NOW Tony Abbott is gone I can finally tell the truth about him. Folks, you made a big mistake with this bloke.
No, no. The mistake wasn’t that you voted for him.
In fact, you got one of the finest human beings to be Prime Minister.
In many ways he seemed too moral for the job, yet he achieved more in two years than the last two Labor prime ministers achieved in six.
Compare. Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard left us with record deficits after blowing billions on trash — on overpriced school halls, “free” insulation that killed people, green schemes that collapsed, “stimulus” checks to the dead.
They meanwhile opened our borders to 50,000 illegal immigrants and drowned 1200. They hyped the global warming scare and forced us to pay a job-killing carbon tax just to pretend they were saving us.
But Abbott? I won’t go through the whole list: how he stopped the boats, curbed spending, scrapped the useless carbon and mining taxes, led the world’s defiance of deadly Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and made us safer from terrorism.
He even signed three free trade deals to secure jobs for our kids — including one with China that the last three governments couldn’t clinch.
And he did all this in the face of astonishing heckling and even vilification from our media class, and despite often feral opposition in the Senate.
But your mistake was not to care about all that. Deeds didn’t count with you. Image was all.
And so you told the pollsters you didn’t like Abbott. You believed the vicious crap written about him, until his MPs finally panicked and dumped him.
Your mistake was that you couldn’t look behind the flim flam — the way Abbott looked, the way he spoke, the way he walked, the way he ate an onion — to see what he’d actually done for you and for your country.
You even laughed at some of his finest qualities and emblems of his public service. Journalists ridiculed his work as a lifesaver by mocking his costume and body hair. They dismissed his firefighting service as just a photo-op. Wrote off his patriotism as bigotry.
When he defended women, he was called insincere. When he warned that our finances were in strife or that terrorism menaced us, they called him a scaremonger.
And you believed them. You let people treat like absolute dirt a man who had a record of volunteerism no prime minister has equalled — working in Aboriginal communities, lifesaving, firefighting, helping people in natural disasters, and raising money for women’s shelters and a hospice for dying children.
And none of it was done just to puff his CV for an election pamphlet.
The only reason I know Abbott helped people secure their homes after one Sydney storm is that my wife’s uncle asked the head of the team getting the tree off his house if that really was Abbott over there, helping to cut it away.
Shush, said the captain. He doesn’t like people knowing.
Now, I must declare straight up — I call Tony Abbott a friend.
So you’ll call me biased. You’ll laugh that I can write this massive praise of him when almost everyone else is horse-laughing. And you’ll say that’s why I see more qualities in Abbott than are actually there.
But you’ll just be making another mistake.
See, I don’t think Abbott is a great man because he’s my friend. He’s my friend because he’s a great man. Greater than the people who tore him down.
He’s my friend especially because he’s not those things that so many journalists wrote — including some who must have known what they wrote were lies.
Truth is that Abbott is not a thug, bully, racist, fool, liar, woman-hater, homophobe or bigot. He’s not cruel or lacking compassion.
If he were any of those things he would not be my friend. Those are deal breakers for me. Those I love best are people of honour, warmth and kindness.
Tony Abbott is one such man, and that he has been betrayed and deposed doesn’t just break my heart. It makes me fear for this country. I can only hope that Australians will one day wake up to what they’ve tossed away.
Sorry to sound so melodramatic, but here are some glimpses of the man I know — ones that put the lie to the trash that even big-name correspondents peddled about him.
The media and the left are among the people least capable of seeing goodness in others. And it’s not as if these qualities were invisible even to those of us who were not among his friends. If you are part of the anti-Abbott collective of this country, you are part of the problem and in no way part of the kind of humane solutions Tony Abbott tried to bring to political decision making in this country. We are all the worse for his departure. There are some who do not know this because they are so shrivelled inside that they incapable of knowing this. But there are some, thankfully, who understood what a great Prime Minister we had and know exactly what we have lost.