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The Smell of Blood

It’s in the air right now. You can actually taste it. The knives are out. The phones are running hot. How many more clichés can you fit in one paragraph? Politics can be a savage sport, a blood sport. And it generally is when opposing parties face off in parliament. But when the fighting starts within a party, when friend becomes foe, that’s when the blood starts to flow.

On Channel 7’s Sunrise this morning, David Koch asked PM Tony Abbott if he had asked Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop not to challenge him for the leadership and she refused. Abbott dodged the question, did not answer directly and then told Koch that the people weren’t interested in leadership speculation.

Er…yes they are.

We only have to think back to the leadership turmoil between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard to realise how damaging this is for the government right now. The media, once so supportive of the LNP will now hunt down every whisper, every side turn, every evasive moment, anything anyone inside, or out, of the party room utters. It’s a blood sport.

frenzy They will pursue any trail they suspect will lead them to a hint of, when and from whom, a leadership challenge might come. And come it surely must. It is no longer months away or even weeks. It is days away and the Canberra press gallery can smell it. It will come because the media won’t leave it alone. It could be today, tomorrow or Friday.

Actually, Friday is a good day for a leadership challenge because members can disperse to their electorates after the event and hide from the pursuit of journalists eager to write follow-up stories; a bit like reporting after the big game. There’s always a juicy ‘what happened when’ story to be discovered.

So now we sit and wait. There will be a party room meeting, someone will text someone that it’s on, and the media will go into a frenzy. All scheduled TV programs will be suspended, reporters will transmit live, and the entire country will come to a halt…..well, maybe not the entire country. But the waiting will be excruciating. Then we will hear the outcome.

The party will be united once again and….oh god no…someone will step forward and say, “And now we must get on with the job of fixing Labor’s debt and deficit disaster.”

And then we will know for sure that nothing has changed. Same polices, same mantra, same three word slogans. No grand vision, no exciting new ideas, just same old, same old.

We know that there’s nothing new under the political sun, but can we at least have something better than this?


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  1. Möbius Ecko

    It will be poll driven, whether it’s the official polls or the phone/online ones, they will be what gives the media the clubs to bash and the swords to skewer. So that’s the only thing that can remotely save Abbott, a substantial and sustained improvement in the polls.

    What will be interesting is to see if the MSM this time round report the polls as they did for the previous Labor government, where every drop, no matter how decimally small or within the margin for error was stated as a major fall and disastrous, whilst on the other hand every drop for the Abbott opposition was ignored and every gain, no matter how insignificantly small was splashed as a massive gain.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott sidesteps questions on whether he approached Julie Bishop on leadership issue

    Tony Abbott dodges claims Julie Bishop refused to guarantee she wouldn’t challenge

    Julie Bishop reportedly refused to rule out challenging Tony Abbott

    After Julie’s visit to Rupert and after her tweeting pics of herself harbourside during Tony’s speech I’d say he’s a goner. Rupert has spoken.

  3. flohri1754

    I wonder how having a “barren, unmarried woman” as its leader would sit with many of the dinosaurs in the Liberal Party ????

  4. Keith

    Should Abbott lose his position he will be a thorn in the side of who ever becomes leader.
    But, while the same left over budget measures are pushed, the abbott gang will go the same way as their Queensland colleagues.
    Any trust the abbott gang has had, is now lost. Once lost, trust is almost impossible to regain.
    Abbott has made several mistakes in the past, if he survives any leadership battle now he will be a target again in the future.
    The Liberals are between a rock and hard place; its almost as though karma operates.

  5. Kaye Lee

    SMH poll Do you think Tony Abbott’s speech will help him remain in the top job?

    Total votes: 24737

    No it was awful: 84%

  6. flohri1754

    The irony and the aspects of “karma” dripping down on the Liberals (and in particular, Tone) is to be relished …..

  7. flohri1754

    “I think people find all that insider Canberra stuff so boring. So absolutely and utterly boring,” Mr Abbott told Channel Seven. ……………… once again Tony emphasizes his tin ear ……

  8. Ian Sprocket Muncher Parfrey

    LNP Autophargy 101

    Coldies in the fridge – Check
    Popcorn – Check
    Comfy chair – Check

    Let the festivities commence!

  9. Kaye Lee


    The command and control model is not helping the Liberal Party, it is strangling it.

    MPs who conscientiously listen to their electorates and think about policy are assets, not inconveniences. They are worth a lot more than those who toady up to the media with the latest line approved by the leadership and reflect back what they think it wants to hear. All summer the government has distracted itself with things that the electorate doesn’t care about, like staff and reshuffles and knighthoods. The public is dying to hear someone with answers to the issues that concern them, like coping with the cost of ­living and financing a better future for their children.

    The public is quite prepared to change government after one term. If the government does not change, the public will forcibly change it.

  10. diannaart

    Leadership speculation in Federal government…. Prime Minister… running amok not consulting with ministers… strange decision making…

    …not the Labor party…

    Who’da thunk it?

