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How I fell off the Chair

Greg Sheridan’s eulogy of the Abbott Prime Ministerial era in The Australian yesterday, says a lot about his loyalty to a close friend, but little by way of a believable appeasement for what was probably the worst performance by any national Australian leader in our short history.

Sheridan is brave in predicting that, “History will be much kinder to the Abbott prime ministership than today’s analysis would suggest.”

History, I suspect, will do no such thing. And why should it?

For Sheridan to put stopping the boats at the top of Abbott’s list of achievements denies the possibility that unaccounted-for bodies lie at the bottom of the sea as a direct result of a policy enactment that forced boats back without caring for what happened next.

Sheridan claims that no lives were lost with this policy. How could he possibly know that?

To suggest that the “crisis engulfing Europe would have engulfed Australia” is pure speculation and takes advantage of a massive human tragedy to accord Abbott a dubious honour.

The knighting of Prince Phillip was by no means Abbott’s biggest mistake. It was the dumbest certainly, but not the biggest. Who cares what damage it did to the Liberal Party?

His biggest mistake was his blatant disregard for election promises. No matter what he thought personally about the 2014 budget, to think that it would not be seen for the deceptive, vindictive and one-sided document it was, suggests either contempt for the Australian people or ignorance beyond explanation. Either way it was the mother of all blunders.

Abbott’s loyalty to the Queen might well have been his motivation to both restoring knighthoods and awarding Prince Phillip one, but in doing so, he forgot which country he was supposed to be serving.

The issue of Abbott’s dual citizenship has been raging on social media for two years without raising an eyelid in the mainstream media. If ever one’s divided loyalty was made self-apparent, surely it was the Prince Phillip fiasco.

Several attempts made to have Abbott produce his RN Renunciation Form to show that he had renounced his British citizenship have met with a brick wall. Why? Surely if he did renounce, he would be happy to show it.

In considering his future, if he chooses to stay on, Abbott should know that there is a long line of Warringah constituents who will be waiting to challenge his re-election immediately the poll result is declared.

Sheridan says, “Generally in foreign policy, Abbott’s record is outstanding.” Really? He was a laughing stock among most international observers and severely criticised by the United Nations for human rights abuses.

Committing Australia to join the fight against ISIS was of no consequence and the subject of questionable motivation. Worse still, it could well motivate some mindless numbskull into taking unilateral action here in response.

But Sheridan’s comments about Abbott’s handling of the economy were really just too precious. He says, “On economic policy, Abbott also racked up significant achievements.”

This is where I fell off the chair.

Our economy today is basket case of failures compared with its position when Labor were ousted. I dare not compare it with the conservative rhetoric leading up to the last election for fear of falling off my chair again.

But the 22 economic indicators that the Coalition claimed they would improve including employment, debt, deficit, taxes, productivity, wages, infrastructure, income and many others are all in a worse state now than when Abbott was elected.

Blaming the media won’t stand the pub test either. Sheridan says, “He has been vilified by the Left for many years and could never expect a fair shake from much of the media.” Much of the media? Just what is the level of dominance the Murdoch press has in Australia?

The Left has been relentless, yes and most of it displayed in social media but that has simply been a counter balance to the extraordinary bias shown by The Sydney Daily Telegraph and The Australian.

So, while Sheridan’s loyalty to his friend is to be admired, it seems to have cost him the colour of his glasses.

Ironically, the current mood on social media seems to suggest Malcolm Turnbull is the new Diablo, only this time the rants are coming from the Right. Strange times, indeed.


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  1. Steve Laing

    The quality of mainstream journalists in this country is shockingly poor. The degree of lassitude that it has shown to Abbott is astonishing, as he has propelled us closer and closer towards a long-term economic abyss. They are simply too lazy to do the hard yards, more concerned with access to politicians than digging beneath the surface. Any fool could have predicted the outcome of Abbottism, but somehow it seems to have taken the MSM largely by surprise! I think its about time that journalists were subjected to a similar code of conduct to which doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and many other professionals have to adhere to, and that failure to report objectively and truthfully could result in the removal of their license. Might help stop the puffery that is so regularly on display from an often third-rate commentariat, and possibly even save their dying industry.

