Dreaming On: Abbott Isn’t Going To Be PM Again…Ever

ONGOING reports Tony Abbott will recontest his seat of Warringah, based on Manly on Sydney’s North Shore, in the hope of regaining the Prime Ministership are exceeded in absurdity only by the fact his divisive aide, Peta Credlin, is said to be egging him on. Abbott is no more a future Prime Minister than Bronwyn Bishop. His seat could take a bright new prospect to Canberra, and Credlin, for the little she is worth, should disappear altogether.

The detailed analysis of the apparently co-ordinated push by so-called “moderates” in the NSW division of the Liberal Party (read: empowered spivs who think they’re entitled) to cut a swathe through the ranks of conservative Liberal MPs at the preselection table before this year’s election — even at the cost of dispensing with prospective future leader Angus Taylor, and some others who are arguably critical to holding marginal seats and/or reasonable performers in their own right — will likely now appear late today or tonight, after a brief bout of illness yesterday prevented me from completing and publishing it as promised.

But I wanted to make some comment this morning on another preselection-related issue that has the potential to cause as much division and damage to the Liberal Party as the machinations being engaged in by the soft fringe associated with Malcolm Turnbull: namely, the nonsense that Tony Abbott should recontest his plum, blue-ribbon seat with the explicit purpose of reclaiming the Prime Ministership at some hitherto undefined point in the future.

First, some coverage (depending on preference) from the Fairfax and Murdoch stables.

Whether we’re talking about NSW moderates or the NSW Right, the bald (and mostly unwarranted) sense of entitlement on show from both sides in the increasingly ugly round of federal preselections is unbelievable; people with no right, based on merit or a reflection of the wider Liberal Party membership, are conspiring to enact hatchet jobs on people for no better reason, it seems, than the indulgence of enacting hatchet jobs on them.

The lure of paid parliamentary sinecures and a spot near the circle of power in Canberra, of course, has a bit to do with it as well.

But leaving most of that aside this morning, the inability of some on the Liberal Right to grasp the incontestable political fact that the career of Tony Abbott is dead — kaput, cactus, finito — knows no bounds, for persistent (and well backgrounded) stories of a plan for Abbott to recontest his Manly-based seat of Warringah with an eye on recapturing the Prime Ministership ignores both reality and the political disposition of the electorate, which had more than enough of an opportunity during the two years Abbott spent at the helm to know that whatever any of us in the membership (or those “insiders” who think they know better than the party’s members, or voters) might say, Tony Abbott will never again be a viable candidate to be Prime Minister of Australia.

Ironically, the reports and counter-reports that have been floating around over the past few days merely underline the point.

On the one hand, Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph notes that Abbott is said to be “in mourning” over the loss of the Prime Ministership, which simply proves his utter folly in backing incendiary aide Peta Credlin for too long in a post she was clearly unsuited to and/or out of her depth in as Chief of Staff.

On the other, Fairfax reports that “a confidant” of Credlin claims she is doing nothing of the kind: I would simply say that whatever some Credlin stooge has been instructed to tell a journalist at Fairfax, when it conflicts so directly with the material published by a Murdoch paper known to have been heavily favoured by the Prime Minister’s Office on the Abbott/Credlin shift, should be treated with the utmost caution — and, indeed, suspicion.

On account of Abbott’s imprimatur and by virtue of Credlin being given every conceivable freedom to discharge the most important non-elective role in Australian politics, the failure of the Abbott government can be pinned specifically on the axis between the pair: and everyone from Abbott’s parliamentary colleagues to the staff whose careers were incinerated on Credlin’s watch, and from those she snubbed and deliberately prevented from going to Canberra to serve the government to the most passive branch member of the party, have been given concrete proof that the only government the duo will ever run is one that is defective on political strategy and tactics, incapable of communicating or selling anything to the electorate, terrified of introducing difficult policies in the face of vacuous ALP attacks, and motivated by a vicious get-square mentality against anything or anyone who dares utter a syllable in defiance of it.

There are those who think that given time, the anti-Abbott animus in the electorate that helped motivate his downfall will subside; it won’t.

Two years of the kind of directionless drift presided over by Abbott and Credlin (and at a time when Australia is facing real challenges of governance that are arguably the stiffest it has faced in more than a generation) is not the kind of government this country needs or wants.

