MALCOLM SMELLS BLOOD IN THE WATER
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
Twelve years ago Tony Abbott canvassed with colleagues the possibility of becoming leader of the Liberal Party. He was told, “Forget it Tony, it’s not really your go, we don’t see you in that way.”
Tony was devastated, he had seen himself as PM since he first entered Parliament in 1994. Bloody hell, he was a Rhodes Scholar, a journalist and a trainee Jesuit priest. He was the perfect Lib leader with a clean record. Well, sort of a clean record.
When he was 19 he was reported to have punched a wall at uni and unfortunately had got his girlfriend up the duff (not exactly criminal offences).
Both parents parted company after putting their new baby boy up for adoption. But 28 years later the boy was a man and working in Canberra as a TV producer and when he sought out his real parents it was discovered he had unknowingly been working with his father.
DNA testing later revealed that Tony Abbott was not his father after all.
It was Bob Carr who first tried to lure Abbott into the Labor Party’s NSW Catholic Right faction, but he declined the offer. Abbott was an elite Lib, a monarchist, a right-to-lifer and had no time for unions.
Malcolm Turbull in the meantime was running a remarkably parallel career, but of a different colour. He too was Rhodes Scholaring himself to perceived elitism. He too dabbled in journalism and he too was courted by the Labor Party.
Gough Whitlam’s son, Nick and he were involved in some dodgy banking manoeuvres that Malcolm had deftly dissociated himself from before the proverbial hit the fan.
Although Turnbull and Neville Wran were close friends, Malcolm decided to have a tilt at the Libs’ safe seat of Wentworth, spending a reported $1 million on his campaign. Despite the Lib vote falling by a massive 10 per cent, he scraped in on preferences.
But Turnbull and Abbott were politically poles apart. Malcolm was, and still is, a passionate Republican, a global warmist and a same-sex marriage advocate.
Many of his colleagues see him as more Green than blue.
Regardless, he gained the Liberal Party leadership by two votes, ousting the hapless Brendan Nelson. But in no time his erratic and inexplicable judgment in handling the Godwin Gretch affair led to another Party room ballot where Tony Abbott wrested the Leadership from him by a single vote.
That one vote highlighted the Party’s discontent with Malcolm and its guarded suspicion of Tony.
But as Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s handling of the Rudd/Gillard/ Rudd Government was dramatic, tempered and highly effective. He led the pleasantly surprised Libs back to government in a landslide.
Unfortunately, a leader’s brilliance in Opposition often lacks the same radiance in government and Tony Abbott’s protective, wooden persona is proving dull and sluggish.
The canny Malcolm has noticed the Abbott flaw and is currently displaying devastating Turnbull performances of grandiloquence on the floor of the House, to the delight of both sides, leaving Abbott cringing in lingual inadequacy.
Old scores of one vote die hard in politics and Turnbull’s vanity-driven second foray on the leadership is becoming naked and manifest.
But there is a deep loyalty toward Abbott, despite his bloopers, and the Left leaning Turnbull is tilting at windmills.
He may again allow his Liberal Party membership to lapse once his magnificence is not sanctioned for a second time. Then again, loyalty is not a word politicians can spell.
... no man was more hated by his Party than the despicable Kevin Rudd when he was sanctioned for a second time.