The Moment (2) | Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre
You can usually tell when the moment is. With Bill Clinton it was
when he said, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman — Miss
Lewinsky.’ With John Kerry it was when he said, ‘I will tell you why I
voted for the bill — before I voted against it.’ With Sarah Palin it was
the words ‘blood libel’. With Pauline Hanson, it was when she said, ‘If
you are watching this, I have been murdered.’
With Billy Snedden, it was when he said, ‘We didn’t lose the
election. We just didn’t get sufficient votes to form a government.’ Or
words to that effect. With Whitlam it was ‘Kerr’s cur’; or ‘Maintain
your rage’, perhaps. Or ‘Nothing will save the Governor-General.’
With Rudd 1 it was the publication — by David Marr — of the verb
‘ratfuck’. With Gillard 1, the utterance with which she blew her chance
of a clear outcome in 2010 was ‘the real Julia’; and, the second time
around, ‘captain’s pick’, the glib phrase justifying her destruction of a
duly elected female politician, and the elevation of a non-resident,
non-Labor non-politician over local, resident, hard working females with
a better claim.
With Rudd 2 it was his stunned-mullet look in the Debate — or the
moment when he announced, to his party’s surprise, a massive development
of the North, and failed to talk with Barry O’Farrell a moment later.
With Abbott…well, it’s easy. Yesterday he used the phrase ‘over a
moral barrel’, saying he wouldn’t be put there; nor would women
suiciding move him to looking after their heathen children. Kill
yourself if you like, he said, in effect, but if you do I’ll imprison
your three-year-old daughter on Nauru for ninety years, not letting her
holiday anywhere else, or leave to go to university. With this phrase
and the accompanying ragged sentences (he had jet-lag after staying up
late in Perth, and getting up at what was for him 3 am), he confirmed
the widespread view that he hated women and liked persecuting castaway
Muslim children. Before this, he had already lost six hundred thousand
women who had voted for or preferred him in September; after it, he lost
ten thousand more.
Saying female suicide won’t move him was a moment he won’t recover
from, and this on a day when when he failed to ‘axe the tax’ and gave
the impression he couldn’t deliver on any promise, any promise at all,
without chaotic reshuffling and rewrites of its wording.
He is stuffed now. The moment occurred yesterday, as it did with
Malcolm Turnbull when the earthworm-ugly Godwin Gretch proved
mendacious, and Latham violently shook Howard’s hand.
He’s doomed for all money now. And it’s only a matter of time.