Dutton’s Exposure of Turnbull

More on Dutton’s Exposure of Turnbull Problem

In last Sunday’s  Commentary I pointed out that, while in August Dutton challenged Turnbull for the leadership he did not really spell out the reasons for doing so, but Dutton had now covered much more ground than any former Cabinet minister has done since Turnbull’s departure in an article published that day  written by a journalist.  In particular that the Coalition would have lost 25 seats under Turnbull and that he was all talk and little action (see  Commentary 30/12).

Yesterday I received a comment from Quadrant Ed, Roger Franklin, who indicated that he had  “excerpted your latest bulletin’s thoughts on Dutton and Turnbull and used them as the day’s Essential Reading item at Quadrant online”. Franklin added “Can Morrison really lack the nous to draw a heavy black line under the Turnbull catastrophe? Or is it that he lacks the courage to face down a Banks-style mutiny?” (see RE:thanks).

Today The Australian has published a number of letters on the exposure issue, including mine as lead letter (see Letters in Australia (1/19)). My letter showing edits is below.

Dutton simply said Libs couldn’t win under Turnbull

Letter published in The Australian, January 1, 2019 (Bits in square brackets deleted by Ed)

The significance of Peter Dutton’s exposure of the problems experienced by the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership has received a limited understanding.

Your editorial rightly points to Turnbull’s failure to “seize opportunities to hammer the opposition” (“A political year of turmoil with uncertainty ahead”, 31/12). But Dutton also said that under Turnbull “the Liberal Party had become unrecognisable to our supporters and people who had voted for us for years had switched off”. This led to 38 unfavourable Newspolls [in a row] and meant the Coalition would not have been re-elected.

The decks are now cleared to develop policies that [more widely] distinguish Scott Morrison’s Coalition from Turnbull’s imposed policies. Morrison has already modified energy policy from being the “greatest moral challenge of our time” to one that can have a more believable scientific base. If Morrison can reduce electricity prices that could be an election winner. [He has also recognized the threat from the Islamic sources to which Turnbull kow-towed to an extent].

[Morrison should now move to distance himself from the advice Turnbull obtained from the public service, particularly on energy policy].

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

Regrettably, The Herald Sun’s editorial yesterday failed to understand the basic reason for Dutton’s exposure and argued that “the blunt comments could well have been avoided had Mr Dutton chosen to bat away questions about the coup which he helped lead but in which he failed in his own bid to secure the prime ministership”.  It also published a brief article claiming that “Liberal MPs across the country continued to privately express their fury at Mr Dutton’s comments this week outlining why he tried to topple Malcolm Turnbull”.

Why Dutton did so should be obvious to existing Coalition MPs and to an editor of the Herald Sun : with Turnbull as leader they had no chance of winning the election. With a new leader they have some chance of doing so provided Morrison gets his energy, immigration and budgetary policies etc on the right track. There is no evidence to suggest that Dutton was making another attempt to be leader.

The importance of having a more believable scientific base for global warming is reflected in contrasting existing Coalition and Labor policies. As pointed out in my Commentary of 22 December, the Morrison government has announced that it will carry-over emissions credits from under the first and second Kyoto agreements to help meet the 2030 target of a 26% reduction in carbon emissions set by Turnbull in Paris.

In total,  Australia’s carbon emissions in 2030 would now be only 7% lower than in 2005 but this would be in accord with the 26% lower target. Although that will still require further reductions in emissions between now and 2030, it will be much less than if the 26% reduction was followed. The Coalition is now in a much better position to contrast its policy with the 45% reduction adopted by Labor for 2030. In particular, it will give the Coalition scope to argue that its policy will have a relatively small adverse affect on the economy/international competitiveness compared with Labor’s policy.

In the meantime, the Fairfax press in conjunction with warmists in the Bureau of Meteorology are continuing to present to the public a misinterpretation of the significance of temperatures recorded for 2018. They present this as “for mean temperatures, 2018 will also come in among the top five” on record for Australia. And “for the globe as a whole, 2018 is likely to be the fourth-warmest year on record, continuing the recent pattern of very warm years,” the bureau said. Temperatures are now about 1.1 degrees above the pre-industrial norm. That’s more than half way to the 2-degree upper limit of warming almost 200 nations agreed to work towards under the Paris climate agreement signed in 2015” (see SMH on Climate in 2018).

But no explanation is provided as to what caused the increase since the so-called “pre-industrial norm”. This is not the place to delve into detailed analysis but an important omission from the explanation of the higher temperatures is that they significantly reflect natural not human influences. As such they are not “half way” to any dangerous global warming caused by usage of fossil fuels by humans. This and other failures to properly explain the higher temperatures should be corrected by the Morrison government.

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