Whilst the social contract of this representative democracy requires me to recognize him as Prime Minister, and all which that entails in terms of leadership, I do not have to like him, only obey. I would be permitted to criticize him, I would be permitted to tell anyone how horrible I think he might be - but I cannot.
It is not from some sort of patriotism, since we are both English, or love of Oxford University, since he was a Rhodes Scholar. If what I am told about some of his policies is true, particularly the environmental, laboral and asylum seeker ones, then it is far from being because I agree with him. It is both simpler and more complex: I cannot go around criticizing him casually, because he is my brother.
"Your surname is not Abbott!" That is true. We do not share biological parents. He is instead my brother in a way that is at least as real: he and I are both Catholic. As I outlined elsewhere, an important practical consequence of sharing that crucial element in common is that we are brothers, and I must put up with him as a brother.
It could be objected at this point that I am not acting in line with other important Catholics, such as bishops, laypeople and even one of Pope Francis' inner-circle, the highest ranking Catholic in the country (up until very recently), George Cardinal Pell. They have all criticised Tony Abbott for this, that or the other (see here and here, just as examples). Without presuming to judge them for their actions, I still find I cannot go out in public and proclaim distaste. There is nothing in Church teaching that forbids speaking out against a brother in public (indeed, within the confines of the Christian community, it is mandated, after due private rebukes), and yet, I still find that it is not my place.
Jesus is said to be both lion and lamb, and as good rule of thumb for when to imitate him in lion-ness or lamb-ness is whether one is confronting a harmful idea, action or policy (in which case, lion), or a fellow sinner, to which one is like the Agnus Dei (qui tollis peccata mundi - misere nobis). One could quite reasonably say that I should, in fact, speak out against some of his godless policies, the ones that the Church has spoken out against. Part of why I do not is general ignorance: I do not understand the complex political issues of today well enough to deem myself having rid my own eye of the plank, before rebuking my brother's splinter, or as Jesus says:
"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye." (Mt. 7)
Ignorance aside, and noting the importance of fighting the inward battle before the outward one, there is another important reason why I find it tough on my conscience to criticize my brother, and here I think much on the political left is to blame. I am generally quite capable of disagreeing with someone's views without attacking them as a person, but the left has confused policy with politician, meaning an attack on one is an attack on the other. I will not attack my brother in public, so I find it difficult to attack any erroneous policies he might have.
So, whenever I complain about Tony Abbott's statement on this or that, and I have done so occasionally, I try and do so to my other brothers and sisters, not in public accusations, and I do so minimally. It is not, at this point in time, my place to criticize the Abbott.