Tony Abbott’s response to declining popularity

It was so predictable that was laughable. In the face of declining popularity in the opinion polls and a backbench revolt leading to a spill motion, Tony Abbott came out swinging.

Our problem is national security said Abbott on a YouTube video

“It’s clear to me, that for too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt.

There’s been the benefit of the doubt at our borders, the benefit of the doubt for residency, the benefit of the doubt for citizenship and the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink.

 Tony Abbott: You want to find terrorists? Just go down to Centrelink  or to a citizenship ceremony.

Tony Abbott: You want to find terrorists? Just go down to Centrelink or to a citizenship ceremony.

The underlying assumptions of this message are extremely concerning. In effect, Abbott is saying our problem lies with immigrants, people have just received citizenship and people who are receiving Centrelink payments. These are the people we need to be keeping under surveillance and who pose a threat to the safety and security of Australians.

The technique of isolating and demonising a group in society and then blaming them for society’s ills has been used to terrible effect of the past. The examples are too numerous and horrendous to list.

Local and international opinion is turning against Abbott.

The Washington Post says Tony Abbott is becoming “one of the world’s most hated PMs”

The US Council on Foreign Relations ranks Abbott as  “the most incompetent leader of any industrialised democracy”

And clearly a large proportion of this parliamentary colleagues don’t think much of him either.

But his pathetic attempts to shore up his popularity by appearing to be strong on “national security” and demonising minority groups in Australian society will ultimately have a hugely detrimental and divisive effect on the social relations that are fundamental to the well-being and safety of all Australians.

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