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The Abbott Praetorian Guard at The Australian

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

The Abbott Pretorian Guard at The Australian – and all other Murdoch newspapers – have closed ranks around their man in The Lodge. A man under siege from all sides.

He accrues baggage every single time he opens his mouth. The outrage on social media is palpable.

The Australian likes to conveniently disregard Twitter as being “Left biased”.

The same can’t be said for Facebook with its much larger user base.

Facebook is also lighting up with fury over the regressive agenda of the Coalition.

The nation wide community organised rally movement March in March has been gathering momentum almost entirely on Facebook.

People are unimpressed and they are angry about Abbott’s vision of helping the big end of town at the expense of the social safety that everyday Australians rely on.

The Australian way of life is being severely damaged and in record time.

I am absolutely hostile towards Tony Abbott and all he stands for. I have made that clear time and time again. I wear it as a badge of honour. We deserve better than the sorry lot we have in charge now.

The Murdoch media is busily trying to spin Abbott’s horrendous showing at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It’s made worse by the fact he is currently the President of the G20.

Unfortunately, the man whose turn it was in The Weekend Australian to plead Abbott’s case, Dennis Shanahan, isn’t so clear about his motives and objectives when writing his opinion pieces.

He spurns Labor every time he mentions them no matter what the issue. He praises the Coalition at every opportunity. Just the way Murdoch likes it.

It would not surprise me if he, along with Paul Kelly and Henry Ergas, is in regular contact with Murdoch about what to write and how to write.

They are Rupert’s de facto voices in The Australian.

I would say Rupert writes them himself but I have seen his writing and I wrote better in my first semester of journalism school.

Dennis at least can string his words together.

I also assume Dennis talks to Abbott frequently. Mr Abbott only talks regularly to those in the media who are friendly towards his warped agenda.

This would easily explain why he relishes talking to 2GB and other divisive, biased and deceptive shock jocks who pander to the lowest common denominator.

Abbott, along with his ministers, is not as keen to appear on Lateline, 7:30, ABC or Q&A.

How many days since his last appearance on Q&A again?

This can mostly be put down to the overly controlling Chief of Staff Peta Credlin, the wife of the Liberal Party head Brian Lougnanne.

This woman has more power than the hapless and effectively irrelevant Deputy PM Warren Truss of the disregarded National Party.

Credlin is the woman to blame for several ministers in hiding, most prominently the disgraceful Scott Morrison.

Truth, facts, scrutiny and accountability scare this government witless. Disregard any election commitment in this regard.

Shanahan’s characteristically fawning piece is hard to take seriously.

A quick look at the latest polls suggests all is not “beer and skittles” for the Abbott Government, as Dennis tries to suggest.

Dennis seems to laugh at the concept of Abbott being presented as “old-fashioned, unthinking, ‘innumerate’, and uninterested when it comes to economics”.

A quick Google search of Tony Abbott or a visit to YouTube would suggest Dennis either hasn’t done his research on this man, believes in his agenda or is utterly clueless and blind to reality. Maybe all of them.

Tony Abbott is the most conservative – and pathetic leader – Australia has had since the early 70s under the hopeless and out of touch Billy McMahon.

That’s right, Billy McMahon. The same Prime Minister who was so abysmal Murdoch refused to support him during the 1972 federal election.

Nobody with any sense can dispute Abbott’s conservatism.

His notorious history at Sydney University is enough to suggest he is completely out of step, destructive, negative and aggressive.

He happily and cunningly walks the path of negative fear politics and brings out the worst in people.

Typical divisive Tory politics.

This might be expected in university but at the highest level it disgraces the good name of our country.

Some Young Liberals have followed his lead. Nasty trolls with no policy clue whatsoever and a backward view of the world.

Dennis says how happy “senior business people” were with him and his speech.

He says foreign business leaders were all saying they wished they “could have one of him”.

They want him? They can have him!

Tony Abbott is the leader that the business community wanted desperately and helped elect.

Why wouldn’t they be happy?

