Friday, October 5, 2012

Abbott shows everyone he’s worried

It is rare that a political party would so obviously reveal the fruits of its internal polling and focus group work as the Liberal Party did today with the full court press of coverage provided via its friendly media publishers,

In an “exclusive” advertisement for the Liberal Party interview with Gemma Jones (she of the bullshit beat ups about asylum seekers, articles about people struggling to pay the carbon tax even before it had started, and big scoops on the soles of Julia Gillard’s shoes) Tony Abbott’s wife, Margie, was out to say how great he was. Despite the story essentially being as newsworthy as “Wife loves Husband”, ran big with it:

Advertiser DailyTel Hun

God I do love a diverse media.

Just think how bad the internal polling and focus group are that it has reached this stage.

Obviously as well the reason for the stories coming out today is that this weekend is a Newspoll weekend.


And here’s the lines that are meant to persuade us:

"Just to give you an idea of how it happens in the Abbott household, I'll be grabbing the remote control saying `Can I watch the footy, please?' he will be saying `Oh, but I would really like to watch Downton Abbey,"' Mrs Abbott said.

I mean wow. It’s really that bad that they needed to evoke one of the highest rating TV shows? Really? Geez, those focus groups must have been hideous – talk about aiming for the very middle of the middle ground. I’m surprised she didn’t mention that he often walks around the house singing Adele’s “Someone Like You”.

Aside from the fact the footy and Downton Abbey are never on at the same time (so perhaps Tony is downloading season 3 on Bit Torrent and wants to watch it while the footy is on) who gives a shit?  If we’ve reached the point where talking about someone’s favourite TV shows is meant to give insight into their inner self and is deserving of being treated as news, then we might as well give up the whole thing as a joke. Sure put this in the Weekender Inside section, or Women's Weekly, but this is now Front Page News?

Even The Oz which didn’t have the story on its front page, chipped in with Dennis Shanahan in an amazing coincidence writing an article on (I kid you not):

What about the Prime Minister's problem with men?

  • From:The Australian
  • October 05, 2012 12:00AM

Subtle Dennis, very subtle.

And next up in the advertorial is Margie Abbott appearing on Chris Kenny’s Sky News show this Saturday. That in itself shows not only how desperate the Liberal Party is given they have reached a point where they think that Kenny’s show would actually attract an audience worth getting her to appear on (yeah it’s the must-watch show for undecided voters), but also that they have had to pick out the most clearly Liberal Party friendly “journalist” to tell Margie’s story.

But the real upshot in all of this is that Abbott has revealed he  is worried and that he is as weak-kneed when it comes to bad polls as was the ALP under Rudd.

Abbott has shown everyone that he has been badly wounded by the ALP’s attacks. How depressing must it be for back bench Liberal Party MPs to realise that their leader is so worried about Newspoll that a year away from an election he has to get his wife to do some repair work for him? Kimberly Ramplin on Twitter nicely pointed out that back in 2003 the ALP paid for an insert in the Women’s Weekly featuring Bob Carr and his wife, but that was:

a) A paid advertisement (here, did the advertising gratis)

b) In the same month as the election. – Wives always become more prominent in elections or when a new leader takes office.

This is purely a case of a leader shitting himself about the polls. A leader whose party is leading easily in the polls.

That should scare the hell out of Liberal Party members when they think of what a Tony Abbott government would be like..  

It is also all a bit odd given that the last Newspoll which was 50-50 seemed a out of whack with the other polls, so was likely to go back to 53-47 or 52-48, which is where most of the other polls are sitting, without the Liberal Party doing anything.

Clearly Abbott’s more worried about his personal standing than his party’s. It means as well that if the poll does go back to where everyone expects it to go, it’ll be because he had to "break glass in case of emergency”. If the poll inexplicably doesn’t shift much, then it looks like he is terminally on the nose with voters. It also means people will now really start to focus on his negative personal numbers – every poll will need greater mention of his personal standing, and reference to his strategy to “woo women voters”


Clearly, Abbott has been rattled by Julia Gillard’s numbers going up (and as Possum pointing up, increasing the ALP’s 2PP with it). The bad news for Tony Abbott is that Possum also notes that the standing of the Opposition Leader has absolutely nothing to do with the the party’s 2 party preferred polling number. That means to keep the 2PP numbers high, the Liberal Party has to keep focus on Julia Gillard, which essentially means Tony Abbott attacking her, which obviously the Liberals have found doesn’t go down well in the electorate, and leads to Abbott looking like a bully.

Which brings us back to where Mr Abbott finds himself today.

The other aspect is this “Women don’t like Tony” narrative is old hat. Why on earth he feels the need to go big on it now is beyond me. Gillard’s numbers have improved a bit, and Abbott’s have gone down a bit. But is this really panic stations?

Abbott’s big “women-friendly” policy was his “fair dinkum paid parental leave”. The problem is his own party hates it, and it treats rich women and more worthy of Government money than those on lower income which really is at odds with how women view coping with birth and bringing up babies – ie the issues and problems are the same for everyone regardless of wealth.

