Tony Abbott's desperate effort to channel John Howard in his opposition to the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) today demonstrates just how desperate the former PM is in the face of party room indifference to his hysteria. His declaration "we will control what happens in this country and the circumstances under which it happens," didn't even have the cut-though ring of Howard's original line, and was spoken on the eve of a party room victory for the Prime Minister.

Across the course of 2018, Abbott has progressively alienated colleagues with his opportunism and undermining, frustrating MPs with genuine gripes about policy by turning any discussion into a de facto leadership issue. Nor has it passed unnoticed that on literally every single issue on which he has sought to make trouble for Turnbull, he has stridently advocated doing exactly the opposite of what he himself did when prime minister. That has culminated in his absurd argument that he was somehow tricked into signing up to the Paris agreement and that his doing so wasn't anything beyond a vague aspiration anyway. It's all, apparently, a giant conspiracy -- between bureaucrats here and overseas, disloyal colleagues and big business, which is calling for support for the NEG.