More Questions About Turnbull

It remains difficult to reach any firm conclusion about the implications of Turnbull’s acquisition of the Prime Ministership. As expected, the first opinion poll shows Turnbull as a Better PM than Shorten (62/38 %) – compared with the 42/58% under Abbott – and a lift in the TPP to 50/50 from 46/54 in the last Newspoll.  But one might have expected an initial more favourable outcome for Turnbull.

The question is whether the Coalition can overcome the divisiveness created within the two Parliamentary parties and outside them from what some regard as an unexpected choice to replace Abbott given that his history suggests a philosophy contrary to liberal aims and given also his poor performance as Opposition leader. This was detailed in the document I circulated last evening. Note that as Opposition leader Turnbull experienced 30 straight losses in Newspolls – no better than Abbott as PM – and that he crossed the floor to vote in favour of Rudd’s ETS.

Also, the 54/44 majority for Turnbull was a Liberal Party decision and did not reflect the views of the Nationals. They have secured a written agreement withTurnbull which prevents any return to a carbon tax or establishing the emissions trading scheme favoured by Turnbull and which includes some other policies favoured by the Nationals. This makes it clear that there is concern within a significant part of the Coalition about the policies which Turnbull might pursue if he has a free hand.

Indeed, prominent commentator Terry McCrann goes as far as to say that, if the Nationals had had a vote, Turnbull would not have been elected as PM.  McCrann suggests that this means that “an Abbott majority” will still apply in terms of policy making (see article below Nationals ensure continuing Abbott majority despite Malcolm Turnbull’s challenge).

Whether that is correct is a moot point, but the article by McCrann and the one by Andrew Bolt below (Turnbull will fail if he can’t heal his party) indicate that within the Coalition Turnbull is not trusted to pursue liberal policies. Reports in today’s Age  reinforce such concerns in suggesting that Turnbull might support an increase in the GST, the appointment of Parkinson as his chief of staff and that Abetz and Andrews will lose their ministerial positions (with Hockey moving to another position as Morrison becomes Treasurer). My concern is that, notwithstanding his agreement with the Nationals, Turnbull will take the Coalition down the wrong path on a range of issues, including on global warming and the handling of citizens who support extremist Islamic objectives.

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