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Leadership Speculation: Don’t you just love it?

Boy oh boy! I just love this stuff. Every jeer, every criticism, every detestable mockery and unflattering comparison the Abbott opposition taunted the previous Labor government with is coming back to bite them. Economic mismanagement, leadership speculation, inept ministers, embarrassing moments with the media and worst of all, polling so bad it has set them running around like headless chickens.

On current polling numbers, the Liberals could not possibly let Abbott take them to the next election. Turnbull is the only choice no matter how much they hate him. And my guess is at least half of them do. Any thoughts that Hockey, Hunt, Bishop, Cormann, Andrews or Dutton could step up and do the job is laughable; Warren Truss would be a better choice. But they have to do something or go down in a crumbling heap in 2016. Thus far, Abbott ‘s performance is making Gillard and Rudd look positively statesman-like. So with everything they touch suddenly going pear-shaped, how does one explain their so called friends, Bolt and Jones instigating a very public stoush with Malcolm Turnbull.

While it has largely been the disastrous budget that has tipped the scales against the government, any leadership speculation arising out of it would be all the more damaging for them and just give the opposition a free kick or two. Looking back over the events that began with Andrew Bolt asking the PM about Turnbull, it looks more than ever like this was a planned assault on Turnbull precipitated by his dinner with Clive Palmer. Such nasty political onslaughts are rarely accidental. While we don’t know where it originated, the problem with this one is that it has backfired spectacularly. Whatever concerns various internal factions had about Turnbull prior to his dinner with Palmer, at least he was not in the public eye; he had been keeping a low profile. He wasn’t stirring the pot. Had Bolt not raised the matter on his programme, the dinner story with Palmer would have died within days.



Now as a result of this unprecedented attack, Bolt, or those who have engineered this attack on Turnbull, have achieved the very outcome they didn’t want: the public’s attention is now squarely focused on leadership speculation between Abbott and Turnbull and when comparisons are made between them there is really no contest. The public can see that Turnbull’s affable nature outshines Abbott’s wooden image. Known as a small ‘l’ liberal Turnbull is less idealogical than Abbot, he is more articulate and the public perception is that he would make a far better leader than Abbott. He is also likely to attract the female vote in a way Abbott could only dream about, and even then, the dream would probably end badly. But additionally, Turnbull is not prone to gaffes. He will not attract the derisory comments at home and abroad that have raged across social media during Abbott’s first eight months. So, with Turnbull ticking all the right boxes, why would the liberals want to draw attention to him now? Abbott is already on the ropes for his gaffes, his deceptive manner and his disastrous budget. What is to be gained by having him compared very publicly with the one person in the government who looks more like a leader than he does?

There is something missing in this equation, something deep and sinister. Could it be that the power brokers deep inside the bowels of the Liberal party have had enough of Abbott for all the reasons listed above and have already decided that he has to go. We know they will do anything to stay in power and when it comes to bumping off an unpopular leader they have an impressive record. Gorton, Sneddon, Peacock, Howard, Downer, Nelson and Turnbull himself all went the same way. The only difference is that some went quietly. To dump Abbott and install Turnbull will be awkward and bloody and will take some time to implement. It will also make all of them look so utterly hypocritical given their reaction to the Rudd/Gillard coup.

abbott and hockey

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Turnbull can’t guarantee winning the next election but it might just work. The timetable for such a move would need to allow a year and a lot of ‘mea culpas’ for Turnbull to reverse the current state of the polls. This little incident is just the first move and assumes Abbott won’t fall on his sword. Labor might enjoy seeing the Liberals squirm and shift uneasily in their seats as they go through this painful process and they have every right to do so. But they also need to prepare for what will be a new challenge when it comes. Combining with others to block unpopular budget legislation in the senate will further frustrate Abbott and Hockey and cause them to compound their errors. One gets the feeling that it’s going to be a rocky ride from here on.


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  1. Margaret-Rose STRINGER

    In my GP’s waiting room yesterday morning I hear some radio forum discussing Jones’ attack on Turnbull: their ocus was on how rude Jones has been – how he thought himself above everyone. Then they touched briefly on the leadership speculation, and thus it transpired that one of them was a Liberal Party member. After the rest had enthusiastically declared how much better a leader Turnbull would be, this bloke asked them, one by one, if they voted Liberal: all were obliged to say no, they didn’t. He was heard to give a hollow laugh before stating “You lot are the only ones who want Malcolm leading us ! Liberals don’t want a bar of him”, or words to that effect.

