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Is the pressure starting to tell on Malcolm Turnbull?

In challenging and winning the Liberal party leadership and the prize of becoming prime minister, he was responsible for sending a wave of relief across the country.

He got rid of an embarrassing, bumbling, ‘foot in mouth’ prone Tony Abbott and we were all extremely grateful. We immediately gave him the credit he deserved. Malcolm started by telling us how exciting it was to be an Australian. It was a bit corny but we went along with it, so happy we were that he wasn’t Tony Abbott.

Now, five months down the track and maybe five months or less out from an election, we are drawn to ask: is the gloss starting to fade? Malcolm appears not to be the Malcolm we were expecting. His innovative approach doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere. Even his normally easy going, relaxed flare in front of a camera and microphone has lost some of its sparkle.

turd1The government he leads is the same government Tony Abbott was leading. Nothing of substance has changed. The form has changed, we can see that and we are still grateful but if that’s all we get from a leadership change, why bother?

There are no new policy initiatives, no knock out, breakthrough approaches to solving the very problems his party insisted be urgently solved. It seems they weren’t problems at all. Debt, deficits, tax distortions, health and education, union corruption crises, all seem to be nothing more than a bad dream from a past life.

How do we know this? Because the media don’t talk about those things anymore. It seems all that doom and gloom we heard from Joe Hockey, the impending slaughter of our population by ISIS that Abbott warned us of and how important our new border force security was in keeping the flood of refugees away, isn’t front page news anymore.

So what is left? In case the government has forgotten, what’s left is good government. Where is it, we are beginning to ask. Have you noticed that the media, in their dutiful way, have now turned their attention to policies. Really? Except, on the government side, there aren’t any. And it shows, particularly now that Bill Shorten and Labor are beginning to steal the limelight with some really good policy initiatives.

negativeSo what does Malcolm do? He reverts to being Tony Abbott and tries to scare the wits out of us. He says, of Labor’s negative gearing policy, “Every home-owner has a lot to fear.” Oh, please, give us a break, Malcolm. That is just too melodramatic to be taken seriously.

Reading from the Liberal party script, other ministers have come out trying to discredit a good policy and are looking the poorer for it. Now the policy has been vindicated by independent modelling. The only home owners who have something to fear are the top 20% who have been flaunting the system for windfall tax breaks and laughing all the way to the bank.

shortMalcolm has fallen for the Liberal engine-room spin and in the process is slowly stomping all over those credits we gave him for not being Tony Abbott, and he’s driving them into the ground. The attacks on Labor’s negative gearing initiative and Scott Morrison’s empty rhetoric at the National Press Club were so self-evident of a policy vacuum party in government, it has become clear that Labor has now grabbed the initiative and is off and running.

Perhaps the voters will forgive Bill Shorten for not being Barack Obama and start giving him and Chris Bowen some credit for showing the way on real tax reform.

After that, who knows?

44 comments

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  1. my say

    Well said,It seems Turnbull has woken Australia from it’s slumber,it is now clear they got into power by lies an\d fear campaign’s, seems they can fool some of the people some of the time ,but not all people all of the time.
    People are realising they have more to fear than housing affordiability from this government,
    They are worried about being able to afford to go to a DR,education for their children,help to support children with dissabilities,an NBN that is suitable for the twentieth century .cuts to penality rates ,one could go on and on .
    This is a chaotic government,one has to wonder where they will take us,

  2. Coralie Naumann

    So very true. Abbott II is no better than Abbott I, as a matter of fact the situation is worse.
    Abbott II is more cunning and as smooth as silk.

    He can sell ice to the Eskimos!

  3. David (other)

    In a word…yes

  4. kerri

    Good article John! I do detect a slight leaning towards criticism in some areas of the media.
    Let’s hope they keep the pressure on?

  5. Steve Williams

    Well said John Kelly….however the pedant within forces me to ask: did you mean FLOUT the system ( as in actively ignore the rules) or FLAUNT ( as in crassly display)?

    Definitely flaunting, Steve.

