18 November, 2015

Born free

I am so happy for Tony Abbott. Really, I am. He’s back where he belongs – and I don’t mean that in a nasty way.

Despite his incredible desire for the job, being the prime minister never really suited him. He wore the leadership like a like a school uniform he was required to wear when he would have preferred to be in his footy gear.

Basically, executive government cramped Tony’s style. The mundanity of having to deal with the day-to-day issues of government, feigning an interest in things that were never on his agenda, and the need for compromise that leadership brings wasn’t really what he wanted.

As David Marr pointed out in his Quarterly Essay, Political Animal, for much of his time in parliament, Tony Abbott seemed to prefer using his office to write lengthy opinion pieces for sympathetic publications, to the business of government or representing his electorate.

With Tony Abbott’s return to the opinion pages of The Spectator and The Australian, we can see now that his removal as leader was not an act of treachery, but an act of mercy. He is free now. He has been returned to his natural habitat, where he can advocate for his worldview without having to answer pesky questions or convince cross-benchers. He has the best of both worlds – a major platform to speak on how government should act, without the tedium of actually governing.

There are those who are far better at saying how things ought to be than being responsible for how things are, and Abbott is certainly one of them. Don’t feel bad for Tony. Whether he realises it or not, he’s where he always wanted to be.