  2. Ann

    I feel for them. Couldn’t have happened to a more cowardly mob. They get what they deserve in spades. The thing with bolt and jones I think would be coming from uncle rupert.

  3. mark delmege

    The Shrek could have his head on a stick and shake it about every now and then while chanting a three word slogan for all the sense this lot make. But the media would still seek out his opinions as if they mattered.

  4. CMMMC

    A drover’s dog, perhaps?

  5. geoffreyengland

    Is it too too naughty to be indulging in a little old fashioned schadenfreude currently? Will I got to hell for enjoying this circus?

  6. DanDark

    Dodgy meals, and back room deals
    That is politics as we now know it

  7. Richard Leggatt.

    And the reality is, as anti-liberal voters we should NOT be cheering Turnbull on, we need to someone WORSE than Abbott to take over, not better. I think we should be barracking for Christopher Pyne, or better still Corey Bernadi. 🙂

  8. peter kelly

    I am loving this!!! gutless wonders the lot of them! their appalling behaviour in opposition is starting to bite them in the arse!!

  9. david linehan

    John I share your joy at the visit of Miss Karma to the Tory trenches, Bolt and Jones must be distraught the tosser Abbott has commenced his political destruction so quickly. Turnbull doing his utmost to encourage it. Maybe whatever substance TonyDumbDumb is using to attempt to retain a look of youthfulness, is not only bringing on a haggard, jaundiced appearance, it is seeping into the area commonly associated with humans as, the brain!!
    I was also delighted to read Laurie Oakes column yesterday, thanks to one of my Twitter friends, it was in the herald Sun, a rag I wouldn’t use as a last resort loo paper.
    In it Oaked suggests generaly Abbott couldn’t wait 48 hrs before adding to the list of International gaffs and immense embarrassment to Australia on the International stage by its understood, cancelling 3 very crucial meetings with 3 of US top economists. Jack Lew, the US Treasury Secretary, he was also scheduled to hold talks with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. Now it seems he the Rhodes Economic Scholarship recipient aka Oxford Graduate, has decided he will not honour those commitments and the 3 whose diaries were set can just unset them as he wont be attending.
    If this is a reality then it will go down as the biggest case of chicken hearted, cold feet, admission of economic sidestepping known to any Australian PM
    I hesitated to use the word coward, it seems he is aware of his complete inadequacies in the economics field. What on earth will come next? He is to meet a soul mate in the Canadian PM probably one of the few world leaders prepared to share his crazed outlook on political life. Anything goes when those two get together.
    My fervent wish is, he is retained by his colleagues for a decent length of time, he is the gift to Labor that just indeed keeps on giving.

  10. illillawa

    Speaking of leadership, I have been scanning news reports etc of D Day services etc in France and elsewhere and have been a little surprised
    to find no reference to (Sir) Peter Cosgrove, did he travel with abbott, maybe he is leading the exodus away from abbott and co., or maybe he didn’t want to pay the access fees, like the business leaders do?…… Meanwhile, Lets see where this ends up, I would love to see the abbott and Obama meeting, Wonder if abbott will where his hard hat, fluoro jacket and speedos, nothing would surprise me!

  11. DanDark

    Someone who is complicit with this budget, as Turnbull has been should all be put on little orange boats, and taken out to sea, and left there, see how they like it
    Put shoe on other foot, the only way forward is for the whole lot to go, not many of them criticising the budget of death for this country, only Jensen on the lack of science minister, and he has been silenced since he spoke out after the budget and lack of science fundin

  12. DanDark

    Sorry, it was funding

  13. winstonclose

    I disagree that changing the leadership to Turnbull would give the LNP any chance to win the next election.
    Malcolm Turnbull only looks statesmanlike but has no capacity to save them.
    The LNP brand is so badly damaged that it might take a long long time to have a chance to win government again.

  14. Lee

    Well hypocrisy is what they do best, so it comes as no surprise. The big surprise is that Hokey is polling worse than Abbortt as people’s choice for PM.

  15. Terry2

    Some strange things happened during the week that further diminish this government and this fine country, not only domestically but internationally:

    1. In a move that George Orwell would have loved, Australia decided to drop the term ‘Occupied territories’ when referring to the occupied territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. This will no doubt delight some in the Israel lobby but it certainly won’t thrill those – including the USA – who have been trying to foster a two state solution in the Middle East based on the borders that existed prior to the war: why would you do that ?

    2. Tony Abbott promised, before the election, that he would strip 74,000 Ha of Tasmanian forest from World Heritage listing because it was degraded and had previously been logged and thus did not qualify for WH listing : fair enough ?
    Well no, a study by the federal Environment Department has concluded that only 8.6% of that area shows any signs of having been disturbed by human activity.
    Hands up those who expect Mr Abbott to reverse his decision any time soon.

