It’s the theatre of the absurd. Maybe next Purim, instead of reading Megillat Ester, Australian Jews can just read a Hansard transcript.
The Turnbull led Government was centralist, compromising, and imperfect, but nonetheless had a policy platform that was effective. There is an old adage that suggests if you stand in the middle of the road you will get run over, which seems to be what has happened to our Prime Minister.
Malcolm Turnbull could not easily pass legislation with a one seat majority and had no balance of power in the Senate. He had to compromise. As opposed to his predecessors he tried to be conciliatory and not confrontational in the best interests of an outcome. This was a strength to public service, but a weakness to a flawed political system.
The reality is that we don’t vote for a populist leader even if the Fairfax media editorial board prefer to pretend otherwise. Our Prime Minister is not a President. Convention and public expectation are the devices used to deliver stable Government leadership.
Yet both sides of politics make the same mistake again and again. The electorate gives a mandate to an elected Government inclusive of the leadership that they campaign on, and they end up cutting themselves down from within by their own political party. On both sides of Parliament.
The Australian electorate is sick of this.
To Peter Dutton; you won the battle and lost the war. Your arrogant quest for power and your attempt to secure your own political survival by placing opinion polls ahead of policy manifesto has cost you your reputation. It has earned you a place in history as the disloyal bastard who prematurely ended the Turnbull Prime Ministership. In the process you have probably made the Liberal party unelectable into the foreseeable future. Had you been patient and waited until after the next election, you may have been able to put your candidacy forward, been an effective opposition leader and ultimately be respectfully elected to office. Instead the public will judge the knifing of a sitting Prime Minister from within its own nest in exactly the same way that they did when the Labor party played the same shtick.
To Mathias Cormann; hang your head in shame. You joined this. In fairness, you asserted the need for unity and only entered the fracas after the mess became unsalvageable. However you supported Dutton, when it would have been more politically astute to propose a compromise candidate. Julie Bishop would have been the best person for the job, and you know it.
To my local Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Keenan; please do not request my vote at the next general election. You resigned your cabinet position and are on record as having supported the ballot for Peter Dutton, even if you did try to crawl back to the fold when realising that the initial coup would fail. Like millions of other Australian voters, I feel that the job of unseating an incumbent Prime Minister from office belongs to the electors, and should not be actioned through ego driven internal party factional divisions. You also deserve to be punished at the ballot box for your role in bringing down the Turnbull led administration. I’ve no doubt that thousands of your constituents share this view. Perhaps in the broader interests of the Liberal Party, who will be dependent on WA seats in the next general election to have any chance of retaining Government, we should thank you for your service and ask you to step aside on the basis of your severe political miscalculation. A new candidate could salvage the disaffected Liberal votes.
As a voter, the problem you leave me with is that I consider the other side of politics to be no better. I cannot be drawn to vote Labor so long as Bob Carr and his Israel hating rhetoric seeps in to even one division of the Party. The economic policy agenda of Labor is also something I could not contemplate awarding with my vote, for example the policy of destroying self-funded retirees income streams by taxing franking credits is simply bad policy.
Maybe there will be an independent candidate to take my protest vote?
There is a broader issue that Australia needs to address, and that is the ineffective structure of our political system. Our Senate is supposed to function as a check and balance, to ensure that bad policy is weeded out. However for successive Governments the Senate has been used for political expediency ahead of its true function. We also have a farcical voting system that can deliver a Senate seat to a candidate who received the sum total of 19 votes.
No Government on either side of politics can apply their mandate and deliver a manifesto. For the best part of the last 20 years much needed reform has either been rejected or not presented in the first instance due to the inevitability that it cannot pass to law. We need to address this constitutionally, revisiting the system of voting, and even the structure of Federation. Until we modernise, the political circus will no doubt continue, and Australia will fall further behind in global competitiveness. As it stands we are a nation of 25 million people with 14 houses of Parliament, and waste a huge amount of resource inadequately appropriating funds from national to state budgets.
Let’s start by demanding some stable leadership. Whether we supported Malcolm Turnbull or not, we are all losers in this process, simply because of the way he was cut down. So too with his four predecessors.
This is not what I voted for at the last general election.