Archive | Abbott, Tony. FORMER Australian Prime Minister RSS feed for this section

A win for the citizens, a fail for the government

2 Aug

Turnbull zips it

 

There’s currently not much from which one might take heart in politics (is there ever?) however, the replacing of Brian Martin as the single commissioner in the Northern Territory Royal Commission into  atrocities against Aboriginal children, perpetrated at the Don Dale facility, is a flickering candle in the current dark night of the citizen soul.

What this development says to me is that there are individuals who will not bend to the will of the LNP federal government, individuals who will listen to discontent and outrage expressed in the community and respond to that, rather than lick the sticky fundaments of our liberal overlords.

Mr Martin had personal reasons as well, which is fair enough. It was clear from the announcement of his commission that he was the wrong man for the job, optically speaking, and Brian Martin is aware of the power of optics to bring a man entirely undone. No matter what, he was never going to come out of that gig unscathed.

I’m not going to do it, he informed Malcolm Turnbull and George Brandis (perhaps not using precisely that arrangement of words, I wasn’t there) leaving them egg-faced, their decisive agile nimble and innovative solution to the Don Dale outrage steaming and useless as a puddle of piss in a snow bank.

There have been rumblings from various elites that no “eminent” Australian will agree to perform public service if this capitulating to the will of the masses keeps up. Cry me a river.

Compare the actions of Brian Martin with those of Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon, who led then PM Tony Abbott’s witch hunt of Bill Shorten via the infamous Trade Union Royal Commission. Heydon became and remains a laughing-stock (all those vacuum cleaner jokes) an obedient slave of the right-wing of the LNP. His Royal Commission produced little of note, and didn’t unduly trouble Shorten. Perhaps Mr Martin noted Heydon’s fate.

The Royal Commission will now be headed by Mick Gooda and Margaret White, a far more satisfactory arrangement.

We probably don’t need too much more evidence of Turnbull’s incompetence, but true to his long-term policy of giving us what we don’t need, the PM keeps up supply.

Social media must be given some credit for the reconstitution of the Northern Territory Royal Commission. Complain about Twitter all you like: there’s no getting away from the fact that public opinion is conveyed so widely and so forcefully through its use, that politicians and elites who ignore the platform do so at their peril.

The resignation of Brian Martin, and the appointment of an Indigenous man and a former Queensland Supreme Court judge is a win for citizens over the disastrously inadequate decision of the LNP government. Take heart.

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Trump de l’oeil

14 Apr

Trompe de loeil

(Trompe de l’oeil is an art technique that creates the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. Literally “trick the eye.”)

That Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s appeal is one-dimensional hardly needs saying, however, what is worth remarking is his ability to deceive supporters into thinking he has depth. Trump makes astoundingly ludicrous statements, but he makes them with the faux moral authority of the extremely wealthy in a world in which the possession of wealth is in itself a signifier of moral substance deserving of respect. As with our own Malcolm Turnbull, if a man or woman manages to accrue enough money, it is assumed that he or she is capable of running a country.

Trump possesses the talent required of all successful propagandists: to make one-dimensional, exclusionary and divisive statements resound with the ring of deep truth, in the style of a painting intended to mislead with a convincing illusion of reality.

As Trump’s popularity rises and rises in the US , a woman can be forgiven for questioning the usefulness of a representative democracy that permits a blatantly disturbed majority the opportunity to determine a country’s governance.

Trump hates women, that is to say, he loves women until we cross him, sometimes entirely inadvertently by not physically presenting as he thinks women ought, and then he hates us. He has unresolved issues with menstruation: he thinks it makes us mentally incapacitated, homicidal, and disgusting as well.

It is actually possible to purchase from a US website panties, or what we more comfortably refer to as knickers to wear during our time of the month, that feature Trump’s face on the crutch so we can bleed on him. I’m conflicted. I get the satisfaction of bloodying Trump’s dial, but at the same time, having that dial nestled against my lady bits? I don’t know. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, she’s on the rag.

