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Can the Government Survive?

When the Turnbull government won the last election by just one seat it was generally felt that they would probably survive the next three years with the aid of a sympathetic media willing to gloss over their vulnerable areas.

Unlike the minority Gillard government, which had to bring all its negotiating skills to the table and stare down a viciously anti-Labor reaction, the Turnbull administration has blundered along, bouncing from one crisis to another protected from a public backlash by a sympathetic media.

Thus, they have managed to last a little over a year despite having lost the confidence of the people and having exposed their obvious inadequacies for all to see.

The ineptitude and incompetence they have displayed since election night has been breathtaking as they have drifted from uncertainty to disbelief. It draws to mind the lyrics from the musical, ‘Les Miserables’ when Mrs Thenadier laments, “I used to dream that I would meet a prince, but God Almighty, have you seen what’s happened since.”

The only reason they are able to present themselves in any recognisably coherent form is because very few are paying attention. The press are so consumed with the incompetence of the Trump administration.

One gets the feeling, however, things are about to change.

Over the past month the public has seen Scott Morrison answer Leigh Sales very soft questions on the ABC’s 7.30 and felt lulled into believing that we were already experiencing a rebounding economy, except that we are not. The release of the HILDA survey gives us a picture of an economy that is haemorrhaging in a sea of private debt.

Anyone watching Josh Frydenburg try to defend coal in favour of renewables could be forgiven for feeling sorry for him. Anyone experiencing difficulties with the NBN are beginning to realise it has been downgraded to a second class service.

Not that the government would notice any of this. They are so haemorrhaging themselves in a sea of acrimonious bloodletting over one relatively minor issue, that of marriage equality, that the business of government has been relegated to second place.

And now, it seems, even the media have begun to desert them.

The constant barrage of assaults coming from the conservative wing of the Liberal party and led by Tony Abbott has so seduced the media overall, that they have forgotten they are supposed to be conservative friendly. They are making their vicious treatment of Julia Gillard, five years ago, look positively childlike by comparison.

Will the government see out its present term? Things are not looking good. The legitimacy of their one seat majority is looking very shaky. If Barnaby Joyce has to face a bi-election to win his seat back, a very real possibility, who knows how that will play out.

Furthermore, an election in 2018 is inevitable if bringing the senate back into sync is considered politically important. And it is. No one wants half senate elections held separately from general elections. It’s too risky.

So, with the looming marriage equality postal survey likely to result in a ‘yes’ win, Turnbull will then have to support a private member’s bill which could lose him any remaining support from the conservative wing of his own party.

Perhaps he will consider an early poll around April next year to put himself beyond the carpetbaggers in his own party who have their own sinister agenda and would like to see him gone.

But who knows? By then they may already have lost their majority.


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  1. seaworkr

    After Trumbles and the rest of the shambolic front bench, tirade against Shorten, I think this quote from of all people, Thatcher is suitable.
    “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

  2. economicreform

    To describe the Liberal party’s internecine warfare as unseemly would be a gross understatement. Yet such a softly softly approach is precisely how it has been reported by some of the mainstream media. And quite inconsistent with the manner in which they attacked the previous Labor government.

  3. John Haly

    I have to admit the sheer incompetence and spectacle of self destruction demonstrated by the Trump Government has been considerably distracting of the incompetence of the Turnbull government. My last article here was even one that incorporated both governments in a comparison of neo-liberal failures. I too found Leigh Sales softly, outlying approach saddening given her earlier fire. I assume the Guthrie is to blame for that self evident bias.

    Defending Coal as a viable alternative to renewables has to rely on cultural ignorance of other countries success in renewables to even past muster. I can’t say I feel any sympathy for Josh though.

