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Another call to dump Turnbull

Another call to dump Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull is riding high in parliament where his glib sarcasm prompted loud guffaws from his gang of backstabbers as they watched Bill Shorten squirm in his seat as he was exposed about many declarations that Labor has no dual/cits in their ranks. But everyone knows Bill will say anything, true or not, that comes into his conniving mind. Not everyone is fooled by Turnbull’s ego driven puffery. He prays that Christmas parties will lull the electorate into a mood of, ‘good will to all mankind’. Next year when reality returns about our dud leader there will be no good will for Turnbull—we hope!

John Stone writes in The Australian:

Let me get this straight: the New England by-election was a great win for Malcolm Turnbull personally, right? And the Queensland election disaster for the Liberal National Party had no implications federally, right? John Barilaro’s call for Turnbull to resign this week was totally irresponsible, right? As for Monday’s Newspoll, Turnbull has never paid any attention to opinion polls, right? And if you tick even one of those questions, let alone all four, I have a great Harbour Bridge to sell you.

Liberals must dump Turnbull — and the only leader who fits is Abbott

The glaring contradiction between the first two of those assertions needs no further comment. As for Barilaro’s views, all the Canberra press gallery yelps of outrage notwithstanding, nobody should have been surprised. In mid-October he had already told his party that, federally, it was “being dragged down by what’s happening with the Liberal Party … Federally, the Libs need to sort themselves out”. So when the Queensland election results translated into a wholesale wipe-out of LNP incumbents, the only surprise was that it took Barilaro to call “time”. If Barnaby Joyce were a leader, he should long ago have made the same point, privately at least, to Turnbull.

As for the polling figures, they speak for themselves, and have been doing so for months. Monday’s Newspoll was merely the latest writing on Turnbull’s prime ministerial wall. The usual Abbott-haters can go on desperately writing that Turnbull still has another half-dozen adverse Newspolls to go before he reaches their talismanic 30 successive ones; or, even more desperately, that he is still ahead of Bill Shorten in the “preferred prime minister” ratings — a metric to which no reputable analyst pays much attention.

Out there in voter-land, however, people long ago made up their minds. Politically speaking, Turnbull is a dead man walking — and in rushing to his support, John Howard should worry about his own reputation. It’s not just that 24 successive Newspolls have shown the Coalition trailing Labor by at least 4 percentage points on a two-party-preferred (2PP) basis. The last 13 showed the gap widening to 6 percentage points or more; and in four of the last five, to 8 points.

The primary vote performance, which I argued here five months ago is basically more important than the 2PP metric, is catastrophic. After barely surviving the last election with a primary vote of 41.8 per cent, for the past 24 polls the Coalition has never exceeded 40 per cent, and for the last 17, it has not exceeded 36 per cent.

To make matters worse for the Coalition, a new threat has now emerged from the same-sex marriage survey. We 4,874,000 No voters accept, of course, that the Marriage Act must be amended. What many of us will not accept, however, is the disgraceful manner in which the Turnbull-Brandis-Pyne coterie oversaw the conduct of the survey, and the even more disgraceful manner in which Turnbull has since brazenly reneged on his clear promise that religious freedoms, including parental rights, would be protected.

On December 16 this new factor will see Labor winning the Bennelong by-election. Labor’s theme urging voters to “Send Turnbull a message” was already biting hard, as the agonised appeal from the Liberals’ NSW division (The Australian, 30/11/17) revealed. But in an electorate where half voted No, a Maronite Christian Australian Conservatives candidate will leach additional votes away from John Alexander, just as One Nation did to the LNP in Queensland.

Some things have now long been obvious. First, Turnbull must go. Second, the sooner the better. Third, his replacement must be from the party’s right (ruling out Julie Bishop). Fourth, as Chris Kenny wrote last month in The Weekend Australian, while there are costs to any leadership change, “one leadership alternative will always remain for the Coalition”: a reversion to “reinstall someone elected in a landslide in 2013 and robbed of a chance at re-election”.

Kenny is right. If the Liberals want to hold Bennelong, they should not only replace Turnbull immediately, but also choose a leader whose own commitment to traditional marriage is unquestionable. Only one person fits: Tony Abbott.

John Stone is a former secretary to the Treasury and former National Party Senate leader.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Lorraine 07/12/2017, 6:41 am

    I see Tony Abbott as the only answer, he will destroy Bill Shorten, and he will destroy the Paris Agreement. both will be very good for Australia. I will vote Australian Conservative as I have given up on the Liberals, but in power it must not be Labor

    • finn 07/12/2017, 10:47 am

      sad eh?

      I used to vote communist before I would vote liberal. Now especially not my old beloved labor party.

      the choice is someone – not some party – wholly agree with Lorraine


  • Cliff 07/12/2017, 6:50 am

    It would almost be worth putting Tony Abbott back as PM just to sit back and enjoy the reaction of the ABC’s ‘groupthink’ talking heads. It would make the US Democrats’ inability to accept the Donald Trump victory pale into insignificance.

    • Gregoryno6 07/12/2017, 8:22 am

      Popcorn with the Christmas pud would likely cause serious indigestion – but I’d be prepared to make that sacrifice.

  • TommyGun 07/12/2017, 6:54 am

    Stone is right; it must be Abbott. Australians hate backstabbers. We always have.

