The failure of Joyce to handle his affair with a staffer, starting with his astonishing attempt to “explain” it as only a private matter, has led to a failure by Turnbull to display the leadership role he is supposed to play as leader of the Coalition and PM of Australia. It will be surprising if tomorrow’s Newspoll does not show a drop in both the Coalition’s TPP (which was 48/52 a fortnight ago) and Turnbull’s satisfaction rate (37 to 50 dissatisfied). The political editor of The Australian suggests in his Inquirer article (see Shanahan on Joyce/Turnbull) that both leaders will see a fall in their satisfaction rates (Shorten’s was 34 to 52 last time). That is quite possible: the electorate is sick of the behaviour of both sides in Canberra.
My Commentary last Thursday repeated earlier suggestions that the only way to reverse the Coalition’s 47/53 TPP polling is to replace Turnbull. This has become more possible now that Abbott has continued to advocate the adoption of policies more in line with the stated objectives of the Liberal Party. It is reported in today’s Herald Sun that he will also be talking tomorrow in the Deakin electorate currently held by Michael Sukkar, who is presently an Assistant Treasurer in the Turnbull government (see attached Abbott to Make Another Talk). Significantly, this is a marginal seat and, as it will go to Labor if existing polling is not reversed, Sukkar has doubtless realised the need to present a different Liberal party to his electorate. Separately, the Herald Sun has run an interview with Turnbull in which he said that he would quit politics if he loses being PM.
In my last Commentary on 8 December I asked “How Long Can Turnbull Stay as PM?” That question has become even more pertinent after Friday’s disastrous meeting with the Premiers and the apparent confirmation in the media that Turnbull was behind the move to have an emissions intensity scheme examined in the 2017 review of climate change policy announced on 5 December. Today’s media is replete with reports of the meeting and the events surrounding the 5 December announcement but an exposition by Laurie Oakes in Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph captures the “thrills”(see attached “Oakes on Turnbull”). Bear in mind though that Oakes has probably embellished the story.