Sunday, 5 March 2017
Journalist Laura Tingle writing in the Australian Financial Review, 24 February 2017:
Politics is full of catastrophic debacles and tragedies that nonetheless finish up in weed-covered, neglected dead ends.
The Soviet Union comes to mind. All that work. All that butchery. All those millions killed. And then pffft! It was gone.
Similarly, Tony Abbott. Okay, not the millions dead, but what an utter destructive force, an utter waste of space this man has been on the Australian political landscape.
Can you remember anything positive that he has contributed to our polity that has not involved tearing something down? Even as a minister there is not much to recommend him.
He oversaw the introduction of a so-called private sector run employment market that was supposed to ensure that all the government subsidies went to those most in need of assistance. It has never, ever worked like that. Still doesn't.
Health Minister? Well, no-one remembers anything particularly positive there either.
Having torn down his leader in Opposition, he unleashed a feral – and deadly – negativism on Australian politics from which we have never really recovered.
So firmly set on a path of destruction, he set about making everything in his prime ministership a negative and ended up destroying himself.
You might think that at some point there might have been a moment of midnight reflection. But no.
Tony Abbott has continued on his destructive path, not just trying to destroy the man who replaced him but being happily prepared to burn the government of which he is allegedly a part, and some of his closest colleagues at the same time.
All in the truly deluded name of policies that he didn't have the political ability to implement when he was prime minister but which he still thinks might win votes.
Abbott's latest intervention has only had the effect of finally bringing out those who have been most admirably loyal to him - like Mathias Cormann - to call him on his disingenuous, hypocritical and dishonest policy critiques of the current government……
Abbott leaves a stinking pile of loopy policy ideas steaming on the footpath – ranging from cutting immigration to the renewable energy target – that others will have to go to some considerable trouble to avoid, or, worse, being the sort of populist nonsense they are, be adopted by those proffering simplistic solutions.
This was all done under the deluded contention that the political debate in Australia has been hijacked by the Left.
Backed by the tailwind of a gushing and fawning conservative media, Abbott had every opportunity to set a new highwater mark for the right in Australia.
But as his own conservative colleagues publicly abandon him, it is a sign of Abbott's utter failure that he has even made this unfashionable.