So the Liberal leader limps into the Spring Parliamentary Sittings, his leadership besieged, his judgment questioned, the poll numbers horrific, facing open talk of contenders for his job and immense problems keeping his party in line on emissions trading.

Anyone feel like we’ve been here before?

Here’s an editorial we prepared earlier … about 11 months ago. It seems faintly relevant. Especially the bit about the need for a serious Opposition.

At a moment when the global economy is facing one of its biggest financial crises in decades, Australia’s Opposition is engaged in an astonishing bout of self-obsession while it continues to play cheap populism in an effort to score a blow against the Rudd Government.

We deserve better.

There’s no doubt Malcolm Turnbull is a media favourite, except for the conservatives at The Australian. There’s no doubt much of the incessant speculation that has dogged Brendan Nelson since the moment he got the leadership reflects not an interest in who is the best alternative Prime Minister, but a conviction that Turnbull will make better copy. And it hasn’t hurt that his more moderate views are closer to the political centre than many in his party.

But that doesn’t change the simple reality that Brendan Nelson is hopeless and needs to go. He has guts, and determination, and passion, but he hasn’t got the authority, political smarts or substance to seriously challenge Kevin Rudd.

The Liberals need to install Turnbull and start giving Australia a serious Opposition.

The serious bit. There’s still time to do the serious bit.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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