Abbott’s protection of Speaker is not leadership

As more questions are asked of Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and her use of travel entitlements, this time to attend a wedding in Melbourne in 1999, it becomes clearer by the day that Tony Abbott is not equipped to deal with the unfolding scandal.

Having virtually gone to ground since the story broke 15 days ago, the Prime Minister has fronted the press only a handful of occasions and meted out little more than an arbitrary ‘€žprobation’€Ÿ period on his embattled colleague, despite an overwhelming reaction from the public and suggestions that parliamentarians both inside and outside the Liberal Party have lost confidence in the Speaker.

But it is Tony Abbott’€Ÿs active support for a secret investigation of the alleged misuse of parliamentary entitlements that is most telling of his leadership qualities, and of a misguided loyalty to his self-confessed ‘political mentor’€Ÿ.

“We’€Ÿve seen the Secretary of the Department of Finance making public comments about the case, to the extent that there can be no guarantee of impartiality at all when it comes to this investigation.”

“So this is an inquiry run by a Departmental Secretary who has demonstrated prejudice regarding this case, supported by a Prime Minister who only cares about protecting his political ally, and the results will be kept secret.”

“It‟s simple – Bronwyn Bishop must go.”

“Most people look at the pattern of behaviour and the sheer arrogance and stubbornness of the Speaker’s response over a fortnight and come to a decision pretty quickly about whether or not this is the proper way to uphold the dignity of the Australian Parliament, but here is Tony Abbott virtually paralysed with indecision.”

“Her forced apology, 15 days after this came to light, is too little, too late. If Mrs Bishop were genuinely sorry she would not have waited 15 days to say so.”

“If the Prime Minister were a decent, principled leader he would have asked the Speaker to resign weeks ago.”