ABC: throw pies at Abbott’s face

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    The modern interviewing technique at the ABC: throw pies at Abbott’s face

    Yes, ask the tough questions. Yes, ask how he will survive and how he will change.
    But there’s a difference between that and just sitting there with a smirk, being as rude and patronising as possible. Here the questions Leigh Sales asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott last night on the ABC - of course:

    LEIGH SALES: Are you a dead man walking?
    LEIGH SALES: More than half of your own backbench though thinks that you’re not up to the job. That must be devastating.
    LEIGH SALES: How can you go on together when as I say, more than half of your own backbench doesn’t believe that you’re up to the job?
    LEIGH SALES: But that’s given us an insight into the attitude within your own party room. These people are your backers.
    LEIGH SALES: Political history would suggest that you cannot recover from such a significant vote of no confidence within your own side.
    LEIGH SALES: But John Howard didn’t have leadership pressure.
    LEIGH SALES: He never faced a spill motion with, you know, half of his colleagues basically thinking he wasn’t up to it.

    LEIGH SALES: Did you ask some of your colleagues today for six more months to recover?
    LEIGH SALES: You’ve not put a timeframe on it?
    LEIGH SALES: Is it fair to say that you haven’t passed enough of those tests so far?
    LEIGH SALES: But Prime Minister, that is the exact message that you’ve been giving over and over again for quite some time, yet your disapproval rating in the Newspoll that was out today was 68 per cent. Clearly the public is not buying what you’re saying there.
    LEIGH SALES: Prime Minister, if you do your best and you’re a unable to turn things around in a reasonable timeframe, will you give your colleagues a promise tonight that you will step aside to give them a fighting chance with somebody else as leader?
    LEIGH SALES: But what if you can’t do it, Prime Minister? Will you give them a reasonable amount of time to try to hold onto power with somebody else?

    LEIGH SALES: But haven’t you upset - haven’t you upset your colleagues though by implying that the only way that you can be removed is if the electorate votes you out, when actually we have a Westminster system and you are at the helm because your colleagues put you there?
    LEIGH SALES: You said at your press conference a few hours ago that, “Good government starts today.” If that is so, what on Earth have you been delivering for the time since you’ve been elected?
    LEIGH SALES: You said, “Good government starts today”! That’s exactly what you said!
    LEIGH SALES: But Prime Minister - sorry to interrupt you, but how can you say ... you’ve put it behind you when such a significant bloc of your own party room has lost confidence in your own leadership?
    LEIGH SALES: Why have you been giving Australians a government with training wheels on?
    LEIGH SALES: We’ve had the Tony Abbott in opposition, the guy who promised no more chaos, the adults back in charge, there’d be no excuses, no broken promises. Then there’s the Tony Abbott that we’ve had so far in government with the surprise policies and the broken promises and the captain’s picks. Now you’re offering us a third Tony Abbott, one who’s going to change. Who are you?
    LEIGH SALES: Can we actually just focus on the big picture there? ‘Cause there’s been three different Tony Abbotts. I just want to know which one are you? Who are you?
    LEIGH SALES: How about my point, though, that there’ve been three - you know, we’re up to Tony Abbott 3.0. Do you accept that you have thoroughly confused the public about what your government is and what you stand for?
    LEIGH SALES: Can we just look at the big picture about you?
    LEIGH SALES: No, no, but is - I think it’s a reasonable question and one that voters would be asking themselves and that it would be remiss of me not to put to you.
    LEIGH SALES: But it’s interesting that you’re not able to answer the question to me: who are you? What do you stand for? Which Tony are you?
    Get the impression many in the press pack are willing Abbott to fail and are shouting him down?
    Here’s a tip: you want to know if Abbott can pull off a miracle recovery? Then don’t predict but observe. Don’t heckle but listen.
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