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Why are Abbott’s conservatives destroying our PM?

By Ad astra

To those of you who dispute the assertion embedded in the title, let me provide you with supporting evidence.

First some questions for you to answer:

Is Malcolm Turnbull the man you thought he was when he rolled Tony Abbott almost a year ago?

Has he fulfilled your initial expectations?

Is he as secure in his position as PM as he was initially?

Has he been limply acting as a proxy for Abbott and his policies?

Has he disappointed you?

Has he disappointed many voters, even LNP supporters?

Has he disappointed many in his party?

Has he disappointed/angered politicians in other parties?

If you answered ‘No’ for the first three and ‘Yes’ for the others, you will be in tune with the thinking in this piece.

But the crucial question is a Julius Sumner Miller favourite: ‘Why is it so?’

This piece addresses this central question.

It is apparent to all that elements within the LNP distrust, dislike and even despise our PM. This dates back to when he was Leader of the Opposition at the time Kevin Rudd was PM. Many in his party, particularly the conservative clique, believe he is more suited to be in a progressive party – several have suggested he would be more comfortable with Labor.

For some, it was the last straw when he sided with Rudd in proposing an Emissions Trading Scheme to ameliorate global warming, a move that led to a party revolt and his removal, by just one vote, in favour of Tony Abbott. That a majority of the party regarded Abbott as preferable to him shows how deeply the antipathy towards him ran within the Liberal Party!

Initially, after he returned the compliment by toppling Abbott in 2015, Turnbull’s personal popularity soared, and the awful two-party preferred polling under Abbott that had persisted month after agonizing month (the LNP had lost 30 Newspolls in a row) reversed into positive territory. The LNP was then able temporarily to put aside its doubts and outright antagonism to Turnbull. If Turnbull could win the upcoming election that Abbott looked certain to lose, the conservatives would be able to swallow their enmity. There was nothing sweeter than the anticipation of victory to make the bitter Turnbull pill go down. The doubts persisted, but were pushed underground – an uneasy rapprochement was achieved. But it was not long though before the doubts resurfaced.

Everyone realized that Turnbull had sacrificed several of his strongly held principles to obtain the endorsement of the conservative clique that gave him the leadership.

The man who said he would not lead a government that did not take climate change seriously, folded when the conservatives insisted he stick to the highly suspect Abbott/Hunt ‘Direct Action Plan’, which he then defended as if it was Holy Writ. During the election campaign there was no mention of the Coalition’s cut of $1.3 billion from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency or the disgraceful censorship of the UNESCO report on climate impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, even as recent reports highlighted the frightening damage already caused to the reef.

Turnbull said he had paid a ‘high price’ for his previous stand on climate change; clearly he was unprepared to pay it again!

The man who insisted that the marriage equality matter ought to be settled by a parliamentary vote gave in to the conservatives’ demand that it be settled via Abbott’s plebiscite, despite the government’s $66 million price tag (and Price Waterhouse Coopers calculated ultimate cost of $525 million), and the risk of community discord arising from the toxic debate that the ACL and their ilk would initiate.

The man who promoted the concept of a republic so vigorously in his earlier years, quietly put it on the back burner.

The tech-savvy man who was prominent in initiating one of the early email services – OzEmail – was dragooned by Abbott into scrapping Labor’s superior fibre-to-the-premises model, and inserting the inferior, slower, multi-technology, fibre-to-the-node model with boxes on the street corner and ageing copper wire connections to the premises. Despite all his talk about innovation and competitiveness he was prepared to give us a lesser service so as to meet the demands of the conservatives. Innovation, competitiveness, nimbleness and agility took a back seat.

With every passing week, we see a diminished Turnbull pandering to the conservatives, looking weaker by the day.

Just when he wanted to look decisive and show leadership after the Four Corners exposé on youth justice in the NT, he jumped quickly, but with little consultation with indigenous leaders, and appointed a ‘law and order’ judge to be the Royal Commissioner into juvenile justice in the Northern Territory. Having been involved in judgments as Chief Justice there, it was not surprising that a protest eventuated that saw the Royal Commissioner as potentially biased. Judge Brian Martin, showing better judgement than Turnbull and Attorney General Brandis, decided to step down on the grounds of ‘apprehended bias’, which ought to have been obvious from the outset.

