What a week. Tony Abbott, our fifth Prime Minister in five years, gone. A foreign visitor would understandably ask why this revolving door, and we would equally understandably say in Tony’s case, the wish of the people has simply prevailed.
Or my wish at least.
There is no doubt in my mind that Tony Abbott is a good man and that he has always wanted the best for Australia. But also to my mind, he has a character flaw; an in your face “I will get my way” attitude. He presents as a very unattractive pugilist.
To give a simple example of this is Tony’s ever present blue tie, his badge of honour. Appreciate that he wore one every day he was Prime Minister – and before. Nobody does that unless they are making a clear point.
For him it could be one or possibly two points.
First up, maybe he was staring down his opposition in Labor. Julia Gillard almost dared him to do it with her famous reference to the prospect of a government led by Liberal men. She said (consider) ‘a prime minister – a man in a blue tie – who goes on holidays to be replaced by a man in a blue tie. A treasurer, who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie, to be supported by a finance minister – another man in a blue tie”. Tony has delivered on this vision – every day.
The second reason he may wear the blue tie is it represents his conservative side of politics – his badge of honour. If so then Tony was creating a divide, an ‘us and them’ culture.
Either way the blue ties are a statement to the world but it’s not a positive statement. It’s the display of an attitude that has not served Australia well.
Take a look at the facts
To move away from perhaps the petty considerations of the colour of a tie, consider these two facts. Almost from the day Tony became Prime Minister we have been antagonising Indonesia, our nearest neighbour and one of our most important trade and strategic partners. No wonder they were first to congratulate Malcolm Turnbull on his appointment and in so doing did not mention the name of Tony Abbott.
Also consider Bronwyn Bishop in her role as Speaker of the House (as reported in Frank & Earnest 10 April). Tony Abbott appointed her to the traditionally bipartisan position and she delivered (and he defended) a stunning 319 rulings against Labor in debate against just five negative rulings against the Government MPs, an unheard of ratio.
History has now revealed the level of cynicism that the Abbott led government, or Mr Abbott, held towards these parliamentary traditions.
And the people could see it for what it was.
The polls show that the people did not harbour bad feelings to the Liberals; they came flooding back on Mr Abbott’s departure. It (sadly) was the man. A man who has given his all for the country, plus a bit too much of his darker side.
But he has gone and we can now move on. We wish him well, genuinely. But we are pleased to have his era behind us.
That is my opinion.