Showing posts with label Malcolm Turnbull. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Malcolm Turnbull. Show all posts

Monday, 4 July 2016

Leave Malcolm Turnbull alone!


Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places.
I can’t stand it any longer. The continued, ‘stacks on’ style waves of abuse towards Malcolm Turnbull. He was too left. He was too right. He was too rich, too optimistic, too cynical, too lame, too ‘innovative’, too smooth, too lazy, too CEO-like, too willing to compromise. Basically, being Malcolm Turnbull – the best Prime Minister we’ve never yet had – totally sucks right now. Page after inglorious page, grab after glib grab, calling for him to be dismissed/resign/stand down/bring Tony back et ceteraet cetera. Judging by the News Limited pages, I may well be the lone voice of support for Malcolm in the entire country. My distress at the unfettered piling-on of vitriol towards the man who could make our country great if only he could break free of the conservative leash has reached a zenith, not unlike that of Chris Crocker’s “Leave Britney Alone” immortal YouTube plea circa 2007. Given my grief in this moment, forgive me for repurposing the transcript of that compelling outpouring of emotion against the Brittany Spears’ haters here for my own means. 

[SCENE OPENS TO SMUDGED AND RED EYES. HERALD SUN PAGES WITH HEADLINE ‘TURNBULL’S FINISHED!’ SPREAD OUT ON BED.] 

The world needs to know that Britney Malcolm Turnbull still has her his fans. Britney Malcolm needs to know that she he still has her his fans. 

How fucking DARE anyone out there make fun of Britney Malcolm after all she’s he’s been through?! She He lost her his voice aunt and Wyatt Roy and she went through a divorce he was totally castrated from doing anything resembling policy-making by the right wing nutbags! She has two fucking kids So what if he’s rich? Do you think just because Bill Shorten can’t pronounce with without sounding like whiff that he didn’t go to a top tier private school and had all the trappings of a blue blooded (not collared) upbringing? Her husband Tony Abbott turned out to be a user, a cheater, and now Brittany’s Malcom’s going to go through a custody leadership battle! 

All you people care about is Bernardi, Andrews and your wounded bird Tony Abbott and and making money off of her Malcolm out to be the scapegoat for the most diabolical first term (yeah Malcolm was at the helm for only eight months of it you losers) government that ever was. SHE’S HE’S A HUMAN! What you don’t realise is that Britney’s Malcolm’s making you all this money saved your bacon from political oblivion and all you do is just write a bunch of crap about her him. She So he wasn’t dripping in the requisite humility and hand-wringing we’ll do better, lots of lessons to learn here blah blah blah at 1.30am on the Election Night when he had the ‘flu and it’s been the longest campaign in history and still after all those weeks and hours there’s still no damn result and he can’t even crack the Moet and whip out that rousing speech he’d prepared nine years earlier. And some loser candidate somewhere wanted him to say sorry you lost your seat, with the operative words there being YOU and LOST and YOUR. So he didn’t behave like the performing seal that Alan Jones wanted him to, like Tones would have done, but don’t worry Jonesy, Tones trotted out the lines to the waiting media when he was pumping up his own (bicycle) tyres the next morning, giving a really good impression of someone who cared deeply that Wyatt and the Other Malcolm Sympathisers lost their seats. 

LEAVE HER HIM ALONE! YOU’RE LUCKY SHE HE EVEN PERFORMED STEPPED UP FOR YOU BASTARDS! LEAVE BRITNEY MALCOLM ALONE! Pleeeease. Paris Hilton Alan Jones talked about professionalism and said if Britney Malcolm was professional, she he would have pulled it off no matter what. Speaking of professionalism when is it professional to PUBLICLY BASH SOMEONE WHO’S GOING THROUGH A HARD TIME and especially when that person is the current Prime Minister of Australia? LEAVE BRITNEY MALCOLM ALONE! PLEEEEASE. 