    The haemorrhaging of the NBN infrastructure is for myself even more disappointing. Having spent literally two days trying to get a video journalistic piece I shot to a Hong Kong Journalist in time for publication recently, I am deeply conscious of how dysfunctional our National Broadband is and how bloody slow it is. I have speculated that the absence of further work from that newspaper may be a function of my inability to get files to Hong Kong any faster. Although I did suggest that next time I would courier the footage on a disk as it turns out that this would be faster then using the internet.

    The infighting in the Liberal Party is simply a reflection that even the conservatives can’t all stomach where their party is leading Australia.

    The postal survey is simply an abdication of the parliamentary role of legislation, and as a delaying tactic is simply too obvious for words to describe.

    I live in hope that the High Court decision will throw them all out and that will so upset the apple cart that they decide to risk another election. Unlikely, I know but the decisions made by the party to date haven’t shown much by the way of common sense. I hope, though, John, that your last sentence is correct.

  4. nexusxyz

    These clowns should be assigned to the dustbin of history. They will anyway as that is the destiny of incompetent psychopathic clowns. Trumbull the most useless postwar PM.

  5. babyjewels10

    Dutton’s latest move, one step from gas ovens, should seal the deal, surely?

  6. John L

    Followed by a useless, sychophantic MSM….may thwy all go down togethet.

  7. Kronomex

    sTumbles the Puny is trying desperately to move attention away from his continuing, and inevitable, fall with the Snowy scheme mark 2 and his little dog growling about North Korea. To paraphrase Caesar in Carry on Cleo regarding Trembles the Meek “He came, he saw, he conked out.”

    Dutton is the biggest threat at the moment.

  8. John Lord

    I agree John that an election will be held next year.

  9. Glenn Barry

    On the dual citizenship issue – only a select few have countenanced the possibility that post the determination of Barnaby’s ineligibility the court may well appoint Tony Windsor. There’s a reason why Tony Windsor successfully petitioned the court to be heard…

    There is in fact precedent for that very outcome, where the invalidation of the elected representative did not invalidate the election in that seat and the second place candidate took the seat.

    Malcolm is being both self delusional and fabulist peddling his there’s no risk of us losing government over the issue…

  10. John Kelly

    Glenn Barry, I was not aware of that. Can you tell me more about the precedent, who was it and when?

  11. Möbius Ecko

    Glenn Barry, I believe the option for the government is to have a by election or to put the second place in the seat. The first is expensive and takes time. Joyce has already stated he will run in a by election. The second choice is immediate and cheap.

    The government will do the first.

  12. MikeW

    While the labor government should be a shoe in at the next Federal election, don’t underestimate the power of the mudrake press who own a vast majority of the media in Australia. At the next election will we see front page headlines from the Telelaugh with Shorten portrayed as Hitler and swastikas in the background? All the journalists at news corpse will be under instructions to jump, and replying how high Rupert?

  13. Glenn Barry

    It’s in the Sue vs Hill high court case and judgement summarised here –

    There are other readings available – complete with questions and commentary of constitutional legal students

    This full text has all of the wonderful mystical reasoning of the judgement itself

    searching for invalid within the text will get you to the text which sets out the decision by the court in full.

    Putting the second place in the seat for a senate election seems in this current situation to mean those further down the ticket ascending and taking the positions vacated.

    Although the Sue v Hill judgement related to Senate positions, the court’s decision to invalidate the candidate although not the election is what I believe Tony Windsor’s silk will be advocating.

    The government will I believe have to argue and fail:
    1, that Barnaby is validly elected, once they fall on that point,
    2 – they will have to petition to have the court invalidate the poll and render the result void, thereby ordering a by-election.
    I actually think that’s an uphill stretch.

    From what I’ve seen Turnbull blather on about when citing previous cases – he’s misrepresenting previous judgements and hoping the populace doesn’t notice.
    Unfortunately don’t think the high court will be relying on the Murdoch media for guidance on which way they should make their determinations

  14. Percy

    I reckon Jan 26 would make a good date for polls

  15. Johno

    Can the government survive ?… I hope not !

