A kiss on the cheek for Lee Rhiannon and a punch in the face for Tony Abbott. Two opposing ideologues tell the same story. Two very different reactions.
The Story of Lee
During the last sitting week of Parliament, the Turnbull Government tried to pass their version of the Gonski education reforms through the Senate. The Greens initially had indicated they would vote to support the Government.
However, at the time of the vote, the Greens voted against the Government. The turnaround pleased many. However, ideology it appears was not the reason.
As the week unravelled, Greens Senators accused NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon of white-anting, for campaigning against Gonski 2.0. Senator Rhiannon was subsequently reported to the Green’s National Council and on June 28 she was ‘temporarily excluded from party room discussions and decisions on contentious legislation.’
Senator Rhiannon defends her position and is a strong advocate for grassroots-based democratic political leadership, where members have a say. The Senator also proposed in light of the UK, we should take a stronger view of socialism and insisted it is what young people are asking for.
This is a direct ultimatum to the NSW Greens: either get with the increasingly right-wing program of Greens leader Richard Di Natale and his backers or piss off. (Red Flag)
A Kiss on the Cheek for Lee
Many praise Senator Rhiannon for staying true to her convictions. Standing up for her constituents and telling the truth.
Senator Sam Dastyari tweeted his support with a kiss on the cheek.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie Tweeted:
and all over social media, we saw a similar story to this of many people angry at the Greens and Richard Di Natale for their treatment of Lee Rhiannon:
Another theme on social media is that the Greens are angry at Rhiannon, as they did not get their Greens “We Did It” to claim the glory of their negotiations. The cross-benchers who voted with the Government get their ‘We Did It’ moment instead.
and some are highlighting the ‘cosying up to the Liberals’ by the Greens is becoming all too frequent.
An Ideological Stance
In short, Senator Rhiannon is reaping loads of praise and a kiss on the cheek for staying true to her convictions of leftism.
The Story of Tones
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was overthrown by his own party and lost the Prime Ministership on 14th September 2015. In Abbott’s final statement as Prime Minister he said:
“There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I’ve never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won’t start now.” (SMH)
However, since that day Abbott has continued to contribute conservative commentary in response to the Turnbull-led Moderates Government. Over the last few weeks, Abbott has delivered an increasingly strong conservative narrative.
What’s at the Heart of Abbott’s Narrative
Through a series of radio interviews, including an address to the IPA over the course of the last year and even a new slogan; Tony Abbott shares with the public a consistent and strong narrative. One that speaks to the urgent need to return conservative values to the Liberal Party.
Abbott is also calling for changes to the Liberal party to make it more democratic where members have a say.
The deep conviction to the ideology of small Government, reined in spending and individual freedom, is at the heart of what Abbott sees as the core values of the Liberals and what he believes is needed to move Australia forward.
Mr Abbott is urging conservatives to “take our party back, make it a party of the people again and then we can win the next election”. (Paul Bongiorno – The New Daily)
A Punch in the Face for Tones
The Former Prime Minister receives a decent amount of backing from right-wing conservatives in the MSM and social media for his current stance. There is also a noticeable ‘Pro-Abbott cheer squad’ on Twitter and in Newspaper forums.
Despite the Abbott loyalists, Abbott is copping some big blows. From the left to moderate right, he is copping a punch in the face.
There are many who consider Abbott as disruptive, chaotic, out of control and a threat to losing the next election to Bill Shorten.
Senator Cormann described Abbott’s contributions as “Unhelpful.” Senator Sinodinos conceded that “the Liberal party can’t control Tony Abbott.”
Barrie Cassidy (Insiders Extra) said, “Tony
Abbott is running amok and it’s causing the Liberal Party a world of pain.”
There are reams of anti-Abbott posts on social media. Not in the sense that they are backing Turnbull over Abbott; but posting reminders of when Abbott was in power. The main message is a rejection of the return of the Abbott Ideology as Prime Minister.
Similar Stories. Very Different Reactions
I am asking readers to put aside their personal values/political ideology to one side and consider what is central to Rhiannon’s and Abbott’s stories.
Both are displaying a deep conviction for their political ideology.
They are both championing change for their respective parties to become more inclusive.
For Abbott his deep convictions see him pushing for what he sees as the way forward for Australia – Conservatism.
For Rhiannon her deep convictions see her pushing for what she sees as the way forward
for Australia – Socialism.
However, the pattern in the response narrative I am picking up is that Rhiannon is a politician who is desperately doing what we need politicians to do. That is to stand up what they believe in, in times of adversity. The momentum is there behind Rhiannon for her to triumph over the stronger faction led by Di Natale.
The response narrative to Abbott is peppered with the insinuation that he should sit down, shut up and resign. He should not stand up for his true values of conservatism. He should not fight for what he sees as right in times of adversity. There is a momentum shouting down Abbott to bow down to the stronger faction led by Turnbull.
For those who oppose either ideology and want to rise above it in power, leadership is the key. (Bytheway Di Natale – leaders who punish dissent are sooo 1980s – Schein says it leads to crisis and dysfunction).
The Greens and the Liberals must fight this out within their own parties. The dissent must be allowed to enable the pathway to a clear direction. It must be allowed to showcase or condemn the leadership abilities of the respective leaders. Otherwise, the cracks will turn into canyons.
Leadership is as Leadership Does
There is a plethora of Leadership theories. However, in very simple terms, what you put into leadership is what it does.
If your leadership strategies are about unity – you will unite. When your leadership strategies are about championing change. You will enable change. If your leadership strategies are transformational, you will empower others and develop a strong culture where people champion and truly believe your vision.
One thing Bill Shorten is not given credit for is his very strong leadership qualities. The Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years were in the not too distant past. The Labor party at that time was in the same disarray. Shorten has utilised all of the leadership strategies outlined above. For the past four years, Shorten has led a strong, unified movement, which most said would never recover from the deep factional divide of the Rudd-Gillard years.
If Turnbull was as strong a leader as Shorten, Abbott’s push for conservatism would be as insignificant as the score at half-time in the State of Origin decider.