After much speculation, pushed heavily by the usual suspects, the left-aligned Nine/Fairfax media, aided and abetted by the publicly-owned ABC and a News Limited left web site news.com.au, the drums have been beating publicly against ex-PM Tony Abbott for nearly a year.
The hard-to-believe factor of his own party branch seeming to be against him, has been shown in other posts both where the actual lead up to even having Abbott as leader to get them into government was covered and here in a false dawn where the long-time Abbott fight to democratise his party seemed to be successful until the lobbyist and controller groups continued their “work” to stop that reform.
While these internecine struggles have been going on in Australian politics for years, rarely, if ever, has it involved a concerted attempt to defeat a former Prime Minster. There’s plenty of suspicion to go around, but far from the party being a ”broad church” as former PM John Howard had long claimed, it has been increasingly obvious that under so-called “moderate” (that is left wing) control, the New South Wales branch of the party and a varying number of Liberal party branches and office holders all over the country didn’t see it that way in practice. Once Abbott had taken on NSW faction leaders about not being lobbyists as well as office holders selecting the candidates, a certain distance was set between Tony Abbott and that faction.
Abbott had taken the Liberals from an unwinnable position under Turnbull in 2009 (18% popularity) into a hung parliament in 2010 and a landslide government win in 2013, but his time in government was undermined by the leaks and public opposition by certain members of his own “team”. This led to his overthrow in favour of (& at the hands of) Turnbull in September 2015. The leader of the faction Tony Abbott had challenged when he got into government – the lobbyist chieftain – actually was meeting with other faction leader/plotters the night before the coup against Abbott.
‘Turnbull led the government to a humiliating crash in the election he called for 2 July, 2016, Abbott’s large majority being reduced to just a majority of one seat for Turnbull. As Abbott went about his way, speaking on policy but also speaking out under his own name whenever leaks of wrongful criticism came in from his own side, he never hesitated to speak out in favour of his policies and practice as leader. The aftermath was history.
The drums had been beating – with very obvious tame-media assistance – about a challenge to Abbott in his own seat of Warringah.
In a process which was anything but subtle, the Liberal Party forces against Abbott leaked plenty of hints and urges to get opposition to him. On 3 May 2018, the Guardian came up with
Liberal activists target Tony Abbott’s seat over climate change policy Sydneysiders urged to join party in former PM’s seat to ‘shift the politics’ and speak up for the environment” and followed up on 6 October, 2018 with another scare piece
Tony Abbott faces campaign using tactics that defeated Mirabella in Indi Voices of Warringah created after their MP’s refusal to engage, group’s president says.
A few weeks later on 7 November Miranda Devine exploded it all with her exposure of the real Liberal party insiders involved and the activist group with overseas funding ties, Getup, when she wrote Birkenstock Libs betray their party’s ethos, an article exposing the Getup/Liberal Party faction links to the group against Abbott.
Carrying their Getup handbags and with “anti- Abbott bumper stickers” the social set called North Shore Environmental Stewards met to discuss climate and see a film by Naomi Klein. As Devine explains later in the article,
(North Shore Environmental Stewards) is run by branch members loyal to NSW moderate MP Felicity Wilson, whose state electorate North Shore overlaps Abbott’s. Wilson is a protégé of dreaded lobbyist and moderate faction powerbroker Michael Photios, whose wife Kristina quit the Liberal Party two years ago in protest over federal climate policy.”
I won’t bore you with details about Wilson, (known in a political joke as “Duplicity Wilson” on account of various details of her background, residence and academic qualifications being questioned) but she is cemented into power as an MP with support of Photios.
The Challenge itself
With all the drama leading up to it, the new year has brought the challenge. First with Getup going public about Abbott as being one of its main targets Peter Dutton tops GetUp’s ‘hard right’ hit list for federal election Tony Abbott in second place as activist group looks to extend list of targets and now, after a few candidates (one a former Malcolm Turnbull staffer Alice Thompson), we have the real, prepared, setup candidate, Zali Steggall.
And wasn’t she prepared (well, in all but actual policy). In answer to a question about her climate policy, which she had claimed was the No1 issue, she said she would provide it “at a later date.” She was “prepared” enough with supporters, much advertising, T-shirts with her name on them for supporters and lots of prepared material but not, apparently, having her main, most important, actual climate policy at hand, even a day later!
Her claims/attacks on Abbott, some as personal attacks, include:-
World champion athlete-turned-barrister Zali Steggall has called time on Tony Abbott’s “destructive and divisive” 25-year career in federal politics, launching a major bid to seize the former prime minister’s blue-ribbon Sydney seat of Warringah…the four-time Winter Olympian said Mr Abbott was an “aggressive” national figure who had lost touch with the affluent electorate and deserved to be thrown out of Parliament for his role in the demise of Malcolm Turnbull, and views on the environment.
“I am in this to win it,” Ms Steggall told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “I want to beat Tony Abbott, who has been a handbrake on Australian progress on many fronts but particularly effective action on climate change.
Ms Steggall tells Steve Price Mr Abbott’s policies were destructive and divisive and claims the most of the country agrees with her.
“I do indeed and I think all of Australia are extremely dissatisfied and absolutely repulsed by the conduct of the Liberal Party in the last 12 months.
“The revolving door leadership, the allegations of harassment and bullying.”
And so the die is cast. The much-announced challenge, with all the various left- hard left/climate alarmists/ lobbyists all coming together and, surprise, apparently “uncoordinated” (as if). The laughable claim is denied by the mere staffing moves from the Getup-pushed Kerryn Phelps supposed “independent” campaign in Wentworth. For the gullible, those who aren’t actually in a party are quite open about it, they are even moving Phelps-aligned fixers from one campaign to another..
And Getup has a lazy half a million dollars from a body with overseas funding links with which to play in this Warringah by election.
We can expect massive coverage from all the tame media outlets. Not just the Nine/Fairfax, ABC, news.com.au and the other usual suspects, but the shows which will all have Steggall on all the time. I would think that their poor QandA show from the publicly-funded ABC would be very upset that they didn’t get advance warning of Steggall’s candidature. Seeing they have their first show of 2019 with every non-conservative they can find, we don’t have to doubt that the public-funded ABC will favour its usual half of the population only and so we shall much more of Zali Steggall.