Tony, the Abbott
|Tony Abbott is the current Leader of the Opposition in our Federal Parliament. He is known to be a bit of a wild man, delighting in taking part in Iron Man competitions. He is certainly a controversial politician, who is never afraid to voice his opinion, and he is passionately hated by the broad Left in Austrralia.
As Opposition Leader, always on the attack, he has been surprisingly successful in goading his opponent, PM Kevin Rudd, into making a number of serious tactical errors... such as putting the Emissions Trading Scheme on the backburner, and doing a somersault on the refugee issue. Kevin's approval ratings have plummeted since Tony took over the Liberal Party leadership. There is now a faint chance that Rudd could be a one-term Prime Minister, perhaps succeeded by Julia Gillard, whose star is rising.
My left-wing friends have recently accused me of going too far to the Right politically, citing the fact that most of my political satires have been about Labor Party figures, like Rudd and Gillard. So I decided that it was time to be Fair and Balanced... you know, like Fox News... and I chose Tony Abbott as he is undoubtedly one of the more interesting characters in Parliament.
During my misguided youth, I was a member, briefly, of the Australian Labor Party, and before that I was a member of the Communist Party. As I have matured, I have gradually drifted towards the Right. Some may blame that on advancing senility, but I prefer to call it by its real name... wisdom.
Update: 3rd July, 2010
That faint chance of Kevin Rudd being a one-term Prime Minister (mentioned above) has become a painful reality, but we did not have to wait for the next Federal Election. Instead, the Faceless Men who control the factions in the Labor Party moved swiftly to depose Rudd and replace him with Julia Gillard.
It would be a brave person who would predict the outcome of the next Federal election, which will probably be held sometime this year... but if I were a betting man, I would put my money on Julia Gillard. The fact that she is our first female Prime Minister is a huge advantage, and I suspect that the sense of fair play of the average Aussie voter would grant Gillard a chance to show her true colours.
The fact that the Faction Bosses are obviously back in power in the Federal Labor Party is a negative, but I suspect that it may not be enough to give the victory to Tony Abbott, who has a host of his own negatives. Will I have to eat my words? Tony has certainly surprised many by his ability as an Opposition Leader. He may rattle Gillard as he did Rudd.
Watch this space!
Update: 22nd August, 2010
The federal election was held yesterday, and it was a cliffhanger. The most likely scenario at present is that there will be a hung Parliament, with 4 Independents and 1 Green MP deciding who will be the next Prime Minister, Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott.
It wouldn't surprise me if the Labor Party tears itself apart with bitter recriminations against those Faceless Men who knifed Kevin Rudd in the back and installed Julia Gillard as PM.
Tony Abbott has been praised to the skies for bringing the Liberal Party "back from the dead". The Libs were drowning before Abbott took over. It is only fair to give him full credit for uniting his Party and running an excellent election campaign.
Perhaps it can be said that Gillard never really recovered after someone in Labor's ranks leaked damaging information to Laurie Oakes, a venerable journalist with the Nine Network. So far, two people have been accused of being the leaker... Kevin Rudd and Lindsay Tanner. Oakes is silent on that score.
We will not know the final result of this election for about two weeks, as there are a number of seats still in doubt.
Update: 10th September, 2010
My prediction (see other pages) was that Julia Gillard would win, and she did... but only just! And with the help of several Independents. We now have the first minority Federal Government in Australia since World War 2. Will it last a full 3 year term? I don't have my crystal ball but it wouldn't surprise me if we go to the polls again much sooner than that.