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Feb 4, 2010

Abbott to the lunatic fringe: it's OK, I'm one of you

Tony Abbott's decision to meet Lord Monckton was contemptible -- but smart politics. Abbott is just doing what he has been hired to do: dog-whistle to the extreme right of the party.


Tony Abbott met with conspiracy theorist Chris Monckton yesterday at lunchtime, but Abbott wouldn’t allow photographers to record the meeting or publicly comment on what was discussed.

Meeting this shabby character is contemptible and reflects poorly on Abbott’s fitness for high office.  There are, after all, plenty of Australian skeptics and denialists out there to meet, plenty of men and women who share Abbott’s view that climate science is crap.  We’ve produced quite a few of them.

Despite Ian Plimer or Bob Carter lacking any credentials in climate science, at least they can mount a pseudo-scientific case against global warming.  But Abbott decided to meet this low-rent Lyndon LaRouche from London. Worse, refusing to allow the meeting to be photographed shows thorough cowardice. If he’s happy to meet this “swivel-eyed maniac”, as one conservative called Monckton, he should be happy to be photographed shaking his hand.

But forget the moral outrage: this was savvy politics. Abbott has sent a clear signal to the right-wing fringe groups and One Nation-types that have drifted away from the party over the last two years: he’s their man, he shares their values. When they talk about shoring up the base, this is what they mean, pulling those voters out of the “Other” camp in polling, where they’re lodged with Family First and socially-conservative parties, and back into the Liberal column.

It didn’t require being photographed with Monckton – the lunatic fringe will know he met him. It will be all over their blogs and in their email networks. Finally, they’ll think, someone important is listening to us.

Being photographed with Monckton might have sent the wrong single to mainstream voters, because Monckton’s a risk, prone to coming out with potentially ridiculous statements that Abbott would have to distance himself from. Like interning people with HIV, for example, (although apparently Monckton has invented a cure for that).

So best to keep it on the quiet, out the media, because the media loves visuals and stories don’t get one-tenth as far without them. A job well done.

We “intellectual snobs” can foam at the mouth all we like, but this was Abbott doing what he has been hired to do – dog-whistling to the extreme right of the party, letting the conservative membership know the Liberal Party is safe for them again, showing them that that appalling lefty Malcolm Turnbull has gone.  Just like John Howard felt he had to in the face of the One Nation phenomenon.  Abbott was an apt pupil.


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36 thoughts on “Abbott to the lunatic fringe: it’s OK, I’m one of you

  1. John james

    You know the Left are in deep trouble when a long tirade of personal abuse, like this article, is offered for intellectual consumption.

  2. Ian

    More old pyjams. Perhaps Crikey should change its name to the “AGW Deaf Old Farts Club”. Getting worried that you really may have been hoodwinked? For goodness’ sake, even The Guardian is expressing doubts. Give the propaganda a rest Crikey, and get back to what you used to do well – investigative journalism.

    Here’s a challenge – publish nothing from either side on AGW for a week. Bet you can’t help your self.

  3. gregb

    Compared to what Munchkin offers up for intellectual consumption, John James? What piercing intellectual stuff we get from the good Lord!

  4. bangin16

    Abbott can’t have it all his own way on this, despite the lack of any photos. Visiting Monckton will be yet one more nail in his climate change incredibility.

  5. micae

    Spot on about Abbott the dog whistler but also aesthetic considerations, .e.,g the “swivel-eyed maniac” is quite visually distracting – he reminded me instantly of Melbourne Zoo’s goggle-eyed new baby elephant, Luk Chai –


  6. John Ryan

    People like John James the coat trailers who support this liar,BS artist con merchant,Knave and fool, and dribbler,but then he is a Lord of some sort as PT Barnum said theres one born every minute.
    And when these weak minded fools here a Lord from the UK is on theitr side they go weak at the knees,Monckton could not lie straight in bed,the article makes more sense than the rambling of some Stupid(well maybe not he got the weak minded to pay him to lie his head off)you dont wonder why the con merchants find so many marks in Australia.
    Ever Time Plimer, Monkton and co have to front up to some one who can see through the BS they run for cover Plimer has been done over more times that most have had Christmas dinners but still the faithful suckers believe.

  7. klewso

    Why do I think of Young Frankenstein, and Marty Feldman?
    “Where wolf?”
    “There wolf…..?”

