Abbott’s future: lose-lose

7 Feb



Prime Minister Tony Abbott, former Oxford boxing blue, is up against the ropes in the biggest fight of his political life, a fight he can only lose.

He could of course do as John Gorton did, vote against himself and run for the deputy leadership, but Abbott does not strike me as a man capable of voting against himself.

Should his party dump him as leader on Tuesday his losses are obvious, and all that remains to be seen is what he does with them.  Retire from politics? Stay as a back bencher? If so, what kind of back bencher: obstructionist and vengeful, supportive and calm?

Given his powerful desire to stay where he is, any of these options are humiliating smacks in the face over a prolonged period with the equivalent of dozens of stinky wet fish. Quite a come down for the bloke who threatened to shirtfront Putin.

Should he retain his position it will be as a mortally wounded leader who can only limp, bleeding and bandaged though the rest of his term.

To a great extent Abbott has set himself up for this latter option, by haranguing colleagues and backbenchers as to the need for the LNP not to become the ALP and strand the country in similar chaos and angry bewilderment by changing leaders 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 able to differentiate between the Rudd/Gillard leadership woes, and the current LNP leadership woes, and it may well be their undoing that they can’t.

The false dilemma functions as a powerful argument for Abbott, and some would claim the only one he has.

The chances are few MPs will genuinely embrace retaining Abbott, but the majority may well embrace the desire not to be seen as resembling the ALP.  They will also be concerned at the prospect of the ongoing difficulty of dealing with the buckets of mockery and scorn they poured on the ALP being thrown right back at them, particularly in an election campaign. The threat of members losing their seats may not yet be great enough for them to throw Abbott out, and they may be inclined to give him another chance in an effort to avoid the appearance of Labor-like dysfunction.

The vote will not be for Abbott, but against the appalling prospect of being seen as like the ALP, mirroring the sentiments of the electorate who gave the Abbott government power in the first place as a reaction to its enraged disappointment with the Rudd/Gillard shenanigans.

If Abbott stays on as a wounded leader, this will not work in the government’s favour as far as the electorate is concerned. We do not want a wounded leader. We want a strong, competent, active, engaged, visionary leader. Abbott has so far shown no signs of being such a leader, either to the electorate or to his party. The leadership challenge in itself damages an already seriously damaged Prime Minister, and the LNP will have to weigh up the costs to them of keeping him, as opposed to the costs of cutting him loose.

Either way Abbott will have to personally bear the brunt of the consequences, and this may well be the only act of real leadership the man ever performs, albeit entirely involuntarily.


30 Responses to “Abbott’s future: lose-lose”

  1. paul walter February 7, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Look, I understand how he feels.

    When I was young I wanted to be Dennis Lillee, or Alex Jesaulenko or Jimmy Page.

    This wasn’t to be be my fate. I wanted to be the swashbuckler, but destiny has had me a Charlie Brown.
    Anyway, too many of my hero types are pushing up daisies or creaking about with athritis and I’m not. Being Charlie Brown is the price I’ve had to pay for surviving an uncertain future when younger to some sort of age.

    Tony Abbott needs to come down off the roof of his kennel, realise the Red Baron died ninety years ago and also begin an adjustment to reality.

    He is Quixotic in a sense not shared by the namesake that posts here. The Monk is in a timeless mode, a limbo that precludes any real engagement with life- an unconscious waiting within some sort of slightly spikey universal womb, like a drunk at the wheeel of a high powered car.

    Free of his self imposed tutelage, surely he would be, in the end, a happier fellow? He wrestles his Laocoon daily, but this mock heroism is not an edifying sight to observers who comprehend that in the end he has reduced himself to a stupefied, exhausted, spent spectacle.

    It would be a kindness for us all to see the end of him as PM, now he is not only a burden to himself, but those around him and the community at large and unless he lacks a conscience, the burden of incompetence and harm done others, no matter how well intentioned, will eventually pray on his conscience to the point of undoing him.

    And if there is a pathological problem, we must surely hope for his removal, as we hope for the removal of matches from a small boy playing in a field of dry stubble on a hot summer’s day, for the sake of all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 11:14 am #

      Ah! Beautifully said PW. Beautifully said.

      Liked by 2 people

      • sandrasearle February 7, 2015 at 11:59 am #

        Ah yes Jennifer, but you see the man is also trying to foist the most regressive policies on us. He is living in a bubble of yesteryear ideology, one that definitely does not serve us well in today’s atmosphere (no pun intended). He is damned no matter what he does or tries to do.
        All I see at the moment is that if they put Turnbull in as PM & he still has the rest of the front bench around him, people are still going to react the same way because as I said before its the policies we don’t like. We had good ones from the ALP but these have all been dismantled by the LNP. These policies could have been modified by them especially with decline in the economy, but they were trashed by the most destructive government led by an aggressive, pugilistic man who cannot or will not be able to change, no matter what he says he wants to do. He lied to us to get into power & will do a say anything to keep himself in the top job.
        Personally, I would like him to stay a little longer, but fear that the longer he stays, the more damage to our once wonderful country he is making.
        The question I would like answered is whether it is time for Shorten to come out swinging.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

          Yes, I agree with your summary except I fear Turnbull will win back the small l liberals who have been alienated by Abbott.

          I would also like to see Abbott stay as leader, and foil this coming spill motion. He may well, the rules are unwritten.

