Leslie Cannold; 9/5/10
Tony Abott is said to be likeable. I believe it, though I’ve only met him once. Introduced by a Crikey! journalist at Parliament House in Canberra — where I had gone to advocate against Abbott’s continued ministerial control over the fertility control drug RU486 — the then health minister refused to shake my hand. It was an honest move from an un-stage-managed man and I didn’t have a problem with it. He didn’t like me and he let it show. It was as straight and simple as that. The Opposition Leader’s recent attacks on the Prime Minister are designed to highlight this virtue. By accusing Kevin Rudd of waffle-speak, standing for nothing and choosing to “gutless out”, Abbott invites us to brand him in contrasting terms: as a straight-talker with strong values and a willingness to defend them.