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Tag Archives: The Lodge

Nothing is free? Depends who you are.

“[The budget] will do for people what they cannot do for themselves, but no more. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.”

A common refrain from Tony Abbott and his band of miserly men is that the taxpayer is footing the bill for all those “leaners” and that people should take more personal responsibility for themselves. User pays seems to be the pervading Coalition strategy in most areas – education, health, fuel excise, road tolls, GST.

It is somewhat ironic that Tony Abbott is leading this spin considering how much he has been given.

Tony came from England to Australia for free when his parents took advantage of the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. His father became a wealthy man who paid for Tony to attend private Jesuit schools.

Tony then benefited from a free university education thanks to Gough Whitlam.

In a 1979 interview printed in Honi Soit, the Sydney University student newspaper, Tony said:

“I think too much money is spent on education at the moment,” adding that departments such as General Philosophy and Political Economy should be the first to go”.

This contempt for philosophy and political economy seemed to disappear when it was suggested to Tony that he might be able to get a free ticket to Oxford via a Rhodes Scholarship. He applied to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

University and college fees are paid by the Rhodes Trust. In addition, scholars receive a monthly maintenance stipend to cover accommodation and living expenses.

After returning from England, Tony decided to let the Catholic Church pay for his education and keep and entered St Patrick’s seminary at age 26, significantly older than most of his fellow seminarians.

While at the Seminary, he wrote articles for The Catholic Weekly and The Bulletin.

In 1987, he quit the Seminary and started looking at a future in politics, although he continued writing for The Bulletin.

After marrying Margie in 1988, Abbott decided that writing for The Bulletin was boring and he wrote to a number of “business leaders” asking them for a job.

His plea for a job was answered by Sir Tristan Antico, a “prominent member of the wider Jesuit network” who offered Tony Abbott the position of Plant Manager at Sydney Concrete in Silverwater even though he had no experience or qualifications for the position.

Abbott soon quit the job as it wasn’t paying enough money and accepted a position with The Australian as a journalist. He continued writing at The Australian until John Howard recommended him for a position as the then Federal Liberal leader John Hewson’s press secretary. Tony was responsible for the speech when Hewson said “you can tell the rental houses in a street”.

In 1992, he was appointed director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, a position he held until 1994, when he was successfully elected to parliament when gifted pre-selection for the Warringah by-election.

From the age of 36 Tony lucked into the highest paying job you can get with no qualifications, experience or specific skills, and then in 2009, he was gifted the leadership in return for becoming a climate change denier. Some may say that the Labor Party then gifted him the Prime Ministership.

He has had free air travel, chauffeur-driven cars, and tickets for him and his family to anything they want to attend.

We pay for his books, his volunteering, his charity work. We pay for his petrol and his phone and his food and his electricity.

We buy him new jets so he can fit in the hundreds of photographers and businessmen that now travel everywhere with him.

As Opposition leader, Tony claimed over $1 million a year in “expenses”. I shudder to think what his time as Prime Minister will cost us, particularly considering his accommodation decisions. It should be remembered that Abbott is living in public housing.

The lavish Canberra home Tony Abbott refused to move into while the Lodge was being renovated has cost the government nearly $120,000.

The full cost of the ill-fated lease – including termination fees and legal advice – was confirmed at a budget estimates committee hearing in May.

The budget for the prime minister’s official residences (the Lodge and Kirribilli House) will increase from $1.61m in 2013-14 to $1.7m next financial year, rising to $1.77m, $1.81m and $1.86m in subsequent years. This is “for items, staff and cooking within the residences and to maintain the gardens”, but does not include the building upkeep.

Howard, the only other Prime Minister to refuse to move to where his job is, racked up over $18 million in flights between Sydney and Canberra during his term.

Tony’s daughters have also been fortunate.

His daughter Louise was appointed executive assistant to Australia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva which is headed by former Coalition staffer Peter Woolcott.

There was internal disquiet at DFAT in Canberra about what some staff saw as a lack of transparency in the hiring and how Ms Abbott came to be doing high-level work, such as delivering a public statement on disarmament, when there were up to 14 policy specialists attached to the mission.

