Correction:

Crikey: On 20 November, Crikey quoted and linked to an unattributed article likening the NSW branch of the Labor Party to a Stalinist regime. The author of that piece, Michael Samaras, has requested he be recognised as its author.

Liberals in turmoil:

Gregory Solomons writes: Re. “Could Malcolm Turnbull go rogue?” (yesterday). In the Royal Navy, the popular captain was a despised creature, because he could not be trusted to remain firm in the performance of his duty when faced with the popular pressures of his men. The Liberal Party is now guilty of a grubby mutiny that would be well understood by Malcolm Bligh Turnbull’s namesake, Governor Bligh. They should reflect on the outcast isolation that befell the mutineers. Bligh however continued an illustrious career ending with the exulted rank of Vice-Admiral.

Malcolm Turnbull has been removed and let no-one ever again complain about the poor quality of our elected leaders. Here is an immensely talented man, surrounded by huffing fools who are enveloped in a miasma of opportunism, puerile posturing, wounded ego and furtive ambition.

When ten mutineers publicly state that the issue is one of policy not leadership, this merely confirms that the opposite is true, because as the old adage goes: nothing is confirmed until it is officially denied. Even if one is a climate change agnostic, why not, as even Rupert Murdoch says “give the planet the benefit of the doubt”. And if business and two thirds of the Australian people want action on climate change then clearly the issue has been decided.

Malcolm Turnbull has the intellect, the drive, the capacity, the decision and the inner steel to be a great PM. Too often in Australian life it is “not good to be too good”. Perhaps his style and rigor is uncomfortable for a Party room that is happier with conciliatory yes men, but a populist captain can never be a true leader.

Costello had ability but the party dolts didn’t want him. His star shone too brightly and the jealousies prevailed.  Of course there was always that nagging question of his courage. If he truly had an indestructible self-belief that he was the best leader, he should have sought it actively not passively. Nelson was popular with his colleagues but they didn’t think he possessed the mettle. With clear hindsight, John Howard was a very gifted politician.

The best course may be for Turnbull to walk away with his integrity and principles intact and create a new greener, 21st century centrist conservative party unshackled from the Nationals and other extremists and other dysfunctional baggage. That would be an enduring legacy. The Liberal Party has failed to evolve and may now be facing a slide to extinction, well before the planet is seriously stressed by climate change.

The Liberal Party should calmly reflect before replacing uncomfortable substance with comfortable, internally popular mediocrity. The Liberal party has always boasted of its promotion of individualism and celebration of individual talent. That myth is now shattered.

Joe Boswell writes: Malcolm Turnbull on the Nine network at the weekend was a revelation. For the first time that I can remember a senior politician sounded intelligent, passionate and principled. He spoke like a human being. It was quite wonderful.

I hope he does form his own party, on the kind of manifesto suggested in Crikey yesterday. There’s a huge opportunity there. Meanwhile, the rest of the Liberal party looks like a bungled attempt to copy the least attractive aspects of the current US Republican party.

It’s the perfect illustration of Robert Conquest’s third law: “The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organization is to assume it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.”

Niall Clugston writes: Crikey‘s elegy for the apparent “passing” of Malcolm Turnbull is misplaced.  What is convulsing the Federal Liberal Party is not an elegy but a revenge tragedy.  This bloodbath was unleashed not by environmental principle, but by the hubristic Turnbull’s knifing of the hapless nightwatchman, Brendan Nelson.  Now the Liberals are fighting for the right to lead the party to a rout.

The new party that Crikey commentators project is a mirage.  The liberal intelligentsia always longs for a party of their own — particularly when Labor is in power — but are never prepared to put in the hard political fight necessary.  They deserted the Democrats as soon as things got difficult.  The idea that such a party could succeed in the Liberal’s leafy heartland is a fantasy.  The idea that the politically inept Turnbull should lead it is ludicrous.

Jeff Ash writes: I’d vote for Malcolm. The Federal Libs, and most of the State Branches, appear to be composed entirely of morons seemingly more interested in sniping at each other than forming any sort of meaningful opposition party. I’ve always been a Liberal Voter, but the hard right policies of tools like Abbott just doesn’t resonate with me.

Freda Smith writes: Another possible scenario for Malcolm Turnbull, is that he resigns from Australian politics, and Rudd appoints him immediately to be Ambassador on Climate Change to the UN. This latter position will surely be created after the Copenhagen meeting. Our Kevin has form in picking up talent from the Liberal Party.

Zachary King writes: Bernard Keane wrote: “…what Turnbull might do: establish his own political party, freed from the encumbrance and historic problems of the Liberal Party.” Surely the new party has to be the Republican Peoples Liberation Front?  Or Peoples Liberation Front of the Republic?

Matthew Hingerty writes: Re. “Hockey will lead the Liberal Party to disaster” (yesterday). Well Bernard Keane excelled himself yesterday.  A vindictive fantasist who appears to be just drooling at the mouth to carry on his personal hate campaign against Joe H, or, indeed, anybody from the Liberal Party — but Joe especially. And you guys have the gall to ask me to renew my subscription.

Peter Wotton writes: Joe Hockey is a nice bloke who reminds me a lot of Kim Beasley but without Kim’s ticker and his intellect.

Janet Albrechtsen, Columnist, The Australian, writes: Re. “Mungo: why Turnbull is an uncomfortable fit” (yesterday). What a shame that Mungo MacCallum did not bother to ring me to check his latest wacky, unprofessional story.

I have never spoken with Godwin Grech, exchanged ideas with him or been backgrounded by him on any matter. I appreciate the facts are boring but please try to keep your readers informed of the truth nonetheless.

We are in the business of information, not malicious disinformation.

David Lenihan writes: John Shailer (yesterday, comments) once again, performed his predictable support act for the Opposition. Of course no mention of the absolute shambles the Opposition is in , the same Opposition he declares of an early election “bring it on”.

Indeed John that is the cry of the vast majority of the country who by the very polls you use in your argument have declared solid support for  Labor overwhelmingly thrashing  the Libs, whenever the election is held next year. Wishful thinking is no substitute for reality.

Marion Diamond writes: Turnbull talks about the Minchinites — but I prefer the term “Minchkins”.

Clarification:

Irina Lobeto-Ortega writes: Re. “New law gives police the right to frisk anyone, anywhere” (yesterday). Just a clarification — Greg Barns’ article about the Victorian Summary Offences and Control of Weapons Acts Amendment Bill 2009 seems to suggest that the Bill has been passed and is law, whereas the status of the Bill actually has it at the 2nd reading stage in the Legislative Council.

Is this is the kind of correction that you look out for? It’s minor, I know, but on reading the article, a member of the public might be misled into thinking that these laws are already in force (when they may well never be, depending on the House’s reaction or any referrals to Committee).

Climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Steve O’Connor (yesterday, comments) says quoting UAH temperature data is unreliable compared to the ground based measurements used by CRU and the IPCC.  He claims this is particularly so because of the adjustments needed for the satellite measurements.  But the leaked emails have revealed that CRU has a deleted all its original measurements, keeping only the ‘value added’ (adjusted) temperature data.  Nor have they released the algorithms for these adjustments.

Thus, at least the UAH satellite data has the advantage of being replicable and scrutinized by others.  The CRU data is gone and they are now saying ‘trust us’ that it has warmed in the past century.

This is simply not good enough and it’s certainly not science.  But again, don’t take my word for it.  Here’s Phil Jones, head of the CRU, in 2005:  “If they ever hear there is a freedom of information act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone… we also have a data protection act, which I’ll hide behind”.

Our civilization is to be transformed based on the word of men like this. Oh sh*t.

Peter Fray

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