There were so many slogans, I was drunk by 1.15.
We cut the carbon tax! Drink!
We stopped the boats! Drink!
We’re building the roads! Drink!
Margie and the girls! Drink!
Tony Abbott’s National Press Club speech had as its not so subtle leitmotif blaming Labor for everything. In other words the man still hasn’t got out of electioneering mode and into governing mode. Someone had obviously instructed him to get a poke in at Labor at every opportunity, and that is just the kind of instruction he can follow.
How long can a government blame a previous government for the difficulties of governing? Is there a time limit? Please, somebody, make one, because this long since became ridiculous.
One of the many things I find intolerably offensive about the Prime Minister is his insensitive and egotistical penchant for co-opting awful tragedy into his autobiographical narrative. So we had his self-described “brave” captain’s call about the shooting down of MH17 over the Ukraine brought in as evidence of why he can’t undertake never to make another captain’s pick. He subjected us to a little homily about the nasty rebels and the stricken families, as an example of why a captain must always be allowed to have a pick. He’d actually been asked about the knights and danes, as Senator Jacquie Lambie likes to call them. Great Danes. Danish people. Who knows. Abbott can confer an honour on anything with a pulse.
We had the role he’d played in the release of journalist Peter Greste from his Egyptian prison, and how the PM had been so warmly thanked by the relieved Greste family on the phone this morning. Abbott had high praise for Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, with whom he and his foreign minister Julie Bishop negotiated Greste’s release. He said.
There were the usual promises not to lead us into chaos, as did the ALP Drink! with party unrest and leadership changes. We are on a journey together, said the PM, leaning earnestly into the lectern. This is a new year that will be very different from last year with more consultation Drink! and more collegiality Drink! he promised.
I don’t recall the journo who went to the trouble of adding up the number of times since the election that Abbott has promised more consultation and collegiality, but it was something like fifteen or sixteen. Why should the backbenchers start believing him now, asked the journo, quite reasonably. Ah, well, look, lip smacking, Drink!
Abbott then contemptuously wrote off the entire Queensland election result by saying voters had favoured the ALP over the LNP in “a fit of absent-mindedness.” That should endear him to them come the federal election.
Oh, look, fuckit, if you want to know all the details there’ll be a transcript somewhere.
Abbott’s energy levels were high until the last ten minutes, when he began to visibly tire and I wondered if the drugs were wearing off. Much of his message was directed at his own party, reminding them of the dangers of division and visible unrest. The Australian people had elected both the government and the Prime Minister, he claimed, which is codswallop, we don’t elect the PM in the Westminster system, the party elects its leader. If voters had control of electing the PM, Abbott would never have got the job. He did, however, make the rather convoluted argument that once a government has been elected the voters have elected the PM. Drink!
Oh, and the PPL is in cold storage. Drink!