Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tony Abbott: a leap into the unknown

I wonder how much those outside Australia have picked up on the detail of the recent imbroglio within the Federal Liberal Party in Australia. Within Australia, pretty much everybody has been glued to the TV screens or their computers (for those at work checking the latest developments), while the reporters themselves have never had so much fun.

Absolutely no one could forecast just what would happen next. None foresaw the final result, the election of Tony Abbott as leader by one vote over Mr Turnbull with one spoiled ballot paper.

In choosing Mr Abbott, the Liberal Party has taken a step into the unknown. The Coalition now presents a clear alternative position to Labor. Mr Abbott is a very intelligent man, but he has also been a polarising figure with somewhat of a tendency to put his foot in his mouth, boot and all. Dull he is not.

The reactions to Mr Abbott among the party faithful on both sides can be largely predicted. What is less clear is just how he might appeal to the people in the middle.  

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