          As for Shorten – I am hopeful he has hidden reserves so far barely tapped. Hopeful.

          Liked by 1 person

          • sandrasearle February 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

            I agree with you regarding Turnbull winning back the small libs, so its up to all of us that don’t like LNP policies to keep reminding people who have short term memories just how the man (Turnbull) has voted to the party line. He has gone along with every destructive thing that TA & the rest of the mob have tried to do.
            Turnbulls own portfolio of the destruction of a high speed internet means that he really only cares about saving his own skin just like the rest of them.
            I’m hopeful that Shorten can keep his powder dry until the right time comes for him to fire the right policies right back at the LNP & take us all back to a more sensible caring progressive country again.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

              I have a theory that Turnbull wants to be PM to complete his portfolio of achievements, law, finance, politics. So he’s willing to take the poisoned chalice of LNP leadership, whereas someone like Morriosn, who I believe has leadership ambitions, will bide his time rather than sip from the poisoned cup

              Liked by 1 person

              • sandrasearle February 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

                You may be right Jennifer & yes Morrison absolutely wants the top job, but the people of this country just don’t like him either. His last portfolio has proved that he could be even more hated than Abbott if that is possible.

                Liked by 1 person

                • paul walter February 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

                  You are talking of the fearful mangling of public broadcasting, sandrasearle?

                  No Latteline during the tory leadership shennanigans- how convenient.


              • paul walter February 7, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

                In other words, he is another one who can’t walk past a mirror without stopping to gaze at the reflection.

                Liked by 2 people

                • sandrasearle February 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

                  Think they are all a bit like that Paul. The smirk on this face watching Abbott make that awful speech at the Press Club on Monday says to me that he’s another ‘wannabe’.

                  Liked by 1 person

          • Marilyn February 8, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

            Turnbull is as big a wrecker but richer. He wrecked the republican debate, claimed Howard had broken the heart of the country and then joined the fucking Howard government.

            He tried to destroy Rudd and Swan with lies told by a lying spy, Erica Betz and George Brandis and lost out on UteGate, now he has destroyed the NBN and brought in FraudBand instead.

            He’s awful.

            Liked by 1 person

    • doug quixote February 7, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

      Quixotic only in the sense that he is detached from reality, and lost in a world that never existed.

      The true Quixote will tilt at the evil great ones and the evildoers wherever they are found and whatever the cost, and point out their faults even if few others agree.

      This Quixote has campaigned tirelessly against the incompetent pyschopathic liar known as Tony Abbott for many years; the media and the voting public are finally seeing what I have seen for years.

      As King Edward 1 put it, “A man does good business when he rids himself of a turd.”

      Time for Abbott to go.

      Do it, Looters Party; “’tis a far, far better thing than you have ever done before.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • olddavey February 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Bugger, I thought I was Jimmy Page, but it was you getting in my way!!
      Top comments, PW.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. thevenerable1 February 7, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    The bastard hasn’t the faintest idea about responsibility of any kind. He is totally ego-driven and will be for the rest of his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

      I can’t argue with that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thevenerable1 February 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

        No: you have MJUCH BETTER things to argue about. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn February 8, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

        Our sleeping MSM shoved the bully down our throats by pretending that Rudd was the most disorganised control freak ever born without ever realising that is an oxymoron.

        The people of Warringah must simply be so lazy and rich they vote for a bullying thug to commit genocide on the poor and demonise and sledge dying asbestos victims.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Team Oyeniyi February 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    If the LNP keep him, all it’ll prove to the electorate is the LNP don’t have the backbone to make the really necessary decisions.

    Like kids at school, they don’t want to be seen as the unpopular kid (Labor) or the nerdy kid.

    In this case they have no choice but to make an adult decision and cut Abbott loose.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

      He has control of the spill motion process, as I understand it. He can refuse a secret ballot and insist on show of hands which would radically alter the outcome. Interesting times.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Team Oyeniyi February 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

        The party room either has backbone or it doesn’t. The issue here is Abbott is likely the vengeful type who would punish those who voted against him in an ooen show of hands if he retained the leadership. Psychological blackmail.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson February 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

          Yep, exactly. Too much at risk for show of hands to give a genuine result, I think. I doubt there’s much backbone in that lot.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. zerograv1 February 7, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Regardless of whether Abbott calls for a public showing of hands or not I think he is strongly relying on the spill motion failing. At that point discussion about potential replacement leaders becomes moot since no vote is then taken if the spill motion fails. My tip is that although there are rumblings of discontent in the party room the roar isnt quite loud enough for a spill motion to succeed, no seats are threatened or Ministries because the election is so far off and polls of public approval can be very easily dismissed in the starry eyed optimism thats things will only get better for the LNP. OK I didnt say that’s what I think will actually happen, only that the party room belief remains strong enough that it will. So no spill vote is my tip.

    Liked by 2 people

    • paul walter February 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

      Agree, zerograv..slippery slope. Remember the down fall of Margaret Thatcher. Once a precedent is set a finite distinction emerges that shadows the incubent in a way not previously considered and that an end can be nigh is established is established as the dominant principle.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 8, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      I agree with you PW & Zerograv – I doubt there will be a spill, but the attempt will be corrosive, and there will be another attempt, at which time the blood will really flow.



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