Newspoll Confirms Turnbull Must Go
Today’s Newspoll shows that, despite Turnbull’s very recent decision to start attacking Shorten more aggressively, the Coalition’s polling has dropped a further percentage point (to 45/55 on a TPP) and Turnbull’s personal polling has dropped sharply to 29/59 satisfied compared with 33/54 last time. This has occurred after Shorten was not only unable to state the estimated cost of Labor’s 50% target for renewable energy but also announced that he would try to reverse the decision by Fair Work Australia to slightly reduce penalty rates even though he had previously supported a review when he was minister under Labor! With Labor on the back foot, the Coalition’s polling ought to have improved.
Turnbull’s immediate response to the poll is to blame Abbott’s speech on Thursday launching a new book of essays and suggesting the need for policy changes on inter alia energy and immigration. At a press conference today, Mr Turnbull began with a standard dismissal of the opinion poll that it was a snapshot of voters at least two years before the election proper. But he then attacked Abbott (without mentioning his name) “We saw an outburst on Thursday and it had its desired impact on the Newspoll. It was exactly as predicted and as calculated.” “He knew exactly what he was doing and he did it.”
Such a quick effect on the poll seems highly unlikely. In reality, Turnbull’s continuance as leader under the existing policy regime would ensure a loss at the next election. In this article, Andrew Bolt claims “His government will fall. And conservatives will never get what they want from the Liberals while Turnbull leads”. Terry McCrann has already said much the same, concluding that we need a “down-under Trump”. It appears that some so-called conservatives have already been discussing alternative policies outside the party room and have adopted the title of ‘deplorables”, as Hilary Clinton christened some of her opponents in the US Presidential campaign.
The failure of Turnbull to respond to Abbott by indicating possible policy reviews has now deepened the division within the Coalition and ensured that more voters will move to support One Nation, which now shows a primary vote of 10% in Newspoll, the same as for the Greens. This is particularly the case with his (latest) energy policy. While Turnbull rightly attacked Shorten for his 50% renewable target, as Bolt indicates Turnbull “promises more wind power himself as bills keep rising and the electricity starts flickering”. Interestingly, even The Australian seems to have has been reluctant to run critical commentary on the adverse effects from the Coalition’s 23% renewable policy (I have had several letters on this rejected by The Australian and AFR). Turnbull has now vowed to maintain the policy – almost because Abbott suggested the renewable target be dropped!
More criticism of the 23% policy seems bound to emerge in the near future, with a letter signed by 300 scientists being sent to Trump by MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen calling on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide. “Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist (see attached 23 February article from Washington Times headed Hundreds of scientists urge Trump to withdraw from U.N. climate-change agency). Our Alan Moran is also about to start publicising his new book on Climate Change Treaties and Policies In The Trump Era in association with Andrew Bolt, Terry McCrann, Nick Cater, Ian Plimer and Senator Malcolm Roberts at locations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Turnbull also missed an opportunity to use the (extended) successful visit to Australia by Israeli PM Netanyahu to drive home the threat from militant Islam. While he rightly criticised the anti-Israeli resolutions in the UN and supported a two-state-solution for Palestine (albeit unjustifiably supporting a return to negotiations now), he should have indicated concern about the threat from Iran and that country’s likely acquisition of nuclear weapons. As Greg Sheridan points out in the attached article (Bibi Warns on Iran), it was left to Netanyahu himself to indicate the seriousness of the potential problem (Sheridan also separately savaged the support given to premature “recognition” of Palestine by three former Labor leaders, but not by Shorten).
Turnbull also missed an opportunity to correct activist Yassman Abdel-Magied for her soft interpretation of the Koran as supporting a feminist religion. Our PM should use every opportunity to provide an interpretation of the Koran which is commonly used by imams but is inacceptable in western culture. Unless we indicate now what is inacceptable, we will be stuck with a very divided society in ten or so years. The publication of an assessment that France is already close to that illustrates the importance of indicating now what is inacceptable. Turnbull does not show any inclination to sounding such a warning.
Turnbull to Follow Downer?
A possible alternative position for Turnbull would be to have him move to London as the High Commissioner to succeed Alexander Downer, who is due back about mid-year. Such a “solution” would be better for the Coalition than continuing the division which is now out in the open and which will likely make the polling worse. It would require a push from a considerable number of current MPs.