But a spokesman for DFAT said the job helping represent Australia to the United Nations was awarded “on the basis of merit.” Just like the unadvertised $60,000 scholarship thrust upon Frances Abbott even though she hadn’t even applied to go to the college let alone for any scholarship.

Regardless of what happens in the future, Tony will continue to be supported by the public purse for life.

Each former PM is entitled to at least two staff, including a senior private secretary, and the annual wages bill of each is about $300,000.

In 2010 it was reported that John Howard’s office was the most expensive, with expenses averaging $850,000 a year. Mr Howard’s expenses blew out well in excess of the other four former prime ministers no longer in Parliament thanks to a $450,000 office refit in 2008/09 to his swanky digs in Sydney’s MLC building, which was already costing nearly $14,000 a month to rent.

In the seven months after leaving office, Mr Howard spent $109,892 on limousine services, evenly split between the government Comcar service and private hire cars.

The former PMs also have their home and mobile phone bills paid by taxpayers, as well as unlimited allowances for publications, a private self-drive car, and air fares for them and their spouse.

These are in addition to their pensions under the generous former Parliamentary superannuation scheme, which gives them a pension indexed to current MPs’ salaries for life.

Assuming Tony Abbott remains Prime Minister for the next four years he could walk away with an annual pension of more than $380,500 and that’s not including the rest of the perks.

So when Tony shows no understanding of how real people live, when he wastes money on war toys while cutting pensions, it isn’t really his fault that he has no idea how to prioritise spending. Other people have always paid for Tony. No HECS debt for him, no applying for jobs, no making sacrifices to save for retirement, no wondering how to pay phone and electricity bills, no waiting for a flight or ringing a cab.

That self-satisfied smirk from Tony is not because he doesn’t care, it’s because he doesn’t have to.

 

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Wherever I lay my hat that’s my home

Image from Flickr.com

Image from Flickr.com

In 1996 John Howard became the first Prime Minister to make Kirribilli House in Sydney his prime residence. Over the next 12 years, this decision cost the taxpayers $18.4 million in flights between Canberra and Sydney.

According to the Department of Defence’s Schedule of Special Purpose Flights for the second half of 2002, Howard ordered 43 flights between Sydney and Canberra. Ten of those flights flew empty between Canberra and Sydney. Each flight cost $7500.

The RAAF’s No. 34 Squadron operated the VIP fleet of five aircraft, which, in those days, cost $60 million a year to run. The lease on the current RAAF fleet of two Boeing 737 business jets and three smaller Challenger 604 aircraft cost $600 million and will expire this year when Tony Abbott intends to opt for bigger and better planes.

Last week, a ‘reluctant’ Tony Abbott became the second Prime Minister to opt for living in Kirribilli House. He said he would prefer to stay in his home in Forestville but Skynews suggested there were security concerns.

To accommodate Mr Howard’s family, renovations were done at Kirribilli House. Two sets of stairs were installed and a bathroom was refitted at a cost of $185,000. In their third year of residence a new dining room table and 20 chairs were ordered, a cost of $82,000. A door required widening to get the table inside. Tony has said he has no plans for expensive alterations and I think Margie is a very different woman from Janette so hopefully we won’t have to shell out even more for that. I wonder if they will move into the Lodge after its expensive alterations.

In May 2007, it was reported that John Howard’s department had spent almost $110,000 on alcohol for The Lodge and Kirribilli House in the previous four years with over $30,000 spent in the first 4 months of 2007. It was an election year after all – the schmoozing bill was bound to escalate.

He was accused of using Kirribilli House for Liberal party fundraisers, something he claimed was not a breach of propriety as the Liberal Party were picking up the tab. It was the taxpayer however who picked up the tab for lavish Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties for “a cross-section of Sydney society”.

Tony used Kirribilli House for a similar function when he held a soiree to thank people like Piers Ackerman, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Miranda Devine for their contribution to journalism (cough).

Mr Abbott said “when you take on a particular job, a particular residence goes with it and you do have to go with that particular flow.” Well normally that would be the Lodge but it is currently undergoing repair works. That is why the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet signed a 12-month lease on a house in August, during the caretaker period.

