Ah, Tony Abbott. No need to recap yesterday’s events. 

However … Having insulted a dying man for the quality of his heart, Abbott apologised half-heartedly, praising him as a “decent bloke”. Through with one incident, he turned his mind to the next, showing up late to his own debate. He threw an apology to the crowd for the tardiness but didn’t make a specific apology to the opponent he had held up, Nicola Roxon, choosing instead to insult her afterwards with language inappropriate for church.

Sometimes when you have the losing card, you just have to suck it up a little. Then again, John Howard didn’t deem it worthy of a public rap over the knuckles: “Tony (Abbott) had a bad day but he was man enough to apologise and man enough to turn up and take his lumps on television, which is a lot different from other people I’ve seen who have done equally stupid things in public life.”

Just not woman enough to keep his mouth shut in the first place, presumably.

WA union boss Joe McDonald must feel hard done by. Expelled from the ALP for his Terminator impression — “John’s gone, you know that, I’ll be back” — Kevin Rudd called the comments “inappropriate, incendiary and unacceptable”.

No alliterative condemnation from the Libs. Instead they’ve have brushed it off with an “it’s just Tony being Tony” shrug. And he does have a bit of a record for these things (below is a hastily-compiled grab-bag of insensitive comments wherein Abbott manages to insult the English language, Aborigines, lycra…):

  • Employed the catchphrase ” sh-t happens” to downplay Howard allegedly reneging on his promise to hand leadership to Costello.  
  • Musing on the problems of creating jobs in remote communities, suggested young people could help deal with the 40,000 feral camels estimated to inhabit central Australia. “Why not get them out shooting the camels,” he said. “It gives them something they would love to do and it beats petrol sniffing.”
  • In May 2006 called ALP MP Kelvin Thomson a “snivelling grub” in parliament. Then offered a typically contrite follow-up: “If I’ve offended grubs, I withdraw unconditionally, unconditionally.” 
  • Called in 2006 for a “new paternalism” to deal with issues in Aboriginal communities. “Having rejected the paternalism of the past, we now insist on forms of self-management for Aboriginal people that would be totally unworkable even in places where people are much more used to them. Because it was wrong to treat Aboriginal people like wayward children, it isn’t necessarily right to expect Aboriginal people to thrive through endless management committee meetings.”
  • Drew ire in 2005 for over-simplifying the problem by suggesting that Indigenous people should “eat better and exercise more” to improve their health.