Hence, unless in the unlikely event that he pulls the plug himself, Turnbull will probably survive for much of this year. But this will be only by default — with the present PM being little more than a Labor-lite seatwarmer until the next election, which the Coalition is likely to lose by at least 20 seats, many of them in Queensland…” Turnbull keeping seat warm
Random Note — The Libs
This is our country they’re messing with. The lack of judgement of the party room and it’s failure or it’s inability or just plain stupidity and determination to admit the problem, to read the room as it were as well as the social and political cues, is about to take the nation (and the Liberal Party) over the cliff.
It’s time the leader of the Liberal Party was taken out of the hands of the party room and elected by party members, as it’s quite apparent that the radar of judgement of those in the hermetically sealed party room bubble is awry and spinning wildly out of whack with middle Australia.
This exercise in democracy would have the added bonus of increasing membership as it would rengage the disenfranchised and disgruntled who feel betrayed and simply expected to hand over their annual subs and man polling booths. They would feel they had some ownership and interest in the party and that they were being listened to.
Below is an extract from Ross Fitzgerald’s column in today’s Australian.
“…The federal Coalition promised to end Labor’s political cannibalism but is led by someone who cut down a democratically elected prime minister when the polls were actually better than they are now. For much of last year, his barrackers said Turnbull had to be supported because the alternative was Shorten. Yet what’s becoming more and more obvious is that the surest way to get Shorten as PM is to keep Turnbull as Liberal leader.
As they contemplate their likely return to opposition, Liberal MPs’ present thinking is that their worst option would be to imitate Labor by restoring the leader who took them to government. For two years, to justify the Turnbull coup, Tony Abbott has been rubbished as a poor prime minister — even though border protection, free trade agreements, national security and jobs growth remain the government’s strong suit. Moreover, Turnbull’s failure has been explained by Abbott’s destabilising — even though Abbott has every right to speak his mind from the backbench.
Unlike Turnbull, Abbott has a proven record as a campaigner and of the present crop is the one political warrior who would encourage Hanson and Bernardi voters to return, or at least feel comfortable directing preferences to the Coalition. But why would Abbott want to come back to lead a party that lacked the magnanimity to offer him a cabinet job and risk going into history as an election loser?
Just before parliament returns, Turnbull will most likely make a “reset” speech proclaiming a new year of strong government and jobs growth. He’ll promise gain without pain: personal income tax cuts paid for by a growth dividend. If Shorten is smart, he’ll match this and say he can do it responsibly by tackling the negative gearing and capital gains tax rorts that “Mr Harbourside Mansion” wants to protect. Turnbull’s pitch will boil down to “You can’t trust Shorten”, but that works only if voters think they can trust Turnbull.
There’s no doubt that the loss of 30 Newspolls (due in early April) will rock the government. Julie Bishop may well test the waters only to conclude her partyroom supporters are also Turnbull’s. Peter Dutton may similarly test the waters, only to decline the deals with Bishop and other MPs that would be needed to get the numbers. From the younger brigade, there’s Josh Frydenberg, Christian Porter and Greg Hunt, but all three need to accumulate more political capital and garner more parliamentary support.