As a trompe de l’oeil politician Trump is, sadly, far from unique.  Failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott is an outstanding example of one-dimension striving for the illusion of multiplicity. This explains his bizarre use of three-word slogans, yes it does, one for each dimension, you know I’m right.

I doubt current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull varies greatly in his capacity for perspective, though he claims to be agile, innovative, and what’s the third one?

Trompe de l’oeil has largely fallen out of favour as an art form, except when used ironically on the walls of cramped inner city gardens. Unfortunately, it has become many politicians’ favoured method of operation,  as one after the other they abandon all remaining substance, replacing it with the illusion/delusion of eye-tricking depth.

As Baudrillard would have it, we live in the time of simulation, of references with no referents. Trump is the face of this hyperreality: bleeding on it may well be our only option.

 

 

 

Abbott can’t take rejection. Hide your onions.

28 Mar

 

Abbott Onion Meme

 

In what can only be inspirational news for the ALP, failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced his intention to embark on a DIY election tour of marginal seats. This piece by Paula Matthewson spells out the possible consequences of this decision, none of which are especially enticing from the LNP point of view.

Abbott, it appears, is incapable of dealing with rejection by his party. He simply cannot accept their decision to lose him as leader. He’s lately taken to informing the public that of course he supports the Turnbull government because it’s built on Abbott policies. This claim led in turn to Turnbull’s bizarre plagiarising of a line from the US television series Veep, to the effect that what he signifies as Prime Minister is “continuity with change.” Julia Louis Dreyfus, star of the show, is reportedly “dumfounded” at Turnbull’s appropriation of a slogan writers decided upon solely because of its utter meaninglessness.

Obviously, the continuity with change to which Turnbull refers is his appropriation of Abbott’s policies (continuity) delivered to the people by the new PM whilst wearing a better suit (change).

If the Veep people are ever short of material they could do worse than check out the LNP: Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce threatening to slaughter Johnny Depp’s dogs, Bronwyn Bishop’s penchant for helicopter rides, Tony Abbott’s strange compulsion to publicly consume raw onions, George Brandis and his electrifying description of meta data, please, somebody stop me.

Few would disagree with Abbott’s belief that Turnbull’s government has retained his policies. However, the most relevant question Abbott apparently declines to ask himself is, why did his party get rid of him if it wasn’t about his policies? There had to be a sound reason for them to resort to the trouble and embarrassment of chucking him out, and in the chucking risk the ridicule of being perceived as just like the ALP with its Gillard/Rudd musical chairs.

The LNP is a gift that keeps on giving. Abbott is a gift that keeps on giving. His inability to deal with rejection is a godsend for the ALP. Have you all got your popcorn?

 

LNP plays gutter politics with Safe Schools

17 Mar

Erotophobia

 

The Safe Schools program currently at the centre of right-wing LNP angst was functioning throughout failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s governance, yet not one voice was raised against it until Abbott was ousted, and Turnbull took his place.

After capitulating to his party’s right-wing faction and instigating an inquiry into the program, Turnbull is now faced with the refusal of that faction to accept the inquiry’s findings. Demands for suspension of funding to the program until there is a full parliamentary inquiry into its substance have now been made.

Failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott today signed a letter in support of a parliamentary inquiry. This is in spite of having maintained  complete silence on the Safe Schools program while he was the country’s leader, and in a perfect position, one would think, to take action against a program he considered detrimental to children.

Indeed, one can only accuse the failed PM of dereliction of his responsibilities to the children of this country if he allowed, on his watch, the unquestioning continuation of a program he now claims is extremely destructive.

The LNP is buoyed in its political co-option of children’s sexuality by fundamentalist religious groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby. This group, and those like them, are pathologically afraid of sexual feelings they consider “abnormal,” and sexual questions such as those addressed by the Safe Schools program. This demographic can confidently be labelled as erotophobes.

In a confluence of interests that will have disastrous consequences for young people exploring their sexuality, the LNP and the erotophobes have joined forces to bring about a mutually satisfying result: the withdrawal of Safe School programs and the undermining of the moderate LNP.

