Is it appropriate to ask the PM these kinds of questions? 734



View Profile

Last week I was talking to a couple of friends that I met while travelling. Two are from Canada, one from England and one from the USA. They’re all visiting Australia and they’ve loved it. But one thing has surprised them – how much we bash our politicians and the fact that political news is always at the forefront of our minds.

While the political history and current state of their own politics is something that we too could criticise, they were amazed at the lack of respect the average Australian and more so the Australian media had for politicians.

I hadn’t really thought of it much until I was reading an interview yesterday between Tony Abbott and ABC radio host, John Faine.

The transcript says that in response to the anti-bullying video Tony Abbott released earlier this week the questions from the host were,

“What credibility do you have on bullying – you’ve been accused of it so often yourself?” and “You yourself admit you have an aggressive streak – isn’t that the core of bullying?”

And then he was asked on a different matter completely, “Mr Abbott, for a Rhodes scholar, how come you say so many stupid things?”

Now just because we’re all thinking it – regardless of whether you support Liberal or not it’s something that has to have crossed everyone’s mind by now! – I felt like it was actually somewhat inappropriate to address the issue in such a matter.

It was without any respect for him and actually, was an insult.

If we allow for a lack of respect for people’s character to be at the highest level of this country and in the media that touches everyone, how can we look around and expect the people sitting around us to have respect too?

If its OK for people in the media to talk to the Prime Minister this way, how do we teach younger people that it’s not OK to treat other people like that. These questions actually made accusations about the character of a person, something that shouldn’t be criticised because we can’t help the person that we are. It’s one thing to criticise actions and choices but attacking someone’s character isn’t respectful.

So now I’m wondering a few different things… Was it ok for these questions to be asked? Why are we in Australia so vitriolic about our politicians? How do we teach younger people respect when we choose not to display it for our own PM? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Respect is earned. Not given.

    6 REPLY
    • these pollies DONT seem to have any respect for the aged pensioner.. they expect us to keep working until we drop and we don’t even get the basic wage.. how about tony abort take a reduced pay??? nah that right he don’t want to have less money I have always said ALL pollies should live on the aged pension for 1 Full Year and pay rent.. all bills… rego… and TRY to have decent meals.. oh and pay the gas bill in the winter cause I know a lot of aged pensioners cant even afford heating.. after working most of our lives we are treated like paupers…

      1 REPLY
      • I read on Fb only this morning that the pension is about to increase again, as it will twice every year. How many pensioners have to pay rent, and why after so many years? Remember, folks, that every dollar you receive comes from somebody else’s taxes. You mention cost of rego – does that mean that the taxpayer should pay for the car costs of every pensioner? Your comments seem a bit one-sided to me, and I’m a pensioner too!

    • just be thankful that this country gives its elderly a pension they do not expect you to keep working they are gradually increasing the years before you are elegible which will affect the younger ones as they age but those younger ones will all have super which most of us seniors did not.

  2. I never really liked Malcolm Fraser but he EARNED my respect….

    2 REPLY
    • RIP Malcolm Fraser. One criticism is the Fraser government’s lack of interest in the plight of East Timor. When Indonesia invaded that country and slaughtered thousands of its inhabitants in the seventies. Not to mention the murder of five Australian journalists. Whitlam wasn’t much better.

  3. Tony set the bar, himself.
    Did the writer also question respect for our PM during the years Tony was opposition leader?

    2 REPLY
  4. Respect is earned,and I am afraid Tony Abbott has lost the respect of many Australian’s, he is a bully. He bullied Julia Gillard and when he became PM he bullied us. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. We all have choices in life, he chose to make many Australian’s the enemy. I can remember the repeated attacks to the disabled, he switched from them and onto The Boomers.He has caused a lot of stress and worry and Aussie’s won’t forget that or forgive

    26 REPLY
    • Kay Walsh how rude and yes I do believe it..

      1 REPLY
      • And many people feel like Kay Walsh because bill shorten is the greatest Liar on the political rostrum, also an adulterer and a thug. You want to play games you lefties, then I’ll play.

    • everyone is entitled to their opinion which will be translated at time of voting. Many many people feel like Libbi.

    • Kay Walsh.
      Perhaps you should reread what you write. If you can say that someone who voices their personal opinion has no right to vote then you should take your own advice…..

