June 12, 2014 | Graham

Stop trashing Tony

What is it about Labor, and the left more generally, that it plays the person rather than the ball, and applies the techniques of social exclusion rather than logic and rational persuasion? And why does the media play along with Labor when it does?

Tony Abbott is overseas representing Australia, and from what I can see, doing a damned good job of it. Yet the demonisation at home continues apace.

We have what Dr Spooner could only have described as the “shining wits” of Twitter picking up on a slight slip of the tongue over #Canadia, which is then magnified and rebroadcast by mainstream media, as proof that Abbott is a dolt.

Yesterday’s edition of Rupert Murdoch’s (yes that Murdoch) throwaway tabloid MX running with the teaser “Grab today’s mX to see how Marinko “Mad Doge” Matosevic made an utter Tony Abbott of himself in London overnight”, using “Tony Abbott” as a synonym for sexist and misogynist.

And then to add insult to injury, Hilary Clinton rushes into the fray, referring to the sexism and misogyny that Julia Gillard had to face as prime minister of Australia, surely a reference to Gillard’s “I will not be lectured by this man” speech, one of the great verbals of this century so far.

This is the same Julia Gillard who is looking more and more the gangster’s moll as the Royal Commission progresses, who ought to be the subject of on- and off-line conversation everywhere on the basis of facts, not allegations of discrimination.

I’ve even been lectured by teenagers on the stupidity of Tony Abbott because a comedian in the US by the name of John Oliver did a satirical video of him, failing to notice that this same John Oliver gave the same treatment to the French president Francois Hollande the week before.

(The lesson to draw from this treatment is not that Abbott is an idiot, but that Australia looms as large in the US as France).

And then there was Abbott’s “Yeah, I know I’m being set up but I think I can handle it” wink when a talk back caller claimed to be a 67 year old grandmother reduced to phone sex work to make ends meet, which the Twits, and many media described as “sleazy”.

Oh, and getting off Abbott for a moment, how is it a scandal for some protesters loosely supportive of the coalition to brandish banners saying “Ditch the Witch” in reference to Julia Gillard, but not when Tony Burke sends out emails under the ALP banner calling Bronwyn Bishop “Dolores Umbrage”, one of the witches from the Harry Potter series?

(I’m pointing out the hypocrisy here, not disputing the accuracy of either description).

None of this is accidental, and all of this is typical.

To see how typical it is, just look at the last election campaigns the ALP has run around the country. In every single one of them, rather than arguing policies, the pitch has been that their opponent is either too stupid, or too corrupt, to run the country.

In the last round of elections these allegations didn’t work, but they did work a treat for a number of years.

It’s ironic that at the same time as we are being urged to become culturally more sensitive to bullying, half of our polity is engaged in the school yard “mean girls” approach to gaining and winning power.

It’s about time that the nerds struck back.


Posted by Graham at 8:04 am | Comments (31) |


  1. Why do you love Tony? 97% of the worlds scientist’s say climate change is man made. Tony believes to know better.
    Did you ever listen to him in parliament? He makes every day lots of statements which he can’t proof in any way.
    Why is the budget his most important issue? Did you ever ask who started the Irak war and how many billions it did cost? Why does he cut education support? Certainly, bad educated people are believing arguments like Tony’s, easier! And well educated people are easy imported from overseas,but I do not believe that is cheap and whithout problems!

    Comment by martin — June 12, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  2. Oh, stop it. Too funny.

    Comment by Slim — June 12, 2014 @ 9:41 am

  3. It does seem as if they have all attended a Goebbels school of propaganda. It would appear this is all they have left.

    They spent years on John Howard. They could not live with the “honest John”, tag he had earned. It took about 10 years of them bashing away at that for it to work, so don’t expect any change in this attack.

    I guess when your storm troops are not very bright, you have to keep your attacks pretty simple.

    Comment by Hasbeen — June 12, 2014 @ 9:50 am

  4. The ‘Honest’ John was always an ironic title resulting from his broken election promises – core and non-core. It wasn’t something he ‘earned’ from his honesty. Even Brandis famously called him the Rodent – as in lying rat.

    Comment by Slim — June 12, 2014 @ 10:39 am

  5. Kettle. Black.

    Comment by Dekka — June 12, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  6. Walkley Award winner Joanne McCarthy spoke to a full venue (150+)of Lake Macquarie U3A subscribers yesterday. I asked, “Where was the aim of full employment in the budget and was it fair to the younger generation?” There may have been some in the audience who thought the budget had some merit but from the reaction to my question they were very few and far between.
    Graham and Hasbeen need to read and understand the articles so far this month by George Monbiot in the Guardian, UK.

