Here we go again

John Highfield writes: Re. “Good government starts today (we hope)“(yesterday).  I was a bit surprised at the Crikey editorial line yesterday. Abbott belatedly fronting media conference “gracious”? C’mon: it was self-serving, the word “Turnbull”never passed his lips and he blamed the media for publishing material from the leakiest Cabinet on record. Completely forgot the pipeline to News Corp for premature publication of Captain’s Call material before he even confided in his Cabinet colleagues! No mention of disrespecting the Governor-General by faxing his resignation at the 11th hour. What was he doing in the silent period after the Party Room vote? Thinking how he could get Elizabeth II to sack the GG  to prevent the changeover to Turnbull? Gracious? Just like the sniggers over “Cape York time”, I think not !

James Burke writes: All the psychological analysis of Tony Abbott is entertaining, and probably necessary. But after years of reading up on political extremists, I’m convinced that such analysis is almost useless in opposing them, especially since it mostly occurs after they have already gained power (or lost it). Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Nixon, Thatcher, Bin Laden, Cheney, Trump — why soil your soul in the sewers of their so-called “minds”, when the real question is how any of these inhumane, anti-democratic outliers were able to climb so high It’s the system that allowed Tony Abbott to become Prime Minister that is the real villain here. Not that he deserves our sympathy. He is due no more sympathy than he extended to raped refugee children or suffering Pacific nations, which is to say none at all. But Abbott’s premiership was merely a symptom of our sick democracy, not its cause.

No sympathy

Phil Gray writes: Re. “Rundle: the fire-breathing Catholic warrior comes unstuck, as we always knew he would” (yesterday). Guy Rundle’s (and others’) comments regarding Tony Abbott and their feeling for him on a “human” level, leave me somewhat cold. We all have our choices in this life, and Tony has his. Our choices have consequences and Tony is starting to realise that his choices were made for, dare I say, less than “upright Christian principles”. They have come back to bite him fair where the sun don’t shine. I hope he is really hurting, and he may start to understand that he has caused great hurt to innumerable of his fellow humans — all for what? To defeat Labor? He went where many would not go and he is paying the price for it.

Don’t worry Tone, I was brought up a Catholic, and I too was brainwashed by the unctuous predators who were saving my soul, but guess what Tone — I saw them for what they were and still are. I have moved on from that murder of satan-fighting crows. It’s a pity that you didn’t. You and your God have led Australia down a path towards metaphorical, if not actual, perdition and gnashing of teeth, through sheer, bloody minded bigotry and hatred of things that you either don’t understand, or your brainwashing has convinced you is evil. It doesn’t really matter because you are the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror and live with what you see.

The small minded side of me sees a delicious irony in not only is Tony Abbott looked on as the worst Prime Minister this country has ever had, but both Rudd and Julia were PM longer than him. In fact, Abbott missed out on the PM’s pension by 3 or 4 days. Life has its little upsides. Personally I wouldn’t give him a bicycle with two flat tyres. The tosser is like a circle — there’s no end to him. PS – WA is looking to become an Abbott free zone.

Positivity isn’t enough

Geoff Edwards writes: Re. “The leader who had it all, and blew it with relentless negativity” (yesterday). In his piece, Bernard Keane referred to Tony Abbott as a successful opposition leader. Bernard is in majority company among commentators. I part company with this view. Abbott “succeeded” in destroying the Gillard government, but it is not the role of an opposition to destroy an elected government. The opposition is part of the leadership of the country and only slightly less important than the government in shaping legislation. When electors cast their votes, they seek to appoint an agent who will represent them and their interests in policy and political forums, regardless of how the rest of the country votes, that is, regardless of which party forms government.

The damage done to the institutions of government and parliament during Abbott’s pugilistic tenure as leader of the opposition was and is immense. The damage done to the public’s trust and confidence in their politicians is immense. The damage done to some signature Labor programs which contained the seeds of success (pink batts, carbon pricing, NBN) is immense. If this litany of lost opportunities and torn-down people constitute success, I can’t imagine what failure looks like.

Graham Barry writes: The Mad Monk was not just the worst prime minister in Australian history, he was also at the root of the chaos which has gradually engulfed the political scene over the past six years. From the moment he backstabbed Malcolm Turnbull over his bipartisan approach to climate change and snatched the leadership by one vote, he set in motion a process whereby opposition would not be in any way constructive, merely destructive. When people give him credit for his skill/success as Opposition leader it makes me sick: this democratic process was not meant to simply sabotage an elected government.

From the moment Rudd’s climate change policy began to founder, he did too. Had it succeeded he too would have probably enjoyed a successful prime ministership. Alas, at the crucial moment he didn’t have the guts take the double dissolution option which would have seen him romp home. When those nincompoops on the government front bench carry on ad nauseam about the chaos of the Labor years (at least Labor managed at the same time to pass record legislative change), let it never be forgotten it was Abbott and his acolytes who created that chaos. As he boasted, he brought down both Rudd and Gillard, conveniently forgetting to mention he’d brought down his own leader too, like some latter day Macbeth.

Having gained office without a clue what to do with it except “Stop The Boats” and “Axe the Tax”, thus leaving the budget all substantially worse off, he was all but unseated in record time. I’ve no time whatever for Turnbull (let us never forget Goblin Grech), but now at least we can thank him for having rid us of this meddlesome priest. Hopefully he will try to do some good for the country rather than just cement himself into power. But if Abbott remains in the House, I advise him to watch his back.

Humility is for saints

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Media briefs” (yesterday). It was fascinating to see the quotation you reproduced from Malcolm Turnbull in 1991, “Humility is for saints.” This of course goes well with his statement about regaining his party’s leadership and through that becoming Prime Minister. “I’m very humbled by it. I’m very humbled by the great honour and responsibility…”. This sort of cant used to be left to characters like Uriah Heep, but these days Turnbull is far from alone in claiming to be humbled, which is to say humiliated, abased or brought low, in circumstances where only the opposite can be true and the insincerity is sickeningly obvious. Why does anyone do this? Are such blatant lies really preferable to any mention of pride, even when it is appropriate?

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW