Abbott simply can’t win

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troyheadshotI know this is a hard thing to do, but just for a minute or two, put yourself in Tony Abbott’s shoes.

Do you retire from politics at age 58, put your feet up and enjoy the perks that come to ex-Prime Ministers?

Of course you’ll be widely criticised, with people claiming you’re taking the taxpayer for a ride with the staff, offices, airfares and the like that you’re afforded as a former Prime Minister.

The other option you’ve got is to stay in politics, recontest your seat at the next election and follow your belief that you’ve still got something to offer.

Of course you’ll be widely criticised for this too, with people claiming you’re just power hungry and you’re looking to reclaim the top job in some sort of revenge power play against Malcolm Turnbull.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Let’s be honest here, most of us would choose the first option. The opportunity to relax, travel, spend time with family and stay out of the public spotlight.

That’s why I’m surprised that there’s actually been a fair bit of criticism surrounding Mr Abbott’s decision to stay on and contest the seat of Warringah at the Federal Election later this year.

Good on the bloke.

Would we really prefer that Mr Abbott took the same route as Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, who both took their bat and ball and went home – refusing to stay on to represent their local communities after the leadership of the country was torn away from them?

Tony Abbott is no Kevin Rudd.

I’d be stunned if there’s a legitimate plan involving Mr Abbott thinking he could regain the leadership of the Liberal Party and therefore the country.

It’s a media beat-up.

When Mr Rudd was stabbed in the back by Ms Gillard, it was the result of significant issues internally within Labor.

Ms Gillard never recovered from the move (orchestrated in a large part by Bill Shorten, by the way) and the public still had time for Mr Rudd when he eventually regained the leadership.

In the case of Mr Abbott, he was so on the nose with the Australian public that most believe Malcolm Turnbull did the country a favour.

I’m still not a fan of how it happened, but there would simply be no appetite for a return of Mr Abbott as leader. That ship has well and truly sailed.

Mr Abbott still believes he has something to offer and his decision to stay on, albeit as a backbencher, is a good one.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Batty deserves plenty of praise

We have a new Australian of the Year in David Morrison but the week shouldn’t pass without us recognising the remarkable work of Rosie Batty, who was given the prestigious title in 2015.

Nobody – including governments – has done more to raise awareness of domestic violence and the need for action than Rosie Batty.

Ms Batty is a tremendous example of somebody who really took the bull by the horns after being given the Australian of the Year honour, using it to ramp up the fight against this true national crisis.

Too often the Australian of the Year honour has gone to celebrities or those who, in my view, have enough vehicles to spread their messages and don’t need a vanity gong thrown in.

Thankfully it seems the states have got the message and have started to nominate people who can actually make a difference as a result of receiving the honour.

When it comes to Rosie Batty, we can only be grateful to her for getting everyone talking about tackling domestic violence and for putting the issue on the national agenda.

Let’s hope it stays there.

Can’t we just be happy?

I don’t know about you but I’m sick of people using Australia Day as a chance to bash up this great country we live in.

January 26 should not become national whine and moan day every year.

What a sad little world you must live in if all you want to do on Australia Day is bag the joint.

Just for a little while, try to be happy and grateful that you live here.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor.

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