Mr Abbott, for reasons known only to himself, refused to move into this house which will cost taxpayers $3000 a week for 12 months unless they can negotiate to terminate the lease, something they had been unsuccessful in achieving so far according to an ABC article from late November last year.

I wonder if Tony Abbott has considered what this decision will cost we taxpayers. Aside from maintaining several residences, the flights to and from Canberra, often empty one way, add up to a lot of money. Tony’s decision this week to hold a Cabinet meeting in Perth, even though they were all in Canberra together a few days earlier, shows he doesn’t really care about the cost of flights or accommodation. Why would he – he never sees the bill.

Perhaps Margie and Bridget wanted to stay in Sydney. If that was their choice then they should do as so many other families do when one partner has to travel for work – meet up when and where your schedules allow. That is the price you pay for the employment decisions you make. There are generous family travel allowances to facilitate this.

I presume that by making Sydney his principal place of residence, Abbott is entitled to claim $268 per night travel allowance when he is in Canberra among the many other entitlements that politicians receive. Their travel bill is astronomical. One would have thought that in these days of teleconferencing and e-communication we could cut this bill by a huge amount. There would be less photos (a side bonus) and it would be far more productive, saving time and money.

As I think of people on the dole being forced to accept jobs that are more than 90 minutes from their home and wonder about the cost, both financial and social, that they will have to pay, I will be checking with interest how much this government is spending on Parliamentarian’s entitlements and on the Lodge, Kirribilli House, the empty rented mansion, and wherever it is that Tony actually stays when he goes to Canberra. In my opinion it would be far cheaper and more productive if our Prime Minister lived in Canberra. What would be even more productive would be if he lived in Tristan de Cunha.

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An Abbott in the Lodge: “NEVER” (Part four)

But what if

Tony Abbott is often touted as being the most effective opposition leader this country has ever had. What criteria people use to reach this conclusion is I am unsure. However it seems to me that it is flawed. Why? Well it’s rather simple really. For almost three years the polls have given the LNP an unassailable lead over the Labor Party. So why the overkill? Obviously both the MSM and Abbott were eager to be rid of the Prime Minister. Did they show good judgement in hounding her out of office in the knowledge that a more formidable and popular opponent would replace her. Why do it when it would have been easier over the past twelve months to let political nature take its course and assume office with little effort. Everyone agreed that the populace had stopped listening to her in spite of her policy success. They needed to do everything possible to see her remain in office. It would guarantee them victory. So what was to be gained by applying the blow torch?

It goes without saying that Julia Gillard was subjected to the most contemptible and at times depraved attacks that in a political sense were unnecessary if just gaining office was the only objective. However, it seems that men cannot help themselves so they went for the jugular and in so doing put Abbott’s election at risk. But they did achieve one objective and set back the political aspirations of women for generations.

If Abbott does lose this election then he could be rightly accused of losing an unlosable one.

Tony Abbott if nothing else is a very colourful character. He is aggressive both physically and in the use of language. His negativity is legendary and he has little consideration for any ideas other than his own and says NO to his opponents policies regardless of their worthiness. He is by evidence and his own admission a liar of some regularity. Added to that he has a political gutter mentality and little respect for the institution of parliament and its conventions.

My personal desire is that Labor wins the forthcoming election. Firstly because it’s the party I support ideologically and at this point in time has the best policies to take this country forward. Secondly because I would prefer never to again see the negative often hateful style of opposition that Mr Abbott has foisted on the Australian people. It may be a way to win office but the country pays a price.

But what if he does win

He would face governing the country (Perhaps even implementing Labor policies) against a backdrop of unsavoury personal and party distractions. All of these distractions regardless of merit would create major diversions not withstanding constant public intrigue and judgement. He would be a Prime Minister like no other facing constant involvement in court proceedings or by association being on the edge of them.

There is the law suit he is facing in relation to David Ettridge and One Nation. He is being sued by Ettridge for for $1.5 million. His expenses are being looked after by a legal firm of Liberal supporters. Now it is not for me to judge the veracity of Mr Ettridge’s claims (the courts will do that) however, I would just point that firstly Abbott established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence on the ABC Late Line program. He would have to explain this to the public. Not a good look for newly elected a Prime Minister. I dare say we could expect a plethora of journalists all chaffing at the bit to fill a few tabloid pages.

