When your dad is not the PM

16 Jun

Frances Abbott, 24 year-old daughter of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, made news a couple of weeks ago when it emerged she’d been offered a $60,ooo scholarship to attend the Whitehouse Institute of Design. The scholarship has been awarded only once before, to the daughter of the school’s director, and students interviewed say they had no idea such a scholarship was available, and would have applied for it if they had.

As the scholarship is apparently awarded on merit, the Whitehouse Institute of Design appears to have a remarkably low number of meritorious students, the Director’s daughter and the daughter of the Prime Minister being the only ones considered worthy of such financial largesse in the Institute’s entire history.

Today it’s been revealed that Ms Abbott broke her lease agreement  on an apartment she rented in Prahan, citing lack of security in the ground floor dwelling, and telling a VCAT hearing that “My dad is the Prime Minister” and he and his security teams did not consider the apartment safe for her. Ms Abbott had signed the lease without first consulting her father on the security issue because she wanted to be “independent.”

For reasons I find completely incomprehensible, not least because they haven’t been explained, VCAT found in Ms Abbott’s favour, and she was not obliged to pay $1000 requested by the landlady, a single mother recovering from cancer who was forced to default on a mortgage payment to cover her costs after Ms Abbott broke the lease.

Nobody would disagree that members of the PM’s family need security, however, it is remarkable that Ms Abbott herself did not think about this, or consult her father prior to signing the lease. This does not sound like the same standard of mature, responsible behaviour Mr Abbott demands from other 24 year-old Australians, especially those who are unemployed.

If you are in this category, and your dad is not the PM, you will have to apply for 40 jobs every month for six months before you are eligible for meagre government assistance, and quite how you are going to house, feed and clothe yourself during those six months is anybody’s guess.

Mr Abbott clearly believes young people ought to be independent, unless, of course, they are his young people. Handouts never encouraged anyone to stand on their own two feet, unless of course they are handed out to his children in the form of $60,000 scholarships. If your dad isn’t the Prime Minister, you won’t be offered scholarships nobody else knows about to get you through university, private college, or TAFE,  if you choose to learn instead of earn between the ages of seventeen and thirty. Indeed, the cost of your learning, set to double or triple in the coming years, plus interest, may make it difficult for you to carry the burden of a mortgage as well, so you will be facing extraordinary challenges of the kind we are not used to in Australia, where education has been a right, and not simply a privilege available to the wealthy and powerful.

The matter of Ms Abbott’s security, and the matter of the broken lease are two separate issues. While I sympathise with Ms Abbott’s struggle to carve out her independence, something many of us had to do before we were twenty-four but let’s not carp, surely it is Ms Abbott’s responsibility to fulfil her legal obligations. The lease was signed. The property proved inappropriate after the lease was signed. If this happened to me, or you, we’d be stuck with it or we’d pay the penalty for breaking our agreement. If our dad earned half a million dollars a year, he might help us out with whatever costs we’d incurred, but only if he had political power could we get off scot-free, leaving another out-of-pocket and paying for our irresponsibility.

Mr Abbott insists that families should be off-limits in the political arena. However, he did rely heavily on the presence of his wife and three daughters throughout the election campaign, not least of all to prove he isn’t a misogynist, though I remain unconvinced by that dubious evidence. When politicians’ families benefit from the spouse and parents’ occupation, it is impossible to argue that they should be left out of the fray. They can’t be in it for the goodies, and out of it for the critiques. Ms Abbott is an adult. Her father is making enormous demands on adults of the same age, and much younger.  It is these very demands made by their father that will continue to ensure the Abbott daughters remain under intense scrutiny. The Prime Minister cannot see his daughters favoured, while he subjects the daughters and sons of others to harsh and cruel demands that have the potential to ruin their lives.

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20 Responses to “When your dad is not the PM”

  1. Mayan June 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    As the Tenants’ Union of NSW points out in their blog, it is a matter of law in Victoria that all external windows and doors must have locks. Here’s the link:
    http://tunswblog.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/well-done-frances-abbott-tenant.html

    Like

    • Jennifer Wilson June 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

      I understand landlady offered to fix this, but PM’s daughter requires more security than window locks.

      Like

    • paul walter June 17, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

      Refer to comment below, “Christine Says Hi”.

      Like

  2. baileysmotherBailey's Mother June 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    One imagines that Frances Abbott should have checked her rights to locks on windows and doors before signing the lease, Mayan. If she’s so bright to have won that scholarship on “merit” as her father insists she did then she’s bright enough to be cognizant of her tenancy rights before signing up.

    Like

  3. Christine Says Hi June 16, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    You raise and tease out the very point which most intrigued me about this matter ~ young Abbott is a legal adult, shouldn’t she be legally responsible for signing a contract? Apparently not, if you are the PM’s kiddo.

    Like

  4. karenatcreatingchange June 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Was Peta Credlin paid CoS rates for her advice & support in Frances Abbott’s tenancy appeal? I guess we have to put up with paying the Police…. although it seems ridiculous if the brat is not going to reside in a family residence. How long do we keep paying for “security” for the children of politicians??? Anyway, I digress. The initial article indicated Daddy ran off to Peta (surprise surprise) with the documents to check over. So, how much has that cost Australian Taxpayers? (I doubt that is “normal procedure”) The article states: “At the hearing, Ms Abbott used a security assessment by the Australian Federal Police, sent to the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, to explain why she broke the lease.” http://bit.ly/1lr2K0q

    Like

  5. silkworm June 16, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Princess Frances is a parasite, just like her father.

