Trump praised Turnbull as a great leader, one very comfortable to sit on. Now Turnbull has returned to Australia to face a budget which was supposed to be the ultimate political fix, but which, in the brief period he was overseas, was rapidly turning into yet another tin full of worms, the annelids being the Abbottian delcons of the lunar right.
Even as he prepared to remove the velvet glove from his iron fist, Malcolm Turnbull spoke more in sorrow than in anger : ‘the market is not working as it should,’ he mourned.
No shortage of announceables for Malcolm Turnbull last week – he announced as if his life depended on it. Which, in political terms, it well may – it was obviously no coincidence that the spate of proclamations coincided with the latest Newspoll.
The most depressing aspect of the very public stoush between cabinet ministers and their claques over allowing house-hunters to access their superannuation for deposits is that it has happened at all.
Another distraction, but what a distraction. Donald Trump’s impulsive missile strike on the assets of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad threw a huge dead pig into the international ring, even more rivetingly as no-one – least of all Trump himself – has any idea how it will eventually play out.
Well it wasn’t what was hoped for, and certainly not what was required; but it was better than nothing. That was the objective assessment of Malcolm Turnbull’s week – indeed, the entire Autumn session of parliament, perhaps even his whole political career.
Malcolm Turnbull should follow the sensible example of Donald Trump. No, this is not the message from Cory Bernardi, George Christensen and Pauline Hanson, nor the lunar right of Fox News and the Murdoch Press. It is the sober assessment of pragmatists.
Having been rabbiting on for weeks about energy, Malcolm Turnbull has finally managed to summon up a little for himself. True, his big announcements about gas and hydro last week were more sound and fury than action. But at least he can say that he is being seen to be doing something. That’s a start.
Malcolm Turnbull has always been a glass-half-full kind of guy, so he probably woke up on Sunday morning thinking that the result in Western Australia was not all bad.
A corner has been turned, a bridge has been crossed, a line has been drawn. Australian politics has changed: the idea that Malcolm Turnbull could be replaced as Liberal leader is no longer unthinkable.
For most of the time, it hadn’t been a bad week for Malcolm Turnbull. For starters, it was a non-sitting week, which meant that he didn’t have to spend much public time with the bumblers, urgers and saboteurs sitting around him on the government benches.
It was announced this week that the Australian model of representative democratic government was officially dead. The news of its demise was provided by the (hopefully soon to be ex-) premier of Western Australia, Colin Barnett.
In less exciting times, many in the Liberal Party – probably most – would have viewed the defection of Cory Bernardi with more relief than dismay. Understandably, they regard the South Australian senator as a royal (or at least monarchist) pain in the arse.
Malcolm Turnbull declares determinedly that he is not a political animal. Well, perhaps not: maybe he is a political vegetable, silent and immobile, fed on copious amount of bullshit. It is hard to imagine a week that went so far off the rails, or one in which the management of hope and expectation went so awry.
Perhaps emboldened by the Trumpery of alternate facts, Malcolm Turnbull spent most of last week spruiking an alternate Trans Pacific Partnership.
So the New South Wales premier Mike Baird is gone – gone, but not forgotten, at least to his friend and fellow cornstalker Malcolm Turnbull, who has lost a trusted and dependable ally in the moderate faction of his factionalised state, as well as a personal friend.
As even the most avid reformers admit, you can’t legislate for morality. There will still be politicians who endeavour to wriggle through the loopholes. But at least the net will be harder to evade. Perhaps the silly season has not been wasted after all.
The first week of 2017 was dominated by the distraction of Australia’s spat with Indonesia – or more properly Indonesia’s spat with Australia.
When Paul Keating was defeated, he died on his feet. Malcolm Turnbull is struggling to survive on his knees.
Malcolm Turnbull has ended the year in a morass of negatives, and we’re not just talking about economic growth, consumer confidence and employment statistics, dire as they are.
When the September accounts emerged far worse that even the most pessimistic practitioners of the dismal science predicted, the economists hastened to assure us that once the entrails of next quarter’s chooks had been assessed, things would be better.
One of Malcolm Turnbull’s many boasts is his business acumen. Part of his credentials for being palsy-walsy with Donald Trump is that before they became politicians, they were both businessmen.
The Nationals are feeling their oats – also their sugar, their water and their pump-action shot guns. Quite suddenly the traditional party of conservative rural socialists are turning feisty and uppity – partly in self defence, but largely just because they can.
So with a single bound across the Pacific, Trumpery has come to Australia – or at least to our elected leaders, which is the troubling bit.
First the Poms abandoned common sense in backing Brexit and now the Yanks have voted against their own best interests by electing Donald J Trump. This was not a rational decision; it was the ultimate political gesture, a defiant middle finger towards what they imagined was The Establishment.