Yes, I can spell. I meant exactly what I wrote in the title. I’m sure that a few of you have been so disappointed with Malcolm that you’ve forgotten exactly how annoying Abbott was when people actually had to try and implement some of his thought-bubbles. Malcolm, on the other hand, resembles a shepherd whose sheep have discovered that not only is there a hole in the fence but that the sheep-dog that only responds to someone else’s commands. There are rumours that every now and then, Malcolm will suddenly stop meetings and ask if this is one where he’s meant to be paying attention, but I don’t believe it. I’ve heard that he understands that he never needs to pay attention in meetings and is expected to save all his energy for remembering when to say, “Jobs and Growth” and when to say, “Innovation”.
But let’s – like the Liberal party – just ignore Malcolm for now. Tony Abbott is about to make his big move. I can tell these things. And like everyone else who makes predictions, I’m prepared to just ignore it when I get it wrong.
Something in the way he urged Britain to embrace its exit from the stifling bureaucracy of the EU and to regain its rightful place as a world leader made me feel that we’re seeing Tony attempt his statesman impersonation again. (Ok, it’s not quite as convincing as when your uncle pretends that he’s Taylor Swift at the Karaoke bar, but he thinks it’s impressive.)
In case you didn’t catch it, Tony wrote a little foreword for the UK’s Free Enterprise Group where he suggested that this Brexit thing could be the making of Britain. To quote the man exactly:
“Brexit means that Britain is back.The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the Mother of Parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader.”
Yep, you certainly couldn’t suggest that any other country gave the world the English language, although some linguists might suggest that English is mainly the result of successful invasions. Surprisingly, he didn’t go on to tell us that soon Britannia would rule the waves again and that Britons never, never, never would be slaves. Perhaps that’s because it was only their inability to “stop the boats” of the Romans, Vikings, Saxons and Normans that led to the English language as we know it. And I did think that the phrase, “the Mother of Parliaments” may be open to misinterpretation – particularly in some parts of the US, but it was his comments on free trade that had me flummoxed.
Apparently he’d like a “one page” free trade deal with Britain. Now, I’m not sure what he had in mind because I would have thought that a free trade deal would be more complicated than something that would only take up one page. Maybe Mr Abbott thought it’d be something like, “In 1973, you left us but we never left you. Let’s get back together, because… well, you had me at Brexit!”
After telling us that “no two countries were more like-minded than Britain and Australia, with a common language, set of values and much shared history”, he cleverly didn’t mention knighthoods, but merely pointed out, “If a car is fit to be sold in Britain, it’s fit to be sold in Australia. If a doctor is fit to practise in Australia, he or she is fit to practise in the UK.” Ah… if only we had a car industry, it wouldn’t seem like the free trade deal involved us importing cars from Britain, while exporting doctors. Is he suggesting that maybe doctors will be moving there because under the Liberals nobody in Australia will be able to afford one?
So here’s the possible scenarios:
1. Suss Ley is found to have breached ministerial guidelines and Tony Abbott is appointed Health Minister. He uses his new position to put himself in conflict with Malcolm and causes a leadership spill. (Highly unlikely)
2. The inquiry finds that Suss Ley has broken no rules and she is allowed to return to her position. Abbott says that this is outrageous and the rules need to be changed and uses this populist position to challenge Malcolm. (Slightly more likely)
3. Suss Ley is found to have breached ministerial guidelines and, instead of Tony, someone else is appointed Health Minister. Various writers in the Murdoch Media – such as Peta Credlin and Andrew Bolt – suggest this is just petty-mindedness from Turnbull and he needs to be replaced. Tony launches challenge to “clear the air”, but someone else stands and wins. (Much, much more likely!)
4. Same as 3, except the Liberals realise that Abbott will throw the toys out of the cot like John Howard did all through the eighties, and wreck the party unless they make him leader again. (Probably most likely so far)
5. Tony will finally agree to become British High Commissioner. Once there, he’ll suddenly remember that he’s still a British citizen and stand for the Tory Party with the expectation that he’ll become PM of Britain. (Now, this one is a ridiculous as Donald Trump becoming President, so it’s got to be the most likely!)
Of course, there are other scenarios like Abbott will quietly fade into the background or aliens will take control of the Earth, but I decided not to list ones that were too far-fetched.