In hindsight, Tony Abbott probably wishes he took a holiday on Monday and didn’t turn up to work all week. He’s had a shocker, especially on Wednesday and Thursday, as reported by Barry Cassidy on The Drum. Some people might choose to see his performance on ABC 7:30 as anomaly in an otherwise successful run as opposition leader. Perhaps Lisa Wilkinson’s interview on Channel 9 was another anomaly?
It could be argued that the historically soft treatment of Abbott by the mainstream media is now causing his downfall. When a politician is challenged on a daily basis, they get stronger, smarter and better at finding the right answer at the right time. Abbott proved, when challenged by Sales and Wilkinson, that he had nothing. Flustered, defensive and confused. No three-word slogan could hide his ineptitude. Conversely, Gillard, who has been constantly challenged by the media since becoming Prime Minister, produced a calm, calculated and consistent performance in a marathon press conference on Thursday. And Abbott couldn’t even be bothered watching this conference, or reading the transcript later.
It could also be argued that Abbott’s terrible week was the inevitable outcome of an unintelligent campaign waged against a successful Prime Minister. His strategists have backed themselves into a corner on several policies. The carbon price was, according to Abbott, meant to wreck the economy. Now that it hasn’t, he has to drop this line completely. The NBN was meant to be a complete waste. But people want faster broadband, and if they don’t get it, it will now be Abbott’s fault. The mining tax was apparently meant to reduce investment in a booming industry. But the postponed Olympic Dam project Abbott claimed was put off because of the mining tax, is a project exempt from this tax that only includes coal and iron ore. (Coal and iron ore projects continue to grow, bringing record investment). Craig Thomson or Peter Slipper were meant to bring down the government. But now all anyone is talking about is Kathy Jackson (whose partner, Michael Lawler, is friends with Abbott) and James Ashby, whose sleaze is rubbing off on Brough, Pyne and Abbott. Gillard was meant to be untrustworthy and a liar. But what has she lied about? Abbott is the one showing himself to be a pathological liar – did he read the report or not?
In my view, both the above points are contributors to Abbott’s woes this week. But he has a much larger problem, one which I don’t think he’s going to be able to fix. This problem is his conceited belief in his own infallibility. He genuinely believes he was born to lead. He thinks that because he was born into a privileged life, he has innate advantages over anyone who was born ‘below him’. You see this attitude a lot in white men of Abbott’s age, who were born with silver spoons in their mouths, educated at elite schools, given everything in life without learning how to really fight for something, or to compromise to achieve success. The worst part is, people like Abbott don’t even think of themselves as lucky. They think they’ve somehow ‘earned’ their success, through the quality of their ‘breeding’. But in my experience, these are exactly the type of people who don’t have what it takes to compete. Abbott never had to be all that intelligent, he never had to have charisma or a likable personality. He says things that he thinks are perfectly normal, which deeply offend large sections of the population.
Most of the commentary around Abbott’s pathetic interview on 7:30 this week has centered around his admission that he didn’t read the BHP report he had been commenting on all day. But there was another question that showed Abbott’s true colours:
LEIGH SALES: Do you – I’m asking you though, not about the Government. I’m asking: do you accept that it’s legal to come to Australia to seek asylum by any means – boat, plane – that it is actually legal to seek asylum?
TONY ABBOTT: I think that people should come to Australia through the front door, not through the back door. If people want a migration outcome, they should go through the migration channels.
LEIGH SALES: That’s an answer to the question if I asked you: how do you think people should seek asylum?, it’s not an answer to the question: is it legal to seek asylum?
TONY ABBOTT: And Leigh, it’s the answer I’m giving you because these people aren’t so much seeking asylum, they’re seeking permanent residency.
It’s language like ‘the back door’ and the suggestion that people arriving by boat are somehow trying to ‘cheat’ the system to get permanent residency, that shows who Abbott really is at his core. He has no empathy with the plight of desperate people who are risking their lives to escape unimaginable terror. He’s never been desperate or scared. He’s never had to make a tough decision, so why would we, as a country, let him make tough decisions on our behalf?
Abbott wants power because it will make him feel good about himself. He doesn’t give a stuff about Australia. He’s not a leader. He’s a fraud. With a year until the next election, I hope that more Australians see him for who he really is. His success in life, to use his own phrase, arrived ‘through the back door’. The back door of a mean, petty, privileged life.
Abbott’s strategy was to generate a quick, effortless slide into the Lodge (errr Kirribilly House like his slimy idol) via a couple of bi elections and cowing the PM and govt. That has clearly not worked and the govt will run for a full term and is picking up support (if not directly from Lib supporters yet) and Abbott should have changed tack once the Carbon Price and MRRT Bills passed the Senate. He still has not changed tack and is looking more and more outdated and old and is using botox! When will the toupee arrive to hide his baldness?
I’ve wondered whether he was being wilful or just ignorant when he consistently uses that word ‘illegal’. Another part of his answer said that asylum-seekers had passed through safe countries to get here. They are not safe countries!
His speech in Tasmania this morning tried to convince the audience that what he cares about is the country. If that were the case he wouldn’t be constantly talking the economy down. If he were genuinely interested in the economy, he would know that uncertainty is very damaging for potential investment and wouldn’t be talking about repealing every major reform that has been carried out.
This morning in Tasmania he attempted to give people some policies? 5there was no mention of any of the various carbon measures he’s already talked of – now he is going to scrap the carbon tax and create a green army to march and clean up the environment. Perhaps the word ‘ignorant’ is inadequate.
Victoria, your points on “Born to Rule” is exactly why I came to Australia to escape Thatcherism and BTR . Abbott makes my stomach turn Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2012 00:39:40 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
“But he has a much larger problem.” Yes indeed. Abbot’s symptoms suggest that he is a sociopath. They’re much more common in politics than elsewhere because compulsive lying is not a handicap there.
Those who know Abbott better tha I might care to comment on these identifying markers of sociopathy:
Glibness and Superficial Charm
Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
Incapacity for Love
Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.
Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.
Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.
Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.