While business falls over itself to take advantage of Abbott’s selfish business orientated agenda the attacks on ordinary Australians and nasty surprises keep piling up.

Do you get this from Dennis?

No, of course not.

He’s too busy praising the agenda of “smaller government”, “less red and green tape”, and Abbott’s belief “government doesn’t always know best”.

Abbott’s attacks on Medicare, social security, the disabled, the environmental movement, education, the LGBTI community and health, among many others haven’t gone unnoticed by those who matter. The voters.

Abbott refuses to engage in the international efforts to mitigate climate change and declined to be involved in the CHOGM climate change fund.

Let’s not forget that this government failed to send Environment Minister Greg Hunt to a key climate change conference recently and irritated many nations with their obstructionist attitude to measures to address climate change.

His government earned Australia the “Colossal Fossil” Award for being the most retrograde nation at the conference.

Makes so many of us so proud.

Dennis obviously agrees government should “get out of the way” of business and let them make their money in peace as Abbott suggests.

I ask Dennis to wind his mind back to 2008. The world economy was in compete free fall.

Why? Deregulation and inept oversight of unfettered capitalism in the United States.

Tony Abbott actually criticised Australia’s action to halt the impacts of the GFC on Australia. That would have had many eyes in the room rolling.

A true economic innumerate and a man who himself has said he has no interest in economics.

Not to mention his continued, impertinent and quite frankly childish efforts to drag domestic politics onto the global stage despite being against all accepted protocols.

I sometimes wonder why I read and support the News Corp Australia monstrosity.

I have to remind myself it’s to call out the completely biased drivel of “journalists” like Dennis Shanahan.

A man who passes off free advertising for the Coalition Government as well thought out and impartial analysis.

Pull the other one Dennis.

You may be a writer but you are not a journalist and your analysis – in written form or video – is truly hopeless.

In closing I share my one and only interaction with the man of the hour:


I can’t for the life of me understand what goes through your head.

Everything is geared around Labor being bad and or doing bad.

Labor drops in the polls. Bad.

Labor rises in the polls. Still bad.

What universe are you in?

You expect Labor to go from 42% to 51%?

It is just blatant inability to try and pretend there is some ounce of balance at The Australian.

You just end up looking like a political hack and damn right fool.

His response:

As a disappointed and frustrated Labor supporter your anger is understandable.

But your baseless allegations of bias are unacceptable.

You clearly can’t read or accept polling figures which Labor MPs understand and for which they don’t stupidly blame me.

You are clearly loyal to Labor but your loyalty blinds you to reality and your ignorance, both of polling and manners, makes it necessary for me to block you along with a lot of cranks and nut jobs as Julia Gillard would say.

I’m always happy to have sensible political discussion with readers but your abusive comments put you outside that realm.

Rest assured the PM’s office does know how to have a sensible conversation about the polls and note that I wasn’t fomenting leadership destabilisation.

You’re blocked.

Dennis is more than happy to cast the first stone but when the same level of analysis is turned back on him he has a propensity to become indignant.

A typical Tory trait in my experience.

This article has also been published on Independent Australia under the title Shanahan’s unimpressive drivel about Abbott’s Davos debacle.

Matthew Donovan (pictured) is a former Labor candidate for the seat of Surfers Paradise in Queensland as well as a political commentator and freelance journalist. He’s an active Labor campaigner from Burleigh Branch on the Gold Coast. His interests are progressive politics, policy development and media/social media strategy. Matthew’s studied Journalism, International Relations and History at the University of Southern Queensland. He plans to study Political Science in the near future.


