Dear Liberal MPs,
I know that many of you are thinking that you can’t turn on a TV at the moment – so ask one of your staff to do it for you. Once you’ve mastered that modern technology, you’ll probably notice how many of the news stories are either about some stranger coming to a spectacular end, or else the stories are speculating about the less than spectacular end of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.
Of course you know about the recent opinion poll where Tony Abbott’s approval rating was a mere 23%. You obviously know because I’m refering to the one conducted amongst Liberal Party MPs. His approval rating was much higher amongst the Cabinet, but there’s speculation that was only because he voted for himself as well as allowing Peta to stand beside people as they voted.
And, of course, we all know about how Tony Abbott refused that invitation to campaign in the Queensland election. The fact that it came from the Labor Party shouldn’t have mattered. Whichever way you look at it, his absence looks just as bad as his presence. Surely he could have done what he did with the Adelaide bushfires – gone there for just long enough to have three photos taken, then been back in Sydney by lunchtime! It would have stopped this ridiculous rumour that he’s frightened to go to Queensland because people would expect him to go swimming and he’s scared of either the jellyfish or the pollution from all the dredging.
But I’m pleading with you to remember your principles and stick with Tony. Don’t think that your problems will disappear if you were to elect someone less inclined to make stupid comments like Joe Hockey, someone more charismatic like Eric Abetz, someone less prone to hysterical overreaction like Christopher Pyne, or someone with a greater grasp of modern technology and metadata like George Brandis. As Tony put it, there are lessons to be learned from changing the leader. After all, if the change from Rudd to Gillard back to Rudd teacher didn’t teach us of the dangers of changing the Prime Minister, then certainly the change of Rudd to Abbott should have shown us once and for all, that changing the leader is a move that will end in tears.
No, you owe it to yourselves to give Tony what he asked for at the end of 2014 – a fresh start in 2015. Ok, I suspect that most you interpreted that as being from the beginning of 2015, but that’s not the promise he made, that’s only the promise that you thought he made. I think that you should definitely wait until Tony has made that fresh start, in whichever month he chooses.
As Abbott himself said, when he took over the leadership:
“There are some wounds that need to be healed. I have said to my colleagues that I will do my best to be a consultative and collegial leader…
“Political parties don’t work when people just announce what they’re doing and expect everyone else to follow. I will not be that kind of leader.”
And, eventually, he won’t. Eventually he’ll work out that when he announces something almost nobody will follow. And he won’t expect it any more. I mean, there are signs that he is learning. There are many, many things that he didn’t announce because he knew that people would like them. By just quietly slipping them through, and not announcing them, nobody knows what you’ve cut or quietly slipped in while they were having Christmas lunch.
Remember, Tony is a man who is capable of learning from his mistakes, so it’s obvious that he’s learnt more in twelve months than most PM’s would learn in their entire career.
And even if you don’t believe me, I’m appealling to you to remember what you said in the past about Rudd being the elected PM and that it wasn’t up to the faceless men of the Labor Party to determine the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard needed to go to an election before she could be considered our leader. I clearly remember that, and you needn’t think that the public won’t have a similar reaction to any attempt to dispose of Tony. As Rupert Murdoch’s paper said before the election, “We Need Tony”. And I really think that we do need Tony. I think that he’s one of the best things we have going at the moment.
So please, please don’t change leaders. I implore you.