Leave Britney Spears Malcolm Turnbull alone right NOW! I mean it. Anyone who has a problem with her him has to deal with me. Because she’s he’s not well right now. He’s got the ‘flu and FFS, they’re not even going to be finished counting the votes for another bloody two weeks and then we’ll probably have another election because Australian voters might always get it right, but they didn’t get it right enough. [CAMERA CUTS TO TONY ABBOTT WINKING CREEPILY TO BOLT, JONES, BERNARDI, ET AL]. 

[CRIES DRAMATICALLY. PULLS COVERS BACK OVER HEAD]. 

[FADE OUT]. 

Diana Elliott is a freelance writer. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Will the real Liberals please stand up?


Tony Abbott, in his world tour of far right, Christian lobby group speaking engagements, has never seemed more comfortable in his own skin. Free of the need to putty over the wide chasm between his personal beliefs and that of his party, Abbott is looking and sounding more confident than he has in years. Gone is the halting, repetitious speech patterns, designed to slow his mouth from uttering what’s really on his mind and activate instead the soulless three-word slogans. 
Abbott now is the Abbott that was always there lurking beneath the blue ties, the hair rinse and the more latent attempts to buffer away the sharp right edges of his political demeanor. He's become the unabashed poster boy for the conservative right of the Liberal Party which has Malcolm Turnbull on a very tight leash. “Don’t start carping on about the climate change crap again. Stay away from gay marriage and forget about cutting ties to the Mother Country,” say the chorus of this group, comprised of Eric Abetz, Corey Bernardi and Kevin Andrews. Abbott’s not using his demotion to the backbench to snidely undermine Turnbull – he’s out there openly articulating a call to arms to the disaffected in the electorate.
Malcolm Turnbull believes in free markets, free country (a republic) and free choice of an individual to marry whomever he/she pleases. He acknowledges climate change and like a true liberal, believes market forces can solve the problem. 
So who is ‘more Liberal’ – more representative of their party? The problem is, both are it seems, and it’s the fault line that threatens the future of the party. Turnbull appears to be much more aligned to Menzies’ “Liberal Creed”, articulated in 1964. “As the etymology of our name 'Liberal' indicates, we have stood for freedom... We have learned that the right answer is to set the individual free, to aim at equality of opportunity, to protect the individual against oppression…” 
How can you believe in small government, liberty and freedom of enterprise, but not of individuals or country, as the conservative right do? As PM, John Howard extrapolated Menzie’s vision to declare the party “…a broad church”. But it’s like putting pagans and devout Christians together under one roof – the building may resemble a church in structure, but the fundamental elements that make it a church – a place of worship for people of a singular faith – are missing. And someone’s sure to burn it down. 
In the US, Donald Trump is like the Pied Piper, merrily dancing through America’s white, middle class lands playing a tune that has proven surprisingly seductive to a growing majority. In droves they are falling in behind him, this man once dismissed as a joke, now seen as a messiah to the disaffected – the American Dreamers who feel they’re living a nightmare. 
As Abbott warmed up for his speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom group, it’s hard not to think this is all part of a calculated trajectory, one that is fuelled by the disaffected right of the party and stoked by powerful media and conservative right campaigners such as Rupert Murdoch, Alan Jones and others. Whether the end game is a new political party founded on the principles of the conservative right, or a mutiny of Turnbull’s progressive agenda (as has already begun with the gay marriage plebiscite) is yet to be seen. But something’s up. And given Labor is dead in the water, the time for a Liberal revolution may paradoxically be just right.
Turnbull needs to do some soul searching about what his policy mantle will be before this year’s election. Will he allow himself to be straight-jacketed and rendered facile by the far right? Or will he get the bit between his teeth, lead with policies that will deliver real economic and social change for our country, and stand on the platform of true liberalism that champions the freedom of individual, business and country? 
While he’s showed benign support of Abbott’s right to speak at such events like the ADF, Turnbull would do well to keep an eye on his predecessor’s extracurricular backbench activities. In his blatantly self-congratulatory speech during the Margaret Thatcher Lecture last year, Abbott may have hinted at his hitherto unthinkable resurrection. “The lesson of Margaret Thatcher's life is that strong leaders can make a difference; that what's impossible today may be almost inevitable tomorrow.” 
Diana Elliott is a freelance writer. 

