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‘To win power, he [Abbott] has to get sufficient support from women. If the government can seize on anything, even if it is a long bow, suggesting he is slighting Gillard on gender grounds, it will use it ruthlessly because it believes he has a weak spot.’

Michelle Grattan, The Age

‘If he’s elected as our PM in the future I would be very scared for women everywhere.’ — Mia Freedman

When Julia Gillard — a woman who was unmarried and childless, and an atheist — became prime minister in 2010, Tony Abbott was left boiling with rage. Not only had he lost, but he had been defeated by a modern woman. For the time being, the ambitions of this fundamentalist Catholic and fiercely combative reactionary politician had been thwarted.

Tony Abbott, a former pugilist and would-be priest, has dedicated his public life to the prosecution of his deeply traditional values. A favoured son in his own family, and raised in a cloistered world of male institutions, he has always been drawn to powerful mentors from his own caste — priests, zealots, and father figures. Perhaps this is why so many voters, especially women, dislike him: they sense in Abbott’s default aggressiveness and lack of balance a man not attuned to their centre-of-the-road, secular interests.

In this blistering critique, Susan Mitchell explores how Australia’s would-be prime minister became the man he is today. He is at war, not just with the government, but in an unrelenting battle for the hearts and minds of the Australian people. There is still time, he believes, to achieve the position that his male mentors think he is destined to hold — that of leading the country back to ‘the proper order of things’. But is he the prime minister-in-waiting that the country has to have — or does he pose an unacceptable threat to his own party and to the nation?


‘I don’t mind Tony personally, he’s not a bad bloke. But as I said to him on the campaign he’s as mad as a cut snake.’

Bob Hawke

Other Australian Politics:

Why Labor Should Savour Its Greens

Why Labor Should Savour Its Greens: rebuilding a fractured alliance

Brad Orgill

ISBN: 9781922070418
RRP: $24.95
Pub date: June 2013
Category: Australian Politics

Sideshow: dumbing down democracy

Lindsay Tanner

ISBN: 9781921844898
RRP: $22.95
Pub date: August 2012
Category: Australian Politics
Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010

Best Australian Political Cartoons 2010

Russ Radcliffe

ISBN: 9781921640759
RRP: $29.95
Pub date: December 2010
Category: Humour
So Greek

So Greek: confessions of a conservative leftie

Niki Savva

ISBN: 9781921640834
RRP: $29.99
Pub date: December 2010
Category: Biography and Autobiography

Other Biography and Autobiography:

Dark Invasion

Dark Invasion: 1915: Germany’s secret war and the hunt for the first terrorist cell in America

Howard Blum

ISBN: 9781922070555
RRP: $32.99
Pub date: March 2014
Category: History
We Are Alive

We Are Alive: a portrait of Bruce Springsteen

David Remnick

ISBN: 9781922070777
RRP: $19.95
Pub date: December 2013
Category: Biography and Autobiography
Tall Ships and Tall Tales

Tall Ships and Tall Tales: a life of dancing with history

Jonathan King

ISBN: 9781922070739
RRP: $32.95
Pub date: November 2013
Category: Biography and Autobiography
Flaws in the Ice

Flaws in the Ice: in search of Douglas Mawson

David Day

ISBN: 9781922070746
RRP: $32.95
Pub date: November 2013
Category: Biography and Autobiography