Culture

Abbottfreude Remembered: All The Times Tony Abbott Screwed Up, Got Yelled At Or Just Acted Terribly

You have no idea how long this list is.

UPDATE, September 15, 2015: Last night, Tony Abbott lost the Prime Ministership of Australia to Malcolm Turnbull, devastating satirists and comedy writers everywhere. We’ve been exhaustively covering every nonsensical Abbott utterance and decision since he was elected in September 2013, and compiling them here for posterity.

To commemorate the short, bizarre life of the Abbott government, we’ve updated this list one final time. Farewell, Tony. It’s been … something.

Australia is a land of habits and traditions. Football in winter, cricket in summer, going to the beach on Christmas Day, listening to Paul Kelly on road trips, loathing Kyle Sandilands: if something is going to join these activities in the hallowed pantheon of our National Pastimes, it’s gotta be pretty damn big.

But over the last two years, Australia truly embraced a new national pastime: gleefully watching on as Prime Minister Tony Abbott careered from one hideous moment of failure to another, like some kind of big-eared runaway train that is also on fire and hates poor people. Whether it was dire polling, policy failures, car-crash interviews, embarrassing moments in international diplomacy or just weird stuff he does with his face, Australians really, really, really love ripping on the guy. Tony Abbott schadenfreude, or Abbottfreude, is our new national sport.

It’s easy to forget in retrospect just how comprehensively, how often, and how spectacularly Australia’s 44th Prime Minister managed to self-destruct, or how much joy the nation took from each instance, so here’s a quick example; I opened one tab for every Abbottfreude story Junkee did in 2014, and by the end the top of my browser looked like this.

Screenshot 2014-12-31 at 12.28.12 PM

Now that Abbott’s tenure is over, it’s time to pause and reflect on the many, many gifts Abbottfreude gave us. Apologies if we’ve inadvertantly left any out; as you go down this list, you’ll realise there are so very many it’s almost certain that we couldn’t get them all. Enjoy.

Stupid Things Tony Abbott Did And/Or Said

Abbott’s habit of verbally punching himself in the face was well-documented before he became Prime Minister, but once he assumed the nation’s highest office he took his mangling of the English language, creepy sentiments about women, embarrassingly outdated thought bubbles and weird facial tics to new heights. At least he stopped wearing Speedos, though. Here are the lowlights:

2015

Knighting Prince Phillip

Abbott’s Australia Day “captain’s call” to give an Australian knighthood to a foreign monarch with more medals than Usain Bolt backfired spectacularly. It prompted criticism from the Murdoch papers, led to an abortive leadership spill and inspired this fairly wonderful video.

Blowing his lid at the National Press Club

Abbott’s attempt to defuse leadership speculation with a speech to the National Press Club in February ended up being a of crash-and-burn performance for the ages.

“We’ve had a rough couple of months, I accept that,” Abbott said, in steadily more panicked tones, before lecturing hypothetical Cabinet colleagues about the iniquities of leaking to the press and finishing on an unrivaled rhetorical flourish: “Waste down. Boats stopped. Carbon tax gone. And roads well and truly underway.”

The Speed Dealers

Never forget.

All The Goddamn Nazi References

From “a Holocaust of jobs” to comparing Bill Shorten to Joseph Goebbels to talking ISIS up as worse than the Nazis, 2015 was the year the Australian Prime Minister became an internet comment thread come to life.

That time he maybe thought about taking Australia to war in Iraq by ourselves

Remember that? That was some wild shit, wasn’t it?

The time he wished Muslim leaders would condemn terrorism like they “mean it”

I am getting steadily angrier as this updated list goes on.

When he managed to infuriate the nation of Indonesia

While Australian politicians and diplomats were trying to negotiate a stay of execution for convicted Bali Nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Abbott’s invoking of the aid money Australia donated to Indonesia after the 2005 tsunami triggered an angry response from the Indonesian government, and many people who felt it was a ham-fisted attempt at blackmail.

Remote Aboriginal communities are “lifestyle choices”

At a time when up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia were slated for closure due to budget cuts, Abbott’s contribution to the debate was as nuanced and valuable as ever.

All that needs to be said, really.

Australians are “sick of being lectured to by the UN” about torture

When the United Nations Convention Against Torture condemned Australia’s mandatory detention policy for asylum seekers, Abbott’s tantrum in response deftly sidestepped the fact that being in breach of a torture convention is not an ideal situation to find oneself in.