Then of course we have the Ashby/Slipper affair and we are awaiting the courts appeal decision. It is difficult to imagine whatever the outcome that there would not be some residual flak that Abbott would have to face. He has said that he had no direct knowledge of the proceedings. He has never explained what knowledge he did have. And if Ashby was granted his day in court it would involve members of his party and he could not escape the obvious implications. He may be able to explain his involvement but he would have to explain the involvement of his colleagues and that would be difficult. If on the other hand the ruling vindicates Justice Rare’s original verdict and an investigation is warranted. Would Prime Minister Abbott have to stand aside? After all, he was suggesting that the Prime Minister Gillard and Craig Thompson do just that under similar circumstances.

Early next year Barbara Ramjan sues Michael Kroger for defamation. Remember she accused Abbott of punching a wall either side of her head during a university altercation. Tony Abbott is not directly involved in this case although he might have to explain the fact that he reckons the event never took place in spite of witnesses saying it did. You might also recall that upon finding out Ramjan’”s standing in the community Alan Jones apologised to her. And she is married to a Supreme Court judge. All in all again not a good look for a new PM.

And Peter Slipper will front court to answer Cab Charge charges. On the surface this might seem trivial but it is still to be explained as to why the matter was not dwelt with in the normal parliamentary manner instead of having to go to court. Again Abbott is not directly involved but he would have to explain his party’s complicity.

And of course, unionist John Setka is also suing Abbott for defamation.

I can think of no person ever running for the position of Prime Minister who would take with them so much personal and party scandal into the office.

 

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An Abbott in the Lodge – “NEVER”

By John Lord and Michael Taylor

Part One

David Marr’s recent quarterly essay “Political Animal” (now a book) gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. Moreover, given that Mr. Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision-making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph:

“Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.”

Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis, the negativity of Abbott has spread itself like rust through the community. He has sought to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day has passed since the last election without Mr. Abbott referring to Prime Minister Gillard as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face, I might add. He has sought to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined “NO.” Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have the republicans) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

More recently of course, Mr. Abbott has just gone through the most astonishing personality transformation any politician this country has ever achieved. What his secret is no one knows but those in the field of treating psychiatric personality disorders might like to study his case in great depth. Remarkably, he has gone from gutter politician with an overwhelming negativity disorder, misogyny traits and pathological liar complex to jolly nice bloke in the course of six months. In fact, the date of this transformation can be pinpointed to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the election date.

In the US, the Republicans with all this propaganda sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite of the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for nearly three years Prime Minister Gillard was demonised by right wing MSM pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it. Now Abbott and the MSM have achieved their objective and forced her out of office but political historians will speak kindly of Prime Minister Gillard. She stood tall among men and her policy legacy will be remembered and experienced well into this countries future.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo-conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo-conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a woman with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office and the parliament has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are, I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character? I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation.

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven.”

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Alternatively, that’s just politics. However, my focus here is on character and whether Mr. Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behavior over a long period he simply does not have the essence of character, which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

Tony Abbott in The Lodge? Never!

The evidence follows in part two tomorrow.

 

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Tony Abbott in The Lodge: it’s still ‘never’

The polls suggest that Tony Abbott is close to getting his little grubby hands on the keys to The Lodge. The keys, then, will be in the wrong hands.

In January we posted an article written by John Lord and myself (80/20) titled ‘Never’ with the argument of why Tony Abbott should not make it to The Lodge. We are committed to keeping him out. Hence, we have decided to re-run that post at regular intervals between now and the election as we attract new readers and hopefully, have our message widely spread.

An Abbott in the Lodge – Never

David Marr’s quarterly essay “Political Animal” gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. And given that Mr Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph: “Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s new strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.” Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day passes without referring to the Prime minister as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face I might add. He seeks to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined NO. Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

In the US the Republicans with all this propaganda have sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite to the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for two years the Prime Minister has been demonised by a right wing (Murdoch) news media pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a women with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character. I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation:

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven.”

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Or that’s just politics. However my focus here is on character and whether Mr Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period of time he simply doesn’t have the essence of character which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

The evidence for this assertion follows. None of these events are in chronological order. They are just as they come to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.