This, and the pressure from indigenous groups who wanted a co-commissioner with an indigenous background, caused Turnbull and Brandis to turn turtle and appoint high-profile Indigenous figure Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and former Queensland Supreme Court judge Margaret White as co-commissioners.

How much pressure came from his cabinet we will likely never know.

On the issue of supporting Kevin Rudd’s bid to be Secretary General of the United Nations, how much influence the conservatives had in the cabinet discussion is a matter of conjecture. We do know that Julie Bishop supported Rudd and that more spoke for Rudd than against. But conservatives Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton were strongly opposed to nominating Rudd, and the meeting ended with Turnbull and Joyce being left to make a decision.

Clearly, Turnbull, more concerned with propping up his leadership among the conservatives than doing what many, even from a Liberal background, thought was correct protocol – supporting a previous prime minister on the international stage – squibbed making this decision, told Rudd he was unsuitable, leaving him fuming, and in the process attracted strong criticism from many quarters for not supporting an Australian for this post.

And most recently we see Turnbull ‘slapping the banks on the wrist with a feather’ with his threat to force their CEOs before the Coalition-dominated House Economics Committee to explain their reasons for not passing on RBA interest rate cuts. It is his way of avoiding a Royal Commission into Banking, which his conservative colleagues are intent on avoiding.

There are enough examples of Turnbull making decisions that bewilder, enough to ask: ‘Why is it so?’ Enough to evoke the suggestion that it is to placate Abbott’s conservative forces in the LNP that threaten to upend him if he does not comply. We see ‘the three As’: Abbott, Abetz and Andrews poking their heads above the parapet in their own subtle way expressing their dissatisfaction with Turnbull, as we witnessed in this week’s episode of Four Corners. And we have seen George Christensen threatening to cross the floor unless the superannuation legislation is altered to his satisfaction!

With the balance of power so delicately balanced with a majority of just one in the House, and a polyglot and quite unpredictable Senate, one might have expected tight unity within the LNP to hold onto its tenuous grip on power. Instead we see actions that threaten that unity. Why is it so?

I can’t explain why some LNP members feel as they do, but it looks as if some would sooner see the leader turfed out if he does not support the party line on climate change, on marriage equality, on the NBN, and on proposed Royal Commissions. They seem hell-bent on tightly controlling their leader, and if they can’t, destroying him. They are well on the way already.

It seems more logical to do what’s necessary to retain power, even if at times uncomfortable, than to destroy the leader and the party with it. Have they got another more acceptable leader lined up? Do they want Abbott back as leader? Do they think that is possible? Insider Gerard Henderson doesn’t think so.

I can’t explain such aberrant behaviour except to offer the suggestion that sometimes, entrenched ideology, the desire for personal power, and feelings of hurt and rejection, are more powerful than the desire for self-preservation and political power. John Howard was easily able to decide which principles ‘he would die for in a ditch’, and for which he wouldn’t. Abbott’s conservatives seem to not have that gift.

Expect therefore that some will continue to say and do things that threaten their leader, and that in the end they may unexpectedly upend him.

Can you offer any other explanation for the Abbott conservatives’ anti-Turnbull behaviour? Has Turnbull the strength to counter them? What will happen when parliament resumes?

What do you think?

Can any of you give a plausible explanation of the behaviour of Abbott’s conservatives, especially with just a one seat majority in the House and a likely hostile Senate?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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34 comments

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  1. Michael Jones

    The Conservatives aren’t succeeding in destroying Turnbull, he has just won an election for the Coalition and whatever noises they make they all value their own backsides too much to get rid of him. He won’t get carte blanch support to impose his personal beliefs about the Republic, climate change or gay marriage though and that is the way it should be, the leader is not bigger than the party, so party MPs gave the collective right to have the final say on those sorts of collective matters. He will undoubtedly win some and lose some of those policy debates, that is just the way that government is, but so long as they are address people’s concerns about their economic security over the next three years, I see no reason why they shouldn’t continue to win. Those issues that you mention are really secondary to most voters right now, they are more concerned about them and their kids being able to get and stay in a job than those matters.

  2. Freethinker

    Q) Is Malcolm Turnbull the man you thought he was when he rolled Tony Abbott almost a year ago?

    Yes, he was part of the cabinet and approved budgets and proposed policies

    Q) Has he fulfilled your initial expectations?