    Comment by John Turner — June 12, 2014 @ 11:11 am

  7. Your observations about the left of politics could equally be laid against the right. Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to discuss the relative merits, or otherwise, of government and opposition policies.

    Comment by David Walker — June 12, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  8. “Honest” John lied this country into a war of aggression as devastating on the target society as the Nazis’ war of aggression against Poland (Just look at Iraq a decade later!). A partner was Tony Blair and the ringmaster was George W Bush. Shameless and deadly liars and war criminals the lot of them – one of whom was Labour, making a nonsense of the silly “left” and “right” dogwhistles. There is a basic decency and level of public honesty which people have a right to expect of politicians who govern them, and Abbott and his ruling group of indoctrinated colleagues are pretty widely rumbled as not meeting it. Hence the richly deserved public witch-hunt.

    Comment by Dion Giles — June 12, 2014 @ 11:59 am

  9. Now that we’ve ditched the bitch, Juliar has become a gangster’s moll. Nothing personal of course. I am surprised and disappointed in this diatribe.

    Comment by Kevin Rennie — June 12, 2014 @ 12:32 pm

  10. Come on, Graham, I think you’re getting a little precious. It’s a rough and tumble world out there, and even more so if your reputation and treatment is of your own making. Tony Abbott is a very intelligent man, but has adopted a most abrasive way of handling and presenting himself to all who come into his life. I’d be thinking it has been his style for most of his adult life. The physical mechanics of it don’t really help either, including the swagger and the smirk.
    Social media and not just the trashy type has vented its thoughts on Tony Abbott, to a stage where a frenzy theme comes to mind. It is unrelenting, to a point no doubt, that you thought you had to speak up. The bile being directed to him comes from so many quarters. Sections of the public think he has earned it, and it’s likely to continue for some time yet.

    Just touching on a couple of other issues. Your Gillard note was ordinary. You will recall the line about “it happened before entering Parliament” was trotted out in defence of the Sinodinos Water Holdings activities. Hockey has indicated that Sinodinos will return to the front bench in following weeks. Surely not ? It will certainly be no fun for Labor in following weeks, with a “bunkering down,it’ll soon pass over” approach being adopted. Silly them !

    Much of the current online commentary content makes reference to the IPA and The Sydney Institute and their influences on Government policy. Not so long ago, these Institutions would not have been in the public mindset. Where does Hockey hold his Luncheon address yesteday ? That’s right, The Sydney Instiute. Today’s comments suggest it hasn’t gone unnoticed. I know you are a fan of Gerard H. but I’m thinking he’s a little too close to the Govermnent

    I’m not savvy enough to know whether the current Budget would be exactly the same if the Government had had a majority in the Senate. Thoughts ?

    Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Christopher Derrick — June 12, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

  11. This is risible Graham, and here I was thinking you at least, were fair minded and even handed.
    If only Tony had flagged his “real intentions” before the election, we could have been a little more forgiving.
    None of this ideologically motivated rubbish was necessary, given real tax reform would have fixed the budget shortfall, as well as quite massively stimulated non mining economic growth.
    Just as the cash splash promoted additional economic growth, the cash slash will shrink it!
    And the cash slash job has a fair way to go, mark my words!
    As for honest John?
    Well, you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.
    Honest John just went a little to far and paid with the loss of his own electorate.
    Dare I say, this current administration make the aforementioned gentleman, look positively benign in any fair comparison.
    And given the patent paucity of new ideas, this attack on the least well off, is the only solution available to the current administration, rather than the last.
    The Great Depression was just a manageable recession turned into a great depression, by the contraction policies of another, conservative administration.
    And given their favored solutions, TA and co, have self evidently learned nothing!
    And honest John was supposed to be the economic illiterate, quote unquote!
    We would be far less critical, if any of these budget changes and welfare changes had been flagged before the election!
    But no, they were the unity team!
    If this had been Julia Gillard and this many non core broken promises, one can only imagine the opposition would have gone into orbit or a rage induced melt down!?
    My regret is, this was a tailor made situation for a really resolute Leader to introduce real tax reform and quite massive trade and commerce simplification.
    Instead, we are handed more of the same, and lose/lose solutions, which can only ever impact negatively impact negatively on virtually everyone, and add exponentially to the current brain drain!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 12, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

  12. I have to agree with Kevin Rennie (“I am surprised and disappointed in this diatribe”) but would have to add not as surprised as I would have been a year or two ago.

