It’s been a week of dummy spitting. Mainly over people not agreeing with us or not showing us enough respect.
We are pretty much accustomed to tennis players splitting the dummy, particularly on court. Tomic went a bit far and criticised his elders and betters at a press conference who then proceeded to slap him around a bit in the hope it would bring him to his senses. All this will probably blow over.
Which is what we thought would happen with the Q&A kerfuffle. But no, Tony is not going to let go of this particular bone and he has now banned his cabinet members from appearing on the show.
The logic must go something like this: I don’t like the people you have on the show and I don’t particularly like the views they express, so I’m not going to appear on the show to counter those ideas. And neither are my mates.
Or have I missed the point somewhere along the way?
Abbott’s actions look petulant and ill-informed. It is difficult to see how he can imagine there’s any political mileage in taking this position. He has certainly backed himself into a corner and it’s difficult to imagine how you will get himself out of it, particularly if the enquiry into the ABC doesn’t recommend something as draconian as banning the show completely, which is pretty unlikely.
Most reasonable people would probably agree that it was an error of judgement on the part of the ABC (and Q&A in particular) to let Zaky Mallah on the programme. The ABC has admitted as much.
The profound irony of what Abbott is doing is that as the self-proclaimed champion of Australian security, he is now spending all of his time attacking one of the most respected institutions in the country.
He has shifted the debate away from what we should be doing about homegrown radicalism, which is a far more important issue, onto who should appear on Q&A. These are questions of vastly different importance to the Australian public.
Abbott’s colleagues, particularly those in marginal seats, must be questioning his political judgement on this particular issue, particularly as the latest opinion polls continue to show the government trailing the opposition by between 4-6%, enough for an electoral wipeout.
If the opinion polls are correct and they do seem to be indicating a very strong preference away from the government which has trailing the Opposition in all but one of the opinion polls since the last federal election, then it will be a case of One-Term Tony