From bad to worse to downright disastrous — that’s the only way to describe Tony Abbott’s day yesterday. And if he thought it would all blow over by today, there’s footage of his encounter with Nicola Roxon, which catches his swearing, all over the TV news.

We asked the Crikey Cabbie Panel: Is there a place in politics for a person as rude as Tony Abbott?

David Bradley, Sydney. I would think politics is the natural environment for a person like Tony Abbott. The only other point I can make is that every time he tried to apologise in interviews later in the day, there was always a smirk as if he knew his rudeness really showed he was in the right occupation.

Con Vokalos, Adelaide. No, I don’t think people like that should be in power. People like Abbott are nothing more than a liability while they’re in power. Those sort of people are good in the backrooms, not on front benches. Yet somebody always makes time for people like Abbot. I mean, we had Wilson Tuckey before him. I’d have to say Abbott’s timing wasn’t too flash. He was a sucker to do it with cameras right there. My clients have been saying just when Howard was clawing back some of momentum the last thing he needed was a Minister being so rude. For this whole campaign, it’s been like a see-saw. Whoever has been negative has suffered, and whoever talks positively about the future goes forward. I’ve got no doubt people are seeing this as a negative.

Bruce Tootell, Melbourne. Lateness is poor but her behaviour was poor too. She’s acting like a bully. Abbott’s rudeness rated about 1 out of 10. Remember Wilson Tuckey and Mark Latham? They would have left that for dead. I thought that she was a bit thuggish. What about if his wife was just diagnosed with leukemia and he just found out? There might have been a very good reason. I don’t like lateness. I’ve got German in me. I’m an on-time person. Having said that, I thought his rudeness was amazingly restrained. I would have said far more than that. He’s gone from the guilty party for being late to being right because he’s been bounced. She’s lost a bit of her innocence in this. If Tony Abbott is going to hold a high position of high office he must be on time. Likewise if Roxon wants to be a minister she needs to learn how to speak to people. But to answer your question, I don’t think there’s a place in politics for any rude person, full stop.

Ross Nelson, Sydney. Yes I think there is, but not at a ministerial level. If he hasn’t got control over his own personal traits he doesn’t deserve such a high position. I think it is a bit of a crime, especially when the cameras are rolling. A minister of the Crown gets a more than reasonable salary and you expect a degree of professionalism. If someone in a commercial situation, a manager of a bank, used that language in a public setting, their job may well be on the line. Howard had to back him but I’m sure behind closed doors, the conversation about it would have been more strongly worded than anything Abbott said to Roxon. No more invitations for dinner at Kirribilli for Mr and Mrs Abbott, I fear.