Skip to main content

LESSONS WE CAN LEARN FROM THE FALL OF TONY ABBOTT

Now that the dust is settling on the removal of Tony Abbott by his own Liberal Party, what can we
make of the situation? With five prime ministers in five years, the nations capital Canberra is quickly becoming the coup capital of the West. Are there any lessons we can learn?

When you consider the last 40 years, no former Australian Prime Minister was able to resign with dignity. They either were defeated in a general election or defeated in a leadership ballot by their own party.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTERS 1975-2015
NAME
TERM
HOW THEY LEFT OFFICE
Gough Whitlam
1972-1975
Sacked by the Governor-General
Malcolm Fraser
1975-1983
Defeated in a general election by Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
1983-1991
Defeated in an ALP leadership ballot by Paul Keating
Paul Keating
1991-1996
Defeated in a general election by John Howard
John Howard
1996-2007
Defeated in a general election by Kevin Rudd (and almost ousted in ‘coup’ within the Liberal Party)
Kevin Rudd
2007-2010
Did not contest the ALP leadership ballot which was won by Julia Gillard.
Julia Gillard
2010-2013
Defeated in an ALP leadership ballot by Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
2013
Defeated in a general election by Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
2013-2015
Defeated in a Liberal Party leadership ballot by Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull
2015-
Current Prime Minister


Traditionally, Australia has one of the greatest records of political stability of any nation on earth. That vaunted reputation is being sorely tested by the drastic activities in Canberra. Yet when you examine the track record, the miracle is that there is stability within the abrupt transitions of prime minsters.

Abbott was called a very successful opposition leader. During his four years in that position (2009-2013), he confronted the Labor government, saw the fall of two Labor prime ministers, and went on to become Prime Minister himself.

Tony Abbott was not idle during his two years in office. He energetically attacked and abolished the carbon tax and mining tax. As promised in the election, the asylum-seeker boats stopped. In addition, his government was able to negotiate a three free trade agreements including one with China. Neither incompetence nor scandal could be credited to him.

So what when wrong? First, there was a chasm between the public Abbott and private. The former Prime Minister was portrayed as racist, bully, anti-women, fool, liar, lacking compassion, a homophobe, and worse. Those who know him can vouch that none of this is even remotely true.

No prime minister believes they ever get the media coverage they deserve, but Tony Abbott encountered exceptional hostility. The Australian Senate was equally hostile. This is to be expected by a leader who is socially conservative. His mentor, former Prime Minister John Howard also had a hostile press but he knew how to handle it. Howard developed a sixth sense that caused him to prevail through four election victories.

Abbott could not handle the media. In addition, though he is a boxer, he did not succeed in knocking out Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, a key member of the troubled Labor government that Abbott replaced. He had plenty of ammunition against Shorten but, mysteriously, it was not used.

No question about it: it is harder to lead today than in the past. Mr. Abbott, a highly intelligent man, should have known all this and responded accordingly. When his party panicked at the consistent poor opinion polls and called for a spill in February 2015, that was his shot across the bow. Abbott called this his near-death experience. It was Abbott, not the party, that said Give me six months to turn the polls around. They gave him seven months and the polls continued to faltered. Faced with the prospect of a wipeout Federal Election after only one term in government, or a chance to start fresh, the federal Liberal Party chose the latter and Malcolm Turnbull became our new prime minister.

Yes, Mr. Abbott made mistakes. His first budget with Joe Hockey was considered severe austerity; it should have been sold to the Australian public as fair and necessary, but it wasnt. The negative press only got worse. Some claim he was too loyal to former Treasurer Joe Hockey, former House Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, and Chief of Staff Peta Credlin. If, as it is argued, the nation was poorly served by them, then the Prime Ministers course of action should have been clear. He did not seem to listen to wise advice, especially from John Howard.

Many people who have met Tony Abbott found him to be both likeable and respectable, despite the alarming, at times hysterical, bad press. All would agree that he is a good man; a moral man; and a man of character. Yet in the end, in addition to his stubbornness and misplaced loyalty, perhaps his biggest failure was not to manage perceptions. In this image-driven, postmodern milieu, where perception is reality, it is not enough to be good. You have to seen to be good. Richard Nixon and Prince Charles did it - they turned negative publicity into positive. It was a lesson Mr Abbott should have learned but sadly he did not.

Eventually, Mr. Abbott will be vindicated but, in the meantime, lets pray for the new Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. It is the Godly thing to do (I Timothy 2:1-2)


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Prophecy for the Church in Malaysia

Malaysia is a very special country - beloved by its citizens and friends worldwide. Malaysia offers a warm welcome, ‘truly Asian’ hospitality, popular spicy food, tropical weather and scenery, and a dynamic local church. The following is a prophecy for the Malaysian church given on May 20, 2017 at Full Gospel Assembly, Kuala Lumpur, (following the introduction).
Introduction to Malaysia (Statistics courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book)
Location: Malaysia is on a peninsula in SE Asia. Singapore is to the south, Thailand to the north, and Indonesia is very close by. Two Malaysian states, Sabah and Sarawak, are located on the island of Borneo to the east of peninsular Malaysia. Borneo is shared by three nations: Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia.
Population of Malaysia: 30,949,962;
Ethnic groups: Malay 50%; Chinese 23%; Indigenous 12%; Indian 7%; non-citizens 8%.
Religious Affiliation: Islam 61%; Buddhism 20%; Christian 9%; Hindu 6%
Type of Government: Federal constitutional monarchy with the kin…

NORTH KOREA: What Is At Stake?

It is not unusual for North Korea to be in the news. This highly-armed Stalinist state rattles the sabres from time to time. There are warnings, sanctions, negotiations, and then things go quiet.
Yet the current crisis is different - and more dangerous - than anything we have seen before. It has been said, with reason, that the stand-off with North Korea is the biggest confrontation since US President John F. Kennedy faced off Nikita Krushchev of the Soviet Union in the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis. This was probably the largest and most dangerous incident in the entire Cold War.
As a refresher, the Soviet Union placed nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba, which is only 140 kilometres off the US coast. This was simply too close for comfort. President Kennedy solemnly warned that if the missiles were not removed, America would invade Cuba. For 13 days the world held its breath. It was the closest thing we have seen of Armageddon in living memory. Being a rational player, the Soviets ne…

TRUMP CHRONICLES PART 03:

Trump the Christian: Opposition & Prophecy

I believe in God. I am Christian. I think The Bible is certainly, it is THE book. First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica Queens is where I went to church. I’m a Protestant, I’m a Presbyterian. And you know I’ve had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion
These words were uttered by the man who became the 45th President of the United States. Donald J. Trump has affirmed that he is a Christian.
Of course, there are Christians and there are Christians. In the United States, where for decades Christianity has been the ‘civil religion,’ everyone was a Christian. For example, every American President (and there have been 45) has called themselves ‘Christians.’ And, for the last 40 years, every President from Jimmy Carter onwards claimed to be ‘born again,’ too.
It would seem that Donald Trump could be in the first category. Many would think so. ‘Christian…