Monday, 26 October 2015

Generation X: The force awakens

Life before fake tan, people. 

There's no point to any of this. It's all just a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know... a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle... and I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt. – Reality Bites


Lately it feels as though Generation X is experiencing something of a moment. For so long, we’ve been the middle child, sandwiched uncomfortably between the overly smug and entitled Baby Boomers, and the nauseating, unbridled optimism and ‘can do’ attitude of the Millennials. Gen Xers have endured recessions, fingers hovering in the ‘80s over nuclear warfare buttons, the Grim Reaper casting a shadow over our sex lives, housing prices at nosebleed levels and a Boomer generation that refused to vacate the corner office with dignity and a pension so we could move in.

Even when we finally did find ourselves standing at that retirement morning tea for them, the GFC hit, and the Boomer’s superannuation stocks plummeted. Our golf claps around the Coles-bought cheesecake slowly stopped at the realisation that, after all this time, they still wanted more. “Well, maybe I’ll just stay on a few more years so I can invest in that third property,” they smiled, eyes glinting at our despair.

But now. Wow! Not only is Marty McFly back in vogue, helping us understand how deluded we were about the engineering capabilities of our generation to get self-lacing shoes sorted via Nike, there’s a whole raft of Gen X gold appearing in our pans. Star Wars – the real one – is making a comeback, not that namby-pamby palava of three prequels that’s best summed up in two words: Hayden Christensen.

With the new instalment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we’re back with Chewy and Hans Solo and even Carrie Fisher as the real Princess Leia, who had that awesome iconic hairdo and launched a million tween boy fantasies when she was held prisoner in a bikini chained to Jabba the Hut. Makes Fifty Shades of Grey look decidedly unimaginative doesn’t it?  

Australia’s BFF Canada has just elected their first Gen X Prime Minister, 43-year-old Justin Trudeau, whose previous resume included ‘snowboard instructor’ and ‘nightclub bouncer’. He’s progressive, from a broken home and damn fine looking – all quintessential Gen X traits. And unlike his Boomer counterparts, he actually wants to preserve the climate for his kids, cos y’know, even though he might not be here to benefit, it’s still the right thing to do, yeah?

Closer to home, we’ve got Malcolm Turnbull at the helm. Sure, he’s a Boomer, but we like to think of him as an honorary Gen Xer. He’s putting loads of us in his Cabinet and shares some intrinsic Gen X behavioural qualities, like a penchant for shiny new gadgets, a good wardrobe and a desire to release the trap door on a number of entitled, dead-wood Boomers who thought they could see out their days on the gravy train of entitlement.  He’s also got some parental abandonment issues (very Gen X), is cynical about authority, and is highly entrepreneurial and adaptable. That latter trait is one which all of us have had to embody, due to the Boomers sucking everything up in their wake – reasonable house prices, free education and music concert tickets that you didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy.

So let’s hope this lifelong winter of our discontent is finally over now that we’re approaching middle age. Our world may not look exactly like the one that the DeLorean transported Marty McFly to in October 2015, but it’s feeling damn good all the same.

Diana Elliott.






Saturday, 3 October 2015

When disruption hits politics

In Malcolm we trust. 
This week, Tony Abbott emerged from the surf to chat to his good buddy Ray Hadley about the events that led to his demise as Prime Minister.  Fair enough. The man should be allowed to lick his wounds. Despite the gasps, it was a relatively benign interview – Abbott clearly had learnt to ‘button it’ after that throwaway and nonsensical line about Scott Morrison last week.