When the President of the US visited he broke long standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley; an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.

More recently he refused a pair whilst the Prime Minister was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.

Referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing”.

He was accused of assaulting a women at university and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.

Another women accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborated her story.

He threatens to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a women’s right to an abortion.

In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. He punched him in the face. It never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.

And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match? Yes, he did.

He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.

And let’s not forget the role he played also in the jailing of Pauline Hanson. After One Nation shocked the Coalition by winning 11 seats in Queensland in June 1998, Abbott was determined to dig up every piece of dirt he could on Hanson. In his own words, on her demise he boasts this was:

“All my doing, for better or for worse. It has got Tony Abbott’s fingerprints on it and no-one else’s.”

Yes, even after saying that, he still lies about its existence.

He was ejected from the House of Representatives once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.

In 2000 he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.

Abused Nicola Roxon after he had turned up late for a debate.

Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook or a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying at the same time. After all this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.

Together with Christopher Pyne seen running from the House of Representatives to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.

Being the first Opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.

The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?

The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.

And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

During the Republic Referendum he told many outrageous untruths.

His famous “Climate change is crap” comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question: “Is that what you always do?”

His almost daily visits to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the ‘carbon tax’ (a scare campaign best described as fraudulent). None of which have come to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.

And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so in Parliament the next day.

Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.

He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.

And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.

Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.

And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.

I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait.

We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden. I used to think that John Howard was a mean-spirited, nasty piece of work, but in comparison to Tony Abbott he appears as kind, caring and compassionate as Mother Teresa. Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and the way he belittles those who are suffering from it. He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he’s been inherently nasty for as long as people have known him, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I first took notice of his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour . . . Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”

Nasty. To the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported the listing of the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it wasn’t disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Yesterday, Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition. “It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

He loves making fun of dying people. Does he expect we’ll all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam wasn’t even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an extremely wrong note.

He said she was a ”woman of style and substance” and ”a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister”.

”There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam,” Mr Abbott said.

Nasty. To the core.

If politics is fundamentally about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On three occasions I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis has done nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye he is most effective in attack dog mode. However he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies. Or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbles over tough questions. This is particularly noticeable when he tries to explain the complexity of policy detail.

The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character. A man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy The Lodge. Given his performance of late he would do well to consider these words: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It’s easy to understand what Abbott says because he only speaks in slogans. The difficulty is knowing what he means.

I have used this line in one of my short stories and it aptly sums up the character of Honourable Leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition.

As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception.

Please note, this was written prior to the Prime Minister’s now famous ‘sexist speech’ and does not include these snippets of Tonyisms.

His dying of shame comment.

His “lack of experience in raising children” comment.

His “make an honest women of herself” comment.

His “no doesn’t mean no” comment.

  1. “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
  2. “These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers.”

On rights at work:

  1. “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband … you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss”.

On women:

  1. “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience.”
  2. “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”
  3. “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”
  4. “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year …”

On Julia Gillard:

  1. “Gillard won’t lie down and die..

On climate change:

  1. “Climate change is absolute crap.”
  2. “If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax.”

On homosexuality:

  1. “I’d probably … I feel a bit threatened.”
  2. “If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things … “

On Indigenous Australia:

  1. “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage.”
  2. ‘”Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that …”
  3. “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”

On Nicola Roxon:

16: “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”

I could go on. History is filled with examples of how low this man is; of how nasty he is.

I fear that we may not yet have seen the full extent of his nastiness. We might have to wait – God forbid – for the day he ever becomes Prime Minister.

It’ll be nasty for all of us.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

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Tony Abbott in the Lodge: Never

David Marr’s quarterly essay “Political Animal” gives an engrossing, even gripping insight into the persona of the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. I made many observations as I read it and I cannot of course comment on everything. I must say though (given Tony Abbot’s statement that he finds gays intimidating) that I was a little bemused at how Marr even got to interview him. They apparently spent some time together which must have been excruciatingly uncomfortable for the Opposition leader. And given that Mr Abbott only allowed him to use one quote I should think he probably wasted his time. Another thing that took my attention was the influence of Catholicism in his private and political decision making. He apparently finds it difficult to make decisions without referral to his faith.

