Monday, 30 April 2012

April 2012: Abbott's month that was..........

On 29 April 2012 Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called for the approximately 93,661 voters in the federal electorate of Dobell in NSW to be immediately disenfranchised after he heard that their elected representative since 2007, Craig Thomson MP, had resigned from the Australian Labor Party and moved onto the parliamentary cross-benches as an Independent.

Again on 29 April Sky News revealed Abbott’s personal reference for then Coalition MP Peter Slipper:

On Sunday Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne defended Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's personal reference for Mr Slipper's preselection campaign at the 2007 election which praised the Sunshine Coast MP.
"Tony Abbott has always been famously generous with his colleagues and his friends. It doesn't surprise me at all that he would write a reference of that nature," Mr Pyne told Sky News.

Also on 29 April  the Northern Rivers Echo reported that the highest levels of the Howard Government (in which Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was then a senior minister) had known about and attempted to conceal Peter Slipper's parliamentary travel expense allowance difficulties:

AN ''urgent'' ministerial briefing note to the former special minister of state Eric Abetz warned that as far back as 2002 something was amiss with Peter Slipper's family travel expenses.
The note, obtained by The Sun-Herald under freedom-of-information laws, reveals Mr Abetz and other ministers were advised Mr Slipper had been spoken to ''on various occasions'' about his family travel entitlements, yet continued making expense claims that broke the rules.
Other documents obtained under FOI reveal the Howard government at the time prepared a brief titled ''hot issues'' just in case the matter was raised in an estimates hearing.
The suggested response was to say Mr Slipper had repaid the $5079.40 owing to the Commonwealth but in the background notes, headlined ''not for release'', it said ''Mr Slipper was critical of departmental processes in identifying apparent travel outside of entitlement.......
Elsewhere it was reported that known Abbott ally Senator Santo Santoro had supported Slipper's continued pre-selection in Fisher, before his own ministerial fall from grace in 2007. Abbott later voted for Santoro in his successful bid to become vice-president of the political arm of the Liberal Party in 2011.
The Sunshine Coast Daily on 25 April takes Abbott to task for trying to rewrite his history with Peter Slipper:

Tony Abbott lied on Monday night when he told the ABC he had been in the process of shepherding Mr Slipper out of parliament when Julia Gillard made him Speaker.
How can that be true? Mr Abbott and his then Prime Minister John Howard wrote letters to Liberal members in Fisher urging them to back Peter Slipper in a preselection contest with Glenn Garrick and Harry Burnett.
Mr Abbott's office was the source of the press release Mr Slipper put out explaining his reasons for accepting the PM's offer of the deputy speakership even after he absented himself from the Liberal Party room vote that selected Bruce Scott as its nomination for the job.

On 24 April The Australian carries Abbott's denial that Coalition staffers didn't help prepare the sexual harassment case against Speaker Peter Slipper, but didn't mention the newspaper's previous claim that Coalition political operatives began leaking to it after Slipper's defection or that Abbott had particular friendships with senior staff at The Australian. on 24 April points to Abbott’s troubles with the calendar:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was a week out when talking about the cost of borrowing being cut, apparently confusing the release of inflation data with the Reserve Bank's board meeting.
He told reporters today: "Should the Reserve Bank lower interest rates today, that will be welcomed.
"But that obviously is a matter for the bank."

On the same day and at the same news outlet, Abbott the man who became Parliamentary Leader of the Liberal Party and therefore also of the Coalition Opposition by a margin one solitary vote, woke to see this:

"I have been a good friend of Tony Abbott even when he didn't have many," Mr Slipper said on Twitter.
"I even delivered him the key vote he needed to become leader."

On 23 April the Fraser Coast Chronicle snapped Abbott in those red budgie smugglers and accidentally let us all know that this is one pollie who is beginning to pork up:

9 News on 20 April carries Abbott’s attempt to bury Joe Hockey’s bout of truth telling:

The coalition has no plans to abolish any welfare programs, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.
Mr Abbott has again defended comments made by shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, who warned Australia needed to keep an eye on its welfare payouts.
Mr Hockey used a speech in London this week to criticise the "age of entitlement" in regard to social payments in western nations and urge development countries, including Australia, to means test them.

On 18 April one voter did what Australians do best – laughed at the political Abbott:

Tony Abbott has been brooding!
His budget plan’s been dissed! He can’t see why!
He’d billed it as a Magic Pudding!
Claims it’s better than Labor’s flat square pie!
“I’ll safely manage Oz finances.
My team Catholic, church-going, good!
With atheist Gillard you’re taking chances.
Where’s her faith in a magic pud?
...... (more here)
The Manly Daily outs Abbott on 17 April for coming second last in a competitive ocean swim:

The federal Liberal Warringah MP and Opposition Leader finished second-last in the 50-59 age group, with a time of 46 minutes 59 seconds.

In The Australian on 16 April Abbott tries to distance himself from his finance spokesperson:

TONY Abbott has distanced himself from Andrew Robb's defence of ANZ's rate hike, saying it is not his place to dictate what banks should and shouldn't do.
In a rebuff to his finance spokesman, Mr Abbott said big banks were “quite capable of defending themselves” .
Gay rights protesters zero in on Abbott on 15 April as he dines with his “friend” Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian newspaper:
On April 12 The Canberra Times asked:
Is Australia ready for a Prime Minister in red budgie-smugglers, and what will our nation – or the world – look like with Tony Abbott in charge?
Finally, what would a month be without the sight of Abbott in lycra - as in this stage managed AAP One media shot on 1 April:

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