    3. David Johnston, who masquerades as our Defence Minister has advised that two Naval supply ships of 20,000 Tonnes each will not be built in Australia as we no longer have the shipbuilding capacity – we do however have the iron ore and the coal to turn it into steel but we don’t do steel any more, so it will all be done offshore.
    Does it scare you to live in a country that doesn’t make anything anymore ?

    4. To quote from today’s Australian:

    ” Thousands of foreign chefs, bricklayers and tilers will no longer have to be sponsored by employers to obtain
    permanent visas as the Abbott government eases skilled migration rules to address alleged labour shortages”

    Wouldn’t it be more to the point to boost trades apprenticeships and even provide some monetary incentives to employers to take on apprentices ?

    Isn’t it time to “Get Rid of this Mob” ?

  16. Kaye Lee


    Every day brings new horrors. I am getting Abbott wrinkles.

  17. Kaye Lee


    Now why wouldn’t Tony want to meet with the US Treasury Secretary and the head of the IMF and World Bank when we are spending half a billion hosting the G20?

    Could it be because they see climate change, income inequity, and offshore tax evasion as priorities?

  18. stuart wales

    Tony and Steve Harper (Canada) can cry into ther beer together! I’m also now looking for evidence of Cosgrove in Europe. Isn’t he the prime representative? Puzzle. I see quite a few military geeks hooning around France on tv, but this wouldn’t be reason for (Sir) Peter not wanting to go?

  19. Murphy

    ‘1. In a move that George Orwell would have loved, Australia decided to drop the term ‘Occupied territories’ when referring to the occupied territories seized by Israel in the 1967 war. This will no doubt delight some in the Israel lobby but it certainly won’t thrill those – including the USA – who have been trying to foster a two state solution in the Middle East based on the borders that existed prior to the war: why would you do that ?’

    Onyah Terry.

    Bully howls victim hood method, like crying victim at blood splatter outcomes on your boots from kicking heads does divert attention from who benefits most from said illegible use of language.

    ‘Doublespeak, is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs, “servicing the target” for bombing[1]), in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (for example, naming a state of war “peace”). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. Doublespeak is most closely associated with political language.’

  20. Paula Fairbairn

    Tony is apparently saying he’s happy for Vladimir Putin to attend the G8. No one else is happy to have him, but it seems our PM has extended the hand of friendship.

  21. david linehan

    Hi K.L.
    My thinking was he knows he would be getting questions he has no idea what the answers are, he would be expected to discuss knowledgeably for some considerable time areas he has absolutely nothing but 3 word slogans for. Without Ms Credlin supplying the answers in his little earpiece, the idiot is a bumbling vacum of credibility. How he expects to bluff his way through a half hour in the Oval office, if POTUS allows him that long, defies all logic.
    I can imagine one of Mr Obamas aides providing a get out of boredom escape card, ‘Mr President I believe you are required urgently in the Situation Room’, or ‘Sir something requiring your immediate attention has arisen’.
    Mr Obama knows the drill.
    Oh for the days when we had a PM the President respected and enjoyed the company of.

  22. mars08

    Quite apart from any benefit/liability of swapping Turnbull and Abbott… I believe that chopping and changing Prime Ministers is NOT the best thing for a democracy!

  23. John921Fraser


    Hopefully Obama will turn out , at every opportunity, with his wife Michelle Obama.

    Really highlight the fact that the moron Abbott is on his lonesome.

  24. Kaye Lee

    “I am trying hard not to envision Bill Gates listening to Abbott’s speech and nudging the guy next to him – the Davos seating plan shows that to be Joe Cerrell, managing director, global policy and advocacy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – and whispering:

    “Does this bloke think we’re simple or something?”

    And Cerrell’s reply: “Either that, or he is.”

  25. John921Fraser


    @Kaye Lee


  26. david linehan

    Never ever ever.. 🙂

  27. Möbius Ecko

    Why does this not surprise me one bit.

    Abbott tanking overseas so he puts on the lycra and leads a charity bike ride making sure the press is in full attendance to capture him leading the pack.

    He really is just a one trick pony lost without constant directions from others.

  28. mark delmege

    Paula that comment you attributed to TAbbott would actually in my book be a surprisingly intelligent viewpoint but indeed out of step with the belligerence of Obama and the sockpuppets in NATO the EU and the G7. Obama actually represent more or less everything progressive people should oppose. His capacity for war and our state and corporate media subservience is as scary as anything I can remember.

