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August 21st 2018 print

James Allan

Sly, not Smart, and Going Down

Turnbull is now just a few party-room votes away from getting his marching orders. A rash of Cabinet resignations would speed that exit and establish for the record those best qualified to begin repairing the immense damage this Prime Minister has wrought, not least bringing back the base

drowning rat IISo it was 48-35 for the Black Hand gang and its various hangers-on in today’s Liberal Party leadership spill.   Mr. Turnbull might be just about the most incompetent politician ever when it comes to choosing policies that appeal to his supporters and his party’s base and then defending them in the court of public opinion.  But put Malcolm into the Machiavellian world of provoking or fighting off leadership spills and the man comes into his own.  He can white-ant and leak and undermine a first-term PM who won a huge majority better than anyone.

Make him the target of others who might want his leader’s mantle and a prodigious rat cunning comes into play.  It was a tactical move of immense intelligence to vacate the leadership at the start of today’s party room meeting, and then force a vote of MPs a week or so before the challengers were ready.  You can expect the Prime Minister’s office to go into overdrive undermining the naysayers from today forward too, by which I mean even more than usual for those outside his Black Hand inner circle.

Hence, give credit where credit is due. This was a nice move by Malcolm Turnbull to strike against Peter Dutton a few days before he was ready to force a spill.  That said, it’s hard to see how a 13-vote win – meaning the dissenters need only sway 7 more MPs – can provide Malcolm with any comfort, not even when he gets home. Lucy must be livid.

You’d be a brave person to bet he’s anything other than a dead man walking.  Well, let me revise that claim. You see Malcolm could take the pseudo advice of that great pundit Peter van Onselen (he who said Trump would lose; the Brexit vote would fail; Julia Gillard would be a great PM and role model for his daughter; and that Turnbull would be a gifted and wonderful PM – in other words, the man whose every prediction is wrong as wrong can be).  PVO notes that Turnbull could, and just maybe should, run off to the Governor-General and call an election. That would stop any future leadership challenge. God knows, Malcolm is just possibly vindicative and vituperative enough to do that, and then watch as the Coalition is absolutely smashed.  Sure, he’d still be tossed out as PM and the Liberal Party would be annihilated, but he’d certainly get the satisfaction of showing those damned conservatives what they get for trifling with the gift to the world he imagines himself to be.

Nah, I don’t buy that even Turnbull would do that — though Lord knows, van Onselen has to be correct about something at some point.

At any rate, assuming Turnbull doesn’t opt to take the whole party down with him, call it the PVO option, it is hard to see how he can survive another five or six weeks. The bad polls will keep coming.  At some point even the 50-odd brain-dead Liberal MPs will realise they can no longer stick with Mssrs Turnbull, Pyne, Birmingham et al.

To speed up this necessary collapse, how about some of those in Cabinet and the outer ministry resigning and going to the backbench, as Dutton has done?  Otherwise aren’t they just hypocrites?  Come on, you conservatives who voted for Dutton. We have a very good idea who you are.  Have some self-respect, exhibit a bit of principle and go to the backbench now.

You’ll be speeding Malcolm’s end.  Can’t aim for better than that.

Comments [27]

  1. Jody says:

    Tony Abbott is finished whatever happens. You should have heard Amanda Vanstone talking about him tonight!! Phew!! Yes, he’s had more positions on climate change than the Karma Sutra. Anyway, Dutton will take the job then lose the election and his own seat and ScoMo will take over as opposition leader. Shorten can expect no stability with a hostile Senate and a population who despises climate science politics – and a government of revenge with a long memory. A first world country like Australia, rich in energy, was always always going to be in political crisis with climate change politics. We’ve had 10 years of it and should expect another 10 of the same kind of upheaval.

    As Vanstone said about Dutton…”he’s in a marginal seat and hasn’t been able to make an impact there – how do you imagine he’s going to be able to make an impression on the rest of Australia”? She’s a smart woman!!

    • Peter C says:

      Jody, Tony Abbott is worth very, very, very much more to Australia and our good futures than ever Vanstone and Labor/green Turnbull ever will be. Vanstone will be remembered with much scorn as is Labor/green very sly and devious Turnbull. I could never vote for Turnbull but would very readily and very pleased to vote for either Tony Abbott or Peter Dutton Peter C

    • whitelaughter says:

      hasn’t made an impact? He’s held a contested seat for 18 years, despite the 2006 redistribution shifting the seats demographics against him. Compare that to Turubull, who had an over 10% swing against him when he was parachuted into Wentworth.

  2. ianl says:

    Jody, she of the “feelings” and “something in the air” on anthropogenic climate change, now pretends to know that “climate change” policy is inevitably disruptive for another, further decade. Oh dear, such a flip flop.

