The word YET should be added to this sentence “…Tony Abbott does not have the support base within his own party..” because if and when this day comes, nothing will focus the mind of Liberals in the partyroom than looking down the barrel of an ignominious defeat and flashbacks to what was the landslide of 2013
“..Political parties come and go. Minor parties tear themselves apart on an almost annual basis. The Liberal Party has been a monolith in Australian politics since 1948 but that does not mean it has a guaranteed future. In a sense it is its own worst enemy, a collective gaggle of participants from the Menzian centre to the outer reaches of the spectrum on the right.
These were the conditions found within the Labor Party post-WWII and led to the split of 1954-55, keeping Labor from forming a viable alternative government for nearly two decades.
Prior to World War II conservative parties in Australia came and went, often tearing themselves apart over weaknesses in administration and brawling over policy and ideology.
Now the Liberal Party is fighting a battle on two fronts — Labor and the Greens to the left, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to the right. If PHON gets five to ten per cent of the federal vote in the next election and this appears likely, that leaves the Liberal Party’s primary vote dangerously low.
I would argue the Liberal Party has never found itself in the position of vulnerability it is experiencing now.
Come February of next year, Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership will come under heightened scrutiny if the government continues to come a poor second in Newspoll.
It was Turnbull himself who established Newspoll as the marker for leadership of the party. Losing 30 Newspolls in a row was the primary justification for knocking off Tony Abbott. How Turnbull must regret that remark now.
It is a political axiom that what goes up must come down. The problem for Turnbull is that he has never reached lofty heights of popularity and after his narrow win in the 2016 election, he remains mired in stultifying lows.
Of course for this scenario to play out, there is an assumption Malcolm Turnbull’s government will remain in the negative in Newspoll and this may not be the case. But the Prime Minister is sandbagging against the eventuality, claiming there were other markers for ousting Abbott, the return of inclusive cabinet government, sound economic policy et cetera etc.
But we all know what he said and it will not be forgotten.
Alternative leaders who could seamlessly move into the Lodge while keeping the baying within the party down to a dull roar are as scarce as rocking horse excreta.
Julie Bishop? Malcolm Turnbull in stilettoes. No solution there.
Tony Abbott does not have the support base within his own party and there remain grave concerns about his ability to lead in government. Still, optimists might recall he won the 2013 election in a near landslide while Turnbull could only muster a one-seat majority. Libs Never As Vulnerable As Now