  6. Ella

    Ella
    I too was relieved to have a new PM!!!! Silly me, I did not realise what back room deals needed to be done in order for their to be support for the change.

    I was bewildered when I began to realise that the Leader may have changed but the policies are the same.

    I am so angry every time I hear Mr. Morrison’s and lately the PM’s 3 word mantra “work save and invest” **!**

    I am sure my daughter who has been studying , as advised by the government ,and , now has credentials ….BUT…… what use are they when you can’t get a job . Employers prefer to employ 18 , 19 y/olds.

    How will tax cuts help her?

    How can she save and invest when as a single mum she finds herself living hand to mouth????

    We have NO STATESMEN in this country, we only have a pathetic system that can not see that the underclass they are creating will inevitably lead its downfall.
    Can’t come soon enough for me !!

  7. Wally

    I don’t agree in total with Labors proposed changes to negative gearing but Turnbull has made himself look like a second rate tool with his confusing attack. I think trying to keep LNP power brokers happy with policies that go against his personal preferences is taking its toll.

    Enter the babbling PM MkII.

  8. Keith

    When Abbott became PM I had much criticism directed at me on the basis of informing people of my research on him. There was a huge sense of relief when Abbott was ousted, but Turnbull is looking more like a wolf in sheep clothing.

    A few days ago I had a conversation with a retired school Principal, we spoke about climate change on which we both agreed about various points. But, after that he floored me with his next comment…to paraphrase what he said … “Keith, the biggest problem we have is religion”, it had been directed at Muslims.
    My reply was that there are around 30,000 deaths by gun in the US a year, and when there have been massacres it has generally been by white supremists. It struck me that an intelligent man had swallowed the Liberal line.

  9. Brian Edwards

    you like far too many in this country are generational brainwashed into this two party monopoly, the only time this country will see a government the people can ‘get behind’ is when we collectively vote for a ‘3rd party ‘ that has the interest of OUR country at heart and NOT the New World Order compliant rhetoric we see from these morally bankrupt shrubs.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    IMHO there has been a battle royal going no between Shorten and Turnbull to get control of the election agenda.

    I believe that maybe Shorten is winning this battle.

    PM’s exciting time to be alive with his innovation and agility has fallen flat. To be replaced as someone said by fragility.

  11. Mary Mannison

    I, too, allowed myself to dream that Malcolm was clever, had plans, could outwit the cold-hearted, self-interested element of his party. But we waited, and waited, and now I’m saying, “Hang on, they aren’t the only people in the Liberal Party, why all this cow-towing to the extreme right? How long can we wait for a sign–even a very small sign–that Turnbull cares, that he is capable of anything beyond talking pretty. You’re hanging by a thread, Malcolm, and Tony’s there, ready to catch you when it snaps.

  12. Graeme Henchel

    The Thug is gone a sigh released
    The delusional dud all but deceased
    Out on his arse, an Abbotteration
    Reduced to a Rudd like machination

    The snake oil man returns to power
    All sweet, agile and able
    All charm and conversation
    Everything upon the table

    This greatest of PR stunts
    Has it fooled enough to win
    Bill is on the back foot
    The snake oil man can grin

    The bimbo Brutus kept her job
    Just like she’d done before
    The snake oil man kept his word
    The Thug now keeps the score

    The Smirk is now the treasurer
    Dumb as Joe but meaner
    While Joe’s now off to Washington
    Now known as “Smokin Joe the Leaner”

    The Brussel sprout survived the cut
    The Right’s enduring dope
    In his putrid portfolio
    Destroying lives and hope

    The egghead in the Senate
    With his litany of flaws
    The know all who knows nothing
    still in charge of making laws.

    Don’t forget the “fixer”
    Who stuffed up education
    This poncy politician
    Now in charge of innovation.

    All in all not much has changed
    Just better presentation
    The money men who run the show
    Still out to screw the nation.

    The snake oil man will flash and fade
    The facade will start to crumble
    The rancid right will seek revenge
    And the polls begin to tumble

    Did not take long for the shine to go
    With no policies to be found
    The agile one has proved the point
    Empty vessels make the most sound.

