By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Quarterly Essay 47, Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott
By David Marr (Quarterly Essay/Black Inc., $19.95, softcover, 133 pages)
At the outset, David Marr makes a commanding statement about Australia not wanting Tony Abbott: “We never wanted the man the Liberals gave us in December 2009”.
He has never been popular, even though he is the most successful Opposition leader of the past 40 years.
Australians want answers to questions and wonder what kind of man he is and how would he be as a prime minister?
Marr paints a powerful picture of Abbott: politically aware, deeply religious, part-realist, part-conservative and part-fighter. The polls keep following the growing discontent with the man and the job he’s doing. We trust him less now, we still think that he’s narrow-minded and arrogant and our confidence in his intelligence has slumped.
However, you have to admire Abbott’s capacity for hard work.
Quarterly Essay 47 points out that by huge margins the people of Australia still want Turnbull and Rudd leading their parties.
Marr doesn’t mince his words. “…What makes people so uneasy about Abbott is the sense that he is biding his time, that there is a very hard operator somewhere behind that mask, waiting for power … to be so disliked should, by all the old rules, make Abbott roadkill. He is not”.
Abbott works long and hard with a fierceness that disturbs the public and unnerves the government. That’s how “he’s chosen to play the game. Love and respect can wait”.
“Between him and the election of 2013 lies a political eternity, but as things stand now this unlikely man is heading for a magnificent victory”.
This editionalso includes thought-provoking correspondence to Quarterly Essay 46, Great Expectations: Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation.
Insights are presented by Percy Allan, Michael Keating, John Wanna, Mark McKenna, Greg Jericho, Andrew Leigh and John Burnheim—with a response from author Laura Tingle.
Edition 400, 11 March 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.