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Confucius say politician with glass jaw should not lead party.

09/02/2011

When Tony Abbott was made leader of the opposition in 2009, I was a little gob-smacked.  Tony Abbott as leader? The man who bought us

managed to do his god damn hardest to stay on the straight and narrow. Sure he had some fudgy moments like where he admitted to Kerry that sometimes he says the real scripted truth and sometimes well he speaks bullshit. It was what I called his ‘Simon Says’ moment.  There is what Tony tells Australians and there is what Tony tells Australians  but only after saying ‘Simon Says’.

Surprisingly even this little unravelling of Abbott seemed to take second place and was soon just a footnote in moments that he took a gun to his own foot.

But shortly after the election, the problem began to rise again. When he used the phrase jetlag because he did not want to reveal that he had a visit in the pipelines. Again there as in the past Tony claimed he was taken out of context or the PM set him up. The irony is if Tony had at the moment of being asked the question told the reporter that he has organised a visit : that is THE TRUTH, then the whole Jetlag saga would have ended on the shores of Britain. Instead he lied. And instead his front bench had to go into full swing to save him.

Then he gets himself pictured firing weapons on his  holiday in Afghanistan and that was just not a good look. And again his front bench had to come to his expense of explaining what it is that he actually meant. Even radio jock shocks got into the act.

But barely had the new year started when he was at it again making seemingly bad judgement. As Brisbane braced itself for the floods, Abbott went on holidays. He didn’t stay there long though and was reporting for sound bite duty the following day.

Then just last week he struggled to try and put a lid on the email saga. He could not. And again it was up to his front bench to come in and explain to the nation what the great communicator leading their party could not do.

And now this latest incident re Mark Riley and channel 7.

Firstly, let me get this absolutely clear. Abbott said NOTHING wrong in that video footage in Afghanistan. It is CLEAR that what Tony was trying to do was console the man before him who was apologising for not being able to save the life of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. I know what Tony was trying to say.

‘Hey. It’s okay. It’s war. You can’t control everything even if you try and even if you have all the resources at hand. Be at peace General. It is not your fault’

Further he was speaking to SOLDIERS. And Soldiers tend to speak bluntly and get to the heart of the situation. I see nothing in that video that implicates Mr Abbott in anyway.

The issue though is HOW Mr Abbott chose to defuse the situation. He could have again made the whole thing go away if he told the reporter the truth of why he said what he said and there would never have been a story.

But he did not. Instead he stood there shaking in rage and glaring at Riley and the body language read ‘Im gonna fucking rip your fucking head off cunt’ and that is the whole problem.

Firstly, let me start my explanation with something seemingly trivial. It is a known fact that the biggest sector that get off on the show WEST WING are political staffers. They watch as Bartlett’s teams goes into swing keeping an eye out for any shit that might be about to hit the fan whilst the leader uses their ability of communication to get their message clearly across to the ‘public’ in the show.

So what happened here? Where were his staffers? This is not a surprise story here. The liberal party KNEW that channel 7 had taken them to court over FOI access to the footage and they should have been able to in the 3 months time they stalled the channel to identify anything in the footage that may be used against him.

He should have been prepped and by so doing he would never have been angry as he was. But something went wrong deep in his office. He seemed to be totally unaware that channel 7 had the footage. It was as if his office did not do their job. The minute Channel 7 won that case would have been the minute Abbott should have been notified and made aware that they may want to ask him about it.

Instead Abbott looked like he was truly a man on his own. Channel 7 reported on twitter that the actual silence lasted for over a minute and they had to edit it down. Where the hell were his minders? Where is his staff? Why was information about the coalition cabinet meeting leaked? Why was the email leaked? Why was he not told that Channel 7 had the footage or at least why did it look like he was not told.

These are the real questions. That and how often will Tony need his front bench to come out and clarify to the public exactly what Tony meant but could not articulate.

In boxing terms, Abbott can probably be fine if he can get his hands up in time to defend himself. Unfortunately for him, he ends up punching himself out.

