A political “insider” in Canberra asked me last week: “What is Tony Abbott’s worst nightmare?” While I hesitated, he answered his own question: “The election of Malcolm Turnbull.”
Think about it: Abbott is so consumed by hateful vengeance that he may prefer the election of Labor’s Bill Shorten to that of his nemesis, Malcolm Turnbull.
If true, it illustrates the depth of the sulphurous division within the Liberal Party. There’s a Turnbull faction and an Abbott faction and some in “Abbo’s Resistance” actually favour a Shorten victory.
Why? Because it would prove – for the history books – that the overthrow of Abbott by the party room in September 2015 was a “horrible mistake”.
As far as Abbott’s fevered supporters are concerned their leader’s redemption depends on a Turnbull defeat at this year’s federal election.
The fact that it might be a double dissolution election allowing a victorious Turnbull to rule without hindrance and to change Australia’s social and cultural direction is a prospect that fills them with dread: e.g. a monarch-free republic, marriage equality, constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.
In their heart of hearts, they wish that at the first party room meeting after Turnbull’s defeat, Liberal MPs will restore the budgie-smuggling revenant to the leadership.
Then it will be “business as usual” and Abbott can undermine and destroy Shorten in the same brutal way he dealt with Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.
Bleak nonsense? Turn to Miranda Devine’s column in Rupert Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph: “Professor James Allan, writing last week in The Spectator, urges a vote against the Coalition in the upcoming election because, if Shorten wins, it will teach the Liberal Party a lesson it won’t forget. John Stone [former Nationals senator and head of Treasury] recommended strategic voting by conservatives which would reduce the Coalition to a bare majority.” (DT, 23 March 2016)
Even madder monk
Tony Abbott has devoted the past six months of his post-PM career to getting square with his usurper, Malcolm Turnbull. It is a project which consumes him and defines his obsessive, dogmatic, dark personality.
He has already boasted that if he was still PM he would have won this year’s election. In February he released a long essay to Rupert Murdoch’s flagship paper, The Australian, in which he wrote: “I’m confident we could have won the 2016 election with a program of budget savings and lower tax.”
The full essay was published in the March edition of Quadrant, the crazy right-wing magazine. It also carried a bizarre piece, ‘The Iraqi money scandal: 40 years on’, by Michael Connor giving the ASIO/Murdoch view of the 1975 loans affair.
Quadrant’s editor, John O’Sullivan, has a CV seemingly devised by author Evelyn Waugh of Scoop fame and the creators of Major Dennis Bloodnok of The Goons. He worked for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, edited the right-wing National Review in Washington, spent time as boss of the CIA-funded Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, served as editorial consultant to Conrad Black’s Hollinger Corporation, worked as opinion editor for Murdoch’s London Times and New York Post and more recently has been director of the so-called Danube Institute in Budapest.
O’Sullivan is an ardent Abbott supporter and will help his friend network among the geriatric fans of Thatcher and the phoney gibberer, Ronald Reagan, in London and Washington. Team Abbott’s recruitment drive continues.
This week Abbott rained urine on Turnbull’s election announcement by telling Murdoch’s pay TV channel, Sky News, in an exclusive interview: “Fundamentally, the Turnbull government is seeking election on the record of the Abbott government.” He made the same point three times just in case anyone missed it.
His intervention took centre stage of pre-election coverage – as it was designed to. Abbott’s apologists say his “loyalty” to the Turnbull government is beyond question.
Really? It seems to me that it’s upstaging Turnbull with the same malevolence that Rudd blindsided Ms Gillard during the 2010 election.
The purpose of Abbott’s “exclusives” is to keep his name in front of voters and Liberal MPs. He is sucking oxygen from Turnbull’s campaign and promoting himself.
Has the election become a three-way contest between Turnbull, Abbott and Shorten?
Let’s turn to “social media” to see what it’s saying about the Liberal leadership imbroglio. “Valerie” said the other day: “They have to force him [Turnbull] out. If he loses the election his leadership is over forever. So sink the ship, re-float it with a new leader. Easy.”
