16. Feb, 2015

Felicitations, Sympathy and Utter Loathing

Firstly, that unpredictable political genus ‘Queenslander’ has done it again. It has elevated the improbable into the impossible. From telephone box to government the Queensland Branch of the Australian Labor Party is to be congratulated for its victory and Mordechai extends his felicitations to new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. I wish her well and she has my sympathy in trying to deal with the basket case that is the political, economic and ungovernable entity that is Queensland. The next few months will prove entertaining.

But let’s move upwards and onwards to the broader national scale. There seems to come a defining moment in my observations of federal politics that fill me with unredeemable contempt and changes my perception of an individual or a party completely. I have mentioned elsewhere in these columns that when Prime Minister Whitlam told the Speaker of the House to ‘shut up and do as he was told’. That was my lightbulb moment about Whitlam.  I was never fond of Howard and I remember reminding people ad nausea that he was for quite some time Malcolm Fraser’s cup bearer; I detested Fraser because of his cowardice and I loathed the guttersnipe Keating because of his foul mouth behind Parliamentary privilege. But all that is history.

My most recent defining moment came last night watching the GayBC telly news, not something I am wont to do regularly, and was witness to one of the most disgraceful buck-passing exercises I have seen in my many years of working in and observing politics.   

I watched, in complete disbelief, as our Prime Minister explained to the viewer’s his reasons for his sacking of Phillip Ruddock MP as government Whip – his reasons – said the news reader: That Ruddock “had failed to warn him of the extent of back bench anger”.

Abbott then went on to say: “Plainly I wasn’t as aware as I should have been of all this – I never want to find myself this position ever again” [Source ABC TV news transcript Qld 15 February 2015.]

On Friday, the lonely, grey-haired figure of Phillip Ruddock walking away from the Prime Ministerial Offices was a pungent and sad sight. Phillip Ruddock, age 71, Federal Liberal MP since 1993, Party Whip, one of the most loyal and highly respected elders and genuinely decent man of the Liberal Party to be treated thus brought a lump to my throat. His response on last night’s telly was dignified but showed signs of obvious hurt.

So returning to the mad monk. [For my English readers this was a sobriquet he earned in his early days of politics for being a rabid head kicker]. He had no idea of what the back bench were feeling! Bullshit! Did he need a Whip to tell him that. Doesn’t he read the papers? Couldn't he hear the whispers in the gallery? Couldn't he see the averted eyes? Didn’t he know what blind Freddy knew for months – that he was so much the nose that the entire laboratories of L’Oreal wouldn’t be able to help him.  

This was a man I thought was going to be a saviour of Australia. After the chaos, mismanagement and economic mayhem of the Rudd Gillard years here was going to be a safe pair of hands. A moral man. A decent man. How wrong I was!

What have we? A coward looking for a scapegoat. A man who, had he been a gentleman, would at least have offered his resignation after three consecutive state election losses. A micromanager in the same mould as Rudd. A man that lets his mouth run away with him. A fool that, having spent much time in trying to repair relations with Indonesia has just angered that country by presuming to hector them about their judicial code.

A former Seminarian he might have been – he obviously left before they reached the part about Christian humility; an Oxford Blue Boxer – jolly hockey sticks. Marathon bike rider – good oh! Get on your bike, piss off and don’t come back.



John j Coe

26.02.2015 22:40

To everyone that comments on my blog and others I express my deep appreciation. Your comments give me great cause for thought.

John Coe

23.02.2015 02:52

Thanks Julian. To have an Abbott one needs Monks. Where are they? I think we have another Fraser in the making. But I shall rage until the dying of the light.

Julian T

20.02.2015 11:57

I too am disappointed in Abbott. His repeated backdowns on issues which offend the Left show me he is a man without character and without courage.

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:25

Could use it against ISIS. You call that martyrdom now this is real martydom, he just saved a whole nation , no one died. you kill the innocent. What a slogan

John Coe

17.02.2015 02:46

Thanks Bill

I like the idea of sacrifce and martyrdom. I'm surprised and disappointed he didn't choose this option after the Qld election. Too late now.

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:20

As a practising catholic he should know there is nothing greater than ones sacrifice ,...not just for the party but for Australia. Should appeal to him

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:18

Changing leaders was never the issue. It is always about how one does this. Abbott would be a real martyr. There are so few. Politically "dying" for the party.

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:14

And if the Libs romped back in. Abbott would be canonised by the party next to Menzies, little Johnny and ????. The saviour of the Party. Bill would shit himsel

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:10

john I am allowed to dream. Think if he did THAT he would be remembered for years. Who talks about Holt etc. Would be taught at uni politics 101

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 13:07

Who knows Abbott may redeem himself. More bad polls and he steps down without notice. He would be greatly admired and respected. Do not fret too soon John.


16.02.2015 10:25

Where to from here? Can it get any worse?

John Coe

17.02.2015 03:08

Thanks Steve
Good question. But has it got any better over the last ten years? Comprehensive parliamentary reform is what is required.

Sam Cannon

16.02.2015 05:36

Sadly my dear Johnny Coe we agree on all but Howard. How I wish for a return to the Costello Howard era.

Johhn Coe

17.02.2015 03:04

Dear Sam
I too miss the Howard Costello team. I wasn't fond of Howard per se but readily concede he brought dignity and decorum back to politics.

Bill Cebula

16.02.2015 04:53

Again John you rite what methinks

Hey I am also 71, just one year past retirement age according

I am sure Ruddock will survive, but I am not sure about Abbot

Latest comments

08.11 | 06:21

The Australian community is in for a world of long overdue pain. It is wholly its own fault for which I have nil sympathy.

08.11 | 06:15

Thanks indeed for the comment. I do agree that we badly need to 'clean out the swamp'. Trump certainly stirred those fetid waters.

08.11 | 05:22

I agree with the general thrust of your comments but the Australian community believes the governments can deliver without pain and there will be a lot of pain up ahead.

07.11 | 11:17

Nice job on the essay John, but regardless of his positions, Dutton is too much a cretin of the past, he also looks like the walking dead. We don't need more career politicians, we need a Trump.

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