Image for Abbott’s secret trip to Iraq

Australian politics took an intriguing turn recently when Tony Abbott slipped out of Australia on his own top secret mission to Iraq. It was all very hush-hush, so cloak and dagger that he briefed no-one, not even Tony’s Turd Polishers, his own media unit. He masterfully chose to exclude an Australian media crew on standby in Dubai, allowing no independent footage to be garnered and ensuring no Australian journalists were there to ask awkward questions, especially during his mutual morale-boosting joint appearance with Iraqi counterpart, US puppet Haider al-Abadi, a man visibly shaken by his recent discovery of 50,000 ‘ghost soldiers’ on the Iraqi payroll.

His political career in freefall, Wing(nut) Commander Abbott, donned a brand-new bomber jacket and activated plan B for Baghdad, scrambling himself, his impossibly brunette Ken Doll, Defence Minister, Kevin Andrews and a cameraman and photographer into Baghdad. Pausing only as long as it took to tuck $5 million dollars into his flying boot and to flash a two-fingered victory sign at Bishop from the cockpit, Abbott stole away at the crack of dawn.

Abruptly left behind to keep the home fires burning and to front the nation’s TV cameras entirely un-briefed, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flapped about like a stranded guppy. Princess Mesothelioma had to fall back on her native wit and intuition, an excruciating situation for both herself and the nation.

Vamping whilst running one hand through her own exquisitely gamin styled coiffure, Bishop raised an eyebrow whilst she studied her immaculate nails on her other hand. She supposed, she said airily, the PM knew what he was doing but it was not for her to second-guess Abbott on yet another abortive PR stunt but if she’d known they were going to be keeping up appearances, she’d have let them borrow her spare hair-dryer and a bit of eye-liner. She and Kev often swapped beauty routine tips, like keeping on top of your grey roots: both agreed it was vital not to let oneself go.

Abbott fled Australia in stealth like a rat deserting a sinking ship of state, wisely choosing not to help out local fire fighters in Victoria or South Australia lest his presence provoke spontaneous outbreaks of bomb-throwing, shirt-fronting, booing or any other hostile popular reactions such as might compromise his personal safety. And someone had to take care of the national interest.

Whilst being burnt alive is not always a negative career move, Abbott’s handlers have discouraged the martyrdom option, richly attractive as it may now appear to the condemned PM and advised him to shun public places, for as long as possible, at least on the domestic front. The PM’s popularity is now lower than a snake’s belly with a prolapse, so low, indeed, that these days that his diary is full of people, dates and places to avoid, such as the recently announced Queensland state election, the entire studio complex at 2GB and everyone at the ABC except for Mark Simkin’s mates.

Why Abbott’s clandestine, ‘Black Ops’, top secret sortie? Abbott’s staff remained tight-lipped and would only allude to ‘pressing security reasons’ which had to be kept confidential. Enough said. Just imagine the productivity lost to the nation were it to be known in advance that the PM had left to visit another dangerous world trouble-spot. Millions would take the week off work just to celebrate. Even more would rush to buy him a one-way ticket. Imagine, however, the massive increase in home-grown and imported mental defectives and other ‘Jihadist terrorists’. 

Baghdad, it seems, is a post-modern fabulist’s paradise ...

The truth is both complex and prosaic. Abbott is in urgent need of a Baghdad beer and bulldust session; peer support from other like-minded cronies, other similarly scurrilous, self-interested, discredited merchants of mendacity who are happy to take your money and laugh at your jokes.  Abbott moreover has much in common with the Iraqi PM, including an embarrassing British citizenship and a disturbing lack of popular support.

Baghdad, it seems, is a post-modern fabulist’s paradise, and may take out top honours this year as bullshit city of the world, although the title is always keenly contested. Canberra, itself, of course, boasts some cred in this area. Baghdad, itself, is a notorious Folie a Foule, a collective delusion as is the state of Iraq, a convenient fiction. Baghdad, no doubt, makes the perfect home away from home for any compulsive liar with quasi-military aspirations but this alone does not explain his trip. Nor does mingling with kindred spirits.

Whilst it is true, Abbott will be bonding with his peers, other hopelessly ineffectual leaders of another morally bankrupt regime on the brink of extinction, the flying visit is wholly for domestic consumption. The PM is hoping to show his own nation, if not himself,  that he is still a vital force. He is counting on a visit to Iraq injecting a little special something into his flaccid career. He is desperate to stem his rocketing disapproval. He wants to give the old action PM routine another spin, this time, as before repeating the palpable lie that we are much safer at home if we attack Iraqis overseas.

So far the visit has been an incredible success: Abbott has also been able to slip a cool A$5 million into an eager Iraqi palm. Such measured, understated magnanimity is likely to be punted away in a night at a Baghdad casino but it proves that Abbott is right on the money when it comes to greasing the wheels of international diplomacy. Yet it cannot account for the inexplicable absence of the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop from Mission Moonlight Flit.

Abbott’s junket also gets him away from having to answer embarrassing questions about why he lied about renouncing his British citizenship. A document search obtained under FOI indicates that there was no renunciation from Tony aka ‘The Great Prevaricator’ Abbott. The Australian Constitution will not allow any Australian who holds dual citizenship to be Prime Minister, so quick dash to Iraq buys Abbott a bit of thinking time as well as offering priceless photo-opps with the boys (and girls) and other opportunities to pose as a world statesman.

*Urban Wronski is Born in England, raised in New Zealand and an Australian resident since 1979 Urban Wronski grew up conflicted about his own national identity and continues to be deeply mistrustful of all nationalism, chauvinism, flags, politicians and everything else which divides and obscures our common humanity. He has always been enchanted by nature and by the extraordinary brilliance of ordinary men and women and the genius, the power and the poetry that is their vernacular. Wronski is now a fulltime freelance writer who lives with his partner and editor Shay and their chooks, near the Grampians in rural Victoria and he counts himself the luckiest man alive. A former teacher of all ages and stages, from Tertiary to Primary, for nearly forty years, he enjoyed contesting the corporatisation of schooling to follow his own natural instinct for undifferentiated affection, approval and compassion for the young.