Meet Tony Abbott

Meet Tony Abbott, the leader of the federal opposition. He's a true Australian bloke. A battler with a mortgage. Family man. Bit of a rough tongue sometimes, tendency to open mouth, insert foot, but hey, nobody's perfect, right? At least, so runs the narrative in the mainstream media. The truth is very different, far darker - and, too often ignored.

The Battler
Abbott is portrayed as an ordinary working guy, struggling to make ends meet like any working Australian. The truth is he's from a background of privilege unknown and inaccessible to most Australians. He attended St Ignatius' College at Riverview, where the annual fees for Year Twelve students are well over $20,000; whilst studying a law degree at the University of Sydney (paying no fees to do so at the time, thanks to the educational reforms of the Whitlam government) he lived at St Johns College. Now, not to overgeneralise here, but I've met men who attend the residential colleges at the University of Sydney; their attitudes towards tradies from western Sydney are the opposite of warm empathy. The old residential colleges are the proving grounds of the old money elite, and they hold your average working stiff in sneering contempt. Yes, John Howard worked his way up from a modest background and public education. But Tony Abbott was raised with the powerful and privileged. GPS schools, residing in a university college, and the Rhodes scholarship that followed, are simply beyond the reach of the vast majority of Australians.

So that's his upbringing, but what has he made of himself? Well, after leaving training for the priesthood ages nearly thirty - and never experiencing the grind of establishing a career path - he briefly ran a concrete plant (oh, so a tiny bit of "battler"), then worked as a journalist. Most tellingly for our narrative, in 1994 he was elected Federal Member for Warringah - thus earning an MP's salary, at a base rate of $190,000 a year (in 2012 terms). He became a Minister in 1998, with a subsequent pay increase; this reverted back when his LNP lost the Federal election in 2007. But the fact remains that for the past 18 years, Tony Abbott has been drawing a salary at least three times that of the average Australian wage earner. Why is he "battling"? Which brings us to...

A Mortgage Holder
So Tony Abbott still has a mortgage after 18 years in parliament, huh? It turns out that in 2007, after losing his ministerial salary, he was forced to take out a second mortgage (which he then failed to declare under parliamentary rules) to cover his expenses. That's looking more like a poor money manager than an ordinary mortgage holder.

True Australian Bloke
Very few "battlers" turn up to court to defend themselves on indecent assault charges with a QC in tow. But then how many people find themselves on indecent assault charges? For what it's worth, the charges, from 1977, were dismissed, but the numerous allegations of Abbott as a sexist, racist, homophobic thug remain. Abbott, we are told by his biographer, was raised to believe that he was special and taught to fight, and brought this attitude to student politics - monstering his opponents through bullying, offensive remarks, and in one case allegations he urinated on protesters at Sydney Uni demonstrating against lack of childcare for single mothers.

A Family Man
The point is often made that Tony Abbott couldn't possibly be misogynistic because he has a wife and three daughters, which seems akin to saying that slave owners in the American south couldn't possibly be racist. Perhaps he's an attentive and caring father; and for the sake of those young women I hope so. But what sort of a world does he want them to grow up in? As a Catholic and a Monarchist, he believes that his daughters, as women and Australians, should not be the leader of either his religion or his nation. What about their relationships? On an episode of Q&A in 2010 - so after he became Opposition Leader; we're not talking about ancient history here - Abbott stated "I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak”.

Really, Mr Abbott? Really? You are making the case that there are circumstances where a woman does not have the right to withhold sex? Which ones? When is, in effect, rape okay with you?

For more of the wit and wisdom of Tony Abbott, there's a truly terrifying collection of quotes here. And that's not even the all of it - there's his persistence in referring to "illegals" when he must know, as a lawyer, that there is no such thing in law; his relentless talking down of the economy; his endorsement of the obscene personal attacks on the Prime Minister. Yet whilst Ms Gillard is forced to defend herself against the allegations of conspiracy nuts and rumour disproved long ago, Abbott is given a free ride by the media, who help maintain they myths and misconceptions. It's a bizarre and depressing state of affairs, and one wonders if Abbott's will ever get the attention they deserve.

Comments

  1. I am also astounded at the free ride Abbott seems to get from the media. As a very likely next Prime Minister I can't understand why he isn't asked to defend his statements and opinions more often.

    He's also the only politician (that I know of) that's said on national television we can't trust what he says unless it's written down! Why do people keep believing him?!?

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  2. Battler, my arse. In addition to the above, he lives in lady Davidson Circuit in Forestville, Sydney where the average house price is around $1,000,000, and some go for considerably more.

    ReplyDelete

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