  29. david linehan

    Mark why don’t you just say Fox News/Tea party I like the way you operate!!

  30. Lawrence Winder

    Whilst it’s pleasurable to engage in schadenfreude I think the main event is getting a double dissolution.

    “Rabbutt’s Rabble” was not elected to turn Australia into a theoretical “free-market” social experiment as their masters, the IPA wish.
    They lied, not only over their borrowed policies but what is more important is the fact that their real agenda was never spelt out to the nation. Few actually voted for what they are doing now, so supply should be blocked so they can have the opportunity, after “Rabbutt’s” return from his Tour de Farce, and explain themselves and their real agenda to the people in detail.

  31. Olivia Manor

    And where is Marge?

  32. Terry2

    Where is our Head of State Major General Sir Peter Cosgrove; he should be there.

  33. david linehan

    If Marge the supposed 1st lady is as I’m assurred travelling with her partner the PM, she is either in disguise or has been banned from all official engagements. Not seen in any picture he/it has been glorified in.
    I – smell – a – rat and it is not Mrs M Abbott

  34. trevor vivian

    Three word sloganeering PM Abbott is fast turning into a machivellian tragi-comedy of lethargic proportions. Boring as batshit except for the collatoral damage that the Australian populace must endure.

    Three word slogans similar to ” Abbott”s a C***” are about as useful as Abbotts destruction of the Australian Parlimentary Democracy that the major Parties abbetted by the Greens seem bent on fostering.

    Watching any government of any political hue disintegrate is not a spectator sport i’d pay to watch, but the laws of Karma in play are quite fascinating to observe.

    As Abbott and the right to rule mob behind him ruminate on just how fast the train derailed, seasoned observers will say that the end is begotten from its beginning..

    Well Abbott’s ending was delineated by Lies, Lies,Liesof his beginning and even bigger Lies attempting to disguise the second rate amateurism of the Government he leads

    Export Abbott not Refugees

  35. Walter Hawtin

    The Liberal Party will not move on Abbott while he is a serving PM, regardless of how bad the polls get.

    The public’s reaction to Rudd’s dumping is a big enough clue – Abbott’s dumping will drive the government’s numbers even further south, as it did for the ALP after Rudd’s demise.

    Abbott may ‘go of his own accord’ (after very strong advice from colleagues who make it clear he is no longer a viable election option) but that is the only way it can happen. Under this scenario, Abbott would never go to make way for Malcolm Turnbull. He might move for Hockey, but no-one else has enough popular appeal at this moment in time.

    Interestingly, Abbott is a guy who will not change for the better in the eyes of the electorate – he is at his absolute limit in terms of his ability to think on his feet and behave in a way that reduces any chance of him offending someone with his lack of natural empathy and verbal and non-verbal errors.

    His tin ear is galvanised.

    One the biggest talking points on the north shore of Sydney (Abbott Central) is how embarrassed most Lib voters seem to be for him. His gaffs, and his apparent hypocrisy of declaring budget emergencies while introducing a $20billion medical fund and an expensive, targeted Paid Parental Leave scheme have alienated his heartland, let alone other parts of the country that do not share his neo-Christian values.

    Maybe we are just two years behind the US in recognising Tea Party attitudes for the selfish shenanigans they are, and a reckoning is just around the corner, as it was for Tea Party Republicans in the US Congressional Primaries, where they were uniformly dumped for more moderate Republicans?

  36. David Linehan

    Walter with the greatest respect Hockey’s polling hardly bears that out. It appears the Members for Don’t Know and Somewhere Else are far more popular. They keep appearing within the Tory ranks, these invisible men/women

    Tony Abbott 18%
    Malcolm Turnbull 31%
    Joe Hockey 6%
    Julie Bishop 4%
    Christopher Pyne 1%
    Scott Morrison 1%
    (source ABCTV The Drum)
    Andrew Robb 0%
    Someone else 19%
    Don’t know 21%

  37. Bacchus

    This from the Morgan poll on June 6 David:

    A special telephone Morgan Poll over the last three nights this week (June 3-5, 2014) finds:

    Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull (44%, down 7% since July 16-17, 2013) is still clearly the preferred L-NP Leader over Prime Minister Tony Abbott (15%, down 1%). Treasurer Joe Hockey is next with 11% (down 3%) ahead of Deputy Leader Julie Bishop at 7% (unchanged).

