Friday, 27 May 2016

Journalist Paul Bongiorno on the subject of Tony Abbott's comeback ambitions in 2016

ABC NEWS: MP for Warringah Tony Abbott’s 2016 federal election campaign launch

The New Daily, 16 May 2016:

Just ask yourself this: what other backbench member of parliament could attract all the TV networks, extensive radio coverage and print reporters to their local campaign launch?

Only a deposed prime minister keen to keep his name up in lights and intent on a comeback would be capable of the feat.

Tony Abbott’s Warringah launch had all the trappings of a national event. In fact, it had more razzamatazz than Julia Gillard’s 2010 effort, complete with a giant national flag back drop, professional placards and rows of blue t-shirted supporters.

It was followed with extensive interviews on Sky TV and with high-rating Sydney shock jock Alan Jones. And he is not up to mischief?

It is a free country and he successfully sought Liberal endorsement fair and square. But just as Malcolm Turnbull didn’t hang around in politics to be anything other than Prime Minister, it is surely not beyond the pale to ask why Tony is clinging to his parliamentary career. A lack of imagination doesn’t cut it. To serve the people of his electorate and the nation sounds, well, self-serving.

This is where the game of politics, the rules of engagement and appearances have to be well understood. Mr Abbott has assured his sympathetic media interrogators his party would never turn to him again as leader. His former chief of staff Peta Credlin scotched that one. That’s what he may be thinking now, she says, but experience tells us there’s no such thing as never ever.

Especially as a significant number of Liberals both in and out of the parliament are beginning to worry that Mr Turnbull is just not the politician he needs to be to maximise the government’s position either in the election, or if he should just win it, after the poll.

In fact there is a belief – more a shuddering fear – that the Coalition could be left with a bare majority at best.

“Anything under 80 seats spells doom for Malcolm,” was the view of one disconsolate Liberal MP. Seventy-six are needed to form government.

If perceptions of dithering and drift continue, and the government’s standing worsens, the precedent is set for a coup…..

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