A cooler blend of culture

Tony Abbott loses face internationally

Tony Abbott’s unfortunate wink during a live interview with a sex worker has gone viral. And not in a cute way.

Earlier this week, in an ABC interview simultaneously recorded on video, Mr Abbot was confronted by a 67-year-old pensioner from Victoria, who told the PM she had to work a phone sex line to make ends meet.

Lo and behold, at the very mention of the S-word, Abbott went and winked, also letting go a cheeky smirk.

The video has since gone viral, with international publications picking up on it, such as the Washington Post which told of the Australian PM going from “one scandal to the next” and how he is “quickly becoming one of the world’s most hated prime ministers”.

The article goes on to mention Abbott’s other shortcomings of late, including the recent release of his government’s harsh budget, his daughter’s gratuitous $60,000 scholarship grant, even making mention of his decision to restore the old-school title of ‘dame.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph UK has told its readers, “Tony Abbot has been described as a ‘total creep’ after winking at a sex-line pensioner”, and, like the Washington Post, makes reference to his misogynist gaffes against former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2012.

The Huffington Post, too, has branded Abbott a “creep”.

Yesterday, Tony Abbott admitted to the media that he made a mistake by winking. “I will do my best having made a mistake yesterday to make none today,” he said.

In a poll issued by the Sydney Morning Herald, almost 80% of respondents said they thought the PM’s wink was distasteful, with 18% believing it was not worth noting.



It’s well recognised that a conscious wink is a deliberate gesture to suggest something secretive – conspiratorial even (ie: “You and I both understand, while others do not”) but a non-conscious wink – one that is automatic and uncontrolled – is often linked to shame, guilt and wrongdoing.

Think of one of TV’s most renowned comedic characters, Benny Hill. Slapstick antics aside, whenever Hill would deliver ‘that’ wink, he looked more guilt-laden than merely following up a proverbial nudge-nudge. Or Dr Evil in the Austin Powers series with his lazy eyed winking. Then there’s Jerri Blank in the film ‘Strangers With Candy’, winking uncontrollably as she pathetically attempts to stay undercover as a drug-dealer.

Even something as simple as an emoticon wink can have us worried, with texters often concerned whether strangers think they are being too dirty (“sending the wrong message”) if sending a wink instead of a more generic smiley face.

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