What did catch my eye was this short paragraph: “Josh Gordon of the Sunday Age saw the parallels early. Like the Republicans in the US the Coalition’s new strategy appears to be to block, discredit, confuse, attack and hamper at every opportunity.” Do we see any similarities here? Well of course. On a daily basis the negativity of Abbott spreads like rust through the community. He seeks to confuse with the most outlandish statements. Hardly a day passes without referring to the Prime minister as a liar while at the same time telling the most outrageous ones himself. And with a straight face I might add. He seeks to hamper (as do the Republicans) all legislation with a pre-determined NO. Often without even reading it. Abbott has (as have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan) taken lying and the frequency of it to a level in political discourse we have never experienced.

In the US the Republicans with all this propaganda have sought to create a fictional President who is the opposite to the one known outside the States. Twenty five per cent of the population still believe he is a Muslim and a large percentage still believe he was born outside the States even though the facts prove otherwise. Such is the power of the right-wing media (Fox News) and an accumulation of feral shock jocks. The GOP (the Republicans – the “Grand Old Party”) is even accused of deliberately not passing bills in order to make the economy worse.

In Australia, for two years the Prime Minister has been demonised by a right wing (Murdoch) news media pack intent on creating a false profile and bringing her down at the first opportunity. She has had thrown at her the most vile misogynist ravings un-befitting of the fourth estate but the tabloids and the shock jocks seem to thrive on it.

At this point (since we are talking in part about truth) let me say that I would describe myself as progressive social democrat. Centre-left on some issues and further left on others. I confess this so as not to be accused later of any preconceived bias. I am the originator of this quote “to be a true democrat one has to concede that your opponents have as much right to win as does your side”; I wrote that prior to the advent of this nefarious thing called neo conservatism or neo capitalism. I wrote it at a time when the political divide (despite the ideological differences) had some respect for the common good; when we in Australia admired America’s bi-partisan approach to its politics. The decline of bi-partisan politics and the rise of neo conservatism can be traced back to a third rate actor and a women with a bad hair-do. And in time respect for public office has gone out the window.

Regardless of what political persuasion you are I believe we like to see character in our leaders. Now how do we describe character. I came across this in the New York Times; it is a direct reference to Mitt Romney, however, it suffices as a general observation:

“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of a presidential campaign, but unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibers from which it is woven.”

When looked in isolation the lies and indiscretions of Tony Abbott, his problems with women and even his negativity could perhaps all be written off as just Tony being Tony. Or that’s just politics. However my focus here is on character and whether Mr Abbott has enough of it to be the leader of our nation. My contention is that because we are looking at a litany of instances of lying, deception and bad behaviour over a long period of time he simply doesn’t have the essence of character which is one of the main ingredients in the recipe of leadership.

The evidence for this assertion follows. None of these events are in chronological order. They are just as they come to mind and are listed randomly in order to build a character profile.

When the President of the US visited he broke long standing conventions by politicising his speech as Opposition leader.

He did the same when the Indonesian president visited.

He did the same when the Queen visited.

He would not allow pairs (another long standing convention) so that the Minister for the Arts could attend the funeral of painter Margaret Olley; an Australian icon. Malcolm Turnbull, a personnel friend was also prevented from attending. There have been other instances of not allowing pairs.

More recently he refused a pair whilst the Prime Minister was on bereavement leave following the death of her father.

At university he kicked in a glass panel door when defeated in an election.

Referred to a women Chairperson as “Chairthing”.

He was accused of assaulting a women at university and later acquitted. He was defended by a QC and the girl defended herself.

Another women accuses him of throwing punches at her. And hitting either side of a wall she was standing against. He says it never happened but others corroborated her story.

He threatens to punch the head in of Lindsay Foyle who disagreed with him on a women’s right to an abortion.

In 1978 a young teacher by the name of Peter Woof bought assault charges against Abbott. He punched him in the face. It never went anywhere. Abbott was represented by a legal team of six and the young man could not afford to defend himself.

And he did punch out Joe Hockey’s lights during a rugby match? Yes, he did.