    Well anyone who has been paying attention, but for the rusted on followers of Murdoch and minions – I fear for their health and well-being.

  11. Loz

    An excruciating speech. The front bench must be very nervous knowing their jobs are on the line. But will they hang on to him until the bitter end just for a few more pay cheques?

  12. CMMC

    I don’t think Bishop wants the job, Foreign Minister is a great gig.

    No, we have the Dogfood imperative, Abbott is saying to his party and the nation, you voted for this – so just shutup and eat your dogfood.

  13. John Fraser


    The Liberals have a problem.

    Tony Bishop …. Tony Morrison …. Tony Pyne …. Tony Cormann …. Tony Brandis …. Tony Abetz …. Tony Bishop2 ….. Tony Robb ….. Tony Andrews …. Tony Joyce …. Tony Frydenberg ….Tony Dutton …. Tony Hunt …. Tony Ley ….Tony Truss …. Tony etc

    Some other little Tony's.

    And of course big Tony Murdoch.

    Time for Half Term Tony to call an election.

  14. stuff me

    Chaos reigns! Well, it is the LNP of the fascist leanings!

  15. stuff me

    John Fraser, love it!

  16. gangey1959

    @John Fraser. Right on.
    A line from Something happened on the way to the Forum…
    “I told him. Don’t go there Big Tony. I told him over and over. Don’t go there. Something bad is gonna happen”

  17. Zolf

    Well put John Fraser. That’ why Turnbull can’t or doesn’t want to get up, he’d have to keep too many Tonies. What would be the point of that? I’d like to see Turncoat prevail because that would possibly force Shifty Bill to the left.

  18. JohnB

    Reminds me,
    Rinse the blood off my Toga::

  19. John Fraser


    After 168 years Murdoch's "News of the World" had this as the last front page :


    After 51 years Murdochs "The Australian" front page should be :


  20. Ross

    Who is the cabinet insider leaking to Sky News and why Sky News?
    We know why just not who.

  21. Kerri

    Arrrgh!! I’m torn!! So want the Abbotthole to suffer a public humiliation so similar to what he continually criticised about Labor but The Monthly has a competition to guess the date of Abbott’s demise and who will replace him? Foolishly I predicted late March and of course Bishop!!!!
    Foreign Affairs is not enough for ego central little Julie! She was livid that Julia beat her to first female Prime Minister because that was her dream! She boasted first female foreign minister while we all thought yeah! So?
    Nup! Julie has a pretty big view of herself and first LIBERAL female Prime Minister sits well in her chardonnay and pearls world. She won’t be able to resist the oppurpportunity and she will fail miserably.
    I also reckon Turnbull might have a tilt at Joe’s job?
    Does anyone know how the Bishop/Hockey relationship goes?
    Any predictions for who Julie would favour in other roles??
    And of course, excellent article again John Kelly!
    And John Fraser love the Rinse the Blood off My Toga reference!

  22. Kerri

    I also had this wicked idea? If anyone can het word out to journalists to stop asking questions of Prime Minister and start calling him Mr Abbott! See how that works on his psyche?

  23. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    The real solution at this stage is a double dissolution. At least, unlike Queensland, we have an upper house.

  24. patriciawa

    “The blood starts to flow.
    When friend becomes foe………”

    John! – great article, got me thinking I might manage a few more lines there…….

    Rosemary too – it might finish up with your comment that

    “The only solution
    A double dissolution!”

    Now let’s see if these old grey cells can release a few more metaphors.

  25. corvus boreus

    After a quick ponder, i came up with Scotty Morrison.
    He and Julie Bishop have been fawningly endorsed by ‘Richo’ (Mr fixit) as the “stand-out performers” in current cabinet.
    It was slanderous Murdoch media allegations (later retracted) around a more popular rival for Liberal candidacy that gave Mr Morrison his first leg-up in politics. Morrison has, in the portfolio of immigration, alternated starvation and selective handfuls of baited burly to play the fish in the media school.
    There were a few times yesterday that the camera cut to him wearing a very strange smirk at quite inappropriate moments.

  26. patriciawa

    “The blood starts to flow.
    When friend becomes foe………”

    John! – great article, got me thinking I might manage a few more lines there…….

    Rosemary too – it might finish up with your comment………. How does this work?

    “The only solution?
    A double dissolution!”

    Now let’s see if these old grey cells can release a few more metaphors…….perhaps something like

    Go, he must!
    Can’t we just
    Show him the door,
    Without blood on the floor?

    Let’s see………..

