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CUT THROAT POLITICS: Indelicate phrase “cut the throat” ought not be hanging offence

PvobillyidolA stupid declaration by an apparently senior Tony Abbott staffer that he would “cut the throat” of a prominent not-for-profit Australian is not much of a story in our view.

The fact it’s been denied – despite PVO claiming multiple witnesses – will probably be enough to fuel an unpleasant mini-frenzy around the issue.

It’s an indelicate phrase, and not very nice to figuratively threaten to “cut someone’s throat, even if it was obviously not meant literally, but it is hardly unprecedented in the world of politics to hear colourful language and metaphors for being defeated or diminished politically where it is not uncommon in political circles to hear of folks being:

■ “Boned”
■ “Thrill-killed”
&#9632: “Drive-by’d”
■ “Slotted”
■ “Necked”
■ “Killed”
■ “Sliced and diced”
■ “Napalmed”
■ “Executed”
■ “Reamed”
■ “Bent over”
■ “Done in”
■ “Finished”
■ “Punched in the head”

and so on.

And these are restricted to things overheard in frantic sub-factional panic meetings in a senior Cabinet minister’s office at 4 Treasury Place this week, where some attendees craved cheese. While the minister is known for his passion, he doesn’t mean these things literally. We hope.

BillyidolSo, while dashing SkyNews star of screen and journalist Peter van Onselen is just doing his job and beating up (figurative) a story about silly cocktail party fatwahs (metaphor) into a new Watergate (analogy), let’s keep it real and acknowledge:

It is highly unlikely a senior Abbott staffer threatened to kill a prominent do-gooder at a glittering Qantas galah (deliberate misspelling) occasion and is rather more likely he (assumption of gender) was indicating the do-gooder would be enjoying less government sympathy or regard or hand-outs or largesse or appointments after the change of government.

Was it indelicate to point this out in this way? For sure.

Is it a big deal? Certainly not.

Just this week, a VEXNEWS headline revealed that in the United States, political correctness now dictates that “master bedrooms” are now to be referred to as “owner’s suites.” Hopefully, in the Land Down Under, we can be spared such silliness.

UPDATE: We now know that the do-gooder who was the target of the “throat cut” threat was former banker turned philanthropist and indigenous education fundraiser Andrew Penfold. Penfold has been on friendly terms with the Labor government, impressing them with his efforts to create scholarships for indigenous students. His foundation attracted tens of millions of dollars of financial support from the Australian government, for what no-one would dispute was a good cause.

We now know the culprit was Mark Roberts, Tony Abbott’s director of policy. Mr Abbott, on his behalf, has denied the “throat cut” words were used but conceded an unfortunate exchange occurred, prompting Mr Abbott to “demote” the man in some unspecified way. Roberts is well-regarded, not just in the Leader’s office, but well beyond that.

Word around the corridors of power is that Roberts was drunk at the time of the remarks although it isn’t certain what in Roberts and Penfold’s interaction had prompted or provoked the unpleasantries.

Many were desperate to interpret much into Dr Roberts’ conduct. It was proof, they said, of Opposition hubris or arrogance or intention to slash funding for indigenous education.

The truth is that it was one drunken throw-away line, certainly not meant literally, if said at all. Hostility or disagreement was intended to be conveyed and this is unfortunate. But ought it have been the biggest national politics story of the day? No way.


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  1. PVO probably hit on the male staffer.

    Posted by Billy idle | April 19, 2013, 11:31
  2. Now admitted apparently. He is recieving counselling not to do it again. ( in public that is )

    Posted by Reggie | April 19, 2013, 12:07
  3. Vex is right wing sock puppet attempting to pars this situation are you not vect?

    Posted by Assange | April 19, 2013, 12:07
  4. Oh dear … its come to this … vex positioning itself to exist and be relevant under a change of regime….

    Despite the fawning article – the real story ois that hubris and arrogence has set in … for a possible future government is very likelt to be partisan and vindictive.

    Posted by justdiss | April 19, 2013, 13:14
  5. Precious pups. The Labor party is doing so bad that the leftist media grabs at anything even the trivial to distract from the shambling shit storm that is the current government.
    Now watch as one Labor media lovey after the next spends the next week or so repeating this.
    Budget soon and nothing will distract from the fuck up that is Swan.

    Posted by Scott | April 19, 2013, 13:16
  6. Oh, there is so much more to this! The real story is why did the Senior Abbott staffer say he would leak inside LNP information if PVO didn’t say anything? Now, that is the BiG story….

    Posted by Lord Rocker | April 19, 2013, 13:25
  7. What, not a big deal, like ‘ditching the witch’?? Just goes to show the trash Abbott surrounds himself with. And I bet there is more to this story…

    Posted by Pete Tyler | April 19, 2013, 14:42
  8. Now Van Onselen is toneing down his comments.
    Just in case one of the witnesses doesn’t hold up his end of the story, and the media wonder why we in the wider public hold them in such contempt.
    Just look how the media handled the Boston bombing, how many times did they get it wrong before having to retract or change the story?
    The quicker the current model of journalism dies the better.

    Posted by Scott | April 19, 2013, 15:41
  9. err My wife didn’t hear anything.

    err I sought of heard something.

    a quick tweet will get a reaction…

    Sounds like a good night on free grog.

    Woops now it is the morning after..

    Posted by PVO | April 19, 2013, 17:35
  10. [deleted]

    Posted by Brother Abbott | April 19, 2013, 20:16
  11. id rather cut single mother pensions.

    Posted by Stephen Lame | April 19, 2013, 21:45
  12. Andy why do you delete my ‘interest’ in [deleted]

    Posted by Brother Abbott | April 19, 2013, 23:44
  13. Henceforth, I shall temper my language when speaking about dealing with my political foes after imbibing. My preferential term to use for political retribution is far less nuanced than “cut the throat”.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | April 21, 2013, 14:48
  14. And of course what some labor pollies have said to opponents is micky mouse stuff. ha ha ha ha ha….

    Posted by kfr | April 22, 2013, 10:41
  15. According to the parrott, Captain Abbott’s cut-throat in training has just been hired by Mad dog Morrison to stop those bloody boats.

    Posted by RupertsHackers | April 22, 2013, 15:20
  16. PVO thinks he has captured his Woodward/Bernstein moment.
    Pompous fuckwit.

    Posted by Marilyn | April 24, 2013, 13:02
  17. PVO will make excellent spokepeople for Iranian Truth Ministry.

    He knows the power of truth.

    Posted by Mullah Abdullah | April 24, 2013, 14:11


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