It was a relatively peaceful week for Malcolm Turnbull. He had a few things to do: he re-announced a feasibility study into his over-the-horizon plans for Snowy 2.0 and spoke severely to electricity retailers who promised him that they... Read More →
For months we have had to endure war on all fronts – the class war, the gender war, the religion war, the equality war, the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war against political correctness, the war on the ABC and of course the perennially convenient war on terror.
The good news for Malcolm Turnbull is that his government is not in immediate danger of falling – at least, not any more than usual. The laws of mathematics (the ones Turnbull believes can be overridden by the laws of Australia, but let that pass for the moment) reveal that the coalition currently has 76 members, Labor 69, and the crossbenchers the other five.
Yet another leak from the White House – but this time it actually gave our own beleaguered leader a bit of a boost. Not just because it provided a welcome contrast to Malcolm Turnbull’s urbanity and coherence...
Shock, horror, amazing scenes! Malcolm Turnbull and Eric Abetz in furious agreement on same sex marriage! And not only in their stubborn determination to enforce the party room decision connived by Tony Abbott for a plebiscite or nothing.
It is time, perhaps past time, to take Bill Shorten seriously. In spite of Labor’s long-running lead in the opinion polls, it is far too early to declare him a certain, or even a highly probable winner. There are many who point to his nagging personal unpopularity as evidence of an insuperable hurdle to his success.
The Greeks said it succinctly: the system of tyranny is only as good as the worst man who can become a tyrant. Step forward, Peter Craig Dutton, Master of the Universe.
Just about the last thing Malcolm Turnbull did before leaving Australia last week was to inveigh against his colleagues navel gazing. The public was not interested in politicians talking about themselves, the prime minister declared.
Malcolm Turnbull was off in Hamburg, schmoozing his fellow leaders in the hope of getting something – anything – done about North Korea, terrorism, trade, Donald Trump – something – anything.
If Tony Abbott was still playing his favourite sport of rugby union, he would now be sitting on the sideline nursing a yellow card. Actually, of course, he would have been expelled from the team long ago for consistent disloyalty and indiscipline.
It was an almost an unalloyed triumph. Malcolm Turnbull was surging down the straight, clearing every obstacle in his stride, confident of success, when suddenly he baulked at the last hurdle, and instead of jumping it, tip-toed around it, wallet in hand.
Tony Abbott is winning. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s report on energy is not yet dead, buried and cremated, but Abbott and his gang of avid colliers have already left it struggling on life support.
Malcolm Turnbull likes to describe himself as a technology agnostic. As with many of his other utterances, this is not to be taken literally; our prime minister is not wrestling with the problem of whether technology actually exists or not. After all, Turnbull is the master of innovation.
The great French mime artist Marcel Marceau had an act which consisted solely of walking briskly onto the stage. It seemed entirely normal, but when he got to the middle of the stage something happened – he kept walking, but he wasn’t getting anywhere.
It is fitting that the Uluru Statement from the Heart celebrated the triumphant referendum of 1967: ‘In 1967 we were counted; in 2017 we seek to be heard,’ the statement declared. But there is an older and equally relevant anniversary, one in which the conservatives have been wallowing nostalgically for the past week.
So much for the miracle budget. Just a week after, it appears that nothing has really changed – another bad negative Newspoll, war on two fronts with the banks and the Catholics, and, of course, more brawling in the party room.
And with one bound, our hero was free. Well, perhaps not completely; it will take more than one agile budget to loose Malcolm Turnbull from his self-imposed bondage. He remains chained hand and foot to the right over climate change and same sex marriage…
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.