When on 15 September Turnbull defeated Abbott 54/44 in his challenge for PM, he encouraged the then Industry Minister Macfarlane to vote for him by reminding him what good friends they were. But that did not stop Turnbull removing Macfarlane from Cabinet. Such is politics one might say.
Now Macfarlane has played a bit of politics too by deciding to leave the Liberal Party. The discovery that friends, of which Turnbull declares he has many, may not last in politics appears to have suddenly arisen from a “flirtation” by Turnbullites with an initiative by a friend of Turnbull’s, NZ PM John Key. Adoption of that initiative would have involved signing a treaty of some sort to remove subsidies for fossil fuels (see “Macfarlane Change of Ships”). Judging by Macfarlane’s apparent acceptance of the dangerous warming thesis, he would not necessary resile from signing such a treaty. Presumably, however, he does not want to risk the removal of rebates on diesel fuel (which might be classified as usage of ff) used by farmers in his own electorate in Queensland. Any such change would also run counter to Turnbull’s (written) agreement with the National Party not to change the government’s climate change policy he inherited from Abbott.
Although thee is no sign that other members of the Liberal Party will soon join the Nationals, there are indications that the almost three months trial have made a number unhappy with Turnbull’s leadership and his “progressive” interpretation of Liberal philosophy. Former PM John Howard experienced difficulty from Nationals Queensland Premier Jo Bjelke Peterson, it will be recalled.
I have personally drawn particular attention to deficiencies in Turnbull’s national security statement, his inability to identify the problems within Islam, and his assertion that climate change policy must aim to reduce emissions to zero without offering any reservations about the so-called science. He also wants to change our present system of government from probably the best in the world to becoming a Republic.
Recipients of my Commentary may recall that on 16 September I also drew their attention to a document tracing the association Turnbull has had with the Labor Party and the numerous criticisms he has made of Liberal Party policies. The author of the document has still not finished his composition but is working on its compilation. However, while Turnbull has handled question times well in Parliament, that can be attributed more to the poor leadership shown by Shorten. Turnbull has certainly not indicated that he has changed significantly in the last three months compared with his poor performance when he was Opposition Leader.
I would also draw your attention to an article by former Treasury Head, John Stone, published in the latest edition of The Spectator. This is a highly critical analysis of Turnbull’s leadership which may give pause for thought to some Liberal MPs. A continuation of that leadership would likely see a deterioration in its status even though its Labor opponent is unlikely to win.