But what’s fascinating is that Tony Abbott still doesn’t get it, nor do those who love quoting the ‘four PMs in five years’ phenomenon. It’s not polls or the media spinning that revolving door. It’s incompetence. Tony Abbott will be remembered as the best Opposition leader we’ve ever had. He was fierce. He took the other side. He opposed things – something he once said was an Opposition leader’s duty. It’s one of the reasons why he snatched the leadership from Malcolm Turnbull in 2009. Turnbull is a barrister by trade – used to knowing which battles to pick, and which to compromise. He wanted to support Rudd’s Emissions Trading Scheme. Many in his party didn’t. He fell on his sword being principled about it and lost by one vote.  Abbott was handed the leadership on the basis of opposing something, and it’s been his modus operandi since. Oppose the carbon tax. End the mining tax. Stop the boats. Every policy framed in the negative.

In the run up to the 2010 election, someone in Abbott’s camp sensed that this devastatingly effective stance in Opposition needed to be refined for the position of leadership. Cue the blue ties – indicating loyalty, stability, and an air of conservative refinement. Sleeves that had been rolled up were cuffed and clamped down. And the language and tone of Opposition – fervent, attacking, and scaling up and down the octaves - became muted and slow.  

Abbott, like the insecure bride who hands the prettiest bridesmaid the ugliest dress to wear, didn’t ever let Turnbull shine. He handed him the Communications portfolio – hardly a marquee slot, forcing the man he credited with ‘inventing the internet’ to reverse all those trucks delivering the rolled gold NBN. Turnbull’s critics love to point out that even the pared-back NBN solution is over-budget. But c’mon, have you ever known of an IT project that isn’t?

Abbott, in latent and overt ways, is a man frozen in time. In smoothing out the traits that made him powerful in Opposition, he became a wax-like imitation of a leader – more comfortable dealing in one-syllable, three word slogans than drawing on his privileged education to articulate an expansive vision. The world was divided into villains and heroes. Baddies and goodies. The grey rinsed out of his hair – symbolic of a man who refuses to acknowledge time’s passing.

In contrast, Malcolm Turnbull embodies much of what the new century demands in a leader. Someone who can engage in a conversation, not merely recite key messages ad nauseum, hoping the minutes tick down on a hostile interview before you make a gaff. Compare Turnbull's first interview as PM on ABC's 7.30 with Leigh Sales with Tony Abbott's last, which by any measure, was a disgrace of 'Death Cult' proportions. 

He’s relaxed. Optimistic. Aware of the upside, not just the downside of risk. Disruption is coming. We need a leader at the helm who isn’t frightened of what he sees on the horizon. Someone who can keep a cool head out on the deck, and sail with the winds of change, not a captain that dives underneath, battens down the hatches and waits for it to pass.

Abbott’s lack of insight into his own failings will hopefully recede with time. It’s like watching taxi drivers on the steps of Parliament bleating about the rise of Uber. Or hotel owners wanting to shut down AirBnB. Or Abbott’s continual claim that the changing climate wasn’t going to get in the way of managing the economy, even as every major company in the land is incorporating the impact of climate change into their business plans.

While Abbott blames the media and hypersensitivity to polls as the reasons for his ousting, it was his own inability to remove the straightjacket that he’d been stitched into that did it. Lacking ability to seize opportunities in the new economy. Clutching coal when Blind Freddy could see the world was moving – if not us – to cleaner forms of energy. An obsession with building roads when overburdened cities are crying out for more public transport. Abbott was a man intent on staying still, in spite of the whirling winds of change around him. It was unsustainable.

Politics is about public service, but to be an effective leader of the country, you need more. Abbott, larger than life in Opposition, was like a greyhound at the end of a race once he won the Prime Ministership. The lure was on longer in sight – giving him something, anything to chase – and he flailed. That’s what lost him the leadership. 

Diana Elliott.




Monday, 22 December 2014

Tony Abbott's Christmas letter

Tony Abbott: Before the egg nog kicked in


Dear [Insert name – MARGIE: Can you help me out here please? Just use last year’s list but cross off Alan, Ray, Karl and that Chris or whatever his bloody name is from Sunrise].

