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Dec 23, 2010

Tony Abbott: the Golden Arsehat winner for 2010's most appalling person

It's pretty disheartening that Tony Abbott -- the man who could be just one slippery Port Macquarie step away from being Prime Minister -- is the most appalling person of 2010.



It’s pretty disheartening that Tony Abbott — the man who could be just one slippery Port Macquarie step away from being Prime Minister — is the most appalling person of 2010. But that’s politics in the new paradigm for you. Looking from the outside, Abbott didn’t have such a bad year. He took the Coalition from a pretty dire position to within a whiff of snatching victory and he put enough pressure on a flagging first-term government that a Prime Minister was dumped by his own party — just two months out from an election.

But then there’s the other side of big Tone. In Opposition, the Speedo-wearing, gospel truth-spouting, s-x-before-marriage-opposing ironman seemed intent on destroying policy purely for the sake of it. And, in an election campaign dominated by small-target strategy policies and focus group-driven slogans, he displayed such a dazzling array of stunts the electorate knew more of what he stood against than what he stood for. In the 2010 race for bottom — which featured a decent-sized field it must be said — Tony Abbott was first.



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34 thoughts on “Tony Abbott: the Golden Arsehat winner for 2010’s most appalling person

  1. skink

    I suspect that Abbott won the Golden Arsehat not for consistent arsehattery over the whole year, but by a last minute dash for the line over asylum seekers.

    He could only wait two days before making the recent Christmas Island tragedy a partisan matter, but was immediately outed by Andrew Wilkie for being two-faced over our refugee intake, and had the rug pulled from under him by the Wikileaks revelation that the Libs are all secretly hoping for more boat arrivals.

    remember, don’t believe a word he says unless you get it in writing

  2. Jim Reiher

    The survey has nailed it correctly.

  3. Kevin Herbert

    The lack of leadership by both parties on asylum seekers mirrors the political vacuum in which Australia currently exists.

    The pathetic Rodent rode the asylum seekers question into the ground, and took Beazley etc with him. After Tampa, politics in Oz changed for good.

    The Libs & Labor make me ashamed to call myself an Aussie.

    And to think it was the once widely maligned Malcolm Fraser who was the last PM who took a principled stand on asylum seekers…nice one Malcolm…you turned out to be a true humanitarian & a politically brave politician.

  4. Guner Oksis

    What a narrow field and obviously from a narrow -minded field of commentators.

    Where is that Oakshot fellow , for example!

  5. David Hand

    Predictable output from the sheep that subscribe to Crikey. Four legs gooood! Two legs baaaaaad! Four legs gooood! Two legs baaaaaad! Four legs gooood! Two legs baaaaaad! Four legs gooood! Two legs baaaaaad!

  6. New Cassandra

    I agree David, but then again most of these dickheads still have Whitlam posters on their walls.

  7. Phil Kyson

    Anybody who could get the line up on the front bench of the Liberal Party at present so close to Governing is certainly arsehat of the year. What it does expose is the deep ignorance and fear of the Australian people exploited so much by Howard and News Ltd bottom feeders.
    You might not like it Crikey, and it’s hard to say. You seem to be the most progressive news outlet we have in Australia. A place where the Rightards don’t rule, smell like a fox or feed on their own shit.

  8. Jim Reiher

    Guner, David and New Cassandra… the only one I am willing to listen to is David, (even though he has said nothing of any weight here) because he is at least prepared to use his name and not hide behind a pen name. I wish crikey would make a new rule: no comments posted unless accompanied by the actual name of the writer.

    People hide behind pen names (some on the left do it too) and from that pool, we find the writers who are extradorinarily rude, and who do not help further the debate.

    I can let you in on a fact: no one listens to people who rave on and dont have any substance in their ravings. In fact, the only person such ravings serve, is the one doing the ranting and raving. It is an outlet for their bias without them having to identify themselves. But for all intents and purposes: a waste of space.

    So…, Abbott supporters, lets have a discussion. Explain how the description here about Mr Abbott is wrong:
    – trivilization of politics
    – mindless slogans
    – negative election campaign
    – loosing gracelessly

    If they are wrong, argue the case. If not… what are you wasting our time for?