    No, I was expecting that he will call an election during at the high of his popularity

    Q) Has he been limply acting as a proxy for Abbott and his policies?

    He has continued with the polices that he approved (see reply 1)

    Q) Has he disappointed you?

    In same ways yes, I expected for him to have more self respect.

    Q)Has he disappointed many voters, even LNP supporters?

    Yes naivety, greed and ignorance rules

    Q) Has he disappointed many in his party?

    To some degree, yes but only because his failure as a tool to get the votes back. Not for his policies.

    Q)Has he disappointed/angered politicians in other parties?

    Not so sure, IMO behind the news they knew his agenda.

  3. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Malcolm was too greedy, too quickly. If he had waited a few months more the majority of the Liberal party would have been pleading with him to take the reins, and he could have dictated terms simply using the threat that if they didn’t behave, he would walk (blame family reasons, health, whatever – but direct threats to stability of the party are all the mongrels understand). Instead he went for the numbers game to roll Abbott, and this is the result. He has made too many promises that he simply cannot keep. He took the job on a position of weakness, not a position of strength. On their terms, not his.

    Of course, had he had the cojones he could have made all the promises before getting the job and then completely refused to deliver on them – hell, that is the Liberal way – knowing that if they did turf him they would almost definitely lose the next election because they would be even more unelectable, particularly if he threatens to spill the beans on his way out. But as we know, Malcolm so desires to be liked that he doesn’t have the killer instinct to do it. Malcolm does not have the skills to lead that bunch of misfits – they are prepared to play hardball, but he isn’t. But he still has the option. If they don’t toe the line and do what he says, he can threaten to walk – and seriously, what has he got to lose? Would you really like to run this government? He is going to have too many challenges trying to negotiate the senate, so if he cannot rely on his own team in the house of reps he has got absolutely no chance of that.

    But he won’t. And the reason he won’t is because he understands that too many of those right wingers are too stupid to understand the consequence of him upending the chess board. They still think that would be a success! It is going to be a very painful few months for him without a doubt. But he deserves all of it.

  4. Fedup

    Tony Abbott was so bad as a leader that the Liberal Party thought that replacing him with Turnbull would bring about stability in the Party. Leading up to the election he was nothing more than a puppet, he basically had no policies, no leadership. He was/is nothing more than a rich man in an expensive suit that had no leadership qualities and still doesn’t. You hardly saw him leading up to the election and when you did it was like he had to rehearse everything before he said it. It was pitiful and I think the Australian people saw him as nothing as a “pawn in their game” to get re elected. Even Bill Shorten looked better as a leader than this PM. He wouldn’t / refused to listen to the people of this country so in my book he got just what he deserved. I won’t even give him six months before one of two things will happen. They will replace him with God knows who or go to another election. Barnaby Joyce is the only other big mouth idiot they would have to choose from or go back to Abbott. Is it any wonder the Liberals lost so many seats. I think the Australian people expect more leadership in the running of this country than the two major parties. Times are a changing and the people are going to end up with more control running the country on issues that are important to us, thereby more Independents will be elected. Will just have to wait and see I guess, but Turnbull’s days as leader are running out!

  5. wam

    politicians become different – who could explain labor 2010-13?
    The credibility of the old guard As is pretty well shot and the morning shows are not fired up with ratings negativity. So mal only has to keep hanson et al simmering on murdoch, the rabbott suppositoring and billy on side with FTAs. to win in 2019 when none of the As will survive.

  6. Duffa

    No not my PM

  7. bobrafto

    Can any of you give a plausible explanation of the behaviour of Abbott’s conservatives, especially with just a one seat majority in the House and a likely hostile Senate?

    How about that they just don’t like Malcolm? and that they’re not going to rest until one of them becomes PM and Abbott with his squealing on 4 Corners is trying to remove 2 obstacles that will give him the numbers.

  8. guest

    Fedup,

    “…the people are going to end up with more control running the country on issues that are important to us, thereby more independents will be elected.”

    Sounds risky to me. I am not sure a bunch of independents would be very useful in giving leadership. The very notion of independence suggests loners who do not adhere to any one group of people. There would always be dissension and lack of agreement. We have seen plenty of disagreement inside major parties, even when they say they are rock-solid united.

