CAN ABBOTT DO A LAZARUS?
The short answer is, “What drugs are you on?” But the long answer is more interesting and it doesn’t make the method of his execution any more palatable than Gillard’s execution of Rudd and it exposes the venomous vixens that still lurk the halls of power.
Let’s face it, there are many top cricketers who are never seen as foreman material. Captaincy requires three things: Skilful judgment, ability on the field of play and authority in the sheds. Abbott possessed only one of those fine traits. Rudd possessed none of them.
But did either deserve his first term in Office to be cut short? It came as a shock to both, there was a perception, even an expectation that, given the presidential nature of our electoral system, at least one full term was a given.
And if you think our voting system ain’t very presidential then consider this: Although the unionised ideology of the Labor Party has not changed at all in 40 years, its leaders have. Whitlam was highly electable, as was Rudd (until the electorate got to know them) but Shorten is totally unelectable, despite unchanged statements of faith.
It’s rare that a sitting PM is rejected in his own electorate. So, there is a high presidential component in the Westminster electoral system. The leader is important, so it’s difficult to see Shorten winning an election with a preferred PM figure of 15 per cent despite the two-party preferred figure being competitive.
So, if you accept a presidential component in our election process then we the voters have been unceremoniously dudded. Whitlam, Rudd and now Abbott were used to win elections for parties that had no trust in them or their philosophies, if indeed they had one.
Whitlam was a megalomaniac who had no interest in factions or unions. He was a visionary with myopia and his party eventually killed him, Kerr merely carried out the jury’s sentence. Rudd was a sociopath who also had no time for factions or unions so his party killed him too, despite having the temerity to resurrect him only to save some furniture in the 2013 election.
Tony Abbott was good enough as Opposition leader to win a record landslide election and bury Rudd and Gillard for all time but his style as PM was not acceptable to his party, so he too was killed off.
Not one of the three expected to be knifed. Not one noted the ominous warnings; an assassination from within was an unthinkable concept. Had he known, Whitlam could have sacked Kerr. Had he known Rudd, could have sacked Gillard. Had he known, Abbott could have sacked Bishop (and of course had Gillard known, she could have sacked Rudd).
Foreknowledge may not have saved them anyway, but they didn’t know, they had prepared no defence, history was falling into place all around them while their swords remained safely sheathed and their muskets uncocked.
Political probity is a thing of the past, media has been physically and monetarily bankrupted by on-line blogs, social intercourse and lightning quick information exchange. We no longer need to wait for the 6 o’clock news or tomorrow’s paper. News is instantaneous and it’s accompanied by a million opinions.
But back to Abbott. You probably wouldn’t find a more decent bloke anywhere but I, like many others in his own party, never saw him as PM material. The ABC and Fairfax felt the same way and embarked on a ruthless mission to get him. Fairfax had every right to do that... but did the ABC?
The current system invites political parties to elect their leaders on the basis of their ability to win elections, not to effectively govern a nation. And who cares anyway if they can be replaced in their first term with another more electorally palatable puppet.
What has happened is politically wrong to all fair-minded observers except those in Fairfax and the ABC.
It’s enough to drive a monarchist to a republic; with an elected President holding executive powers above both Houses of Parliament, where he can set the world on fire in a blind ideological fervour, where he can bankrupt the nation and declare Islamic terrorism to be workplace violence.
Careful what you wish for.