Tony Abbott’s failure to front the media even once this weekend to answer questions about the Slipper/Ashby scandal which was beginning to embroil senior Liberal Party figures like Christopher Pyne and Mal Brough was rousing comment, particularly after the latter gave a major interview to the Weekend Australian. Four days from Friday to Monday without an interview or statement for mainstream media was a record for him. When he did front this morning on stage with the Prime Minister at a Red Cross function he was clearly out of sorts and distracted. By the end of the day even Barnaby Joyce had something to say about Brough’s intervention and the credibility of James Ashby. Other Coalition senior figures like Julie Bishop had also put out statements.
Meanwhile in the fifth estate, the blogosphere, there had been many questions about this unusually long silence from the media mad monk and questions too about why journalists weren’t smelling blood. But perhaps they were, I thought, giving the Canberra Press Gallery the benefit of the doubt. They could well have been out looking for him, trying to phone him to ask searching questions. Couldn’t they? What a lovely idea!
A jingle then came to mind from sixty years ago and my teenage reading of Baroness Orczy novels about the Scarlet Pimpernel. “They seek him here, they seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he in heaven? Is he in hell? That demned elusive Pimpernel!” This old brain turned that into these lines below. Am I hoping for too much? Probably. When he finally appeared on our TV screens tonight it was to assume the offensive against the Prime Minister about Craig Thomson and the Health Services Union report from Fair Work Australia which has now been released.
They seek him here. They seek him there. The media seek him everywhere. He can’t be in heaven. We hope he’s in hell! That damned abusive Liberal!
We seek you here, we seek you there.
We journos seek you everywhere.
Crook! You can’t be! You’re never unwell!
Come off it, Tony! Come out and tell!
You said there’d be a dissolution,
Now you could pass that resolution,
Right at the start of Budget week,
Before Slipper got a chance to speak.
We seek you here, we seek you there!
We journos hunt you everywhere!
The word is out. We’ll soon get a bell,
We’ll track you down. We know your smell.
Tony, call us! We need your story!
Come on! Tell it! Make sure it’s gory!
Answer our questions. Don’t cut us short.
Don’t get sulky and act spoil sport.
They seek you here, they seek you there
Those lefties seek you everywhere!
For years now you have given them hell,
Backed up by Rupert and Cardinal Pell, Too busy now with their own position
To save you from the charge – Sedition!
Yes! We all heard your call to revolution.
Gillard can rightly seek your execution!
Okay, play dumb. Go home to bed.
Tomorrow’s front page? OFF WITH HIS HEAD!