Matthew Reddin

The case for a nationwide Abbott boycott

As a nation, we seem to have a bit of a Tony Abbott problem. For whatever reason, we just can’t stop listening to him.

 

 

Tony Abbott was the Prime Minister for close to seven minutes (writer’s embellishment).

His government was an elongated list of incompetence and egregious missteps illustrating how out of touch the man and his government were with the people of Australia. And maybe it is telling about how narrow our priorities are that apparently giving Prince Phillip a knighthood was the final straw. Just think – had that knighthood been given to Dennis Lillee, or Geoffrey Rush, or the broad-shouldered tradie chap from The Block, the Abbott government may still be a thing to this very day. Peerage is, by its very nature, abject nonsense. But get it wrong – on Australia Day, fer Chrissakes – and watch the true blue nation lose its dinky-di mind.

I’d recommend reading The Road to Ruin by Niki Savva – a fairly telling account of how the Abbott government was run, and by whom it was run. Now, even if that piece is speculative at best, and many would assume that Savva’s connections and history paint a slanted portrait swayed against Abbott and his ilk, it stuns me to this day that the nation could so resoundingly reject the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government to replace it with the one it did. But that’s neither here nor there. I have issues with the ALP separate to all those shenanigans, and the sad fact is that until someone figures out how to reanimate the corpse of Ben Chifley, I’ll just keep whining from the peanut gallery, humming Billy Bragg songs to myself.

Abbott’s ousting was a blessing for those of us who want competence in government. I accept the fact that my team’s not always going to win, and by now they’ve honed “not winning” to a fine art. At the end of the day, I just want the government to be well-run, efficient and do the right thing for the most people. I live, as it happens, in an ideological dreamland. So Malcolm Turnbull comes along, stages a coup d’état, and I was actually thinking at the time it could be the thing that kept the ALP out of government for a generation. A sensible, articulate centrist in the Lodge. Ticks a lot of the right boxes for a great, white, essentially conservative, middle class nation.

Abbott, on his way out, doles out some plebeian, self-congratulatory balloon juice about no sniping, no backstabbing, and if you believed then, or believe anything to this day that the man says as being informed by anything other than his own personal delusions, then there’s a bridge in Sydney that I’m keen on selling you. Ever since his downfall, Abbott has been chipping away at Fortress Turnbull, assuming that if it worked – eventually, albeit briefly – for Kevin Rudd, then it should work for him.

Perhaps he knows and doesn’t care, or doesn’t believe it, because he doesn’t believe in science, and polling is a science. No matter how many times Malcolm Turnbull trips over his own dick, Tony Abbott’s never going to be PM again.

Problem there is that Rudd was inexplicably popular with the masses, whereas Abbott is (to borrow an all-time favourite movie quote) about as popular as an overturned truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory. He must know this, or perhaps he knows it and doesn’t care, or doesn’t believe it, because he doesn’t believe in science, and polling is a science. He keeps popping up; he is AusPol’s answer to the turd that won’t flush. And no matter how many times Malcolm Turnbull trips over his own dick, Tony Abbott’s never going to be PM again.

But still, he’s always on the television. He’s one of the ugly faces of the marriage equality “debate”. He is, has always been and will forever be a talking head for the fossil fuel industry. The latest brain fart to emanate from him is a claim that a rise in global temperature, if it happens, is a good thing, because people die in the cold.

I mean… irrefutable scientific conclusions… global catastrophes… people dying because of heatwaves… there’s actual data… you can’t argue with facts…

I can’t. I just… I… I can’t.

Who benefits from saying this nonsense? Andrew Bolt hears this and his Viagra gets put away for another night as being surplus to needs. Alan Jones, too. The seething cesspool of fetid ghouls paid to spew out reactionary, neo-con word vomit at the Murdoch press seems to treat his every doorstop as manna from heaven. And we, the public, keep paying attention. Peta Credlin, who Niki Savva would have us believe was the power behind the throne, has her own forum on Sky News (which is apparently a thing) and in the NewsCorp papers, and spins every last thing the man says and does as being beyond the comprehension of the more progressive branch of the party. The ones who don’t eat raw onions like slack-jawed yokels.

So I’d suggest we stop feeding the beast. Turn the other way every time he starts blathering about how windfarms are an eyesore, or that George Pell is a very fine man, indeed. Or how the postal survey to allow Barry and Roger to get married is somehow harming Australian families and bolstering political correctness (or, as it’s known in my circles, “basic human decency”). Just turn the other way. The fourth estate could do very well to do the same.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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