Tony Abbott, one of the best things that you could do right now is pick up the phone and congratulate Victorian State Premier-elect Daniel Andrews. No good going on telly and pretending you have spoken with him. You look knackered. And no-one believes a word you say anymore. No good repeating the falsehoods about what he’ll have to pay to get out of the East West link contract. Or that CFMEU slogan. Not sure why you would even try. Your pants are on fire so often the CFA has a truck permanently parked outside your office.
And it was really dumb to ask Dan Andrews to start breaking his promise. The man’s not even sworn in yet. Did you think about the message it would send about you? The PM who is pathologically incapable of making any promise he intends to honour. The PM who sees promises as made to be broken. Do you really need to make that signal any clearer?
We understand if you feel a bit shook up right now. Get Peta to dial the number. She’s good at that type of thing. So is your new head of PMC, that blast from the Howard past, former adviser to the man of steel himself, Michael Thawley, but this can’t wait until he’s on deck. He only started today. Besides, he will be busy doing Joe’s job. Very busy. That’s why you hired him. And your obsession with the Howard era, a time when conservatives where lucky rather than successful. (You sure know where to get them, Mr Abbott.)
Hope he gets on with Peta. Joe won’t like him. Or the way you have by-passed him. OK, there is the small thing of his political ineptitude and almost total lack of any basic numeracy. But he’s a mate, isn’t he?
Well, no. Expect Joe to throw a tantrum and sook for weeks. Odds on it will be hate at first sight. You will have to choose between them. That means, somehow, you will have to be decisive. Like now. Or you will be further up shit creek than dead man walking David Johnston.
It’s better late than never even if it won’t look terribly sincere. Not that looking insincere has ever troubled you in the past. Sincerity is the most important thing in politics. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made. Look at it this way. The nation will see it is the right thing to do. Even if you have a bit of trouble with that type of thing.
Congratulate Dan. He will thank you for it. But he won’t work for you, Tony. With you, not for you. He hates everything you stand for. Especially the lying. And the insincerity. And the way you take cheap shots at unions. OK, your callous indifference to the rest of humanity grates with him, too. And your lack of decency is opposed to everything he stands for.
Unlike you, Dan means what he says. He will walk away from the East West link project which was never going to relieve congestion anyway, despite its dividends for your financial backers. Public transport is the go. The 3 billion you gave Victoria for that purpose can go back to its original hypothecation. Love that word, don’t you. Don’t pretend you can take it back. You don’t want to add “Indian-giver” to your long list of demerit points. Victorians need public transport. There are 65,000 more out of work than when the conservatives came into power down here. They are living proof your policies don’t work and that the cuts you’ve made and the bad decisions you have taken have had a massive impact. But they need to be able to get around. You don’t want to make them any unhappier. They hate you as it is.
Look at Dan as a mate, not as the enemy. After all, in a way, you are his benefactor, a sort of fairy godfather if you will forgive the image. Your unfair Budget, your sneaky fuel excise and your whopping lies about ABC cuts helped Dan to defeat the Napthine government. That and the fact that he had the people behind him. Ordinary people. People who have to work for a living. If they can find work.
Ordinary people are dead-set hostile about the GP co-payment. 46% of those surveyed in an exit poll on Saturday instanced their dislike of your government as influencing their vote. So you won’t be intruding. You are already in the frame, so to speak. So why the delay? Is it an ego thing? You see yourself as the big cheese and Dan just a little Babybel? You are having a sook because you were told you were not wanted during the campaign? You were told you were toxic many times by many people? Get used to it. It is only going to get a lot worse before the end of your government in two years.
And get over it. You don’t have a minute to waste. The truth, Mr Abbott, is that you are in denial. It is well known that you are a climate change denier. What is less well broadcast is that you and your parliamentary party are all reality deniers. It’s what you stand for. That’s what conservatives do, isn’t it? You deny the reality of countless challenges to our survival in favour of a complacent expectation that things will always be the same. You’ve had it easy all your life. You want to keep it easy. No nasty jolts from reality. Slippers by the fire, dinner in the oven, wife in the kitchen, children in bed, investment dividends in the bank and superannuation millions piling up by the minute. That’s your comfort zone. You have already got a comfortable life and you want to keep it, don’t you? Hang on to what you have; bugger the have-nots, they don’t deserve wasting time over. It’s their fault if they’ve stuffed up their lives. Handouts only weaken their resilience and initiative.
Don’t waste time whinging about being misunderstood – about the need to get your message out. You have got your message out. It’s in your unfair budget. It’s in the fact that you can spend billions on the things of war and nothing on the people; spend billions on war craft but you can’t give a pay rise to the armed forces; the people who staff your war games. It’s in your promotion of coal and your services to miners. It’s in your ignorance and stupidity on climate change and renewable energy. The more you get your message out, the more you it nails you down. You are yesterday. Your defeat is inevitable. Yet you still cling to the delusion that you can explain yourself; explain everything away. So rather than face the music you send out your explain it away troops, your reality-denialists Andrew Robb, and, spare us, Julie Bishop.
Andrew Robb waffled about inevitability on Insiders on ABC Sunday TV. Watch that one. Claimed that if your popularity is shithouse from the start, there’s not much you can do about it. Is he trying to send you a message? He’s wrong of course. But you are in trouble if he’s right. Two more years of negative popularity and declining support and you are history, one term or not. His denial is worth noting because it condenses much of the denialism intrinsic to your terminal condition.
“I don’t accept that we had a big influence, of course we’ll be realistic, we’ll have a look at the implications but clearly from my experience and my observations, this was a state election overwhelmingly fought on state issues,” he said.
“I spent a lot of time yesterday going around the booths … there wasn’t a word of Abbott, not a word,” Mr Robb said.
All this means is that Victorians were too polite to tell you, Mr Robb, not that you are much of a listener anyway. And when he says he will have a look at the implications he already shows he has a closed mind. Other MPs had a different experience. One federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne relayed this message to Abbott from a voter who had voted for the Coalition in 2013.
“God I wish today was the federal election, when is it? I am counting the days until I can get rid of the f—ing bastard”.
Julie Bishop was despatched to do what you couldn’t, Mr Abbott. But she didn’t do a lot of good. OK you have all got talking points about the achievements of your government but it’s not playing that well in Victoria. Or any other state, really. Bishop then got confused with the attention she was getting and started spruiking nuclear energy. Hose her down, Tony. No votes in nuclear. Renewables are cheaper. Better for you, too. And the environment.
No. Call your dogs home. Call off everything. Gather your troops around you. Explain to them that you have wasted too much of the nation’s time and money, cruelled too many futures to count. Call Dan and be the first to tell him that you admire him for his win and his integrity and that as soon as you can you will be calling a double dissolution. The writing is on the wall.