Arise Sir Tony!


At the risk of beating the same old drum, this current Government seems to be heading steadily down the ethical and moral drain, ever since the unexpected election win. So much of the country’s malaise, however, can be traced back to the ascension of one Tony Abbott, firstly as Opposition Leader, and then, unbelievably, as Prime Minister.

As Opposition Leader

He was a surprise, because no-one believed he would ever be elected to lead anything. He was almost universally derided for his open and unashamedly pugnacious Catholicism, and his awkwardness with language, and his seeming inability to move into the 21st century. He was the polar opposite of progressive, and seen as something of a likeable dinosaur.

He had an unexpected skill, however. This special skill lay in his ability to focus on a single, simplistic theme, and then to carry the fight on, daily, against both his own moderate fellow-Liberals, but also against Julia Gillard, until the death. This ‘theme’ was the carbon price, still the best and only successful mechanism so far tried in Australia, to combat climate change. So it became his mania, and we still suffer from his short-term-ism, his willingness to throw Australia under a bus, in pursuit of his own political advancement.

He came to embody opposition; he lived the dictum of the (British) Whig Mr Tierney, “the duty of an Opposition was very simple—it was to oppose everything and propose nothing.”

He was in the right place at the right time – Kevin Rudd and Abbott, between them, destroyed Gillard’s Government, and allowed the election of Abbott, as Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister

Tony Abbott set about dismantling Australia’s pact with its citizens, from day 1. Perhaps his most unpopular act was to break an election promise NOT to cut the funding to the ABC. Of course he did, because he had warned us, back in his Opposition Leader days, that he was somewhat flexible with the truth.

Now if there is one thing Australians hold dear – it is the ABC. If you want a simple test as to whether someone despises the people of Australia, see who wants to dismantle, or hobble, or sell, or just remove funding from, the ABC. Read more about their really reprehensible moral vacuity here https://askbucko.com/2020/04/29/the-abc-is-the-latest-target/

The reason is that we all value information, and we expect it to be delivered without bias, and we don’t want Rupert Murdoch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch or Kerry Stokes to have had a say in what form, or how, it is delivered.

It is profoundly undemocratic to stifle the voice of the public broadcaster, and cutting its funding is just another way to bell the cat, to keep us all in ignorance. And it removes oversight; it allows the political class to escape scrutiny. Which in this country these days can mean all sorts of chicanery.

The list of assassins is long, and it includes people like Eric Abetz, Cory Bernardi, Simon Birmingham, Matt Canavan, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Mitch Fifield, Bridget McKenzie, James Patterson and Anne Ruston, to name a few.

Oddly, the names are eerily similar to the list of middle aged people, who are very angry with Greta Thunberg, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg because she dares to have an opinion, and because she is a leader. And she is 17 years old.

Many of these ‘young fogies’ believe that schools are for learning only, and not about thinking. They also disapprove of same-sex marriage. One can only wonder at the double standards shown by the Nationals on the list, because they know full well how much regional Australians value their ABC.

As a backbencher

Of course we all rued the days of Abbott, and we were all desperate to escape him; we were all hugely relieved when someone apparently adult took over. But he never could, really. Abbott held Turnbull as a virtual prisoner, and he led his posse of wreckers on a kamikaze mission to destroy Turnbull, all the while trying to dismantle the renewable energy industry, and to hamstring Australia’s efforts to deal with climate change.

This was not necessarily because he did not believe, (although it is still impossible to know where he stands on the issue), but purely for reasons of personal vindication, and simple revenge. So much for service to the community.

His successor fought the good fight, for as long as he could, but a combination of his own political ineptitude, and his opponents’ bloody-mindedness, finally did him in. It appeared to be a coup, by Abbott’s supporters, at the expense of the Australian people. How depressing to discover that we had a choice between the devil, and the deep blue sea: Peter Dutton, or Scott Morrison.

Abbott had the gall to then state that he was finally satisfied, because Turnbull was no longer PM. He behaved as if removing Turnbull was a noteworthy achievement. Remember that Abbott had promised, “There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping.”

If there is an individual who bears responsibility for Australia’s recent ‘fall from grace’, it is Abbott. He is shameless, a self-confessed liar and a man who seems to have jumped on the gravy train early, and who continues to ride it. He lacks the personal insight to reflect on his legacy, which is threadbare at best. Many struggle to find a single achievement to honour him for.

He was removed from his leadership role, and coincidentally the Prime Ministership in 2015, and then he got the ‘bum’s rush’ from his own electorate in 2018. He did manage to get back onto the public payroll in October 2019, when he was appointed to the council of the Australian War Memorial.

Post politics

In an attempt to retain some sort of relevance he has continued to travel the world, making speeches to anyone who will listen. Recently he has excelled, giving support to reactionary and oafish world leaders, including Boris Johnson and Viktor Orbán of Hungary, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/13/tony-abbott-doubles-down-on-praise-for-hungarys-far-right-pm-viktor-orban.

