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Tony Abbott and the dead hand of BREXIT

Make no mistake. The apparent diplomatic debacle of the Franco/Australian submarine deal, did not erupt out of the deep oceanic blue.

Look a little a closer and it is obvious this tectonic rupture in international trade is BREXIT writ large. And it bears the fingerprints of London-born former Australian prime minister Anthony John (Tony) Abbott, an unpaid adviser to Britain’s Board of Trade.

In this role, Abbott is tasked with “promoting the UK’s trade interests across the globe.” When this disgraceful appointment was announced, Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen said it was, “pretty extraordinary” for a former Australian Prime Minister to be promoting the trade agenda of another country. “It’s up to the Government to explain whether Tony Abbott, for example, is regarded as an agent of foreign influence under their rules,” Bowen said. Given the Morrison Government’s obsession with secrecy, we will never know if Abbott supplied ultra-sensitive information about the submarine agreement to Boris Johnson’s BREXT-loving Tories.

Given the Morrison Government’s obsession with secrecy, we will never know if Abbott supplied ultra-sensitive information about the submarine agreement to Boris Johnson’s BREXT-loving Tories.

It is unsurprising that at the time of the appointment in September 2020, Abbott won the approval of the now disgraced former Attorney General Christian Porter.

Porter congratulated Abbott, saying he wished him “every success” in securing a trade deal between the UK and Australia.

With breathtaking understatement Porter also said, “Mr Abbott will no doubt be aware of the routine requirements for former cabinet ministers under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme.”

In his chequered career Abbott managed to spend a bob each way on BREXIT. In October 2016 the SMH reporter Michael Koziol penned an item about ($) Abbott’s backflip in support of Britain’s rupture with Europe. A few years later in August 2020, Malcolm Farr wrote a withering portrait of Abbott for The Guardian. Farr, an astute political journalist, said among other things, that Abbott’s new position as a British Trade Envoy “is not quite treason, but certainly a further sign he has London written on his heart.”

At the same time Abbott joined the Board of Trade, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson elevated BREXIT stalwart and ultra-conservative, Daniel Hannan, as a key adviser to the Board.

For his exemplary work for the conservative cause, especially BREXIT, Hannan became Baron Hannan of Kingsclere in the County of Hampshire on Monday January 25, 2021
I would not be at all surprised if Tony Abbott is similarly rewarded after Scott Morrison, Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, put ink to the deal to build nuclear powered submarines.

I am no expert on submarine construction, but it is safe to surmise, French jobs associated with the contract between Australia and Naval Group, which is majority owned by the French government, will go to British workers.

After all, jobs are the ultimate aim of any Board of Trade, and in this instance Hannan, an Ulster Catholic, will no doubt offer fellow Catholic Tony Abbott, a firm, manly handshake for pinching jobs off those toffy frogs.

I might be wrong, but Australia can forget any trade deal with the European Union for the foreseeable future. And Aussies can also forget a warm welcome for ANZAC memorials in the French towns of Fromelles and Pozières.

I daresay once borders open in the post COVID-19 world, Australian tourists will be given short shrift by French immigration officials, especially in the Pacific.

On a strictly political note, if Australia does change the government, and if the ALP manages to establish a Federal ICAC, I sincerely hope it investigates the role of Tony Abbott, and the entire Liberal Party clique, ensconced in Australia House London, over the biggest foreign affairs calamity of the 21st Century.

Henry Johnston is an author based in the Blue Mountains. His latest book, The Last Voyage of Aratus is on sale here.

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  1. George Theodoridis

    Thank you Henry Johnson. It is certainly valid to surmise all you have stated above. These are the worst of the worst, the thieves and mongrels that ruin whole worlds for nothing more than the bloating of their own suppositories -and their wallets.
    This is the world’s filth!
    The rest of the universe can go to buggery!

  2. Kathryn

    My God, does anyone else find the asthmatic-looking cheesy grin on the smirking face of Abbott thoroughly fake and irritating? This is old news but not surprising considering that the pompous British-born Abbott is nothing more than an obsequious sycophantic lapdog to British Imperialism and elitism and is about as UN-Australian as one can find! Abbott is a chest-thumping, malignant little autocrat who’s first, second and last loyalties have always been – and will always be – to a nation that has nothing but condescending contempt for Australia, a country that was once led by a cigar-chomping two-bob-snob, Churchill, who was quite happy to hand over half of Australia to the Japanese as the Japanese marched down the Malay peninsular during WW2!! If the unmade bed and pompous Tory, Boris Johnson, wants to be ill-served, internationally embarrassed and conned by this insignificant, totally incompetent, misogynistic little sociopath – who proffers nothing but a thoroughly depraved and arrogant delusion of grandeur – then Britain can have him, gift-wrapped and with our best wishes (and sympathies).

  3. Regional Elder

    You express my thoughts on Abbott so well.

    And a timely and incisive article Henry.
    Tony Abbott is no doubt happy to be back in his home country, and let us hope that is where he stays.
    He and Boris deserve each other, though in combination they are likely to develop new forms of old imperialist mischief against the interests of Australia. …… utterly consistent with what Abbott did in his a few days short of two years as PM., and in his destructive years as Opposition Leader.

    One of the biggest delusion of Abbott was that he thought he could tack ‘ Minister for Women ‘ onto his Prime Ministerial role, and similarly with his ‘Minister for Indigenous Affairs’

    Just had no idea. Abbott is a man who would have been more suited to living in the 19th century …… and Australians elected him to be Prime Minister. !!!

    Says a lot about us as a nation …… sadly.

  4. Roswell

    You could be onto something here, Henry. 👍

  5. GL

    I still think he wants to get a lordship because being sir(tifiable) Mad Monk isn’t good enough for him.

  6. George Theodoridis

    GL: SIr Certifiable Abbott!
    It does have a suppositorial ring to it!

  7. Andrew J. Smith

    Good article and one can also highlight some other coincidental relationships, that Abbott and others have, especially in the UK Tories; ‘wheels within wheels’.

    Post Brexit analysis has highlighted many of the US Koch linked (radical right) libertarian think tanks that were active in the background e.g. the UK equivalents of the IPA, i.e. IEA Institute of Economic Affairs, Taxpayers’ Alliance etc.

    Further, this ‘Atlas Network’ also includes Heritage Foundation at which Abbott has presented and was founded by the now deceased Paul Weyrich.

    Weyrich described his role as ‘littering the world with right wing think tanks’ (and grifters?), co-opting Jerry Falwell senior to bring Evangelicals on board the GOP train and make abortion an issue (which it had not been) to attract Catholics for a conservative coalition of voters. Meanwhile masking the deep seated radical right libertarian ideology inspired by James Buchanan’s ‘public choice theory’ promoted by Koch think tanks (he was deemed like white nationalist and founding member of ZPG John Tanton as one of ‘the most influential unknown men in America).

    It’s not just Abbott but a veritable army of Angosphere political grifters, influencers and opinion makers providing media content for their new world Anglosphere order, who locally are given red carpet treatment by NewsCorp, ABC e.g. climate science deniers or confusers.

  8. Fred

    The big loser in all of this is Australia. SloMo and slimy crew have trashed our reputation so comprehensively that nobody will ever trust an Australian again, given the entire world knows we sent Naval a letter saying everything was going swimmingly the same day the announcement was made that it was all over.

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