Hoping to embarrass Tony Abbott, Sydney Morning Herald society and culture contributor Mike Carlton recycles "four Abbott quotes from yesteryear." Number three on the list is this gem:
''Climate change is absolute crap.'' October 2009.
The incorrect date notwithstanding – it was actually September 2009 – that's not what Abbott said, as even a cursory check would have revealed. Here's the quote as originally reported:
The argument [on climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.
Isolated from context it's impossible to know exactly what point Abbott was making: he could have been trying to make the point that the Liberals arguing about climate change was divisive.
And since we're on the topic of journalists seeking to embarrass Abbott with past utterances, Laurie Oakes deserves special mention for bringing up the distant past:
A fascinating piece of audio went up on the web recently - a radio interview given by Abbott in 1979 when he was president of the Sydney University Students' Representative Council.
The young Abbott calls for cuts in education funding, on the grounds that this would force universities to crack down on what he calls "trivial" and "ideological" courses, especially in the arts and economics faculties.
Abbott the student politician also says he would like to see overall numbers at university reduced.
And he tells the interviewer: "While I think men and women are equal, they are also different and I think it's inevitable and I don't think it's a bad thing at all that we always have, say, more women doing things like physiotherapy and an enormous number of women simply doing housework."
Abbott would argue that his views have changed over time. He told me just last week: "That's what people do when they are mature. They are capable of growing and changing in response to changing circumstances."
And he is right, of course. But, as the poet says, the child is father of the man.
Nope, none of us has changed our views over the last 30 odd years.