That weird and vaguely offensive St Patrick’s Day message

“The one day a year it’s good to be Green,” laughed a man who controls a country of more than 23 million people.

THE ONION

And the other onion. And the OTHER other onion.

The weird Bluth chicken dance he did in Question Time

Cannot unsee.

Tony Abbott’s daughters can afford a house, therefore everyone can afford a house

Seriously, this list is actually detrimental to my blood pressure.

“There’s a boom up there.”

Okay, technically this was Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s fuck-up more than Abbott’s. But it was one of the factors that led to Abbott’s ousting, and the Curb Your Enthusiasm music that plays at the end is worth the price of admission alone.

2014

Chattin’ up Da Ladeez

His biggest achievement as Minister for Chicks

“Where are the ladies, by the way? What’s happened to the ladies?”

That time he discovered sexism exists

When he was Nigel No-friends on his own world tour

“Canadia.”

“You bet you are. You bet I am.”

One of the people’s favourites.

This: “I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely-settled, Great South Land.

Whatever the hell is happening here

And, of course, The Wink

People Who Yelled At Tony Abbott For Being Bad

More than any other genre of Abbottfreude, this one captured the public imagination. Being unable to rely on the Prime Minister for words of inspiration or even vague comprehension, a whole heap of luminaries from Australia and around the world stepped in to use their powers of oratory to take Tone down a peg. Towards the end of the year even morning TV hosts were getting in on the action, and you could almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost.

2015

The Great Perth Freeway Sledgend

When the history of Tony Abbott’s tenure as PM is written, this moment on his last day in office will stand the test of time more than any other.

“YOU’RE ALL A BUNCH-A WAN-KEEEEEEEEEERS.” The sledge that brought down a PM.

Glenn Lazarus

If you don’t know what a “squirrel grip” is, you are lucky indeed.

Firefighters

Russell Brand

Leigh Sales

“Are you a dead man walking?” Hot damn.

Indigenous actor Mark Coles Smith

The Weekly‘s Charlie Pickering

The Project‘s Waleed Aly

US President Barack Obama

“Any so-called leader who doesn’t take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke is not fit to lead,” Obama said of climate change recently.

Does that sound like anyone we know?

2014

Scott Ludlam

“Noted.”

Cate Blanchett

“I am the product of free tertiary education.”

Barack Obama

Climate change exists, apparently.

John Oliver

Sarcasm hurts so much more coming from a dapper British man.

Karl Stefanovic

The first time anyone has come off second-best in an interview on morning TV.

David Koch

The second time anyone has come off second-best in an interview on morning TV.

Year Nine cohort, Newtown High School Of The Performing Arts

All these children have ASIO files now.

Attendees of Gough Whitlam’s funeral

“Abbott’s a wanker!” *clap clap clap clap*

The entire crowd of the 2014 NRL Grand Final

Straight to the pool room.

Aaaand the rest: Richard Flanagan (twice)BonoThe Washington Post.

Creative Pursuits Inspired By A Hatred Of Tony Abbott

This is my favourite category. Even as the government slashed funding to the arts, it inspired a mini-Renaissance of people channelling their Abbottfreude into new and exciting artistic mediums. Here are some highlights:

2015

House of Ahhhs

At Home With Tone

‘Shake It Off’, with Tone

Abbottsolutely Hopeless

Tony Abbott vs. Tony Abbott

2014

The Darjeeling Abbotted

Tony Abbott in ‘The Untouchables’

The ‘Stop Tony Meow‘ Chrome extension

tonycatWIKI

That Photoshop contest solely about Tony Abbott vs. Vladimir Putin

vlad

The ‘Better Options For PM Than Tony Abbott’ Tumblr

noniabbott macaroniabbott kebabbott

This dreadful graffiti that turned into beautiful modern art

hey tony halfwit simpleton

Bonus: That time we discovered the first known usage of the word ‘fuck’ was immediately followed by the word ‘Abbot’

fuckin

Wowee. What a ride that was, folks. Can’t wait to do it all again next year, because unless we wake up tomorrow and 2014 was a hideous collective dream, this guy will still be Prime Minister of Australia, and we’ll still be stuffed. See you then.