Significantly, at this time of preselection posturing, and on whether he will stand again at all in Abbott’s case, Credlin is said to be urging her former boss to remain in Parliament again “with the hope” of some day returning to the top job — and from this we can make some fairly definitive judgements.

One — and this should frighten hell out of anyone who thinks Prime Ministers should offer the ability to win any coming election — if Abbott returns, Credlin would be part of the package: that in itself is enough to permanently disbar Abbott from any return to the Liberal leadership.

Two, and following that point, even if Credlin served in a lesser staffing role (or didn’t officially return to Canberra at all under a renewed Abbott government) it is unquestionable that her advice and counsel (and presumably, her agenda) would continue to be sought and acted on by Abbott. We know, from his virtually non-existent measures to reduce Credlin’s visibility after the initial move against his leadership a year ago, that his heart and his head are not really into any move to hold office without her influence, and the risk that this inept commodity would continue to inform Abbott as a reborn leader cannot and must not be entertained.

Three, with Abbott turning 59 this year, any realistic prospect of him returning to the Prime Ministership would need to occur in the next term of Parliament; the oldest Prime Minister to take office in Australian history was the dud Billy McMahon, who was 63 when he ousted John Gorton in a knife-edge Liberal leadership ballot in 1971. Apparently those around Abbott are holding John Howard, Bob Menzies and even Malcolm Turnbull out as precedents to justify their delusional visions of an Abbott return.

But Howard and Turnbull were untried as Prime Ministers — Turnbull arguably still is, although that is changing (and, with his fawning cosying up to socialist failure Barack Obama in the US this week, this column increasingly dislikes what it sees) — whereas Menzies in 1949 was still only 55, had done the hard yards of forging a new party from scratch with mass community support, and was a far more substantial figure than Abbott ever was or will be (my past support for him, of course, notwithstanding).

Four — and despite the real ability Abbott has, which he abrogated in favour of a useless unelected hack — restoring him even to Cabinet would be unwise, for where Abbott goes, Credlin goes: and the whole scheming, inept, amateurish culture of silly stunts and own goals that comes with that in the place of mature conduct and competent governance are a price for utilising the duo that simply can’t be justified.

And, finally, Abbott has never enjoyed the widespread respect that Howard did — even as “Mr 18%” in 1988, or after he was unceremoniously dumped in May 1989 — or the mass popularity of Malcolm Turnbull, even if that popularity is/was largely underpinned by people who would never vote Liberal in a pink fit, and who are now (predictably) turning on him publicly.

Many of us on the conservative wing of the party are desperately disappointed (and in many cases, furious) at both the golden opportunity to implement a responsible, mainstream conservative agenda that was squandered through the direct shortcomings of the machine Abbott assembled around himself, and by his removal; on the latter score, some of us (and I am one) are angry at his removal despite our acceptance it had to occur because we were and are flatly opposed to his replacement and the Labor-lite government he now apparently wishes to lead.

But the bottom line is that the Australian public, no matter how much support Abbott might retain from noisy but marginalised rumps, or however much residual mainstream support there may be in the country for a program of responsible conservative policy, will not tolerate a revived version of the Abbott government. Not now, not in three years’ time, and not ever.

I have to be emphatic. There are few things I have been as politically certain about in recent times. That is, of course, just another dimension of the failure Abbott’s government was, and just another pointer to the wacko delusion that people don’t just miss it but are actively hankering for more of it.

The best use of Tony Abbott’s seat would be to find a bright, talented, long-term Liberal prospect — I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman, so long as it’s the best person available from Abbott’s North Shore branches — and for those who have delivered preselection to the former PM over more than 20 years to swing in behind that new candidate with Abbott’s explicit blessing, and his withdrawal.

“The best person available” is not Peta Credlin (or any of the other prominent members of the junta she led) and on no account should Credlin receive grassroots support if any attempt is made to install her as Abbott’s replacement in Warringah.

Very simply, where questions of an Abbott Prime Ministership are concerned, the bird has flown; you can’t reheat a souffle, and the only appropriate response to suggestions Abbott should stand again and position himself to resume as PM within three years is to dismiss them as devoid of any basis in reality whatsoever.

As for Credlin, it’s time for her to push off.

In fact, it was time for her to do that four months ago when Abbott was involuntarily removed from his post, but for weeks we were treated to the unedifying public spectacle of “poor Peta” who, unbelievably, attempted to conduct some kind of personal “charm” offensive in the mainstream press, and who now apparently seeks to continue to wield the clout she no longer has via the moronic fantasy that somehow, the mess she engineered was adequate, satisfactory and/or competent. It wasn’t.