  9. David Hand

    Jim, I’m wounded! I make a deeply insightful post and it has no weight? I even waxed literary with a clever reference to an underlying theme from Orwells Animal Farm!

    To put it in simple language for you, Crikey readers regularly vote the Liberal leadership as Arse hats. It doesn’t matter who is in the chair or what they do, they are hated villains in the eyes of Crikey readers. There is no insight about specific actions that earn the award. They’re just Liberals and for the the average Crikey reader, that’s enough. Hence my allusion to the sheep in Animal farm, who bleated the mindless mantra at regular intervals.

    As an illustraion of my point, and in reply to yours-

    Trivialization of politics
    Well, the TV programme the Hollow Men has been applied to Labor. There are many opinion pieces from commentators across the spectrum of political views about the dire circumstance Labor is in through selling out to focus groups and cheap easy trivial politics.

    Mindless Slogans.
    Who was it brought us “working families” and “moving forward”? At least “Stop the boats” has a very practical resonance these days.

    Negative election campaign
    Where to begin? Can you honestly put your hand on your heart and tell me that Labor’s campaign wasn’t negative? Most of the ALP campaign was based around the message that Abbott was a risky catholic fundamentalist who couldn’t be trusted. Essential were breathlessly reporting through Crikey that twice as many Liberalvoters preferred Costello to Abbott. The ALP campaign was one big attack ad against Abbott.

    Losing gracelessly.
    Come on, mate. It only required one independent to go Liberal and we would have a new government. I know I’m a Liberal supporter but didn’t you pause and consider the currents at shift in australian politics as you watched Julia sell the soul of the ALP to Bob Brown?

    Which brings me back to my original point. Abbott may have been trivial, sloganish, negative and graceless but in the context of politics this year, he simply doesn’t stand out. Those accusations apply a lot more widely. He got this award solely for being the Liberal Leader who shook up the left.

    A good analogy might be, say, the sheep in animal farm taught a mantra they repeat mindlessly to cope with stress. ALP/Green gooooooooood! Liberal/National baaaaaaad! ALP/Green gooooooooood! Liberal/National baaaaaaad! ALP/Green gooooooooood! Liberal/National baaaaaaad!

    I predict the arse hat of 2011, as voted by Crikey readers, will be on the right side of politics. I can be confident about this even though the year hasn’t started.

  10. skink

    gee David,

    and I predict the editorial for whatever newspaper you read will support whichever party you intend to vote for

    ‘sell out the soul of the party’?

    I don’t think the horse trading that went on with the independents flattered either side. Did you forget that Abbott offered Wilkie a billion dollar hospital and a change to the refugee intake? you would almost mistake him for a tax-and-spender

    but the key fact is that rural conservatives like Katter, Windsor and Oakeshott just couldn’t bring themselves to form government with Abbott. In the end it came down to the personality of the leaders when dealing with the Independents, and Abbott was an Arsehat.

  11. Phil Kyson

    It doesn’t matter which side of politics, you need the sheep to vote for you to win.
    It’s usually the conservatives that need to be the loudest and most mindless sloganeers to get sheep to vote against their best interests.
    This is somewhat easier to do when you have the major media outlets and political commentators in your pocket appealing to the ignorant.
    It’s a pity progressives need to get in the gutter with conservatives to get heard over their mindless ignorant shrill.
    I still find it amazing that power, money, greed and religion with all its prejudice now control conservative politics and the worst of human nature.
    Now that the left no longer exist in any meaningful way in politics the fear mongers on the right need to focus their hate on the things that threatens them the most, education and reasoned knowledge. Hence their shallow appeals to the lowest common denominator of society and the rich whom have the most to lose.
    It’s not a Labour, Liberal, left, right divide that’s the problem with our politics it’s the conservatives on both side of the fence that have stuffed each party. What we need is to get the progressives in both parties into just one party, then sit back and watch the other implode. I have a dream!

  12. Jim Reiher

    David – thanks for the more detailed reply. Now we are having a real conversation and discussion.

