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Turnbull v Abbott: PM in an age of terror

Image from the abc.net.au

Image from the abc.net.au

Insofar as personality is a signifier of leadership ability (and like it or not, it is probably the most important characteristic as far as the voting public is concerned) Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was visited by the good fairy in his cradle while ex PM Tony Abbott was imbued with a Dickensian gloom by the bad one, who apparently took a set against him and threw in more than a dash of dark pugility as well.

Turnbull is a happy man who will likely smother us into an uneasy, baffled silence with his unrelenting affability and charm. Abbott is one of the more miserable public figures I can recall, who seems to feel it’s his duty to hector, lecture and create division amongst us, till we are choked by a miasma of exhausted despair.

However, Turnbull’s intelligence, good nature and charm works well for him internationally: sophisticated, urbane, accomplished, personable and wealthy, people take to him (if they don’t have to put up with him all the time, as do we) and likely open to him in ways it is impossible to open to Abbott, who never quite seems to get past the influences of the seminary, and his belief that he’s been chosen to bring us Truth.

If there is one thing we don’t need as we gird ourselves to deal with terrorist attacks at home and abroad, it’s a leader who believes he is the bearer of existential truths, and who sees the world in black and white with no inclination at all to investigate the grey zone.

Abbott has all the characteristics of the religious zealot, and since the Paris attacks has found various platforms from which to peddle his hatred of other religious zealots because their zealotry threatens his. This will get us nowhere, or rather, it will see us in a whole lot of serious domestic turmoil as tribe turns against tribe, ignorant prejudices fuelled by Abbott and his nemesis Pauline Hanson, whom he landed in jail because she threatened his claim to the title of Australia’s Leading Incitor of Fear.

Turnbull, on the other hand, will appear as a voice of reason, though he lost it somewhat when he first heard about the Paris attacks, stating that though the killers claimed to have acted in the name of God, they were actually perpetrating the work of the devil. Such rhetoric is entirely unnecessary. There’s nothing in the least supernatural about terrorism: it’s perpetrated by humans upon humans. The ability to terrorise is one of our more undesirable characteristics.

The PM’s relentless charm and good will is likely just what we need at this time to keep us steady: he is unlikely to threaten anyone with a damn good shirt fronting, and while he’ll be criticised mercilessly as a pussy by those who would see us engage in world war three, at least he won’t be whipping up ill will and fear. For this relief, much thanks.

I am of the opinion that it is the intention of Daesh to turn us against one another, and have those of us they don’t slaughter permanently weakened by fear, mistrust and hatred. Abbott’s trajectory, and that of those who support him, will lead us to precisely the same place: severely weakened by fear, mistrust and hatred, bitterly divided against one another. Daesh could not find more suitable allies than Abbott, Hanson, the usual shock jocks, religious fundamentalists and those who in some way, material and egotistical, profit from war.

Turnbull’s biggest challenge will be to control those within his own party who thrive on fear and repression. They are supported by many media voices, and their platforms are assured.

There is little that can be done to control Daesh at the moment. The only certainty is that for communities to turn against one another will be to give Daesh what they desire. I am not in the least enamoured of Turnbull or his style, but I can’t help thinking he is a marginally better leader in these times, in terms of the terrorist threat, than his ousted predecessor.

As far as domestic issues are concerned, the image below says everything. Polish it up all you want, it’s still what it is.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

abbott-v-turnbull

 

 

 

 

 

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9 comments

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  1. townsvilleblog

    There has been precious little policy change from Abbott to Turnbull low to middle income earning families are still being screwed stupid with the only thing on the horizon an increase in both items and percentage charged in GST which affects the lowest income families the worst, the ultimate tory tax.

  2. Wayne Turner

    The bright side of Abbott no longer being misleader,is how he would be carrying on NOW. “Death cult” this “death cult” that,and many people would listen to him.Now he’s reported as the bitter ex,thankfully.