But instead of treating women as intelligent beings and developing more policies over the next 12 months that will actually affect them, he wants women to know he really is a nice guy.

Geez, he must think women are stupid.

I can’t see any aspect of this coverage today being about beating the ALP. The Liberals think the election is in the bag. This is all about Tony surviving till the election. That he has had to do it by getting his wife to tell us all how great he is shows just how bad he thinks things are for him, and how out of ideas he is.

Perhaps the headlines are right, perhaps we are seeing “The Real Tony”. 


Anonymous said...

yes, the 'frightened to death' Tony

Anonymous said...

It was just amazing how Margie's statement happened to hit on the head every single talking point about Abbott, wasn't it? A sentence here, a sentence there and all the bases are covered. I mean, it's not the kind of thing your average reader will pick up, but it's something his political rivals will notice and it can only be encouraging them.

William Tell said...

OMG - Abbott is a metrosexual! As anyone who prefers Downtool Abbott over the footy would be.

Damien said...

I was a died-in-the-wool, iron-clad Labor voting stalwart when I believed Mr Rabbott was a smug, self-satisfied, smarmy misogynist.

Now that we've learned he's actually a SNAM (Sensitive New Age Metrosexual)ever alert to the needs and sensitivities of the women in his life I've done a complete about face.

I am now a dedicated True Blue Liberal fanboy.

(No, I'm not)

Brigid said...

I have no difficulty in believing that Tony Abbott is all Margie says he is in their domestic life. I have no difficult in believing that Tony Abbott has contributed his fair share to the vile public discourse current in our fair land with his negativity; talking down of our economy; his association with Jones and others of that ilk; and his denigration and vilification of our Prime Minister. I then wish to ask is Tony Abbott suffering from multiple personality disorder?

Anonymous said...

I know this sentence has been written many, many times, but here goes:

Shouldn't News Ltd be ashamed of itself?

Oh, by the way, the 'break glass in case of emergency tactic'! Brilliant.

Bill said...

I truly couldn't give a rodent's rectum what TV he watches or how the household chores are divided. I care about how he would perform as prime minister, and that applies regardless of who is seeking or holding the office. I don't care about the Tony Abbott only Margie knows, or the Julia Gillard only Tim knows, or the Kevin Rudd only Therese knows or the John Howard only Janette knows... etc...

My mother is a woman and so is my wife. They both think I'm pretty tops but that doesn't mean I should be prime minister.

The suddenness and lack of subtlety here can only be an act of political desperation. It's also an act that's bound to backfire. People know when their intelligence is being insulted. He empties the dishwasher does he? Wow, he must really "get" women then! He must really identify! I bet Chifley never emptied the dishwasher, eh? Yep, kitchens and period dramas - that'll win the women over!

Anyone who would fall for this stunt shouldn't be allowed to vote.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tone, if my wife wants to watch the footy I just let her.

In fact, I find it preferable not to deny a woman her choice as a way of proving that I'm in touch with wimmin.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to believe that tony abbott ever 'switches off' enough to watch tv (or read 'shades of grey' for that matter). The guy is obviously consumed by his political ambition.

Anonymous said...

So Tony Abbott's wife likes him. That's nice. I mean, it's great to know that she likes him, but I presume that hey, that's why she married him in the first place. I like my partner too, and I've stuck by him for fifteen years.

Tony likes his wife, and is well behaved at home? That's nice as well. He's not so well-behaved outside the home - and given that he's going to be affecting more people as a Prime Ministerial candidate who live outside his family home than inside it, his good behaviour at home isn't really much use to us. As a woman who has to live in the brave new world he and people like Alan Jones appear to be espousing, I don't see much in it for me.

So, Tony can feel free to watch Downton Abbey with his family. I'll just be over here, destroying the joint, like so many other Australian women.

Russ said...

Methinks Tony was worried that Julia might get a bit of a bounce in the Newspoll from the Jones affair, and felt he needed something to lift his approval too. But now that they have "broken the glass", his time is definitely limited if he can't get his numbers up soon.

And the good newsis that Rupert's time may be running out as well!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if any ladies out there can explain how Julia is more popular than Tony with female voters? All the married women I have asked have a very dim view of a single woman who has had at least two affairs with married men. As one replied, "if you can't trust her with a man, why would you trust her with a country". Be curious to hear.

wizman said...

i heard a quote on the radio where tony said he liked downton abbey and seeing all the best of human nature. seems like he is more 1850s than 1950s ...

Gillian King said...

Anonymous asks "if any ladies out there can explain how Julia is more popular than Tony with female voters?"

This lady can tell the difference between Gillard's policies and Abbott's. This lady wants a more equitable society, healthy economy and clean energy future.

Next question.

fiz said...

"Geez, he must think women are stupid."

Yep, that pretty much nails it.

Abbott's wife can say he's a nice guy all she likes, but nice guys I know don't stand in front of banners labeling a work colleague as some other man's bitch.