    The election of One Nation Senators is an indication of a desire for something, but if it is just the same old racist attitude then that is a backward step. But if there is some list of grievances the people want addressed, I am not sure that Hanson is the one to deal with them. Just as Trump, while gathering supporters, looks most unlikely to be a successful President.

    Deciding what are the “issues” important to “us” is the problem. There is such a diverse range of such issues. I am not convinced that any one independent will have their head around all the issues. Too often independents have a small bag of one or two issues they wish to push. They do not have the resources to attend to many issues.

    Nor does the general public. They say the voters always get it right. I am not convinced. Even the democracy of ancient Greece made errors; voting was not available to all. And here in Oz there are those who do not wish to vote, and those who have one bee in their bonnets, and some who have no idea, and those with weird ideological views…all looking for the government to address them.

    And then there is the general ignorance. People are not dumb of themselves, but when then there is lack of transparency and a limited range of sources of information, then we get a dumbed-down populace which is not able to get the issues into perspective. It then becomes a matter of What’s in it for me, number one?

    That way lies propaganda, manipulation and corruption. Then we wonder why we are disappointed.

  9. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    I think you are right Bobrafto. It is just playground politics. However, I don’t think its a numbers game – I think we might be about to watch a complete implosion of the Liberal party. They don’t really know what they stand for anymore, and are only united in their hatred of Labor and the unions.

  10. Fedup

    Well this government isn’t doing such a great job of doing what is needed. You know you people really have a major problem. As soon as someone mentions an Independent out comes the R word. You just can’t help yourselves can you. If that is all an Independent candidate means to you then you have a problem. Neither party did well at the election. I must say though Labour couldn’t quite get over the line mainly because of it’s stance on Migrants and this in my book was the killer for them. They refused to listed to the people and their concerns so both parties lost out. Turnbull is a weak leader who shows no authority in his leadership. He walks around like he is being led and everything he says sounds like it rehearsed. Do any of you remember the great politician Don Chip? he left the Liberals for the same reasons as Independents are now standing up for “to keep the bastards honest” No one person has the answers but Turnbull is too weak. He is not a leader and never will be! If a policy is brought forward by someone who is not either a Liberal or a Labour member they you automatically assume the worst. Maybe just like so many misguided people in this country they may just have something worth thinking about. Stop thinking about yourself, think about Australia and it’s people and what is right for all Australians to be given a great country to raise their kids and to know that we are safe. If you don’t understand what I am saying then I’m sorry, you must be one of those with a closed mind and attitude that either belongs to Liberal or Labour. There is no in between for you. why do you think over a million and a half of Australians never bothered to vote at this election? They really had nothing to vote for! Have a nice day!

  11. Fedup

    For once I actually have to agree with you. It is a numbers game and less to do with the running of this country. An implosion is imminent I’m afraid. The whole of Australia can only hope and pray that Barnaby Joyce is never ever elected the Leader!

  12. kerri

    I am not surprised at all by Malcolm’s inactivity and lack of leadership.
    As I have posted widely on Facebook and on posts here, Turnbull was and is and always will be hostage to the right wing conservatives of his party.
    I have said time and again that a vote for Turnbull is a vote for Abbott, Christensen, Bernardi, Abetz, Pyne, Brandis and all the other nut jobs and destabilisers that make it impossible for Malcolm to be anybody but their puppet.
    He is not a good tactician, as his farce with Utegate showed and he is not capable of negotiating and coercing people to his way of thinking as has been obvious since he took on the role. His performance in the media of clenched fists, hand waving and faux sincerity is worse than a B grade actor. His pronouncements of how exciting, agile, innovative bs, bs, bs is thin on fact and process.
    It still astounds me that people somehow think he will change all that is right wing within the LNP.
    He hasn’t a hope! I will watch his hair turn greyer and his demeanour turn sour until they oust him for either Abbott or Morrison. Then heaven help us and hipefully all those who voted out of sentimentality will see the huge mistake they have made.

  13. Ian Sprocket Muncher Parfrey

    Revenge.

    Revenge, pure and simple.

    Any other explanation is giving Chimp Ears way too much credit.

    That simian buffoon Abbott has NEVER shown tact or decency, and as such, rather than him rotting on the back bench, he will take Truffles down, and if the LNP go with him then that’s collateral damage.

