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Tony Abbott: a desperate choice for desperate times

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott

A buffeting, unpleasant, nor-westerly came in off the sea as Jesse Dingo and I picked our way around the rocks on Possum Point. With Joadja, we had driven down to the old cottage for a few days, as much to get away from the election campaign as anything.

I do not much like bright windy weather: the ceaseless movement of the wind in the trees, the sunlight flashing on the choppy waves. It’s too much stimulus for a nocturnal marsupial brain – all that colour and movement is the enemy of quiet reflection.

Jesse, on the other hand was wildly stimulated.

“Why do you so love swimming for sticks?” I asked him.

“Because it’s in my nature, I guess,” he replied. “Hey, chase, catch, kill, bring it in. I dunno, I’ve never thought about it.”

“It’s a good thing you never went into politics,” I said.

They say Abbott will win comfortably, at least in the Reps. They say the best that can be hoped for is that he doesn’t get a majority in the Senate. That the 12th century man could end up as the country’s prime minister says a lot about the failure of our democracy to face up to the challenges of the 21st century. It will be a decision by a small deluded majority to ignore the burning issues confronting humanity in favour of some desperately mistaken view of their own interests.

I didn’t like Gillard at all. If you have any historical perspective, it’s hard to like somebody who’s slogan – ‘work, family, nation’ – was the same as Marshall Petain’s; somebody who faked being of the left for years, all the while being a staunch social conservative. And Rudd? Well, marginally to the left of Gillard, but not by much. His champions say he’s the best “retail politician” in Australia. The best salesman is what they mean. It’s come to that.

But Abbott is in a class of his own.

Abbott is so dumb, he doesn’t believe human society has anything to do with global warming. He probably doesn’t even accept that it’s happening, but that’s probably because he’s so consumed by his own mindless ambition that science, evidence and consequences are of no interest to him.

And Abbott is so dumb he doesn’t accept the scientific evidence that the world’s oil and gas supply has moved into permanent, terminal, crisis; a man who hasn’t noticed that everybody is driving less – that they want to drive less – that they need to drive less, because they can’t afford the spiralling price of petrol.

The man is so dumb that – in spite of the drift of even conservative state governments towards pro-public transport policies – he says any government he led would buy out of funding public transport infrastructure in favour of another round of motorway construction.

Here’s a man who, when he gets into office, will remove whatever obstacles to coal mining and gas fracking that remain; a man who’ll step up the export of greenhouse gases to the world in a way that will top even Labor’s shameful record.

And then of course there’s the fact that he’ll push hundreds of thousands of people out of work, and no doubt lower the dole as well. This’ll come from a man who’s spent the last several years donning hard hats and high-visibility gear and pretending he’s the worker’s friend. Hell, as soon as he gets into office, Tony and his mob will be moving to strangle whatever power the unions still possess to defend their members’ right to a decent life.

But we will get his maternity leave scheme. Oh, yes. He was on radio the other day pretending that indexing the amount to income was just a union award sort of thing. So women on fabulous salaries will get fabulous amounts of maternity pay and poor working women will get bugger all. Stripped of the bullshit, Abbott’s scheme is really just an attempt to get more rich white women to breed.

It’s guaranteed to fail of course, but a lot of rich white women who were going to breed anyway will be better off by two or three year’s worth of private school fees or a top-of-the-range four-wheel-drive … or maybe renovations or a new swimming pool.

The man is a desperate choice for desperate times.

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