    “Insofar as personality is a signifier of leadership ability (and like it or not, it is probably the most important characteristic as far as the voting public is concerned)”. – This and the free ride by the Libs MSM will be the main reasons these Libs will win the next federal election.

    Of course on policies,they are still mainly the same crap as under Abbott (Dumping knights, and dames aside.),and Labor should really win based on policies ie: NOT total puppets for the big end of town (A shame about their lack of GUTS.),and certainly NOT attacking the less well off like the Libs do.

    Sadly,because most of the public are too ignorant to understand policies properly.Most go by the “style over substance” personality of the leader.In this shallowness Turnbull and the Libs win easily. Cause Shorten is boring as watching paint dry,actually forget that,paint is more exciting then boring Bill. But,I certainly prefer “substance of policies over empty style”,and would take the Labor party over these Libs any day.

  3. Florence nee Fedup

    Turnbull has a lucky break with the events in Paris. That has distracted attention from what he would have been facing at G20, today and the upcoming CC in Paris.

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Wayne, he is carrying on, loudly from the sidelines, Is making a speech today, to some Liberal do.

  5. kerri

    I agree Turnbull is more relaxed and diplomatic with terrorism issues. His take on the economy however??
    But yes if Abbott still had a voice beyond the shock jocks the MSM would be feverishly reporting on “we are next” and “death cult in Oz” and other trashy tabloid confections. You can guarantee that abbott would, by now, have racked up the threat level to “sometime in the next day or two or at least until you vote for me again!”

  6. Terry2

    Abbott would have made this a ten flag occasion to summon up fear and loathing of the death-cult coming to get us. In the event, he was only able to get time on Bolt and the Jones show, rather sad really – I wonder if he pays for exposure on these commercial outlets.

    Whilst I’m no supporter of the Liberal party I welcome the change in tenor that Turnbull has brought to Australia’s national and international dialogue.

    As Obama and others at the G20 try to bring Russia inside the tent I imagine they are thankful that they haven’t got Abbott there, shirtfronting world leaders.

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    Good news, James Ashby parents home has been raided by federal police. he is shocked.

  8. guest

    “There is little that can be done to control Daesh at the moment.”

    The opportunity to be more easily successful in that task has passed. The failure of interference in foreign politics has made governments such as the western powers and the UN reluctant to rush in to more war and attempts to pick winners and losers. Even Abbott could not pick the good “baddies” from the bad “baddies”, but he was very keen to be involved even though he was late on the scene.

    The West has had to change its strategy and is talking more about the need for diplomacy, which is an advance on the old blood and blunder approach applied in the past. And there have been admissions that past strategies might not be have been the best approaches, whatever the intentions. Remember how we tried to bomb Iraq into democracy which would spread across the Middle East. Even then, there was the smell of oil. Our digging into tar sands and piping oil across North America, or drilling deep into the earth kliometres out to sea, demonstrate that our search for maintaining fossil fuels as sources of energy is getting rather desperate. We are being fooled by cheap prices at present at the bowser.

    So now we look to diplomacy. But the feeling is that the West wants to maintain its dominance against the threats of militant Islam, Russia and the Chinese. We will have a little chat with Assad for a while, and hold hands with the Saudis and the Iranians, so other side issues remain in the background, lost in the static in other parts of the world. So our attention remains focused on a smallish group of IS followers in an area about the size of Victoria. It all sounds rather familiar, dating back to about 1918 and the Balfour Declaration.

  9. Wally

    Tony cannot keep his word or control his need to feel wanted/needed. I thought we were rid of him will he ever stop?

    “There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping”.

    That’s the pledge Tony Abbott made the day after he lost the prime ministership.

    And now, Liberal MPs are starting to ask if the former prime minister is on the verge of breaking that promise.

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/why-is-tony-abbott-making-so-many-media-appearances-while-malcolm-turnbull-is-away-20151117-gl0wo4.html

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