A Very Important Change

Turnbull’s Departure Very Important

The belated but successful challenge to Malcolm Turnbull after three years as Liberal leader is very important for the Coalition and for Australia -potentially.  Readers of my Commentary will be aware of the adverse views which I hold on his socialistic objectives and the apparent ego which focussed him mainly on trying to make his mark through politics regardless of which side. In fact, after 3 years as leader he will be remembered as having achieved very little other than drawing attention to himself and departing from Liberal beliefs.

Had he been allowed to continue the Coalition would almost certainly have lost the election next year: now it has a winning chance, albeit much less than if he had been thrown out earlier. Turnbull’s obsessive belief in dangerous global warming led him to develop policies which have had adverse and totally unnecessary effects on electricity prices and Australia’s competitiveness, and which he would have taken further. His ventures into relaxing border controls had to be reversed and his attempt to develop more accommodative relations with the Islamic community also failed. Importantly, he was unsuccessful in promoting a multi-culturalist society. He allowed budget spending and debt to grow faster than GDP, although provision has been made for a small reduction in the size of the deficit. Despite the tax cuts, the burden of taxation has increased by about 2 percentage points of GDP.

The most worrying aspect is that he leaves those attempted illiberal policies still behind him and accompanied by a surprisingly large group of MPS who were not prepared to support the challenge. This partly reflected attempts by Turnbull to make the procedure to make the challenge by Peter Dutton much more difficult than a similar one in the past: his requirement that there be 43 signed approvalists (there were 85 voters in total) was contrary to the tradition of allowing a secret ballot (for more detail see attached Bolt on Turnbull).  But there remains a too much of smell of Turnbull.

It is important that the new PM and his ministers recognise the need to toughen existing policies, particularly on climate change and the Paris agreement but also on immigration (see attachments on Bolt and McCrann). As McCrann says “both the Government and the country can well live with Scott Morrison as prime minister. This carries one big proviso: that it is the Morrison of 2010 through 2015 not the Morrison of 2016 through Thursday when he rather unconvincingly and even more embarrassingly put his arms around Malcolm Turnbull and declared “he’s my leader”.

The initial comments by both Scott Morrison and Frydenberg (who is now Treasurer) have not been encouraging. Let us hope that they quickly settle down to business and separate themselves from Turnbull. They must also offer Abbott a substantial seat in Cabinet.

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