TURNBULL’S TOUGH RETURN

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will return to Australia on Wednesday to face growing internal unrest.

A fresh Newspoll has delivered the PM one of his worst results, with Labor ahead of the Coalition on the two-party preferred measure by 55-45. The result is the 23rd consecutive Newspoll in which the Coalition has trailed and also reveals Turnbull’s personal standing has gone backwards. He now leads Bill Shorten by just a two-point margin as preferred prime minister.

Perhaps worse, the poll shows that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, has opened up a 13-point lead over Turnbull as preferred Liberal leader, with Peter Dutton trailing as a distant third. The Australian reports Turnbull’s handling of the citizenship crisis has lost him support of senior cabinet members — though the piece is opaquely sourced. At this stage, there are no reports of an imminent leadership move.

As things get dark for Turnbull, a reshuffle is on the cards, with Special Minister of State Scott Ryan expected to replace Stephen Parry as Senate president.

The personal and factional battles will continue to play out alongside policy questions this week. Conservative Coalition MPs will today unveil their own same-sex marriage bill, which reportedly includes a provision allowing parents to remove their child from school if the values taught do not align with “traditional marriage” — and would override state anti-discrimination laws.

LNP BACKS ONE NATION

After months of denying any deal between the parties, Queensland’s Liberal-National state opposition will direct voters to put Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party above Labor in 49 seats. One Nation, which is running candidates in 61 seats, will preference the Greens last, and sitting MPs second last.

The move comes as federal and state Labor MPs attempt to cash in on allegations of collusion between the two parties. Over the weekend, senior Labor shadow ministers, including Tony Burke, kicked off their party’s campaign in Bennelong, which will go to a byelection after MP John Alexander was forced to quit over citizenship doubts. Alexander will re-contest the seat, which has a high proportion of residents who speak a language other than English at home and are likely to be wary of One Nation.

READ ALL ABOUT IT 

Free speech fears after book critical of China is pulled from publication

Women’s Ashes Test: Australia denied by England as draw keeps series alive

ABC set to unveil massive shake-up

Mental health service calls for plan to deal with same-sex marriage survey damage

Hariri says will return to Lebanon in days

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Philippines: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull meets with other Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders.

Brisbane: Queensland state MP Robbie Katter addresses the media on Katter’s Australia Party policies for the upcoming state election.

Canberra: The Senate sits and will swear in new senators Fraser AnningJordon Steele-John, and Andrew Bartlett. A new Senate president will also be elected. 

THE COMMENTARIAT

Robust bill on freedom a marriage made in heaven — James Paterson (The Australian $): “The bill ensures students and their parents have a right to opt out of classes that conflict with their values. This upholds the right of parents to control the moral and religious education of their children. This bill is not an ­attempt to delay the legalisation of same-sex marriage.”

Bennelong and minority government: Will voters hit the mute button? — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review $): “There is a lot of focus on the fact that the government’s standing in the polls hasn’t been going up for a long time. The real miracle, frankly, given the on-going debacles is that it hasn’t gone even further down.”

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF FRIDAY

Why I’m done fact-checking Islamophobes, racists and trolls — Shakira Hussein: “Let’s not allow them to distract us from the much more powerful racist bullies who are responsible for the closure of remote Aboriginal communities and the internment of asylum-seekers in offshore detention centres in violation of international law although not (it is becoming increasingly clear) in violation of the legendary and much-lauded “Australian values”. “

Intrigue and skulduggery — Guy Rundle: “So why haven’t you heard of this extraordinary figure? By 1945, the memory of Helphand-Parvus was convenient to no one. Obviously neither Stalinists nor Trotskyists were going to acknowledge him. But post-war anti-communism, wanted to present the struggle with communism as a battle of ideas, not of murky conspiracies.”

Crikey Quiz: can you tell the difference between Julia’s 2013 and Malcolm’s 2017? — Sally Whyte: ” A Liberal backbencher or a Labor faceless man? Was that veiled threat from Tony Abbott himself or was he just reading from the Kevin Rudd playbook? Only a true political junkie can tell the difference. So let’s play ‘who said that?'”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW