Mr. Rabbit of Downunderland
Thought that he was in Wonderland.
For one moment it felt truly
As if he, with White Queen Julie,
Were already restored to power,
As he stood acclaimed, man of the hour.
Applause and cheers were long and loud.
His budget speech had moved the crowd.
Up on to their feet as it ended
They seemed to share his vision splendid
Of himself rescuing from failure
This ‘Triple A rated Australia!’
His oratory had been inspired!
Yes, the Gallery audience was hired.
There to test his election theme,
They’d adored his parents leave scheme,
Freely joined his denunciation
Of Labor’s burdensome taxation.
Confirming Newspoll and Morgan
They didn’t want a price on carbon!
Nor tax on mines! These men were workers
Not malingerers or shirkers.
All loathed Julia, despised red Queen!
Then reality intervened…..
Because there she sat. And glared,
As if to say, how had he dared!
A stunt like this? In this Chamber?
A dress rehearsal for September?
In a theatre where centre stage
Was hers? And…..now…..he’d put her in a rage…..
The best critique I’ve read of Tony Abbott’s Budget in Reply speech was from Bushfire Bill at The Pub. You should read it in its entirety, you’ll appreciate it, but his title alone was enough to get me going on this pome on a tangent of my own. As I watched the speech myself I wondered how Abbott could have been so foolish as to try to use that particular convention as an opportunity for a presidential style address, breaking all Parliamentary rules as he addressed, not the Speaker as he should have, but the ‘renta-crowd’ in the Gallery as if they were the ‘people of Australia!’
I was initially surprised that Madame Speaker did not rule him out of order, or rebuke his applauding visitors in the Gallery. Nor was there a single objection from the Government side, which I at first thought was because of shock at Abbott’s ‘chutzpa.’ Now, however, I see it as remarkable restraint and even forward planning on the Government side, anticipating his antics. Because that’s all it was, histrionics, pure theatrics and with nothing much new in the way of policy.
Antics/theatrics……..Gillard/on guard. Too many rhymes here I thought………. particularly once I had him facing ‘the Prime Minister there’ and had to choose between with ‘her steely glare’ and ‘blazing red hair’ when he should have been ‘well aware’ of ‘her rage’ as he took ‘centre stage’. But there wasn’t enough substance to the speech itself to put meat into a pome.
Then I thought maybe something new by way of policy in ‘changes to superannuation’ had potential with the ‘seeds of his annihilation.’ That was new ground that Bill Shorten and the Government could fight on…… Here was when I realized that lack of reaction alone from the benches facing him should have put Abbott ‘on his guard’………..as he faced ‘the enemy Gillard.’ They were giving him plenty of rope. They wanted him to go for broke here, to make a fool of himself, showing his ignorance of Parliamentary conventions and a lack of gravitas. More than anything they wanted him to give them some new bad policy lines to use on the hustings. Arguing the niceties of Parliamentary tradition wasn’t going to achieve any of that.
As a rusted on leftie I think he did a pretty good job of making a fool of himself. Others may disagree. Like Barry Cassidy for whom the BIR held the ‘Sweet Smell of Success.’ For me it was a pretty poor performance in terms of replying to Wayne Swan’s budget presentation. He didn’t give out much in the way of new policy either, as was perhaps hoped, but that wasn’t so much the result of cunning, as his and his party’s laziness and total incapacity for policy development. There was the superannuation, of course, but as these things so often go I didn’t use that in the pome.
As I read Bushfire Bill’s article about Abbott’s fear, I agreed that Abbott was indeed afraid to face Prime Minister Gillard without a prepared speech and an audience also prepared to applaud on cue. But even with those props and well rehearsed lines there is still fear there. I have chosen an enlarged image deliberately so that we can see his face more clearly. I like to think that after the speech he realized he had an even more cogent cause to fear. How could he, or his advisors, have forgotten this? when Julia Gillard, enraged by a ‘shamefully’ crass comment from Abbott had given the most powerful extempore speech of her Parliamentary career and drawn admiring comment from all over the world. What heights of eloquence will this outrageous defiance of Parliamentary convention by Abbott assist her to achieve?
Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech is the first example of the digital age where an expression of passion from a politician was rewarded with numbers that a free press can’t compete with. Picture: Kym Smith Source: The Australian