Who is Tony Abbott?
Overheard last week: “It’s such a shame there isn’t someone other than Tony
Abbott as alternative Prime Minister. We think the Gillard government is bad
for the country, but it would be better if we had another Opposition leader
to vote for.”
It caused me to ask why that view might exist given Abbott’s background, and
I wondered if it might be that people do not know his history. So, I have
put together some information which might help get a better understanding of
Abbott graduated from the University of Sydney with degrees in Bachelor of
Laws (LLB) and Bachelor of Economics (BEc). Then he became a Rhodes Scholar
at Queens College Oxford UK in Politics and Philosophy. He also won a
boxing blue at Oxford. He married Margaret in 1987 and has three daughters.
He is a member of the congregation of the Catholic Church.
He was involved in student politics, but beyond that, biographer Michael
Duffy, wrote that during his student days he “……..saved a child who was
swept out to sea. Another time, he helped save children from a burning house
next to a pub where he was drinking. On each occasion he disappeared before
he could be properly thanked”.
He is a member of Manly’s Queenscliffe SLSC, and a member of the New South
Wales Rural Fire Service, both of which he joined before it was politically
expedient to do so. He spent several weeks teaching in remote Aboriginal
settlements in Cape York in an effort ‘to familiarise himself with
If you are wondering where some of the negativity attributed to Tony Abbott
comes from, go on to the Net and have a look at the comments which followed,
2 years ago, when he was asked by the Women’s Weekly
“What advice would you give your three daughters on sex before marriage?”
He told the magazine: ”I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me
this question .it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate
gift of giving and don’t give it up to someone lightly.”
Yet, if you were to read many of the comments on the internet and the print
media at the time, you could be forgiven for thinking he was attempting to
impose his will on all females in Australia, had ranted against women, had
argued for Muslim like chastity, and so on………………. see for
yourself – Google it! Gillard’s response was to accuse Abbott of “lecturing
I have also included a video of Abbott where he commented on, in what seems
to me to be quite a balanced fashion, “climate change” yet the title of the
video suggests he has been extreme in “denying climate change and advocating
carbon tax”. See what you think. <http://youtu.be/oPpQisoZqx4>
http://youtu.be/oPpQisoZqx4 Then have a
look at the longer interview from which this original exerpt was taken
Abbott has had a history of being told by ‘ABC types’ that he lacks
compassion, does not understand homosexuality or homosexuals, avoids
situations where he might need to face up to gay relationships, and so on.
Again, because he was not prepared to reveal personal issues of others
(ethics, principles,?), he did not speak about his own sister’s gay
relationship and the part he played in supporting her. It would have been an
easy defence for him, but in line with his principles and values, he chose
not to use it.
Granted, he is not a super smooth, off the cuff, speaker, and does not fit
the orator mould. But when he is compared to the glib tongues and
untrustworthiness of Gillard, Rudd, Swan, etc, it is not difficult to
determine which attributes are more important for the leadership of
After Abbott completed his studies, he became a journalist for The Bulletin
and also the Australian. For a time he was plant manager for Pioneer
Concrete, then became press secretary for the then Opposition Leader, Dr
John Hewson. He was elected to Parliament in 1994 at a bi-election. He has
held various Ministerial posts and his actions in those roles are a matter
of public record . His work ethic is unquestioned.
He was dismayed at the policies of former leader Malcolm Turbull relating to
ETS, and following widespread disaffection with Turnbull’s stance among
Liberal Party members, threw his hat into the ring, as did Joe Hockey, for
leadership of the Liberal Party. Abbott was successful. At the time, the
polls were running strongly against the Liberal Party (in the 40% approval
range), while Kevin Rudd enjoyed figures around 60%. Within a short space of
time, with Abbott as leader, those figures changed to such a degree that
Rudd was replaced in the now infamous “faceless men” coup which installed
Since that time, Abbott has maintained constant focus on the ever widening
circle of disasters associated with the Gillard government to the stage
where support for that government now hovers around the 30% mark.
Whilst I do not know Abbott personally, he strikes me as a person of
integrity, he has values in which I too believe, and ethics based on his
Christian beliefs. I would much rather place my trust in someone who, in his
actions, has shown he is what he says, rather than someone who will say
anything to gain a prospective advantage for themselves.