The routing of Australian PM Tony Abbott (part 1 - Murdoch media muscle vs Facebook fandom?)

Intelek Int'l By Intelek Int'l, 16th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Yesterday, September 15, former Australian PM Tony Abbott chose the popular social media platform Facebook to express his sadness over being removed from office in a leadership struggle.

I discovered Mr Abbott's statement fortuitously and am examining some of the issues his selection of Facebook or such an important statement raises about the contributions of the mainstream media and websites like Facebook to democracy.

Tony Abbott likes Facebook, maybe?


"This is not an easy day for many people."

Thus begins Tony Abbott's self-described "final statement as Prime Minister", which the recently removed, London-born leader of Australia's ruling Liberal Party posted to Facebook on September 15.

One day earlier, he had been defeated in a vote for the party's leadership and eventually ceded the office to his long-time rival Malcolm Turnbull.

Intriguingly, Abbott had resigned from the Turnbull-led opposition in 2009, forcing a vote that had ultimately put him in the prime ministerial power seat in 2013.

"Leadership changes are never easy for our country. My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can," continues Abbott's statement.

The one-time Roman Catholic seminarian's statement adds "There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I have never leaked or backgrounded against anyone and I certainly won’t start now."

Would Mr Turnbull agree with that assertion by Mr Abbott?

Would all of Abbott's other Liberal Party colleagues?

Would all of them "like" that assertion or might some utilise the much talked about, coming Facebook "dislike" button to show that they disagree.

In a probable allusion to the impact of social media on his tenure as leader, Abbott writes, "The nature of politics has changed in the past decade. We have more polls and more commentary than ever before – mostly sour, bitter, character assassination."

He continues "Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership which can’t be good for our country and a febrile media culture has developed that rewards treachery."

But what the former journalist says next makes it clear that he lays much of the blame for his political "murder" at the feet of the mainstream media.

He writes, "And if there’s one piece of advice I can give to the media, it’s this: refuse to print self-serving claims that the person making them won't put his or her name to; refuse to connive at dishonour by acting as the assassin's knife."

Some of those expressing empathy with Abbott on the United Commonwealth Society Facebook page, where Mr his statement was re-posted, go further, naming Rupert Murdoch's media machine specifically for their man's undoing.

Erik Carey, who reposted Abbott's statement on the UCS page wrote "Well my day was just ruined. Tony Abbott was a good man with good intentions and Malcolm Turnbull has been waiting to stab him in the back for years. I was shocked to read the news this morning about what had happened. Now the liberals have a leader who is a carbon copy of labor's. I guess what Mr. Murdoch wants Mr. Murdoch gets."

The concern with labour politics in Australia, echoing similar ones being voiced in the UK, with the selection of the notoriously inflexible ideologue Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour Party leader here is another point of considerable interest.

Some believe that the "revolving-door leadership" that Mr Abbott says characterizes labour in Australia is set to overtake their UK counterparts.

(Read Abbott's full statement below)

To be continued...

Full Abbott Statement

Full Abbott statement

This is not an easy day for many people.
Leadership changes are never easy for our country.
My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can.
There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping.
I have never leaked or backgrounded against anyone and I certainly won’t start now.
Our country deserves better than that.
I want our Government and our country to succeed. I always have and I always will.
I have consistently said – in Opposition and in Government – that being the Prime Minister is not an end in itself: it is about the people you serve.
The great privilege that I have had is to see the wonder of this country like few others and I want to thank the Australian people for giving me the honour to serve.
Yes, this is a tough day, but when you join the game you accept the rules.
I have held true to what I believed and I am proud of what we have achieved over the past two years.
300,000 more people are in jobs.
Labor’s bad taxes are gone.
We have signed Free Trade Agreements with our largest trading partners – with Japan, with Korea, and with China.
The biggest infrastructure programme in our country’s history is under way.
A spotlight is being shone into the dark and corrupt corners of the union movement and Labor’s party/union business model.
We have responded to the threats of terror and we have deployed to the other side of the world to bring our loved ones home.
The boats have stopped – and with the boats stopped, we’ve been better able to display our compassion to refugees.
And despite hysterical and unprincipled opposition, we've made $50 billion of repairs to the budget.
Of course, there's much that I had still wanted to do: constitutional recognition of Indigenous people – getting the kids to school, the adults to work and communities safe.
I was the first Prime Minister to spend a week a year in remote Indigenous Australia, and I hope I'm not the last.
Then there’s the challenge of ice and domestic violence, yet to be addressed.
Australia has a role to play in the struggles of the wider world: the cauldron of the Middle East, and security in the South China Sea and elsewhere.
I fear that none of this will be helped if the leadership instability that's plagued other countries continues to taint us.
But yes, I am proud of what the Abbott Government has achieved.
We stayed focused despite the white-anting.
Of course, the Government wasn't perfect.
We have been a Government of men and women, not a government of gods walking upon the earth.
Few of us, after all, entirely measure up to expectations.
The nature of politics has changed in the past decade.
We have more polls and more commentary than ever before – mostly sour, bitter, character assassination.
Poll-driven panic has produced a revolving door prime ministership which can’t be good for our country and a febrile media culture has developed that rewards treachery.
And if there’s one piece of advice I can give to the media, it’s this: refuse to print self-serving claims that the person making them won't put his or her name to; refuse to connive at dishonour by acting as the assassin's knife.
There are many to thank for the privilege of being Prime Minister.
First and foremost, I thank my family for allowing me to be the absentee spouse and parent that politics entails.
I thank Margie for her grace and dignity throughout my public life.
I thank my party for the privilege of leading it.
I thank the armed forces who are serving our country and defending our values, even as we speak.
I thank my staff who have been absolutely unceasing in their devotion to our party and our country, especially my Chief of Staff who has been unfairly maligned by people who should have known better.
Finally, I thank my country for the privilege of service.
It is humbling to lose, but that does not compare to the honour of being asked to lead.
In my Maiden Speech here in this Parliament, I quoted from the first Christian service ever preached here in Australia.
The Reverend Richard Johnson took as his text, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his blessings to me?”
At this, my final statement as Prime Minister, I say: I have rendered all and I am proud of my service.
My love for this country is as strong as ever and may God bless this great Commonwealth.

Tags

Facebook, Jeremy Corbyn, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott

Meet the author

author avatar Intelek Int'l
"I think therefore I jam"
I'm a holistic communication and education specialist, trading as Intelek International (www.intelek.net).
I write about spirituality, science, philosophy, politics, love.

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Comments

author avatar Retired
20th Sep 2015 (#)

Australia seems to have its own form of a coup, with five prime ministers in as many years, and some of them coming to power without any sort of vote from the electorate. When fewer than 60 people can remove the Prime Minister, based on any whim or slight, that is a formula for instability.

Australia's hallmark has always been common sense, basic decency and stability. That is undermined by these ego-driven power struggles.

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