    Comment by Glen Coulton — June 12, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  13. You are doing what you accuse your opponents of – you are defending “the man” not the policies.
    It’s not just the “man” Abbott but what he has done that offends.
    The criticism of Abbott’s character is that he is a chameleon who promised a set of policies in opposition that bore no resemblance to what he’s pursued since.
    In the end, moist people are really appalled not so much by Abbott the man, but by the shock and awe budget, by the “captain’s call” policies that were never mentioned let alone debated properly even inside the Coalition, and by the reality of a “tea party” style government that pretended to be centrist during the election.
    That’s the truth the Coalition government needs to come to terms with. Otherwise the public’s wrath will not dissipate in a hurry.

    Comment by Bruce Woolley — June 12, 2014 @ 4:47 pm

  14. Bruce, you can do better than that. You know I was sensitive new-age enough to use “person” rather than “man” and that it refers to ad hominem attacks, not defending a person.

    I remember Abbott promising three things. To “Axe the tax, stop the boats and pay back the debt”. He’s done one, if he can get Palmer to agree, he’s done the other, and he’s trying to do the third, if the senate will let him.

    Not sure what you are referring to as his “captain’s call” policies that were never mentioned (presumably during the campaign), so please fill in the details.

    And please define “tea party” style government. Last time I looked Abbott had slowed the growth of government, but not by a whole lot, which makes me wonder whether he will perform on the third promise of paying back the debt.

    Comment by Graham — June 12, 2014 @ 10:59 pm

  15. Putting aside the issue of Abbott’s and the Coalition’s broken promises the main problem lies with the nature of the budget’s role in paring back the debt. It is probable that the majority of Australians support this aim but they do not support the unbalanced manner in which the budget seeks to do this. The main burden is put upon the people least able to bear it while leaving the wealthiest sectors relatively untouched. This is clearly illustrated in today’s AFR. Under the title ‘Call to scale back super tax breaks’ (page 3) a finance company CEO notes that super tax concessions are a form of welfare for the wealthy worth about $32 billion a year – more than spending on health and defence combined. The current projected budget measures will do little to reduce debt and we should be concerned that Abbott and his treasurer, Joe Hockey, seem more intent on attacking the poorest sectors than on realistically tackling future budget deficits. It is this cynical approach to governing, clearly visible to all, that is the main cause of the widespread criticism of Tony Abbott.

    Comment by David Walker — June 13, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

  16. It’s just not fair…is it? Should only happen to Labor politicians, why oh why did it all go so wrong?

    Comment by RussellW — June 13, 2014 @ 7:41 pm

  17. @14

    Graham, I doubt that Abbott will be able to keep his promise to ‘pay back the debt’ because of the risk of a recession and the collapse of the housing bubble caused by the Coalition’s policies, after 3 years of Tony (if he survives) the budget will have a real deficit problem.

    It’s a marvellous time to be in Opposition.

    Comment by RussellW — June 13, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

  18. Abbott is right about the CO2 tax but dead wrong about the Trans Pacific Partnership which will enslave us to the will of the big global corporates.

    Abbott like Labor, supports the war mongering imperialist agenda of the banking, military, industrial complex. The solution is to vote for another party that has real integrity and the well being of all humans at heart.

    We live in an era of monumental lies and deception.

    Comment by Ross — June 13, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

  19. Dear Graham,

    you wrote;

    “What is it about Labor, and the left more generally, that it plays the person rather than the ball, and applies the techniques of social exclusion rather than logic and rational persuasion? And why does the media play along with Labor when it does?”

    Well I’m going to agree with you, sort of. I would substitute ‘Labour and the left’ with the political class in general. I would also be keen to see links to articles or posts from your good self condemning comments from Abbott that spoke of ‘Dying of shame’ or others in your party referring to Julia Gillard as deliberately barren. Perhaps they exist but I can’t recall seeing them.

    But I will confess to being chastised by my own child on this very topic. They had caught me watching ‘Nigel No Friends’ from the Insiders program.


    Their response? I was briskly told that this was bullying behaviour and we wouldn’t accept it in the playground and we shouldn’t be seen to be accepting it in this instance either. In an attempt at some sort of mitigation I reminded them of his actions as opposition leader but was told that although they considered his actions then as despicable it was not an excuse for what the media was engaged in now and that he should be attacked on his policies which were terrible but not any foibles he might have further they were actually feeling sorry for him.

    I couldn’t really argue.

