Tony Abbott

Welcome to our rebranded comments section, The Conversation, a name we have not seen elsewhere!

Leave it to Crikey readers to go in for the kill the moment they smell Abbott blood in the water. Both our inbox and the comments page of Bernard Keane’s petition for Abbott to finally retire were hotbeds for readers voicing their displeasure (in addition to some good, old fashioned name calling). But some weren’t so convinced that a parliament free of Abbott would be that different.

On the need for Tony Abbott to retire

William Morgan writes: Since I knew of Abbott in my Sydney Uni days in the late seventies he has been stuck in the fifties. He has used his connections with John Howard and Rupert Murdoch to rise to power and throw a monkey wrench into anything he regarded as progressive. He and his coterie have seriously coarsened and polarized political discourse since he ousted Turnbull in 2009. The shambles of climate and energy policy, growing inequality, NBN debacle, scapegoating of Muslims and asylum seekers and introduction of invasive security oversight into our lives are some of the consequences of  allowing a man such as Abbott to be Prime Minister. In 2013, Paul Keating was spot on when he warned us that if Abbott became PM then “God help us!”

David Edmunds writes: Over his career, Abbott has had many occasions when he could have reflected on his life and career, as normal people do, but simply did not have the self discipline or character to do so. On becoming a parliamentary secretary and then a minister, he could have worked to understand his portfolios and contribute. On becoming opposition leader he could have worked on a policy agenda and some sort of vision for government. On becoming prime minister there was an opportunity for him to reflect on what positive contribution he could make. On losing the prime ministership, he could have decided to become a more reflective statesman, and use his media profile to add something worthwhile. As Churchill might have said, he is a mediocre man with much to be mediocre about. You can bet your balls he will hang around if given the chance, and continue to contribute absolutely nothing.

Tony Walker writes: Whether Abbott stays or goes, we already know this lot have no interest in leading the country, only in being led. The give-away lies in Morrison’s appointment of John Kunkel as his chief of staff. Kunkel is the former deputy CEO of the Minerals Council and former head of Government Relations at Rio Tinto — the country’s largest coal miner. Same old. Nothing has changed. There’ll be no leadership on climate policy, emissions reduction or transition to renewables. The coal industry runs the game. The country doesn’t stand a chance until its money is banned from funding political parties and its operatives have their hands removed from the policy levers.

Andrew Watkins writes: Fair assessment of Abbott, a deeply flawed and highly destructive individual. It is also a reflection on our system and processes that he ever rose beyond the rank of local dog catcher — he has done nothing in life except politics. If the system can do it once, it can do it many more times. But I disagree that the best thing he could do for the country is to leave — the best thing that he could do for the country would be setting out to undermine and destabilise Morrison, becoming PM just before the next election and ensuring a route and branch wipeout of the LNP, hopefully for all time.

Arky writes: Abbott is one man. It suits some to pin everything on his shoulders, but Turnbull didn’t cave in to every conceivable right-wing demand because of the threat of a single disgruntled man on the back bench. Personally, I’d rather the devil I know to the devil I don’t, and I’d rather that the mouthpiece of the far-right in the Liberal Party be a known and hated quantity and not someone who News Corp can give a clean slate and sell to Australia as a “moderate”. Plus, as a general rule, if the media is irritated by Tony and wants him to leave, that’s the best reason for him to stay — when all Australian political media consensus for the past eight years or whatever has been 100% wrong, it’s not a track record to bet against.

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