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    Mary it could be Bill ready to catch him. To late for Tony.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    They say Hockey voiced similar remarks regarding negative gearing that Shorten and Bowen have picked up.

    Could it be, the right have just outsmarted themselves.

  15. john ocallaghan

    Good article John, My take on it is that the members of Turnbulls party put all their faith in one man and one man only,they thought all they had to do was keep their heads behind cover and just ride Malcoms coat tails up to the next election,it is though they put all their eggs into one basket, and any fool knows including this one that it never works, whether it is investments or any other walks of life.

    Since 2013 all they have done is fooled some of the people all of the time,and now the rest of us are finally waking up.””

  16. Tony Clarke

    How many ways can you polish up a turd ?

  17. Wayne Turner

    Turnbullsh*t is a fake,with no depth and a fraud. Same dud policies just different misleader.

    Triple T – Tony Too Turnbullsh*t.

  18. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I hope you’re right, John Kelly. None of us, who are enlightened, want another term of this disgusting Turnbull/Abbott LNP Degenerate Govt.

  19. Werner Sandner

    The Liberal Party is owned by big tax avoiding corporations. These faceless men of those large corporations are Turnbull’s boss. The Liberal Party is not in a position to change. They will continue to try to destroy our public health care and social security system for the top wealthy to avoid paying tax. We may just as well be governed by King Louis XVI of France.

  20. corvus boreus

    David (other), (
    I re-post an edited me from last night regarding that subject, as I am too raw on the subject to be arsed rephrasing it.

    “I have long felt that having a voluntary(!) below the line intermediate option (between one and all) would greatly aid my informed choice regarding electoral representation, which in the end, is the whole phuqqing point of exercising my democratic obligation/right on election days.
    This was one of the two principle reform recommendations to parliament, and plainly the one that adressed the most glaring flaw in the system without impinging on current preference arrangements. This detail seems to have been lost in the cynical/factional crap.

    The senate is the one place where my best vote might actually have a chance of making a difference.
    No matter how I mark the small rep-ticket, the ‘sloth-on-cocaine wearing akubra'(GNATS) is fated to be my local ‘member’.
    However, with the big senate-sheet, I might get to actually help a few notably promising individuals with reasonably sound positions and policies (within or without parties) into parliament by a direct, informed vote.
    I want the option of doing this, (ie; sequentially numbering the people I know that I actually want to vote for), without running through the whole sketchy gamut of hundreds, or placing blind trust in dodgy preference deals.

    Might as well wish for a bloody ICAC.

    It seems like a perfectly sensible suggestion has been deliberately manipulated towards defeat through incompetency and/or dishonesty from all parties involved, and these are the very people who will likely seek my vote later this year.

    Phuq them all, this year I’m going purely for the sausage sandwich (and to avoid the fine) and voting creatively using crayons.”

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    corvus boreus’ senate reform is well worth supporting, as a third choice for voters who want to have preference choice but not be forced to wade through the metre wide voting paper.

    If we don’t get that 3rd choice, then I will stand in the booth for as long as I see fit making sure that my preferences go where I want them to.

    At this stage for me, it is a toss up between the Greens and Labor for my 1st vote.

    Labor has sorely disappointed me over central policies that relate to vulnerable people on unemployment benefits and those seeking asylum and find themselves in detention. The Greens however, have sorely disappointed me recently with their affiliations with the LNP and Xenophon.

    Depending upon how each perform over the next few months, I will decide who gets the 1st pref in the HoR and then who alternatively, gets the first vote in the Senate.

    However, I will also be seriously looking for reputable micro-party candidates and sane Independents in both Houses whose preferences will be going in the correct direction away from the LNP destroyers.

  22. Faye Cox

    Dare I say that I actually wanted Tony Abbott to continue as Prime Minister ? At least that way, Australia would have had after the election had a Prime Minister to could start to repair the damage inflicted by this current Government. Turnbull has no policies,He has a silver tongue and an empty head. All Turnbull ever aspired to was to be Prime Minister. He’s got the job and is increasingly found to be lacking in any ideas.. Morrison is even worse than Hockey as Treasurer.

