Australia decided Tony Abbott should be the prime minister on the same night as my ex-girlfriend’s 21st birthday party. It would be gauche to draw too many parallels between those events, apart from saying my hangover was extremely justified, but I think of that night nearly every time Abbott opens his mouth. So, when Abbott last night told his remaining Liberal Party supporters that his government was “remarkably under-appreciated,” I had precisely one thought: I left that night’s bar tab “remarkably under-appreciated”.
Abbott, who was elected in late 2013 and was rolled by successor and nemesis Malcolm Turnbull in 2015, eulogised his own government at a Sydney ceremonial dinner marking his departure from Australian politics (which you can read about here).
After glowing speeches from ideological allies including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, former PM John Howard, and radio racist Alan Jones, Abbott said “I often used to think that the Abbott government was a remarkably under-appreciated one,” and characterised his leadership as “a good faith effort to help out country to be the very best it would be.”
We simply do not have space in this article to explain why some people would disagree with that assessment, but it’s worthwhile remembering his antipathy towards renewable energy, his opposition to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, his draconian stance on immigration policy, and the whole knighthood thing.
Abbott’s speech seemed to suggest current leader, Scott Morrison, is carrying on his legacy after the awkward segue that was Turnbull – and that Morrison’s “near-miraculous” 2019 federal election victory saved the Liberal Party’s ongoing government “from being judged by history an embarrassing failure.”
“I might have started it, but frankly, Scott, you have saved it,” he added.
“I do not normally bracket myself with Malcolm Turnbull, but Malcolm Turnbull and I both owe you a tremendous debt.
“We are both always to be grateful to you.”
"I do not normally bracket myself with Malcolm Turnbull, but @TurnbullMalcolm and I both owe you a tremendous debt" @HonTonyAbbott tells @ScottMorrisonMP "Had we lost this election, this government would have been judged an embarrassing failure" #auspol @SBSNews pic.twitter.com/zmz3ZFHyNl
— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) November 7, 2019
Elsewhere, I am grateful for rum and cokes circa September 2013, and that appreciation has grown basically every day since.Image: Bianca De Marchi / AAP Image