Abbott’s Gotcha Turnbull, Gimmick!

It matters little that despite the drawback of incumbency, Malcolm Turnbull has stayed ahead of Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister since the last election. Nor is it relevant, it would seem, that the weekly Roy Morgan polls with a superior track record of prediction accuracy, have the result of a federal poll held now, as too close to call, with 51% to the ALP, and 49% to the L-NP on a two-party preferred count. Furthermore in current polls the L-NP has a higher primary vote than the ALP.

Political parties mostly only change leaders when they are perceived to no longer have what it takes to win the next election. Polls may be a guide, but many leaders have been re-elected despite a sequence of negative poll results. Turnbull has proved willing to listen to all views,  and has established a sound democratic cabinet-based decision making system.  He has also been able to negotiate across factions and parties to achieve the passage of a remarkable number of legislative items. It is in the interest of all Australians that he has reduced unemployment, and strengthened the economy.

There is a simple logic to Tony Abbott’s contention that since Turnbull quoted 30 negative Newspoll results as a reason for mounting his leadership challenge, he should now stand down himself, for having equalled this record. It is a Gotcha cry, that has been taken up by a critical media, with a great deal of speculation as to who would become the next Prime Minister.  It is a deeply unfair catch-cry since it is Abbott himself who must bear much of the blame for the series of negative poll results, by creating dissension within Coalition ranks.

Tomorrow (9 April 2018), is to be a gala-day of celebrations of the 30th negative Newspoll outcome for Malcolm Turnbull. Tony Abbott will be in his Lycra, cycling with mates for charity in the Latrobe Valley, to also lobby for the construction of a replacement coal-fired power station at Hazelwood. A less composed Malcolm Turnbull is likely to be inundated with a journalistic barrage of difficult questions.

Perhaps creating this humiliation for Malcolm Turnbull will be savoured more by Peta Credlin, Abbott’s chief of staff when he was Prime Minister, than himself. Peta Credlin has probably not been given enough credit for her part in tirelessly guiding, supporting, and protecting him when he was in office. She has received much criticism, not always fair, for this; and lost her influential public service position when Turnbull launched his successful bid for the leadership. To her credit she has been able to establish herself in the media, but she undoubtedly aspires to a career in politics as a conservative.

I would like to think that the conservatives, after making their point, will unite behind the leadership, but fear this is unlikely.

Categories: Political Views

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