Abbott will never again hold the highest political office in the land, but Credlin’s dubious services must finally be terminated by anyone associated with the Liberal Party in any political capacity. She has had her chance. It was a disaster. Far from eschewing responsibility for the failings of the Abbott government she must recognise her paw prints were all over the train wreck that derailed on 14 September last year.

She has nothing to offer to politics and government in this country. Just as Abbott should withdraw, Credlin must disappear. We wish her well in some private sector capacity should she find one, and bear her no personal animus. But where the Liberal Party is concerned, its best interests will be served if her name is never again heard.

 

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10 thoughts on “Dreaming On: Abbott Isn’t Going To Be PM Again…Ever

  1. When the Conservative Party of Canada was renamed in 1957 the PROGRESSIVE Conservative Party few of the party delegates understood the obtuse meaning of “Progressive”. I dare say even the arch Conservative John George Diefenbaker himself thought that it alluded to “Progress’. (But progress toward what goal?)
    The obvious left turn occurred under the maleficence of “leader” Joe Clark (Joe Who?)
    When can we expect the hubris and maleficence of the Member for Gold-in-sacks to propose the change in name to the “Progressive” Liberal Party. Under the Turncoat Maocolm, it would be necessary to change only the name.

  2. The only thing more foolish than this notion, is the oxygen it is being given.
    It is unsubstantiated and even so, as a true servant of this Country, Mr Abbott will continue to serve his constituents and one never knows – perhaps one day this country and those who doubt him, will wake up to themselves and the ‘souffle will rise again.’ W can only hope.

  3. While the Abbott government may have been a bit of a train wreck, the Turnbull government is downright dangerous.
    Yes I agree Credlin was a real problem and Abbott let many down, but in time many will realize the sheer danger of the socialist smooth talking UN sucking Turnbull and his government of backstabbers.

    Take the letter from Liberal Councillor Marcus Cornish this week, in which he says

    “In regard to our Federal Government there has already, quietly, been major policy changes that most would consider more Labor than Liberal.
    Our sovereignty has been signed away at the United Nations by Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Senator Marise Payne. Now UN laws override Australian laws thus dictating what countries our refugee and immigration intake come from.
    Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to take in 12,000 persecuted minority refugees, mostly being Christian, Malcolm Turnbull has already changed that to being 12,000 mostly Muslims, who clearly do not assimilate to the Australian way of life and our laws.
    I, as are many, am deeply disappointed in the Member for Lindsay Fiona Scott for voting against Tony Abbott as prime minister. Fiona Scott was only elected due to the hard work and support of Tony Abbott.
    His many campaign visits to Lindsay along with his “sex appeal comment” got Fiona just over the line, only to have her stab him in the back for his hard work and party loyalty.
    Our children and grandchildren’s futures rely on the decisions that are made today

    “Our sovereignty has been signed away at the United Nations”…no surprises there, and that is just the beginning.
    And this man shows some bigger vision on this subject.
    The problem is many political commentators…like this column and many others who are obviously very knowledgeable and understand the inner workings of the Liberal party etc….but they get too stuck in the details of the here and now.
    Many of these bloggers and commentators seem to get into the minutia of politics instead of seeing the bigger picture, and the ramifications of what the impact will be…a bit short sighted in other words.
    And the bigger picture of Turnbull is downright dangerous, people don’t know what we have now been signed on to, equally dangerous are the Backstabbing Bishops, Morrisons etc…
    To this end Abbott should stay come hell or high water, if he doesn’t then Turnbull will have won the future not only of the Liberal party, but of this nation, and believe me, the smiling assassin will wreck this country in a way Abbott never could or would. I personally hope Abbott stays and white ants Turnbull and his cronies as much as he can.
    Actually its entirely possible that Abbott could be seen as a better leader with the benefit of hindsight once the electorate wakes up, but by then it will probably be too late, as we can already see by the above letter…and Turnbull doesn’t even have a mandate yet…and he has already set out to destroy Australias sovereign border policy….just wait.
    You may think Abbott was a disaster, but wait and see what Turnbull will be!! A disaster even repeated 3 or 4 times will probably be miles better than a one time Turnbull.

    • You’re not wrong about a lot of things, RP_Man.

