A Canberra fly-on-the wall reports:
Did Susan Mitchell, author of the hatchet-job on Tony Abbott (‘a Man’s Man’) realise she was addressing Abbott staffers when she spruiked her book at the ANU last Wednesday?
Spotted in the lecture hall were several of Abbo’s posse, including his national security adviser (and former spook) Mark Higgie, together with Abbott’s young, smart social policy adviser Helen Baxendale.
[VEXNEWS: Patriot readers with long memories will recall the predecessor publication of VEXNEWS first celebrated Baxendale's arrival in Abbott's office as an 'intern'. She has kicked on considerably since then, as we shall see. Some of Helen's many fans think there must be a causal connection between her arrival in Abbott's office and the sensationally good political fortune he has enjoyed since.]
In contrast to the enthusiastic welcome given to Mitchell by the mainly Germaine Greer era feminist audience, the Abbott crew were (unsurprisingly) conspicuous for their scoffing, non-applause and unfriendly questions. Perhaps an understandable reaction, but not good trade craft. Note to self: spies must blend in.
The agitprop efforts of the Abbott juggernaut have been noticed elsewhere.
For example, the Australian’s international editor, Greg Sheridan has always had a soft spot for Abbott (as he has had for Rudd). Sheridan, while brilliant, is a man of curious enthusiasms. His love for tweed gives him the air of an Oxford don, although one with sometimes very small l-liberal tendencies, he once managed to convince himself that former Premier John Brumby was a redneck to be equated with Boss Hog because Indian students were the occasional victim of crime in Melbourne’s naked city.
But Sheridan’s recent piece on Abbott’s international outlook (‘Abbott has right staff to master the world‘ – ) was unalloyed admiration.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but this followed frequent sightings of Sheridan schmoozing with Abbott staffers, including at a boozy evening at the Parliament House Queen Victoria Terrace bar (this time again with Higgie and Baxendale – whose presence rarely goes unnoticed by Press Gallery male hacks – plus the head of Abbott’s research team, Murray Cranston), where their huddle was only interrupted by occasional blasts of the Coalition ringtone (‘There will be no carbon tax…’).
Sheridan was also seen in extended conversation with Higgie over several days at the high-powered recent Australia-America Leadership Dialogue in Perth, appearing to prefer Coalition company to that of the Gillard Government officials also present. The Abbott staffer no doubt regaled Sheridan with his just-completed adventures with Scott Morrison compiling refugee horror stories in Kuala Lumpur’s slums in order to help sabotage PM Gillard’s latest offshore processing plan.