  14. jimhaz

    [I am not surprised at all by Malcolm’s inactivity]

    This is a good thing – the fewer new policies the better. Don’t forget the far right are also handicapped in how obnoxious their polices can be due to the dangers of having a majority of 1.

  15. Fedup

    Then maybe it’s time to work together for the greater good of this country instead of individual glory! Otherwise there is going to be mayhem and possibly another election.

  16. Carol Taylor

    Why do the ultra conservatives of the LNP resent Turnbull as after all he is a dismal failure and disappointment for moderates, Labor and Liberal for carrying the Abbott/Hockey/Morrison lines to perfection. All I can think of is – jealousy is a curse. The ultra conservatives resent him because they don’t respect him. They know he’s not what he seems and that he’s lying just to keep power for himself. Turnbull is where (they figure) one of their own kind should be.

  17. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Fedup – I didn’t know you didn’t agree with me, and now I’m intrigued to understand on what basis 😉

    Anyway I’m also a big proponent of more independents in government. I don’t prescribe to the view that they need be just single issue advocates (though I know that the media often like to portray them this way), but at least they can do something when the big parties decide to take us the wrong way down a one-way street (which they both have more than once).

    However I do think that what holds the independents “movement” back is that the electorate aren’t sure of what they will do, or how they will operate. And that is understandable. I’m currently working on a “charter”, a set of rules that independent candidates could sign up for which would help electors determine whether to support them. Essentially working for the greater good of this country instead of individual glory is most certainly one of them!

    As a total aside, but given it just struck me as I was considering the “need” for a right winger on the cabinet – it is amusing that whilst the Liberal party forever bangs on about promotion based on merit, the cabinet was determined in part by ensuring a quota of Nationals was given positions, and indeed that is exactly what Abetz is wanting. I bet he doesn’t even see the hypocrisy of his own statement.

  18. astra5

    Folks
    Thank you for your comments – 17 in three hours!

    They all make interesting reading. Few reflect any confidence that Turnbull and his government will be able to manage the situation they face with a majority of one in the House and a problematic Senate.

    For political devotees, the next few months will be fascinating. For those less interested in the political process, but who were hoping for stable, predictable, reliable and competent government, disappointment, disillusionment, and probably despair lies ahead. How on earth can this divided, conflicted, uncertain front bench weather the storms ahead? How will they cope with the conflicting demands of the crossbench? How will they get anything done? More depends on others than on Coalition members. If the opposing forces decide to act in their own interests instead of the national interest and the common good, chaos, inaction and aberrant decisions is about all we can expect.

    Turnbull managed to get himself (and Abtez) into a monumental mess with ‘Utegate’. He has excelled himself with his DD decision, which is much worse that Utegate, as it involves the whole parliament, the nation, and us all. Heaven help us.

    If ever there was a time for Bill Shorten to show his leadership credentials, it is right now. This is his time to put adversarial politics aside, and be the epitome of common sense, sound judgement, and concern for the people of this nation well ahead of his own political ambitions. Today, he’s sounding prime ministerial. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

  19. stephengb2014

    Big Ears is a bully, bullies never give in they always get revenge, even if it means destroying themselves.
    Truffles is a pussy cat compared to Big Ears, Truffles cannot win, how long he survives is anyones guess; but I am working on the assumption that this government will not see out its term.

    So I am just listening to the rabbid Right, discharge all their bile. Not reacting, just letting them get it off their chest.

    S

  20. wakeupandsmellthehumans

    Why are Abbott’s conservatives destroying our PM? They are either psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, or a combination of all three.

  21. Phil

    I haven’t got a clue as to where the LNP is going or why it is going there or even if it knows where the hell it is going. I can’t think like a conservative so it’d be pissing in the wind to try and figure this government out.

    But, astra5, I don’t think this “is the time to put adversarial politics aside” wrt Bill Shorten. I say that because ‘adversarial’ is our system of government and our system of law – I assume the term Opposition is meant to reflect that?

    In my view this is the very time that the Opposition should go for the governments jugular and expose them for the rank incompetents that they are. We pay our politicians very handsomely and we give them some of the most generous remunerations for life after office, and so it sticks in my craw to see the levels of incompetence, self interest, and corruption within the Liberals, both state and federal.