None of these men, and I believe the groups are largely male, have the slightest concern for young people who are questioning their sexuality. They are entirely concerned with the promulgation of their own ideology, and they will see others, even children, suffer and die in their deranged pursuit of ideological domination.

No use looking to Turnbull to save us from these forces. The man has all the courage of a dead cod.

 

 

 

Why Abbott’s sex life is my business

6 Mar
Mr & Mrs Abbott

Mr & Mrs Abbott

 

There’s only one circumstance in which I consider the sexual lives of politicians to be my business, and that’s when they legislate about what goes on in other citizens’ sexual lives.

Failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott operates from a platform that is largely based on his personal morality, drawn from Catholic dogma. This morality advocates traditional heterosexual monogamous marriage, and argues fiercely that this is the only circumstance in which children ought to be raised.

Abbott supports the current Marriage Act with the amendment added by John Howard specifically to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

Same-sex marriage will, in Abbott’s view, destroy what he perceives as the “sanctity” of monogamous heterosexual marriage.

Abbott foisted the notion of a plebiscite on same-sex marriage on his party, a completely unnecessary, extremely expensive and likely barbaric exercise in which citizens vote on whether or not other citizens are permitted to legally commit themselves to each other in marriage.

As health minister in the Howard government, Abbott refused Australian women access to the non surgical abortion pill known as RU 486 because his personal morality is offended by abortion. RU 486 had been declared perfectly safe, and was widely used in many parts of the world. Abbott directly interfered in the sexual lives and futures of women who did not wish to have a child, by denying us access to this drug should we need to use it, thus restricting our options in the event of unplanned pregnancy.

Abbott has paraded his wife and his daughters as evidence of his personal morality: he is a traditional, heterosexual married male, and therefore we assume him to be upholding monogamy as a significant value in our society and in his personal life.

Tony Abbott has made it his business to comment on, criticise and exercise legislative control over the sexual practices and commitments of Australians. If he is not living up to the ideals he demands are enforced, if Abbott is himself desecrating the perceived sanctity of monogamous marriage by infidelity with a married woman, I have a right to know about that hypocrisy.

If Tony Abbott would care to lose his interest in controlling the sexual practices of adult citizens, I will be more than happy to lose my interest in his. Until then, everything Tony Abbott does that can be seen to affect the sanctity of the ideals he espouses and imposes is my business, and yours, and everyone else’s.

 

She fed him tenderly, as if he were a baby bird

5 Mar

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In Nikki Savva’s EXPLOSIVE NEW BOOK the author describes a dinner at which then Prime Minister Tony Abbott was observed being fed food from a fork by his then chief of staff, Peta Credlin. Ms Credlin, it’s reported, took the food from her own plate.

Obviously the two of them had a pretty interesting thing going, though it would be more interesting if she’d fed him with her fingers rather than a fork, and then let him suck them.

I’m not doing any in-depth blah de blah about this latest bit of culinary codswallop because I can’t be arsed.

In a week in which Donald Trump told the world he has a GREAT BIG WILLY BIGGER EVEN THAN HIS HAIR, it seems fitting that the next piece of news was Peta and Tony’s food sex, closely followed by the information that Rupert Murdoch married Jerry Hall in London. Let’s hope his wedding night taxes his strength, which will be the only form of taxing Rupert’s experienced in a while.

I’m imagining now a situation in which the LNP loses the coming election, dumps Malcolm, reinstates Tony and Peta and we have the deja vu thingy all over again.

Here is some gratuitous advice for the failed Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs Margaret Abbott, as gleaned from Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry:

When my husband had an affair with someone else I watched his eyes glaze over when we ate dinner together and I heard him singing to himself without me, and when he tended the garden it was not for me. 

I considered my choices.

I could stay and be unhappy and humiliated.

I could leave and be unhappy and dignified.

I could beg him to touch me again.