      The Credlin problem, and the terminal damage it has inflicted on Abbott’s career as anything more than a backbencher, is irretrievable — and believe me, that is a fact.

      I’m no apologist for Turnbull and as you will note, my language in that direction is hardening back up — he isn’t doing himself any favours to anyone outside the Left. Whilst he would win an election this weekend, the longer it goes…

      The focus of the Right must be to identify its next leadership candidate and fast-track him or her.

      And to forget about the Abbott/Credlin double-shot, which (as we have already seen) isn’t worth a pinch of shit.

      He may have been poorly advised, but in the end he refused to stop it out of “loyalty.” It was allowed to run far, far too long. You don’t get him without her. And that means, the only response to the proposition can only be “Never Again.”

      Abbott is a certain election loser. That’s not much of a return for any move to reinstate him now, after Turnbull wins (if he goes soon enough), or at any other time.

  4. Yep agreed..
    For sure its clear you are no Turnbull fan either, the longer he is in…the more damage he is going to do.
    He really stands for nothing…except himself, obviously he has some charm, and can string a cohesive sentence or two together without too many ums and aahs, and he appears to be a “modern man….. [translation…. stands for nothing, but embraces everything]”!
    However at the heart of it, he is a smiling fake, not that much different from Rudd really.
    Abbott suffered from too much misplaced loyalty to others, Turnbull also has plenty of loyalty…. only to himself however, there is a word for that…narcissist!
    I mean when he and that other turncoat Bishop signed away our sovereignty so UN laws override Australian laws thereby dictating what countries our refugee and immigration intake come…that should have been front page news here in Australia!
    After all wasn’t protection of borders one of the LNP’s main policies that got them into government in the first place?
    No need to worry about boats now tho…they can all come in the front way…and hand selected by the UN courtesy of Turdbull and Bishop etc…and not a word about it in the press or TV.
    If Abbott had changed a law they got in on, the press would have been screaming this from the rooftops and having endless forums and discussions about it.
    However it seems the LNP has no real prospects of another leader, its infiltrated with latent or active lefties or deadbeat hanger ons.
    Maybe Cory Bernadi, he seems to have a backbone, and actually stands for something, but the mere mention of his name would send the ABC and Fairfax into an overdrive media frenzy of hate and defamation.
    So here we are in Australia today where the leadership prospects are woeful to say the least, the silent majority are abandoned…and what do we have Turnbull, Bishop, Sarah Hansen Young, Shorten, Albaneze…enough to give anyone nightmares.
    Sadly I think the LNP is a sinking ship, they dont have enough balls to move to the right, or embrace any leader that shows some backbone, so we are left with labor on the left and Labor on the right and the UN pulling the strings…nice!!
    A rosy future for our childrens children, and no one seems to care.

  5. One more point, at the recent by election of North Sydney there was a 13% swing against the LNP…I think the predicted swing was around 6%, so it was twice that, despite Labor not even running a candidate, and this was with Turnbulls smiling face plastered everywhere.
    Admittedly it is a long held blue ribbon seat, but this seems to indicate that Turnbull is not as popular as the press and polls make him out to be.
    Personally I will never vote for the LNP again as long as Turnbull, Wyatt Roy, Bishop or any of that conniving crew are in control, most people I know that voted for them have maintained a deep feeling of distrust for the LNP and wont vote for them again.
    So I would not be surprised if ToadBalls loses the next election if enough time passes, and personally I would be happy to see them lose power, but of course no one wants Shitten in power, he would possibly be even worse, none the less a lot of people want to see the Libs punished at the next election whatever the cost.
    Tony Abbott for all his faults is ten times the man that Turnbull could ever be, and more and more people are coming to realize that.
    Yep Abbott clung to Credlin, he walks funny, was in favor of Knights and Dames, ums and ahhs too much, not very good at getting his points across, and he is a bit shifty at times…but he still has miles more moral fibre than Turdball and Bishop and Wyatt Roy and whoever else put together.
    Aside of one or two decent human beings in the LNP that havent been swallowed up and sold their souls to the left wing UN driven fantasy, they honestly haven’t got a party that stands for anything much these days, its sad but true.

