The Australian, otherwise known as the Tony Abbott cheering section, had an unusually neutral day today. Rather than the usual one or two criticisms of Abbott for show, there were a few genuine critiques and suggestions for the opposition leader. An offhand remark in a column by Nikki Savva caught my eye. Accidentally or not, Savva admitted that Tony Abbott is two faced. However, as expected the column goes on to suggest ways that Abbott can address and cover the problem, rather than suggesting a new opposition leader with some substance. But a leader with more substance is exactly what Australia needs. We need a proper leader to reunite us after the Gillard debacle.

Savva’s characterisation of a “bad Tony” who is little more than an attack dog, and a “good Tony” who was just “…sounding ever so reasonable and helpful and a tiny bit prime ministerial…” is very apt. Tony Abbott is guilty of so many gaffs it would make Joe Biden wince. The constant hypocrisy, double talk, intransigence, and mindless attacks have alienated all but the most loyal conservative team members. Abbott’s lack of interest in policy is as astounding as his skill in attacking. On many policies he seems happy to merely criticise the government rather than propose viable alternatives. He refused to even negotiate on the Carbon Tax, leaving his constituents undefended but giving himself options to make hay. Therefore,  whether the bulldog Tony or the minutely prime ministerial Tony shows up, he is not a good choice to be Australia’s Prime Minister.

It is understandable that conservatives may not want an ideologically inpure leader such as Malcolm Turnbull, regardless of his spectrum wide support. However, a leader so two faced even his staunchest supporters will begrudgingly admit it, is not the best thing for the country. Abbott is a brilliant attack dog, and has done an amazing job setting up the oppositions current spectacular position, but now is the time to pass on the reigns to someone who can competently lead. Someone more concerned with policy than politics.

The Australian
13 Sep 2011

TONY Abbott’s worst nightmare has to be caucus ditching the carbon tax and Julia Gillard, in one hit, helter-skelter, before the vote in parliament next month. His two best assets gone, kaput. If they could, Coalition MPs would deliver Gillard a…read more…

Tech Tags: The Australian newspaper COMMENTARY