Tony Abbott, as prime minister of Australia:

“I’ve never used the term [Islamic State] and I would strongly counsel people against ever using the presumptuous title that they have given themselves.”

“I absolutely refuse to refer to it by the title that it claims for itself [Islamic State and the caliphate], because I think this is a perversion of religion and a travesty of governance.”

Tony Abbott, as opinionated backbencher:

“The point I make is that this ISIL caliphate, it can’t be contained.”

“A military victory over the caliphate isn’t a sufficient response to the challenge of militant Islam but it is a necessary one.”

Tony Abbott, as leader of the country:

“Everybody, including Muslim community leaders, needs to speak up clearly because, no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents must surely be a blasphemy against all religion.”

Tony Abbott, as member for that hotbed of terrorism Warringah:

“Islam needs to delegitimise the urge to ‘behead all those who insult the Prophet’ but only Muslims can do this.”

“We should be ready to proclaim the clear superiority of our culture to one that justifies killing people in the name of God.”

In just three months, it’s been a rapid — and rabid — transformation. But we get the feeling we haven’t quite reached peak Tony yet.

Peter Fray

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