The Peta Credlin Phenomenon

Tuesday September 13 was the Ides of September and the first anniversary of the secret meeting of Liberal Party conspirators at the house of MP Peter Hendy. The feature of that meeting of treachery was that the leading conspirator, the beneficiary of the conspiracy, was not present. He was comfortably ensconced in his harbour-side mansion sipping a Glenfiddich while awaiting a phone call from his underlings. The next day, Wednesday 14 September, was the first anniversary of the coup, the culmination of five years’ planning (according to Fairfax journalist Peter Hartcher) that deposed first term Prime Minister Tony Abbott and fulfilled Malcolm Turnbull’s desperate non-negotiable ambition of becoming prime minister of Australia.

A generous person may hope that Malcolm Turnbull derives the full measure of satisfaction from his self-centredness, his ruthlessness, and his ungovernable ambition. The rest has been a disaster – a disaster for the Liberal Party rent from top to bottom and a disaster for many of Turnbull’s co-conspirators whom an execrating electorate booted from the political arena. Continue reading “The Peta Credlin Phenomenon”

‘Gay marriage must be accepted’

Under the headline ‘Gay marriage vote must be accepted: Abbott’, 27 September 2016, the popular news website news.com.au informed its readers:

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has issued a message to politicians on all sides of parliament about a proposed national vote on same-sex marriage: whatever the people want must be accepted.

Despite his strong views against legalising same-sex marriage, he’s prepared to vote with the people should they say yes.

“This is a matter that is properly for the people and if the people vote for change, the parliament has to accept it,” he told 3AW on Tuesday.

“Individual members of parliament have to accept it.”

Equally, he hopes same-sex marriage supporters will do the same if the country votes no.

The proposed plebiscite won’t be binding and several coalition MPs have indicated they’ll vote no regardless of the result.

One wonders whether news.com.au has correctly paraphrased what Abbott said. If past media reports are any indication, Abbott is here talking about the politics of the issue of homosexual ‘marriage’ and not about its morality, his views of which have not changed, as the report indicates. It is not the first time that a media report has implied that Abbott has compromised his moral views. The report prompted friend Peter Janssen to comment: Continue reading “‘Gay marriage must be accepted’”

Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage and the Exercise of Prudence

In January 2013, an opinion piece by Tony Abbott, Leader of the Federal Opposition, appeared in the Herald-Sun, ‘For the record, I’m not opposed to IVF.’ This attempt to clarify his position did nothing to change the minds of Abbott’s critics. They simply went on warning women about his ingrained misogyny and the extreme danger he represents for their well-being and security should he be elected prime minister at the next Federal Election. Abbott would always be Captain Catholic for those shamelessly leading the sectarian campaign against him. The critical point here is that Abbott’s views on abortion and other such social matters, especially for his feminist critics, are in essence an issue of politics, and not of an exchange in which argument and counter argument are marshalled. I will come back to this.

On the other hand, just to show – again in the concrete circumstances – that often one cannot win in such hard-fought political matters, there were many conservatives who treated Abbott’s piece in the Herald-Sun as further evidence of Abbott’s (alleged) compromise on difficult moral issues, apparently to appease critics of his conservatism, outside and inside the Liberal Party. What had happened to the Tony Abbott who almost single-handedly took on the extreme left in student politics and came away with a famous victory, leaving his ideological opponents so decimated that they have not even today recovered and vent their frustrations by writing wimpy whingeing essays about Abbott’s brutal masculinity. There was a political brutality that Gillard’s John McTernan would be proud of. Continue reading “Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage and the Exercise of Prudence”