  16. Terry2

    On a daily basis the government’s talking heads tell us that :

    we took a same sex marriage plebiscite to the election and Australians voted for us, we have a mandate, we made a promise to the Australian people.

    Do these people realize that they went to the election with a nine seat majority and were returned with a one seat majority : that is not a mandate

  17. Max Gross

    You reckon the MSM’s reporting of the Turnbott circus makes the “vicious treatment of Julia Gillard, five years ago, look positively childlike by comparison”? Seriously? I reckon you are suffering memory loss!

  18. John Kelly

    Max Gross, on reflection I could have gone overboard there. Julia was treated far worse.

  19. Zoltan Balint

    The future of jurnalism is nearly complete. As true jurnalist are no longer working for the paper, and thus could research and write a piece with proper informed facts but are forced to write what the paper wants and submit it to be considered for publication to get some money. Chanel Nine proved it where you knew what month it was in the year by the story as in a kid with disability or a story on some other issue they have penciled in for that day for the next 20 years. Jurnalism these days does not require work to get the truth it just needs to work out what is popular.

  20. Glenn Barry

    Great Press Club address on the specific questions regarding both dual citizenship and the postal survey.

    George Williams – Dean of Law at UNSW almost completely dispels all of the governments optimism regarding their current high court representations.

    He sites Sykes v Cleary in detail regarding the dual citizenship issue – saying there is almost no chance that the high court will find for Barnaby et al.

  21. Glenn Barry

    whoops cites not sites

  22. Freetasman

    Yes Glenn, I wonder what will be the implications to the government and specially Turnbull if George Williams is correct.

  23. Pingback: Can the Government Survive? | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  24. Kyran

    “Can the Government Survive?”
    Just a few queries. Do you have any empirical evidence that this is a government? Having looked long and hard, I can’t find any. They have done nothing for the people for nigh on four years. Lots for corporations, who don’t vote, but sweet fanny adams for the people, who do.
    As for the “sympathetic media willing to gloss over their vulnerable areas”, one can’t help but note that it is not gloss. Their vulnerable areas haven’t been glossed. They have been veneered, coated, even embalmed. Whatever. It ain’t gloss, in the absence of empirical evidence.
    As for ‘survive’, well, sometimes, you just have to put the rabid dog down. It is, after all, for the public good.
    Kronomex, unhelpfully, posed the question of the ‘underdog’ status. That this ‘government’ is seeking a sympathy vote, before they have even called an election, suggests they know the rabid dog is going to be put down.
    Dr No, the advocate of free speech, was called a ‘CANT’. The ‘A’ was inverted, which led to a court case.

    It is no longer a case of ‘Can the government survive’. It is merely a question of ‘when’ and ‘where’ it implodes.
    The more appropriate question is ‘How long can we survive?’
    Thank you Mr Kelly and commenters. Apologies, Kronomex. Take care

  25. paul walter

    Can we survive the government?

  26. paul walter

    Does the government deserve to survive?

    No, on the grounds of incompetence and possible endemic corruption.

    Does it require even pity? Given its petty cruelties involving various categories of disadvantaged people, I would think no, not a skerrick, more likely, contempt.

  27. helvityni

    paul walter
    August 31, 2017 at 12:16 am
    Can we survive the government?

    I’m asking the same, it’s getting harder by the day…

  28. havanaliedown

    It seems like only yesterday that the leather-jacketed newly-slimmed Malcolm was smirking away on Q&A, happily undermining his leader Beautiful Tony, schmoozing the dim-witted wealthy Leftists like only a merchant banker with links to Keating and Whitlam could.

    Like another Hewson, a Liberal-leader-we-can-love-at-last (translation: Loser bereft of retail political skills) poor Mal believed this ABC-luvvy audience of wealthy Leftists would vote for him in droves.

    “So disappointed” they cry, but cannot remember as far back as when he was a hopeless opposition leader.

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