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December 09th 2015 print

Peter O'Brien

Stick Around, Tony, Speak Your Mind

If Gillian Triggs' high regard for Malcolm Turnbull and his for her are any indications, the Liberal Party is in dire need of a voice that values principal more than photo ops. As Tony Abbott no longer has anything left to lose, he is well placed to make that his new job description

abbott worriedWe hear a lot from commentators about Tony Abbott’s allegedly reprehensible inclination to “defend his legacy”, with the punditry dismissing his post-ouster interviews and comments as the bitter fruit of mere vanity and self-indulgence.  But Abbott’s defence of his record and legacy is much more than that of a spurned leader seeking credit and justification: it is about ensuring that those achievements endure. This is vital and important work, as recent remarks by Gillian Triggs, president of the Human Rights Commission, suggest. With Abbott gone, she has crowed, Malcolm Turnbull has welcomed her back to the ‘corridors of power’.

Can anyone imagine an action more likely to further inflame the conservatives of Turnbull’s own party?  Can anyone imagine an endorsement more likely to be seen as a slap in the face of Tony Abbott? Viewed pragmatically, there is absolutely no political upside to this detente. Triggs long ago nailed her colours to the mast with blatantly pro-Labor/Greens politicking.  Her public position on illegal immigrants puts her completely at odds with the government on one of its signature and most successful policies, regaining control of our borders.

Under Abbott and George Brandis, who remains Attorney General under Turnbull,  Triggs’ position was, with complete justification, declared ‘untenable’. Now, apparently, she is back in the tent. If Brandis believed her position was beyond suffering just six months ago, what has now changed? It would be appreciated if he were to explain.

Has Triggs resiled from her views on illegal immigrants?  Has she apologised for politicizing her office?  Has she apologised for statements and testimony many might conclude were apt to mislead? Has Turnbull received any kind of assurance from Triggs that she will now carry out her duties, frivolous though they are, impartially and without an eye to grabbing headlines and attention?

More worrying, is Turnbull contemplating renewing her contract?

Triggs is an anathema to conservatives and, I imagine, even many Liberals within the Coalition. She has advocated outrageous monetary awards to some very dodgy supplicants, decisions the government has rightly ignored.  She is a cipher and a left-wing progressive.  Politically, there is absolutely no benefit to the government to be drawn from bringing her in from the cold. But there is a definite downside, as her rehabilitation lends an undeserved credibility to views on illegal immigrants.

Conservatives need Abbott to remain in Parliament. If Turnbull’s hubris is so evident at this early stage, what might it further implement in the months, perhaps years, to come? That is why Abbott, who says he has not yet made up his mind about going or staying, must be urged to remain in the Parliament. There is no better or more cogent voice to exert, perhaps, a moderating influence on Turnbull’s ego and frolics. Beloved in his electorate and secure on the backbench, he has nothing left to lose by speaking up on behalf of what he and many, many supporters see as the party’s core, its conservative conscience.

And who knows what the future holds? A few more prime ministerial private meetings and words of praise for Gillian Triggs, and the Liberal party might even decide he is worthy of a second turn in The Lodge.

Comments [14]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Hear, hear!

    Contrary to the imbecile opinion of Abbott-hating journalists, Tony Abbott’s restraint when “defending his legacy” is admirable. He would stand nothing to lose by letting his assassins have it with both barrels, except his dignity. (Joe Hockey admitted that he wouldn’t be able to refrain from that if he were to stay in parliament.) The man is a paragon of rectitude.

    His legacy notwithstanding, he ought to be even more outspoken than he’s been hitherto. In his recent article in the Sun Herald, he was far too restrained concerning Islam and Muslims in general. Pulling your punches when addressing the subject is a mistake. So come on Tony, speak your mind! Your supporters will approve enthusiastically while in the jaundiced eyes of you detractors you are always wrong, anyway. The hell with the latter.

    • Real Oz says:

      Let me add to the plea above to Tony Abbott to speak his mind (and to stay in Parliament.)

    • acarroll says:

      Yeah why not. Trump, the refugee crisis and Islamic extremism around the Western world are shifting the Overton Window to the right. It would be great if someone could give it a kick here. People are getting sick and tired of listening to the effete (or feminine) mob we have that makes excuses and diversions for the decay of our civilisation we see all around us.

  2. Real Oz says:

    QUOTE:-
    “If Brandis believed her position was beyond suffering just six months ago, what has now changed?”