    I tend to agree that Labor are virtually as bad in the way they go about election campaigns. They are hardly much better; negativity, slogans, etc. Maybe Gillard demonstrated more humility in victory than Abbott showed grace in losing. (Howard stepped out very graciously the year Rudd won. And Rudd has been unbelievably gracious towards Gillard and Labor after his toppling).

    I vote for neither and find both big parties depressingly bland, so you wont get much of an argument from me over that one. But to say “others do it too, so Abbott is not so bad” is not a really strong argument. it is sort of saying: “Okay, he’s a moron, but so are most of the other politicians”. In that case the vote is for the one who is the most moronic, and it seems this voting population said Abbott took that award.

    Just as a point of clarification, I found that the other category for awards: the person of the year – had as one of the short list, Tony Abbott for “taking a party that was nearly destroyed back to the edge of victory”. Admittedly he did not poll well, but he was listed as an option. And in the “person of the decade” award, John Howard was listed as one of the options. Again, he got the same % vote as Abbott in the former one. (About 3.5%). So the possibility of a Liberal winning a “good list” is there, even if very unlikely.

    Without dobut the majority of us crikey readers are a bit left of centre. And when you think about it, of course that is true. We have so few options! Where else can you get 25 articles a day, that take you past 10 second sound bites and actually try to reflect and analyse the news? And then, on top, they let anyone say anything they like (both sides no less!) This is gvery ood news outlet, especially for those of us naturally nervous about conservative politics.

  13. Jim Reiher

    My last sentence was meant to say “very good news outlet” , not “gvery ood news outlet”! The “g” got misplaced! But it will make some liberals laugh!

  14. David Hand

    You may be right about winning the sheep vote, Phil, but the Crikey sheep will never vote for the coalition.
    It’s a peculiar thing but I don’t perceive a right wing slant across the media. There are right wing commentators but plenty of lefties as well. Besides this, pundits from the left and right both have good exposure of their opinions in the media.
    What I find puzzling about the left, as typified by the Crikey sheep, is this odd inability to comprehend that others have a differnet, rational view and even more scary, those who hold a different view can bring about a right of centre government.
    Get over it fellas, the green left is a minority. A noisy and active minority but still a minority.
    Hey, I could go for a progressive party but the green left is not progressive. There are too many refugees from the socialist left who retreated there when the Berlin Wall came down. For them, “progessive” is a mindless slogan. Good for the sheep.

  15. Jim Reiher

    When I read the herald sun and see the hyper conservative Bolt get so much regular space to bleet out his extremist nonesense, I cant see much “left” comment from that rag at all. The occasional token article from a slightly more progressive writer does not counter the overall impact of the paper.

    I suspect, David, that you do see the bias because you are comfortable with it. And so it seems “even handed” or “sensible” (I am not assuming you like reading Bolt, in saying that, rather I am speaking more generally).

    I would think that some of us on the left see Crikey in a similar way: not bias, but finally presenting things as they are.

    We are all seeing things from our own starting points, and that is why we dont all see things the same way.

  16. David Hand

    Hey Jim,
    I discovered Crikey when they broke the boning of Jessica Rowe story and subscribed shortly after.
    At that time, Christian Kerr was the lead writer and he was definitely not a leftie. So the left bias has emerged since I subscribed. I only worked out I had stumbled into a left wing ghetto at the end of 2007 when Crikey took a readers’ poll of the most appalling and the most appealing people.
    Top ten most appalling – Howard, Andrews, Abbott, Ruddock,W, Downer, Costello, Jackie Kelley, Janette, Richard Pratt.
    Top ten most appealing – McKew, Gillard, Rudd, Brown, Wong, Gore, the Chaser, Bernie Banton, Matt Price, Blanchett.
    When repeated year after year, these lists develop a certain sheep-like quality to them.

    Though Crikey’s editorial bias is not the same as mine, I subscribe because of its independence. I believe it is an asset to the Australian media landscape and must prosper. As far as it’s left views and readers go, well, you can’t have everything.

