Voters in the Wentworth Electorate this coming Saturday (October 20) will have their say on the toppling of their popular member Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister.
If the Liberal candidate, Turnbull backed David Sharma, fails to win the two-party preferred vote, an unstable “hung” parliament will result in which the Coalition could lose a workable majority, and need to call an early election for voters to resolve.
The present impasse has come about by the intransigence of the Coalition right faction, powered by Conservative Media, whose over-riding goal has been to remove Malcolm Turnbull from the Leadership.
Their carping over almost everything he has or hasn’t done, includes:
- Criticism of him for using a Postal Ballot on Gay-Marriage, to determine the will of the people on this contentious issue.
- Accusing him of abandoning core Liberal principles, and implementing Labor policies when he improved funding for the National Disability Scheme, adopted Gonski recommendations on education funding, and imposed a fiscally responsible levy on the major banks.
- Accusing him of lacking moral fibre because as an avowed Republican he decided not to raise this issue in the life of the present beloved Queen.
- Although the Right opposed the bipartisan agreement with Labor for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders after a referendum, they labelled him lacking in leadership when he abandoned the idea after the Uluru Statement “From the Heart” created controversy over their wish to have a voice on framing Indigenous Policies.
- When he sought to uphold ministerial standards of conduct in the wake of Barnaby Joyce’s indiscretions, he was mocked for sermonizing.
- Whilst undermining his efforts to unite the Party they repeatedly taunted him over his failure to end Labor’s narrow lead over the Coalition in two party preferred terms, even although the Coalition was consistently ahead in the primary vote, and Turnbull always polled ahead of Shorten as preferred Prime Minister.
- They implied that it was Turnbull, not the Right, who influenced his friend and appointee, former Chairman of the ABC Justin Milne, to sack the Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, and to seek the dismissal of two ABC journalists for presentations critical of government policy.
- They even blamed him for allowing the Australian Bureau of Statistics to use the Internet to accept returns for the 2016 Census, after the website crashed.
- It has been the Right’s obdurate stance on Climate Change that has proved to be his Achilles heel. They have insisted on more coal power generation, even although Private enterprise is not at present willing to invest in new coal mines, and/or new coal-fired power stations, so it would need to be at tax-payer expense.
You might have thought that the perverse Right would have softened their anti-Turnbull rhetoric after their conquest. If they were magnanimous, they might even have thanked him for his contributions. But no! They have become too mean-spirited!
Despite not being able to give a credible reason for replacing him, and indeed trumpeting the significant economic achievements of his administration compared to Labor, his detractors have continued to belittle him.
Ungracious in Victory.
• He has been blamed for his own demise by not contesting the second leadership ballot, saying he abandoned the Party by resigning.
• He has been blamed for endorsing David Sharma as the Liberal candidate for Wentworth in the face of Scott Morrison’s wish for a female candidate.
• He has been denounced for attacking Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd by saying that deposed Prime Ministers who stay around after their defeat to create dissent were like miserable ghosts.
• He has been held responsible for his Son Alex suggesting that Wentworth voters should not vote for the Liberal candidate at Saturday’s by-election.
• In their opinion, because he refrained from campaigning for the Liberals after resigning from politics, it will be his responsibility should the Liberals fail to win the safe seat of Wentworth on Saturday, and his doing if Labor then wins the next election.
My perception is that under an autocratic Abbott, the Liberal Party was becoming the defender of privilege, rather than the champion of private enterprise and the supporter of battlers.
In contrast, under Turnbull, social issues have were addressed, whilst at the same time, the economy improved on many fronts, a feat which proves the Coalition’s better management of the economy compared with Labor, but in the eyes of the Right, no kudos to Turnbull.
Post Turnbull, the key issue for me at the next election is the bullying way in which he was executed. To what extent can we blame Alan Jones, and kindred opinion makers for the bullying culture that infiltrated Liberal ranks?
I only wish we could vote Jones out of his office as the Supremo of invective. He is always right, reluctant to ever back down, and it is time politicians stopped meekly deferring to him.
In the end however, it was not the antipathy of the parliamentary Right to his leadership that unseated Turnbull, but the betrayal of his previously loyal deputy Scott Morrison with a Judas-like embrace. Perhaps he and others cannot be blamed for this. After all. Carpe diem! (Seize the day!!). But only time will tell how durable their grasp on power will prove?