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Nov 29, 2007

The Monk’s not mad

Tony Abbott might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is a decent bloke, writes Christian Kerr.

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A tip of the hat to Tony Jones. This is how he closed his interview with Tony Abbott on Lateline last night:

Tony Abbott, we thank you once again. A hard day at the office. I’ve got to say, you always come in on hard days – some of the hardest days – to talk about it. That is one thing to be admired about you and we thank you very much for coming in once again.

It’s a well deserved acknowledgement. Tony Abbott might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is a decent bloke. The Manly Daily and the Telegraph have both done beat-up yarns on Abbott’s election night drink with former Manly councillor and solicitor Ian MacDonald, his one time campaign manager, who spent three years in jail on fraud-related charges.

Christian values are mocked by Crikey cosmopolitans, and yet forgiveness is still a virtue. MacDonald’s done his time. Abbott showed loyalty and a courage rare in politicians drinking with him.

Abbott’s comments on a future leadership bid have also been beaten up. He has not threatened a challenge. Instead, he has registered an interest should the position become available, in much the same way Peter Reith did when he said he had a baton in his knapsack – maybe when public transport enthusiast Malcolm Turnbull falls under a bus. Or off the platform at Bondi Junction.

Tony Abbott went into politics to make a difference. One person’s evangelist can be another’s mad monk. Abbott can be clumsy, but he’s not dumb. He won’t undermine the leader – and he’ll have more time to work on his people skills in opposition.

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