    The MSM and even some in the independent media praised the effectiveness of Abbott’s years of incessant negativism, the only thing he excelled at, and it won him the highest office despite his undisguised ineptitude for the position.

    Bill Shorten would get no credit if he were to take a concilatory rather than adversarial role in the 45th parliament. The Liberals are too sly and conniving along with their propaganda arm in the Murdoch press for such an approach. Shorten has to win government and he won’t get it by abandoning the adversarial system – but of course that’s my opinion only.

  22. Kronomex

    They aren’t destroying Malcontent but they are reminding him constantly that they helped make him leader and P.M. and he’s their puppet on a string (tied around his goolies) and if he steps out of line a quick hard tug brings him back into line. I still believe that he’ll be removed sometime in the next twelve months and Morrison the Maniac or the Rasputin Abbott (horrifying thought either way) will be installed as the new dictator…sorry, leader,

  23. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    The blood letting that will occur if Maniac Morrison or Rasputin Abbott get the top job will be something to behold. Recall how Morrison tried to have a foot in both camps on the last night of the long knives, not taking Abbott’s last ditch offer of Treasurer (knowing the writing was on the walls), though voting for him to try to preserve the look of loyalty (whilst his faction voted for Turnbull, revealing his truer feelings). Morrison tries too hard to be seen to do the right thing, but in reality is only looking after number 1. Fortunately Abbott managed, probably unthinkingly, to expose him for what he is – a political opportunist of the very worst sort.

    Now Abbott won’t forget that, which means if he becomes leader again, how will he deal with Morrison?

    And in the other scenario, would Morrison return Tony into the cabinet? If not, he will have the same problem as Turnbull.

    What other alternative leaders are there? Bishop? No hope – she’s proved time and again she isn’t over the details. Who else? Are there any of them that look like they are capable of determining policy of any description?

    We do know that revenge is in their blood. Already this morning Turnbull was talking about heads rolling because of the Census debacle, though you can bet that won’t be one of their ranks – some poor civil servant is soon to be the fall guy for a government who are penny wise and pound foolish.

  24. Fedup

    What about Barnaby Joyce? He is arrogant enough to want the top job? I doubt he would get it but there is not much else to choose from. I agree that Bishop would be a lapdog just like Turnbull.

  25. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    That would be comedy gold, Fedup! Mr Tomatohead as PM! Of course it would never happen because of the quota system (remember, merit based promotion is how the LNP works, except for exceptions of course).

    But it is a very thin soup, isn’t it.

  26. Graham

    I agree with every point in the article, bar one: the issue of the nomination of Kevin Rudd as UN Secretary-General.

    A major – if not THE major challenge facing the UN over the next decade will be the issue of refugees. Australia’s treatment of refugees has quite rightly attracted international condemnation and Rudd was instrumental in these policies; policies that breach UN conventions. Then there’s his character or personality. It’s there on You Tube for all to see: Kevin Rudd doing a dummy spit swearing and carrying on like a spoiled child sitting in the PM’s office in front of the Australian flag. This is not the sort of person suited to heading up the United Nations

    The article doesn’t actually criticise Turnbull for the decision but notes it “attracted strong criticism from many quarters.” And indeed it did. For the life of me I don’t understand why Rudd should be supported because he’s Australian or because he’s a former PM. The man is clearly unsuitable and I think the decision not to support him is the one good decision Turnbull has made.

  27. Fedup

    It’s not the matter of whether Kevin Rudd is suitable or is not suitable, it’s the fact that Malcolm Turnbull lied yet again. From what I understand Malcolm Turnbull was going to endorsed Rudd for the UN Position! He’s a man that is not to be trusted. It’s no wonder that Rudd is pissed off with him. I think any politician promised a position, regardless of what it is, would expect to get the position. It’s the principle of the matter. No I think Turnbull is a lair and is not fit to be PM! I doubt if he know who would be a good candidate for the UN position. Clearly he’s not fit to make that decision or has someone made it for him?

  28. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Agreed Fedup. Rudd wouldn’t have got the job anyway, but not endorsing him to run was petty and just looked like he was trying to appease the rightwing nut jobs on his cabinet and on the back bench. It has set an appalling precedent.