    Trouble is, I can’t vote for “Abbott”…I must vote for the “Coalition”.
    And that I will not do.
    PHON or Aust Conservatives will get my vote, because the rest of the Coalition (apart from Abbott) are a pack of weasels (or, in Joyce’s case, someone who bumlicks the Indonesians) who cannot be trusted.

    • nev 07/12/2017, 9:56 am

      Yes, what to do TG is the question. I tend to go with Lorraine’s thinking, having parked my vote and payed membership with the Australian Conservatives.
      In a perfect world Tony Abbott would jump and be welcomed into AC with a senior position, Cory would gain immeasurable benefit having Abbott at his side maybe some of the younger talent with nowhere to go, may also follow.
      They all must know the Liberals are finished and no leader can change that. The problem is far greater than Turnbull and his 50 or so bed wetters, when he’s gone the disease will still be there, just as nasty and insidious as now.
      This is not the time for band-aids its the time for amputation, courage and common sense.

      • Soroako 07/12/2017, 8:32 pm

        I’d give Nev a 10 out of 10 for his post but have to deduct 1 point because he spelt PAID with a Y and an E!

        From what I recall Corey and Tony did have a discussion last year and shortly after Tony was less than complimentary about the prospects for the Australian Conservatives.

        Corey has a big job in front of him and I hope that support for him will grow [and be sustained] after Turnbull has finished dismantling the Liberal Party.

        In times past I was an admirer of Barnaby but since September 2015 he has fallen under Turnbull’s spell.

        The end of Turnbull’s Coalition Team reign will result in 9-12 years of Labor rule. Hopefully by the time they engineer a republic Professor Triggs won’t be around to accept the role of President.

  • Aktosplatz 07/12/2017, 6:58 am

    Tony Abbott is indeed the best person to lead the Liberals on the very strict condition that the Liberals fall in behind him.

    And that’s the problem. Most of them won’t, because they hate him.

    It’s gone too far, now. The only chance of this happening is when they lose the next election.

    The best thing going for Turnbull, is Shorten. What a ghastly choice for the voters.

  • Gregoryno6 07/12/2017, 8:24 am

    Quite apart from his political acumen, John Stone impresses me with his style. Considering that he was a public servant for most of his adult life he writes clearly and concisely.
    (Have I just damned the man with faint praise? I don’t mean to.)

  • Albert 07/12/2017, 8:27 am

    At last someone in the know is talking sense. Tony Abbott was removed by the infamous 54 led by the greatest political failure this country has ever seen and his removal was based upon lies, misinformation and a carefully crafted illusion that he was a bumbling fool.

    It is sad but the voters took it in, hook-line-and-sinker and, in the main, went along with Turnbull’s waffling deceit. Just a short time earlier Mr Abbott was hailed as a hero when he gave his opposition such a well deserved flogging to bring the Coalition back into power with a numbing majority suddenly became a bumbling idiot who had to be removed.

    It is not Abbott who is the bumbling idiot, it was the voters who turned a blind to his achievements and backed his removal, thereby turning the country to merde. It is the voters of this country who are to blame for the mess we are in as a result of having an incompetent political disaster who has failed every test of leadership and common sense.

    Bring back Tony Abbot? Too bloody right.

  • Geoff Unicomb 07/12/2017, 9:04 am

    The ‘backstabbers’ do not want TA back, for one very important reason, that they fear – they will all go to the back bench, as they should. TA could then promote rising stars, such as Andrew Hastie.
    However, being such a decent bloke, he would probably leave the ‘backstabbers’ where they are.

    • Tom 07/12/2017, 10:33 pm

      I would sincerely hope that he has put all that ‘nice guy’ rubbish behind him if he was ever given a second chance, Geoff. However, I fear you may be right.

  • Margaret 07/12/2017, 9:30 am

    Turnbull no longer has GetUp! support. Turnbull never had grass roots support.

  • Joe Blogs 07/12/2017, 10:55 am

    Given what we now know about the character of the Gang of 54’s “stars”, if we could turn back the clock to 2013, Abbott would be a shoo-in and Trumble & Co would be a shoo-out of Cabinet. If only … (sigh) …

    But it’s not 2013 and although Abbott’s the only realistic hope the Libs have, he’d be nuts to take on that untrustworthy, incompetent rabble and expect them to help repair the damage. Which of the remaining 35, in order to try to clear the slate, would apologise for betraying him for a renowned false prophet and failure, and pledge their unconditional support?

    The Libs – not to mention the country – have suffered enormous collateral damage at the hands of Trumble and the G54 and it will take a Herculean unified effort to save the party from itself. For the sake of his family and his own peace of mind, I hope Abbott tells them to find themselves another patsy.

    • Aktosplatz 07/12/2017, 7:51 pm

      Absolutely JB. The Liberal Party Leadership is now a Poisoned Chalice.

  • nev 07/12/2017, 10:22 pm

    Thank you Soroako , welcome your correction, a very truncated education leaves my spelling a disaster although thankfully people sometimes are able to get my drift.
    You mentioned a less than complimentary note from T A regarding the Australian Conservatives. I think this is an important point with TA, subtle but very concerning to me. I have been fortunate to have had a reasonable email conversation with both TA and Turnball and I have noticed there seems to be a stubborn tin ear aspect to TA’s outlook that sways him to make silly (foot in mouth statements that he won’t with draw from) that end up an anchor around his neck. Decent man that he is.

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