The attacks on Tony Abbott both here and in the United Kingdom for being appointed as a trade envoy for the old dart illustrates how hypocritical and two-faced cultural-left activists are and how reality and facts quickly give way to mindless hysteria and cancel culture groupthink.
Examples include UK’s Labour MP Emily Thornberry and the Guardian Australia’s Van Badham who both condemn Abbott for allegedly being misogynist, homophobic and racist.
To prove Abbott is a misogynist critics often refer to the incident where the then opposition leader looked at his watch while Julia Gillard as prime minister was giving a tedious, long-winded and tiresome parliamentary speech about misogyny. It was obviously a cue to wind up.
Never mentioned is the incident where Julia Gillard described a Liberal MP as a “mincing poodle”, implying he lacked masculinity and was somehow effete. Instead of being criticised as homophobic, she was applauded by the left-leaning commentariat and the sisterhood for being politically astute and witty.
Even worse, while Abbott is attacked for opposing legislation to allow same-sex marriage ignored is that Gillard when prime minister in 2012 voted against changing the marriage act to allow gays and lesbians to marry. Gillard is also on the record arguing the Bible should be taught in all Australian schools. Something her Christian–ophobia supporters conveniently ignore.
Given Abbott’s friendship and support when an Australian military officer transitioned to become Catherine McGregor it’s also true he is far from being homophobic or transphobic. As argued by Abbott’s sister Christine Forster (herself a lesbian): “It is nothing short of dishonesty for commentators and politicians who do not know Tony to label him a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘misogynist’ for the purpose of scoring cheap political points”.
It is true at an election rally where Abbott spoke a demonstrator was standing behind him holding a poster stating in relation to Gillard “Ditch the Witch”. Not only is it possible Abbott never saw the sign but when Margaret Thatcher died many of those now condemning Abbott were happy to sing “ding dong the witch is dead”.
Far from being a racist, it’s also true Abbott was the first prime minister to commit spending time living and working in remote Aboriginal communities. His record as prime minister, instead of being a white supremacist, is one of prioritising overcoming indigenous disadvantage.
The irony, instead of being guilty of unfairly discriminating against others, Abbott is the one consistently targeted. During his long parliamentary career given his Catholic faith and his time as a seminarian Abbott was often abused as ‘the mad monk’.
Abbott’s opposition to euthanasia and abortion on demand also made him an easy target for radical secularists intent on banishing religious faith and morals from the public square and when deciding public policy.
The most egregious example of Abbott–phobia relates to a political advertisement funded by the left-activist group GetUp. The video depicts Abbott as a lifesaver refusing to save a drowning man – supposedly to make the point that Abbott’s views about global warming and rising oceans will cause widespread death.
Given Abbott for many years has been a volunteer firefighter and surf lifesaver (dressed in budgie smugglers) it’s understandable why radical feminists and cultural-left fellow travellers love to hate and vilify the former Prime Minister and now a UK trade envoy.
The reason he is such a prime target is not that he is sexist, racist or homophobic – clearly he is not. While never admitted by his detractors the real reason is that Abbott’s demeanour, lifestyle and beliefs represent what the American Jordan Black describes as ‘virtuous masculinity’.
To rabid feminists and LGBTIQ+ activists, Abbott’s persona and manner are guaranteed to cause apoplexy. His history as an Oxford undergraduate awarded a boxing blue, his pugilistic debating style and his volunteering as a firefighter and surf lifesaver add to a view of manliness and masculinity now derided and ridiculed as politically incorrect and beyond the pale.
It’s no accident that school programs across Australia like the Respectful Relationships and Safe Schools neo-Marxist inspired gender fluidity programs always present men as violent and misogynist. The radical feminists have captured the curriculum and masculinity, instead of being a positive, is always seen as a negative.
Add Abbott’s conservative views on contemporary social issues, his affinity with the UK and the Anglosphere and his strong sense of national pride and it’s understandable why he is such a target.
Given Tony Abbott’s success as prime minister achieving free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea it’s obvious he has the knowledge and experience to assist the UK to navigate what will be a challenging, difficult and complex post-pandemic international climate. The UK’s gain is Australia’s loss.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University and author of A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide (available at kevindonnelly.com.au)
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