He established a slush fund to bring down Pauline Hansen and then lied about its existence.

And let’s not forget the role he played also in the jailing of Pauline Hanson. After One Nation shocked the Coalition by winning 11 seats in Queensland in June 1998, Abbott was determined to dig up every piece of dirt he could on Hanson. In his own words, on her demise he boasts this was:

“All my doing, for better or for worse. It has got Tony Abbott’s fingerprints on it and no-one else’s.”

Yes, even after saying that, he still lies about its existence.

He was ejected from the House of Representatives once in obscure circumstances. Hansard is unclear why but it is alleged that he physically threatened Graham Edwards. Edwards lost both his legs in Vietnam.

In 2000 he was ejected from the House along with six others. Philip Coorey reports that he was headed toward the Labor back benches ready to thump a member who had heckled him.

Abused Nicola Roxon after he had turned up late for a debate.

Then there was the interview with Mark Riley where he had a brain fade that seemed like it would never end. I thought he was deciding between a right hook or a left cross. Something that I found mentally disturbing and worrying at the same time. After all this was the man who could be our next Prime Minister.

Together with Christopher Pyne seen running from the House of Representatives to avoid embarrassment at being outwitted.

Being the first Opposition leader to be ejected from the house in 26 years because he repeated an accusation of lying after withdrawing it.

The infamous “Sell my arse” statement verified by Tony Windsor. Will Windsor ever release the mobile phone transcript?

The interview with Kerry O’Brien where he admitted that unless it was in writing he didn’t always tell the truth.

And in another O’Brien interview he admitted lying about a meeting with the Catholic Archbishop George Pell.

During the Republic Referendum he told many outrageous untruths.

His famous “Climate change is crap” comment and later saying that he was speaking to an audience. This of course elicited the question: “Is that what you always do?”

His almost daily visits to businesses with messages of gloom and doom about the ‘carbon tax’ (a scare campaign best described as fraudulent). None of which have come to fruition. His blatant lying often repudiated by the management of the businesses. The most notable being the CEO of BHP and their decision not to proceed with the Olympic Dam mine. Whole towns being closed down. Industries being forced to sack thousands. The end of the coal industry etc.

And of course there is the now infamous Leigh Sales interview where beyond any doubt he lied three times and continued to do so in Parliament the next day.

Then there was his statement that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy near Old Parliament House be closed. To call his statement an error in judgement is too kind. It almost sounded like an incitement to riot.

He is quoted as saying in the Parliament that Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Albanese had targets on their heads. He later apologised.

And of course there is also the lie about asylum seekers being illegal.

Added to that is his statement that the PM refused to lay down and die.

And the deliberate lie he told to the Australian Minerals Council that the Chinese intended increasing their emissions by 500 per cent.

I think I have exhausted it all but I cannot be sure. Oh wait.

We should not leave out his insensitive comments about the attempted suicide of John Brogden. I used to think that John Howard was a mean-spirited, nasty piece of work, but in comparison to Tony Abbott he appears as kind, caring and compassionate as Mother Teresa. Tony Abbott is far, far more mean-spirited. He demonstrates this in the way he ignores human misery and the way he belittles those who are suffering from it. He is, in a nutshell, nasty to the core. Stories surface that he’s been inherently nasty for as long as people have known him, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I first took notice of his extreme level of nastiness and lack of compassion for human misery when it was hoisted onto the national stage. It came only hours after the NSW Leader of the Opposition, John Brogden, had attempted suicide. The Age reported at the time that:

The day after Mr Brogden was found unconscious in his electorate office with self-inflicted wounds, Mr Abbott publicly joked at two separate Liberal Party functions about the disgraced leader’s career-wrecking behaviour . . . Mr Abbott was asked at a fund-raising lunch about a particular health reform proposal and reportedly answered: “If we did that, we would be as dead as the former Liberal leader’s political prospects.”

Nasty. To the core. And to a mate.

He also claimed that Bernie Banton was a mate. Not that he acted like one.

When Abbott was the Minister for Health, the dying asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton obtained a petition containing 17,000 signatures of those who supported the listing of the mesothelioma drug Alimta on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This petition was to be presented in person to Tony Abbott. If it wasn’t disrespectful enough to snub the petition, then his verbal response certainly was.