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  1. dafid1

    A deceased Jesuit priest, a close friend of Abbott at St Patricks Seminary, where Abbott made his forlorn initial bid for the Papacy, doomed because of the acceptance of homosexuality amongst his peers, which upset him for reasons he has never admitted. The said Jesuit ‘enabled’ the unfrocked Abbott to take up a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford by means of a glowing recommendation, devoid of reality, which is completely transparent by Abbotts complete ignorance of all things economic to this day.
    Of course he was completely at home with the ole biffo, in the ring at Oxford and as his Court case recently, defending bullying toward a fellow female student at university exposes.
    Abbott is where he is today because of Murdochs puppets, like Shanahan, who have completely harnessed the gullibility and ignorance of the red neck voter.
    The ultimate shame of the Shanahans of the world will eventually be exposed, sadly not before the Abbott Govt has taken this country down a path of subservience to mine owners,big business and so called Christian religious who believe they should rule, not an elected Govt.

  2. Bilal Cleland

    Mathew Donovan has intelligently exposed the shallow one party political stance of the discredited Murdoch propaganda sheets. How come the old fossil has been done over in Britain but is able to raise his head so fearlessly in this benighted land? Are we in fact as backward as Shanahan assumes? Hopefully the debacle in Davos and the coming debacle when Abbott does Beijing will bring into action those intelligent life forms which might still inhabit the Liberal Party. The walking disaster has to go.

  3. Melbournian

    “You clearly can’t read or accept polling figures which Labor MPs understand and for which they don’t stupidly blame me.”

    It’s interesting polling figures are brought up in this article. Polling figures released today show that Essential Research, the only polling organisation to until now to give a lead to the coalition, has the TPP result at 50-50, while all other polling organisations (Morgan, ReachTEL, Newspoll, Nielsen) show Labor ahead.

    I hope Denis Shanahan accepts those polling figures.

  4. Stephen Tardrew

    I scream, I dribble, I shake, I fizzle, I shudder with unbearable pain and paroxysm of deep denial just reading the dreaded name D. S. Too many years too much drivel. Please don’t make me say it out loud. Anxiety is a terrible, terrible thing. welcome to the living dead.

  5. Ange Kenos

    and yet again I must ask why oh why Julia did you refuse to hold a UK style inquiry into Rupert? Especially when Bob Brown promised full Greens backing. Especially when Ita Buttrose came out with explosive evidence that he personally asked her to do the same shit they are investigating in the UK.

  6. Billy moir

    Those applying rupert’s instructions to their stories are sensibly protecting their jobs. It is sad to see journalists I used to enjoy read compromising their integrity to such an extent that the bias is glaringly obvious. But the danger is in those zealots who, in the words of Tony Windsor, ‘will do anything…”.

  7. doctorrob54

    Well done Matthew,thank you mate.

  8. Keith

    This is the man who we are asked to support, with thanks to whoever discovered the clip:

    Last night I told my wife and a friend visiting how Abbott had declared that wind and tide had caused our naval vessel/s to go into Indonesian waters. They burst out laughing; seeing the nonsense of Abbott’s comment.

    If there were real journalists at they would be providing insight into whats happening now. We don’t need continual regurgitation of rubbish about how bad Labor was. It is not hard to find arguments as to why the Abbott gang are providing the worst government in living history; perhaps since Federation.

  9. Maureen

    Thank you Mathew. A great article. Wish it wasn’t true but it is. The level of corruption that has enabled Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister is both enraging and depressing, as is Abbott’s ideological obsession with destroying the environment and the social safety net.

    He is not a Prime Minister he is a corporate puppet propped up by Rupert Murdoch and the Murdoch cult, the IPA, the BCA, the MSM, and at times the ABC.

    Hopefully March in March will inspire greater grass roots democracy and people power that the MSM can’t hide.

  10. Graeme Rust

    proff; is this the chaser doing a spiff on me??? this fecking eejit surely isn’t the PM of OZZ ????

  11. laughinglefty

    As I recall, for about six months before the 2007 election, Shanahan kept interpreting the Newspoll figures to show that Howard was on track for another glorious victory. Definitely not a man who should be criticising anyone for not understanding polls.

  12. helenmarg

    wonderful article Mathew.You could run rings around the so called Journalists in the MSM.What disgrace they are .Thank You.

