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From Hero to Zero – When a PM fails to deliver

By Peter McCarthy

When Malcolm Turnbull saved the Liberal Party from annihilation by taking over the Leadership of the party from Tony Abbott, things were looking very rosy indeed. Here was a chap who actually listened to questions then reflected for a moment before responding. And those responses seemed to appease the voters by not simply quoting a slogan.

Really, the only folk upset, aside from Tony and his bovver boys, were those Labor voters who were looking to cruising to victory against a mortally wounded opponent. For the rest of us it seemed we may finally have a Prime Minister who would work for the betterment of the country and prepare us for the future rather than simply look after vested interests and forgetting about his real responsibilities.

It looked very promising.

But then reality kicked in and we soon discovered that Malcolm didn’t have a faction locked in behind him, instead, just a loose collection of folk who could see the writing on the wall and needed a stop-gap measure while they cast Tony adrift. Meanwhile, the Hard Right faction were very organised and loud too, and they could see if they lessened their grip on decision making it was game over for them. So out came the big boots and the bullying and suddenly Malcolm stood powerless to do anything.

What made matters worse was he ended up fighting an election on the policies of the Hard Right instead of his own and predictably got belted – in a way – in the election. Folk wanted a change from Tony’s ideas, not just a change of face. Want to ignore equal opportunity in education? Hmm. Sounds like Tony. Want to protect the fossil fuel industry? Hmm. That sounds like Tony too. Want to protect the handouts to the wealthy at the cost of first home buyers? Dang me if that doesn’t sound like protecting Tony’s mates too.

So now it’s back to business as usual even though Malcolm knows better. Unlike Tony, he recognises Climate Change is real. He can actually read the science and understand the problem, but here’s the real problem and it’s something he can’t fix. He has to go along with the façade that “Coal is King” and ignore the ongoing damage it is causing. He has to forget about preparing Australia for the future and simply crawl along ignoring a serious issue.

How does a man go from the desire to do his best for Australia and it’s future, to simply sitting in the PM’s seat and doing nothing about fixing the problems?

Sometimes the main driving force behind a person to aspire to the top job is simply to be the PM, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you work towards improving Australia. But how do these folk sleep at night when that’s all they are accomplishing?

How does Malcolm deal with his aspirations being destroyed and looking like he will leave a legacy of being just another plodder in a field of faceless plodders?

What stops him from simply resigning and going into the history books as a man of principal who refused to kowtow to those who put self interest and the interests of their benefactors before the good of the country?

There must be a strange hold over a bloke that stops him walking away but it has been done before, and in Australian politics no less. John Grey Gorton left the PM’s job when a Confidence Motion was bought on in a Liberal Party Caucus meeting. The vote was tied which meant he was safe, but true to his idiosyncratic style he stood down saying; “Well, that is not a vote of confidence, so the party will have to elect a new leader”. This turned out to be a mixed blessing for the Liberal Party because his position was taken by Billy McMahon who was knocked off by Gough Whitlam at the next election.

It’s interesting to reflect that it made the Liberal Party at that time look disorganised and inward looking, the very same problem faced by the party today.

Will Malcolm stick with the job and suffer the embarrassment of entering the history books as a victim of his lack of control? Will the party find a saviour who can appeal to the Hard Right AND the voters and simply kick him to the curb? Only time will tell. But Australia needs a leader who has vision and the ability to enact change, and Turnbull certainly isn’t someone who can bring that level of control.

 

28 comments

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  1. Shevill Mathers

    A useless rich wimp with no idea how to run a country. Getting a good start in life and making a killing selling multi-million business deals and being an investment banker does not a leader of a nation make. The pot calling the kettle black when saying that Kevin Rudd is not a suitable person to represent Australia as a potential candidate for the top UN job. At least with Tony Abbott we knew we has a total loser and an embarrassment to boot.

  2. Duffa

    It is such a terrible shame to have a desire to be what you not good at. Oh he could be the front man but not the leader. He looks presentable, speaks well (except when he has a rare hissy fit), but he has insufficient influence. He was put in on sufferance and not only do many of party members had different ideas but they make sure HE doesn’t get anything he wants through.
    He must be very frustrated to be so ineffective and conflicted within himself that he can’t walk away. If he left started his own company or given a job with his own little empire he probably would be very good as long as he was a motivator for like minded people but not as anything practical.
    To use his words, no disparagement of Turnbull he is probably a nice bloke, good to his grand kids and might even like cats and dogs. But he can’t lead this group and maybe no one can. (Abbott maybe but only into hole). For Turnbull’s own sake he should cut his losses accept that he is not ever going to be useful in that role and go out and do something positive. The government won’t be any better without him but he will be better

  3. Möbius Ecko

    Then there’s his bad judgement. His history is littered with it, Godwin Grech being the most famous example.

