Discussion and media coverage about the political situation is focussed mainly on the citizenship issue and its possible implications. It is an important and difficult issue on which to agree on what should be done (or attempted) to ensure that future elections (including the half Senate ones) have candidates who can pass a “no foreigners” test as prescribed by the High Court. The leaders of the two major parties seem to accept that it would be desirable on practical grounds to reach an agreement asap regarding the “audit” for future elections.
But as there may be unresolved legal issues that may be more difficult than it seems at first sight. Further, unless there were to be a general election first, it would not forego the additional by-elections which will be needed and are unlikely to be held before sometime well into 2018 (see in this rather confusing article Crowe on Results of Possible By-Elections). And Turnbull will do his utmost to drag out the timing of by-elections for as long as he can whereas Shorten would presumably opt for the earliest possible by elections.
The possible scheduling of by-elections out to April 2019 offers the potential to “save” Turnbull from a challenge as leader of the Coalition before then. Many Coalition MPs could argue that a change of leadership would disrupt the parties and create uncertainty as to the policies that would be adopted and followed under the new leader.
On the other hand such a change may improve the chances of Coalition candidates in by-elections and would have the potential to do so in a later general election.
Andrew Bolt argues that Turnbull has lost his media supporters and, while replacing Turnbull with Abbott or Dutton is unlikely to now save defeat in the election, it would stop the continued installing of Turnbull-like policies and would stop the use of a “Not as bad as Labor” slogan. Such an approach fails “to get party volunteers on to the barricades. No, to lose in a grand cause is often better than to win in a dud one, because what counts most: to fight for power or fight for ideas?”(see Bolt Says Only Saava & Kelly Support MT).
Graham Richardson takes an even stronger view in suggesting that existing Coalition MPs are losing any respect in the electorate and that, as a politician, Turnbull “is a dud” (see Richo Says MT Must Go).