Home > Political snippets > Trying to understand the Ruddock replacement

Trying to understand the Ruddock replacement

February 13th, 2015

In my 50 or so years in Canberra covering politics I have never thought of a party’s whip as being a personal protector of a party leader on the British model. The whip’s duties in Canberra have always struck me as being far more mundane – ensuring that no one clocks off early and that the numbers are there when the votes are taken.

Tony Abbott, the believer in knights and dames, clearly has a different view. Sacking Philip Ruddock can only be explained by the Prime Minister believing two things. The first is that the Liberal Whip should be his personal man as in the House of Commons and the second is that he was truly surprised by the extent of the vote against him in the party room this week. Ruddock, as the Whip, has got the blame for that and paid for it.

Abbott, I expect, will pay his own price in the weeks to come. Philip Ruddock has been a loyal servant of his parliamentary party. I grudgingly admired him when, as Immigration Minister, he loyally supported the John Howard line on asylum seekers even while it destroyed his small “l” liberal reputation and caused a few tensions within his own family if I remember correctly. Whatever else he has been, Philip Ruddock has been a team player.

And his House of Representatives colleagues well know it.

They will be shocked at the way the PM has treated him today. It was the act of a bully-boy.

The consequences will be seen when the Liberal Party next considers its leadership. The likelihood of Abbott’s own sacking have just increased.

13-02-2015 liberalleader

(See the Owl’s other election indicators HERE)

Categories: Political snippets Tags:
Comments are closed.