TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF
In 2012, a passage in David Marr’s book POLITICAL ANIMAL: THE MAKING OF TONY ABBOTT caused uproar across Australia. The passage was about an incident that (allegedly) occurred thirty-five years earlier when Abbott was a student at Sydney University. Abbott’s many critics in politics and the media considered the ‘undisputed’ incident indisputable evidence for the views they had long held about him.
Abbott was sexist and hated women; men were the natural leaders of society; in politics he was brutal and insensitive. Above all this was the irrational discriminatory religion that motivated him. Abbott had no place in politics. Indeed, Susan Mitchell strove to make the case in her book TONY ABBOTT; A MAN’S MAN that Abbott was ‘dangerous’. Marr’s and Mitchell’s books were bestsellers, and determining for many in their judgement of Abbott.
But how well do their books stand up to scrutiny? How well does this widely accepted opinion of Abbott bear close investigation? How much is a caricature for political purposes, and how much is supported by the evidence?
In TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION, the author investigates. He traces Abbott’s political development from school through to the end of his time at Sydney University (1963-1980). A contemporary of Abbott’s and sharing a similar background, the author draws on his experiences and reactions to the tumultuous times of the 1960s and 1970s in addition to the documentary research. The book is in four parts: the school years and the 1960s revolution; student radicalism at Sydney University 1973-1975, the prelude to Abbott’s arrival on campus; Abbott’s engagement with the far left (1976-1980); and the media and Abbott.
What emerges from the author’s tracing of Abbott’s combat with the far-left on campus is the fearless waging of a heroic battle on behalf of Western Civilisation against the combined forces of Marxism in its multiple manifestations. As Greg Sheridan wrote about Abbott in his book When We Were Young and Foolish, ‘It was impossible to intimidate him.’
But the book is not only about Tony Abbott, the student motivated by a carefully defined natural law conservatism. It is as much about the social upheaval of the times (1960s and 1970s) and about the author’s reflections. Tony Abbott becomes a vehicle through which the author expresses his scathing critique of the student rebellion.
TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION presents a paradigm case of the left’s program of disinformation, manipulation, subversion and sabotage to gain power. For Marxists and postmodernist alike, power is the bottom line.
Readers are sure to find the account of the rough and tumble of student politics fascinating. There are startling parallels with Abbott’s time as opposition leader and then as prime minister.
Paperback due February 2019.