Well, another year – my first full one as Prime Minister of Australia – has passed. Like you, I’m very glad to see the back of it. We’ve had some good times this year. We’ve stopped reporting on the boats (onya Scottie!). We got rid of the carbon tax and the mining tax, which raised no money and no one cared about except Auntie Gina, who sure looked happy at our Easter function. I do love it when she smiles. [PETA, can you work your magic on that last sentence please? Want to convey arms-length affection but can’t think of the right phrasing!].

But really, it’s Jules who’s been the star of our family this year. Or should I say, Julie “Deathstare” Bishop! The kids have even taken to calling her JBish! I guess I’m too much of a ‘daggy Dad’ – or so I keep telling myself – for the kids to give me a cool moniker.

How about all those who reached for their calculators to tally up the gender split when I announced my cabinet, eh? “Only one woman!” they cried. And guess what, she’s the ace in my deck! The best performing woman all year! [PETA: of course except for you. I’m just spit balling here! Feel free to change!]. In fact, she's been so good, I’m DOUBLING the number of women in Cabinet next year. Take that haters! [PETA: I'm trying a bit of pop culture slang here - what do you think?!].



We’ve had quite a few challenges too, I’ll be honest. Poor Joe Hockey has probably had it toughest. In fact, I’ve never seen him so down. I’m thinking of putting one of my old road bikes on chocks and giving it to him for Christmas, because the other night I caught him tucking into a tub of Crème Caramel ice cream with Clive. And it wasn’t a good look, from any perspective.

Joe’s a good lad, he just needs a bit of time away from Mathias Cormann, who I think has become a bad influence. First there was the cigar smoking behind Parliament and then Mattias doing his Arnie impressions, when we’re trying to be the adults in the room! Christopher Pyne has had an awfully rough trot trying to get the young uni bludgers to bankroll their own education. But you know young Christopher! He won’t go down without dragging us all with him! Heh heh heh.  

Anyway, it’s a problem of PR, not policy. We’ve just got to get better at saying bad things, better. It was so much easier when I didn’t have to remember more than three words at a time. Peta’s got me trying this new ‘think-before-speaking-while-still-speaking’ style. So, what that essentially means, is that whilst, some might say…there are questions to answer…I’m not going to be drawn to answer them until I have had the opportunity, that is, the time to reflect, learn and recite verbatim, the key messages that have been approved for me to say.  It’s quite a neat trick! But I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet. I can also repeat a phrase if I get stuck. That is, I can repeat a phrase, repeat a phrase, and hope the minutes tick past so I don’t have to answer any more questions. Gives it more gravitas don’t you think?

Over Christmas, I’ll be spending time working out how we can get off on the right foot in 2015 and by right, I mean left. It’s why I’m thinking of shuffling Malcolm closer to the action (I know, I know, but the lefties love him). I have to hand it to the Silver Fox; he’s done an okay job with the shit sandwich I gave him. The look on his face when I gave the man I credited with inventing the internet the job of reversing all those Telstra trucks from the NBN-promised lands! But the little bugger just kept smiling! Sometimes I just want to shove his good-looking, Prime Ministerial, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth articulate, intelligent smooth talking face into a wall, you know?! [PETA: Please fix! Thought I was back at Uni and got carried away, lol!].

Anyway, we’re Libs, we love each other, no matter what. No knives in backs in our party room. If we have battles – and they’re only ever in the spirit of ideology – we battle with class, like Siamese fighting fish, not backyard bogan brawlers like that mob led by the face of the Faceless Men, Shorten!

So in that positive spirit of Christmas and my new government, I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas. Wherever this finds you, remember, if you’re one of us, you’ll always have a place on Team AustraliaAnd if you’re not, we’ll tow, tow tow your boat, gently back to Indonesian waters! [MARGIE: Please use this or insert other Christmas carol here].

Tony "Your Captain" Abbott,  PM.

Diana Elliott.