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With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.

Making judgement calls is the essential job of every leader. With good judgment, little else matters. Without it, nothing else matters.

I have written a great deal about Abbott’s policies over the years. Today’s offering is more about the judgement of the man who once described himself as the love child of John Howard and Bronwyn Bishop, one of whom invaded a country and accused asylum seekers of throwing their children overboard on flawed intelligence, and the other who has admitted she showed “poor judgement” in her habitual use of extravagant entitlements.

In 1979 Tony Abbott wrote an article for the Sydney University student paper Honi Soit in which he described members of Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) political party as “South African terrorists”.

Anti-Apartheid activity was alive and well in Australia at this time with the racially exclusive Springboks banned from playing in Australia between 1974 and the end of Apartheid in 1994. Abbott, however, accepted a rugby scholarship to tour South Africa in what former Federal Labor Minister Barry Cohen described as a “universally acknowledged… promotional tour of Apartheid”.

By December 2013, on the death of Mandela, Abbott had changed his tune.

“The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader. He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid.”

During his university days, Abbott was also quick to condemn feminism and to dictate to women about their reproductive health.

“At university the need to defend Catholicism in a hostile environment had led me to an extremely naturalistic defence of traditional beliefs and disciplines. Abortion was wrong, because it violated instinctive respect for life; contraception, because it was usually part of a “me now” mentality.”

Tony’s beliefs did not stop him from having unprotected premarital sex, just from taking responsibility for the consequences. When his girlfriend became pregnant, Tony chose to dump her rather than jeopardise his Rhodes scholarship.

Tony was a great admirer of Bob Santamaria who he described in 1998 as “a philosophical star by which you could always steer” and “the greatest living Australian”.

Santamaria was vigorously opposed to birth control and abortion and decried what he described as contemporary sexual decadence. He wanted to turn us into a nation of farmers and cottage industries, with women permanently barefoot and pregnant. He was convinced that Australia was under threat from Communism, warning people that communists in Australia were buying up arsenals and guns in preparation for the revolution, and likening the Vietnam War to a crusade.

Tony also views George Pell as one of his mentors describing him as “a fine man … Cardinal Pell is one of the greatest churchmen that Australia has seen”.

Pell has been complicit in the cover-up of child sexual abuse for decades, actively assisting pedophile priests in avoiding prosecution. Pell told a World Youth Conference that “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people”.

Like his spiritual advisor, Tony Abbott also assisted a pedophile priest to avoid punishment by writing him a reference.

In April 2013, Abbott expressed his admiration for Rupert Murdoch, the man whose media empire illegally hacks phones and bribes officials as standard practice. Murdoch has said power is his aphrodisiac and he revels in manipulation of public perception and his role in bringing down governments.

Abbott described Murdoch as Australia’s most influential businessman going on to say “Along with Sir John Monash, the Commander of the First AIF which saved Paris and helped to win the First World War, and Lord Florey a one-time provost of my old Oxford College, the co-inventor of penicillin that literally saved millions of lives, Rupert Murdoch is probably the Australian who has most shaped the world through the 45 million newspapers that News Corp sells each week and the one billion subscribers to News-linked programming”.

In April 2012, Abbott attacked unionists who he said were trying to blacken Kathy Jackson’s name, describing her as as ”heroic” for her whistleblowing – “a brave decent woman”. As we now know, Jackson has stolen over $1.4 million from the union.



Abbott was also responsible for appointing Jackson’s partner Michael Lawler as Vice President of the Fair Work Commission – the body originally responsible for the investigation into the HSU. Peter Wicks has written extensively about Lawler’s involvement – two of his sons were paid by Kathy Jackson even though they didn’t live in Victoria for example.

Lawler has been on paid sick leave for 9 months, collecting over $300,000 during this time. He can only be removed by agreement between both houses of Federal parliament. The Fair Work Commission is powerless to sack Mr Lawler and the Fair Work Act is silent on the issue of his sick leave entitlements.

Jackson and Lawler are also involved in a very suspicious arrangement which has seen them win financial control of the affairs of a retired judge who is suffering from dementia.

In 2013, Tony Abbott gave a ringing endorsement of Liberal Party executive Damien Mantach. “I know Damien Mantach well. He’s a person of integrity. He has my confidence.”

A few days ago it was revealed Mr Mantach, Victorian Liberal Party director, was accused of embezzling $1.5 million. This was after he left as director of the Liberal’s Tasmanian division amid questions about some $48,000 put on a party credit card for private spending.

Tony’s captain’s picks haven’t gone so well.

  • knighting Prince Phillip
  • appointing partisan warrior and serial rorter Bronwyn Bishop to the Speakership
  • choosing Dyson Heydon to oversee a highly political investigation
  • sticking with Peta Credlin regardless of criticism of her by his party

A Forbes magazine article about leaders exercising good judgement made the following observations:

Out-of-control ego badly skews leadership judgment. And good judgment, along with clear vision and consistent communication, is absolutely fundamental to effective leadership.

Judgment begins with humility – recognizing that we don’t know everything.and that we are not bigger than our organizations.

If we put the right people in the right spots, ensure that they have the appropriate resources and training, listen to them and let them do their jobs, the ship will hum. If we don’t, we jeopardize our ship’s overall performance–and, quite possibly, the well-being of our women and men.

Taking a highly active role in filling and supervising the most pivotal roles in our organization, however, does not guarantee we’ll make the right hiring calls every time. That brings us to a third critical aspect of judgment: the willingness to acknowledge personnel mistakes and to rectify them quickly.

