“Where’s Tony?” asked Julia Gillard, in what has been touted as her rising above politics and showing concern for her colleague in a fraught situation. But a cynic may well assume that Gillard was, in fact, merely following her script and ensuring that Abbott was in place to be photographed being booed and hissed at by Aboriginal protesters she knew to be agitated about his supposed call for them to “move on.” We shall never know. With the AFR deeming “no criminal act” had occurred, the matter will remain uninvestigated by the authorities. But by any reading of the situation, an incitement to commit what became a violent act was knowingly instigated from within the Prime Minister’s office. Andrew Wilkie, emasculated by one ‘rat’ and now smelling another, has gone so far as to threaten to support a no-confidence motion in retaliation to this “appalling” act.
Not once in the Hawke, Keating and Howard decades was the office of Prime Minister so debased in such a shabby attempt to smear an opponent. The use of the national day, in conjunction with an highly emotive issue such as indigenous welfare, for the purposes of a negative photo opportunity sums up everything that is grotesque about Labor’s obsessive addiction to spin and PR.
Put aside for the moment who said what to whom and when. The obsessive anti-Abbott culture that could spawn such an event is clearly rampant within the government and their ABC and union acolytes (witness Kim Sattler’s comments, hastily removed from facebook, or ABC Radio’s role in lighting the fuse) and it is this insidious culture – Hollowmen meets The Thick Of It – that is to blame.
Aboriginal activists have long labeled January 26 as Australia’s Day of Shame. For once, for all the wrong reasons, they are right.