Coalition promises no 'nasty surprises'
Tony Abbott tells hundreds of Coalition faithful at their campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday that he will spend money wisely if elected Prime Minister.PT2M47S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2sjzz 620 349 August 25, 2013
Two statuesque daughters chuckling about their silly old dad - not just a Rhodes scholar, author, firefighter and lifesaver but, they confided, a netball dad, urging them on week after week at the courts with the same dorky cry of ''Run, Forrest, run!'' and always thinking it was funny.
One loyal deputy, Julie Bishop, cracking a bare-bum joke at Labor's expense.
Another loyal deputy from the bush, Warren Truss, decrying six years of Labor leaders. ''We've had Kevin, we've had Julia, we've had New Kevin … and for rural Australia, we've been ignored by all three of them.''
Daddy, dearest: Tony Abbott and his biggest fan club, his wife and daughters. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
One Liberal National Party premier with the biggest majority in Australian political history, Queensland's Campbell Newman, crying, ''Tony, I believe you'll make a great prime minister''.
As warm-up acts go, the introduction to Tony Abbott's official federal election campaign launch in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's hometown, Brisbane, would take a bit of beating.
Liberal hero and former prime minister John Howard, naturally, was on hand for an awkward embrace, father to surrogate political son.
The audience, many hundreds strong and willing to burst into delighted, thunderous applause at the merest dig at Rudd and Labor, seemed enlivened by the heady scent of triumph denied them since Howard's administration was snuffed out in 2007.
Oh, how they chortled at Bishop's story of a voter dropping his tracksuit pants in front of Corangamite Labor MP Darren Cheeseman, inspiring a newspaper story about ''the first crack appearing in Labor's campaign''.
Abbott adopted a suitably humble stance, offered the occasional modest promise - loans of $20,000 to ensure apprentices stayed the course; greater availability of the senior's health card for self-funded retirees - and told supporters they should not expect miracles, ''just a government that is competent and trustworthy and a prime minister who doesn't talk down to you''.
After all these years hammering Labor on an anvil built of short and deadly phrases about carbon taxes and boats, Abbott read his long, long speech from a pair of nearly invisible glass prompters, lest at this last minute he stumble.
Howard would have disapproved. He used to call such devices ''wing mirrors'', and ignored them, preferring to thunder to his own rhythm.
Abbott's delivery, indeed, seemed constrained by the wing mirrors, causing him to overencunciate as if he were delivering a sermon in a cathedral.
It fitted. Hovering above him in the concert hall of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre was a giant pipe organ.
You almost expected it to blurt out the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus.
Abbott's delivery didn't matter. Not to this crowd.
Most of the sermon was filler, anyway. It wasn't until the seventh page of his eight-page address that the killer lines appeared.
''The last time Mr Rudd was prime minister, his own party sacked him,'' Abbott reminded the crowd.
''When a desperate party put him back, one third of his cabinet resigned rather than serve with him.
''So my question is this: if the people who've worked with him don't trust him, why should you?''
The audience fairly roared.
''The Labor Party has form when it comes to telling you to put your trust in people who don't deserve it,'' Abbott went on, now a fire-and-brimstone preacher.
''In 2004, Labor told you to trust Mark Latham and you know what happened to him.
''In 2007, Labor told you to trust Kevin Rudd, and you know what happened to him then.
''In 2010, Labor told you to trust Julia Gillard and you know what happened to her.
''Now Labor is telling you to trust Kevin Rudd again …''
The crowd was very nearly delirious.
Abbott would save them all.