Tony Abbott has just endured what Queen Elizabeth II might describe as a septimanae horribilis, or a horrible week.
It began on Monday, the 20th of August when he was ordered to leave Parliament for one hour under Standing Order 94a. He was ordered by the Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, to withdraw comments he made about the Prime Minister’s honesty – without qualifications. He then withdrew his comments, and added a qualification, leaving the Deputy Speaker with no choice but to turf him out of the chamber.
Let’s relive that glorious moment again:
That was just a sampler for the real self inflicted damage he was about to achieve though.
On Wednesday, the 22nd of August, he appeared on the ABC’s 730 program totally unprepared for any of the questions put to him by host Leigh Sales.
The Derp has been strongly critical (as have others) about how the 730 show is a sad shadow of its predecessor, The 730 Report hosted by Kerry O’Brien, and the treatment given to Abbott by fellow seminarian Chris Uhlmann.
However on this occasion it managed to live up to its former glories. Straight from the opening salvo from Sales about him being “liberal” (pun intended) with the truth, Abbott made a complete fool of himself. In response to the line of questioning, he just kept repeating his worn out mantras about carbon pricing and the mining tax.
Throughout the interview it looked as if Sales was having a hard time trying to not burst out laughing. Let’s relive the interview in all of its gory glory with subtitles supplied by George Bludger:
The real irony of the above train wreck, was that Abbott actually asked to appear on 730 that night.
To compound matters even further, he then went on Channel Nine’s Today program and claimed that he “had read the BHP statement” but claimed he answered “No” (does he know any other words?) to a different question from Sales. Anyone watching the 730 interview knows exactly what question he was responding to as he went off on a tangent about what BHP chairman Jac Nasser said months earlier, and completely ignored the statements made by BHP CEO Marius Kloppers.
In the interview on Today with Lisa Wilkinson, Abbott claimed he had read the report at 3.45pm, shortly after the BHP announcement. Still he seemed totally unaware of what was in it just over three hours later. Perhaps he actually had read it, but as it didn’t fit in with his “Carbon Tax – BOO!!!” sloganeering, he chose to ignore it.
If that is the case it raises serious questions about his honesty and trustworthiness, two things he has repeatedly accused the Prime Minister of lacking.
Here is the interview with Lisa Wilkinson on Today, once again subtitled by George.
In both interviews Abbott seemed to be expecting the usual “full body massage” treatment he usually gets from both Uhlmann and Today co-host Karl Stefanovic. (Thankfully in both male interviewer’s cases the editors leave out the “happy ending” parts of the interviews Abbott usually gets from both of them.)
Also earlier this week, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek stated that Abbott “Has a tough time dealing with powerful women“. Both of the above interviews above highlight this point entirely. Both Sales and Wilkinson put Abbott to the sword, and both times Abbott came up looking like a complete knob.
However, Abbott’s horrible week wasn’t over yet. Veteran political correspondents Laurie Oakes (from News Limited, no less!!!), and Fairfax’s Michelle Grattan (usually a paid up member of the Abbott fan club), castigated Abbott for his lack of honesty and integrity.
We’ll wrap up with the closing quote from Grattan’s article:
But at the moment the Gillard strategists are more cheerful than before. They report that in the focus groups people laugh when Tony Abbott’s name comes up.
Make of that what you will.