I suggested in yesterday’s Commentary that various developments, including the apparent praise for Dutton following his appointment as Minister-Designate for Home Affairs, continued to put Turnbull’s present leadership on shaky ground. This despite the fact that Turnbull himself made the appointment.
Today we find that The Australian has published the result of a special Newspoll, taken between 20-23 July, showing that 58 per cent of voters say Malcolm Turnbull has the best values and leadership credentials while only 23 per cent favour Tony Abbott. The survey also shows that Abbott is little favoured as a either a senior Cabinet Minister (23%) or as a commentator on important issues (17%). Even only 48% support him as a backbencher who makes no public comments, but with fewer Coalition supporters than those from other parties (see Newspoll on Turnbull Leadership).
While this survey seems conclusive as regards an Abbott v Turnbull leadership challenge, it doesn’t necessarily mean that such a challenge would fail if held within the Parliamentary Party. Nor does it mean that a challenge to Turnbull from another source would fail.
The Coalition continues to face serious problems with the policies being pursued by Turnbull and with the personality of the man. The Newspoll survey refers to the recent slight improvement in Turnbull’s position as Better PM than Shorten’s. But that favourable gap for Turnbull of about 11 points is much less than his favourable 46 point gap back in October 2015. Moreover, the Net Satisfaction rates re both men are now at Minus 20 points whereas Turnbull had an NS of Plus 25 in October 2015 compared with Shorten’s then Minus 25 ie Shorten has improved slightly whereas Turnbull has gone from a healthy plus to an unhealthy minus.
We are reminded today by Terry McCrann that Australia faces an energy apocalypse if the Turnbull government continues its existing policy of aiming for 20% of renewable usage by 2020. He describes the RET policy as “like the prime national suicide note, within the overall ‘covering suicide note’ of our commitment to cut carbon dioxide emissions under the fake Paris Accord” (see McCrann on RET Abolition). As he points out, if as warmists believe, that RET is now cheaper than coal-fired generation we don’t really need an RET! However, Terry claims that “there’s no way in the world that the current Coalition government would even begin to think of doing that. The only way abolition of the RET would ‘work’ to deliver cheaper, more sustainable and the reliable power we used to have, is if it was done on a bipartisan basis”.
What Terry is saying, in effect, is that Australia needs as its PM someone with the intelligence and bravery of a Trump!