So Daniel O’Connor isn’t Tony Abbott’s son. Big deal. We’re sorry for Daniel, we’re sorry for Kathy and – given that it’s preyed on his mind for 27 years – we’re sorry for Tony too. But it doesn’t make an iota of difference to all the comments that have been made about Abbott’s motivation. Indeed, Abbott may well have just replaced one load on his mind with another.

The question now has to be asked: was the media too keen to act – or was Abbott too keen to feed their hunger over the issue of “his” son? Abbott looks like the guilty party.

Did Abbott act the way he did because of the politics? Don’t cut the bloke much slack here. Remember the way the story became public. Remember how Tony Abbott, former journalist, and Tony Abbott, former press secretary, acted? He gave the yarn to his old employers at The Bulletin as an exclusive, then did his own spoiler and poured his little heart out to Piers Akerman at TheTelegraph.

Did Abbott act the way he did because it suited his agenda? Did he do what journalists often do – decide not to let the facts get in the way of the story? Did he go ahead with a great yarn because it suited his purposes, regardless of its impact on the man he thought was his son, his mother, his adoptive parents, their wider families – and Daniel’s real father?

If he did, he’s got enough to weigh on his conscience for another quarter of a century. Or longer. After all, Abbott is the person who combined the personal with the political. It must lead to still more questioning about his suitability for the top job.

PS: Here’s an update on the famous Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First” routine:

COSTELLO: “Tony, are you on first?”

ABBOTT: “No, it now appears I was on second.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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