MUNGO MacCALLUM. Abbott will find another patsy in his endless search for revenge.

In the end, a vestige of sanity prevailed.

The Liberal lemmings baulked on the brink and decided the final step into the chasm of a Peter Dutton prime ministership was just too crazy, and drew back. At least a bare majority of them did; they were happy to lurch well to the right, but not to launch themselves into the abyss.  

Dutton’s last minute media blitz, his utterly unconvincing attempts to soften his image (he likes children and beer – heck, he’s practically a vegetarian) fell just short, presumably because those who wanted him as leader knew just who he was: the hardline authoritarian, the bossman who would make it perfectly clear that the right wing rules, okay?

Or, as the author T H White once summarized it, everything that is not compulsory is forbidden. Those who are not with us are against us and must be exterminated: as Dutton once chillingly boasted of his critics, they are dead to me.

The yearning was for the irresistible force who would bend and break the normal conventions and decencies, who could do whatever it took to secure the permanent dominance of those who like to call themselves conservatives, but are in fact radical right wing reactionaries.

The problem is that they remained a minority in the party room and a far smaller one in the electorate at large. Which is why the majority in the party room decided, essentially, that whatever qualities Dutton might have (and you could hardly call them virtues) he would be unelectable.

Even less electable than Malcolm Turnbull, and, hopefully, less electable than Scott Morrison – although it has to be recalled that while Turnbull got 48 vote against Dutton, Morrison only got 45. So Dutton is, for the moment, back in his box; but as Macbeth said of Banquo, we have scotched the snake, not killed it.

Tony Abbott remains a menace whether inside or outside the tent; he has not forgiven Morrison for what he regards as the treachery of supporting Turnbull a mere three years ago – hardly time to end a good feud. For him, Dutton was not a genuine protagonist but merely a tool he could use to smash Turnbull – and not only the man himself, but everything he stood for.

When Dutton realizes this he will be justly resentful and a problem again, although for the moment he will be content to lurk loyally. But Abbott will find another patsy in his endless search for revenge. It is all very well for Morrison to talk of a new generation of leaders, but he still has to deal with the old generation of wreckers – and no doubt a new one being urged on not only by Abbott himself, but by the arm of trolls and orcs identified by Chris Uhlmann in an entirely understandable outburst last week.

As the great playwright Bertolt Brecht, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, warned thus:

Don’t yet rejoice in its defeat, you men.
For though the world has stood up and beat the bastard
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.


Mungo MacCallum is a veteran political journalist and commentator. His books include Run Johnny Run, Poll Dancing, and Punch and Judy.

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6 Responses to MUNGO MacCALLUM. Abbott will find another patsy in his endless search for revenge.

  1. Michael D. Breen says:

    And as Rudd pointed out in this morning’s Herald, Abbott is another amanuensis for Lord Moloch. Or is it the other way around?

  2. Sandra Hey says:

    Tony Abbott may have a battle on his hands tearing down Scott Morrison. We could be in for a nasty war between Catholic Tony Abbott and the Evangelical Pentecostal Cult team of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Stuart Roberts who has been bought back in from the cold, add to the mix the New Jewish Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. The Evangelical Pentecostal members are great recruiters for their cause and no doubt they will be working hard on increasing their political power base in Canberra in an endeavour to hold onto power. Scary stuff.

  3. Nigel Drake says:

    The likes of A.J. Abbott should be disqualified from public office on psychiatric grounds.

  4. Colleen Lewis says:

    I often disagree with Mungo MacCallum’s arguments but not this time. I fear his analysis is correct. Tony Abbot should resign from parliament as
    revenge, spite and an uncontrollable desire to destroy are not the qualities Australia needs in its MPs.
    Colleen Lewis

  5. Rob Stewart says:

    So wonderfully and succinctly put Mungo.
    Tony Abbott was on the radio this morning telling Wonderful Ray Hadley how the assassinations, the ruthless undermining, the destabilisation and destruction had to come to end. It was almost pleading for decency from the mad monk.

    Really! It’s good to know that the knuckle dragging neanderthal apparently wasn’t actually being underhanded and full of vengeance during Turnbull’s tenure. When he would wreck and destroy and up end and stir up his extreme right decrepit thug mates on the back bench and in the murdoch bovver boy brigade, on everything from same sex marriage, energy policy, mining, the environment….pretty much everything, he was apparently simply “offering genuine constructive advice to his colleagues.” afterall. He wasnt trying to bring down his leader and wreck his Government, and damage Australia’s econony, society, environment and future prospects. No, no, no, he had nothing to do with plots and destruction and assassination. If he did, I am sure that, being a man of honesty and integrity, he would have admitted his role in it all when he was talking to Radiant Ray this morning. It’s a great relief to know our Tony’s hands are clean, and now he wants the back stabbing and dummy spitting and sulking and destruction and assasinations to end, by whoever has been doing it! Peace in our time.

  6. Bruce Waddell says:

    As Turnbull was able to rid the country of Brandis surely Morrison can find him as spot in the Vatican to save the snipping?

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