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Day to Day Politics: One year ago I wrote this.

Thursday 15 September

Author’s Note: I wrote these words a year ago and except for my thought for the day I have left them intact. They were relevant then and remarkably are so today.

Just who is Malcolm Turnbull? Can it work the Second Time Around?

Tony Abbott came to the Prime Ministership with a mixture of negative malevolence, callous misogyny, lying, cheating and creating crisis when none existed. With the support of Rupert Murdoch he successfully deceived the Australian public into believing that the country would be better in his hands. The evidence of his unconscionable leadership is open for all to see.

Conversely, Malcolm Turnbull, will it appears, obtain the office with a calculated mixture of personal charm, reasonableness, and consummate diplomacy. He presents a façade of calm confidence and understanding in stark contrast to Abbott who shows all of the traits of a man who has lost control of his emotions.

In December 2014 The Saturday Paper said this of Turnbull:

“He has worked up a lovely public persona: as cultured as Keating but blessed with a kinder sense of humour; as intelligent as Rudd but far from as malevolent. And somehow, with his green-froth-drinking diet success and his endearing leather jackets and business shirts, his Stephen Fry-like adoration of gadgets and mastery of social media, his raffish smile and mellifluous voice, he has formed the perfect personality for most popular, and probably most trusted, politician in the nation.”

It seems inevitable that one will replace the other. I for one, like many on the left, don’t subscribe to the theory that Abbott in power gives Labor the greatest chance of winning the next election. It may be true to some extent but the current state of our democracy demands that the tempestuous buffoon Abbott be removed and the matter is urgent.

What might be different under Turnbull?

Climate Change

Remember these words:

“As we are being blunt, the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it’s cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”

“Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy but we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted.”

There exists in the Coalition Party Room at least 50% of its members who are fervent climate deniers. They will have nothing to do with the science.

Turnbull has hung his hat on a firm belief that it is real and that the party’s current policy of Direct Action is nothing more than a joke. He would have to show support for renewable energy, emissions targets and investment. If he compromises his hypocrisy will be difficult to overcome.


One of Turnbull’s first problems will be, as an intelligent individual, to form a balanced (I mean women) front bench. He would have to dispose of the likes of Pyne, who he detests, and others who have passed their used by date. It would be no good reinstating all the regulars of this untalented disorientated, characterless and anachronistic group or his credibility will suffer. He is a Liberal amongst neo conservatives and a sprinkling of Tea Party nutters.

The question of sexual equality and gay marriage

As an outspoken supporter of gay rights it would naturally be expected that he would allow a conscience vote on the matter. In doing so he will confront a huge number of homophobic Bernardie type personalities. He would need to win the argument or again face charges of hypocrisy.

Budget Blues

Both of the following statements conflict with Turnbull’s publicly stated view of support for the last budget. I support it in its entirety he said. But both quotes address the question of fairness which means he goes back to the drawing or admits that it was unfair.

“it is vitally important, both as a matter of social justice and political reality, that structural changes are seen as being fair across the board”.

“That means not only must tough decisions be justified, but that the burden of adjustment is not borne disproportionately by one part of the community.”


This raises the question of what will happen with the GP Co Payment. He could retreat on it altogether arguing that it was an Abbott broken promise that he wanted nothing to do with. Labor would of course say correctly that it was one of many flawed policies symptomatic of a government devoid of ideas.


Would he sack Pyne and move him out of the ministry or give him another portfolio. He is just one of many grating personalities hindering the public perception of the Coalition. Then he might take up independent Senator Nick Xenophons suggestion for a proper comprehensive review of the University sector.

Some might see it as a delaying tactic but Turnbull would have a solid argument for a fresh approach and it is right for the government to pursue reform of the tertiary sector.

Labor would come back with a picture of a dysfunctional, out of control government.

Welfare reform

After John Howards spending spree years of vote buying we now have revenue shortfalls that need to be fixed. Long term welfare reforms also need to be looked at and Turnbull would have an opportunity to explain all of the issues in detail and tackle the perception of unfairness.

Of course the ability to accomplish all of these things is a matter of timing.

The Budget is due on May 12. If Turnbull is to change course, indeed change policy direction and influence the upcoming budget they would need to act soon.

As I see it though the three major challenges he faces are firstly his own ego which was Rudd’s downfall, secondly the public’s perception of his party as untrustworthy ideologues and thirdly to bring the party back to the centre from the extremity of the far right.

As a party with a born to rule mentality together with an obsessiveness’ towards ideology and telling people what’s best for them they will find it hard to listen to people of constraint and reason.

For a party now so infiltrated with political nutters it might be a bridge to far, or at least a bridge over very troubled waters.

Seeing Abbott go may not, in election terms be what’s best for Labor but it is what’s manifestly best for Australia and that should be our first consideration.

Then if as Bill Shorten says 2015 is to be a year of ideas we might dare to dream that our democracy will come in for some badly needed repair.

Who knows? Between then they might, as has been done in Brittan form a consensus on climate change, organise a plebiscite on a republic and ban knighthoods. Well you can always hope.

My thought for the day

We all have to make important decisions in our lives. None more important than the rejection of those things that tempt us into being somebody we are not”.




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  1. Peter F

    Well done John. Now, what can we expect over the next twelve months?