  6. agree that Abbott will never be PM again, but no for the reasons you give.
    The ABC and Fairfax will not allow it! They have far more influence either way, than you or I. It’s a simple as that.
    I note your writing, “ONGOING reports Tony Abbott will recontest his seat of Warringah, based on Manly on Sydney’s North Shore, in the hope of regaining the Prime Ministership are exceeded in absurdity only by the fact his divisive aide, Peta Credlin, is said to be egging him on.”
    Really!
    This is a report put together by someone who’s prime function is to get someone else to pay to read it. Did he/she interview Abbott? There are only a couple or few people with first hand knowledge of any discussion between Credlin and Abbott, and the “reporters” aren’t one of them..
    I note you seem to take as verbatim, the report in Murdoch. “Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph notes that Abbott is said to be “in mourning” over the loss of the Prime Ministership, which simply proves his utter folly in backing incendiary aide Peta Credlin for too long in a post she was clearly unsuited to and/or out of her depth in as Chief of Staff.”
    Well, you’re right about Credlin there, but, is she/did she? Murdoch says so, but who says Murdoch knows? I think I can say with certainty, that Abbot did not say to any one, “I am in mourning.”
    You’re acting on faith here, and perhaps that’s because the thought appeals to you.
    Then you write, “On the other, Fairfax reports that “a confidant” of Credlin claims she is doing nothing of the kind: I would simply say that whatever some Credlin stooge has been instructed to tell a journalist at Fairfax, when it conflicts so directly with the material published by a Murdoch paper known to have been heavily favoured by the Prime Minister’s Office on the Abbott/Credlin shift, should be treated with the utmost caution — and, indeed, suspicion.”
    So, Murdoch is correct, and Fairfax is suspicious. It’s not a bad opinion, it’s just too general, as both only publish journalist’s opinions of the facts.
    The ABC and Fairfax have an impeccable reputation for “getting it wrong” or actually lying. No problem there. But Murdoch papers aren’t actually Snow White in this regard either.
    The prime enlightenment of Newspapers in general, is that they are labeled Lefty and Righty! How can they be both fearless, accurate, and impartial – which they both claim to be as Journalist Messengers – when they are really known by their label?.
    Abbott made personal mistakes. Again you write, ” Two years of the kind of directionless drift presided over by Abbott and Credlin.”
    Fine. But, what mistakes cost the Country dearly? e.g. Phil’s Knightwood. Did it cost us? Crunching an onion. Did it cost us?
    A stinking cesspool of a Senate is what cost us! I believe that you said somewhere that Gillard managed to negotiate with the Green’s Senate, – a success – whereas Abbott did not – a failure. Gillard negotiated nothing! She gave them everything they asked for, and then some. Because Abbott refused to do so, he’s vilified.
    I ask you this. Had Fairfax, Murdoch, and the other fringe clowns and grubs like Margot Whatever, and Clementine Whatever, been equal and fair in reporting Abbott. Do you think he would have been unpopular with the people? Abbott’s negatives were driven to the fore by these just mentioned people.
    Abbott is, in my opinion, the only MP in Government with the balls, and the sincerity to put a brake- any brake – on Turnbull.
    Who else? Morrison? Don’t make laugh. Morrisson has turned out to be a just a toady of Turnbull’s. Imagine if you will, Morrison controlling borders under Turnbull, compared to under Abbott. Do you think he would have been as successful?
    I agree that Abbott made mistakes, and he was far too reliant on Credlin. But, compared to Rudd, Gillard, Rudd and Turnbull, he’s a fucking Saint!
    And, for this reason alone, he deserves better from you.
    Turnbull will be a failure. It’s already showing, and I note your leanings towards this, and I agree.
    I note your more recent opinion that Turnbull is the catalyst for the Liberal Party’s coming nightmare of dissension, and I agree.
    I also note you more recent opinion that there may – may – be a place for another Party, a combination of the Nats, and the more conservative side of the Liberals, and I agree. Although, as you have hinted, and I think, it might not get off the ground, and be more a Labor Advantage.
    I must say that I tend towards the Nats, due to a distrust of Liberals, as they seem far too prepared to hare off into the left wilderness, whenever self preservation demands.
    I also tell you most firmly, that I have nothing but contempt for Bjelke-Petersen, who I think a was a wastrel and a crook, and any sympathy towards the Nats came after he was gone to his just reward.
    Turnbull could be Labor, or he could be Liberal, but I doubt he’d ever be a Nat!
    BTW, there’s no personal offense intended. I value most of your writing, and I agree with most, and a personal joust is not on my agenda.

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