    One other point. If any of you leftie elite, latte sipping, sandal wearing, basket weaving, chardonnay quaffing, inner city, anti nuclear, sexually challenged, sensitive new aged, Green/ALP voting Crikey readers still celebrate a white anglo saxon, Christian conservative, middle Australian, festival, (I mean this all as a term of endearment)

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  17. Jim Reiher

    The bias is there, true. But the independence is, as you say, most valuable.

    I chuckled at the finl paragraph David. Of the list at the end, “leftie elite, latte sipping, sandal wearing, basket weaving, chardonnay quaffing, inner city, anti nuclear, sexually challenged, sensitive new aged, Green/ALP voting Crikey readers” – I can only tick off only some of them!
    I would fit into the following: “leftie _, ___, ____, ____, _____, ____, anti nuclear, _____, sensitive new aged (a little bit I guess); Green/ALP voting Crikey readers”

    Definitely not into elite crap, cant stand coffee (I prefer green tea, not because of my politics, but coincidentally of the same colour), no sandals since the 70’s, definitely not into basket weaving, have never developed much of a taste for chardonnay, live in the outer suburbs, and am a happy hetro. (Mind you – if there are people who fit all the things you listed, good on ’em).

    But I will still celebrate a lovely Christmas morning with my four kids and their partners and my 9 grandkids!

    Have a great day too.

  18. Jenny Haines

    The Golden Arsehat Award could not have gone to a more deserving person. Imagine Tony Abbott in Washington or London or at the EU? How embarassing!!

  19. GeeWizz

    [He could only wait two days before making the recent Christmas Island tragedy a partisan matter, but was immediately outed by Andrew Wilkie for being two-faced over our refugee intake, and had the rug pulled from under him by the Wikileaks revelation that the Libs are all secretly hoping for more boat arrivals.]

    But alas it is a partisan matter.

    Labor are encouraging people smugglers and the boats to come, the Libs are trying to stop the boats like they did for the 7 Years of the Pacific Solution.

    I think we can all agree the biggest asshat of 2010 would be the people smugglers whose businesses are booming under this soft touch, weak as p!ss Prime Minister SELECT Gillard Government.

  20. zimmerman

    Crikey is so irreverent and unpredictable. And with all the intellectual rigour of a Sarah Hanson- Young press release. Yes just imagine Tony Abbott in the EU. Quelle Embarrassment!! Unlike the droner from Altona who has taken the international world of real politik by storm. Statesmen the world over speak of her “Moving Forward” speech in the kind of hushed tones once reserved for “The Gettysburg Address”.

  21. Johnfromplanetearth

    So let me get this straight, the golden boy KRudd had a 70% approval rating little more than a year ago, he goes completely bonkers and his own party give him the boot, largely because he’s mad. (Even more crazy is, he still has a job as Foreign Minister aaargh!) Abbott rightly overthrows the lameduck that was Malcom Turnbull and almost pulls off one of the most remarkable election wins of all time and he’s the arsehat? How typical of the left that when things are not going their own way, they take their bat and ball and go home blaming the other boy because the game is not going according to plan. All Abbott did was throw a spanner in the works, it was the Labor party itself that caused the engine failure in the first place, now they can’t fix it because that damned spanner is lost in there somewhere! D’oh!

  22. harrybelbarry

    Could not think of a better choice for Arse- @ole of the century , but Rupert’s butt boy Bolt comes in a close 2nd.. David , get your Hand off it and go back to the Ltd news.We need a leaker from the AWB , Iraq days and 9/11 leaks to what really happened that day, when 3 TOWERS fell on top of each other like a really well planned demo job. I beleive Howard was there to watch his buddies work (false flag ).

  23. New Cassandra

    Better get the tin-foil hat on Harry. – The CIA and Rupert’s satellites will be beaming messages straight to your brain now. A true Crikey reader !

  24. Moira Smith

    A truly deserving recipient of this award (and the competition, let’s face it, is pretty tough!).

  25. Phil Kyson

    The current crop of political leaders certainly add weight to the adage the human race isn’t smart enough for democracy, yet. Seems like we’re just playing pin the tail on the Labour/Liberal donkey at present, what a joke!

  26. Moira Smith

    @David Hand. So you’re a ‘squatter’ then?

