Well done to The Australian today for its scoop in bringing us Tony Abbott’s speech to the Millennium Forum.  Although given it operates as the Liberal Party’s house newsletter, it’d be a worry if they didn’t get first dibs.

Dennis Shanahan got so excited by the speech he compared Abbott to Churchill.  “In Britain’s darkest hour Churchill wanted to defend the British Isles on the beaches and everywhere else,” Dennis told us, helpfully.  There’s always something to be learnt from reading The Oz.

And Matt Franklin liked Abbott’s line about an election “Bring it on. We will be ready for you.”

About as ready as you can be without any policies or money, but you get the picture.

The phrase “bring it on” — sadly, my preferred version, the more Americanised and efficient “bring it” is yet to invade Australian political parlance — has a particular resonance for Opposition leaders.  Yes, Abbott has been recycling.  Maybe it’s the cheery fake aggression and “rally the troops” tone that makes it so appealing.  It was Simon Crean in May 2002 who declared

I say once again. If the Prime Minister wants to conduct an election over making it easier to sack people: bring it on; make my day!

OK, so that’s more Clint Eastwood than Winston Churchill, although judging by his early movies, Eastwood did more to win WW2 than Winston.

Malcolm Turnbull also urged the government to “bring it on” earlier this year, the “it” being a full inquiry into the Godwin Grech business. He may have been influenced by Anthony Albanese demanding that Turnbull himself  “bring it on” in Parliament the Monday after the affair exploded.

It’s not just in recycling that Abbott is showing his green credentials. This morning he was telling the ABC’s Lyndal Curtis about his desire to change the fact that the environmental vote tends to go parties of the Left rather than the Right.

It hasn’t been the case in recent years, but I think that this is something that we should try to change. Certainly if you go back a couple of decades you had Prince Philip, no less a person than Prince Philip who I think was the inaugural president or patron at one of the big international environmental organisations.

Abbott has a good point.  There’s no reason why conservatives should not be good conservationists.  There’s no inherent conflict between the two ideologies, indeed some complementarity.  But Abbott’s monarchism seems to have got the better of him.  Prince Philip an environmentalist? Hmmm.  Let’s check the pictorial record.


That’s Philip, president of the World Wildlife Fund, on the left, looking after a tiger who’s so tired he’s having a bit of a lie down.  It also looks like the royal party was joined by Q from the Bond films, fourth from right. “Now pay attention, Your Highness …”

Only a week till Christmas relieves us of the chore of listening to politicians for a month.

Peter Fray

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