    However, L-NP voters clearly prefer Prime Minister Tony Abbott (35%, up 5%) as Liberal Party Leader ahead of Malcolm Turnbull (29%, down 10%) with both clearly preferred to Treasurer Joe Hockey (16%, down 4%). All three are well ahead of Deputy Leader Julie Bishop (8%, up 3%). [bold added]

  38. David Linehan

    Thanks Bachus, all polls trending same way although Morgan doesn’t ask or publish don’t knows

  39. Bacchus

    David, if you scroll down to the tables, the “Can’t say’s” are listed 😉

  40. Carol Taylor

    Bacchus, interesting… so often when the msm refer to the polls and announce the numbers for preferred PM, they fail to provide the breakdown such as % LNP. Therefore on the surface of it, it would seem that The Challenge is On while the true picture is as the numbers you provided, that LNP voters prefer Abbott 35% to Turnbull 29%. On those numbers it’s unlikely that we’ll see any leadership challenge in the near future.

  41. David Linehan

    Cheers Bacchus, I missed the link last time, doing too many things at once 🙂

  42. Bacchus

    Carol, I’m of the opinion we won’t see a challenge at all. As Walter said above, the Libs couldn’t get away with it after the way they fed on Labor’s turmoil. We’re more likely to see, closer to the election, an engineered move to crowbar shift Mr Abbott out of the leadership, parachuting in the new anointed one.

    Not sure who the extreme right (+ Gina & Rupert), currently in control of the LNP, will anoint – no-one in the current “leadership team” inspires. Perhaps a reshuffle to quieten restless and ambitious backbenchers and get rid of Malcolm will throw up someone?

  43. Michael Taylor

    It’s hard to fathom. They obviously must have their reasons to keep him, but I just can’t work out why.

  44. Carol Taylor

    Bacchus, I tend to agree. How many times have we noticed that the msm breathlessly builds up the suspense of the will he or won’t he challenge..and it’s all because Turnbull actually turns up and says something worth reporting on. And agreed, us = united, them = undisciplined rabble.

    To my way of thinking the LNP will stick with Abbott, at least for the time being while they’re of the belief that the outrage over the budget will just subside (doesn’t it always..worked well for Howard). I belief that they’re wrong, the outrage will not subside because it effects so many people, if not personally then sons and daughters or parents or the elderly neighbor. Therefore my prediction (given current circumstances) is that we won’t see any challenge until perhaps after the next budget when panic will set in, well and truly.

    And agreed, a *shift* of Abbott rather than a coup, perhaps a need to retire for personal reasons…

    And agreed..again 😀 If you think of any up and comers who perhaps might inspire, there is no one..that once again being straight out of Howard’s Handbook, to never ever promote anyone of any talent so that they might sometime in the future threaten one’s own position. Abbott has done exactly the same, even proudly announcing that the team in opposition would be the same team he would take to the election…no matter how talentless.

  45. Kaye Lee

    I hate to remind everyone, but Kevin Andrews tried to challenge for the leadership before Tony did and he IS a member of Credlin’s Star Chamber. In comparison, even Tony looks better.

  46. Anomander

    Michael, I believe they keep Abbott because he is effectively a puppet.

    The Libs don’t run the party any more, they are all mere puppets in a game where the strings are all held by the corporations and their masters, like Rupert and Gina and their ilk.

    The puppeteers want a compliant tool to do their bidding and Tones is more than happy to go along for the ride because it inflates his ego and makes him feel important. It also fulfils his self-belief and his grand ideal of achieving his personal destiny to hold the office of Prime Minister. He is but a mindless fall-guy, a vehicle through which the wishes of the corporatocracy can implement their egregious plans to divide the populace and gain even greater control of the country.

    Tony will be well looked after for the rest of his life thanks to his generous lifetime pension and the directorships he will no doubt secure when he is ultimately thrown out on his arse, but that will be little compensation for us, who will be left to deal with the mess he and his puppet masters will have left behind. A divided nation, a destroyed environment, a populace powerless against the wealth and might of the corporations, who will soon rule over the people and the land.

  47. Pingback: Leadership Speculation: Don’t you just love it? | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

  48. jane

    Has everyone got some form of amnesia? Because nobody seems able to remember Turnbull’s disastrous term as LOTO and his appalling handling of both the Grech email and Utegate.

    His arrogance and lack of political nous showed that he was not leadership material.

    Then we have his craven kowtowing to Liesalot and his hypocritical advocacy of Fraudband, knowing full well that is is a disastrous policy which robs this country of a first class communications system.

    In his way, Turnbull is worse than Liesalot. At least with Liesalot he is a transparent liar with no regard for most of the population and desperate people seeking asylum in this country.

    Turnbull cloaks his malevolence with a smooth manner.

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