  13. David Linehan

    Keith you are of course correct. To the detriment of their profession, News Corp employees in the News and Current Affairs area (not only News Corp) are petrified of Murdoch and his God like power over their employment and future.

    Personal survival has become the one major factor in their working lives, ethics no longer apply unless it is the Murdoch brand. We know that means lies, dirt, character assassination and enveloping the present puppet Prime Minister in a shroud of secrecy, reporting only that which shows the pretender in a good light, no matter the truth. Shanahan and his equally subservient colleague Sheridan provided the proof of this in their absurd coverage of Abbott the Liars recent fairy tale address to world leaders in Davos. Well those that stayed to hear it after the walkout.

    Without the determination of the 5th Estate led by David Donovans Independent Australia and blogs such as this, plus social media such as Twitter, the truth of Abbott/Morrisons bastardry towards ‘Legal Asylum Seekers’ would never be told. Reluctantly the ABC and Fairfax have started to see how stupid they look not reporting so slowly are reporting the truth being revealed.
    Health, Education, The NBN, Aged Care, Pensions, Climate Change, Medicare, Infrastructure, GST just a few factors that influence middle and lower income families are under attack from the hard right of the Tory party and this ludicrous weak pathetic PM is powerless to stop it. He is now on a 3 year show pony trip with Murdoch, Big Business, Pell and some mining giants cracking the whip.

    We can shrug our shoulders and let it happen, or we can fight back using all of those tools at our disposal as in blogs, social media etc and take part in rallies, marches, protests. Doing nothing tells this Govt we approve, I for one do not.

  14. Dissenter

    Alan Austin has just described the current media reporting as a “Fog of falsification” and that is it in a pea souper.Independent Australia.
    Thanks Matthew also for this article. It highlights the work that is needed to LIGHT THE WAY through the fog so that the REAL facts are printed and spoken and the real viewpoints of BOTH sides of politics are heard with CLARITY and without interruption, fragmentation, poor transmission, trivialisation, rude interjection, story cuts and cut outs mid sentence, marginalisation and trivialisation to downright rudeness in response to outright laughter.
    Until these things happen and the so-called “investigative journalists” start writing stories which are not complete or partial falsification then the FOG will REMAIN and our only HOPE will be in INDEPENDENT media with articles such as this.
    Another beacon to light the way through the fog,
    Democracy depends on knowledge of the facts and detail from all sides of politics.
    Corrupt and partisan media are STEALING our DEMOCRATIC rights to be informed and to form our own views based on the facts.

  15. olddavey

    The look on Credlin’s face in that clip with the Professor says it all.

  16. Mac Hoban, KetteringTas

    When Murdoch sees that the conservatives are going to lose government he backs the progressives. Why wouldn’t he? It doesn’t affect the electoral outcome and it gives him tremendous leverage over the incoming government. Marvellous how many people are sucked into believing he actually has an open mind about politics. Similarly, Phillip Adams seems to have swallowed whole the idea that because Rupert allows him to occupy a small corner of the Murdoch Press that this indicates some sort of balance!

  17. Lawriejay

    I also thought that Billy McMahon was our worst Prime Minister, however, Anthony John has changed my perceptions in this regard, little billy is now looking more like Abraham Lincoln when being compared to Abbott,


  18. Salstarat

    Another great article, Matthew … all I can say is THANK GOD FOR THE AIM NETWORK! Where would Australia be without you? You and other organisations such as Crikey and Get Up are like voices in the wilderness. We are absolutely surrounded by the worst, most morally bankrupt Murdoch minions whose skewed view of the world is becoming the ONLY news so many people get. The only source of fabricated news the seriously dumbed down minions to Abbott attain is from the garbage wrap rags such as The Daily Smellograph or The un-Australian … none of Murdoch’s discredited papers are good enough to wrap up dog shit. It is almost impossible not to be very, VERY cynical about the loathsome Murdoch press and his Z-rated hacks, Dennis Shanahan, Miranda Devine and the woeful racist lame duck, Andrew Bolt! Murdoch cares NOTHING about Australia or Australians. It was Murdoch who tossed his Australian citizenship in the garbage all those years ago when he realised he wanted to spread his tentacles throughout the USA and could not do so with dual citizenship! All Murdoch cares about is himself and the fascist, neoliberal agenda of his IPA!