  2. Möbius Ecko

    Can someone tell me why John Howard is suddenly popping up everywhere, especially on the ABC, and trying to rewrite history?

  3. Kaye Lee

    Relevance deprivation? Hoping people have forgotten the truth?

  4. Freethinker

    One thing that I cannot understand it is why people are surprised by Turnbull behavior and policies.
    He was not seating in the back bench during Abbott government, he was a senior minister approving the budgets and policies put forward by the government. He approved them on the media and in party meetings.
    If he is removed and another senior member is put in his place do not expect any changes.

  5. Stephen

    Because his hide is too thick and his introspection to shallow to feel or accept the waste of time money and opportunity his period was for the country. He looked out for the interests that he cared about and along with Costello spent the future to profit the few.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Stephen. Howard’s latest is to have a go at Hockey when he was Treasurer for Hockey having a go at his middle class welfare handouts. Apparently according to Howard rather than the handouts being a burden and in large part the cause of the mess the country is in, they were nation saving.

  7. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye Lee at 7:23 am

    I just wish he would keep his promise and f*ck off. He is now irrelevant, booted out in government and from his own seat. He’s got his slew of undeserved awards from the UK and the US so should stay at home admiring them instead of constantly popping up giving advice nobody wants and making statements nobody’s listening to, especially since most are revisionist garbage.

    If there is anybody in the world the Beatle’s “Nowhere Man” describes more they would be very hard to find.

  8. wam

    good one, lord.
    the gays have put up with worse than the churches can throw and Australians are fair. So the choice is wait till 2019 election which turnball could lose or put the flawed, disingenuous, question risk the fate of turnball’s last effort the republic and wait 17 years.
    Shorten could give Labor a conscience vote to project on the outcome of the plebiscite from labor.

  9. Mark Needham

    ot. But, I thought I would share my thoughts here, also.

    Bat Thu 15 Sep 2016 08:18:48 am
    We are all morons, rosa.
    The left says to vote conservative, have to be a moron.
    The right says to vote socialist have to be a moron.
    Calling someone a moron, a racist, a loser, a pleb an anything, does not lead to “Good Conversation”.
    What is it, that makes us perfect, correct, faultless and all others “morons”.
    Yes, I do agree, their voting habits are not faultless, but it is nice to know that both you and I, have “Never made a mistake” whilst believing in our own judgement to be correct.
    Yes, we are all morons, in our own way.
    Mark Needham

    PS. Me, Perfect. Bloody oath, just like you.

  10. helvityni

    The dapper leather jackets, the coloured shirts with white collars (an absolute no-no for French /Italian males) did not help, the Emperor has been exposed, no robes, no substance, no backbone…

  11. jim

    Hey I’m with you helvityni, Like how is it that someone soo sooooo good like the wizard mr internet/turnbull can go ahead and RE install bloody cooper wire turnbull ordered 1,800 Kms of it, that I know of and now we hear that when it rains the bloody cooper wire goes under water and shorts out ( fiber cable is not effected by water, lasts longer etc..etc..) but here we have bloody genius Turnbull reinstalling cooper wire and this is considered smart mate this wouldn’t be accepted in grade 2 primary school WT..

    I remember the cold,depressing howard days when the media were boasting how brave howard was spending like a dickhead the more Howard spent just showed how brave he was ,,geez and its still happening today , yep sold our gold then the media say how brave of him I kid you not.

  12. lawrencewinder

    Yep. Isn’t it depressing being so correct? There is no vision, except for the destructive IPA agenda and worse than that there is no talent and little honesty anywhere to be found in this ruling rabble.

  13. jim

    Tony Abbott came to the Prime Ministership with a mixture of negative malevolence, callous misogyny,winking, lying, cheating and creating crisis when none existed,…….

    In 2013 mrabbit also boasted a $20 Billion medical “research” staffed by “experts” from the big drug companies most likely from the good ol USof A.

    From the Conversation ;The world was surprised to learn there were no medicines for Ebola, or Zika, but why would there be? Before the outbreaks, these diseases were of little interest to a profit-making industry, but people were still dying from it and we should be outraged .

    I’d like to know why is it that the big pharma are a closed source that answer is patents $$$
    Wouldn’t it be great if they were an open source where anyone qualified could work on the drug/ remedy.

    Almost all new medicines are discovered by the pharmaceutical industry. It’s an expensive process (but does it really have to be expensive) that requires investment up front, so investors need guarantees, secrecy and patents to safeguard their return.

    This financial model is a major constraint on the pharmaceutical industry. Medicines for diseases with small markets are not prioritised and areas associated with unclear basic science are considered too risky.

    Secrecy ruins the efficiency of the research process. Competing groups operate in ignorance of each others’ results, experts fail to talk to each other and there’s unnecessary duplication.

    There are groups pursuing projects known to others to be dead-ends.

    In contrast, open source projects are developed by communities where everything is shared. Mutual learning is fast.

    On open source;The ability to “look over the shoulder” of people working on the same problem can lead to extraordinary leaps of productivity. Contributors can rapidly identify problems and can join and leave a nimble team as required.
    And I think it is more than just, open source (Android) open to all as opposed to closed source (Apple) .and that is that there are human life at stake…..we should all be outraged.

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