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Crikey Says

Jun 6, 2014

Crikey says: ignore the Turnbull sideshow

Keane on why Abbott has it harder than Hawke and Howard. Support for Shaw on the mean streets of Frankston. Who will replace Chris Mitchell? Inside the mad world of political wonks. The murky accounts of chaplain charities. And disability dissenters silenced

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Tony Abbott’s popularity has plummeted and it’s all Malcolm Turnbull’s fault!

The government has made a hash of selling its first budget and the hard Right is starting to panic. Tony Abbott’s “friends of mine” (his words, not ours), Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, have stepped in with a strategic distraction in the form of an attack on the Communications Minister over trumped-up claims he’s angling for the leadership.

There is absolutely no evidence Turnbull is doing so. His broad appeal across the political spectrum does make him a natural choice for leader — but he simply doesn’t have the numbers within his own party, a fact that he’s the first to admit. He told 7.30’s Sarah Ferguson last night that his chances of nabbing the Liberal leadership were somewhere between “nil and negligible”.

Yes, that put us in mind of Julia Gillard’s “there’s more chance of me becoming the full forward for the Dogs than there is any change in the Labor Party”. But Turnbull is not agitating or manouevering for the leadership. His Coalition party room supporters are few and far between.

Rather than having a go at Turnbull, Abbott’s inner circle and his cheerleaders in the media should look more closely at some recent deeply unpopular policy decisions. That’s where their real problems lie — not in Turnbull eating fried rice with Clive Palmer.

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