Spoiler up to old tricks on warm­ing

I’m not a com­men­ta­tor, but...

The Gympie Times - - YOUR SATURDAY -

THE Fed­eral Mem­ber for War­ringah’s at it again.

In Lon­don, ad­dress­ing the Global Warm­ing Pol­icy Foun­da­tion (rather than be­ing in his own elec­torate, serv­ing his con­stituents), he made the mind-bog­gling claim that cli­mate change could ac­tu­ally be to mankind’s ben­e­fit.

Now, de­spite the name of that foun­da­tion, it’s ac­tu­ally a group of scep­tics and should pos­si­bly be sub­ject to some kind of false ad­ver­tis­ing laws or some­thing. So, old Tony was amongst friends. Es­pe­cially when one con­sid­ers that their past speak­ers in­cluded such es­teemed Aus­tralians as Ge­orge Pell.

What Abbott claimed was of course true. At present, more peo­ple glob­ally suc­cumb to cold than to heat fac­tors. But you can­not take that fac­toid in iso­la­tion and com­pletely dis­re­gard the ev­i­dence that also points to cli­mate change pos­si­bly re­sult­ing in a four-fold in­crease in heated-re­lated deaths in Aus­tralia alone by 2050. It is there­fore only log­i­cal to as­sume that more peo­ple will even­tu­ally die from the ef­fects of cli­mate change and more se­vere weather events that such change will fos­ter, than do cur­rently freeze to death. That doesn’t ac­tu­ally chalk up a “win” for so­ci­ety.

But of course, in true Tony form, he shaped his speech to ap­pease a re­cep­tive au­di­ence. It’s now got to the point where we have to re­ally ques­tion what does he ac­tu­ally stand for?

As a mem­ber of the Howard Gov­ern­ment, his role in the in­qui­si­tion and sub­se­quent gaol­ing of Pauline Han­son re­mains a ran­cid stain on the Aus­tralian po­lit­i­cal land­scape. The irony hasn’t es­caped me that some of those most up­set about the Turn­bull coup are now amongst One Na­tion’s new groupies.

As PM, Abbott was just as con­sis­tent in go­ing back on his word as he was with keep­ing it.

Both as PM and since, he has re­peat­edly shot his mouth off with­out first putting his brain in gear. Threat­en­ing to “shirt­front” Vladimir Putin comes to mind.

As the self-ap­pointed Min­is­ter for Women (yeah, clearly that was a re­ally sick joke), he achieved ab­so­lutely noth­ing. No ef­fec­tive pro­grams and no poli­cies con­cern­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. He couldn’t even let Rosie Batty have clean air, with his procla­ma­tion of Prince Phillip’s knight­hood on the very day the do­mes­tic vi­o­lence cam­paigner re­ceived her award. Of course, one can­not ac­tu­ally ac­cuse old Tony of de­lib­er­ately ob­struct­ing the na­tional fo­cus on Rosie’s cam­paign but it was such an ill-thought-through thing to do. And it re­ally spoiled any im­me­di­ate mo­men­tum to Rosie’s year. But then again, that’s what Tony Abbott does best. Spoil things.

Don’t get me wrong. As Op­po­si­tion Leader, he was bril­liant at it. But Op­po­si­tion Lead­ers don’t al­ways make for great na­tion builders.

Why is he still tol­er­ated within the Lib­eral Party? Given the cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s ten­u­ous grip on a ma­jor­ity, they can ill-af­ford ei­ther an Abbott on a re­ally cross­bench or a by-elec­tion.

He promised when he was dumped from the lead­er­ship (by a num­ber greater than that with which he had pre­vi­ously de­posed Turn­bull, I might add) that there would be “no wreck­ing, no un­der­min­ing and no snip­ing”. Yet that’s pre­cisely what he con­tin­ues to do. He’s Rudd on steroids but with no chance of be­com­ing PM again. Even the most stri­dent mem­bers of Team Abbott could not be that se­ri­ously delu­sional.

In­stead of do­ing the de­cent thing, as many past PM’s have done, he has cho­sen not to travel the road to States­man­ship. In­stead, every­thing car­ries that whiff of vin­dic­tive­ness. He’s in­tent on do­ing Turn­bull slowly but with­out the style and panache of Keat­ing.

Still. He pro­vides reg­u­lar fod­der for the world’s satirists. But not be­cause he’s funny. Like an am­a­teur stand-up who never goes fur­ther than the pub tal­ent quest, he’s failed to know when the joke’s over.

He’s Rudd on steroids but with no chance of be­com­ing PM again.

AT IT AGAIN: For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Tony Abbott. PHOTO: RICK RYCROFT

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