By Andy Hutchinson
If there's a checklist for membership of the Australian chapter of the League of Power-Hungry Neoliberals, then Tony Abbott surely ticks all of the boxes. Carbon tax, abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage, unions, BLM, lockdowns, asylum, Islam - he's against them all.
He doesn't believe in climate change, he's an arch-monarchist, a staunch Conservative Catholic and a first-rate mansplainer in all matters relating to women and their place in society. Now Tony has signed up with the Institute of Public Affairs; a libertarian right-wing, corporate-funded 'think' tank created 78 years ago by a cabal of wealthy anti-socialists and anti-unionists including the Murdoch family.
The agency that Abbott is signing on with aligns completely with the views he has expressed on many occasions. The list of organisations that will help pay Tony's salary include BHP, Monsanto, News Limited, Philip Morris, Caltex, Shell and (just in case you didn't get the picture yet) Murray Irrigation Limited. Their list of benefactors reads like a Who's Who of the most hated businesses on the planet - a veritable top ten of the most damaging entities to have ever existed. From the man who said that climate change was "probably doing good", he'll fit right in.
Mr Abbott is delighted to accept the position of 'Distinguished Fellow' with the IPA. He claims that the "Australian way of life" is threatened because "political and cultural institutions have abandoned the values that made our country great". And when he says they have abandoned the values, he actually means they have abandoned him. Perhaps it's because he failed to accomplish anything of merit despite being in government for 24 years, unless you consider completely fucking up the NBN to be an accomplishment.
Like all good right-wing demagogues who have gone before him, Abbott pays the usual lip service to "freedom, equality, and democracy." But of course, what he actually means is the freedom for big businesses to shit on the little people, equality for everyone except women, gays, Muslims, immigrants, and black people and democracy as long as the right party is elected.
Abbott's new boss, John Roskam, claims that "Australia is now in a cultural cold war where the elites are pushing divisive and alien ideologies onto mainstream Australians who are without a voice and without institutional power"; sounds identical to the narrative pushed by the far-right since the early days of the Tea Party in the U.S.
The irony is that Tony Abbott is a member of the 'elite' and he unstintingly promoted divisive policies for the duration of his political career. Roskam is right though, Australia is in a cultural Cold War, but not one between global superpowers.
This Cold War is between those who believe in freedom of thought and ideology and in a society in which ALL of its members can succeed equally whatever their circumstances and birth - and those who seek only to keep them in their place and to profit from their suppression.
Feature image: Inhumane Incompetent. Photo credit: FiledIMAGE/Shutterstock.com
Andy Hutchinson is a regular political contributor. Andy is a socialist, atheist, ADHD, autistic Libran. He is also a local resident, photographer, filmmaker and journalist