Prognostications about the mind of the High Court and the fate of Barnaby Joyce having joined the long list of his failures, one might think the party of Malcolm Turnbull would be mulling a new leader. Alas, common sense and the survival instinct, like principle, are alien to the Liberal In Name Only crew
The last few days have brought Team Turnbull yet another bad poll. Tick-tock, tick-tock. In terms of calendar months, rather than number of polls, Prime Minister Turnbull’s government has now been behind Labor for pretty much as long as Prime Minister Abbott had been when Turnbull and the 54 bedwetters defenestrated a first-term Liberal PM – giving as their reason that he had been too long behind in the polls. A truly pathetic rationale, I know, for any political party that thinks about long-term party unity. Or medium term for that matter. Heck, that thinks past the end of the calendar year.
But there you have it. And an eternal truth about human nature, what all the Niki Savva-like critics of us Delcons try to wish away but never will, is that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Turnbull will be without any legitimacy inside his own party once bad poll 30 arrives. Indeed, as I noted above, Malcolm has already served as much consecutive ‘bad poll’ time as Abbott had when the George Brandis and Christopher Pyne wing of ‘Labor-lite Libs R Us’ decided to appease the ABC, defenestrate Tony and install a man who seems to lack a single conservative view. It is only by the grace of Newscorp, and the much slower and less frequent rate at which they are conducting polls, that Team Turnbull has not already suffered some 30 bad polls in a row.
Other than the usual suspects of Niki Savva, PVO, David Crowe, Paul Kelly and those in paid employment with the Liberal Party, is there anyone who does not recognise Malcolm as a dead man walking? You can’t even pretend Turnbull’s unpopularity has anything to do with forcing through needed tough medicine. This is a government that has thrown billions of dollars at an idiotic submarine contract in a bid (hopefully unsuccessfully) to retain Christopher Pyne’s seat and that has attacked the superannuation system in a way that means spending a working life’s saving $1 million puts you in the equivalent net position as someone saving $400,000 (once you account for the Age Pension) which cuts to the heart of, well, thrift, hard work and basic Liberal Party beliefs while making all Kelly O’Dwyer’s recent assurances that the government won’t attack superannuation again simultaneously pathetic and unbelievable.
Oh, and this is a government that can’t get the budget to surplus in any realistic way (as opposed to ‘we’ll grow our way to surplus’ platitudes), even with ever more taxes – sorry, ‘budget savings’ as our Big Government Treasurer Scott Morrison, a la Wayne Swann, likes to call them – and can’t rid us of the impoverishing RET, and does nothing about the patently leftward biased ABC nor the various inroads that have been made into free speech in this country. Indeed, this government is authoring some of those speech-stifling inroad! And that’s just the start of the list of ineptitudes and Labor-lite decisions emanating from this most leftist of Liberal governments. Hey, but they’re a millimetre better than Shorten right?
Yet still there are no murmurs of a spill or a ‘give to Turnbull what he himself dished out’ within the Liberal partyroom. Why?
a) Is it because too many Coalition MPs have resigned themselves to defeat and figure another year and a bit with all these perks is better than rocking the boat?
b) Is it because it turns out that the Liberal partyroom is chock full of Labor-lite MPs who hate conservatives at least as much as they hate Labor, possibly more, and don’t really want to protect free speech, cut spending, shrink government, encourage thrift or challenge the perverse consequences of unthinking global warming hysteria?
c) Is it a function of the fact that far too many Liberal candidates are pre-selected from the narrowest of gene pools – political staffers, no successful career in anything else beforehand, think tanks, and of course lawyers – and don’t really hold any principles as sufficiently important to imperil their own positions by speaking out against bad government policy or, heaven forbid, crossing the floor?
d) Is it sheer cowardice, or stupidity?
e) Is it all of the above?
Lest you be tempted to put this woeful policy record down solely to our puffed-up and comparatively democratically deficient Senate (and I put myself second to none in thinking our Upper House is a big, big problem), let me disabuse you of that conceit. You see, when it comes to appointments to key positions – the ABC, the Human Rights Commission (‘HRC’), the judiciary, the list goes on – this Team Turnbull government is wholly unconstrained by the Senate. It was this supposedly Liberal government that appointed Ed Santow to the HRC as the so-called ‘Freedom Commissioner’, with no veto or input from the Senate – a man who has said not a word in defence of Bill Leak or the QUT students. Ditto Herr Turnbull’s unconstrained-by-the-Senate choices of Michelle Guthrie and Justin Milne to run the Green-Left TV Collective, aka ‘our’ ABC (when Guthrie bags the mooted media reforms and sees no bias anywhere one can only smile.)
Again, the same goes for picking Alan Finkel and David Gonski to deliver reports. It makes you wonder if Brandis and Turnbull actually know any conservatives, or least any they don’t hold in evident contempt. Because they sure don’t appoint any to anything important. (Note: The Abbott government wasn’t great on this front either, Lord knows why, but it was better than the current mob of ‘Liberals in Name Only’.) And on the same theme, if after what happened to Bill Leak and the three QUT students you can’t even bring yourself to close down the HRC and put “Call-me-and-complain-Tim” out of work, or even try to do so, then you might at least pick a president more obviously supportive of free speech and less in thrall to international, judge-driven, democracy-enervating human rights ideas than Rosalind Croucher!
Run your eye over those names above and tell me which ones Labor couldn’t have appointed. Good luck. And that had nothing to do with the Senate.
So if someone claims that this is the worst collection of Liberal Party politicians in Australian history, what would you say in response? Meanwhile the bad polls keep coming.