  27. David Hand


    No I’m not a squatter and therefore my broad generalisations about the localities, hobbies and favourite drinks of Crikey subscribers probably don’t stand up to scrutiny but their predominent left leaning views probably would.

    I subsribe to Crikey because I believe independent media channels are very important with so much under the control of a few players.

    I think the exchange and contest of ideas is very important and I put forward the odd opinion to readers who mostly differ from me to test and refine those views. Maybe change my opinion. Maybe influence someone else’s thinking.

    Though he’s not my choice as Liberal Leader, I don’t think Abbott is the Arsehat that most readers think compared to the other side of politics.

  28. oldtrackrunner

    Thanks for lowering the bar

    Since Arsehat is a crude pseudoymn for a word that is not printable my general observation of the use of the word is that:

    The person who uses that word the most is the biggest one of those!

    While I think that Tony Abbott has some of the vices of conservative politicians generally, I have never thought he was one of “those”. He is a hard working obstructionist, who flips his position way too often for me to support.

    I also think that Malcolm Turnbull, while talented at courting the press, only actually does things that help Malcolm. I doubt that great things will happen for Australia if he becomes Prime Minister. Great things will happen for him and other Sydney financiers. I have never thought of him as sexy either.

  29. harrybelbarry

    New cassy, tin foil is sooo last year. I use a electronic umbella , funny that you mention the CIA ???? The only messages i get is that Tony Abbott is a very bad choice for Australia and the World . Would not waste my money on Poxtel’s cable crap.

  30. harrybelbarry

    Had to sack my proof reader ” Umbrella mark 2″

  31. Johnfromplanetearth

    Considering the word Arsehat is an anagram of the following:

    A Star He

    A Tsar He

    As At Her

    Abbott isn’t doing too badly?

  32. Moira Smith

    @ David Hand , re independent media channels, utterly agree.

    Also agree, arsehats on both sides …. so what do we do now (seriously?)?

  33. David Hand

    One short answer to your serious question is to get active in politics.

    Both the major parties are currently suffering a massive decay in their membership base which is truly a threat to our democracy.

    I joined the Liberal Party just after Howard lost the 2007 federal election, mostly because I could see some unpleasant trends inside the right of politics with the growing influence of the extreme right wing christian fundamantalist influence in NSW. I decided it could all go pear shaped with me wringing my hands on the sideline or I could get involved. (A number of friends have pointed out to me that I joined to stop the right taking over and they have!)

    I joined the Liberals mainly because I believe that economic growth is good for us, and that only comes by mobilising people to go out and create wealth though enterprise and employment.

    I have discovered a couple of things since joining. The one most applicable to this discussion is that to get pre-selected takes considerable ambition and drive. You are doing deals and trading favours almost from the start and so the concept of selling out is deeply ingrained in our politicians as “realpolitik”. Another thing I noticed is that parties don’t go searching for talent to select the best candidates. Party organisations are constantly besieged by the politically ambitious and therefore the clever politicians tend to get the nod.

    On the other hand, I think that talent rises to the top and when people of either party get into power, most of them have the intelligence and vision to realise they have a significant responsibility and they attempt to govern for the people as a whole. This is why so often, Governments are in conflict with their own party machines.

    The NSW government is a spectacular example of a government eating through its best and brightest and getting down to the untalented politically ambitious who should best be left on the back bench to make up the numbers.

    So my advice is join a political party. It doesn’t matter to me which one people choose. A widely involved politically active electorate is in my view the best way to reduce the number of areshats in our parliaments.

  34. Kevin Herbert

    Don’t you just love the many Crikey posters stuck in post 101 PolSci tutes, beer soaked Newtown or Carlton pubs….”Abbott’s a right wing arsehole, News Ltd are only right wing boosters, Bolt’s a fascist…”….ad nauseum. No solutions, no analysis…no progress.

    As David Hand says, join a political party or a community based pressure group, and do something about it……or stay stuck in that 101 armchair for the whole of your politically
    impotent lives.

    Although for the $125 cost of a Crikey sub, you can belch a hell of a lot of bar talk on the net over 365 days……but could you at least make it amusing?

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