Son of a Gun! What Calibre is That?

Tony sticking to his guns! Thanks to Alan Moir for permission to use his cartoon

While throughout Australia most folk are in bed,
Tony Abbott is fretting over something he said.
Not “When you deliver, you’ll be fully paid.”
That is a promise he knows can’t be unmade.

Journos are crowing over lines they’ve been fed.
There’s even a ‘libber,’ not easily led,
Loves his planned six months paid maternity leave.
His polling’s improved like you wouldn’t believe.

The Labor scheme – for rich, poor, married, unwed –
All the same, even career gals powering ahead.
What Gillard has given they think no big deal
Because Abbott’s offering has far more appeal.

But those on the right think his plan’s far too red,
A shiver of doubt through some Liberals has spread.
They’ve told their dear leader he must face facts –
For businessmen levies are worse than a tax.

His IPA ‘mates’ want the policy shed.
“Close to Rupert now, Tony! Watch how you tread!”
Peta’d said firmly, with her usual advice,
“ Before you open your mouth, please, please, think twice!”

In Canberra now, wide awake, not abed,
Tony paces his room, feeling all muddlehead.
What had he been thinking of earlier today,
That some inner compulsion forced him to say?

He can’t remember; was it something he’s read?
He knows he’ll regret it till the day he’s dead.
That’s it! One word! Calibre! All about guns!
Not women and babies …… unless …… they have sons!



In the past that phrase ‘son of a gun’ was considered to be a term of abuse since it initially described the bastard sons of shipboard whores born beneath the gunwales and destined like their parents for a lifetime at sea. My sense is that nowadays there’s more than a touch of grudging affection in it much as the term ‘bastard’ can be used with a grin, meaning ‘old rascal.’ But ‘bastard’ can be used in an unequivocally abusive way too. Tony Abbott, with his many admitted failings, but obvious assets (ie the backing of Rupert Murdoch, MSM and big business) and uses to the Coalition is probably more often seen by them as ‘a son of a gun,’ who seems to get away with near murder. But to Labor and the left generally he is an outright ‘bastard,’ with no redeeming features.

All sorts of theories have been floated about Tony Abbott’s fitness to be Prime Minister. Today I realized that none of the theories about his misogyny or bullying character are valid reasons for arguing his unfitness for office. Nor his limited intellect. Nor suggestions that he is racist, or wanting to wage class war. Even that he has fantasies about conducting eugenics experiments if he does get into government. This last was suggested today when he talked about his paid parental leave plan being really aimed at women of calibre. Although he hadn’t initially explained that to Joe Hockey or to the businessmen who run the corporations he plans to levy for the funds to pay for his plan. I understand now why he hasn’t been able to do that adequately and also why he hasn’t explained how he came, almost by himself, to espouse a scheme which is thoroughly approved of by a strong feminist like Eva Cox, and likely to find support amongst the Greens.

This contradiction of his plan being approved by feminists and conservationists on the extreme left and much disapproved of by his traditional supporters on the right in the big business lobby is surely what has led to unhappiness in his own party and resulted in near mutiny in the ranks by a back bencher, Alex Hawke. This resistance to his leadership may or may not be unexpected for Abbott but no doubt has caused him considerable stress and even more so as it emerges that the Institute of Public Affairs has been encouraging Hawke and now Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen, both of WA, to oppose the PPL policy. And, I submit, added to what must be an already confused mental condition.

Imagine his state of mind. There are other pressures on him all the time, apart from leadership issues, and this week particularly so with the gun control issue being such big news in the United States and the conflict in Syria becoming so critical. At the same time he is expected to be across the economy, the looming Budget, Reserve Bank decisions and god knows what else! Right after he’s had to meet so many disabled people and their parents while listening to Julia Gillard go on about the NDIS and reminding everyone that what has happened to these poor souls could happen to any one of us. Does she think he doesn’t know that? He suddenly realised that this week! He could fall off his bike and suffer brain damage in the blink of an eye! The Polliepedal, always a great pleasure for him, could suddenly have become a thing to dread at the start of a week when he’s expected to smile and kiss dozens of babies while having tea and bikkies with their mums!

I think we should lay off Tony Abbott for a while and help him to find his way out of what is obviously a confused state of mind. So what if calibre is a word he’d normally use when talking about guns to other men. Guns are headline news right now in the States, after all. He knows you wouldn’t normally talk about women of calibre! That was just a slip of the tongue, a mixed metaphor, from a man showing signs of being under too much pressure pressure. If he were a Public Servant he’d be eligible for a year’s sick leave! Think about that, Peta!


gravel2, 08/05/13, Patricia, Another great pome, well done again. 🙂


Ad Astra, 09/05/13, Patriciawa, That is such an apt pome. Thank you.

Anonymous 10/5/13, Brilliant, Patricia.

Migs 11/05/13, Your pomes are great. I love them. I saw not only irony in your last line but a real dig at Abbott’s misogyny. Well said.

Patriciawa, 12/05/13, Mother’s Day today so all we women of calibre will be getting recognition all over the world. But I just found this picture and asked myself was Tony Abbott thinking of these sort of women whom he meets all the time in his working life?

Real Women of Calibre – Penny Wong,  Tanya Plibersek,  Jenny Macklin,  PM Julia Gillard, Kate Lundy,  Kate Ellis,  Julie Collins.          (Photo for The Monthly by Tim Bauer)


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