Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tony Abbott

I am disappointed to read that Tony Abbott will not stand for the leadership of the Liberal Party. He claims to have insufficient support. I think Abbott was an excellent Minister for Health and that he displayed considerable loyalty to John Howard whom he disagreed with on hospital policy. Indeed, that one of his problems - he is closely associated with Howard and the Howard defeat.

Abbott has indicated that he might make a bid in the future if his support improves. This will come to pass if, as I expect, the Labor Party performs badly and the John Howard era becomes viewed nostalgically as one of the most prosperous and best-governed periods in Australian history.

I favour Malcolm Turnbull over Brendon Nelson and think Julie Bishop should get the Deputy Leadership - indeed she is much more experienced for the top job than Turnbull and has done a good job raising money for the Party. I would have a hard job not supporting her for the Leadership itself had she stood. I think she would have made a great team with Abbott.

Sadly, I cannot help thinking that prejudiced views on Tony Abbott's Catholicism have hindered his prospects. We live in a secular society where people like Abbott who seek to live by a decent moral code are regarded suspiciously.

I hope I am wrong but, if I am not, I think such prejudiced criticisms are entirely unjust and that Abbott, while arguing his moral positions - something as a non-religious person that even I respect -he has always respected the need for consensus.

I am sure too that if Abbott had been in the Labor Party (a near impossible hypothetical) he would have been treated very differently. Bigotry in Australia can be so one-eyed.

Update 1: Minutes after commenting below that I did not favour Brendon Nelson I got an email from the Liberal Party saying he got the job. I'll stick to my prediction that he will not lead the Liberals to the 2010 election. An interesting post supporting my view is given by Jason Soon. Pleased Julie Bishop got the Deputy job - well-deserved.

Update 2: I must qualify my claims about Abbott facing discrimination because he is Catholic. That certainly was not the basis for judgement in the Liberal Party since both Brendon Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull are Catholic. That is a good sign. In the broader community I still however think Abbott's views are more decisively recognised to have a religious basis. This will still affect things inside the Party.


Anonymous said...

I would prefer Simon Gilchrist for leader than Abbot. Better a jug-eared cricket genius than a jug-eared foot-in-mouth fool.

hc said...

No, Adam Gilchrist (I am sure you mean him) would not make as good a leader of the Liberal Party as Tony Abbott.

Australian Atheist said...

I dunno Harry. I reckon it's a toss up. And if that which is tossed must be caught, I reckon Gilchrist would be a better choice. Because he is a wicketkeeper and all.

Anyway, trackback.

Australian Atheist said...

And good work with the blog reformatting. Much easier to read.

Anonymous said...

It is such a terrible thing when deep moral people who have jug-ears are subject to prejudice. Perhaps jug-eared people should have more respect for women's reproductive rights.

derrida derider said...

Harry, the absolute last thing the Libs currently need is a culture warrior - as I've said elsewhere, that's what has basically lost them government (both Federal and State) in the first place.

It's not his personal attachment to John Howard that's the problem - it's his attachment to John Howard's worldview, which has always been different to that of the most Australians.

FWIW I think Turnbull will be a very good Opposition leader. I also think that if the Rudd government turns out to be unlucky (ie a worldwide recession) or incompetent (the sudden enthusiasm for unnecessary and politically unwise spending cuts worries me), he has some chance of becoming PM in 2010.

In the unlikely event that the amoral careerist Nelson gets up, I think the Libs will be spending a long, long time in Opposition.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

In the unlikely event that the amoral careerist Nelson gets up, I think the Libs will be spending a long, long time in Opposition.

cough, cough

hc said...

DD,Do you really think the average Aussi gives a stuff about the 'culture wars' business? Isn't that a university/intellectual issue.

I recall Brendon Nelson'satti tudes to education so don't favour him. I am surprised he has the support within the party - much apparently from the Abbott supporters.

There will be more ruptures and dissapointments in the Liberal camp. Even if Nelson gets it I doubt he will lead the party to the next election.

Anonymous said...

There is no prejudice against Tony "Jug-Ears" Abbot for being a Catholic. Rather, it is a deep-seated prejudice people have against bumbling idiots: "I won't run for leader yet but will challenge in the future". In one sentence he further destabilizes his party.

Get 'em pinned back, Tony. And while the surgeons are at it, make more space in the cranium for frontal lobe development.

hc said...

Anonymous, You are right it was a strange comment - a bit indiscreet. But it didn't impact on me until you pointed it out - I assume all politicians are ambitious.

BTW in any future leadership scramble don't rule out a return by Costello.

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