Aug 18, 2014

Rundle: Tony Abbott, Australia’s most powerful sycophant

Many voted for Abbott because they believed him to be a hard-headed warrior, but the reality has turned out to be different to the myth.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


When Tony Abbott first appeared on the political scene in the late 1990s, there was more than a murmur of interest from all quarters. The strapping, authoritative and learned new MP had been known to insiders as a complex character, but he was also seen early on as PM material. In a government that had taken on by turns the dull and brutish character of leader John Howard and the sleazy aspects of suburban liberalism, Abbott was something else — a man with, it seemed, a sense of vocation coming from the Catholic Right of politics, with an idea of how politics fitted into the wider question of civilisation and of personal character.


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41 thoughts on “Rundle: Tony Abbott, Australia’s most powerful sycophant

  1. Lachlan Duncan

    Surely this “Mad Scotland Adventure” is a calculated distraction measure, with the aim of giving people something to talk about until they can “negotiate” some positive news locally?

  2. Desmond Carroll

    You are far too kind, young Mr Rundle.

  3. GF50

    Apologist for your misreading of Abbott from first impressions? Strapping?= small man syndrome, in no ones estimate could he ever have been described as strapping, which implies a physical stature and presence. Whatever his mental makeup it was never healthy. He has never had or will have any lofty ideals above self. He is a sociopath, a nasty, limited, little man.

  4. hhoff

    Oh YES….sadly, for moderate, truly liberal Australians.

  5. JohnB

    I would add to Rundle’s thesis that Abbott realised long ago that daily newspapers and their electronic equivalents rely on daily news.

    He knows very well that today’s stupid statement or act is forgotten tomorrow. Thus, a continuous stream of silliness is perceived as a single indiscretion.

    The trick is to keep the daily messages coming, confident that those which fail will be forgotten if not forgiven and those that fly can be repeated endlessly, to rapturous acclaim and applause.

    With Labor nationally effectively headless, voiceless and invisible and at State level on the ropes, he will get away with this ploy unless we are very lucky indeed.

  6. Mendoza

    I think you’re giving him too much credit. I think Abbott is actually delusional, or at least a little nuts. Dementia Pugilistica.

  7. The Cleaning Lady

    I seem to recall an article, possibly from when Abbott was OL, in which he was asking about the poll results: But, do they like me?

    That was back in the day when the public had the power (of the vote).

  8. klewso

    The pilot light’s the only thing working in this 1200 watt(TF) toady.

  9. marcfranc

    Sometimes I think that people outside my particular faith tradition (Irish Catholic) put too much emphasis on Tony Abbot’s Catholicism.

    I didn’t know that Abbot’s father was a convert from Anglicanism, but this may help explain a number of things, including his worldview, which seems to be Anglo-Protestant rather than Catholic. For example, I don’t think he would have much time for the Latino social justice instincts of the current pope. Historically, the Catholic Right has been socially conservative but economically collectivist and interventist.

    And many Catholics would be discombobulated at the notion of a Catholic Prime Minister supporting the anti-Catholic British monarchy in Australia.

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