  8. baal

    wow it’s getting nasty, eh? Bring it on I say, let’s see what feral extremes of insult can swamp this thread

  9. David

    As jjames is a clone of the loony mamma he would doubtless, given the opportunity, caste himself at the feet of the equally loony Lord screaming take me Im yours. That would to jj amount to intelligence as he knows it.

  10. paddy

    What…..No photographs???
    Where’s the Crikey cohort of Jimmy Olsens and Lois Lanes, with their bloody mobile phone cameras when you need them?
    Surely someone will step up to the plate with a “photoshop special” at least. 🙂

    Perhaps Firstdog could oblige with a commemorative T-Shirt, in honour of this meeting of great minds???

  11. Tom McLoughlin

    Err what does Monckton say about Kilimanjaro snowtop disappearing? Greenland farming expanding? Global insurance costs of storm damage increasing so much every year? Shipping in the famous North West passage? The 30% reduction in krill shells from carbonic acid increase in the ocean?


    How many other people notice the trait of our compatriots that as soon as a brit accent is added into any waffle the audience suddenly goes all colonial deferential? Inferiority complex?

  12. Venise Alstergren

    JOHN JAMES: Go back to your cassock and priest-hole. Oz can do without an arse-hole grovelling at the feet of British lords.

    Monckton looked as if he’d been wired up to several lie detectors all of which had fired at the same moment. A horrid scream and eye-balls whirling around like crazed prunes.

  13. nicolino

    If only Rachel Carson had been around to hear this nutter explain about the benefits of DDT.

  14. Michael

    Bernard tell us what you really think!
    My goodness your head must hurt with all that hatred for one man.
    How will you survive if he wins the unwinable ?

  15. AR

    BK Are you hinting at the MM’s virgin obsession -“Being photographed with Monckton might have sent the wrong single to mainstream voters,”. Single and unsullied?

  16. Ben Aveling

    People. We are all aware that Lord Monckton has on occasion been less than totally honest and open. That alone doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Likewise, we are all aware that the IPCC have on occasion been less than totally honest and open. That alone doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. And anyway, this isn’t Monckton vs the IPCC, there are many other players.

    On this and on all other posts on this topic, could we please keep the conversation a bit more focused on the science and a bit less obsessed with personalities.

    Many, perhaps most of you, on both sides of this know far more about the science that I. But it’s reached the point where I no longer know why you think the other side are wrong, they just are, they just must be.

  17. Venise Alstergren

    BEN: If ‘Lord Monckton has on occasion been less than totally honest and open. That alone doesn’t mean he’s wrong.

    Sorry to point out the obvious, but it doesn’t mean he’s right either. If a comedian got up on a stage and said I’m not a comedian, I’m a tragedian. Would you be happy to listen to his humourous views on life-having discovered he knows nothing about his subject?

    I wouldn’t.

  18. Johnfromplanetearth

    Shabby? Contemptible? Swivel eyed maniac? Moral outrage? what a stupid, ignorant man you are Bernard Keane. You talk of Monckton as if he is Heinrich Himmler! The contempt i have is for you, what a pompous ass! Monckton suffers graves disease you pathetic fool. How typical of the far left loony brigade to once again resort to cheap, nasty, vindictive insults because someone has blown their insane beliefs out of the water. Remember this Bernard, that insults are always the last resort in an argument of those without a rational one. You have been conned about climate change and you and your pseudo intellectual mad mates don’t like it one bit. Your running scared of this Bernard, take your bat and ball and go home.

  19. David Sanderson

    JOHNFROMPLANETEARTH, is the guy who is idiotic enough to believe that weather reports from various cold places around the world are somehow proof that global warming is not occurring. Barnaby Joyce also shares this stupidity but it deserves nothing but utter contempt.

    Monckton is a proven practitioner of the big lie theory and can appropriately be compared to Goebbels. He thoroughly deserves all the contempt that is heaped upon him.

  20. AR

    JohnOffPlanet – “insults..” is close to triggering Gresham’s Law there old boy. Except that you probably ‘meant’ (if that’s not too strong a wor
    d) Goebells, the propaganda fiend. Unless you ‘think’ (again, too strong a word) that BK is heading up a Crikey SS squad. Yeh, you probably do.

