Peter Greste began to fly home, and Julie Bishop, in Martin Place, announced this. She would wait on Abbott’s Press Club tapdance, she hinted, and then say when she would bring on a spill.
D-DAY, said the Daily Telegraph headline. ABBOTT ON THE ROPES, the smh howled. ABBOTT REELS FROM QLD DEBACLE, said the afr. Even The Australian, with PM FIGHTS FOR HIS POLITICAL LIFE, appeared a little gloomy.
Paul Kelly, a Liberal voting piece of Faustian filth, said Turnbull as PM, Bishop where she is, and Morrison as Treasurer was the go, and a ‘turn back the banks’ policy the way forward to a balanced budget in, oh, 2090. But it wouldn’t happen, he said. ‘Abbott and Hockey will fight. They have a lot to fight for.’ The party would be ‘smashed from within,’ he said, and ‘crack wide open,’ and ‘might return to its pre-December 2009 chaos,’ using the ‘c’ word about the Liberals for the first time, clearly with Mephistopheles Murdoch’s permission.
Greg Sheridan differed. Abbott was ‘still the best man to lead the Liberal Party,’ he blithered, ‘and could easily, easily win back the three milion voters he’s lately lost by better explaining his policy of brutal reform.’ All he has to do, he blithered, ‘is to apologise for everything he stands for, and say he now stands for something else.’ He then admitted he was at uni with Abbott, and pleased when he became president of the Students’ Council on his ‘second try, after stuffing up the first one’, thus proving him ‘the kind of wild idiot who deserves a second chance, like Alec Baldwin in State And Main.’ What he must do, he insisted, is ‘pledge tougher budgets and an end to the age of entitlement,’ but do it…more charmingly.
Simon Benson, who went to school with Bill Shorten, said some MPs were saying Abbott ‘could be beyond recovery’, but ‘half of them were crazies… disappointed because they didn’t get promoted.’ He was ‘against a leadership change,’ he added. ‘ Five Prime Ministers in five years was the kind of spectacle that would ‘propel Australia onto the stage of unstable democracies and make us the Greece of the Pacific.’ Abbott and Hockey’s plan, to make us ‘the Mexico of Asia’ was, he said, ‘the better one.’
Lying, Troy Bramston, long known as ‘the smirking tapeworm in the anus of the Labor Party’, claimed John Howard ‘won a mandate to introduce a GST in 1998′, though he got three hundred thousand less votes than Beazley, who opposed it, and he, Howard, ‘did not shrink from challenges’, though it cost him his seat, and the Abbott Liberals must do likewise, lest the ‘monumental challenge’ of a triple-A credit rating and the second best economy in the world ‘quite overwhelm us’. He then offered to shout the bar, but his fellow drinkers turned away from him, frowning. ‘He smells like a tapeworm,’ one said, ‘or an Abbott supporter.’
Laura Tingle, an objective observer, said, ‘Whatever Abbott does now, it will be too late.’ Phillip Coorey, an objective observer, said the knighthood decision, opposed by nineteen million Australians, may have cost, on Saturday, the LNP three seats which it needed to form government.
In South Australia there was a 6 percent swing in a ‘safe’ Liberal seat, caused in part by the ill-judged gong, to a government already thirteen years old. ‘The mood is toxic,’ said Clem Macintyre of the school of politics at the University of Adelaide, and the Sir Philip foolishness ‘an own-goal’.
Abbott appeared at the Press Club in a blue tie and botox with heavy makeup over his liver-spots and said, in effect, ‘Look…I’m in my fifty-eighth year, and I’ve lived a year longer than Julius Caesar and it’s time, it’s time, I think, I understand, to learn things, things a kindergarten child should know. I’ve listened, I’ve learned, and I’ve acted, and my acting is…so bad, three million people who voted for me don’t like me any more, and prefer Bill Shorten as Prime Minister.
‘But…that’s life; I take it in the chin; or, on occasions, I break Joe Hockey’s jaw. I warn you, though, I’m not quitting for any reason; I’m not going anywhere. If you want me out of here, you’ll have to take me out in a straitjacket.’
Forty MPs in danger of losing their seats, as forty Queensland MPs did on Saturday, applauded glumly, and evinced their disappointment that he had not with a broad sharp scimitar committed hari-kiri and bled on Laurie Oakes and Joe Hockey, weeping, beheaded him. ‘He’s got six more months,’ the pundits said. These were the same pundits who said Labor would win twenty-five seats, no more, in Queensland, and Nooman might hold on in Ashgrove. Abbott had, in fact, eight or nine more days, or possibly four.
On Q&A Wayne Swan spoke magnificently and showed why he was once thought a leadership contender. Barnaby Joyce kept calling ‘chaos’ a government, Gillard’s, that passed 497 laws, failed to pass none, and earned a triple-A rating from all three international agencies. Swanny considered suing him, and then, as he does, thought better of it.
Pauline Hanson won Lockyer, bringing down the number of likely LNP seats to forty. Labor would win forty-four or forty-five.
In the Northern Territory, the NLP sacked Adam Giles, the first Aboriginal First Minister.
And so it went.