Tony Abbott’s angry letter to the editor 377



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Some eagle eye newspaper readers have found an unusual letter to the editor buried on page 13 of The Australian yesterday.

Written by Tony Abbott of Canberra, ACT, it was hard to overlook the obviously famous name on the page. But it was what the former PM said that has had readers scratching their heads.

Mr Abbott was responding to a review of Wayne Errington and Peter van Onselen’s Battleground, and described the biography of his life and time as prime minister as “partisan advocacy” and “riddled with errors”.

On Random House’s website, the book blurb reads “Battleground chronicles the paradox of the Abbott prime ministership: the virtues of loyalty when pragmatism was required; strong social values at odds with community attitudes; and honesty when tactics and strategy were essential. All would bring him undone”.

Tony Abbott’s full letter to the editor said this:

There was no engagement

In his review of Wayne Errington and Peter van Onselen’s book Battleground, Ross Fitzgerald doesn’t quite say it’s a hatchet job but he stresses the authors’ eagerness to find fault based on anonymous sources ­(“Abbott’s battleground smoulders on’’, 12-13/12). The book is riddled with errors of fact but one is especially egregious.

On page 213, the authors state: “We would like to thank Tony Abbott for engaging with us. He helped shape our arguments in this book even if he may not like the conclusions we reached.”

I did not “engage” with the ­authors. They requested an interview and emailed questions. These were so obviously a stitch up that I declined to answer other than to deny some of their claims.

The book — to put it at its kindest — is partisan advocacy rather than disinterested scholarship.

Tony Abbott, Canberra, ACT

In response, co-author of ‘Battleground’, Peter van Onselen, rejected the letter’s contents, reports Fairfax.

“He’s not right when he says all he did was deny things that were put to him. There’s a bit more in it than that. It is true that it’s not much of a response but he did more than that,” van Onselen said.

“I think it’s highly contested, at best for him, whether or not him answering email questions does or does not constitute engagement. Obviously I think it does and so does our publisher”.

“I’m planning to release the questions (which he [Abbott] lies about as unfair) & his answers,” he tweeted.

“This is a book about a failure of leadership,” Van Onselen said in response. “We don’t resile from the fact that it’s a book about him being a failure. How could it be anything but? He got knocked off less than two years into the job”.

“As my wife pointed out to me, if the most egregious error in the book, according to him, is a disagreement about what constitutes engagement, I’ll take that any day of the week”.

Tell us, do you think Tony Abbott was looking for sympathy or does he have a point? Was there another way he could have approached the situation?

Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. I think he is being totally unreasonable. He has been the media’s whipping boy in the past and he should continue in this Role. He should graciously accept the fantasies written about him. After all, he has the concerns of the people at heart and he should be glad to help inflate the egos of third rate journalists. (Note to self: they are called journalists today, not reporters. They make up the news, they don’t report it)

    What a pack of bloody wimps you all have become. Pour grog, drugs and coffee into you, stuff you with too much food and you’ll roll over and whore yourselves.

    10 REPLY
    • Love your views Kay! Absolutely agree (particularly with “reporters”; it really is a sad time when decent journalists get shunted from voicing views in the media (e.g. Michael Smith, Steve Morrison) & we are left with the compliant dregs – only out to sensationalize headlines

    • Michele Orban I am sure you appreciate her comments , she is obviously talking about both you and herself when she is talking of whoring !!

    • Wow, some offensive words with nothing constructive to add, seems that the article in question is not able to be discussed due to a lack of knowledge so we attack those who do not share your bias, nice work.

    • If you ate calling us whores and druggies Kay, you need to pull your head in before you are sued.

    • It’s a bit hard to tell, but do you get the feeling Kay Walsh is a right-winger who talks like her American counterparts? As much as I hate this cliché, her comment is “un-Australian”.

  2. I’d take Tony Abbott’s word over Peter Van Onselen any day.

    21 REPLY
  3. Abbott is trying to rewrite history, unfortunately for Tony Abbott, everything today is on film and it is easy to go back and check. I have more confidence that Peter van Onselen got it right, than I ever will in Abbott

    10 REPLY
  4. He’s just being a big baby. Didn’t engage? Two way emails constitute engagement. He still seems to be living in a world where he thinks that no one has any records of what he has said or done. You can’t just change the story Tony and not expect people to prove your lie.

  5. Just like Abbbot’s war with the ABC, he can’t handle anyone telling the truth

    4 REPLY
    • His war on ABC still happening, we now have an ex Murdoch media CEO taking place of Mark Scott so Aunty is going to have an interesting ride.

    • The ABC tell The Truth! Your Truth must be a whole lot different to mine. But then again, it is possible (like others I know) who only get their info from OUR (ha ha) ABC)

    • This is for you Michele Orban and by the way I subscribe to Foxtel who are far more biased, instead of typing crap to me read this …because it affects us all

  6. I think it is wise to get his feed back on Australian issues

    6 REPLY
    • why? he was not PM for long, he never got out of opposition leader mode, and was the most disliked PM this country has ever had, If I was in the Liberal Party I would be trying to gag him, he just keeps reminding everyone how callous The Liberal Party really is

    • He isn’t the only one in his party that is able to contribute, he has to accept he is a backbencher now and behave like one.

    • Gee…so biased! What about Kevin? He was a shocker! Forgotten Julia’s lies? Just a bit of fairness…all governments in Australia are elected by roughly half the population, so the other half will not be happy. Everyone is looking after themselves. The Labour politicians and unionists end up with houses on Sydney harbour too! They can’t be bought from the salary we see declared!

    • Rudd was not childish, Rudd took the whacks and much harder whacks that what Abbott is taking, and he took them even from his own party. This man, Tony Abbott, was leading our country and no wonder it is in a mess

    • Kerry Carrigan Misquoting by leaving out the words “but lets be absolutely clear, I am determined to price carbon”. The statement was constantly misquoted by Tony Abbott, his LNP cohorts and the Murdoch Press until bunnies like you who want to believe lies.

  7. Why are we still so interested in Tony Abbott wish he would disappear

    11 REPLY
  8. No he wasn’t looking for sympathy just trying to write his side of the story. It would have been nice if the author of the book gave him a copy of the book to read before it was published and things may have been resolved before the book was printed.

    4 REPLY

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