  27. DanDark

    What they need to do is pull straws and whoever gets the longest wins
    Because it dosnt really matter what the lying libs do they are history
    Tones will be lucky to last the week as the Slime Minister
    Morriscum is wearing the badge of the face of cruelty, the hangover from his jaunt as the minister for cruel and inhumane policies, “you can’t have a wimp” controlling our borders from those pesky asylum seekers
    But they can have a wimp flip flopping on every policy he tries to slam on the country,
    oh deary deary me, what a fine mess they have got themselves into,,,,, 🙂

    I bet he wishes he could tell everybody to “shut up” like he did Rudd because Tones dosnt like to hear the truth
    Tones was such a smart arse, instead of telling Rudd to shut up they should of been working on decent policies, not 16 months later because we have rejected the first lot of shit they handed us to our shock and surprise
    If they hadn’t been so gung ho on others they might not be in the can like they are now,
    you reap what you sew…

  28. John Fraser


    Interest Rate drops.

    Reserve bank reinforces Abbott's policies shit.

  29. John Fraser


    Look over there ………

    Abbott to declare Australia has been attacked by Mars.

    Abbott proves he's a perfect gentleman …. throws Credlin under bus.

    Chatter from "Death Cult"

    Labors fault.

    Sir Dukes fault ….. no that one unlikely.

    David Hicks …. yep ! …. that be it.

    Abbott offers apology to David Hicks.

    Abbotts hypocrisy is boundless.

  30. Kaye Lee

    JOURNALIST (archive footage, Nov. 30, 2008): Do you admit you’ve been underperforming though?


    JOURNALIST II: Are you considering stepping down?


    JOURNALIST III: The pressure from within your own party, though, it’s not a good look.


    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: But lately, her colleagues have been forced to declare their full support for her position, a sure sign of impending political demise. And after yet another weekend of speculation, they were still keeping up the facade this morning.

    PETER DUTTON, OPPOSITION HEALTH SPOKESMAN: We support Julie, she’s our shadow Treasury spokesperson, she’s our deputy leader, she enjoys our support and I don’t want to add any further to the speculation. I’m here to talk about health.

    MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: In the end, whether acting on instructions or her own conclusions, Julie Bishop took the long, lonely walk herself.

  31. Kaye Lee

    Hockey gives a press conference claiming credit for oil prices being lower – “this will save families $1000 a year”.

    He says this is a sign that they are moving in the right direction and it will lead to a boost in business and consumer confidence. Funny….everyone else is saying this is because growth is slowing and unemployment is rising.

    F**k I hate this lying bunch of turds who treat us all like fools.

  32. stephentardrew

    Ya know good old Joe Blow had a little talk with the Saudi’s laying it on the line that he would not put up with the current oil price and guess what?

    The price of oil plunges.

    What a brilliant mind.

    Wait on a minute a little birdie just told me he didn’t talk to the Saudi’s after all.

    Well blow me down another case of miss speak and blatant unmitigated lying.

    Oh well situation normal.

  33. Kaye Lee

    Julie Bishop has told Skynews she is not campaigning to be PM. Hmmmm what’s that mean?

  34. stephentardrew

    The Assassin’s Guild is on the move.

    The night of the long sharp knives and short stubby ossified brains.

  35. Rob031

    #1: An oldie but a goldie: I Will Survive

  36. Rob031


  37. DanDark

    Breaking news on channel 9 in Victoria,, Dr Jansen in WA has publicly come out and has said Tony has to go…

  38. eli nes

    someone told the labor man that a little blowing, or even a surreptitious puff, can change smoulder into flames.
    Sadly, Shorten burned his lips on abbott’s exhaust pipe. Fortunately it was on ABC 24 so nobody saw it(even the presenters were napping)
    On another tack apparently baird has built an abbott proof fence around canberra!
    ps how about the territory abbuttians??

  39. crypt0

    F**k I hate this lying bunch of turds who treat us all like fools.
    Thanks, Kaye … and you only mentioned their good points !
    I couldn’t have put it better myself …

  40. Matters Not

    The Smell of Blood? Nonsense! It’s much worse than that. It’s a stench.

    Abbott et all warned that some of those who went overseas would return as ‘terrorists’. The rationale was along the lines that it was better to fight them there rather than here. To the slow learners, like Abbott, that sounded like a good political strategy.

    But to no avail. The chickens have come home to roost. And in spades.

    ‘Terrorism’ is now here, there, and everywhere. And guess what, Abbott was right all along.

    He sent Bishop to the US (and without his blessing, I suspect,) she met Rupert, a well known ‘radical’ who advocates that he should be the arbiter of what is good and valuable and those who disagree should simply ‘piss off’.

    Guess what. Bishop has returned as a ‘terrorist’. As has Turnbull; another terrorist. Now even the Cabinet has become a haven for at least two ‘terrorists’, intent on taking down the properly elected government.

    Terrorism within the Cabinet, can it be more ironic than that? A locally grown ‘death cult’.

    Perhaps he will order the troops to return home? And the planes as well.

  41. Audioio

    “It will come because the media won’t leave it alone.”

    I want this filthy government gone as much as anyone here, but the idea that the fixations of the circle jerk Press Gallery should bring on a leadership challenge is almost as detestable.

    @flohri1754 Make that “deliberately barren”.

  42. Pingback: The Smell of Blood | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

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