Is Tony Abbott too small to be PM of Australia?
Topic: aust govt
We hear shadow AG George Brandis wax lyrical on abc radio about distinctions, arguably without a difference, on why both major parties endorsed Slipper MP in a world of trouble now. Certainly Slipper is hog tied for at least a while by legalistic smart alecs helping Opposition leader Tony Abbott. And the mechanism of choice of the Coalition is revealing of their own character.
Like the worthy Scribe in the Media section of the wicked Limited/News broadsheet, all this recent Slipper imbroglio has got me thinking.
Let me explain. But first note on page 4 of the Murdoch broadsheet today where we see the marginal issue of private sexual matters and petty cab charge misdemeanours.
We submit suing Peter Slipper for sexual harrassment of a 33 year old in a civil suit, in order to unravel a government in a hung parliament is just too small. It is small minded, and legalistic, nonsense with scant regard for the democratic process.
We note in the same press that legally trained Abbott staffer Peta Credlin is negotiating a deal with cross bencher Andrew Wilkie. No doubt Credlin was a chef in the kitchen cooking up this smallness when Abbott was incapable of winning an election fair and square in 2010.
This Peter Slipper affair remind of an episode of the West Wing (Season 2) where Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman must weigh up whether to sue the white supremacists who put a bullet in him. He decides against, according to the script, because the political strategy is “too small”. He doesn’t want gun crime to be defined, to paraphrase, by the 'civil suit equivalent of slipping in the driveway'. Taking government by such a small pretext, in contrast to a national election, is like that. Too small.
Tony Abbott has form on legalistic, albeit financially expensive, games as a weak substitute for good faith motives.
In one of our first forays in this SAM blog some 5 years old now, was a first hand account of bruiser Tony Abbott in action in Sydney University student politics. The story is here:
with postscript here
The common element in the current rumble is the reliance of Abbott on heavy weight legal support. Back then it was to avoid suit for assault in then Glebe local magistrates’ court. Not for our Tony the George Washington declaration 'that it was I who cut down the apple tree', being the honest good faith response. To own up to mistakes.
Abbott similarly is also implicated in tricky legalistic devilry to attack the One Nation virus that was nurtured ironically in his own electorate office. That all ended in the false imprisonment of Pauline Hanson in Qld.
Not for Abbott the full blooded repudiation of racists and white supremacists which again would have been the George Washington option. To take that overt and honest moral political position would have cleaved the red neck rump on the Coalition right.
Bob Brown, retiring Green MP and leader, came close to the essence of good faith last night on Q & A when challenged on his position 30 years ago in the Franklin River campaign for his support for a coal fired power station alternative. BB announced something like ‘it’s in the newspaper, and I was wrong’ with grace and a winning smile, as if to say, yes I am human and fallible. That folks was the George Washington response, for real. No wonder folks love Brown.
We doubt folks love Tony Abbott that way, or ever will. And the reason is that he is too small, and more practically speaking, too small to be a good PM or maybe even PM at all.
Last night we also saw Abbott interviewed by Uhlmann on 7.30. It was a workmanlike but clunky affair, as the cogs turned over slowly and descended into legalistic distinctions over Slipper then and now, ours then now theirs, and a traverse of other broad policy concerns. Abbott looked very much like a man with trainers on, and painfully under done. And we feel this is really his default position. We think the public, business and conservative alike, ought not expect more if he ever gets in the big chair.
We’ve seen this before. The smart arse charm, with a habit for the cheap joke - note the comic insert on Meet The Press on Sunday catching Abbott’s low brow comment about 'spicy workplaces', as if he would know(?). In my experience such personality types have less than meets the eye in the gravitas department when actually in harness. By distinction some other types grow in the job and rise to the occasion. My conclusion is we are witnessing Abbott at his clunky zenith.
Another serious clue to Abbott's nature is his ideological support for the Iraq War despite estimates of 100,000 to 600,000 deaths on the pretext of presence of weapons of mass destruction which didn't exist. Even after the expose' of this mistaken or falsified WMD claim Abbott remains loyal to the project.
In this Abbott is loyal to a fault to the old man, ex PM John Howard. Arguably Abbott having been mentored by Howard is also his cipher. Howard famously wanted the country to be relaxed and comfortable which is ridiculous when faced by global terrorism, ripples from GFC Mark I, expected Mark II, the war in Afghanistan and grim climate change science (as distinct from geologist and oil industry fiction).
Perhaps the churchy people amongst us by definition are small people who embrace the history and grandeur of a world religion to fill up a vacuum in their own persona? They need a bolt on moral substance that others install internally? Whatever the reason, to quote the West Wing opening season, Abbott is not the real deal.
The answer to Uhlmann’s penetrating question “Are you ready to govern?” in truth should have been “No, and I never will be. It‘s not in my DNA.”
Posted by editor
at 12:02 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 April 2012 1:20 PM NZT