    Comment by Steele Redux — June 15, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

  20. picking up on a slight slip of the tongue over #Canadia,’

    Slight slip of the tongue? From somebody who is supposed to be representing Australia?

    We are not talking about a first grader being flustered at a school presentation, but a so called ‘head of state’.

    If this is the best Australia can do, it woelb be much better to keep them home.

    Comment by Peter Hindrup — June 16, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

  21. martin
    is ‘Irak’ somewhere near Canadia?

    not among the majority of us who thought the title appropriate and I recall you lot calling John a liar more often than Honest. Ahhh to rewrite history.

    John Turner
    full employment was once regarded as a variable rate between 2#% and 13% unemployed. The Guardian … really?

    David Walker
    only in the minds of lefties and people who lack genuine skills in comprehension, and in this case Russell’s Paradox may be apparent.

    Alan B. Goulding
    oh Alan you are oh so predictable.

    Kevin Rennie
    I can’t wait to see what the commission and possible future judges and juries call her.

    Christopher Derrick
    sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but the hardest to master so here is how to improve it:
    ‘I’m not savvy enough…’ we agree.

    Bruce Woolley
    are ‘moist people’ in Irak or Canadia?

    It’s always a marvellous time when Labor is in Opposition.

    ‘Nigel No Friends’ has more friends than you seem to accept… but I know about you don’t ‘set out to be completely historically accurate in my(your) analogies’

    god this is so funny but my time is limited.
    Comment by
    Keith Kennelly

    Comment by keith kennelly — June 16, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

  22. oh I couldn’t resist
    Peter Hindrup
    what is the position description in our Parliamentary Democracy of that held by:

    Governor General General (Ret) Sir,

    Stand to attention and salute now,

    Peter Cosgrove

    lolol sides splitting lolol on olo

    Comment by keith kennelly — June 16, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

  23. woelb? is that what moist people in Irak or Canadia catch?

    Comment by keith kennelly — June 16, 2014 @ 9:47 pm

  24. Predictable K.K?
    Well here are a few predictions, our economy will go backwards and slip into recession.
    Writers just like an arrogant K.K., will ignore any sound suggestion, and just criticize other writers, because like most cyber bullies, that is the limit of their intellectual conception of pragmatism, or constructive criticism.
    Perhaps they like paying more tax than is necessary? Or perhaps they’re too young to pay tax?
    Or predictably, simply just don’t get it, leaners are not those who’ve paid tax all their lives!
    The real leaners are those, who have been spectacularly successful at avoiding it!
    Or those who think inherent fairness is taking to the most modest budgets, with a 15% penalty, while the vastly far better off, only have to carry an additional 1% TEMPORARY burden.
    K. K., may think that’s fair, but only if he fails predictably, to think about issues, as opposed to predictably, just taking a broad brush of simplistic criticism, to other writers serious contributions!
    And if anyone thinks that I’m predicable, I got news, my views are not likely to change, simply because Nostradamus, Alias a very immature K.K, can predict what I’m going to say next!?
    Waiting, waiting, still waiting!?
    Oh? Can’t really predict very much K.K? How predictable!
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 16, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

  25. @21

    Actually, Labor needs to be in opposition occasionally in order to remind the voters how appallingly the plutocrats’ party performs in office.
    A large proportion of the voting population believes anything the Murdoch minions tell them, the only cure for that condition is a term of Coalition government, unfortunately they have short term memories and the entire process has to be repeated.

    Comment by RussellW — June 17, 2014 @ 7:31 am

  26. So AlanB

    it is ok for you to criticise your views of the errors of Graham, Tony, John, the current liberal government and it’s servants, and the economic mismanagement of liberal governments and their servants during the late 1920’s and yet not have one iota of criticism of Kevin or Julia or of any other stupid socialist.

    But oh dear me when someone points out how this has always been your point of view you grizzle just like Clive. Then you turn to out right bullying abuse to the person who served it up to you.

    Again why don’t you see that as completely in line with your past postings and just as predictable.

    Here is my prediction. hen your predictions don’t come to fruition you won’t admit you are wrong but like your ilk will just move on to further negativity.

    Alanb you really should learn to chill and allow a wee bit of fun and humour into your sad old life. Now that would be a delight.

    Comment by keith kennelly — June 17, 2014 @ 8:05 am

  27. Peter Hindrup, we’re all capable of slips of the tongue, even those whose profession is acting or news reading, for which one of the requirements is being word perfect. And in case you think this is special pleading, I never once criticised Julia Gillard because she thought “hyperbole” was pronounced “hyperbowl”, and even found herself occasionally in high “dungeon”.

