When you compare our current Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, with the current leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, it is noticeable that Abbott seems more Australian than Rudd.
There is something essentially Australian about Abbott. He is highly intelligent although he does not boast about his Rhodes’ scholarship. His modesty is admirable. I did not even know that he was a Rhodes scholar whereas the media always made a big deal about Kim Beazley, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Turnbull being Rhodes Scholars. Rudd could never claim to be modest. He is like a rooster who thinks that the sun rises because he has crowed.
Of course Rudd is intelligent too but in a different way. He is very intelligent where his interests lie, which is in his ambition to strut the world stage. As I have often said, if it came to a choice between Australian interests and Rudd interests, Australia would come second.
I have never had that feeling about Abbott. With him, Australia would come first. He is very much a fellow of conviction. He has his views about abortion but then so does Rudd. He too, opposes abortion but not very much has been said about that.
I can’t imagine Abbott being petulant the way that Rudd is when he purses his lips and starts speaking in slogans. Whereas Rudd seems rehearsed, Abbott will answer a question and that sometimes gets him into trouble, but at least, you know what he truthfully thinks.
In all of that, Abbott appears to be more human and ethically motivated. Rudd appears insincere and Machiavellian. I believe that from time to time our Prime Minister is aware of this fault and that is why he breaks out into slang or vulgarities which seem patronising. Let’s face it, Rudd is no ocker and his pitiful attempts to be “a man of the people” are embarrassing. I have heard, however, that Rudd has a bad temper with staff and one does get the impression that we only get to see the façade of Rudd and not the one who escapes from his strictures occasionally. Or perhaps he is like Janus, after all.
I have no idea how all these shenanigans about leadership of the Liberal Party will pan out. But I am pleased that we will have an Opposition that intends “To Keep the Bastards Honest”. The problem with Turnbull is that he wanted to be just like Labor “only crunchier” and that does not work.
There are many Liberal supporters who want the party to represent their views rather than be clones of Labor. Perhaps that is Abbott’s main appeal. He is a bit ocker, an intellectual, a man of conviction, a physical man, and a man who will answer questions without sounding like a trained monkey.