  23. Wally

    Faye Cox

    I initially wished they had retained Tony as PM for the same reasons but as time goes on Turnbull is cracking under the pressure of leading the rabble. Toss in the reasons for recent changes to the front bench and they look every bit as bad as when Tony was steering the out of control billy cart. Plenty of time left for more blunders before the election.

  24. David (other)

    Faye…your thoughts are shared by many and more are realising by the day

  25. Werner Sandner

    I totally agree. It is also sad that Labor pushed single parents onto the dole, without at least making adjustments to the dole payment and ensuring the time they need to spend with their children does not conflict with the obligations under the Newstart Allowance Scheme. I think that Labor has cut its own throat and by their own doing cause a lot of people to turn away from them to the Greens. When filling in the ballot paper for the senate, I always fill in the big part, and I don’t care how long it takes.

  26. lawrencewinder

    The frowns on foreheads, the crossed arms, the querulous questions of Scummo Morrison at the press club and later flagellations on radio are the first real evidence of a breach in the dam of media head-in-the-sand unknownigness about this incompetent ruling rabble.
    “Truffles” Turdball-fop sounds more than a little rattled in claiming that lower house prices are a bad thing… his rattled delivery has more to do with the fear he feels from the far-right of his party and the vengeance they will exact if the polls keep sliding… as they will, as the formula hasn’t changed.
    May they continue to do what they do best ….destroy!

  27. mars08

    Surely it’s just a matter of time before we get another breathless, vague, contrived nation-wide terrorism alert.

  28. David (other)

    Werner said like a good Greens promoter, did it ever cross your mind in all the excellent improvements and adjustments labor made, there was not a bottomless pit of cash.
    They had just maneuvered the country through a potentially financial disastrous situation, the rest of the world was in deep shite with. Oh sure the Greens are brilliant money managers, I forgot sorry.

  29. Wally

    mars08

    Turnbull’s 5 months of turmoil make Tony’s terrorist alerts seem as if they occurred years ago, I had forgotten they ever happened.

  30. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I agree with Werner Sandner @8.50pm. This is one place where Labor has FAILED in undermining vulnerable people on benefits.

  31. Wally

    Werner Sandner

    Was it Labor or the Howard Liberal government that implemented the changes you refer to? I believe it was the Howard government who initiated the changes, Howard held office from 1996 until December 2007.

    “Many single-parent households in Australia rely heavily on both social security payments and child support. From 1 July 2006 to 1 July 2008, sweeping reforms saw significant changes to the income support eligibility requirements for single-resident parents (known as the Welfare to Work [WTW] reforms), as well as to the calculation of child support.”

    https://aifs.gov.au/publications/family-matters/issue-84/child-support-and-welfare-work-reforms

  32. Backyard Bob

    I know this is an aside, but for a software engineer, Werner has the kitschiest 90s website I’ve seen since, the 90s.

  33. David (other)

    Thankyou Wally ,snap. I was going to remind the Greens devotees of similar. Also remind the said critics of Julia’s minority but working Govt who initiated over 500 pieces of legislation of which beneficiaries were major recipients of reform, It is so easy for supporters of a party who will never be in a position to ever have to concern themselves with enacting such reform and care, in at least couple of lifetimes, judging by current trends, to put the boot in.
    Not difficult to ride the political waves, depending on which one breaks favorably on their part of the beach. Something akin to riding the wave having a leg on either side of the crest.

  34. corvus boreus

    Jennifer M-S,
    Unfortunately, ‘my’ senate reform, namely the idea of giving the voter the optional right to make selective ‘below the line’ votes without sequentially numbering all 179, has been effectively buried in bullshit.
    Some sound initial ideas on the subject (the initial recommendations) have been cynically deliberately mutated between recommendation and proposal, with primary attention shifting to above-the-line ‘reforms’ and seemingly no party has the skill or will to clearly and effectively negotiate into paring the ‘modified’ proposals tabled back to the entirely palatable initial ideas.
    Party maneuvering will very likely triumph over rational and constructive negotiation to defeat any kind of reform, and maintain the (>95%) dominance of above-line gumby-voting, which places complete faith in opaque party dealings and the brokerage of ‘preference whisperers’. Broke stays broke.
    Corruption in politics has a habit of entrenching itself most effectively.

