For those of us who have been pushing to have Tony Abbott produce his renunciation certificate (his RN form), to show he is no longer a British citizen, we can finally relax. It looks like he’s done it. But it took Australian/New Zealander, Scott Ludlam’s resignation and a twitter poke from Deryn Hinch to finally get him to mention it.
It looks like he’s done it, although what he has released is not actually a certificate, as such, but a letter dated quite recently, from the Permanent Migration Nationality Team in Liverpool, UK, which says that according to their records, he renounced his UK citizenship, and did so on 12th October 1993 (see below).
It’s not a certificate, but perhaps the original certificate was lost. If so, why not ask for a duplicate? Nevertheless, we should all now be satisfied that Tony Abbott has renounced his U.K. citizenship and did so before entering the Australian parliament in 1994.
It’s a relief, in a way. It means he’s going to be around for some time yet and that can only mean more wrecking, more undermining and more sniping. This can only be of benefit to Bill Shorten, who is now looking odds-on to be elected Prime Minister, probably in 2018, although it’s quite possible, he won’t be the next Australian prime minister.
As they say in the media, a week is a long time in politics and within a few months, we might yet see another Liberal PM stand before them and proclaim the party is a broad church, that all is now well and how bad it would be for the country if Bill Shorten were to become prime minister.
The problem for them is that no one is listening anymore. The problem for Malcolm Turnbull, if he is to avoid a leadership challenge, is to decide when the next election will be held. That decision now lies in the timing of next senate election, a problem he created himself when he called the double dissolution last year.
Under our constitution, the next senate must take its place no later than the 1st July, 2019. For this to happen, a half senate election must be held no later than 18th May 2019.
While an election for the House of Representatives is not required until 2nd November 2019, it is preferable and probable that elections for both houses will be held at the same time. Choosing the date will be tricky.
Waiting until May 18th, 2019 would box the PM into a canyon. Going three months earlier, in February is possible, but messy, given its proximity to the summer holiday break and the start of the school year.
That leaves November 2018 as the most convenient time and this is where it gets tricky. If Turnbull is going to be replaced before the next election, you can be sure those planning the night of the long knives will have done their homework on the possible dates for a necessary early poll.
They would want “their man” to have a reasonable settling-in period; a year or so, possibly eighteen months. The likely candidates are, Bishop, Dutton, Morrison, or if they are looking for a rank outsider, Josh Frydenberg.
That would mean a leadership challenge sometime between now and the end of this year. With current polling suggesting the government could lose more than twenty seats, those government members sitting in marginal seats are getting increasingly nervous and they have a lot of thinking to do.
Which brings us back to Tony Abbott. His seat of Warringah is safe, but is he safe? While he plans to be around for some time, his branch members might have other ideas. A number want him out, preferably right now, and it is possible, albeit unlikely, he will lose pre-selection?
Either way, the conservative right in the party are determined to oust Turnbull as soon as possible and Abbott will want to be there when it happens.
All indications are that either Turnbull, looking both ways, will call an early election to head them off, or a leadership challenge will happen sooner rather than later.
What a delicious thought.