“Kathy” was angry too. “Apparently the Liberal Party has morphed into Labor,” she wrote. “Welcome to New Labor, the old Liberal Party is dead. All it needs is burying or cremating, which it will when Turnbull loses the election, but a new Liberal Party will rise from the ashes.”
The newest recruit to the Senate is James Paterson from Victoria, a ferocious right-winger who supports Tony Abbott and loathes the politics of Malcolm Turnbull.
At 28, he is the party’s youngest ever senator. He formerly worked as deputy director of the free-market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, which favours privatisation of the ABC and SBS and governments shedding their responsibilities for health and education and handing them to the private sector.
His inaugural speech was hailed in the Zionist press because he called for Israel’s capital to be shifted from Tel Aviv to the Arab holy city of Jerusalem. Paterson’s blood-soaked provocation would, if taken seriously, ignite civil war.
Another rabid right winger, Tim “Freedom boy” Wilson, an Abbott- appointed $400,000-a-year Human Rights Commissioner, has won pre-selection for the safe Victorian seat of Goldstein previously held by retired trade minister Andrew Robb.
Wilson also spent his formative political career at the Institute of Public Affairs where he became a devotee of free market capitalism and the “Mad Monk”.
Melbourne barrister, author and candid blogger Geoffrey Gibson greeted Wilson’s expected arrival in Canberra with scorn: “It is hard to imagine a better example of why our politics makes us feel ill. Tim will be our new model MP.
“Big head; no brains; never had a real job; neck in trough for life; but just full of bullshit.”
Abbott eats vomit
When Prime Minister Turnbull set out his double dissolution timetable this week, Tony Abbott was on the other side of the world in Ukraine.
The Ukraine regime of billionaire oligarch President Petro Poroshenko paid his fares and accommodation for the Kiev talkfest.
Since scrambling into office in 2014, Poroshenko, known as the “Chocolate King” for the fortune he acquired from his chocolate-making business, has dragged his country through civil war, armed confrontation with Russia and to the brink of World War III in Europe.
Only the restraining influence of US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has held Ukraine’s neo-Nazis and NATO’s anti-Russian revanchists at bay.
Poroshenko’s conference was attended by the reactionary dregs of Europe with not a single serious EU leader in the room. Naturally, proceedings were carried “live” on the Poroshenko-owned TV channel.
Abbott’s presence was a reminder of the leading role he played in March 2014 in building Cold War hysteria over Russia’s support for Crimea’s independence from the ultra-nationalist Ukraine regime.
Abbott wrote a column on his Ukraine visit for Murdoch’s tabloids in which he hailed Poroshenko’s role in “striving to create democratic institutions with a normal market economy”. (DT, 23 March 2016). If he tried, then he’s failed miserably.
But Abbott, the former BA Santamaria acolyte, was in his element mingling with his kind of crowd: refighting Soviet communism (which was dead and buried 25 years ago).
Former US ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst has branded Poroshenko a “disgraced oligarch” while the Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned Ukraine’s strongman for banning 41 journalists from entering his country labelling them “threats to national security”.
There were no reports of Abbott “shirtfronting” Poroshenko over the press ban or the jailing of hundreds of political prisoners. He was too busy prowling Kiev like a mangy dog looking for shiney shoes to pee on.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
– Proverbs 26:11
Quotes of the Week
“We couldn’t care less that a few corporate fat cats insist Britain must stay in the EU” describing them as “donors, cronies and foreigners”. “Is Mr Cameron blind to the public rage against big corporations and bankers since the recession? Times have changed. Buddying up with a few dozen self-interested millionaires to browbeat the little people is not a good look.”
– Editorial in The Sun, owned by billionaire foreigner, phone hacking entrepreneur and serial tax avoider Rupert Murdoch
“I’m proud to say that we have 13,000 contributors in the UK. We don’t pay them, but if I was paying someone to write something because I wanted to get advertising pay, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. So when somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real. We know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.”
– Stephen Hull, editor-in-chief of Huffington-Post UK. Huffington’s Australian partner is Fairfax Media.