Our prime minister has been forced prematurely back into the ring. He now must fight internal undercard bouts before the title fight. Tony is not for turning, but the Rhodes scholar & boxer from Chatswood may lose one of these on points. In December 2009, it was Anthony John Abbott who saved the federal coalition. He didn’t challenge the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, he challenged a policy. He may have only won the final ballot by one vote, but it was he who united the coalition opposition against the excesses & overreaches of Kevin Rudd’s government. This partially contributed to Rudd’s unpopularity & subsequent political assassination. In August 2010, the federal opposition led by Tony Abbott ensured that the coalition won more seats than Gillard’s Labor – an astounding result. This occurred less than three years after the Rudd ALP won an enormous majority & unseated John Howard at the 2007 election – just in case you forgot. In September 2013, the man once considered unelectable became the 28th Prime Minister of Australia. He brought down both Rudd (twice) & Gillard, offering the electorate a new vision for the future of Australia. March this year, marks twenty-one years as a member of federal parliament for Tony Abbott. Like a good red, he’s matured with age. Abbott’s time as opposition leader represents the last, completed portfolio of his. Tony Abbott is now widely considered to be the best opposition leader this nation has ever had. Even dissenter Dr Dennis Jensen MP could admit this on 7.30 last night. Tony Abbott’s time as opposition leader represents only 18% of the time he has been in the parliament. Staggeringly, Abbott’s time as prime minister represents a mere 6.4%. It is quite obvious to see that Tony Abbott has been given one-third of the time to become ‘the best we’ve ever had’, in the hardest job that this land has to offer. His immediate predecessors have not set the bar high. He has, through his own successes, raised that bar of expectation. Tony Abbott has never been a man of perfection or finesse. He has been a man of conviction & passion. He is, by definition, a political heavyweight, yet he has never been a member of the political class or elite. He is most certainly not without his faults, nor his ‘daggy dad moments’. Tony Abbott is however, the only man positioned to lead the Liberals. This was made clear inadvertently, by his detractor Jensen last night, when he failed to front an alternative in his ‘smoking gun’ interview on 7:30. Before the 2010 & the 2013 elections, more than anything else, this administration promised responsibility in government. This was what the electorate craved after seeing two sitting prime ministers ousted by one another. The people of Australia should expect this long-sought stability. Jensen’s attempted pulling of the pin last night, without an alternative leader in play, suggests that if this assassination is carried through to completion an air of arrogance and irresponsibility will plague the Coalition in the aftermath. The Liberal Party of Australia has never removed a sitting, first-term prime minister, & they shouldn’t start now. Deep down the Australian electorate hold the Liberals to higher standards of responsible government. This can be linked to the positive association in the voter’s mind that the Liberals will deliver fiscal responsibility, ensuring longevity & prosperity. They weigh this against the fact that Labor will undoubtedly spend more on their short-term lifestyle. In times where the middle ground of voters is convinced that they need to vote for a greater good, & for future generations, they will side with the Coalition. The internal dissent aimed at Abbott has originated from the backbench. It is quite saddening to hear non-attributed claims that if Abbott stays they’ll lose their seat. All of this seemingly in complete ignorance of how these MPs were elected in the first place. Detractors have called the Liberals’ recent bad luck, ‘the Tony Abbott disease’. You may have missed it, but just at the weekend a Liberal candidate for a Liberal seat in South Australian parliament (Sam Duluk), won – despite Labor trying its hardest to throw every Tony Abbott association at the electorate. Is this win another symptom, or a contraindication? It is the backbench who must continue to build their profile in their electorate, & nowhere else. History shows us that good local MPs are much more likely to hold their seats against the swing, than those who spend all of their efforts trying to get their mug in a national daily & not in the local paper, or at a local school. If the backbench spent this summer reading Triumph & Demise, instead of re-watching episodes of House of Cards maybe we wouldn’t be here right now. Each of these MPs is the master of their own destiny. They can stop fanning the fire of speculation. Better still, they can call the dissenting voices out for who they really are – washed-up nobodies, who missed out on a promotion. Abbott does not need to be fighting. Not yet. It is high time someone announced that these internal lead-up bouts have been cancelled. He needs to get out of the ring. For now. In nineteen months he will step back in. The heavyweight champion will return, under lights, eyes trained, as planned, as ready. May God help his opponent. Whoever that may be.