Yesterday, Mr Abbott was quick to dismiss the petition. “It was a stunt,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.

“I know Bernie is very sick, but just because a person is sick doesn’t necessarily mean that he is pure of heart in all things.”

He loves making fun of dying people. Does he expect we’ll all laugh along with him?

He even has a go at deceased people. Margaret Whitlam wasn’t even in the grave before Tony Abbott used her death to score cheap political points.

The death of Margaret Whitlam caused such an outpouring of saddened fondness that comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, linking her passing with the sins of the Whitlam government appear to have struck an extremely wrong note.

He said she was a ”woman of style and substance” and ”a marvellous consort to a very significant Labor leader and an epochal Australian prime minister”.

”There was a lot wrong with the Whitlam Government but nevertheless, it was a very significant episode in our history and Margaret Whitlam was a very significant element in the political success of Gough Whitlam,” Mr Abbott said.

Nasty. To the core.

If politics is fundamentally about ideas it is also about leadership. In this piece I have deliberately steered clear of policy argument in order to concentrate on character. On three occasions I have invited people on Facebook to list five attributes of Tony Abbott that would warrant his election as Prime Minister of Australia. I have never received a reply. And when you look at the aforementioned list is it any wonder. He is simply bereft of any character at all. He has been described as the Mad Monk and many other things but essentially he is a repugnant gutter politician of the worst kind. In following the American Republican party’s example his shock and awe tactics associated with perpetual crisis has done nothing but degenerate the standard of Australian politics and the Parliament generally. In the public eye he is most effective in attack dog mode. However he is found wanting when he needs to defend himself and simply reverts to stuttering hesitation and lies. Or just walking out on press conferences when he stumbles over tough questions. This is particularly noticeable when he tries to explain the complexity of policy detail.

The future of this country is of vital importance. So much so that its leadership should never be entrusted to a politician of such little virtue and character. A man who has failed to articulate a narrative for Australia’s future other than a personal desire to occupy The Lodge. Given his performance of late he would do well to consider these words: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It’s easy to understand what Abbott says because he only speaks in slogans. The difficulty is knowing what he means.

I have used this line in one of my short stories and it aptly sums up the character of Honourable Leader of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition.

As he spoke, truth came from the beginning of a smile or was it just a sneer of deception.

Please note, this was written prior to the Prime Minister’s now famous ‘sexist speech’ and does not include these snippets of Tonyisms.

His dying of shame comment.

His “lack of experience in raising children” comment.

His “make an honest women of herself ” comment.

His “no doesn’t mean no” comment.

  1. “Jesus knew that there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia.”
  2. “These people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency. If they were happy with temporary protection visas, then they might be able to argue better that they were asylum seekers”.

On rights at work:

  1. “If we’re honest, most of us would accept that a bad boss is a little bit like a bad father or a bad husband . . . you find that he tends to do more good than harm. He might be a bad boss but at least he’s employing someone while he is in fact a boss”.

On women:

  1. “The problem with the Australian practice of abortion is that an objectively grave matter has been reduced to a question of the mother’s convenience”.
  2. “I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons”.
  3. “I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”.
  4. “What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up, every year . . .”

On Julia Gillard:

  1. “Gillard won’t lie down and die”.

On climate change:

  1. “Climate change is absolute crap”.
  2. “If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax”.

On homosexuality:

  1. “I’d probably . . . I feel a bit threatened”.
  2. “If you’d asked me for advice I would have said to have – adopt a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about all of these things . . . “

On Indigenous Australia:

  1. “Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage”.
  2. ‘”Western civilisation came to this country in 1788 and I’m proud of that . . .”
  3. “There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done”.

On Nicola Roxon:

16: “That’s bullshit. You’re being deliberately unpleasant. I suppose you can’t help yourself, can you?”

I could go on. History is filled with examples of how low this man is; of how nasty he is.

I fear that we may not yet have seen the full extent of his nastiness. We might have to wait – God forbid – for the day he ever becomes Prime Minister.

It’ll be nasty for all of us.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

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 210 total views