Tony Abbott, horses mid stream and musical chairs

23 Jan

Changing horses mid stream


I’m most interested to see what the LNP do with Prime Minister Tony Abbott come the next federal election. He’s been conspicuously absent in recent state election campaigns, presumably because nobody thinks he can do them any kind of good with his presence. So what on earth will his party do with its leader when we troop off to vote for our country’s next government?

Abbott subjected himself to some self-harm yesterday as he argued his case for the dangers involved in changing leaders during a government’s first term. Citing the epic game of musical chairs played by the ALP government during the Julia Gillard – Kevin Rudd leadership saga, Abbott expressed the opinion that it’s certain death to switch horses mid-stream. His party has the sense to know this, he believes, and so his leadership is secure. The country can go to the dogs and the less well-off can struggle and starve, but hey, I’m secure in my job, folks.

I know I’ve mixed metaphors, but I sort of like the image of chairs, music, dogs, streams and horses in the middle of them. It makes as much sense as anything else in our politics.

It’s hard to imagine that changing leaders could do the LNP government any more harm than staying with the one they’ve got. I suspect many people would be hugely relieved and congratulate them on their common sense if they took that step.

The dangers of succumbing to the idée fixe that because it was so damaging for the ALP to change leaders it will be equally damaging for the LNP, are many. They include an ignorance of the significance of context: the two situations are quite different in the broad perspective, the  perspective that is most apparent to voters. Rudd was an extremely popular leader who was to all appearances ousted unjustly and in a manner that outraged much of the electorate. Practically everyone has some grievance against Abbott, and many just hate him because he is.

There may be similarities in the in-house view, the view apparent to political tragics rather than more broadly, of party discontent with a leader who is perceived as out of touch and chaotic, and perhaps even a tad despotic, if leaks of discontent are anything to go by. There’s an enlightening piece on these matters by Paula Matthewson here.

What we see at the moment is a leader who appears increasingly weakened by strife, both endogenous and exogenous. Tony Abbott never seems less than strained. As we used to say when we lived on Bougainville Island, we have two seasons, wet and wetter and so it is with Abbott, he is strained and more strained, but I don’t believe I’ve seen the man comfortable with himself since his days in opposition when he raged across the table at the Labor government.

For mine, they should let him keep his job. The ALP needs all the help it can get, and Tony Abbott has to be one of the opposition’s best helpers.

If Abbott gave a stuff about anyone other than himself, he’d step down, citing ill -health or some other face-saving gibberish, and give his party a better chance at a second term. Otherwise, come the next election campaign they’re going to have to lock him in a cellar till it’s over, because the man mostly nauseates everyone, as far as I can tell.



23 Responses to “Tony Abbott, horses mid stream and musical chairs”

  1. unsimplelife January 23, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    Interesting. I must say as much as i dislike Tony, i don’t think a change of leadership midterm is the answer. It was certainly not the answer for Labor.

    I do think the recent few years in federal politics raises another question though. The world, the media, social media are all having a substantial impact of the game of politics, and the polls. Perhaps a revisit of what exactly a single term of government is needs to be revisited.

    Perhaps a term of 3-4 years is just too long in the modern age.

    I am probably just playing devils advocate here, but i thought i would put in my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 9:19 am #

      I don’t know the answer, but I think governments are becoming increasingly secretive and restricting access to politicians that isn’t sanitised first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • unsimplelife January 23, 2015 at 9:31 am #

        “I know politicians are gonna be judged on everything they say, but sometimes, in the heat of discussion, you go a little bit further than you would if it was an absolutely calm, considered, prepared, scripted remark, which is one of the reasons why the statements that need to be taken absolutely as gospel truth is those carefully prepared scripted remarks.” -Tony Abbott

        Sums it up pretty well i think. Totally agree though, government should be as transparent as possible. But has there been a real shift toward secrecy, or have we just become better at identifying when we are being lied to?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. paul walter January 23, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    If others are harmed, it is of no consequence, but when it applies to Abbott, it becomes a moral
    I could wonder, what IS the going rate for devil’s advocate just now, but a look at Abbott tells me the wages of sin may come from come-uppance and a fall. I just want to live to dance on Urquhart’s grave.


  3. paul walter January 23, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Hmmm..dont wish for another what I wouldnt wish for myself?

    I wouldnt wish anyone harm per se. I have had for some time a sense that the reactionary modernists, functioning under the direction exclusively of anger and prejudice, appear to have been destructive of the lives of all sorts of other people through studied neglect and at worse a taste for cruelty.

    I ‘d- inadvertantly of course- possibly feel less regretful of grief coming to Abbott than I would many.


  4. cartoonmick January 23, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    They have done so many things which go against the grain of the common decent Aussie. They have ticked just about every “wrong” box they have stumbled across.
    Abbotts strength was his ability as an attack dog, which he did well as leader of the opposition, but now he is in a “defend” position where he must justify his Gov’t actions, many of which are unrealistic.

    The quality of our pollies has declined over the last 4 decades and his mob is doing nothing to halt the decline. The opposition is not offering much in the way of an alternate Gov’t.
    Things are crook now with the future looking grim, unless we can elect a truckload of Tony Windsors.

    Why don’t we have many good quality pollies right now???

    This cartoon may put some light on that mystery . . . . .


    Liked by 1 person

  5. lulu2617 January 23, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    Reblogged this on My Daily Read and commented:
    But for the immense damage being perpetrated by Tony Abbott on our country, I’m happy for him to stay on — it will more likely banish the LNP off the Australian political centre stage for decades!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jan Dobson January 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    For me, the disturbing thread from the ‘will he stay, or will he be pushed out’ discussion is, who will replace him? Who would be an acceptable alternative?

    I’ve lost faith with Turnbull and, more importantly, he’s reported to be actively disliked. One thing the LNP must know is that white anting is a recipe for disaster.

    Hockey has shown he hasn’t the intellectual vigour.

    Julie Bishop didn’t appear to have a handle on finances when in the alternative Treasurer role and that’s an important prerequisite for a PM.

    McFarlane? Looking at his website, I’m not even sure he’s a Liberal.

    Robb could be an option, because surely Pyne isn’t. In fact, I had forgotten about him until I was counting on my fingers.

    Dutton? Hunt? … Morrison? *shivers* No words could convey the horror of that thought.

    It’s a cursed chalice. It’s the policies that have infuriated the voters, not just the delivery, but there must be many in the party who support them and will fight any softening.

    Reap what you sow, LNP and I’ll stand back enjoying your angst but weeping for my country.


    • Jennifer Wilson January 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

      Oh, perfectly put, that last sentence.

      I have no idea who could possibly be a “good” LNP PM. Maybe Susan Ley will evolve?


  7. paul walter January 24, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    Will resist the bait as to Ley and the need to be “good” and question the time frame- it took half a billion years for humanity to evolve out of sponges and jelly we have the time, as to the honorable member?


  8. doug quixote January 24, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    Abbott should “feel the need to spend more time with his family”, if he wasn’t a psychopathic narcissist, that is.

    But since he is, he’ll do what Rudd, a kindred spirit, did and require to be extirpated.

    Schadenfreude, anyone?



  1. Abbott’s future: lose-lose | No Place For Sheep - February 7, 2015

    […] in their first term. This is a spurious argument. The two situations are entirely different, as I’ve argued here. It is an indication of the limitations of the conservative hive mind that nobody seems willing or […]


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