  4. Don A Kelly

    Julia Gillard was a brilliant PM, unfairly battered from pillar to post by the media and a large part of the electorate. During her time…….the economy was sound…….rates were low…..unemployment was low compared to many struggling countries….Labor had a better NBN…..had the Disability Scheme……Education reform……..the $18,200 tax free threshold…….were strong on superannuation and were trying to make it fairer……got rid of Workchoices…..built Trades Training Centres……had been fairer to ALL schools…..focused on disadvantage and making schools more hi-tech with netter Science Labs and Libraries to assist us to modernise…..focused heavily on diverse infrastructure…..got us through the GFC.

  5. Matters Not

    The Turnbull version.

    He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    Doesn’t have a point of view
    Knows not where he’s going to

    Nowhere Man, please listen
    You don’t know what you’re missing
    Nowhere Man, the world is at your command

    He’s as blind as he can be
    Just sees what he wants to see
    Nowhere Man can you see me at all?

    Nowhere Man, don’t worry
    Take your time, don’t hurry
    Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand

    Doesn’t have a point of view
    Knows not where he’s going to

    Nowhere Man, please listen
    You don’t know what you’re missing

    He’s a real Nowhere Man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

  6. Jaquix

    MN exactly so. Turnbull is looking smaller and more stressed by the day, not quite so excited these days. After a good start when he relieved us of Abbott and had a popularity rating of 70%, its been all downhill ever since, so he’s now pretty much level pegged with Bill Shorten.

  7. Michael Taylor

    MN, you should put a tune to that.

  8. helvityni

    Mal was given the chance to have his dream-job, he wasn’t a man enough to help Kevin in his efforts to at least to try to reach his.

    It was not up to Mal to elect Kev, just to give him a helping hand.

    This will be remembered…

  9. Klaus Petrat

    Hi Peter,

    I posted this also to John. I am getting frustrated, that people have to wake up to the fact that Malcolm never had charisma, character strength or principles. I am sorry you are surprised. This was crystal clear to me all along. Here is what I said to John.

    Malcolm Turnbull does not look weaker by the day. When do people understand that this man never had any principles or character he can call his own. He has managed, and in many cases as witnessed in your own article, is still managing to fool people in being ‘really different’ if he was allowed to.

    When do people wake up and understand that the man is governed by a single purpose, that of being and remaining Prime Minister. And if at the cost of all Australians by continuously succumbing to the people who really run this country.

    He is a fake, has always been a fake and it is time that you call him out on that. You still give him some benefit of the doubt. He was too weak the first time he was leader of the party and he is still too weak.

    When is this being realised?

    The man has no principles, no character, no strength. He is an empty wind hose compared to the likes of Hawke, Keating, Gough.

  10. Klaus Petrat

    If Malcolm truly believed the science behind climate change, he would have to be mortified of the consequences of not acting. That coward is not convinced on climate change, otherwise he would act, despite the hard right.

    You guys overestimate his intellect and decisiveness. No principles, no guts, no leader. But we have got another 3 dark years. What a shame that man and his team is. Where do you give him the kudos of being able to understand climate science.

    Either he does not or acts against his on conviction. What a sad story??? That guy is no leader. No way.

  11. Phil

    Agree with you KP. I never understood why the media pundits and other talking heads, were so taken in by Turnbull. I agree – he does not understand the science on climate, that is patently obvious from his actions.

    He does not think politically – that too, is patently obvious from his actions. He is enamoured by his personal wealth, and that is exactly what he stands for.

    Having hundreds of millions stashed away in the Caymans tax haven undermines everything he says and does as leader – he epitomises the wealth inequality crisis and this makes him the problem, not the solution.

    If Turnbull genuinely believed in Australia, if he truly believed in the people and their culture, then he’d repatriate those hundreds of millions from the Caymans and invest in the Australian people that he claims to lead. He won’t do it because he can’t do it – he is a fraud – always was, always will be.

  12. stephentardrew

    Personally I was never sucked in by this hypocrite.

  13. Jaquix

    I think its probably dawned on Malcolm that he doesnt really like the job, the job he always wanted. Because the reality is not all glitz and glamour and being centre stage with an adoring audience. Its not an easy job, and you have to have certain skills to do it. He doesnt have the background, the aptitude, or the temperament. His money and contacts have greased his path throughout life. Being Prime Minister these days is open to endless scrutiny, with the internet, mobile phones, CCTV cameras, 24 hour news and Facebook. Not like the old days when Prime Minister could occasionally appear on the steps of Parliament House looking like a PM, make a pronouncement, and that was the end of it. Those days are gone, his every move is watched, recorded, leaked. He is not enjoying himself any more, its showing in his face, but there are not many ways to escape, are there?

