Entertainment TV Q&A: Australia’s most ocker bloke, British-born Tony Abbott
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Q&A: Australia’s most ocker bloke, British-born Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott
Journalist Greg Sheridan has claimed Tony Abbott is the most "ocker bloke" you'll ever meet. Photo: ABC
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In a bizarre moment on Monday night’s Q&AThe Australian’s foreign affairs editor Greg Sheridan has labelled former prime minister Tony Abbott as the most ocker bloke in the country.

During a discussion about the role of dual citizens in the Australian Parliament, Mr Sheridan defended British-born Mr Abbott, after it was suggested his birthplace and foreign education affected his views.

“You’ve never met a more ocker bloke than Tony Abbott,” he claimed.

“If there is a trace of the English in Tony Abbott, God knows where you could find it.”

Social media blew up after Mr Sheridan’s comments, which left viewers of the show somewhat puzzled.

The comments came after an audience member made the point that someone can’t be a dual citizen as a politician, but you have to pledge allegiance to the Queen.

The panel was split on the issue, with Shadow Minister for Finance Jim Chalmers echoing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s modified call for Australia to have a referendum on whether or not it becomes a republic.

“We said we’ll go to the people in the first term of a Shorten Labor government to ask them if they want an Australian as head of state? Very simple question,” Mr Chalmers said.

He said reasons given for Australia not to become a republic were “absurd”.

“I think that’s an important thing for Australia to take on. You hear people say all the time we can’t possibly become a republic because other things are more important. I think that’s an absurd argument,” he said.

“It’s an absurd situation where the Queen of England is the head of state of this country and all the arguments about we couldn’t prioritise that or maybe after the Queen is gone, they’re all just excuses because you can’t defend the indefensible which is to say to our kids they’re not capable of being our own head of state.”

Watch the segment below:

Liberal Minister for Trade and Investment Steve Ciobo said it is something as a country we have to look at and won’t be again until Queen Elizabeth steps down or dies.

“As a country we have looked at this. I think frankly the Australian public recognises that at some point in the future we’ll have this referendum again and I would say that the prevailing view is we would do it after Queen Elizabeth passes away or steps down,” Mr Ciobo said.

‘There is no substitute for America’

The panel agreed that Australia’s relationship with the United States is of upmost importance to the country’s stability, despite the assumed destabilisation President Donald Trump brings.

“What is smart for Australia to do through this period is to try to preserve the alliance and to get what good we can out of Trump,” Mr Sheridan said.

“He hasn’t done most of the radical things that he said. He speaks like a madman but so far he hasn’t done truly mad things.

“At the end of the day there is no substitute for America.

“The US-Australia alliance is much more than Donald Trump and America is much more than Donald Trump.”

Both Labor and Liberal ministers made the notion Australia must “remain firm” and keep a strong relationship with the US.

“It has periods where it’s stronger than others but fundamentally we recognise the importance of remaining firm and fast allies and great friends with the US,” Mr Ciobo said.

Mr Chalmers agreed: “At the end of the day our responsibility articulated differently by Greg and Steve but especially true is to make the best of this situation.

“We want the Americans to be rational and stable and to the extent we can help them be that that what we should be looking to do but establishing and maintaining our own relationships as well.”

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