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Tony Abbott, a Conviction Politician with a Blind Spot

Tony Abbott, the politics of conviction hits a snag

Tony Abbott – The politics of conviction hits a blind spot

NOT since the Constitutional crisis of 1975, when an elected Australian Prime Minister was spectacularly sacked by the very same Governor General that Labor itself appointed, has a Labor-led government limped from one self-inflicted crisis to another, in such monotonous repetition, as it does today.

With the major tabloids openly canvassing the impossible situation that the Gillard Labor government finds itself in, it seems almost a fait accompli that the Prime Minister and her disaster prone government will experience the full wrath of a fed-up Australian public, come the next federal election.

The projections of an impending electoral bloodbath have been well publicised, with some figures suggesting a primary vote as low as 27%, which may in fact leave Labor with less than 10 seats federally.

Many have been pointing the finger of blame for these dire opinion polls squarely at the feet of the Labor party itself, having mis-spent the public trust with a litany of broken promises, treacherous leadership scuffles, inept asylum seeker policies, unpopular taxes, sexist family law changes, and repetitive scandalsinvolving sexual misconduct and the misuse of funds.

It is hard to believe that only 5 short years ago Labor rode to an historic electoral victory on the back of the Kevin07 campaign, slaying an incumbent Liberal Prime Minister who was once thought to be unassailable.

But those days are well and truly gone.

For many reading the papers of the last few days, one would be forgiven for the misconception that Labor’s woes began with Julia Gillard’s broken promise on the Carbon tax, or her lack of political judgment on the asylum seeker situation, or even her political assassination of a first term Labor Prime Minister.

In fact the seeds of Labor’s demise were sown well before Julia Gillard even became Prime Minister.

It was in fact during a twilight period in 2009/2010 which will no doubt be scrutinised by political historians, when Labor faced for the first time an unco-operating, unwavering opponent, a conviction politician who had accidently acquired the mantle of Opposition leader, a politician who despite overwhelming political opinion at that time, stared down Kevin Rudd and dared him to take the then Carbon Tax mark I (the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) to an election.

In the summer of 2010, Kevin Rudd had the second trigger he needed to take the initiative and call for a double dissolution election. Kevin Rudd was still riding high in the polls, the Carbon tax was still supported by the majority of Australians, and the Copenhagen convention, which many hoped would seal international co-operation on similar carbon trading schemes across the planet, was on the horizon.

Kevin Rudd could have called an election, and if he had, he would have won.

Given the nature of politics that is, had Kevin Rudd made that call, Labor would very likely be in a different set of circumstances today.

But any honest retelling of this historical political moment would not be complete without emphasising the fact that Kevin Rudd blinked, but Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who many thought was on a hiding to nothing given public opinion at the time, kept his eyes wide open.

For a politician openly reviled by the ugly underbelly of many of Australia’s liberal/feminist organisations, one cannot deny that Tony Abbott has shown tremendous courage in staring down an at-the-time popular policy put forward by an at-the-time popular Prime Minister, and the outcome has left almost everyone surprised, except perhaps for Tony Abbott.

For those that know him well, the term ‘conviction politician‘ is a term that may perhaps one day become synonymous with his leadership, given that he has displayed this dog-mindedness and brutal honesty in core policies within the party room, and even in his personal life, especially given the recent revelations of his sister’s homosexual lifestyle, and his nevertheless steadfast adherance to his anti-gay marriage policies.

However, as a man and as a father, I must add that my opinion on Tony Abbott as a politician of conviction does not find favour in one select community within Australia, that being the ever growing list of separated fathers who have little or no contact with their children post-divorce.

One would assume, given Tony Abbott’s past public comments about strengthening marriage laws, that his courage would have undeniably lead him to speak out and decry the rollback of Australia’s Shared Parenting laws, in the same fashion that his has opposed the Carbon tax, given the impact these archaic and regressive laws will have on Australian families and especially children of divorced families.

For every separated father in Australia is only too aware that Julia Gillard, in the dead of night in November 2011, passed new family law amendments that legally protect those who make knowingly false allegations of child abuse from penalty, and laws that have effectively created a presumption of guilt against separated fathers, that are almost impossible to rebut, even with conclusive facts.

However to my frustration and that of many others, Tony Abbott, the conviction politician who has stood up for what he believed in and as a result has created Australian political history,  has stayed conspicuously silent of this very important issue, an issue which saw the rollback of Australia’s Shared Parenting laws, which were possibly the crowning accomplishment of Tony Abbott’s hero, the previous Liberal Prime Minister John Howard.

Yes, it makes sense of course, because Tony Abbott is seen as anti-woman, so its smart politics to stay silent lest one exarcebate the anti-female perception that already exists.

Of course, if Tony Abbott subscribed to the policy of safe politics, Kevin Rudd would probably still be Prime Minister, and we would very likely already be living with a Carbon tax.

Smart politics for short-term gain is the well-worn path of Julia Gillard and before her, Kevin Rudd. Its not the Tony Abbott that I have come to begrudgingly respect, at least I hope not.

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Posted by on May 1, 2012. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Tony Abbott, a Conviction Politician with a Blind Spot

  1. Wes Reply

    October 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    What strikes me as most bizarre here is that Abbott only needs to be ‘pro-child’ to counter the ‘anti-woman’ allegations, and the one argument I never hear raised is about mothers of sons who face having to deal with their boys’ heartbreak over losing their kids – the mothers’ grandchildren – down the road. Yes, long-term thinking that most people don’t do well, but a point that, repeated often enough, might just get through even the thickest feminist skulls. I’m just waiting for the day my ex calls to complain that she can’t see her grandchildren because of some b!tch ex-wife of one of my boys.

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