What can I say?
What can I say?
While many in the Liberal Party have been referring to members of Barnaby’s party by the abbreviation “Nats”, Mr Turnbull doesn’t seem to have noticed that they’ve changed their name in the 1970s and are no longer the “Country Party”.
Malcolm announces that ministers in his government aren’t allowed to screw their office staff and that they have to concentrate on their main job of screwing the voters. He – for some reason – feels it necessary to suggest that the Deputy Prime Minister should consider his position.
Barnaby responds by telling us all that his prefered position is a private matter and all the memes of the Kama Sutra with the words “Vacant Position” being circulated by the Liberals are exactly the sort of things that makes him want to dig in. Mr Joyce uses the press conference to show he knows words of more than one syllable by referring to Turnbull’s press conference as “inept” and “unnecessary”. He announces that he won’t be commenting on the Liberal leadership and he doesn’t expect the Liberals to be commenting on the Nationals’ leadership. His supporters back this by telling journalists that it’s “open season” on Mr Turnbull.
So exactly where does that leave us?
The Nationals seem to be holding firm and circling the wagons round Mr Joyce. If Joyce isn’t going then we have the unusual situation where the Prime Minister and his Deputy can’t stand each other. This, by itself, wouldn’t be without precedent. However, normally when this happens, they just brief journalists “off the record” about their adversary’s failings. Holding a press conference to brief the whole country is a unique way to sort out one’s differences.
So, when Turnbull gets back from his “I need more selfies with Donald” trip and Barnaby gets back from his leave, can we expect them to kiss and make up? Will we see a joint press conference where they announce that it was all a media beat-up because, fundamentally, they never really had a problem, because it’s okay to disagree and they’re more than happy to work together because it would be terrible if Bill Shorten became PM?
Or will there be greater and greater escalation because neither of them have understood the phrase, “if you want to get out of a hole, stop digging.”
It’s always difficult to make predictions – especially about the future – but I’m willing to predict that the next Newspoll will not be a boost for the Liberals.