When the Prime Minister arrives home from India on Sunday, he’ll be landing in the middle of a national celebration. Not Father’s Day, but the first anniversary of his election as Prime Minister. And it has been an eventful year.
Mr Abbott has stopped the boats, repealed the carbon and mining taxes and delivered a budget that he said would “get the nation’s finances back on track for a believable surplus.” He led the global protest after the shooting down of a civilian passenger jet and was swift to decry the Islamic State as “pure evil” and commit Australia’s military to the Iraqi aid effort.
While the new government has delivered many of its major promises, the PM has also had problems that have nothing to do with the thrust and parry of parliamentary politics.
On his watch, the Australian car manufacturing industry called it quits, a spying scandal with Indonesia erupted, an asylum seeker was killed during three days of rioting on Manus Island, Finance Minister Arthur Sinodinos stood down amid the ICAC investigation, Attorney-General George Brandis sparked a furore over racial discrimination laws, and a wink to a radio presenter during a talkback conversation with a sex worker caused outrage. And then there was Knights and Dames announcement.
With Mr Abbott’s first year as Prime Minister drawing to a close, it’s time to revisit the good, the bad and the ugly of it through the words of the playmakers.
“In three years time, the carbon tax will be gone. The boats will be stopped. The budget will be on track for a believable surplus.” – Mr Abbott in his election victory speech in September.
“It’s great to be working with another centre right leader.” – British Prime Minister David Cameron after Mr Abbott’s election win, September.
“I’m a big fan of Tony Abbott, I’m lucky enough to know him a little bit personally and professionally.” – Billionaire businessman James Packer in April.
“You work too hard Tony.” – US President Barack Obama tells the PM, June.
“I’ve met Mr Abbott three or four times and my impression is that he is the most admirable, honest, principled man and something that we really need as a Prime Minister, we can all look up to and admire.” – News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch, July.
“My position is that everyone has got to be on Team Australia.” – Mr Abbott says of the fight against home-grown terrorism.
“What sort of opposition leader would I be if I said Mr Abbott’s doing a great job?” – Bill Shorten in January.
“It is true that Tony Abbott was made prime minister because he got our preferences. He seems very ungrateful now.” – Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer.
“I haven’t met an Australian who is not deeply ashamed of this government, most of whom voted for Abbott.” – chairman of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, Lord Deben.
“You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team.” – Mr Abbott thinks the ABC is on “everyone’s side but Australia’s”.
“We are going to keep the promise that we made, not the promise that some people thought we made or the promise that some people would like us to make.” – Mr Abbott announces a second backflip on school funding.
“All parents know that occasionally the best thing we can give is a smack.” – Mr Abbott disagree with a UN smacking kids.
The downright ugly
“I’m embarrassed you’re our prime minister.” – Mr Shorten says in post-budget question time.
“If only he had the class of his mother-in-law” – Mr Abbott on Bill Shorten, who is married to the daughter of Dame Quentin Bryce.
“Tony – as the leader of the opposition – absolutely mauled Julia Gillard for breaking election promises. Well, she looks like an amateur compared to the promises Tony has broken.” – former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke in May.
“Politically they’re like they’re psychopathic.” – Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie tells ABC TV in May of Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey.
“Tony Abbott, you are a disgusting creep.” – social commentator Tracey Spicer on the prime minister’s wink at a radio presenter during a call from a struggling welfare recipient who works on an adult sex line.
“Quickly becoming one of the world’s most hated prime ministers.” – Washington Post headline, May 2014, over the same on-air incident.