Apr 23, 2018

Turnbull can use lessons from the royal commission to fix live exports

If the government is smart, it won't make the same mistake it made about a banking royal commission on live exports.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference in Berlin, Sunday, April 22, 2018. Mr Turnbull is in Berlin on a three-day official visit. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Occasionally the government gives the appearance of learning from its mistakes: it has allowed the issue of whether it should have called a banking royal commission earlier to only run for several days. Last night, out of news cycle and from Europe, Malcolm Turnbull admitted to a mistake in not calling it sooner. Kelly O'Dwyer's effort on the ABC yesterday probably helped. O'Dwyer -- strongly challenging colleague Michaelia Cash as the minister most likely to be found with her foot in her mouth -- was merely sticking to the government's line that everything was just fine, adorning it with statements like "I'm very happy to concede that we have taken the right action". But it's still a car wreck when you deliberately drive into a wall.

So after days of stubbornly refusing to admit getting it wrong, Turnbull made a partial admission, that he'd made a political error. Not a real error, just a political error. Well, it's only political damage you're incurring, Prime Minister.

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