Tony Abbott wants to talk about targets… I have two words for him: Gabrielle Giffords*
When the man who wishes he was Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, the leader of the Opposition (for now), gets up in question time and uses analogies to shooting people, we must really begin to question whether the country would be safe in his hands.
During Question Time yesterday, Abbott got up and said:
The voters of Queensland, they won’t miss… this Prime Minister [Gillard] and this Leader of the House [Albanese] have got targets on their foreheads.
So, what point was Tony Abbott trying to make?
These comments come at a time which has seen an increasingly easy acceptance in the use of death threats or vague allusions to dying, as a way of dealing with anyone you disagree with (conservative radio host Alan Jones comments against Clover Moore, Bob Brown, Julia Gillard, online trolls against Yumi Stynes).
Apart from the Queensland election being a state matter, and nothing to do with Federal Politics, and that was a long stretch to connect the two, we have already been witness to a willingness of the Queensland Liberal Nationals to use gun and bullet imagery when talking about a change of government.
The Liberal and Nationals of Queensland make the same type of metaphors. This is the image that is being used in the state election of Queensland, for the Liberal Nationals. It clearly shows the flag image that represents the Labor Party, and labelled
Queensland Labor shot up with bullet holes.
More here: Mixed Message Strategy of the LNP in Queensland Election.
There is no need to bring not missing targets, and bullet holes into the national debate about leadership, especially when accompanied with talk about changing governments.
We have had a relatively stable political environment in this country, and have not yet experienced the assassinations that other countries experience (the two politicians who have been killed are William Paisley, Burwood Mayor in 1894 and John Newman, State MP for Cabramatta in 1994, both from NSW).
However, I am not suggesting that Tony Abbott was encouraging anyone to do such a thing, it just shows how easily these people slip into using words that deal with violent imagery of political opponents.
Tiny Abbott did later apologise over his remarks, saying
Who knows if the choices of these words was calculated to appeal to certain voters in Queensland. Perhaps, Tony Abbott mean what he said, a metaphor that he regrets using.
There will be many people, however, who hear the original statement and not the retraction. Which, given the current state of the media in this country and the absolute deafening silence from the television, newspapers and news websites about this statement, it would be simple enough to conclude that editors and news directors around the country agree with the sentiment, or they would be challenging Abbott on his statement.
There has been very little condemnation of Abbott saying these things in the first place. Apparently you can say anything you want, as long as you apologise afterwards.
Tony Abbott you are a despicable little man, who relies on violence and bullying to get what you want.
I regret my previous statement.
Yah this saying stupid things and apologising for it is fun.
All it takes is one angry person who has no one else to blame in their life for everything that has gone wrong to fixate on Prime Minister Gillard, or any number of other people as the cause of their situation. Hearing these references, and seeing these images might lead someone to think that is the way to solve all their problems.
Who is Gabrielle Giffords?
If Tony Abbott does not know the story behind the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords, perhaps someone should enlighten him.
In January 2011, while meeting her constituents, a man shot into a crowd of people, killing six and leaving the Arizona politician Giffords with serious brain damage.
Giffords has been one of ten politicians to watch by Sarah Palins political committee, and used maps with images of cross-hairs to highlight those elections most important to the TEA party campaigns.
Someone took Palin’s cross-hairs seriously.
text by @redglitterx