1 As if to support my contention yesterday that if the Coalition wins the election Tony Abbott will at some time challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party, Peter Dutton confirms it.
Dutton says that Turnbull will be under pressure to give Abbott a portfolio. If Turnbull was to consider it, it would raise a number of issues.
If he does he would be reinstating someone he publicly criticised for his incompetency. The question of his judgement would be raised. After all, Abbott has never been popular even when serving as a minister.
He would also be giving the conservative wing of the party a leader in the Cabinet and place him one step away from the leadership.
What portfolio would he give him? It has been suggested he could take Defence but current minister Marise Payne has been applauded by both sides for her work.
You couldn’t seriously consider him for Health or Education. Well you could but with his penchant for inequality in all its forms it would create a bad public perception. Social Services would be out because it would offend the poor and disadvantaged. Employment, no I’m only joking and anything to do with money you wouldn’t let him touch. Of course as a former Prime Minister nothing less than a senior portfolio would be acceptable.
If the truth be known Turnbull would probably rather not have the badly performing and publicly loathed Dutton in his ministry at all. But as a prominent member of the right of the party, not giving him one would be an own goal.
Of course Abbott is saying and doing all the right things and not rocking the boat. But you would have to be grossly naïve to believe that the former PM is happy to serve his constituents for the next three years on a backbencher’s pay when he could retire on a pension four times as much.
On Thursday he indicated that he didn’t expect to return to the Cabinet and favoured the promotion of younger MPs and women in the Party. Something that as leader he was not fond of doing.
“Tony will make a great contribution in public life, in Parliament, he’s a good friend to all of us and he wants Malcolm Turnbull to be re-elected as prime minister” said Dutton.
“I am not expecting to go back into the ministry and I’m not going to speculate on speculation“.
“It is the job of members of Parliament to serve, that’s why we’re there, and I am expecting to serve the people of Warringah in the new Parliament” Abbott said.
“As I’ve said before, the ministry that I am taking to the election will be the ministry after the election, if the Australian people choose to return my government to office” said Malcolm Turnbull.
There was of course a time when all of this was simply called ‘bullshit’. Now we call it ‘spin’.
One thing is for certain: That being that the Liberal Party is deeply divided and the divisions are unlikely to heal anytime soon. At the moment the right hold sway and Turnbull would have to choose a ministry to their liking. He doesn’t have the support of an enormous public popularity he once enjoyed. Nor will he have a mandate although he will claim one.
So if he wants to keep his job he will have to do their bidding. In the meantime Abbott will be waiting in the wings for his call to stage.
Unlike Whitlam, Turnbull is not the crash through type. It will be his undoing.
2 Writing for the Guardian Lenore Taylor says that the latest attack ad launched by Scott Morrison “takes Coalition scare campaign to the brink of parody”.
She is correct of course, right when she says the government’s rhetoric about the Greens is getting shriller. Perhaps the polling numbers are frightening them.
Or perhaps it just comes naturally to them. The sole intention of the advertisement is to suggest that Labor has been infiltrated by Greens activists who are planning to clinch a deal between the two parties id the Coalition loses. The add if full of incorrect assertions and Liberal garbage. In fact, enough to fill a wheelie bin.
Although there is no evidence of it the ad suggests that Labor is adopting Greens policies ready for a Labor/Greens Government.
“It is the misinformed who shout the loudest. The rest of us are content with the truth we enquired about”.
3 The Liberal Party are claiming that they have not broken any rules in redirecting taxpayer funds from Parakeelia to the Party itself and are trying to say the Labor does the same. There is of course a distinct difference. The company Labor pays for a similar data base service doesn’t donate to the party. The Liberal Party-owned company receives taxpayer funds in the form of electorate allowances while also donating large sums to the party. $1 million in all including $500,000 last year.
Of course an enquiry by the Auditor General will be concluded “after the election”.
“Good democracies can only deliver good government and outcomes if the electorate demands it”.
4 This week’s Crickey BludgerTrack: 50.5-49.5 to the Coalition.
It’s been an oddly quiet week on the national polling front, though no doubt the coming fortnight will more than make up for it. Besides the regular weekly campaign ReachTEL poll for Seven, the only new result is the latest fortnightly rolling average from Essential Research, out a day later than usual due to the Monday public holiday. This records Labor with a 51-49 lead, returning it to its position before a sudden two-point shift to the Coalition a fortnight ago. The primary votes are Coalition 41% (steady), Labor 37% (up one), Greens 10% (steady) and Nick Xenophon Team 4% (steady).
My thought for the day.
“I think we can often become so trapped in the longevity of sameness that we never see other ways of doing things”.