    Yes Mr Brandis let us hear from you! (bet we do not)

  3. en passant says:

    By being restrained in his criticism of the Ministry of the Damned, and giving considered opinion on matters of interest Abbott is demonstrating on a daily basis why Cassius, Brutus and Lady Macbeth are there for the short term. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could make a comeback (but he must shed the thought-bubble idiocies – I volunteer to walk behind him with a piece of 4×2 if he falters again) and ruthlessly take on and purge the non-Liberals in the party. If Liberal membership is down 35% this year (or 50% as I suspect) then there is a sound base for a new party that already has about 40+ sitting members. There are good names available for a new party and 30,000 ex-members awaiting His Second Coming. I think 1. The United Australia Party has a nice ring to it (although its been used before) 2. Australian Independence Party or 3. Australian Liberal Party – which has the advantage of seriously annoying both the ALP and the PGLP (Pale Green Liberal Party) that was recently hijacked by left-wing infiltraitors.

  4. Jody says:

    Good luck. With your crushing damnation of the Liberal Party you are making way for the revival of a reinvigorated Labor in this country. Elections are fought and won from the Centre of political life in Australia – not the Left or the Right.

    And older people no longer call the shots; it’s the younger generation now. Notice that most members of parliament are in their 40s or 50s now and they’re listening to the people who’ll be doing the working and paying the tax. We’ve lived through the best times; let them make the world in their own image now AS LONG AS they don’t expect me to pay for it with my superannuation. That’s my one caveat!

    Times have changed. Yes I know; a change doesn’t necessarily mean an improvement, but there it is.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Jody, so it seems that if Malcolm doesn’t touch your Super and wins the next election, it’s free rein for whatever ‘progressive’ agenda he wants to run. Is the Liberal Party above any criticism as long as it’s not Labor? It appears you are just a barracker – a self interested one at that.

  5. Keith Kennelly says:

    Persevere Tony. You’ve touched the truth in the majority of us again.

    It’s only people who object to our truth who are your detractors.

  6. Jody says:

    A politician shouldn’t be an evangelist. He/she should be a leader!! There’s a discernible difference which most people here do not seem to understand.

    • acarroll says:

      Jody,

      Aren’t all *leaders* evangelists? They have to convince people to follow their lead, by definition.

      What we have in parliament are *rulers*, not leaders.

    • pgang says:

      I understand your point (but don’t get too attached to that super, as all things effectively belong to the State, and the State shall take what it will).

      Abbott could and should have been a good leader but he failed to lead in the most crucial matters. He failed to lead on protection of freedom and industrial relations. He failed to inspire and manage his own cabinet, and he failed to take the battle to the elites (the media) on behalf of the silent majority. He failed to lay killer political blows against his weakened opponents.

      Having said that he remains the best Australia has. I’m sure he’s a good man, and there is no doubt that he is a far better option than Turnbull. I think the verdict is still out on Turnbull for the Centre vote, but I have no doubt he will alienate it.

      I see Abbott has already been accused by the elites of ‘Trumping’ Australia. I hope he takes that as encouragement.

  7. Ian MacDougall says:

    Abbott boxes ticked by me:

    1. Border protection: tick
    2. Immigration controls: tick
    BUT
    3. Trickle down? budget for the wealthy: blank
    4. ‘Direct Action’ bs carbon policy for agribusiness mates: blank
    5. The rest of it: blank

  8. Davidovich says:

    Large numbers of people in Australia and, I suspect, the USA are yearning for politicians who speak the truth fearlessly. Abbott, in opposition, did just that and attracted many to support him. The strictures of office led to considerably more caution than was actually warranted and gave his opponents the opportunity to bring him down. I definitely hope Abbott stays in Parliament as we need people with courage, integrity and principle [note to Peter O'Brien to watch spell-check with this word] to ensure the weaker-willed are not allowed to let the Liberal Party morph into the same shallowness of the Labor/Greens.

  9. Simon says:

    I don’t wholly go with this idea that Tony Abbott should now ‘speak his mind’. This is mainly because I think he should have done more of that, and stuck more to Conservative principals, when he had the chance to do so. I acknowledge this was doubly hard for him, given the schizoids in the press.

    Would I really welcome Mr. Abbott back? Heart of hearts I’d have to say no. But conservatives are without any voice now, and Turnbull is proving to be center left. A big worry.

    Maybe we should have a Conservative Party here, but not led by Mr. Abbott?

    The one thing I am certain of and that is that Australia cannot afford to let Labor back in for at least another few generations. Shorten would be as catastrophic as Gillard or Rudd.