The Invisible Man

It wasn’t a good weekend for Tony Abbott. Or is image. He went missing . . . and from the media spotlight of all things. For a politician who can’t even show his face or open his mouth without a media contigent on standby it was most uncharactersitic. And for doing so, he rightfully copped some flack. His media shine turned dull, albeit temporarily.

The protestations over the new, invisible alpha male hit the press Saturday morning after it had been revealed he had dumped his regular Friday spot on Channel Nine’s Today Show, because:

After complaining that the Labor Party was “planting” negative stories about the Coalition in the Friday newspapers and then forcing Mr Abbott to cop the fallout on air, his office informed the program he would no longer appear weekly.

Diddums.

After a very long honeymoon period where the media have treated Abbott as though he was sacrosanct and have been reluctant to ask him some hard, critical questions, he runs and hides because he might cop some fallout because of what Labor might say. He is clearly an intellectual and emotional infant.

And gutless.

For over two years his backflips, brain farts and childish Parliamentary behaviour have been hailed as brilliant political manoeuvres.  But outside of Parliament he’s even too scared to show his face on a lame TV show.

But naturally, he’ll reappear again and carry on like a crazed baboon during Question Time in full view of the adoring Press Gallery. They aren’t as tough as the Today Show.

I wonder when he’ll put on his invisible man suit again.

Julia’s barrackers

Many is the time that this blog has had the accusation hurled: barrackers!

I should imagine that the implication of this term means a failure to see flaws, a failure to properly scrutinise. Yet I think not. Usually the term barracker implies a football team. I do not see that barrackers fail to see faults and flaws, in fact it’s usually barracker’s who are their team’s harshest critics. Barrackers believe that the coach should be pushing the team harder – should have taken a player off the ground when they weren’t performing – should have brought back Peter McKenna as full forward. 😀

As an aside the term barrackers is a military one, those who live in barracks. It therefore has the implication of teamwork, and of camaraderie.

The implication in the term barrackers is therefore: encouragement, but also criticism is given and taken as a way to improve; not criticism so as to point the rude finger, not criticism so as to say I’m better than you are, but as a sincere desire for improvement.

It would be delusional to suggest that Labor is not in dire straits in the lead up to next year’s election.

Yet there is little to suggest that Prime Minister Gillard has done anything particularly wrong in her term as Prime Minister. She LIED about the carbon tax some bleat, when the facts reveal this to be a falsehood.

My personal disappointment is the Prime Minister’s failure to support gay marriage. We have alternatives here, I think. A Prime Minister who seems somewhat separated from this issue versus a potential PM. I see Julia as thinking, it’s only a piece of paper versus Tony who considers that all gays and lesbians are going to rot in hell. The PM should be aware that this issue is going to be brought into play.

The result of Abbott in Opposition is via Anthony Albanese:

We provided $1 billion in this year’s budget to design and commence trials on the National Disability Insurance Scheme – a landmark reform which will transform the lives of our most vulnerable Australians. Again, no questions.

Labor has delivered record increases to pensions and supported families through the Schoolkids Bonus and household assistance payments. All of it was opposed by Tony Abbott. That might explain why Jenny Macklin has not been asked a single question in nearly 18 months.

Labor’s budget saw the single largest investment to improve mental health care and support for Australians of all ages in Australian history. I’m betting Mark Butler will be waiting a long time to be asked about our $2.2 billion package.

More than four years after it was first flagged, this Parliament passed means testing measures to make private health insurance fairer, which began on July 1. The Opposition voted against it. Did they have a question for Tanya Plibersek? No.

The idea that the ministers responsible for these major reforms shouldn’t receive a single question from the Opposition about how the policies will be delivered or funded is ridiculous.

Accountability and debate are the bedrock of the system of government we inherited from the Palace of Westminster. Nowhere are these principles more evident than in the daily Question Time battles that Westminster-based parliaments conduct around the world.

Mr Abbott has instead trashed this institution, like all others, in his desperate quest for power. He must be the only opposition leader in history to have shied away from the chance to ask serious questions of ministers.

It might seem like a bizarre approach for an opposition to take until you consider his motives. As a general rule, oppositions only ask questions if they are interested in a policy or would rather persuade the public of alternative policies.

Tony Abbott, unlike his predecessors, has no interest in positive policy. His only interest is in saying no. His only policy is to oppose.

So, instead of asking ministers about policies, Tony Abbott and the Noalition have trashed Question Time and interrupted proceedings with motions to suspend the House’s order of business.

These interruptions and stunts have meant that another 375 questions were lost in the current term of Parliament, equivalent to 19 full Question Time sessions.

I return to my analogy of barrackers. How to play the game when the other team does nought but kick the footy out on the full. There might be a 50 meter penality, but the ball remains out of play.

Tony Abbott might think that he’s good at shirt fronting, and often imagines himself taking the speckey but Julia excels at the torpedo punt, and positioning, and will be there at the final siren.