Tony Abbott Discovering A Street Library For The First Time Is The Latest, Greatest Meme

"I've never seen anything like this before!"

Tony Abbott Street Library

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Earlier today, Tony Abbott went for a walk. This was a remarkable occurrence, and clearly not a frequent one in old mate Tone’s life, because pretty quickly he was back on Twitter telling us all about an incredible thing he’d seen: a street library.

A street library, if you haven’t seen one before, is just a little box in the neighbourhood where people leave books they’re happy for people to borrow, take or swap. It’s not a super common thing, but it’s also not some radical new idea — newspapers have been writing about these for years, and at current count there’s at least 500 street libraries in Sydney, and close to 1000 in Australia.

Ask Tony Abbott, though, and you’d be mistaken for thinking that street libraries were the unique, possibly Nobel Prize-worthy invention of the Warringah electorate.

“It’s amazing, the things you see and learn when you’re door knocking!” he says in his video. “I’ve never seen anything like this before!”

“What a wonderful thing for the local residents to be doing — you read a book, you put it in here, and you take a book out. Reading is such a wonderful way of broadening the mind.” He then talked about what this box of books means for the people of Warringah for so long that my eyes rolled back into my head.

Street libraries aren’t really the point right now, though. In the course of his enthusiasm for the street library, Tony Abbott made a grave error: he provided the public with a picture of himself looking amazed with the caption “I’ve never seen anything like this before”.

Naturally, that picture is now a meme. Reading may be a wonderful way of broadening the mind, but so too is brainstorming a list of things Tony Abbott has probably never seen before. Like acting on climate change, for instance.

Anyway, it’s great that Tony Abbott is finally taking steps to broaden his mind. We can’t wait to see what he discovers next.