  2. Clean livin

    Until yesterday, I was an admirer of Mr Sheridan, considering him the top of his game in foreign affairs, but certainly disregarded his rants in the Murdoch press when he strayed from this strength.

    Today, that respect has gone. As a journalist, he has committed the greatest of sins by selling his soul.

    It’s all very well to support a friend, and let’s face it, Abbott has very few in this country, but using MSM to attempt to rewrite history is beyond the pale!

    Abbott was a failure, and always will be seen as such. Greg Sheridans attempt to change that view is both unprofessional and worse, shameful, but expected from the Murdoch stable!

  3. kerri

    Great article as usual John! I was disappointed on Tuesday night to see only one hard right rosy glassed Abbott supporter on The Drum! I was so hoping to see Rebecca Weisser or Anne Henderson trying to justify Abbott!
    Oh could it be so wonderful as to see Gerard Henderson and David Marr on Insiders next Sunday?

  4. Felicitas

    “Sheridan’s loyalty….seems to have cost him the colour of his glasses”

    Or is it just a case of sensing danger, they went black ala the esteemed hitch-hiker Zaphod Beeblebrock?

  5. Matters Not

    Sheridan is a self confessed ‘bromancer’. Abbott was the other part of the equation..

    A bromance is a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two (or more) men. It is an exceptionally tight affectional, homosocial male bonding relationship that exceeds that of usual friendship, that is distinguished by a particularly high level of emotional intimacy


    You can read more here re that relationship.


  6. Terry2

    Greg Sheridan is unable or unwilling to be objective when it comes to Abbott : a signal failing as a journalist.

  7. Heroesjust4oneday

    Greg Sheridan is a conservative troll !
    Of course he’d side with his ex master.

  8. John Hermann

    I would characterize Sheridan as ultra-conservative, as well as a cheer leader and propagandist for the forces of conservatism in this country. And as such, his political views would not be expected to be balanced or objective. In regard to Tony Abbott, I predict that his place in the political history of this country will be regarded by future generations as an aberration (in much the same way that Billy McMahon’s accession to the prime-ministership is viewed as an aberration). Tony will be accorded no more than a footnote in future accounts of the history of Australia.

  9. totaram

    Henceforth, we can refer to the MSM with its new expansion: Main Stream Mierda (pardon my Spanish)
    What else can you expect to read in the MSM, especially as opinion pieces? Outright lies, that’s what.

  10. lawrencewinder

    All Sheridan has demonstrated is that he is a sycophantic toady of the most hand wringing and obsequious kind.
    This is beyond just occasional proof.
    That he is generally given credence with airtime and column inches for his loopy right wing fantasy’s and Tory historical slant IS beyond belief.
    He is aligned with the bizarre Kafka-esque narratives served up by the Ugly American, Murdoch’s Rent-boys of the IPA and the Sydney Geriatric Institute’s, “Huffy-Puffy” Henderson which are so common to these funded propagandists that their collective existence in a parallel universe is also no longer in doubt.

  11. M-R

    Greg Sheridan has been a friend of Abbott’s since only the gods know when; and he’s putting personal loyalty before journalistic credibility. What an idiot ! Still, he’s done that all along, so I’m scarcely surprised.

  12. Neil of Sydney

    Our economy today is basket case of failures compared with its position when Labor were ousted

    And compared to the economic numbers in 2007, Rudd/Gillard destroyed the economy. The current economic numbers are not much different since Rudd lost office.

  13. Adrianne Haddow

    I can’t wait to read Miranda Devine’s eulogy. Sheridan’s is wishful thinking hers is sure to be fantasy writing.

  14. Slinky Malinki

    Disgraceful of Sheridan to bring his personal emotional baggage in to work and call it work.