    Steele, appreciate your honesty, and good to see kids frown on this sort of thing. I’m pretty sure I was one of those who criticised Jones for saying that Julia’s father should have died of shame.

    However, one doesn’t always have to go public to make a difference. I knew the organisers of the rally where the Ditch the Witch and Bob Brown’s Bitch posters were displayed. When I saw it on TV I told them in no uncertain terms what I thought. Turns out they were amateurs at organising these sorts of things and hadn’t thought to secure the platform where speakers were speaking. They fixed that up next time, and as far as I know the offensive signs were never displayed as a backdrop. You can’t, however, stop dickheads turning up to rallies.

    Comment by Graham — June 17, 2014 @ 11:56 am

  28. Indeed Graham, or posting and trying to mask straight out bullying or just bagging, or entirely nonconstructive criticism as some kind of humor!
    I don’t mind constructive criticism, and even the occasional well aimed but funny barb!
    But three whole posts, pea brain bagging or just pointing out spelling mistakes of the less able, or perhaps the disabled, is just not that funny, I’m almost certain you would agree?
    Cheers, Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 17, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

  29. Alan B.
    I refer you to
    Comment on: List your own favorite bigots.

    ‘Bill Shorten is running a campaign against the right to freedom of opinion trying to rebrand it as bigotry and racism’.
    You said that didn’t you? And you see it as censorship?

    Can you see a parallel here? Can you see it as censorship?

    You Alan think opinion sites should only allow comments that don’t criticize your expression of your views.

    I’ve only criticized what you’ve said as predictable.

    You’ve responded by calling me arrogant, that I don’t get it, I’m selective in my opinions, simply only criticise, I’m a cyber bully, my intellectual conceptions are limited, that I’m bigoted against the poor, I don’t think, I’m simplistic, I’m immature, I’m predictable, I use pea brain bagging, that my humour is humorless(now that was really hurtful), that I disparage disabled including presumably those who swagger because of a square-gait, and that I am a dick-head.

    Not only have you attempted to incite the mob by including my humorous prodding of other posters, happily they’ve displayed great individuality and I suspect wry smiles in rejecting your attempt, but you’ve appealed to the moderator with an unsubtle hint that maybe dickheads should be banned from expressing opinions on an opinion site.

    Somewhat a bit of an over reaction, don’t you think?

    And you think I shouldn’t laugh at your expression.

    Here is something I have learned, publicity laughing at bigots, bullies and hypocrites usually silences most of the stupidities or falsehoods these seem bent on spreading.

    K.M. Kennelly.

    Comment by Keith Kennelly — June 18, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  30. K.K.
    Please refer to the particular post, where you say I said that, >Bill shorten is running a campaign against the right to freedom of opinion trying to rebrand it as bigotry and racism!<
    Now as someone, who at one time studied law, and even passed exams on the subject, I do understand slander and the legal remedies.
    A unreserved withdrawal and an apology, for the patent verbal, is required.
    As for the rest of your last post, it's not all about you, you know.
    However, if the cap fits, then fell free to object to it!
    Incidentally, I disagreed with the school hall roll out and the pink batts debacle!
    And I've agreed with both Malcolm Turnbull and John Hewson on many occasions!
    If politics were a team sport, then not all the best bowlers are on the one team.
    You have a very nice day now, y'hear.
    Alan B. Goulding.

    Comment by Alan B. Goulding — June 19, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  31. Alan b,

    I’ve had no legal tuition yet I know the difference between slander and libel.

    And you think I shouldn’t laugh.

    But you are right. You didn’t say those things. Graham did. And I did ask that quelstion.
    ‘You did write that , didn’t you?’

    Regardless of any imputations you think I made all are negated by your ignoring my question.
    You could have simply replied: I did not.
    You have now set up a straw man argument.
    And you clearly stated you agreed with Graham.
    I might refer you to the body of your comments in response to Grahams blogg.

    Don’t they apply to everyone equally? Including you.

    Really I’ve enjoyed my Sunday morning entertainment.
    My friends and I really are having a great laugh at your silliness. And we are debating whether your mate was correct. All think you are a braggard but there is some debate about whether you are a know all or just plain dumb.
    Unreserved apology: I don’t think
    Sue me: if you do it won’t be for slander. Any damages will be less than it costs you.
    I have the defence of truth and besides this blogg isn’t widely published.
    Check you legal position with someone who really knows Alanb, as you clearly don’t.

    Comment by Keith Kennelly — June 22, 2014 @ 11:43 am

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