Early this year, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten echoed to caucus a popular criticism of the Prime Minister: that he was living, like Menzies, “in the 1950s”. Such comparisons between a man who would knight a prince and one who would love the monarch ‘til he died are irresistible, but also a trifle unfair. Chiefly to the 1950s, which, for all Menzies’ strategic scaremongering and unstuck love of empire, offered less appalling rhetoric and more reforms of longstanding benefit to low- and middle-income Australians than this decade provides. That isn’t saying very much, of course, but it is to propose that if Abbott’s rule is governed by a time and place, it’s not Menzies’ ‘50s, but Reagan’s ‘80s. With a dash of Christian Middle Ages. If there’s a nostalgic rhythm that moves this leader’s heart, it’s a mashup of Phil Collins and Gregorian chant. Let’s call it Su-su-ssudio Fortuna.
Abbott’s ‘evil’ dead set from the Middle Ages
Our PM used to be able to explain foreign policy without invoking Satan. Not so much anymore.