    Typical Liberal Stooge stating lies without feeling any compunction to try to qualify them.

  15. Rossleigh

    Gee, John don’t you know that we’re on a path to surplus because the rate of INCREASE in spending has gone down. In much the same way, my gambling is putting me on the path to being a millionaire because I’ve gone from losing two thousand a week to a mere one thousand…
    Some people don’t seem to understand what a success that is…

  16. John Hermann

    Rossleigh, are you saying that a surplus is a necessary or desirable objective, given the current trajectory of the Australian economy? If so, I would point out that it is currently recognized by many economists that Australia is rapidly heading towards a recession (even if the numbers are not all in yet), and in these circumstances surely we need more central government spending, not less. That is, we need a larger deficit.

  17. Neil of Sydney

    He was a laughing stock among most international observers and severely criticised by the United Nations for human rights abuses.

    Wow so Abbott gets the blame for the 2,000 kids and 50,000 asylum seekers Labor locked up.

  18. Faye Cox

    Please change your song sheet. It’s very boring. Your lot have a new “Leader” so let’s see what he has to say about Asylum Seekers, The Economy, Climate Change. etc,etc.
    Abbott is to blame for the disgrace that he brought to Australia I look forward to hearing his three word slogans from the back bench

  19. paul walter

    Sheridan is like the other Murderdoch hacks, ONLY bullshits and vinditively and arrogantly. If you sifted through all the bullshit he has written for decades you would not find a single fact, otherwise it would stand out like a sapphire in a cowpat.

  20. paul walter

    Faye Cox, NoS is like Sheridan. He has been bullshitting for so long he no longer remembers what the truth is and therefore has lost the ability to recognise it, if he ever had it.

  21. Denisio Fabuloso

    That right wing hack Greg Sheridan comes out and says history will treat Abbott a lot better? What drivel. The opposite will be true… by a long shot. Abbott will be regarded as a backward, mediocre visionless blip. A voters ‘one night stand’ best forgotten. His legacy resembles a mound in a dairy paddock. Abbotts version distinguished only by the radical intellectual bypass.

  22. mars08

    This sort of shameless, unsubstantiated revisionism is exactly why so many Americans still believe that Ronald Reagan was one of the great presidents… Left unchallenged, such myths are toxic.

  23. totaram

    Faye: No point engaging with Neil. He is like a stuck recording. He keeps comparing pre-2007 economic performance with post GFC Rudd-Gillard. He refuses to accept there was a GFC, which even Malcolm Turnbull accepted required a stimulus and supported (bipartisan would you believe?) – just that he disagreed how big it should be (but then he is a neo-con). But watch carefully. NoS will repeat the same comparisons. I take the time to point this out so he doesn’t think we are taken in. On the other hand, I may be wasting my time because he is just a “bot”, but I suspect he is a human version of that. I wouldn’t credit the luddite Coalition with having bots with AI doing their trolling.

    As for the “budget emergency” not even Joe Hockey mentioned it in the second budget that he presented, and the government has just forgotten about it, showing clearly it was a beat-up cheered on by the MSM (especially the Murdochians). Notice that when discussing debt, no one mentions that aggregate private sector debt is approximately six times as high as government debt, as a proportion of GDP. That is what we need to worry about, and most of it accumulated during the “wonderful” budget surpluses of Peter Costello. If anyone can do simple national accounting, the reason for that would be obvious: If the nation as a whole has a trade deficit, and government has a surplus, the aggregate private sector must be in debt. That is the only way to balance the books for the year. It is simple arithmetic. But what would I know.

  24. olddavey

    Sheridan is a Turd Polisher Par Excellence.
    Nothing more to say, really.

  25. Terry2


    I was looking for the conclusion to your sentence but it seems to have gone missing, so I have helped out :

    “Wow so Abbott gets the blame for the 2,000 kids and 50,000 asylum seekers Labor locked up……………and the LNP failed to process or resettle in accordance with international obligations to refugees.

    PS: not sure about your facts, as always.

