(by Ray Dixon – not “shutting up”, not yet)
I don’t usually quote News Ltd’s The Australian Newspaper because, let’s face it, it’s clearly backing the coalition in this election and most of its stories and editorials are slanted that way – heavily so. However, this article appears reasonably balanced and points out (without a hint of bias) that Tony Abbott did indeed lose “control” in last night’s debate and may just have opened the door a little for Kevin Rudd to make a contest of this election yet:
Mr Abbott appeared to have a momentary lapse in control last night as Kevin Rudd hammered him on the costings of his paid parental leave scheme.
“Does this guy ever shut up?” Mr Abbott said during the debate at the Broncos Leagues Club in Brisbane.
It might not be enough to turn Labor’s fortunes around but it’s a start and Labor is right to exploit Abbott’s angry retort for all it’s worth:
TONY Abbott’s “shut up” moment in last night’s debate is set to become a central theme in Labor’s campaign as it attempts to paint the Opposition Leader as arrogant and aggressive.
Labor candidate Peter Beattie has already turned the phrase against the Opposition Leader, declaring on Twitter this morning:
“Mr Abbott, I will never `shut up’ about LNP health cuts in QLD especially at Logan & Gold Coast hospitals; 1000 nurses’ lost jobs in QLD.”
Labor insiders said the theme was likely to be worked into its broader attack on Mr Abbott’s character during the second half of the campaign.
And that’s fair enough. My own thoughts are that Tony Abbott will need to make at least one more major gaffe before he’s in any danger of losing what should be the unloseable election. He’s still capable of doing that.
As for those (like Liberal Senator George Brandis and the rusted-on conservative sycophantic barrackers here and elsewhere) who think there was nothing wrong with Abbott’s remark, you’ve got to be kidding.
Firstly, you simply don’t tell the Prime Minister of the day to “shut up” (or even suggest that he should) to his face. On National TV. In a debate. It’s not only poor debating, it’s also weak and disrespectful.
Secondly, why should Rudd “shut up”? He’s behind in the polls. It’s half way through the campaign. Complaining that Kevin Rudd is talking too much and taking the fight too seriously is like a football captain complaining that the other side is trying too hard to win.
Come on, Tony – man up and play the game. And give us your costings.
Game on ….
Well, game sort-of on.