    • Peggy Knowles..then you should stop sleeping and wake up and not only has he bullied many Australian’s he has lied to all

    • I agree with Libbi. If you are unemployed you are a leaner, on welfare you are just wanting a free hand out, on disibility you are most likely malingering. A ship builder you have no pride in your job. Disagree with the government or bring them a message they don’t like don’t refute the message or strengthen your contrary view with facts just personally attack the messenger. These are thinks I have learnt from this current crop of pollies. There is absolutely no respect for the struggles of ordinary Australians in the messages from the Libs. No they are not worthy of respect. The childish bullying antics they showed in opposition has carried forward to Government but now their target is workers, welfare recipients and anyone else who gets in their way.

      1 REPLY
      • Well said Barbara. I’m with you……………………………

    • In this country repect is earned, not given… the Brits, Americans and Canadians could take a leaf out of our book and realise that politicians are not tin gods,

    • So go back through every governments promises and they have ALL done it. Oh and if you are QLDer. ..who do you think was the transport minister when the railway was sold? Oh and didn’t they promise not to sack any public servants? So how about the ones who got sacked this week. Stop burying your head in the sand. All governments have to do hard yards.

    • This country was a mess, Julia and Kevin fighting and back stabbing. Tony may not be loved by all but I believe they are trying to make this country better.
      So sad that the senate votes against everything even if the people want it. When LNP get voted out Labor will then re introduce the bills LNP are trying to get thru?????
      Weird. It’s all Politics, is there anyone that really cares about Australia?

    • I am not going to sit here all day answering you Liberal voters and I am not in Queensland..but agree with the Queenslander’s who voted Newman out..if you disagree with me..start your own post

      1 REPLY
      • Go Libbi! I’m with you…………………….

    • Linda Stolberg, try getting your news from somewhere other than a Murdoch rag.
      Palaszczuk is reinstating the Westminster system and protecting public services jobs. But corrupt Newman appointees don’t deserve to keep their jobs.

    • Sue Thurn – Abbott is the wolf in wolf’s clothing. He doesn’t even hide his contempt for the Australian people.

    • The country is in a bigger mess now than when Labor was in. Self interest saw the repeal of the carbon tax and mining tax with no income streams put in place to compensate for income lost. I think probably all politicians think they are working to better Australia but with a lot of self interest getting in the way. How to benefit Australia best though depends on your philosophies, the ‘trickle down’ principle favoured by the Libs doesn’t seem to work in practice.

    • Yes Anne Gilbert it is a mess, and take a look now it is even more so, I don’t know why our current day POLITICIANS can’t do their job and before you go jumping up and down, I’m referring to ALL POLITICIANS NO MATTER WHICH PARTY, they act on their own and how their decisions effect theirs and their friends families ( the rich )

    • This man is taking wages paid for by the australian people so he has to be accountable to us. Every other politician are asked questions they would not like to snswer so why shouldn’t he?

  5. The media are so negative & nasty, always looking for the ‘shock’ I have great respect for Tony Abbot – who is a very decent man, who does countless work for charity that goes unheeded & unrecognised. Always the concentration is on the negative & derogatory comments about ‘budgie smugglers’ & the like.

    25 REPLY
    • He has been both a surf lifesaver and volunteer fire fighter for a very long time and that is very unfair

    • The budgie smugglers are the least of our worries. He may be okay helping in his local community. As Prime Minister he would be the worst one we’ve ever had

    • That is definitely not true … You don’t need to publicise good work. Why on earth can people say he’s the worst after what Kevin & Julia both did – they are two people you definitely can’t admire – back stabbing & nasty people.

      1 REPLY
    • He is not being judged on his Charity work..that has nothing to do with being PM.. he is being judged on his performance since taking office..and it is a big fail..that is why the liberals are lagging in the polls.. LIB/NAT..45%..ALP 55%. for 19 straight is to late now to undo the damage they have done

    • Wendy, no attitude needed for Children in detention. They are Illegal immigrants who’s parents chose to bring them here illegally. Blame the parents not the government.

      1 REPLY
      • Margaret, they are not illegal immigrants, they are people escaping from regimes that wish to torture, rape and murder them and their families! It IS NOT illegal to seek asylum from these atrocities and it IS NOT illegal to do so by boat! Are you suggesting that they should remain in their countries and allow themselves to be tortured, raped or murdered? Is that what you would do if your family was in danger of losing their lives? I think not! If we, as a society, think locking babies, children and their mothers in concentration camps where they are at risk of physical and sexual abuse is fine, then our society is lost. These people have been charged with no crime and are being used as pawns by a despicable amoral government to score political points with people who care about no-one but themselves!

