My letter published in today’s Financial Review (see below “Turnbull’s Elevation”) draws on a pretty damning critique of Turnbull by columnist Jennifer Hewett (see Hewett on Turnbull) who concludes that “The Government won’t want anyone to be able to point out the real risk –that the Prime Minister Emperor has no policy clothes”.
My letter suggests that some Liberal MPs made a mistake in electing Turnbull as leader and it concludes (omitted by Ed) that “it is now highly likely that Malcolm Turnbull will not be leader of the Liberal Party after the forthcoming election”. I say this not because I think that the Coalition will lose the election but mainly because of a combination of Turnbull’s poor performance as PM since he acquired the position from Tony Abbott and the likely significant loss of seats.
I have referred in previous Commentaries to a number of bad decisions and statements made by Turnbull since he became PM. It is pertinent that a recent poll on Australia’s most favoured PM (see “Australia’s Best PM”) shows Turnbull as equal second lowest with the other Malcolm and only 1 percentage point higher than Tony Abbott. Interestingly, Turnbull and Abbott are equally favoured by women. A reign of six months should have been sufficient for Turnbull to do much better than only 3% favoured.
My letter suggests that as PM “Turnbull is now caught between his own ultra “progressive” view and the genuine liberal view of the party he joined”. I use the word “ultra” advisedly. I have just read an unpublished dissertation on Turnbull which is compiled by an anonymous author but by one who has used published material and comments made by Turnbull himself to assess the philosophy (sic) of the man. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he is not a genuine Liberal but a man using his membership of the Liberal Party as a means of personal advancement. It might even be concluded that he is using his position as PM to impair the philosophy of the genuine Liberal Party.
Today’s Australian publishes an article by Greg Craven, Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University, who paints a picture that “welcomed as the Messiah, he is now increasingly dismissed as just a very haughty boy” (see Craven on Turnbull). Failed Messiahs tend to fall a long way –and take some of their supporters with him.