31 March, 2013

Reading between the lines

In a week when Fitch reaffirmed Australia’s AAA credit rating, making Australia one of only 9 countries in the world with a AAA rating from all three major ratings agencies, the news (and I use the term in its loosest possible meaning) from the Liberal party is that Tony Abbott’s daughters like him in this curiously un-paywalled story on news.com.au.

This is a follow up to the media blitz we had in October where Margie Abbott said Tony was a nice bloke too.

Abbott has faced a lot of charges of misogyny, all of which he has brought upon himself.  Personally, I don’t know if he is an actual misogynist or if he’s just stuck 50 years in the past, but if his main response is that his wife is a woman and so are his daughters, then that’s not much of a defence.

I have no comment on the Abbott family.  They’re not relevant to the issues.  Of course Tony Abbott’s wife and daughters love him and want him to succeed just as much as Julia Gillard’s partner and family love and support her.  Bridget and Frances Abbott are no more credible witnesses for Tony Abbott than the late John Gillard would have been for Julia Gillard.  That is no disrespect to any of them, it’s simply not news.  If this were the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, then this report would have been published by MISPWOSO – The Maximegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious.

The only way this can possibly be news, even at a human interest level, is if it’s based on the premise that Tony Abbott is so completely out of touch with women and with youth that it’s actually remarkable that his daughters like him.

There’s one other consideration:
We are constantly being told that despite Australia’s glowing economic performance mentioned above, the Labor government is headed for a wipeout and it’s a foregone conclusion that an Abbott-led Liberal party will win in a landslide.  All Abbott has to do, so goes the narrative, is remain standing and make sure he doesn’t punch anyone in the mouth, and he’ll be prime minister six months from now.

Something doesn’t add up though.

A leader of the opposition who is in a commanding position against a government in crisis doesn’t have to pull the “but my children like me,” trick.  Yes, I’ve seen the polling too, but this can only make one wonder why the Abbott family, the Liberal party and News Ltd (oh, but I repeat myself) felt the need to do this if their position is so strong already.

First rule of media management: change the story.


  1. Marian Rumens1/4/13 9:34 AM

    You echo my thoughts. Also, why is Tony Abbott so desperate to see the end of the Labor government now when he only has to wait until September when, according to the polls, he will win. Why is he considering a no confidence motion in budget week. What deadline is he trying to beat and why?

    1. Very good questions. Why doesn't he use that time to, oh I dunno, develop policy or something?

  2. the no confidence motion is a smokescreen and vain attempt to thwart the electoral impact of Gonski reforms. Or possibly to prevent their passage altogether (if the motion succeeds, doubtful).

    he (and newsltd) also knows he will get hammered in the debates.

    the rest is stagecraft.