I am rather chuffed for Elizabeth Farrelly of the Sydney Morning Herald and her opinion piece from today.
I am chuffed that things are all nice and Pollyanna in her world and that if we were to have Malcolm Turnbull elected as the next Prime Minister and his lovely wife Lucy as our first lady, that things might go all so terribly swimmingly. As Elizabeth so delightfully suggests “For if I’m right about them (and I’d like to be) they could be our Clintons. Or maybe our Kennedys.” How terribly marvellous that would all be, as Mr and Mrs Money solve all our political issues by being so, well terribly lovely.
I am afraid my glasses are of a different tint than Elizabeth’s. You see, Malcolm, who I assume is a lovely fellow (and in my dealings years back with Mrs T, she seems equally as likeable I suppose) actually has a problem with all of the principles that Elizabeth Farrelly suggests he is so willing to defend.
Lets start with a snippet from Ms Farrelly’s editorial:
Climate change, bike lanes, gay marriage, anti-censorship; many people think Turnbull joined the wrong party. That can happen. Like putting on the wrong shoes in the morning, you just accidentally go right instead of left.
Rather than suggest this is principle based, I see it more as political opportunism. If Mr T was so fussed about all of these issues, he would have in fact become a Labor Party member and used his considerable clout for good. Rather than accidentally joining the Libs, or putting on the wrong political footwear as Elizabeth suggests is so easy to do, he would have joined the party with whose policies and principles he actually identified. Lets look at some of areas that Mr T is not sure where he stands.
Climate change for instance. Malcolm is one of those on the opposition front bench that actually believes it exists but voted against the bringing in of a carbon tax. He is most vigorous in his defence of climate change and has made some pretty impressive speeches about it. But, he voted against the carbon tax.
Gay Marriage is a classic example of Malcolm’s popular politics. On the 10th of September in the big Punch and Judy house (Elizabeth’s analogy, not mine), Mr Turnbull spoke about Stephen Jones’ Gay Marriage Bill. He said afterwards “Were a free vote to be permitted, I would support legislation which recognised same-sex couples as being described as a marriage.” Now lets be blatantly honest here. If Mr T was so principled, he could have crossed the floor and voted with the yes vote to allow this. Okay, he would have sacrificed his front bench portfolio’s and been relegated to the back benches but, its not like he needs the money folks. And imagine what a move that would have been? The moderates in the LNP would have applauded him and perhaps one or two might have followed, the pundits in the media gallery would have made a spectacular chorus about political martyrdom, but more importantly, Malcolm would have made one hell of a point that he was not going to be bullied by the leader.
The Libs have never been in a situation like this before where their esteemed
chairman Leader has told them they can not vote with their conscience. They have never had their own conscience vote disallowed for fear of being relegated to the interchange bench, excepting for this vote on Marriage Equality that the mad monk is so bloody scared of.
Malcolm Turnbull has had numerous opportunities to step up to the plate and represent the wishes of his constituents. Some 78% of the good people of Wentworth have voted in support of marriage equality. Mr T thinks that means civil unions.. the diet coke of marriage for us.
What about the good old NBN? Our comrade in arms, Senator Steven Conroy champions this and it could well be the thing that revolutionises our communications capability. Malcolm has, for some time, been ranting that the Government’s NBN is, at best, shambolic. But what he presents as the oppositions broadband network will be slower, a bit cheaper perhaps but we can build it quicker. This is another failure to stick to principle. Mr T believes in an NBN, just not Comrade Conroys. This is political point scoring and not in the best interests of Australians, who by and large overwhelmingly support the NBN.
Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull are exceedingly wealthy, charming and charismatic, but for this scribe, Malcolm is not really committed. Until he has the cojones to stand up and have a tilt at the leadership, to put this principled manner into being as the leader of the opposition and until he is willing to actually be more principled in action rather than in thought or word, he is no more than a henchman for the mad monk.
Elizabeth Farrelly is quite right when she states “The Liberal Party insists on seeing Turnbull’s popularity with the non-Liberal masses as a threat. Had they half a brain between them they would seize the opportunity, make Turnbull leader tomorrow and sweep into power the first consensus government for decades.”
If we are to be governed with principle and we are to live in a society that values sticking up for those principles regardless of what that means to one’s political gravy train, then I possibly think that Mr T is the man. I wouldn’t vote for him as he still would have the rabble of Tories to deal with now – the likes of Christopher Pyne, Sophie Mirabella and Kevin Andrews – each of whom in their own right are on my list of least admired humans for various reasons. he still has to govern with a government and if the current opposition make up is what will make a government, then perhaps it is too early for Malcolm to pull the sword from Excalibur and become the next knight of the despatch table.
I hope, for Mr T’s sake and that of Australians, that he does something soon if he is going to do anything, because if I am to live in Australia under an Abbott led government, then I will be joining many people I know who will want to be on a leaky boat to Indonesia. Things might be better there.