PM Tony Abbott has been at it again with a quick wink captured during criticism of him in a radio interview today…once bitten, not twice shy – in fact the simple wink is far from shy…


Today when being interviewed by Neil Mitchell on 3AW, PM Tony Abbott took a call from a disgruntled Liberal supporter. When the caller identified himself as such, Mr Abbott winked at Mitchell and suddenly #winkgate is upon us.

As it must be.


Because it’s not the first time we’ve seen this body language from the PM.

“Mr Wink” (with apologies to Tarantino) found himself in similar trouble last year when being interviewed on the ABC…for those who missed it…

Sure, it was a different context to the caller today but a wink nonetheless.

Why should such a seemingly innocuous action even be given column space? Because so much seems to be said in that simple wink.

To the majority of us, the wink is cheeky or slightly secretive at the very least – but taken to its extreme, and in these particular instances, the wink can be construed as either not trusting the credentials of the caller, or, let’s not split hairs, taking the piss out of them.

What do the body language experts say about the wink?

Changing minds says…

Closing one eye in a wink is a deliberate gesture that often suggests conspiratorial (‘You and I both understand, though others do not’). Winking can also be a slightly suggestive greeting and is reminiscent of a small wave of the hand.


Psychologist world offers…

In the West, we consider winking to be a cheeky form of flirting – something we do with people that we know or are on good terms with. However, there are cross-cultural variations on the issue of winking: some Asian cultures frown up on the use of this form of facial expression.


Even Wiki comes up with some truths about the wink that might make us concerned about Mr Wink…

…winking in Western culture can be used as a way of letting someone else know that the winker or some other person is joking or lying (e.g., a mother tells her child a story about a fairy princess, and she then winks at the child’s older sibling, the sibling thus knows the mother is lying to the younger child). It may also be used to communicate sexual intentions, ranging from flirtation to an explicit invitation.


So, what, if anything, should we take from this?

Given that the PM was under a lot of pressure over leadership speculation, and that Abbott had just dodged a question from Mitchell about this (when asked whether he would lead the party to the next election, PM Abbott didn’t directly answer, instead batting the question off by talking about the Rudd-Gillard debacle, as well he might, and the replacement of Ted Baillieu by Denis Napthine in Victoria…and we know how that turned out for the Vic Libs), it might merely have been some nervous internal tick from the PM to release the pressure of the situation.

BUT…given we’ve seen this behaviour from Mr Wink before…hmmm….


(PS Leadership speculation?? Stuff and nonsense according to Eric Abetz…although kinda funny that a series of positive articles about Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flashed up not long after the #winkgate reports started circulating #justsaying)

Share via