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TBS Publisher Alexandra Tselios has her say
When writer and Labor cheerleader Bob Ellis predicted the demise of Tony Abbott’s leadership and published claims that he will be replaced by someone within the Liberal party, the Internet went crazy. The countdown on Bob Ellis’ blog has generated a social media frenzy with some approaching it as fact, rather than what it actually is – speculative prophecies and convoluted guesswork. Doing so was almost like somebody threw the utterly appalled and confused a bone, with many claiming that Tony Abbott’s personal biases are far too intrusive for even the most conservative voters (sorry, Cory Bernardi doesn’t count).
Yes, they say, there needs to be change and many, myself included, see the desperate need for a shake-up in many of Australia’s systematic frameworks – but WTF? Chaplains? Ballerinas? Red-herrings…
Never forget that one of the strongest selling points for the Liberal party during the 2013 election campaign was to consistently remind voters of the factions within the Labor government. Did Australia really want to re-elect a government whose own leaders were “back-stabbing” each other?
Yep, that very attractive sales pitch. Ironically, it seems to be the very thing that the Liberal government needs to do right now.
But it seems hard to debate, question and discuss right now in this climate with many throwing around fast sarcastic slogans and “savvy” comebacks with no actual weight behind their firm political stance. I almost always zone out when this happens, and reading the commentary on a Bob Ellis post fast becomes simply a challenge of who can insult hash-tag-Tony the best. I would even refer to Malcolm Turnbull’s comments towards Alan Jones yesterday during a very heated discussion posing the question that if you do in fact want someone out of the way (in this context, Clive Palmer), is abusing them really the best and most effective method?
In fact, for that reason, I think the person doing one of the best jobs in the current climate to assert his dissatisfaction with the coalition is actually Bob himself – done so, not by hurling abuse, but with suggestive and divisive words that have quickly permeated into everyone’s news feeds, sowing seeds of doubt about agendas and alliances.
I can understand why people are angry and want to cling to speculative theories that sound too good to be true (with a countdown and everything!) and I can also understand why many aren’t speaking out in support of the current government. Many would love to see a different Liberal leader at the moment, perhaps one with greater understanding about the segments of the Australians they are representing. Although, the words of Malcolm Turnbull to Alan Jones just yesterday reiterating the party’s unity just reinforces his words in 2013: “Of course there’s a lot of people out there who think I should be leader and prefer me to Tony Abbott. But that’s not going to happen.”
Whether or not Bob Ellis is on the money, I don’t know, but I sure hope so.
TBS Editor-in-Chief Paul Bugeja has his say
Didn’t the week kick off with a bit of a BANG for the Coalition government…at least in terms of a variety of commentators banging on about Coalition leadership speculation?
From Ellis to Bolt to Jones, rumours began swirling that Abbott’s days were numbered (just four days from last Sunday, at least according to Bob Ellis), and no doubt the rumblings will continue after another dire Newspoll showing the coalition at its lowest primary vote in four years.
Leadership speculation or no, Tony boy is safe, now and for the foreseeable future.
During the “Gillard Years,” I once fell under the spell of Bob Ellis as “the Ghost of Labor past,” quoting his predictions to other political nerds like me who laughed their heads off in mirth at my naivety. Bob is just being his old ‘ornery, if without doubt, entertaining self, and stirring the pot in the same way his counterparts on the right do.
Which takes me to Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones.
Actually, no, I’m not going there. Neither are worth the space.
The reason Abbott won’t be #gawn is because, as much as all the sooky lala wet conservatives want Malcolm Turnbull to rule Oz, his party doesn’t. Sure, Malky lost that 2009 party room vote by just a single vote (who was the naughty Liberal pollie who voted informally? tut tut), and he no doubt still has some support amongst his colleagues, but it ain’t nowhere enough to whip them up into a frenzy and turf Tony.
However, more tellingly about this government and how it perceives itself, Tone will rule supreme for some time yet, at least until the end of the year, a double dissolution or right up until the potentially doom-laden 2016 Federal Election – which, if current polling is anything to go by, would see Mr Abbott booted out under the ignominious Twitter tag #OneTermTony.
His front bench’s unflappable “born to rule” mentality.
In fact, despite Treasurer Joe Hockey disputing there is any such thing in his party, if the Coalition front bench were a rock band, they would be called “The Kings of Entitlement.”
Bottom line, to appropriate a slogan I don’t think Mr Abbott would be too happy about it – Tone’s here, he’s queer (don’t worry Bernardi, not that kind of queer…) and he ain’t going nowhere.
Despite leadership speculation, ye of lefty-faith, have a good old laugh at the dire predictions of Bob, Bolt and Jones, and fasten your seatbelts…it’s going to be a bumpy ride…