APPARENTLY NOT CONTENT with its despicable attack on Tony Abbott’s daughter over a scholarship she won — nor, it seems, with savaging the employment of her sister in a job a Labor government appointed her to — Labor has charted new depths of moral nihilism today, with reports Margie Abbott has been castigated for “not doing charity work.” Labor’s hunger to destroy Abbott is boundless. Its use of his family shows just how unfit for office it is.
With the exception of demanding to know why he should be allowed to use a government vehicle for private business without consequence, when the likes of renegade Victorian MP Geoff Shaw faced prosecution* — cheered on by the ALP — for doing the same thing, this column has had very little to say about the so-called former “first bloke,” Tim Mathieson.
Whilst I went to pains at times to point out that Julia Gillard deserved to be treated with a few basic human decencies — despite the fact I absolutely detest the former Prime Minister, her politics, and pretty much everything she stands for — I would never have dreamed of using her family as political ammunition, and have been emphatic that the private lives of politicians, and their families in particular, should be regarded by all comers as strictly off-limits when it comes to such endeavours.
I’m yet to meet a genuinely decent individual on either side of the political divide who disagrees with that assessment: the pollies are fair game, but when it comes to their (unelected) families, trying to load them into the gun is an absolute no-no.
Yet once again, the Labor Party has thumbed its nose at decency and principle, choosing instead to engage in one of the lowest forms of gutter politics imaginable; this time Mathieson is the instrument it has used to engage in a vile personal attack on the Prime Minister’s wife, which is as contemptible as it is misplaced.
Readers can access the article being carried in today’s editions of Murdoch publications here, and it’s actually rather sad to note that a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s office has seen fit to have to provide an account of Mrs Abbott’s charitable activities, or to have been placed in a position where one is required at all.
This comes a matter of days after the Abbotts’ 22-year-old daughter, Frances, was hauled through the media over a scholarship she had won in the course of studying for her career; there has not been, to date, a shred of evidence to suggest the attack on her was based on any impropriety, and knowing too well what the Labor Party is like, if any such evidence existed at all, it would have been used the instant Frances was first targeted.
The ink had barely dried on those reports when another attack — aimed at Frances’ older sister, Louise — sprang into public view; claims that (unnamed) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff were “annoyed” that Louise Abbott was working at the Australian embassy in Geneva can really only have emanated from once source: the guttersnipes and dirt shovellers of the ALP.
It’s ironic, given Louise was appointed to her job during the tenure of the Labor government her father subsequently defeated, but never mind that — Labor has shown repeatedly in recent years that it doesn’t allow facts or hypocrisy to interfere with the kind of vicious personal onslaught it is clearly conducting against the Abbott family.
Some readers will recall that back in 2012, Abbott’s youngest daughter, Bridget, served as the Face of Sydney’s Autumn Racing Carnival, and even with a role as seemingly innocuous as that, there were suggestions of nepotism and political interference levelled at Tony Abbott by his opponents: there was no way Bridget could have secured a gig like that without her father pulling a few strings, they sneered.
Now — with Margie Abbott apparently falling foul of the Labor attack for being “uncharitable” — the Abbotts have set a dubious new record in Australian politics; for the first time in this country’s history, every member of the first family has been deliberately and explicitly targeted by the ALP on a personal level in furtherance of its political objectives.
The lack of any acceptable standards should surprise nobody. After all, this is the same Labor Party that attempted to salvage its prospects prior to the 2012 state election in Queensland by publicly defaming the wife of LNP leader Campbell Newman, yet was happy to accommodate convicted fraudster Craig Thomson and filthy misogynistic grub Peter Slipper when it suited its purposes.
Mathieson, no doubt, would plead that his remarks against Margie Abbott were made of his own volition. He would. But such a claim is disingenuous, and in light of the rapid succession of Abbott daughters being subjected to similar attacks from other sections of the ALP, to suggest the anti-Abbott vendetta is unco-ordinated defies credulity.
But even if such a claim by Mathieson were true, it would be tantamount to an admission that he’s simply behaving like a Ritalin-starved attention addict, denied the publicity and attention that went with being the Prime Minister’s companion, and lashing out just because he can out of spite. Such a reality would be little better, and at the very least reveal Mathieson to be an unmitigated liability.
So which is it?
As far as I’m concerned, all roads lead to Labor on this; it’s too much of a coincidence to suggest that brutal attacks against three members of the Prime Minister’s family, in the same week, are anything other than a systemic and deliberate campaign.
What it does raise is a telling question: if Labor is so sure of its political strategies against Abbott the Prime Minister — and if it’s so sure its wilful obfuscation of the federal budget, and newfound creativity over its own record of managerial competence, are solid — why does it need to resort to the kind of savagery these personal attacks are tantamount to?
From a purely political perspective, I know there’s a way for the government to turn its budget — warts and all — to its advantage, even if present indications are that its own advisors don’t. Perhaps the ALP realises it too. Whether it does or not, this consideration in no way justifies what it is doing, and it certainly doesn’t make such abominable tactics acceptable or palatable.
The families of politicians should be left alone; if they put their head above the parapet of public life they’re fair game, of course.
But Tony Abbott’s daughters are simply going about their business and have done nothing to warrant the scrutiny the ALP has maliciously focused on them, and his wife — a worthier claimant to a record of solid community service than a midget like Mathieson will ever be — is almost beyond reproach in the context of the accusations Mathieson, by proxy, has levelled against her at some greasy spiv’s behest.
The reality, very simply, is that Labor is an amoral machine; it cares about power, not people; and to the extent the ALP has any genuine interest in people at all, it’s to ascertain how they might serve the party’s ruthless pursuit of political muscle, and then to abandon them.
If I were Mathieson, I’d be feeling a bit miffed to have been gullible enough to have been used as a cat’s paw in an enterprise that is inexcusable, but then again, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to go along with such a ridiculous scheme that so clearly leaps the fence into the realm of what is completely unacceptable political practice.
Bill Shorten — as “leader” of the ALP — owes Mrs Abbott an apology on behalf of his party; the fact she won’t get one is as much a mark of the man as it is an indictment on the God-forsaken outfit he “leads.”
As for Mathieson, the less said the better; we can treat him, and his words, with the contempt they deserve.
But ordinary Australians would do well to remember the events of this week, and to mark them down as an illustration of why Labor cannot be trusted to put people ahead of its addiction to power. There will be plenty of other examples to dispel any doubts over whether this week might have been an isolated misjudgement.
It wasn’t. And that I can assure readers with absolute certainty.
*Charges against Geoff Shaw were ultimately withdrawn.