How much value do we put in polls nowadays? A left leaning paper like The Guardian likely asked the question in the refectory of a university campus between sociology and philosophy lectures. Having said that the latest news on a Tony Abbott challenge to PM Malcolm Turnbull is spooking the media. Best crank up the “everyone hates you” and “”why don’t you just quit” rhetoric to try to pressure ministers and liberal back benchers to keep Turnbull there. Still the Guardian doesn’t report 57% want him to stay 43% want him to quit!
It is hard not to be amused (but appalled) at the recent gaffes. From Christopher Pyne’s cheap shot address saying the conservative left is in charge and gay marriage (this piece isn’t arguing the rights and wrongs) was going to happen quicker than everyone thinks (i.e. An election promise would be happily broken) to Turnbull saying he’d quit politics if ousted as leader. Turnbull was really trying to give Abbott a hint to return to a life outside politics at the same time threatening his flunkies to tow the line because a by-election in his seat would see the Libs lose the one seat majority they have. Treasurer Scott Morrison talks as if the public has no idea how cordial and united the party is under Turnbull when everyone knows better.
The main problem with the “Turnbull Coalition” (evidence enough it’s all about him) is that it is Labor Party lite. His backers could in reality serve in either party such is their ideological similarity. Turnbull could have joined the Labor Party but his Point Piper mansion and Goldman Sachs links make him unpalatable to the working class battler.
So now true conservatives have no real choice but to abandon a Coalition ship that no longer sails in their direction. Instead of minimalist government and laissez-faire policies of a true conservative party, the Turnbull Coalition wants more government and higher deficits. While a feral Senate makes passing austerity bills tough, Turnbull champions his achievements (what little there are) with no thought to the extra billions required to buy off his elites.
Tony Abbott is a man who is sick of seeing the party he’s dedicated decades to be hijacked by the left. He wants the party to go back to its core principles. Would he win the next election as leader? Probably not but he’d save many more seats than Turnbull who boasts he’ll win the 2019 election. Sadly the damage done to the Libs is monumental. The party is divided and voters are sick of it.
A PM Bill Shorten is almost a guarantee, not so much because he is a popular choice to Turnbull (he isn’t) but the fact the Libs stench is too foul. Even at the local level, support (i.e. membership) for the Liberal Party is collapsing. Take Senator Cory Bernardi who split from the Libs to set up the Australian Conservatives – “In South Australia, we already have one half the number of members in the Liberal Party, which is pretty good after a month, and about two-thirds of what the Labor Party has, and that’s just in this state. So we are building from a very strong position.”
What we do know is that Turnbull has turned out exactly as thought. He is the complete opposite of what he told us he would be when the coup took place and somehow polls don’t matter for him when they were the key reason to shoot Abbott. Abbott on the other hand cares for his party as much as he’s accused of being a wrecker he wants to provide a real alternative to Labor as the mass defections to One Nation and Australian Conservatives demonstrate. If I had to put money on a winner there will be none. On a who loses less basis, Tony Abbott has principle on his side and sadly Turnbull’s lack of judgement will see him put almost every foot wrong.
What people forget is that politicians are supposed to serve their constituents not themselves. Sadly Turnbull’s ambition to be PM was for his own ego but he will not to go down in history as one of the greatest leaders of our country. In fact I’m struggling to see who is worse – Turnbull or Gillard. In terms of party wrecking ball, Mr Turnbull takes the wooden spoon.