    It’s been absolutely destructive for over two decades now. The electric razoo of “saving the planet” has destroyed the integrity of hard science, destroyed what little honesty the MSM may have possessed, destroyed the trust (such as it was) of the electorate and the economic optimism generated by the earlier decade-long mining boom. It has split generations, split families, generated toxicity of a concentration even more intense than the Vietnam war, squandered $$billions and made wasteland of Aus State/Federal structures. It has acted as political heroin. And none of this was unpredicted, unforseen or unexpected – over twenty years of the many Cassandras’ unheeded wails.

    Yet somehow the vainglorious self-appointed bureaucratic/media class still think it’s all only a matter of political personality. Just observe the absolute incoherence now evident, such as seen in Jody’s embitteredness. There is no simple comeback from this, the scorched ground of irreconcilable differences. A generation or two minimum of painful rebuilding – if the Chinese let us, rather than simply doing it themselves, as they need the raw materials.

  3. Keith Kennelly says:

    Scott Morrison

    Have you forgotten the duplicitous roll he played in knifing the noble Abbott and bringing is Turnbull.’

    • Jody says:

      “Duplicitous”? That’s a big word for you.

    • Jody says:

      You know bugger all about what you’re talking about. You need to stop listening to Ray Hadley. On the other hand, he’s at your cognitive level.

      • Keith Kennelly says:


        Most words in here are too big for you.

        One in particular


        Oh I’m watching fox. Seems Scott is remaining as treasurer. I guess He’ll suddenly grow the same backbone of the leader, as he did under Abbott and Turnbull.

        Seems Abbott may be deputy, my bet is therefore still alive if he fills in for the PM and Nationals Leader.

        • Jody says:

          Your comments remind me of the school bully with the big head…”take that…and that…”. Poking out the tongue is another of your tricks from the schoolyard. The typical infantile response is copy what I’ve said. A sad and tragic man. Please god, don’t make you any less marriageable than you already are!!

  4. sabena says:

    If Turnbull decides to call an early election,as James foreshadows, it does not follow that if Turnbull advises the Governor General that an election for the House of Representatives should be held,that the GG has to accept that advice.This is because it is arguable that the advice tendered is tainted with an improper purpose,namely to prevent any further challenge to Turnbull’s leadership.
    There have been occasions in the past where a Governor has refused the head of government a dissolution in similar circumstances-they are detailed in Anne Twomeys book The Veiled Sceptre

  5. Jody says:

    You old fogies who write on here are about the only demographic Abbott has left; relics of 1955. Extreme right. Ultra conservative. Go back to your knitting.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Is that you Nikki?

      • Doubting Thomas says:

        Nah, Nikki only writes once a week.

      • Jody says:

        No, she’s waaay younger than you are. You probably wouldn’t identify the modern words she uses.

        • Keith Kennelly says:

          Really how dumb is Trumbull

          Rule out Peter Dutton. And he thinks that will advantage Morriso

          Doesn’t he realise that invites Abbott into the position to challenge and at the moment

          He win hands down with the stupidity of Morrison and his mate Trumbull on open display.

          How would either of those two with their naivety on such open display manage to win a cake raffle let alone an election.

          And that is what the challenge is all about.

          Winning the next election.

    • Keith Kennelly says:

      We older men have names for silly old women too. But they are unmentionable here because they may be sexist, ageist or downright filthy.


  6. Keith Kennelly says:

    And Nikki doesn’t use swear words.

  7. Jimbob says:

    Dear Mr Abbott

    To repeat and earlier comment….what have you got to lose? Please don’t wait for the next Newspoll and please don’t worry about the viciousness of your detractors. It is a good sign – it shows you’re on the right track! Despite what Jody writes, she’ll survive…..

  8. Jody says:

    The 1955 malcontents of “Quadrant” will have a momentary pleasure with Mr. Potato Head. But that’s all. And you can take that to the bank.

    • Len says:

      Keep going Jody. I find your imitation of a footstamping overgrown schoolgirl lifelike and entertaining. If you want to broaden your repertoire you can always try clog dancing. Like Mr Tumbril you are of course the only one in step.

  9. Keith Kennelly says:

    Really how dumb is Trumbull

    Rule out Peter Dutton. And he thinks that will advantage Morriso

    Doesn’t he realise that invites Abbott into the position to challenge and at the moment

    He win hands down with the stupidity of Morrison and his mate Trumbull on open display.

    How would either of those two with their naivety on such open display manage to win a cake raffle let alone an election.

    And that is what the challenge is all about.

    Winning the next election.

  10. Keith Kennelly says:


    I have loving relationships that don’t need the imprimatur of marriage.

    Do you?

    And I’m wondering what sort of psycho spasm you’ll go onto when Abbott is again PM