Public derision from any quarter is confronting to anyone. But members of political elites are especially susceptible. When one is derided by 6 billion people, it may well hurt just that little bit more. Even case-hardened psychopaths can prove sensitive, as the contemporary case of Tony ‘Shirtfront’ Abbott superbly demonstrates. Having made a complete international laughing stock of himself with Vladimir Putin and his moronic, mindlessly self-destructive yet sycophantic atavistic ranting about coal and humanity, a pale and visibly shaken Australian PM, Abbott has been forced to ‘rush through’ a total revamp of the G20 show in BrisVegas tomorrow.
Entitled ‘Operation Panic Button’, the remodelled show is supercharged with adrenaline, testosterone and sheer terror. Upstaged from the start by his own complete inexperience, Abbott is galvanised by a terrifying reality – being relegated into perpetual irrelevance and obscurity by a series of real world events, including Ebola, ISIS, Russia’s resolute determination to annex Ukraine and the recent announcement of a deal on carbon emissions between China and the United States.
Clearly angered at being blindsided by the shock announcement from US president Barack Obama and Chinese premier Xi Jinping of new national climate change goals and the way it has trashed his own G20 agenda, Abbott appears to be struggling to maintain any semblance of forward momentum, let alone any show of composure, especially now he has the added distraction of bits of the Russian navy up his clacker.
Having successfully made a personal lifelong enemy of Putin, the world’s most powerful and dangerous psychopath, Abbott is believed to be anxiously receiving regular special naval briefings on the accuracy and range of Russian missiles, nuclear weapons and other sea-borne armaments. Advertisements for auditions for the role of Abbott body double have appeared on all social media, in the press and on selected supermarket community noticeboards in all major capital cities. A food taster has been engaged for all official banquets and refreshment stations. Abbott in the meantime, has issued a statement which has only served to further alarm mental health experts and others who remark the disunity his cabinet demonstrates under pressure.
Spin doctors have been performing emergency triage on the Abbott government. Yet the patient’s vital signs continue to provide cause for concern. Media comments by a politically phlegmatic Julie Bishop and others have provided little but unintended comic relief. When the going gets tough, the Abbott government gets spinning. Avoid the truth at all costs: ‘Of course, the Russian Navy is always doing this sort of thing. It is only to be expected. They are in international waters. We have been monitoring them for some time.’ Hardy ha ha ha!
Australians are left scratching their heads trying to recall the last time a small fleet of Russian vessels was off the coast of Queensland during any international gathering. For those who still don’t get it, Russia has personalised Putin’s gun barrel diplomacy by pointedly claiming, tongue in cheek, that a purpose of their naval voyage is to seek information about climate change.
The government has been skittled. Abbott government unity, as distinct from Peta Credlin’s iron fist, is chimerical. Liberal unity is a contradiction in germs, given its lack of any coherent ideology and the peculiar circumstances of its origin. It is called Liberal because Menzies did not want the electoral handicap of the appropriate word ‘Conservative’. Certainly, on this occasion, it was all over the shop or, giving another dimension to the term, as it is fondly and blasphemously whitewashed, a broad church.
Anti-environment Minister and work experience student, Greg Hunt hollowly applauded the US-China deal in a Monty Python moment of magnanimity and irrationality. Like the Black Knight, his own imminent mortality was not in contention. Yet again, no one paid any attention. Smart-arse, Julie Bishop claimed she was not surprised. She knew, ‘already, she said.’ The accommodating, avuncular and ponderously inept Joe Hockey deemed it an ‘acceptable item for discussion’ within a larger topic, the world economy, typically missing the point that global warming is the larger topic.
Abbott, finally, took off like a startled hare, bolting along on yet another tack, ‘We are talking about the practical. We are talking about the real. We are not talking about what may hypothetically happen in fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty years down the track. We are talking about what … what we will do and are doing right now, and that is what the Australian people expect of us. I’m focusing not on what might happen in sixteen years’ time. I’m focusing on what we’re doing now, and we’re not talking, we’re acting.’ Sheer spin, fantastically out of control from a febrile leader who is neither talking nor acting but denying. Someone needs to take his temperature.
Abbott’s dizzy spell to one side, boffins are working feverishly around the clock to pull the fat from the fire. Joe Hockey’s original Headland PowerPoint: ‘Who has the key to a bigger GDP? Is now a snappy: ‘Catch the Rats who won’t pay Tax,’ and has been creatively re-crafted into a sultry torch song come bump n grind dance bracket format entitled: ‘Screw you over, give you the bill’: Australia – open wide for business.
Sharing centre stage, but Miss Piggy style hogging the limelight, Foreign Affairs Minister, the incomparable Julie Bishop will perform her own lap (band) dance whilst belting out a fetching rendition of ‘Hey, Big Spender, while Smoking Joe steps through a specially choreographed IMF routine assisted by ‘The Hendersons will all be there’, an IPA giant dancing puppet troupe and led by a special Australian armed forces massed brass band supported by the Jacqui Lambie backing singers.
A second provisional number, ‘I will survive’ is a less certain Hockey offering, although it is rumoured that the Foreign Affairs Minister has expressed keen interest in putting her own stamp on this classic.
Global warming is back on the agenda. Once opposed as an agenda item (and indeed as anything of significance) by the same man who could not refuse Putin’s attendance because the G20 runs on consensus, will now be fully and energetically embraced in a late night team building and bonding workshop at the Viper Room, a world-class adult entertainment centre in Brisbane’s red light district. Featuring a complimentary international smorgasbord of divertissements, refreshments will include Scots whisky, Cuban cigars, Kiwi green, Cabramatta hydro and Bendigo ice. IMF and World Bank Paramedics will be on standby with wads of money to revive the fortunes of those who may become indisposed, in return for sovereign rights to that country’s economy in perpetuity.