Tony Abbott: high anxiety

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It seems that politics in Australia exists in some sort of parallel world. Is it that the Australian media is completely disconnected from reality, or is it that it chooses to be so?

From reading or listening to little but mainstream, it would seem that the media and the Liberals would prefer the impression that nothing has changed since the last election. The rhetoric remains stagnant: the Gillard government it is repeated, is in deep trouble. Julia Gillard’s hold on power is tenuous we are told; and we have been told the same thing since 2010. As Rossleigh so ably put it in his topic at The Australian Independent Media:

A leadership spill is speculated to occur tomorrow, and on Thursday . . . Friday at the latest. If not Friday, certainly sometime before or after the next election.

Yet strangely, little is forthcoming from the Opposition to enlighten us as to why this is “a bad government”. Where is the rhetoric, the photo ops, the hard luck stories to back up the imagine which Tony Abbott wishes to convey?  It seems that it exists in this parallel world, in the imagination of Tony Abbott and the media.

If The Master (and I do not use this term as a compliment) John Howard was in charge today, then by God we Aussies would know we were in strife as not a day would go by without pictures of Howard’s “Battlers”; photos of Aussies “doing it tough”. Mums, Dads and kiddies would be out there on the streets displaying their ragged and torn Nikes while mum sobs into her somewhat bedraggled pure silk Ralph Lauren hankie. The headlines would read: This is what has become of Howard’s Aspirationals under a Labor government.

Yet where is Tony Abbott? Tony is on the beach with a daughter or two, Tony is hard-hatting it with the workers, Tony is downing a cleansing ale. Empathy with Howard’s Battlers does not exist for Tony.

Tony (not) empathising with workers and unhappy domestic situations, and yes he managed to do this all in one brief sentence:

Bad bosses, like bad fathers and husbands, should be tolerated because they do more good than harm…

Tony (not) empathising with the gay community:

Well, there is no doubt that it challenges, if you like, orthodox notions of the right order of things…

To me, this is a WTF moment on indigenous issues:

Racism used to be offered as the complete explanation for Aboriginal poverty, alienation and early death. Racism hasn’t disappeared. Still, if racism caused poverty, why hasn’t poverty declined as racism diminished.

Tony yet again (not) empathising with the indigenous community:

There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.

Tony (not) empathising with the difficulties facing Australian businesses:

To be honest, I think that Australian-made campaigns are feelgood campaigns at best.

Tony (not) empathising with mental illness:

…we just can’t stop people from being homeless if that’s their choice…”

And:

We can’t stop people drinking; we can’t stop people gambling; we can’t stop people having substance problems; we can’t stop people from making mistakes that cause them to be less well-off than they might otherwise be.

Is this the picture of public anxiety which the Liberals wish to convey? If there is community anxiety, it should be that a person with these opinions might become Prime Minister.

However, onward Tony Abbott hastens all a’flurry on a road back to nowhere in particular, and all the while providing constant visual images that just perhaps Australians aren’t doing it all that tough after all. Yet again and all the while, glossing over and trivialising the many important issues which Australia has been facing, and will face in the future.

So here is our parallel world where Whyalla, the government and our society are about to collapse in chaos and despair we remain where we started, with a photo op and little else.

It is with some gratification that an article in the Herald Sun announces that:

TONY Abbott’s budgie smugglers have been replaced with ”stopping the boats” and ”people smugglers” in an analysis of the most used political words in mainstream media.