SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Tony Abbott's words came as a gift to a Government that's sliding in the polls. The Opposition Leader has given his opponents a way to attack every single thing he says from now until polling day.
The Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was one of the first ministers out of the blocks.
JULIA GILLARD: Well all this spells a lot of risk for Australians. The problem for Australians here of course is they'll never know when Mr Abbott is walking towards microphones and making a statement, whether who's turned up is gospel Tony who's telling the truth or phoney Tony who lies all the time. (I nearly wet myself laughing here.)
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Government minister after Government minister lined up to attack.
CRAIG EMERSON: Mr Abbott has revealed that there are two Tonys - the gospel-truth Tony and the heat-of-the-moment Tony.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Small Business Minister is Craig Emerson.
CRAIG EMERSON: The truth is Mr Abbott has risk written right across his forehead. He's basically saying if it comes out of my mouth and if it comes out of my mind it's a heat-of-the-moment promise and it doesn't count.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Treasurer Wayne Swan gave his take on commercial radio in Adelaide.
WAYNE SWAN: Well I think what happened last night was that Tony Abbott cracked under pressure. He basically said you can't believe a word he says. And I just don't know where that would leave Australia if Tony Abbott was prime minister in the middle of global financial crisis. (More kacking myself here.)
PRESENTER: He didn't quite say that...
WAYNE SWAN: Well I think it was pretty close.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Transport Minister Anthony Albanese:
ANTHONY ALBANESE: And I wonder whether it's phoney Tony or whether he's actually telling the truth.
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Environment Minister Peter Garrett:
PETER GARRETT: And I think it raises serious questions about how seriously you can take somebody who says don't believe what I say; only believe it if someone's written it down for me to say. (This raised a titter.)
SAMANTHA HAWLEY: And so it went on. The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joined in briefly but he knows he doesn't really need to.
KEVIN RUDD: I think it's simply a matter for Mr Abbott to explain what he meant by his remarks last night. As for me I'm getting on with the business of governing the country. (Fecking weasel!)
So, how do you tell a member of the ALP is lying? His/Her lips are moving.