He also believes that the world is in the grip of a climate cult https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/australia-wildfires-bushfires-latest-tony-abbott-climate-change-scott-morrison-a9268801.html.

He has stated that he remains ready to serve. Today Tony Abbott was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. Some may remember the public outrage when he awarded a knighthood to Prince Philip on Australia Day in 2015. What irony that he is awarded a gong, on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, five years later. Could it be a ‘quid pro quo’?

This article has been updated to include changes, including the awarding of the AC to Tony Abbott in the Queens Birthday 2020 Honours List

Unknown Man Takes Over The Country


Scott Morrison was originally elevated to the Prime Ministership by pretending not to be a candidate, and then by swooping in on the prize when it came down to a choice between himself, and a man almost universally loathed by the electorate. Voters were actually relieved that it was won by ‘Anyone But Dutton’ Morrison. He came through as the Steven Bradbury of the Liberal Party.

The man he ‘released’ from politics, Malcolm Turnbull, was a walking, talking ‘stuffed shirt’. He was liked, and even admired, but the more we got to know him, the more we understood that politics was a ‘vanity project’ for him; one always felt that he was pleased that he had achieved one of his life’s goals, but that it was not quite up to what he had expected. He had not listened when he was told that if one lies down with dogs, one is prone to get up with fleas.

Scott Morrison will always be remembered for that awkward moment, when he put his arm around Turnbull, and responded to a question about his own ambitions for the top job – “This is my leader and I’m ambitious for him!” As we all know, Morrison replaced Turnbull two days later. That blokey image of affectionate support can now never be excised from our collective memories.

Morrison, having achieved his own Holy Grail, then spent eight months showing us why he was particularly unsuitable for the role, with a series of gaffes, misjudgements and ‘daggy dad’ routines. These included his blundering into the foreign affairs area, with no consultation and less judgement, when he announced the decision to move our Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This alienated most of the Muslim world, seemingly to send a message of ‘support’ to Donald Trump.

The Government continued on its merry way, with Morrison attempting to run his own version of “outside the beltway”, where he, the ultimate insider, a former public servant and Liberal Party State President, tried to convince us that his interests were with ordinary citizens, rather than with Canberra and its internal workings.

During this time some of his political appointments were almost beyond belief. His Environment Minister, Melissa Price, was particularly hapless, once accusing an ex-president of Kiribati of merely being in Australia for the hand-outs. She did, however, manage to sign off on some important approvals before the election, such as the Adani mine.

Now that might sound strange for an Environment Minister, because she was putting all her energy into matters pertaining to mining approvals, when many of us thought she might try to alleviate the extreme concerns for vanishing wildlife, or even their habitat, or casting her eye over the Murray Darling river system, or even the Great Barrier Reef, but no, first things first. Sign off on the mines, then look to the environment. Melissa then did a vanishing act; she was invisible for the entire election period, and she was quietly replaced in the portfolio after the election, although her leader vowed she would be kept on, thanks to her sterling efforts in the portfolio.

Morrison’s Energy Minister needs no introduction. Angus the Shameless doesn’t like renewable energy, apparently because he grew up next door to a wind farm. That can scar a young chap, and no amount of climate science can lessen the pain, and allow him to do his job. Since the election he has been promoted, so that he is now responsible for Energy, and Emissions Reduction. He distinguished himself before the election by actually arguing against his own Government’s electric car policy. You can see how well suited he is to the expanded role. I do not know if he sleeps with a lump of coal beneath his pillow, but I would not be surprised.

One can only wonder what sort of thinking goes into making some of these appointments. Is it that he is sending placatory messages that if he appoints duds they won’t achieve any changes for the better, so nothing to worry about. I think that keeping the likes of Dutto and Craig Kelly quiet is the main game, but is he achieving that?

Tony Abbott was never held hostage by his extreme right rump, because he was their spiritual leader, and he was capable of out-stupiding them. Poor Mr Turnbull was terrorised by them for his entire term, and he will be remembered forever, as our first hostage-in-chief. Mr Morrison is a man who has seemingly no political goals, except to be in the big chair. So it is difficult to know where he stands. He looks and sounds like one of them, and he talks about ‘the Canberra bubble’ a lot, so maybe he really wants to govern for those ‘quiet Australians’. I just don’t know how we got to this position.

The Government since the 2019 election seems to be obsessed with very little, except for national security, pesky journalists reporting things, paedophiles in boats on the high seas, and the right of Christians to be Christians. Now I was unaware that they were under threat, but then again this is the ‘ship of fools’, who went along with the vote that it was all right to be white, so perhaps being Christian is under threat.

It is difficult to choose the next ‘nation-building’ issue that the Coalition can sink their teeth into. Perhaps they should consider sending school children to detention, if they attend climate change action marches. Perhaps they could take a long hard look at toilet blocks in schools, because some of them are using non-binary gender signs on their doors. This could lead to a national emergency, and needs attention.

Otherwise, business as usual. Poor fellow, my country!