  35. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    All the more reason David (other),

    for Labor to form effective working relationships with progressive parties and sane Independents like Wilkie (if he can be persuaded), Lazarus and Muir. Credit where credit is due and Gillard deserves credit for much of the legislation she got through in a minority government but also it was thanks to Oakeshott and Windsor.

    So, instead of desperately trying to hang onto power as the outright alternative government, Labor should be seen now to be forming those relationships and then they might encourage the Greens to want to join them. Then we will have a contest in the election that is fast upon us.

    If not, because Labor has left its run late for this election, maybe Labor doesn’t care if the mongrel LNP destroyers get back in, but I do!

  36. astra5

    An excellent article John! Your comments ring true from beginning to end.

    Turnbull was such a breath of fresh air after two years of embarrassing Abbott-mania, but he heaps disappointment on disappointment with almost every move he makes. On The Political Sword there are two articles that echo your piece: ‘Puff the Magic Malcolm’ http://goo.gl/ksCrAV and the second in the series posted today: ‘More about Puff the Magic Malcolm’ http://goo.gl/tpK1mk They describe the many policy areas where he has let us down again and again.

    Thank you for spelling out Turnbull’s emerging weaknesses so well.

  37. mars08

    Although they might not admit it… I think most Australians (Coalition voters included) soon realised that PM Abbott was a loud, undisciplined, thug with no clue of how to run a government, much less a country. He was a loose cannon.

    The media had a soft spot for dapper Malcolm and he had provided glimpses of intellect and compassion. The Coalition was bound to call him up sooner or later.

    And that’s what makes it such a farce… the failure to provide even a facade of competence. The inability to achieve even the lowest expectations. Knuckle-dragger Abbott was horrible. People gave up on his leadership long ago. He had set the bar for leadership ridiculously low… in a very short period of time.

    But the Coalition numbers men had a fix. Replacing that loud, simian oaf with Mr Slick… Talcum Malcolm… was supposed to convince the voters that the Liberal Party had a tiny clue about how to govern. He was to be the steady, sensible had on the steering wheel. But recent events have show it just isn’t so… Finally… a good number of people are starting to notice that this government is rotten to the core.

    Tragic all involved. But mostly for the Australian public.

  38. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear mars08,

    but who to replace the knuckle-dragger Abbott and the smarmy sophistocrat Turnbull?

    Shorten and scaredy cats, no not alone.

    Might I repeat myself? Well bad luck, I will anyway.

    It must be an Alliance of sensible, inclusionist, progressive, egalitarian Greens, sane & brave Labor, sane Independents and any ready truly Progressive Parties under the umbrella of the Alliance of Progressives.

  39. @mars.08

    Jennifer… I will quote my own comment “Knuckle-dragger Abbott was horrible. People gave up on his leadership long ago. He had set the bar for leadership ridiculously low… in a very short period of time.”

    Unfortunately, the electorate will just settle for anyone that they believe will exceed that woeful standard.

  40. Backyard Bob

    Jennifer,

    and any ready truly Progressive Parties

    Please name them.

  41. Werner Sandner

    I very much doubt you have any qualifications to judge my business web site. Anyway, my web site is non of your business, however what is important is not to put the Liberal National Fascists back into power who are only going to look after the owners of the Liberal Party. If you have any more comments about me or my work, contact me in private on my email, but here stick to the subject. Cheers

  42. Backyard Bob

    If you don’t want to attract comment on the style of your website, don’t embed it in your username, buddy. My comment was playful rather than critical, but your defensiveness is noted.

  43. Pingback: Is the pressure starting to tell on Malcolm Turnbull? | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

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