherence and continuity. Many have been standardized over decades and are quite reliable and consistent. Though there will be limited variablility the outcome will be fairly consistent. However expert knowledge is required to do them effectively.

  45. Dan Rowden


    My post was an exercise in gentle mockery. Personally I don’t need to know one iota more about Abbott’s personality than I already know. I’m more interested in the neo-conservative stratagems he’s adopted and how to counter them politically. I’m not of the view that speculating about his personality nuances will inform that one little bit. Others will differ no doubt, but hey, someone has to be wrong 🙂

  46. Stephen Tardrew


    I am in for more than a little gentle mockery. Does the soul good He, He.

    Also I think the point about the dangers of online psyche test deserves some exposure. There are some deliberately misleading test that could cause real harm.

  47. billie11

    I did the Humanetrics test for Tony and

    Famous Personalities Sharing His Type

    Elvis Presley – American singer, musician, and actor
    Elizabeth Taylor – actress
    Peter Kay – English comedian, writer, actor, and producer

  48. Stephen Tardrew

    Yeah remember that Matters Not thanks for the reminder.

  49. drmarfi

    The thing I found most interesting in the interview is that he did not mention his wife or family once. His family were paraded around everywhere in the election campaign, but there is no sign of them now. He did not say that he missed spending time with them, or that he uses them for support or a “sounding board”. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it.

    He did, however, mention Peta Credlin.

  50. dafid1

    ” He did, however, mention Peta Credlin.”….. ay, there’s the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    …So intriguing the almost disposing of the services of Kiwi Marge

  51. Dan Rowden

    “My wife and daughters are inevitably a bit of an informal network.”

  52. abbienoiraude

    I hope it is ok that I reblogged your comment on my facebook page.
    You moved me in your understanding of the un-understandable PM.

    If you object I shall remove it…but your description was perfect.

  53. Stephen Tardrew

    Cutting and slicing today Dan.

  54. Dan Rowden


    I don’t react to misrepresentation very well, especially when “we” indulge in it. Abbott did mention his family in the interview and he did not mention Credlin till Grattan asked him about her directly. drmarfi’s post was either slothful or mendacious.

  55. Stephen Tardrew

    Point Taken.

  56. 2birdsinthebush2

    SHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Don’t tell him about the value of social media!!

  57. drmarfi

    Apologies,Dan Rowden and to all. Slothful on my part – I would never be mendacious. I must have skimmed past that bit of the interview.

  58. Barry Tucker

    Why did Grattan do this interview in the first place? In the past couple of weeks she has been critical of Abbott, his government and its policies. She lambasted him for his regressive Knight & Dames affair.

    Was she ordered, convinced or conned into doing this shallow, fluffy piece for The Conversation?

    Whatever, it gives us another glimpse of shallow Abbott and the means by which he is protected from exposure — on the other it shows readers what he is. I’ll add a link to the interview to “The Abbott Enigma”

  59. Anomander


    Delighted you saw value in spurious ramblings. Happy for them to be reblogged.

  60. Dan Rowden


    Apologies,Dan Rowden and to all. Slothful on my part – I would never be mendacious. I must have skimmed past that bit of the interview.

    It’s cool. Any interview with Abbott is enormously soporific. He could seriously market himself as a walking sleeping pill.


    Any “fireside” style interview with a Prime Minister is a bit of a coup for a journalist. I don’t think we need to look beyond Grattan’s journalistic ego for reasons as to why she would do such an interview.

  61. seranvali

    The man’s a menace.

  62. diannaart

    Thanks for putting into words much of what I have been thinking. Abbott is still in ‘opposition mode’ for at least two reasons:

    1. He believes that reminding the public that the Labor Australia voted out in 2013 will be the same ‘wreckers of the joint’ in 2016.

    2. It is easier to just repeat everything he has been able to learn; “Stop the Boats”, “Axe Carbon Tax”.

    The above we are only far too familiar with, let’s not forget the key words he trots out for the excessively wealthy and/or stupid;

    “Mates help each other; they do not tax each other.” (Feb 23, 2011).

    “The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.” (Feb 2, 2011)

    “We just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice.” (Feb 11, 2010)

    “I accept that resolutions made in church often wilt under the hot breath of passion—I think I know that as well as any person in this chamber” (Feb 15, 2006)

    Abbott is just as unthinking the rest of the year, but I think he should be chained up during the month of February.


  63. geoffreyengland

    “stop the boats, get the budget under control and repeal the carbon tax and the mining tax”

    if i hear these three slogans one more time I’m going to need a restraining order because there’s no telling what I may decide to do when I next see Abbott in person.
    Is there a more grossly offensive person on the face of the earth?

  64. randalstella

    I wanted to acknowledge John Ward’s post. But then I thought that I would wait until someone else did.

  65. John Ward

    An excerpt from They Thought They Were Free – The Germans, 1933-45 by Milton Mayer
    But Then It Was Too Late
    What no one seemed to notice was the ever-widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.
    What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
    This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.
    The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your ‘little men,’ your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?
    To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
    How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have. And everyone counts on that might.
    Your ‘little men,’ your Nazi friends, were not against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were, are the greater offenders, not because we knew better (that would be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemöller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing; and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something—but then it was too late.
    You see, one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
    Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, ‘everyone’ is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there would be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
    And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.
    Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.
    You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing process, a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It has flowed to a new level, carrying you with it, without any effort on your part. On this new level you live, you have been living more comfortably every day, with new morals, new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany, could not have imagined.
    Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

  66. Pingback: Achievements of the Abbott Government To Date | The Sauce

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