go to content

5 Times Tony Abbott Made Problematic "Captain's Calls"

Abbott joked he wouldn't make another "captain's pick" over the new speaker... *checks history*... which is probably for the best.

Posted on

The prime minister has made a big deal about his "captain's calls/picks" in recent times and the issue has come up again after his personal choice for speaker Bronwyn Bishop resigned in disgrace amid an expenses scandal.

During an interview on Tuesday with FiveAA radio, Abbott was pressed on whether he'd choose the next speaker. He conceded... nah... it was probably for the best he didn't.

"The government has inevitably paid a price and I dare say there will be a little personal price for me. My instinct is not to make a captain's pick," he said.

The definition of Abbott's "captain's calls/picks" appears to be those decisions he makes without consulting his cabinet colleagues. And in just over 18 months, several have turned out to be problematic.

The re-introduction of "Knights and Dames".

Amid laughs, tears and serious shaking of the head from the public, Abbott brought back the imperial honours system in March last year.

To make the matter worse, he then personally selected Prince Philip for one of the Aussie honours. There was such an uproar he nearly lost his job... so he had to relinquish the power completely!

"I accept that the restoration of knighthoods was a captain's call," said Abbott . "I have listened, I have learned, I have acted, and those particular captain's picks which people have found difficult have been reversed."

In a savage leak from a powerful budget committee, News Corp reported Tony Abbott rolled treasurer Joe Hockey and health minister Peter Dutton and insisted moving forward with a $20 cut to the Medicare rebate.

The whole policy was shot down with the arrival of a new health minister Sussan Ley, who said, "The Government is taking them off the table."

Abbott's PPL was described as his "signature policy" from well before the 2013 election and it would have given new parents tens of thousands of dollars.

He made a "captain's call" to reduce the benefit from $150,000 to $100,000 amid anger from his party.

Then, at the height of leadership speculation earlier this year, Abbott was forced into an embarrassing backdown on the whole policy. Another killer captain's call.

Barring ministers from Q&A.

The new look @QandA is a bit much tbqh.

When Zaky Mallah donned his weed hat and shouted at Abbott's parliamentary secretary back in June, the PM launched an assault on the ABC and said ministers would not appear on the program until a review was completed.

It turned out he made the decision without consulting anyone!

Agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull were both embarassed when they were yanked from the program at the last minute, with Turnbull telling ABC's 7:30 the decision was "news to me".

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.