His  political party now have to decide if they can continue to be lead by a man that has trouble getting his message across and one that shy’s from speaking the truth to defuse a situation and instead adopt a pugilistic stance.

In a political time period where consensus is vital due to the make up of the parliament, his aggression is a liability the party may not be able to afford. In a job where getting your message out clearly is a selection criteria, he has failed on many occasions and the party needed to spend resources and time and send in other party members to try and clear the air that Abbott could not.

Tony has a problem. The point is can the party live with that or will there be those who think that it is a problem they can not afford. In a climate where all they need to do is wait to take advantage of the gaffes of the government, making gaffes of your own takes the focus away from your policies and holds the magnifying glass instead to the opposition.

It is ironic that on the day that the opposition released a reasonably strong if not deferred response to the disaster response, it is  Tony Abbott’s moment where he deferred to speak to Riley that is getting the airtime. No party needs that.

[Addendum: I have been advised that Mr Abbott did have advance warning on the topic of the interview. He should have had an answer here.]

But…. err… ahhh… ummm… err.. ahhh.. I could be wrong.

A. Ghebranious     2010      (All Rights Reserved)

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3 Comments
  1. Jennifer Baratta permalink

    Stay true Ash. Good luck!

  2. Catching up permalink

    Listening to Mark Riley on Sunrise this morning makes Mr. Abbott’s action yesterday more puzzling.
    According to Mr Riley, they were given an abridged version of the videos of about eight minutes, from Mr. Abbott’s visit to Afghan last year.
    There were three army videos made. Mr. Abbott office refused to release any more of the videos.
    Mr. Riley made arrangements three hours before the interview. Mr. Riley went through a transcript of the video with his office.
    One of Mr. Abbott’s staff walked him out to the courtyard where they met up with Mr. Abbott.
    Mr. Riley said that he showed Mr. Abbott talking to the Army people and asked him what he meant by his comments. No ambush and his office fully aware of what was being discussed. Mr. Abbott office was well aware that the videos were being sought through FOI.
    The question that needs to be asked, is why Mr. Abbott appeared to be shocked when he saw the video when he knew what the interview was to be about. Nowhere are there any allegations about Mr. Abbott, just a question to why he said what he did.
    Also why did his office refuse to follow previous protocol and hand over all the videos? Why did Mr. Hockey and Mr. Abbott refuse to go on Sunrise this morning? Even Mr. Turnbull was out this morning. I can only ask, of what are they afraid?
    I would advise anyone to listen to the whole interview before they make comments.
    I think the aim of the interview was the American officer’s displeasure at what Mr. Abbott raised with him, that the soldier died because of inadequate firepower support.
    http://www.news.com.au/national/s-happens-tony-abbott-to-troops-after-lance-corporal-jared-mackinneys-death/story-e6frfkvr-1226002350040?referrer=email&source=Punch_nl&emcmp=Punch&emchn=Newsletter&emlist=Member
    “However, the soldier’s father said Mr Abbott’s comments were out of line and had made him feel sick.
    Ian MacKinney described Mr Abbott as thoughtless, ignorant and uncaring. “It just shows how good he is, or isn’t. I’m not going to let it bother me, but it just shows he’s not very thoughtful. He doesn’t care too much,” he said……
    The Liberal Party accused Channel 7 of ambushing Mr Abbott and committing a”desperately low act”.”

    Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/s-happens-tony-abbott-to-troops-after-lance-corporal-jared-mackinneys-death/story-e6frfkvr-1226002350040#ixzz1DP2yQpYP

  3. Pip permalink

    Genrerally, I cant stand Mark Riley’s style but this time the problem is Abbott not Riley.
    How many times have the MSM brushed away Abbott’s problems, while bagging Labor at every turn yet this time it’s a bit different.
    There is something odd going on here; has Abbott refused like an ostrich to deal with each of the issues or was he badly advised. Is this a way for the Libs to get rid of him by his own hand. Could it be like the old saying, “the coaches job is safe”. I wish.

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