The Liberals seem to be taking a tack that if they ignore former prime minister Tony Abbott (pictured last month during Question Time in Canberra) eventually he will sit silently.
The Liberals seem to be taking a tack that if they ignore former prime minister Tony Abbott (pictured last month during Question Time in Canberra) eventually he will sit silently. MICK TSIKAS

OPINION: Abbott nothing but a nameless 'pain in the arse'

IT'S been said life imitates art. I remember when political parties would go head to head and the debate was "robust" - each party got some sword thrusts into the other.

Now, most point scoring is inside one party. This week (again), it's the Liberal Party's turn.

In this week's bout of sniping (that he said he wouldn't do) Tony Abbott came out with two gems. One was along the lines of he's "not the Liberal everyone wants to be seen with".

Well, it's good to know he's realised he's not popular.

His other comment was my second favourite quote of the week: "The last thing I want to do is be difficult."

The comments followed a talk to the "party faithful" and ended up in the media thanks to a recording. Abbott criticised the crossbench for forcing the Coalition to "bring forward a Budget which is second-best, a taxing and spending Budget".

Didn't anyone tell Abbott politics is no place for those who can't accept nothing is perfect?

Everything is a compromise, a juggle and a fair bit of horse trading.

This attitude brought him undone as PM and party leader. And Kevin Rudd. Two men whose idea of compromise is letting others take up ideas the great master has bestowed upon them.

Abbott refused to compromise after the Senate blocked many of his 2014 budget measures and they took on a non-life as "zombie measures" until they were put out of their misery by the current Liberal hierarchy.

But was this a second-rate budget forced on the Libs by the crossbench?

Not really, because sometimes smaller parties take the blame for measures the main party wants included and by letting the small party claim them as a victory, the main party does not look bad.

Senator Nick Xenophon claimed the crossbench improved it: "I think the Budget was the Budget you get when you take into account political realities of dealing with the crossbench," he said.

Which is what Abbott said, but with no negativity or bitterness.

"In my view we improved on a whole range of measures, making it fairer, more equitable" etc.

When he was asked what impact Abbott's interventions were having, Xenophon smirked: "How can I put this succinctly?

I need to put this in cut-through language that Tony Abbott is renowned for. I think Tony Abbott's being a huge pain in the arse right now."

The quote of the week. A Paul Keating moment, except Keating would have twisted the knife. Xenophon left a clean wound.

Meanwhile the "second-rate" Libs have obviously decided to give Abbott no more air. Treasurer Scott Morrison made an oblique reference to his comments as "background noise".

And when the ABC asked Malcolm Turnbull about Abbott's talk, the PM twice refused to use Abbott's name or title: "I'm not going to comment on the gentleman you described."

Looks like he's learnt something from Joseph Stalin - don't name it and you give it no credence. Eventually it will drop off the radar.

If you haven't read George Orwell's book 1984 or seen the movie released in 1984, it's a parody of communism using pure Stalinism as its model.

Its Newspeak language deleted words for such dangerous concepts as democracy and freedom of thought - if you couldn't name it, you couldn't think it.

So Libspeak no longer includes the words "Tony" and "Abbott". If there's one thing sure to drive an ex-PM mad, it's being ignored by all but the faithful.

Lib life imitates the art of Orwell.