Let’s be quite clear here: Thanks to a change introduced by Scott Morrison after he assumed the leadership, a two-thirds majority is required to trigger a spill in the Liberal Party. This only applies to leaders who win an election. One presumes that the Dutton supporters who voted for it weren’t expecting that it would apply to Morrison, but there you have it! It would be very, very difficult to force a spill and so Scottie seems to be safe because he’d have to have a clear majority turn against him.
However, remembering that almost nothing in politics is predictable these days, so picking the most unlikely thing and asserting that you’re almost positive that this will happen is a surefire way to seem like a genius. “No, no, Joe Hockey won’t win. Abbott will get up and then almost beat Julia Gillard in the election. Yes, yes, I know that Rudd is popular at the moment, but the polls will turn and then they’ll replace him with Julia, who’ll eventually lose to Tony. This will be followed by Britain leaving the EU, Trump being elected President… Yes, of the USA, and Boris Johnson will complete the trifecta of complete morons. Oh, sorry I forget to mention that Turnbull replaces Abbott and then gets replaced by Morrison… What do you mean I’m completely insane and you’ll give me good odds about any of those things happening?”
So given anything is possible, let’s take a quick look back at the Morrison versus Dutton contest.
Looking at a list of those MPs who are believed to have voted for Morrison, one sees that there are a number of departures. Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Craig Laundy, Kelly O’Dwyer, Ann Sudmalis and Christopher Pyne all decided not contest the 2019 election. Mitch Fifield and Arthur Sinodinos were moved onto other jobs by Morrison, which may not have been the wisest move. Menzies and various other leaders used to move their rivals on to other roles, but I guess Slowmo didn’t feel that any threat was likely.
On the other side of the ledger, Dutton lost Tony Abbott and Jim Moylan. Moylan was returned to the Senate as a replacement for Arthur Sinodinos. Giving his first appointment was a replacement for Fiona Nash, he may be the only person to serve in two Parliaments while be pretty much unelectable having lost both attempts at winning a place at an election.
Anyway, working on the hypothetical assumption that all votes stayed the same, this would mean that the result of the spill would now be 37 to 39 in Dutton’s favour. Of course, this completely overlooks the fact that there were various new MPs elected and makes it a ridiculous hypothetical but, hey, hasn’t politics been littered with ridiculous analysis in the mainstream media? I mean, why should they have all the fun…
But, ridiculous or not, let’s consider the fact that a number of people only voted for Morrison because they were Turnbull supporters who thought that Dutton shouldn’t be rewarded. Ok, they still might harbour ill-feelings toward the Minister for Dark Arts, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t jump ship once they realise that they’re on The Titanic.
And, of course, there is the possibility that another contender could emerge. While Angus Taylor may be thought to be electorally risky for all the reasons which I can’t list because I don’t have a good lawyer, the Liberals have plenty of ministers with the talent to match Morrison’s skills. Unfortunately, they seem sadly lacking at anyone who might be vaguely competent at anything apart from saying, “It’s Labor’s fault!” or “The Greens did it!” or “I had a dream about coal last night, and it loved me back…”
So will Christian Porter get to carry the party into the next election? Can Josh manage to make another video where he walks AND talks at the same time? Will Spud the Dud win by having ASIO detain all his opponents?
Yes, I know there’s the matter of the two thirds majority. But it’s a rather silly safeguard. I mean, if you called for a spill and it was only defeated by slightly over a third, you’d have to think that the leader was on borrowed time. From that point on, the question would be not can he hang on, but rather, “Do we have to go with the idiot who called the spill or do we actually have someone that the electorate’s never heard of so we can pretend we’re a whole new government?”
No, this is all just silly and I am sure that there won’t be a spill and that Morrison is safe. Given the past ten years, that means it’s 100% certain he won’t last the summer.
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