Barnaby Joyce today called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stand down from the leadership if the Coalition fails to overtake Labor in the polls by Christmas. His gratuitous advice shows how desperately some Conservatives want him gone. Since no one is prepared to challenge him for the leadership, he must be persuaded to voluntarily resign. It is clear evidence that unless he does, his every move will continue to be mercilessly criticised in the media.
Although he did not say so, they expect Malcolm Turnbull to base his decision on further two-party preferred polls by Newspoll, since today’s result (ALP 52%, L-NP 48%) was the 30th in which the Coalition has trailed Labor, and equalled the Tony Abbott sequence of negative polls.
No allowance will be made for the fact that Malcolm Turnbull has consistently out-polled Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister, the Coalition is leading Labor in the Primary Vote, and Roy Morgan polls with a better election prediction record show the difference of ALP 51%, L-NP 49% to be too close to call. And of course the only poll that really matters is the election.
It is not Malcolm Turnbull who should resign because Conservatives demand it, but Tony Abbott, if he is to be a man of his word.
When he lost the leadership ballot he gave a firm and repeated undertaking not to destabilize ongoing leadership. It is he who must now give reason why he has not done so. It is the damaging dissension he is creating that will almost certainly result in the Coalition continuing to lag in the two-party preferred Newspoll results, and result in its election defeat.
It is possible that an election will be called in the wake of a favourable May budget for middle income earners. It is appropriate that Australians have their say sooner rather than later, in the light of the Coalition split. Hopefully this will end the distasteful wrangling between the Coalition factions.