    • Sandra he is not the worse Prime Minister, one only has to go back a very little way. Julia Gillard, and the worst of all Kevin Rudd. He was a bumbling, bad tempered and backstabbing individual, if ever there was! The ABC have proven they are inept at interviewing, and very disrespectful. And that was the essence of this topic

      1 REPLY
    • Mark Wills. I think this topic was aimed at people like you! Can’t believe you are an adult, or maybe you are one of those you accused Tony Abbott of being. It is sad that senior Australians, give such bad examples to the younger generations. Wendy Morris, what do you suggest? We take the children from their parents? And put them where? Their parents came in illegally, why the heck should they be given any more considerations as the next person. They chose to come here knowing what their fate would be. A lot of them have money, besides what the payed to the smugglers. It is the children one has to feel sorry about, having parents who had little regard for their plight or safety

      1 REPLY
      • Molly, it is not illegal for people to seek asylum and to seek it in any way they can. If my family was at risk of torture, rape or murder, I would do everything in my power to get them away. I would rather drown at sea than risk the fate that awaits these fellow human beings if they remain where they are. I cannot believe that there are so many people in this once beautiful country who have no care or empathy for anyone but themselves!

    • Margaret Conduit, the children may be illegal immigrants whose parents brought them here, but it is NOT the fault of those children. Show some compassion. I do not agree with illegal entry into this country, but often there is NO system in place in their own countries to allow them to get out legally, or they are “taken care of” (killed) if they do apply to leave. Children are children at the end of the day and need compassion for their plight.

    • Molly Holland it is not illegal to seek asylum. Get your facts right. All you Abbott supporters must have hated Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal who welcomed refugees into this country as Prime Minister and continued to support them right up to his last breath. When did this country lose compassion? When Abbott and the rest of this mob took over. I haven’t got one bit of respect for him or what he stands for. Despise him.

    • Judy Higgins don’t kid yourself. All these illegal people? You know for sure do you that they are all Asylum seekers? True Asylum seekers need to come in the front door. Where they can be screened, and security checked. In our day and age , we can not be too careful. Some of these innocent children, can have parents who want to do us harm. As I said before, you answer the question! Do the children get taken from their parents? Another stolen generation perhaps. What would you do with them? Instead of criticism, give us an answer. Malcolm Fraser ruled a long time ago. Our country is in danger now. Innocent people may be killed in terrorist attacks. It is a fact of our lives today, sadly. Hope it never happens, but. I fear it will.

    • No matter how much charity work he does. He is a liar and an opportunist. He treated many of his colleagues disgustingly. From all sides if parliament. He treats the Australian people with utter contempt. I don’t think doing charity work and going to church makes him a good person. It only shows what a hypocrite he really is. He doesn’t deserve the highest office in the land. He is a horrible horrible man.

    • And while we’re at it. We are not a terrorist target because of refugees. We are a terrorist target because John the war criminal Howard invaded countries he had no business in.

    • Molly Hollard, what about all the people who come in the front door then deliberately overstay their visas ? They should be labelled “illegal”, NOT the refugees who seek asylum here.

    • This is why I don’t give my opinion on this site any longer re Tony Abbott, if you dare to say anything nice about him the Tony Abbott haters crusify people…..sad some of these people

    • and kevin rudd did no volunteer work other than employ his children and turn up to the opening of an envelope for the press

    • Wot a joke the media is his best mates seriously do u read a paper. He was a bloody journalist. Hes an evil preditor

    • And he dislikes gay people; read some of his history whilst a student! These could be forgiven of any young person still firming opinions; but he now holds a position of power and seems to abuse it. Why would anyone respect that regardless of his charitable acts. Publicly hd is awful and a bully as stated earlier

  6. When he shows as little respect for others, and behaves like an ignorant buffoon, it isn’t surprising

  7. John Howard also…always a gentleman

    6 REPLY
    • Howard is the past..he is gone from Politics..while I did not agree with him on WorkChoices, he paid the price for the by losing his seat and the Federal election. Abbott is the present and what he is doing is happening NOW.. he will also pay a big price at the next election

    • In comparison John “no GST under me” Howard to Tony “no cuts” Abbott – Howard appears saintly even as he arranged to invade Iraq. Lying John Howard had conversational skills that Lying Tony Abbott totally lacks.

      1 REPLY
      • Howard went to an Election with the G.S.T and won he was completely upfront and said if he wins he will bring in G.S.T., please read your history

  8. Had any of these people who were dismayed at the so-called lack of respect for our politicians watched Parliament’s Question Time I wonder? If they saw how the politicians themselves behaved they might have a different perspective on the issue.

    8 REPLY
  9. Respect has to be earned . If our PM wants respect, he needs to show it to his colleagues & to the Australian people. Look at his performances in the House.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *