Jul 18, 2017

Dutton anointed, Brandis humiliated. Malcolm Turnbull has finally lost it.

Malcolm Turnbull has announced a home affairs portfolio, in a major win for Peter Dutton that reflects how weak the Prime Minister is.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

"Ten-flag Tony", Prime Minister Abbott was dubbed, as the number of flags behind him at his ever-proliferating number of national security announcements grew and grew; journalists began making bets on how many would be wheeled in ahead of every media conference. The urbane Malcolm Turnbull was better than that, of course -- the man who as a minister dismissed claims from his colleagues George Brandis and Julie Bishop that Islamic State was an "existential threat", the man who seemed too worldly, too self-aware, to rely on crass jingoism to bolster his flailing government.

Yesterday, though, Turnbull out-flagged Abbott, comprehensively. Instead of pole after pole of flags, neatly arrayed behind him, Turnbull announced that the government would be making it easier to call out the military for domestic terrorism incidents at what looked for all the world like a Call of Duty convention, with gas-masked soldiers, an assortment of rifles and other military paraphernalia, including an assault vessel -- any terrorist incidents on our waterways, presumably, would be dealt with vigorously.

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46 thoughts on “Dutton anointed, Brandis humiliated. Malcolm Turnbull has finally lost it.

  1. DF

    Interesting that this decision did not go through Cabinet and was not endorsed by the National Security Committee of Cabinet. Turnbull made it all by himself, which makes it a Captain’s Pick. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

  2. CP

    Anyone who had a glimmer of hope at Turnbull’s apparent embrace of centrism now sees the emperor unmasked – an unashamed opportunist. In one step he’s lost any credibility he might have gained with voters in the centre in a move that smacks of desperation. Even if he gets a little bounce in the polls it won’t last, and support from his allies in the LNP will be sorely tested. What will he scrape from the bottom of the barrel when his poll numbers drop further? Whether he’s supplanted by his colleagues or he limps to the next election, he’s toast.

  3. AR

    Often one must question the motivation of people when they make bizarre decisions – is it stupidity, arrogance, pig ignorance, cupidity or vanity as well as other, even more base, impulses.
    This abomination, despite being “all of the above & then some”, is however inexplicable even on its own, low terms of justification.
    Such an entity is not fit for purpose, no matter how corrupted, it cannot function as stated.
    The various cells that will metastasize in the obese body have different, when not opposite, functions & aims as well as wildly uneven levels of scrutiny from barely adequate, through none at all, to being an offense to even query.
    Then the scum on the cesspit, the person to whom it is being gifted.
    The separate question, even if the concept were not so thoroughly flawed, is ‘why this incompetent thug’?
    Bad as we know him to be, there are far worse with their tongues hanging out for the opportunity if the proverbial bus were to save us – Tasty being a real horror possibility but imagine if a spawn of Shaitan like Nikolic were to somehow return to Parliament.
    None of this is new, other countries have tried it and the result has always been the same.
    It is often said, hopefully wrongly, that there were soundings of the military after the Dismissal and the main reason that they were not deployed was the nature of the troops who, in those far off days, were normal blokes.
    Imagine if those star troopers in the pic, steroid sodden and testosterone driven were given just that extra shot of adrenaline.
    I hear that Pitcairn island is seeking new settlers.

  4. klewso

    “HomerLand Security”?

    Curiouser and curiouser – Ellen Fanning The Dum tonight (of Dutton fan Vithoulkis) :- “What makes Peter Dutton so adept at juggling priorities (like openness and democracy)”? And nothing rhetorical or ironic about it?

  5. Graham R

    There was an amusing graph on Twitter today showing how security-theatre announcements from this Government coincide with a drop in the polls for the LNP.
    The correlation was pretty good.

    It seems clear now that the seat that must be most effectively targeted next election must be Duffer’s. A dangerous mediocrity and authoritarian.

    Whether that happens or not, one thing is certain; the LNP will lose the next election. I think the main reason will be that anger over how useless the NBN is will be peaking at about that time.

  6. Jack Robertson

    Another great piece of analysis compellingly put, BK. And just…profoundly dismaying, depressing. It’s either a diffident gallows move from Turnbull or he really is just more piss and pettiness in a spiv pinstripe.

    Like the re-election of GWB in 2004, a civically deflating day, where you suddenly recognise how far out of step you are with the times. Because it’s not as if Shorten, who you know is going to benefit, remotely deserves to.

    I am with AR. Pitcairn, perhaps…

  7. AR

    There is an element of the showground huckster – always watch the hand that isn’t doing the trick – about this.
    Mr Magoo, STB a Talcum backer, would not have acquiesced to this proposal with several quids pro his quo so it seems that Lord Bunter the Downer’s daze in London are numbered.

  8. Xoanon

    Disgraceful. Who in their right mind would put a former Queensland policeman in charge of the secret police? Asking for trouble. What concerns me is that when Labor is in power they might feel they can’t reverse this dangerous consolidation of coercive power.

    Keating said Turnbull’s key weakness was his lack of judgement, and that’s being proved correct over and over.

  9. klewso

    What an aspiring cameo on 7:30 last night – even with the resident conservative bobby-soxer?

  10. Flynn

    The whole Dutton/conservatives thing is pure distraction, the focus has come off how ridiculously disoriented they are on all other policy (and ideology) for the time being.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of Dutton and I think having someone with a such a callous disregard of human rights and the rule of law is a worrying appointment to the new portfolio.

    The most concerning aspect of these changes is the concentration of power in anyone’s hands, I’d wanna see some pretty robust structures and measures to deal with accountability and oversight but I just don’t think the Liberals are interested in that anymore.

    1. klewso

      For some people, “Being Prime Minister means having a bottomless money-pit with which to fund such distractions”.

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