I could live in hope and die in bitterness

I took some things and left. It wasn’t easy, it was my home too. 

There’s a lesson in that for all of us.

 

 

 

Cherchez la femme! Credlin, and Abbott’s downfall

2 Dec

 

Credlin and Abbott

 

Journalist Peter Hartcher has written an analysis of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s downfall, titled Shirtfronted, and published in five episodes in the Fairfax press this week.

Episode two is all about Peta. Credlin, that is, Abbott’s controversial former chief of staff, who is, practically universally it appears, credited with contributing in a rather spectacular manner to his downfall.

Hartcher describes the relationship between Abbott and Credlin as “co-dependent,”citing the former PM’s “agitation” when separated from Credlin in the most ordinary of ways, such as having to travel in separate cars, or not having her arrive as expected out of a lift. These type of anxieties are more usually associated with that stage of infancy when the baby is becoming aware that its mother is a separate entity and not an extension of its own being, and every separation and absence is regarded by the infant as a catastrophic abandonment of the self that provokes intolerable anxiety.

So I guess Hartcher’s use of the clinical term “co-dependent” is appropriate in the circumstances. It certainly sounds like a psychologically mangled union, and one wonders how Abbott’s wife, Margie, tolerates her husband’s intense and very public emotional involvement with another woman. As another of the symptoms of co-dependency is tolerating and thus enabling a partner’s destructive and self-destructive behaviours, maybe the diagnosis extends to the marriage as well.

Be that as it may, I am conflicted about the criticisms directed towards Credlin by the LNP, journalists and commentators, not because I’ve read anything about Ms Credlin that causes me to feel sympathy for her, or empathy, but because it is impossible to tell in a situation such as this how much of that criticism is to do with her actions, and how much is fuelled by sexism and anti-woman attitudes and resentments. There’s a cohort of males (supported by co-dependent females) who tend to blame women simply because we exist, with our breasts and our vaginas and our sexuality, not to mention our opinions.

This cohort tends to be conservative, religious, controlling, and threatened by anyone who is not them, and many are to be found in political circles as well as in the fourth estate. So while Peta Credlin has by all accounts behaved offensively on many occasions to many people, one has to remember who is narrating events.

Abbott’s extraordinary protectiveness towards Credlin seems to indicate he put her well-being before his own, and that of  his party. She did/does indeed have excessive control over his emotions and his psychology, causing him to blind himself to the consequences of his bizarre loyalty to her.

His need of her, powerful enough to cause him to put at risk the job he’d craved for years, certainly sounds self-destructive, and it must have been particularly galling for his ministers to understand that in any fight, he’d be on Peta’s side, not theirs. You’re just a staffer, Credlin is reminded by Eric Abetz after a rather tumultuous episode, at which Abbott was present. She’ll apologise in her own way, the PM told Abetz, who apparently never noticed if she did.

Then there’s the tearful tantrum Credlin threw over The Australian’s journalist Nikki Savva’s criticism of her, when both she and Abbott  attempted to have Savva sacked as retribution. “I don’t have to put up with this shit!” Credlin reportedly howled.

Personally, I think Abbott would have gone with or without Credlin’s influence, however, their relationship can’t have helped his cause, internally or in the public sphere. What the Credlin factor actually demonstrates is Abbott’s weakness of character: the leader of a country isn’t in the job to prioritise his personal emotional and psychological cravings over the welfare of his party and his country. Abbott did just that, making him even more dangerously untrustworthy all round than he was already.

Abbott’s main concern was always Abbott, and will remain so. Even his protection of Credlin was essentially about himself: he needed her, and had to keep her by his side in order for him to function.

Hopefully, none of this will concern us again to any great extent. He was a most unsuitable leader, who made his personal needs and bizarre ideology central to policy-making, not the needs of the country and its people.

Any PM who can’t stand on his own two feet, as Abbott clearly could not, is bad for the country he leads, and about as far from being adult as anyone can be.

The personal is still and always will be political. Yet we almost always underestimate its influence, to our cost.

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