Abbott has played politics very hard and with a short term strategy in mind. You can't suddenly turn the aggressiveness off and pretend people will just forget it ever happened. He changed how politics is conducted in this country. Voters have noticed.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Anonymous asks "if any ladies out there can explain how Julia is more popular than Tony with female voters?"

What Gillian said, Anonymous. (What are you frightened of?) And I would add that when a married man has an affair, the person at fault is the person who made vows and then broke them.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know on whose orders this co-ordinated political strike by News Ltd was orchestrated. Murdoch's apologists often disclaim any editorial interference or collusion yet this latest cross-publication blitz of political fluff says otherwise. It is a disgrace and a joke.

Anonymous said...

If Abbott's approval rating stays steady or drops in the coming newspoll, then it really will be panic stations. I am curious to see.

Tom Fool said...
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Tom Fool said...

I still think Abbott will last until the next election; lemming-like loyalty is a Liberal trait for better or worse -

I think that Abbott's negative narrative has finally caught up with him, burning out before the election. I think it's more a reflection on the fickle and easily bored nature of the public than any meaningful change in attitude towards TA or JG.

Anonymous said...

The Liberals are lucky there aren't shock jocks in cities across the country whose schtick consists of screaming: "He's a liar!"; "He punches walls near women's heads!" and "He wants to bring back WorkChoices!"

If the Liberals had to contend with a tenth of the media bias hostility that Labor does daily they would be running about in circles, their hair on fire, their mouths frothing in hysteria.

They'll never understand how good they've got it.

Ackers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ackers said...

Extraordinary that anyone can take News Ltd seriously after this episode.

Has there ever been such an over the top display of partisanship in the Australian media - effectively outsourcing their 'newspapers' to the Liberal Party's PR company.

October 6, 2012 6:54 AM

Bellistner said...

"outsourcing their 'newspapers' to the Liberal Party's PR company"

Are Limited News the LNPs PR arm, or is the LNP Limited News' political arm?

Anonymous said...

SAY!...What DID happen to Eva Braun and her true love?

ABA said...

Abbott has played politics very hard and with a short term strategy in mind. You can't suddenly turn the aggressiveness off and pretend people will just forget it ever happened. He changed how politics is conducted in this country. Voters have noticed.

Mr A has nobody but himself to blame for the (way overdue and totally justified) political price he is now starting to pay for his life-long record of obnoxious, cynical, opportunistic, hypocritical, dishonest, aggression-soaked political thuggery, and the appalling effect it has had on public debate in this country.

His supporters and enablers, including his wife, need to have a long hard think about their role in it too.

Hilbee said...

But I like football AND I like Downton Abbey. Margie's revelations have only served to further confuse my feelings about the Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

I have no confused feelings about Tony Abbott. He's a mysoginist and a fool. Does he seriously think women would be convinced he's a good bloke because his wife says so? Really? His actions inside his own home do nothing to convince me he's anything other than a thug with a super large ego. He will do and say anything to get into power. I certainly don't agree with all of the Prime Minister's policies - but there is at least some strategic and economic sense to most of them (and environmental sense in the Carbon Price). I do not want to live in this country if Tony's lot get in - slash and burn will just destroy confidence and the economy - and his ideas on upper class welfare make me want to throw up.

Anonymous said...

Joe Hockey on Kitchen Cabinet said that Tony Abbott thumped him at University


Hypocricy eh?

Anonymous said...


Mel Gibson has a wife and six children also

We know what a crazy man he is?

Wheres Alan Jones wife in the media?

The nasty wives club

Anonymous said...

Watching The Contrarians on Sky News

Peter Van Onselen had his gorgeous blonde wife on the panel


She said that she didnt have a problem with him per se

His policies concerned her especially the abortion issue in the past

PVO is still engaging in nepotism and silliness

Homcon should just kiss him on air

God the looks between those two is hilarious!!

Unknown said...

I’m not sure if Tony actually helped himself? Not exactly scientific, I know, but when having drinks on the deck with half a dozen other women yesterday arvo (ages 30 to 55), none of us were particularly impressed, in fact, the majority (always has to be one that is more interested in how Margie looked & dressed LOL!) of us felt that trotting out the wife like that was actually pretty offensive and insulting to women. Sort of a Kath & Kim, “Look at me, my wife thinks I am a snag, see, please like & vote for me now”... None of us vote for any particular party, actually, would say we are pretty much in the same boat, care about our families, jobs or small businesses, basically our own backyard, and only care about the pollie that will do the best for us on that basis (regardless of party affiliation).

Greg Jericho said...

Hilbee - I too like Downton Abbey and the footy. I think it is actually quite bizarre that the two were posed as some sort of zero-sum choice. But then I think both Jane Austen and Gary Abblett jr are geniuses so I might just be a bit odd :-)

Julie McNeill said...
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Julie McNeill said...

I agreed with everything in your post, but being a woman political blogger I have added an extension to the perspective!