“why is the old fool pointing at that pole …?”
When Malcolm Turnbull rolled the elected prime minister Tony Abbott with about 54 knives in the back one of the primary reasons that he gave to justify this treachery was the fact that Abbott was not tracking well in the polls. Immediately after the knifing Turnbull’s poll numbers went through the roof, seemingly justifying his illicit ascent to the party-room throne.
Seven months later he has just squeaked over the line after a 3.46% swing back to Labor caused the Liberal coalition to lose 20 odd seats, (5 seats still undecided at this time.)
But those polls from seven months ago were very misleading. When Turnbull won the party-room vote, my Facebook feed exploded with glorious happiness from all my leftie friends and contacts. They were delighted that Turnbull had won the leadership as he is a progressive draped in the clothing of a conservative. In other words, he is one of them. Witness how Turnbull courted the progressive left at the expense of traditional conservatives during the election campaign.
But as much as the lefty luvvies loved Turnbull, they were never going to vote for him in a pink fit. When they trooped down to the election booths last week they either voted for Labor or the Greens. So those poll numbers were essentially meaningless. Which makes Turnbull’s already weak justification for rolling Abbott now meaningless as well.
For myself as a Del-Con, (delusional conservative), this has been probably the best possible result out of what was on offer. Labor was kept out of office which was crucial. But Turnbull has had one hell of a shock, although he has spent the past week blaming everyone else for his dismal performance. (On this he has form – Turnbull led the failed push to make Australia a republic and famously blasted John Howard for “breaking Australia’s hearts”.)
Furthermore the double-dissolution election cleaned out the Senate and the changes to the election rules enabled minor conservative parties to have a gangbuster of a ride, particularly Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party which received over 300,000 votes. While the Senate make-up will not be known for some time, it is an almost certainty that any attempt to push through big spending legislation will be met with abject failure. I look forward to seeing Turnbull attempt to call a second double dissolution election as a result.
With over 1.3 million votes going to minor conservative parties, what this election showed is that Del-Cons do matter. Turnbull will now be forced to accommodate true conservatives onto his front bench. His party does not trust him which was startlingly revealed when Andrew Hastie drew a line in the sand:
Western Australian MP Andrew Hastie has issued a warning to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, putting him on notice that Liberal members of parliament would demand consultation on any negotiations with independents to form a minority government
Hastie was effectively saying that his own party didn’t trust Turnbull not to give away the farm in a desperate attempt to shore up power. That he was publicly prepared to make this statement showed just how far their dear leader has fallen.
The recent Australian election had all the potential for a truly disastrous result for the nation. The situation however, has been saved by the Del-Cons. Now it is up to the Liberal Coalition to act on what they have been told. If they don’t do so now, they never will. It is time for men of conviction and courage, like Hastie, to stand up and show Turnbull the door.