22
Oct
2018

Interpreting Wentworth Result

Wentworth A Victory for Turnbull ?

It is now well known that Turnbull initially sought to join the Labor party and it was recently reported that it was the then PM Bob Hawke who knocked him back. Turnbull then tried the Liberal party and succeeded in twice being elected leader and, after succeeding in forcing out Abbott as PM, he became PM himself. But he was only there for a short period before Newspoll put the Coalition behind Labor on a TPP basis and that continued to be the case for 40 successive polls. On 24 August he lost his position as PM and resigned from Parliament and his seat in Wentworth after Scott Morrison was elected.

From the final Coalition TPP poll under Turnbull  of 49/51 on August 12, Scott Morrison experienced an initial fall to 44/56 on August 12 but there has been some recovery to 47/53 on October 14. I wrongly assumed there would be another poll today but that will presumably occur next Monday. However the big swing against the Liberal Party in the Wentworth by-election ( currently put at about 19 per cent) suggests that Newspoll is likely to fall back.

The main reasons for making this assessment are that Morrison has refused to attribute any blame for the Wentworth loss to Turnbull and has failed to make any substantive indication of the policies he and his main partner Treasurer Frydenberg will adopt under their government. I have dealt with some of the confusion which has emerged in my previous Commentary. Today we have numerous media comments assessing the situation but, in my view, the two best are both by Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun and other newspapers, as well as on TV.

This Bolt report outlines some of the problems with Turnbull as PM and here are some of the problems he assesses with Scott Morrison’s handling of the situation since he became PM almost a month ago. It is difficult to see how Morrison can continue as leader of the Liberal Party and stand any chance of a Coalition win in the general election whenever that occurs. More importantly in a way, it is difficult to see how the Coalition can present itself as a substantive political party unless it reverts to Abbott’s leadership and he brings out (again) the main policies which it supports.

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