Home Roland Rocchiccioli A fall from grace is never an easy

A fall from grace is never an easy

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A fall from grace is never an easy – it is made more difficult when it happens in the full-glare of the international spotlight.

While there is no doubt, the time had come for the federal Liberal politicians to move on the leadership predicament which was causing such consternation with voters, and regardless of your opinion of Mr. Abbott, one cannot help but feel some sympathy for the man – not the politician. Clearly, he was unaware of the intended leadership spill. His decision to call the vote on Monday night, rather than Tuesday morning, was obviously an attempt to halt the Turnbull supporters at the pass, and limit their time to garner further support.

It has to be said, Mr. Abbot was, on occasions, his own worst enemy. There were too many captain’s calls and faux pas which angered many voters. The final straw was the conversation with Peter Dutton, a former policeman, and conducted within range of a boom microphone. Mr. Dutton’s disparaging comments were inappropriate and, at best, soft bigotry, redolent of the days when white supervisors ran the native missions, treating Aborigines as if they were slaves. It was, in the opinion of some, a sackable offence. It is hard to imagine either John Howard, or Bob Hawke, engaging in such offensive banter. For Mr. Abbott to have laughed, and seemingly supported the distasteful comments, is an indication of his poor leadership and personal lack of judgement. Mr. Dutton should have been stopped dead in his tracks. There is nothing funny about dispossession or poverty. Dutton apologised for causing offence but not for what he said. It is hoped that he will be returned to the backbench under the Turnbull ministry. He does not deserve to be a minister. It has been said that three people of recent time needed to be gone. Mr. Rudd and Ms. Gillard have moved on, leaving only Mr. Abbot from an acrimonious and bloody period in federal politics. So far, Mr. Abbot has not spoken of his future plans. In his press conference, during which he took no questions, he talked about a febrile and poisonous press, but it should not be forgotten that he was a most vicious and relentless opponent. His comments about the death of Ms Gillard’s father were particularly insensitive, and cruel. Perhaps the time has come for Mr. Abbott to depart the political arena. He also said that he has tried, always, to serve his country –which no-one doubts. In the past, Mr. Abbot prided himself on being a head-kicker. It might be that best service he could render, currently to his country, would be to resign, immediately, and allow a less ruthless style of politics to return. I am not qualified to comment on his political legacy, but it will be interesting to see what analysts and historians make of his brief tenure as Prime Minister of Australia. I suspect it will not be as glowing as Mr. Abbott would hope.

•• ••

The Rotary Club of Wendouree is holding a Grand Final breakfast on Saturday 3rd October, at the Ballarat Golf Club, starting at 8.15.

I shall be joining the guest speaker, and Hawthorn champion, Brad Sewell. A local boy, he played junior football at the Newlyn Football Club which is part of the Central Highlands Football League, and later with the North Ballarat Rebels in the U18 TAC Cup competition. Brad, who is now works as a Channel

7 commentator, hails from Kooroocheang, which is between Ballarat and Daylesford. His brothers, Adam and Myles, play football for Ballarat and North Ballarat. Serendipitously, the three brothers played in a premiership in the same year – 2008 for their respective clubs – with Brad becoming a premiership player after the Hawks defeated the reigning premiers,the Cats. Outstanding on this day, Brad came 3rd in the voting for the Norm Smith medal.

In the final round of 2009, Brad suffered a fractured cheekbone and eye socket when, early in the third quarter, he was knocked out by a shirtfront from Essendon captain, Matthew Lloyd. Hawthorn was leading at the time of the incident, but it proved to be the turning-point in the match. Hawthorn went lost and missed the finals. Lloyd received a 6-week suspension reduced to 4-weeks with a guilty plea for the hit; a month after the incident, Lloyd announced his retirement.

In September 2013, Sewell became a dual premiership player when the Hawks defeated the Dockers. Brad retired in 2014 with his last game being the second qualifying final against Geelong.

The ten-years I spent with the Footy Show were fascinating. The opportunity to meet, and observ, elite sportsmen as such close quarters was a privilege, and provided me with a wealth of stories. Also, it brought me into contact with a vast audience whom I never would have met were it not for the Footy Show. Conversations on trams were most interesting, and always amusing! They left me with a trove of useless information – which comes in useful at such events as a Grand Final breakfast!

Apart from a sensational breakfast there will be singers, a footy panel, raffles, Channel 7 Brownlow tapes of the mark and kick of the year; and lots to keep you amused! Tickets $60: To book telephone: 5333 1105

Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30 with Edwin Cowlishaw. rolandroc@bigpond.com