Judging someone’s judgement is a judgement call. I’ll let you be the judge.



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  1. Ruth L

    How does the saying go ‘Birds of a feather stick together —-

  2. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Having a Prime Minister with such appallingly bad judgment is destroying Australia.

  3. kerri

    “Tony’s beliefs did not stop him from having unprotected premarital sex, just from taking responsibility for the consequences. When his girlfriend became pregnant, Tony chose to dump her rather than jeopardise his Rhodes scholarship.”

    Hmmmm?? Maybe this explains the haste with which Abbott applied for the scholarship, requiring mummy’s help to sort the citizenship problem of still being a pom and needing to be an Aussie?
    I wonder how much Abbott may have been helped to escape the responsibility of a bastard child by older experienced people who sought to help him leave Australia and the scandal of his promiscuity behind?
    Many have commented there was nothing particularly outstanding about his grades? And we all know,iIt helps to have friends in high places!

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Abbott carried on with his support for apartheid while at Oxford. Supported Thatchers stance. Went further, visited South Africa, continuing the fight.

    Could explain the cold shoulder he appeared to get from world leaders while attending Mandela’s funeral. Maybe I am wrong, maybe they just don’t like Abbott.

    Abbott’s apparent lack of judgement is ongoing, showing no evidence that with time and experience as PM is improving.

    As FM Bishop said over the weekend, it is not a person’s history that counts, it is what they do now. Well, she is right when it comes to Abbott. His judgement is still lousy. Seems unable to learn from experience as most do.

  5. Garth

    @Florence … isn’t that just typical hypocrisy from Bishop the younger (although they all are expert at it). It isn’t a persons history that counts .. ??!! really ?? Then why did they go hell for leather after Julia Gillard regarding accusations going back 20 years. Bishop was at the head of the queue to tell us that what someone has done in the past is defining of the type of person they are now. In fact, if memory serves me correctly, Bishop was made cheer leader of the libs to attack Gillard on these points and she wasn’t subtle about it (in fact she was downright disgusting). How anyone could believe a word these snakes say is beyond me … Australia deserves much better.

  6. JeffJL

    The big one you missed is his ‘Signature Policy’

    You know his Parental Leave policy.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Ah yes….Tony’s judgement on paid parental leave has changed so many times it is a story within itself. Over his dead body, through to a workplace entitlement crucial for participation, productivity and equality…to now when he has decided that anyone who tops up the 18 weeks on minimum wage with a few more weeks from their employer is committing fraud.

  8. kerri

    “As FM Bishop said over the weekend, it is not a person’s history that counts, it is what they do now. ”
    Garth Bishop is saying that to cover her own scrawny patoot!!
    Remember the CSR case wher a young female lawyer questioned why the case of asbestos victims should be advanced “just because they were dying?”

  9. Kaye Lee

    Then there is his judgement on the NBN

    “NBN’s construction costs will blow out past the $41 billion price tag previously forecast for the infrastructure project, the company revealed today.

    NBN today said its budget will likely increase by up to $15 billion, from the planned $41 billion to between $46 billion to $56 billion, likely sitting at around $49 billion.

    The government’s equity cap of $29.5 billion will remain in place, and will run out by June 2017. NBN will undertake debt raising from 2017 from private sector sources to make up the shortfall.”,cost-blowout-to-push-nbn-past-41m-budget.aspx#ixzz3jhEWP0NQ

    How short-sighted

  10. Kaye Lee

    And Tony’s judgement on climate change which was best summarised in Malcolm’s article “Tony Abbott’s climate change policy is bullshit”

    Tony himself has in just four or five months publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and if the amendments were satisfactory passing it, and now the blocking of it.

    Read more:

    There have been sequels – they are still all bullshit

  11. Florence nee Fedup

    Archbishop Robertson highly critical of Pell.

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    Don’t forget that disgraceful debit card that is being extended to all on benefits. Labeling all on benefits except pensions unworthy.

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    I don’t believe Abbott has ever changed his tune in relation to Mandela.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    Hockey’s taxation speech doesn’t seems to have gone down too well/ Maybe the sleepers are awaking.

  15. donwreford

    Always good to hear from your insight on Abbott, your contribution to Abbott’s removal is somewhat significant, my problem is if the opposition gets in have you faith he can become competent as a leader is always vulnerable, I thought if you delayed attacks on Abbott a better prime minister will arise such as a she.

  16. wmmbb

    That is a great quote. I would add, it is necessary to listen to and decide between conflicting views. Specifically, in dealing with an issue such as climate change, it is minimally required to have a thorough secondary school understanding and proficiency with science, if only to ask experts critical questions. It is a tough job being PM, and the parliamentary members of either major party are not doing a good job of critically examining leadership candidates. The underlying structural problem is that the House of Representatives does not accurately reflect the plurality of opinion. In such an environment, as we are witness to, misfits rise and reign with reckless disregard for consequences.

  17. kezz

    Loving your work.
    So many points of fascination. Particularly the Jackson financial control of dementia ex judge.
    Are they the real life house of cards characters!?
    Hope they have a deserved last episode too.

  18. kerri

    Kezz you need to like Wixxyleaks. Peter Wicks facebook page. He has much info on the whole Jackson saga, about which he is writing a book! Check under the Jacksonville page on Wixxy’s webpage.

  19. Wally

    Well written Kaye.

    You really have to worry when you a comment like “Abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people” from anyone in authority. It raises the question of why they have this attitude/belief and the obvious answer is that abortion denies the priests access to more helpless orphans they could molest.

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