It was 2015. Though we didn’t know it at the time, the world was on the precipice of enormous change. We didn’t know it, but global populism was ascendent on both the left and right. Foolishly, many believed that elite liberal democracy in its existing form would persist without challenge into perpetuity. Then Tony Abbott bit into a raw onion without making even a cursory effort to remove the skin, and everything changed.
Am I really saying that Tony’s onion incident is to blame for the rise of Donald Trump, for Brexit, for the collapse of socialist democracy in Latin America, for the resurgence of authoritarian populism?
Only one this is certain: Toney eat an onion.
It’s a testament to the thrumming spiritual power of this one particular incident that Abbott – by really any measure one of the weirdest units in the country, who constantly does weird shit – is forced to explain it over and over and over. And he will continue to do so, for the rest of his life.
He gave it another crack last night on The Bolt Report on Sky News. I bring this news to you because if I didn’t the only people who would find out about it would be the roughly twenty-five racist pensioners who watch that show. And that would be unjust.
.@TonyAbbottMHR on his decision to eat a raw onion during a visit to a Tasmanian farm in 2015: All of us eat raw onion occasionally. I thought the least I could do for this farmer was to 'take a chomp, and it was beautiful.'
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) February 7, 2019
“All of us eat raw onion occasionally,” Abbott says to Bolt, an indisputable fact which does not remotely correlate to biting into an onion like it was a fucked up spicy apple. He goes on to say that the onion had lost its outer skin and had “effectively been peeled,” which I don’t think is accurate but I’m willing to take Tony at his word on this.
But basically, he alleges that the farmer was so proud of his produce that for Tony to not “take a chomp” would be the height of disrespect. He also did it for Australia:
The job of the Prime Minister – who is if you like the country’s ‘cheerleader-in-chief’ amongst other things you’re not just the CEO of Australia Inc, you are the cheerleader-in-chief… is to do what you can to show your appreciation for your fellow Australians.
Tony, I agree. We all felt insanely appreciated, cherished and valued the day you grabbed a big fat raw onion and took a bite out of it like an absolute freak. We’re still bathing in the warm afterglow of that single selfless act in service of the nation.
If you want to know more about the onion incident, all you need to do is simply wait. There is no doubt Tony, who will absolutely never leave public life despite the fact no one likes him, will discuss it many times in the years to come.