    Like

    • conor June 17, 2014 at 12:27 am #

      I suggest we look into the employment history and housing arrangements of all children of past prime ministers, just for consistency

      Like

  6. Keitha Granville June 16, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    Do we know if the landlady has been able to pay up her mortgage ? I for one would be happy to contribute to her bills.
    The PM clearly feels that his precious princess doesn’t have to fulfill any of the obligations of any normal human being. She is evidently not intelligent enough to either gain a scholarship to any college without help, and now it seems not even capable of renting a flat on her own. It’s probably best if she just stays at home with mummy and daddy until she can be married off appropriately to somebody extremely wealthy so that she never has to make any of her own decisions and can be left at home in the kitchen with the children.

    Like

  7. conor June 17, 2014 at 12:18 am #

    I wonder if Frances could discuss this with Julia Gillard’s defacto partner’s son who accompanied the “family ” on a paid government trip to indonesia?
    Frankly who gives 2 shits about this sort thing, really, other than to bash the Abbotts?
    Security staff at the Lodge in Canberra were forced to do extra unpaid duty secretly getting Keating’s boyfriend into the Lodge during his tenure.
    Now if Frances pays the poor woman her money can we all get some sleep?

    Like

    • paul walter June 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

      Keating was married to an attractive Dutch airline hostess, but the boyfriend is news..still, better than goats I suppose…

      Conor, the Age of Entitlement is over, except when it pertains to the rich and powerful?

      Refer Keitha Granville’s post, above.

      Like

  8. malbrown2 June 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    I feel sorry for children who have a PM as a parent. It must be very strange and something that was not their choice.

    Like

    • Di Pearton June 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      Many many many many (etc) others more deserving of your sympathy than PMs children!! Look about.

      Like

    • doug quixote June 21, 2014 at 12:54 am #

      Yes, they must tear their shirts and bewail their fates.

      Fuck off, you fool!

      The bitch revels in saying “My dad’s the Prime Minister” – it is a variant on “Don’t you know who I am?!”

      Like

  9. doug quixote June 21, 2014 at 12:51 am #

    Entitlement only exists if your father is a Liberal politician, it seems.

    I wonder how far down the food chain one has to be to not get one’s trotters into the trough?

    Like

  10. knav2013 December 28, 2016 at 12:59 am #

    Seems Frances Abbott only realised she was the Prime Minister’s daughter at the VCAT hearing. From my extensive experience with VCAT, I can honestly say, it doesn’t matter what you signed or what you didn’t sign. At VCaT hearings, everything hinges on outside factors, not the law per se.

    I was staying in an apartment in Preston for 6 months. When it came to extending my tenancy, the landlord sent me a document titled “licence agreement” with lots of unfair clauses. I refused to sign it. Case ended up in VCAT. The VCAT member took one look at the title of the document, and without bothering to go through the document or whether I signed it, declared it a licence agreement. The whole hearing was staged. The questions she asked the landlord’s witness were rehearsed. She didn’t allow me the chance to question the witness, kept interrupting when I spoke, and allowed a solicitor to appear for the landlord. She banded together with the solicitor and ran what seemed a mock trial (but it was very real – as you will see). The landlord’s solicitor even offered to write the written reasons for her. Her “decision” was that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear (rule?) on the case. That same day, I was evicted from the apartment. When I went back to the apartment complex that night my belongings were in the store room, put in cardboard boxes – awaiting collection. There were two appeals to the Supreme Court. One of them ruled that no significant injustice had been caused to allow leave to appeal the VCAT decision.

    I’ve written about my VCAT experience here:

    https://vcatcorruption.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 28, 2016 at 6:03 am #

      knav, that sounds an awful experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      • knav2013 December 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

        Part of me wanted to believe that my experience was a one off. But when this happened, in 2014, I felt, it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

        I can safely say (albeit sadly – because this is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone to go through – hence the blog) that it wasn’t the last time:

        https://www.google.com/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=tSZjWL72OqOT9QWgo4KIBg#q=VCAT&lrd=0x6ad65d4bc6737ac9:0x87b41441cab33635,1,

        The review from 3 months ago in the link above says it all.

        This may sound like a big boast by me…”I was right all along”..Blah..blah.blah. Not so, I’m just saying, always stand-up against injustice and corruption. Never give in. Never. A comment on my blog reads “Don’t be afraid to speak up for your Rights, V/cat will only pay attention when people take a stand in numbers.”.

        If I WERE to have any regrets over going public on this, that comment by itself makes it all worthwhile.

        Liked by 1 person

        • knav2013 December 29, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

          for anyone reading the comment above in one/two/three months from now, the Google review I mentioned is the one by Kate Hitchen 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter. December 29, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

        It sounds a very sick experience, when this person was not even allowed to present a case.

        Liked by 1 person

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