    The worst is that when Turnbull was bumped by Abbott, Rudd apparently offered him a diplomatic role (as he did for Brendan Nelson), though it wasn’t taken up. To turn round and very publicly spit in his face was demeaning both to Rudd, but also the position of ex-PM, which Turnbull will very shortly soon be. Truly bad form, and for what final objective?

  29. astra5

    Phil
    Ever since I read it, I’ve been pondering your comment about adversarial behaviour. I take your points.

    I suppose it depends on how ‘adversarial’ is defined.

    I loathe the continual negativity I see from some politicians, where they condemn virtually everything their opponents say and do. Matthew Guy, Opposition Leader in the Victorian legislature, is an example of someone who seems never to have anything positive to say about what Premier Daniel Andrews or his government do. Everything is wrong, bad, incompetent, foolhardy, or just stupid. Guy is always right, and tells us so, over and again. Personally, I scarcely listen to him anymore, because I know he will dish out more of the same negativity, with a copious dose of vitriol to make the negative go down.

    I agree with you that Bill Shorten should expose government incompetence (almost a full time job for him at present), but every time he does so I would prefer that he add what he would do instead, and how, using words like: ‘I would prefer’; ‘I suggest’; ‘an alternative would be’; ‘this piece of legislation would be preferable’; ‘this legislation has worked elsewhere’; the people would benefit more from this or that’; ‘this area needs more funding and here’s how it might be done’.

    Even giving credit for a well-meaning effort of an opponent can be a prelude to suggesting better ways of addressing an issue.

    Another attribute I loathe is always referring negatively to what the other side did while in power, (no matter how long ago), always blaming them for the outcome, but never accepting any culpability.

    It’s this ‘We know it all; we know what to do; you haven’t a clue; you bungle everything’ attitude and talk that I find offensive. No one, no party, no organization is perfect. Nor are they utterly hopeless. Yet that is how political opponents seek to paint each other. They seem to be primed to spout negative things about opponents whenever they are interviewed, almost as if they are gathering Brownie points for every negative utterance they can pack into an interview.

    You can sense from my words that I’m fed up with negativity, adversarial, attacking behaviour, sneering and arrogance.

    By all means Shorten should expose inadequacies, incompetence, mendaciousness, and plain old sloppiness in the government, but I would prefer any negative he utters to be accompanied by a positive alternative. He is the alternative PM; I want him to act like one, one that appeals to the people because of his statesmanlike approach, his political nous, his concern for the welfare of the economy, and indeed for all us, no matter where on the social hierarchy we live.

    Thank you Phil for encouraging me to reflect again on adversarial behaviour. I did write something about it years ago on The Political Sword. ‘The curse of adversarial politics’ reflected my views in December 2008: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/post/The-curse-of-adversarial-politics

  30. helvityni

    I was flabbergasted when all and sundry, the MSM included, praised Abbott as a VERY good Opposition leader. Why? All this adversarial behaviour of oppositions just prevents any progress from happening; we stand still, or worse, slide backwards.

    Why not work together for the common good. The constant ugly fighting is also so bloody tedious.

  31. Fedup

    This infighting is becoming more and more intense every day. I think Turnbull’s days are numbered. There seems to be no unity in this Party right now. The Census debacle and the Rudd UN appointment is bringing it all into the light. No one really knows who to blame. This is a team that is not a team. Big trouble ahead. Turnbull couldn’t look any weaker than he does right now. He is really pathetic. He just doesn’t have it.

  32. astra5

    Folks
    I have just now read George Monbiot’s article in a new publication: ‘Economics’ (The Next Evolution of Economics), titled: ‘Was the Rise of Neoliberalism the Root Cause of Extreme Inequality?’: http://evonomics.com/rise-of-neoliberalism-inequality/

    It is as good an account of neoliberalism as you will read.

    To whet your appetite, the subtext reads: “Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all.”

  33. Antigunzel

    Turnbull is exactly who I expected him to be, a smiley faced Abbott! To all those gullible enough to believe the myths about him being a moderate who would be doing the right (but not extreme right) things by us if his strings weren’t being pulled by his Aussie Tea Party minders, we have you to thank for delivering us into his slippery hands. If he was the guy so many of us seem to insist that he is, he would quit the top job on principle, having no hope of delivering what was expected of him by so many of us. I don’t know if he could be accused of misleading us in the election campaign as he promised nothing except a big cash giveaway to the banks and other big business.

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