    It was the MURDOCH press that annihilated Julia Gillard in an avalanche of vindictive, misogynistic attacks and false character assassinations that continue today; it was the MURDOCH press that propped up the vicious, serial LIAR, Abbott, on a pedestal and pulled him across the electoral line on a fraudulent platform of incessant lies and broken promises; it was the MURDOCH press whose malignant malicious propaganda and distortions of the truth ensured the horrific manipulation of its dumbed down readers. It was MURDOCH who got Abbott into power and now this megalomaniacal monster thinks the Australian public are going to forget and forgive that diabolical intrusion into our political affairs? Not likely!

    I absolutely REFUSE to purchase or read ANYTHING that is pushed out by the worst, most discredited criminal predator the world has ever seen. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is beneath Murdoch … even criminal behaviour. He will swim through any sewer, bug people’s phones, DESTROY lives, spy, lie …. crawl through any gutter to get what he wants! I refuse to buy Murdoch papers, Murdoch magazines and will NEVER connect with Foxtel! I used to work for the loathsome News Limited and saw, first hand, the sub-standard trash and vile control that Murdoch holds over everything that is published … he ensures that it will be HIS views, HIS opinions. This is WHY it is Murdoch who is behind Abbott’s push to destroy the ABC and SBS (through lack of funding). Once these public owned, unbiased stations are gone, the current government (under Murdoch’s control) will voice NOTHING but Murdoch’s opinions and Murdoch’s agenda. The ABC and SBS are the stations that Australian taxpayers own – it is these stations that are the ONLY form of media that will ask the hard questions, challenge the government (no matter WHO is in power) and provide an ALTERNATE view. Once they are de-funded and muzzled, they are gone forever. NOW, we have Murdoch moving in on Channel 10 … his control of every media outlet in Australia is commencing and Abbott will allow it to happen because the unholy Murdoch/Abbott alliance is mutually beneficial to them .. but will be absolutely catastrophic to our democracy!

    Murdoch employs untalented Z-rated hacks who have willingly sold their souls and credibility to Murdoch to safeguard their pathetic jobs. They spew out biased lies like verbal diarrhoea and the appalling xenophobic racist, Andrew Bolt and hysterical Miranda Devine, are nothing more than vacuous mouthpieces for Murdoch’s own Machiavellian narcissism. Murdoch plays politicians like pawns on a chess board and at 83 years of age, the ONLY thing that motivates this truly evil, demonic mongrel, is hollow power for power’s sake. It is a SPORT to him! Some people have notice that, just recently, some of the Murdoch papers have been a bit critical of Abbott … however, I wouldn’t hold much credence to these reports … Murdoch is just currying favour with the rising tsunami of anti-Abbott feeling out there. However, once the tide changes and it is election time, you will soon see Murdoch revert back to his conservative line because it is the Troglodyte, Abbott, who is in his pocket. Murdoch OWNS Abbott and Abbott is going to aid and abet the horrific agenda of Murdoch’s IPA.

    Never forget that Murdoch tried to corrupt Whitlam all those years ago and when Whitlam refused (because Whitlam was one of the most honourable and honest politicians in our history), Murdoch swaggered into News Limited with the instructions: “Kill Whitlam!” … and that’s exactly what the fascist Murdoch papers did! Murdoch was the one who helped bring down the democratically elected Whitlam government and the manipulated, gormless idiots out there in the Australian public hung on to every word, believed his lies and followed his agenda. Murdoch did it ALL again with Gillard and Rudd and, trust me, he will do it again at the next election!

    You can never, ever underestimate the demonic, malignancy of Murdoch and you can never underestimate the number of manipulated fools out there who will, once again, play into his hands.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Thank you, Salstarat. We appreciate that.

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