So who is that Corangamite bloke who reckons ‘Tony is a tool’? @PrimMich investigates


By Michelle Primmer

August 27, 2013

Last weekend I saw an online photograph of a man standing at the Belmont office of Corangamite Liberal Party candidate Sarah Henderson. He was holding a sign that said ‘Tony Abbott is a tool’.

It gave me a laugh, as did seeing the image on Twitter, so when a friend posted the image on Facebook, I asked if the guy was at Henderson’s office right then. Sure enough, he was, so I headed down to have a chat.

Here’s what I discovered about the man behind the sign.

His name is Anthony, he commutes 3 days a week to Melbourne where he works as a forklift driver. He’s also on a part disability pension due to having only one arm, and he has two school-aged children.

For several years he’s been on what he calls the ‘Do not post me Liberal Party propaganda list’, but approximately two months ago, Anthony received Liberal Party campaign material in his letterbox. He returned it to Sarah Henderson’s office and requested that her staff stop sending him Liberal Party ‘rubbish’ in the form of letters and emails.

Anthony promised that if they didn’t stop he would stand out the front of Sarah Henderson’s office with a sign saying ‘Tony Abbott is a tool’.

A week later he received an email asking him to join the Liberal Party. True to his word, he decided to stage his protest.

When we met, I asked if Anthony’s protest was about all political propaganda, but it wasn’t.

I asked what his particular grievance was with the Liberal Party. His reply was: ‘Where do I start?’. He doesn’t like Tony Abbott, his policies and what Anthony calls ‘his lies’.

Anthony said that Sarah Henderson has spoken to him and asked about the issues that concern him. He told me that he expressed how upset he is about the planned abolition of the Schoolkids Bonus, and asked why the Liberal Party were committed to abolishing it. In response, Anthony said Sarah stated that the Schoolkids Bonus goes to the parents, not the school. He was quite upset with that response because he felt there was an assumption that parents would spend the money on poker machines or waste it in some other way.

He was shocked that the Liberal Party could support Baby Bonus payments of $5000 in the past, under John Howard and Peter Costello, but not the Schoolkids Bonus, which Anthony ‘absolutely’ uses to help fund his childrens’ school costs.

He is also quite against the Liberal Paid Parental Leave policy because he didn’t think it fair that ‘rich mothers could receive $75,000 for having a baby’. He also felt the Indonesian ‘boat buy back’ is a ridiculous policy.

Anthony’s protest is peaceful. While we chatted, numerous drivers honked their horns, seemingly in support. Some people gave Anthony the thumbs-up sign.

He knows he has been photographed a lot and feels that the reactions to his activism have been excellent, citing one incident when a Liberal supporter drove past and shouted abuse at him. After Anthony shouted back, the abuser called the police, who turned up and said they had no problem with his protest.

Ordinarily I would think twice about reporting one voter’s thoughts on a politician or political party, but after shadow foreign minister Julie Bishop told a story at the Liberal Party campaign launch on Sunday about a voter protest in Corangamite, I thought Anthony’s alternative protest deserved its share of media attention.

In that incident Julie Bishop observed a man pull down his trousers and bare his bottom to Corangamite sitting Member for the ALP, Darren Cheeseman.

I guess everyone has their own methods of getting their message across.

Anthony, the ‘Tony Abbott is a tool’ sign protester, is passionate about politics and concerned enough to have his say in a public in a non-threatening way.

He proves that democracy is alive and well in Corangamite.


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  1. Good for him. Loved reading that story. And I wish him and his children well. Vote Labor!

  2. A very interesting article, and you have to admire this man for taking action in such a novel way.

  3. joy cooper says

    Great article, Michelle, loved it. Congratulations to Anthony for having the courage of his convictions & for taking such a peaceful stand. Do hope will join him.

    Saw that speech of Julie Bishop’s & thought it was really quite an eye-opener in that she is so vindictive towards Labor that she would cheapen herself by telling this distasteful anecdote at such a public forum, albeit invited Liberals only. Think it was also the actions she used when telling the story. Virtually a striptease. Was waiting for the bump & grind music to start. Not a good look for a senior Liberal &, supposedly, a woman of “calibre” especially one who plans on representing Australia on the world’s stage.

    • I’m no Julie Bishop fan, but I have to ask if you would have been so disturbed if it was a male politician telling the story with actions? Is a “woman of calibre” supposed to act differently to a “man of calibre”?

      • joy cooper says

        Quite frankly, yes, especially according to the alleged high standards of the Liberals. Julie Bishop has a similar household arrangement as Julia Gillard but has never received the nasty, disgusting commentary that was thrown at Julia Gillard by LNP supporters, as they claim she is a woman of quality. We are allowed to expect a higher standard of behaviour from a person who could well be our next Foreign Minister (heaven help us). This standard was not on display at the Coalition knees-up last Sunday night. Not that the mainstream media showed any real concern about it. Imagine if it had been Bob Carr!!

        And yes, I would have been just as “disturbed if it was a male politician telling this story with actions”

  4. Julie Bitchop could not cheapen herself. She has No class whatever. Most of them don’t. but Julie stands apart in this as the most NASTY pure and simple. It’s NATURAL for her. Moylen and washer have left the parliament Fraser resigned the Party and gave good reasons why it was no longer the party it once was. Cory Bernardi and Minchen took it to the Tea Party right wing nutters group extremist dogma typified by the IPA ( who don’t disclose who supports(funds) it but are good at shouting over moderate commentators. The Party has a disproportionate percentage of Climate Change deniers. Not a Party “nice” people would like to identify with if they really thought about it.

  5. Did anyone else notice that Julie Bishop stuck her rear out and made her backside look really big when she told that story? Maybe it was just me.

  6. I really wish democracy was so alive and well in Corangamite. Unfortunately our likely future member, Ms Henderson, campaigns on state and local issues and gets snarky during debates. Way to insult the intelligence of the electorate. Yawn.

  7. You know in the movies where when something is said that shocks a character they spit their drink out? I made that motion when I read the line about him being asked to join the Liberal Party. Cracked me up!

  8. A tool is a useful object. Tony is more of a knob