  26. Pingback: How I fell of

  27. John Kelly

    Totarum, nicely explained.

  28. Neil of Sydney

    and the LNP failed to process or resettle in accordance with international obligations to refugees

    Well as always the Coalition was left with a mess to clean up. You find out what people believe by what they do not by what they say. Fact is the ALP locked up 2,000 kids.

  29. Michael Taylor

    Fact is the ALP locked up 2,000 kids.

    How many times have you told us that, Neil? 100? 200? Or is it closer to 1,000? I’d put my money on the latter.

    That’s all you come back with whenever there is criticism of the Coalition Government, and quite frankly I’m sick of it.

    All your comments – as you know – are moderated before publication. I for one have better ways to spend my time than review your crazy rants. If this is the best you can come up with then I don’t think I’ll waste my time reviewing your comments in future. They’ll go straight in the bin.

    Other moderators might think differently to me and if they happen to be on the job instead of me then they can do what they want. But I’m guessing that they would be getting sick of you too.

  30. Pingback: How I fell off the Chair. | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  31. totaram

    We NEED NoS, to keep us on our toes, just like all the pollies need someone opposing them to “keep the bastards honest”. From time to time, some of us may even find the time to “respond” to NoS. Please don’t banish him. Seriously. Reading his comments is very good practice and very good for “maintaining the rage”. If you ever did boxing or something similar, you would know you need a sparring partner.

  32. Terry2

    I saw Rowan Dean – editor of the Spectator Australia – on the Drum last night. He is evidently enraged that a sitting Prime minister has been removed and seems to be arguing that this is some sort of Constitutional crisis and that we are the laughing stock of the rest of the world.

    I think his rage is confected and like so many Abbott supporters he refuses to acknowledge that party leadership is the gift of the party and were it otherwise we could have been stuck with a failed Prime Minister right through to the next election. Admittedly, the Liberal change is going to create some major challenges for Labor but we always knew that and seeing democratic processes working within the Liberal Party is quite satisfying.

    I notice that the same rage is evident within the ranks of the shock jocks of AM radio and the queue of LNP politicians paying homage at their studios is declining : also a very satisfying development in our democratic arrangements.

    Overall, a very satisfying week.

  33. Kaye Lee

    Rowan Dean is possibly the stupidest commentator on tv. Why he is trotted out is beyond me. He is mind-numbingly predictable.

  34. Kaye Lee

    “Tony Abbott PM was a class act, as the electorate will come to appreciate over the next few months and years. The measure of his achievements in less than two short, frenetic years in office eclipses by a country mile the achievements of any government, state or federal, since the early Howard years.”

    You gotta be shitting me

    One of the authors was Terry Barnes, an ex Abbott adviser who wrote an article in Quadrant called The Honourable Tony Abbott

    “If he is to be faulted, it is that he is too much of a gentleman. To some, courtesy and restraint are weakennesses to be exploited, as a former aide observed firsthand. ”

    The Honourable Tony Abbott

  35. mars08

    Okay… yes… the problem WAS ENTIRELY TONY ABBOTT…

    Because he emerged, fully formed, as a knuckle-dragging, semi-literate, uncultured, shameless, dishonest, oafish, self-serving, bumbling, arrogant, bigoted, federal opposition leader in 2009… And magically, seamlessly morphed into the Prime Minister a few years later.

    The frightened, ignorant, distracted, self-absorbed, lazy electorate had nothing to do with it. The pathetic, shallow, timid, divided ALP wasn’t a factor in Abbott’s reign.

    So let’s concentrate on Sheridan’s silly eulogy. Let’s not contemplate that the conditions and attitudes that gave us that horrible creature have not changed.


  36. Anomander

    Oh Neil, are you back again? How many times do you have to be reminded about the GFC? Your memory is either pathetically bad or you are conveniently forgetful.

    Either way, why do you persist in coming here and copping a flogging? Wouldn’t you be better-off hanging-out with the other mindless right-wing cretins over at the Australian or the Terrorgraph?

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