It has been said that one of Tony Abbott’s strengths is his conviction. In 2005, one of his Liberal colleagues summed him up this way.
“Tony Abbott is the genuine article. The conviction politician who will use his muscle to cajole, bully, smash his way through. Abbott’s ability to yell from the rooftops what he believes in is his strength.”
Genuine? Conviction? Strength? Surely you jest.
Abbott is a politician who changes his mind depending on how the wind blows as Peter van Onselen reminded us in his article “Tony Abbott’s convictions are ever changing”.
But perhaps even worse, he sets different standards for himself to those which he tries to impose on others.
When faced with a pregnant girlfriend, a 19 year old Tony decided he wasn’t ready for the responsibility of a child. He split up with his girlfriend and they put the child up for adoption.
Twenty-seven years later, the public shared in what must have been an emotional roller coaster for Abbott and all concerned when the son thought he had found his biological father only to find, after DNA testing, that it wasn’t Abbott.
As all of this played out in the press (not sure why), Tony turned into some sort of hero.
The Catholic ethicist Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini, said Abbott has been courageous in his handling of his personal life.
“Exactly what has Abbott done wrong here? Nothing,” says Tonti-Filippini.
“The way I see it, Abbott has lived his life according to the core beliefs he has consistently espoused. The couple had the child, but Abbott was honest enough to admit he did not want to marry Mrs Donnelly and they judged their son would be better reared in a happy family with two parents dedicated to each other.”
Thirty years ago, Tony wrote in The Bulletin:
“At university the need to defend Catholicism in a hostile environment had led me to an extremely naturalistic defence of traditional beliefs and disciplines. Abortion was wrong, because it violated instinctive respect for life; contraception, because it was usually part of a “me now” mentality. The Mass was a chance quietly to restore one’s energies; confession enabled embarrassing problems to be discussed safely before they became crippling.”
So he thought, at the time, that using contraception would be part of a selfish ‘me now’ mentality but the consequences of playing “Vatican roulette”, as Tony described it, were ‘embarrassing problems’ that could be made better by a priest’s advice?
In 2009, Tony, in a discussion on “Religion, Sex and Politics“, told us that women should not have the “right to absolutely withhold sex” and that a man’s “right to demand” sex should be “moderated.”
All this talk of demanding and withholding sex makes me wonder if Tony has ever heard of foreplay.
The following year, when leader of the Opposition, Abbott described virginity as ”the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving”, but that apparently only applies to people with a hymen.
The Liberal leader fleshed out his advice on virginity, urging men to not act in ways that “demean others” but suggesting young women should not “give themselves away lightly”.
So he sees having sex with a woman as ‘demeaning’ her – an act where the woman has ‘given herself away’? Yet he was happy to ‘take’ her ‘greatest gift’ and then discard her?
Tony eventually got married on 24 September 1988. An article dated January 26, 2010 speaks of his 21 year old daughter. Had he been ‘demeaning’ Margie too?
As only Abbott could or would, he linked his reconnection to the man he thought was his son to his opposition to abortion, emphasising to the newspapers that Daniel’s first words to him were, “Thanks for having me”. Never let an opportunity for crass political exploitation pass by.
When it was Tony’s son, he recognised that the child would be “better reared in a happy family with two parents dedicated to each other”, yet he dictates to the rest of the country that some parents mustn’t be allowed to solemnise their relationship and that children are better off with their biological parents.
A Catholic Bishop, one of the organisation who advises Tony on his ‘embarrassing problems’, said children of gay couples will see themselves as another Stolen Generation.
I am wondering how he thinks victims of pedophile priests see themselves.
Speaking of the Stolen Generation, Abbott’s opinion about the Apology provides a classic example of our “conviction politician”, our oh so caring ex-Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs.
In January 2008, Opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Tony Abbott said the apology would just reinforce a victim mentality and was a “sop to the left“.
Less than two months later, Abbott was singing a different tune that shows, again, how he shifts on the tide of populism.
“When we were in government we could decide whether an apology happened or not, but in opposition all we could decide was an attitude to an apology which was ultimately in the hands of others,” he told The Age. “My own view was if an apology was going to happen anyway why not make the most of the situation and at the very least not rain on the parade.”
And I haven’t even mentioned that ridiculous speech he gave on climate change where the evidence he gave against rising sea levels was the photos in his surf club.
Let’s face it, Abbott is one seriously screwed-up little dude.