Politics

A Loving Look Back At All The Batshit Things Tony Abbott Did Over The Years

Goodbye, Tony, you deeply weird unit.

Tony Abbott

Oh, Tony. What will we do without Tony Abbott? There’s no other way to say it: He was a deeply weird unit. For 25 years, he strode the national stage, meandering awkwardly from one disaster to the next, making weirdly sexual observations about his own daughters and chomping into raw onions.

But now, the show is over. On Saturday night Abbott lost his seat in Parliament to Independent Zali Steggall, suffering a massive 12 percent swing in the wealthy seaside electorate of Warringah. And while we’re definitely better off as a nation without Abbott’s politics of destruction, there are some things we’ll miss about Tony.

There’s no denying it: he may have been Very Bad for the country, but he was Very Good for gifting us with incredible WTF moments. A quick look at Junkee’s “Tony Abbott” tag reveals just some of the weird, wacky and horrific things he did over the years, right up until the death throes of his political career.

So, we thought it was only right to round up some of Tony Abbott’s greatest hits over the years. [Editor’s note: This is by no means an exhaustive list, there simply isn’t enough time in the day.]


The Onions

It wasn’t the first, it wasn’t even the worst, but it may have been the weirdest. In March 2015, Tony Abbott just bit into a whole, raw onion —  skin and everything! — for no apparent reason.

It was confirmation of something we all instinctively knew: That there was something just a bit off about the PM. Not in a “he’s a bad Prime Minister” way, it was more of an “is he ok?” way.

Of course, the bite heard round the world was also ridiculed around the world. And then he did it again and again!

Finally, last year, he explained himself: “I thought, the least I can do for someone who is as proud of his product as this particular farmer was take a chomp! It was beautiful, absolutely,” he told Andrew Bolt. Ok, champ.

Knights And Dames

Tony Abbott knights and dames

For a while after Tony Abbott won the 2013 Federal Election, many people were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’d become more Prime Ministerial once he got into the Big Boy Chair. Maybe he’d stop tearing everything down and actually try to build something instead.

But no, we got confirmation in March 2014 that if anything, Tony Abbott was going to be worse than ever, when he announced he was bringing back the Australian honours system — also known knights and dames.

It shouldn’t have been surprising. Abbott is a staunch monarchist, who led the fight against a Republic in 1999. So which great Australian did he choose to be the first to receive the newly-revived honour? Why it was Prince Philip, of course!

This eventually led to the infamous “empty chair spill” of early 2015, in which 39 Liberals voted for literally no one, instead of Abbott.

The Very Weird Stuff With Women

Tony Abbott

Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech didn’t come out of nowhere. Tony Abbott has always had a difficult relationship with women, but that didn’t stop himself from appointing himself as the Minister for Women. His greatest achievement in the role? According to him, it was scrapping the carbon tax.

Of course, that followed the time he told the “housewives of Australia” what they should be thinking about while “they do the ironing”. Then there was the time he winked when a sex worker called into a radio station to ask him a question, or the time he said people should vote for him because his daughters are hot, or the time he said people should vote for one of his candidates because she has “sex appeal”. Cool, cool. Very cool.

And of course, let’s not forget the time he proudly stood in front of signs describing Julia Gillard as a witch, and “Bob Brown’s bitch”. Stay classy.

Treaty? Nah.

Indigenous map of australia

In the horror 2014 Budget, which started the downfall of Abbott’s Prime Ministership, more than half a billion dollars was cut from more than 150 Indigenous programs.

And sure, Abbott may have made a point of spending one week each year in a remote Indigenous community, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a deeply problematic history with Indigenous Australians. For example, he once said that living in those remote communities is a “lifestyle choice”, as though some of Australia’s most under-privileged people can simply pick up and move their lives elsewhere.

Abbott also has a problem with the Indigenous Welcome To Country, and once thanked a bunch of Indigenous kids for “putting up with the invasion“. “What invasion?” you may ask. Well, according to Tony Abbott, Australia was unsettled before Europeans arrived here.

Climate Change Schlimate Schmange

Probably Tony’s Abbott single most destructive contribution to national life over the last 25 years has been his absolute commitment to preventing serious action on climate change. In 2009, he tore down Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership over the issue, and realised he was onto a winner. After that, he coined the phrase “great big new tax” to describe the Rudd/Gillard government’s climate change policies, using his campaign to destroy both leaders and vault into the Prime Ministership.

And just last year, he destroyed Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership over the issue AGAIN. But Abbott’s terrible record on climate change doesn’t end there: He signed Australia up to the Paris accord, then demanded we pull out of it when Turnbull became PM, then backflipped again during the election campaign, when he realised he was out of step with his electorate.

He once described climate change science as “crap”, said climate change was probably doing more good than harm, and recently bet a voter $100 that the climate wouldn’t change in the next 10 years.

Literally, thanks for nothing, Tony.

All The Other Weird Shit Tony Abbott Did

Tony Abbott Street Library

And then there’s all the other stuff that kind of defies categorisation, such as:

Goodbye Tony, there’ll never be another one like you. And that’s probably for the best.