Posted by JC on July 8th, 2010
Trailer of the next big Australian feature. Worth a quick look!
I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Don’t know why Tony Abbott is portrayed as an “action man”, when he’s anything but. But the vid clip is another telling reminder just how man (literal) has slumped down in the evolutionary chain.
“Missionary position” is taking on a whole new meaning.
I’m reminded of this about Tony Abbott’s philosophies from the last election in ’07
I find it interesting in the latest events.
I only saved it in Notepad but the URL is there somewhere.
Glenn Milne | November 19, 2007
Abbott trips up on pragmatism
THE travails and sufferings of Tony Abbott over these past weeks have made him a symbol of the broader failings – both human and political – of the Coalition election campaign as a whole. But for the Health Minister there will be neither martyrdom nor transcendence.
With his deep religious and spiritual convictions, Abbott may even be drawn to such notions. But in large measure it has been exactly the tension between these convictions and the competing stresses of political and public life that have consigned him to his present purgatory.
Regardless of what happens on Saturday most of Abbott’s colleagues are now convinced that he is deeply unhappy and that the political future of a man once touted as Liberal deputy leadership material – if not a contender for the leadership itself – is now limited of his own volition.
Like most things in life the key to what lies ahead for Abbott is unlocked by his past. The immediate backdrop has been the campaign, of course, a disaster for the Health Minister on any measure. He just never seemed to be able to find his political equilibrium from the outset.
It was evident even before the campaign proper started. Abbott was obviously knocked off balance by John Howard’s decision to try to save one marginal Tasmanian seat with the federal-sponsored local community takeover take over of the Mersey hospital. This directly contradicted Abbott’s previous – and very public – support for a national takeover of all state-run hospitals by Canberra.
The fact that Kevin Rudd had since adopted Abbott’s position as Labor’s only made the Health Minister’s advocacy task even more difficult. The “Mersey solution” as a credible piece of national policy didn’t fly at the beginning of the campaign and has failed to take flight since; Abbott went into the election with his wings already clipped.
They then got singed – some would say badly burned – when he blundered into a confrontation with anti-James Hardie campaigner Bernie Banton. Banton tried unsuccessfully to deliver a 17,000-signature petition to Abbott’s office pushing for the PBS listing of a drug to treat asbestosis related illnesses, from which Banton is very publicly dying.
Banton was already rightly sanctified in the public mind for his role in grinding out asbestos compensation from the corporate ogre that James Hardie had become. Trouble was, Banton’s champion in that fight was ALP candidate and former ACTU secretary Greg Combet. So in the context of an election dominated by the sub-text of Work Choices, when Banton tried to deliver his petition, Abbott questioned his motives.
Realising his mistake, Abbott backtracked and apologised. But on the same day he was seen to cock a snook at voters by turning up half an hour late to a scheduled televised debate at the National Press Club with his opposite, Labor health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon.
Abbott took the focus off that, though, by swearing at the diminutive Roxon in front of the TV cameras. The net result: 48 hours of precious oxygen was sucked out of the Coalition campaign. All Howard could do was inhale and wait for the maelstrom tosubside.
Abbott disappeared for a while but last week returned to the forefront of the Coalition campaign, again for all the wrong reasons. He was caught on amateur video at a local electorate meeting seemingly admitting that Work Choices had stripped away industrial protections previously guaranteed by law.
Abbott argued about context and meaning but the damage was done; so much so that Labor posted the video as an ad on YouTube, finishing with a voice-over that said: “Written and spoken on behalf of the ALP by TonyAbbott.”
If the polls are right and Rudd becomes prime minister on November24, the histories of where the Coalition campaign went wrong will feature Abbott. His personal disorientations will become a metaphor for broader systemic failures. And there is still a week to go.
This is a shame. Abbott is a figure of substance, a conviction politician in an era of white noise convergence. But watching Abbott’s disintegration you have to ask whether the strength of those convictions was ever viable in an environment where the electorate increasingly likes its politics “lite” in all respects, including when it comes tovalues.
I count Abbott as a friend. We met in the early 1990s, and there’s not a dinner table you’d share with him that wouldn’t leave you passing into the later night wrestling with some of the bigger questions of the universe.
In some senses, Abbott is simply too honest and too raw for modern politics. The Banton, Roxon and Work Choices campaign interludes are all variants on this truth. And it now seems these convictions – particularly those of a religious nature – and that often uncomfortable honesty have led inevitably to the conclusion among government ministers that Abbott is now over politics as much as politics is over him. The sad fact is Abbott does not lie well. And in politics that is a brutal disqualification for further advancement.
The first lie that Abbott had to front for as Health Minister came swiftly after the 2004 election. About 400,000 patients lost out when Howard pulled the rug on Abbott’s “rock solid, iron-clad” commitment that the thresholds of the Medicare safety net would not be tightened.
A clearly distressed Abbott briefly considered resigning before rationalising that he made the election pledge “absolutely believing it to be true”. This was Jesuitical parsing and Abbott knew it.
From that point he seemed to throw himself deliberately at issues that he saw as involving higher truths. He fought to retain ministerial restrictions and controls over the abortion drug RU486 only to lose; then he counter-attacked by publicly funding religious organisations wanting to offer pregnancy counselling services.
After that there was his crusade to try to have parliament ban therapeutic cloning. Typically aggressive, he attacked the science as the gateway to human-animal hybrids. Again he lost. He then spent fruitless hours trying to stop Rudd appropriating the Christian faith to the Labor cause, all the while elevating Rudd’s beliefs and reinforcing the conservative credentials with which the Opposition Leader now looks to have outflanked Howard.
And hovering over it all was the terrible hurt and confusion of the March 2005 tragedy involving his lost then found, then lost again son Daniel. In the end to his colleagues, it looks to have been Abbott who has been lost most of all.
Denied the portfolio he wanted at the last big cabinet reshuffle, defence, and now considered by many as unsuitable for any party leadership position because of his politically uncomfortable moral stands, the way ahead for Abbott is uncertain.
The ultimate determinant may be Howard’s fate. For a decade, Abbott has fashioned himself as the Prime Minister’s one-man Praetorian Guard. Publicly he stood alone in defending Howard against the failed leadership putsch during the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum that may well have changed the outcome of this election campaign. If the polls are right he will have been on the wrong side of history, always a bad place to be.
Abbott’s colleagues say his lovely wife Margie just wants him home. Perhaps friends should advise him to go to her. To do otherwise risks Abbott ending his days as the Norman Tebbit of Australian politics. And he’s a better man than that.