  14. Matthew Oborne

    everyone who understood his situation knew he could never put forward a policy the far right thought was left, he loses support everytime he pushes another far right policy. A lot of people think Turnbull was just being a jerk when he decided to demolish Rudds bid at the UN, but think about it, 12 candidates one who saved his country from the GFC as well as many other achievements, he would have to push his GFC credentials and the Liberal party alternative reality has no space for a GFC ever occuring. Turnbull lost the day he rolled Abbott he was just to stupid to realise it.

  15. Jack Russell

    History will record that his only purpose in being PM was to further his personal business opportunities.

  16. Jaquix

    Well Jack Russell, Im not sure that he is going to succeed in his only purpose – by the time he is finished Im not sure he will have a shred of credibility left in any area. He might make a good “lolly-pop” man at the pedestrian crossing of his nearest primary school though.

  17. Susan Munday

    Michael Taylor ,there is already a tune to The Nowhere Man and I can’t get it out of my head. A very apt song.

  18. Matters Not

    Susan, there’s been lots of recordings of Nowhere Man beginning with The Beatles – mid 60s. (And Michael knows that). It was written by some unknown ? – John Lennon was his name.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93rSXA8aeG4

  19. Matters Not

    Those songs ‘you can’t get out of your head’ are often called ‘earworms’ or ‘brainworms’ among other descriptors.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earworm

    Here’s another, more recent recording.

  20. Sam

    Wow Klaus, thanks for putting into words exactly what I was thinking after reading the article and one of the early comments.

  21. Graeme Henchel

    Shallow Mal has been returned
    but now more weak than ever
    The double D has shown us all
    Shallow Mal is not too clever

    Shallow Mal has had a fright
    The ego had a bruising
    A tantrum on election night
    Now a morbid fear of losing

    Shallow Mal is on the edge
    The right still have his balls
    More policy paralysis
    Avoiding party brawls

    Shallow Mal has made a call
    A dump on Kevin Rudd
    Another weak decision
    Proving Shallow Mals a dud

    Shallow Mal must watch his back
    The Thug is sure to plot
    The Delcons on the right still dream
    Of returning to the clot.

  22. helvityni

    Graeme Henchel, LOL, our Mal, a masculine muse for poets; this poem is the second one here.

  23. jimhaz

    [The double D has shown us all]

    ummm, this made me think of Julie Bishop. Though I’m probably inflating things in that regard.

  24. Kyran

    Tried singing Mr Henchel’s contribution to the tune afforded by Matters Not’s contribution. Didn’t work, other than to upset the neighbours. It did, however, remind me of ‘Mr Monday’ by The Original Caste,

    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.
    Where’s the reason? Where’s the rhyme?
    Mr. Monday, can you spare a dime?

    The world is calling you but you don’t want to hear.
    You’re holding on to all that’s left of yesterday.
    The cry of “Come Together” ringing in your ear
    But you just wait for someone else to find the way.

    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.
    Where’s the reason? Where’s the rhyme?
    Mr. Monday, can you spare a dime?

    You hide tomorrow in the corner of your mind
    And tell yourself you’re everything you want to be.
    You want the pot of gold that only seekers find
    But all you have to give us is your sympathy.

    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.
    Where’s the reason? Where’s the rhyme?
    Mr. Monday, can you spare a dime?

    You could find the love to give, but you can’t spare the time.

    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.
    Where’s the reason? Where’s the rhyme?
    Mr. Monday, can you spare a dime?
    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.
    Where’s the reason? Where’s the rhyme?
    Mr. Monday, can you spare a dime?
    Oh! Mr. Monday, me oh my! You collect all the tears we cry.

    “How does a man go from the desire to do his best for Australia and it’s future, to simply sitting in the PM’s seat and doing nothing about fixing the problems?”
    The nowhere man, shallow mal, will never concern himself with Tuesday. His weak is assured.
    Thankyou, Mr McCarthy. Take care

  25. helvityni

    Today is only Monday, but for me Mal is already a last week’s, a yesterday’s man; where was his judgement when choosing the judge for NT’s RC.

    And why did he think that he was on the UN’s selection committee.They are quite capable of choosing the best person for the job, Mal only had to send our applicant over there.

  26. Kyran

    Yet again, helvityni, we must endure another weak week. We have endured weakness for the past three years. Chest thumping, bible bashing, weakness.
    As a matter of fact, I checked talcum on the internetty thingy thing he invented.
    “In its natural form, some talc may contain asbestos, which is known to cause cancer. However, modern domestic talcum powder does not contain asbestos.”
    Today is only Monday. Tomorrow is only Tuesday. Just another weak week. Breathe in, breathe out. I’ve yet to meet anyone who believes that these gits have the slightest clue as to what the real world looks like.
    Take care

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