  21. Johnfromplanetearth

    I don’t beleive what i am reading in response to this, Goebbels? How desperate are you people to keep this now proven fraud alive? So David Sanderson just what exactly is contemptible about it all? Why is it that the far left are so vindicitive, so violent, so juvenile when things don’t go their own way? Another opinion surfaces and exposes a con (that the far left have eaten up) and then the vitriol begins! What is contemptible is this continuous insane belief that mother nature has taken time off and us humans now hold the balance of power on this little blue planet. (Oh the arrogance of the human race is astounding) Tell that argument to the people of Haiti! I have nothing but contempt for all of you warming religion zealots!

  22. David Sanderson

    That’s fine, earning the contempt of people as wilfully stupid as yourself is an accolade. The only thing missing from your juvenile outpouring was one of your weather reports from Norway or Outer Mongolia.

  23. baal


    ‘this now proven fraud’?

    Proven by whom and where? The Viscount? To whose satisfaction?

    If I were you I’d forego the comforting company of the entities who want to deny reality and make a safe return to this ‘little blue planet’ (your name and your post suggest you’ve left) where you can look beyond paranoid nonsense like:


    Makes you sound like a cold warrior who can’t tolerate the prospect of too much heat.


    Or is it a religious conspiracy? Make up your mind. But first you have to find it.

  24. Johnfromplanetearth

    BAAL: Yes proven fraud, the past few months have blown the lid on this conjob, your problem is you are unable to accept you were conned.

    Oh David Sanderson, grow up (juvenile) please you are part of the problem. Once again the far left resort to insults when the argument is lost. (how violent you people are astounds me) as for the weather in Norway today it’s bloody cold!! Please accept the contemptous accolade it is well deserved.

  25. David Sanderson

    JOHNFROMPLANETEARTH, I detect a religious undertone in your nuttiness – “humans now hold the balance of power on this little blue planet. (Oh the arrogance of the human race is astounding)” – along the lines of how puny man is before God’s Creation.

    I’d be interested to know as I find it difficult to understand how you, and other’s like you, could be so woefully stupid in face of the mountain of evidence in favour of man-made climate change. A prior burden of deeply irrational religious belief could help explain how you got yourself into your current intellectual mess.

  26. baal

    ‘your problem is’ – I’m so pleased to be told by one of the more erudite contributors to a Crikey blog what my problem is. Or I would be if I got it right. Clearly, I am your problem and not vice versa.

  27. baal

    And sucking up to English lords is not the way to make a sensible case that the earth is cooling

  28. baal

    Methinks the (self)esteemed Julius may wish to be (mis)taken for a distinguished and thoughtful academic whose careful sifting of the evidence is leading him towards conclusions not popular with the consensus orthodoxy which he fears controls the climate change debate. At least he’s not dopey and rude like some of these clowns.

  29. baal

    Regarding the ‘halfwits’ who buy Ian Plimer’s book: lots of people buy books they never read. It’s a herd thing. You know, buy the book, feel the glow, read the introduction and the chapter headings, yawn and retire early. Just keep plugging away. Knowing the full story is far too much like hard work for the likes of Abbott and Joyce.

  30. baal

    Strangely my post re Johnfromplanetearth had his cold warrior quotes removed. They were

    “Why is it that the far left are so vindicitive, so violent, so juvenile when things don’t go their own way?”


    “Another opinion surfaces and exposes a con (that the far left have eaten up) and then the vitriol begins!”

  31. Jon Frodsham

    Bernard Keane: Gosh you are so full of crap.

  32. David Sanderson

    Jon Frodsham: Gosh your response is so inadequate.

  33. Johnfromplanetearth

    Baal: You are part of the problem! Why is it that warmists resort to such vitriol when faced with the deteat of their argument. Now i see today Scientists are squabbling amongst themselves about the false information and exaggerations.

  34. baal

    @Johnfromplanetearth: why am I a ‘warmist’? I am merely pointing out the folly of your posts. Vitriol? I think you lead a sheltered life up there.

  35. Johnfromplanetearth

    Point out the folly dear chap, according to our PM you have 4000 scientists telling us all we are going to fry by next Tuesday! He believes them all ( or does he?) You better hurry
    because there are 6 billion humans causing irreparable damage to the planet and the only ones that can save us could be Brad and Angelina! Now what should we do with all of these meddlesome humans? Any suggestions?

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