It’s been wall-to-wall coverage of Canberra’s latest leadership chaos in the country’s newspapers, and each paper has used its editorial space to back a candidate. Kerry Stokes’ West Australian wants Prime Minister (as of deadline) Malcolm Turnbull to step aside for Treasurer Scott Morrison. Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald argued yesterday that Turnbull should call an early election, echoed by its Melbourne stablemate The Age today. News Corp’s The Australian today suggests Turnbull’s challenger Peter Dutton has “displayed political cut-through” with a plan to exempt power bills from the GST.
But unanimously, the papers — like the electorate — are calling for an end to the chaos.
The West Australian, August 23, 2018
Seven West Media
Mr Turnbull’s leadership is damaged beyond repair and he should stand aside. And while the focus has been on Mr Dutton as an alternative, there may be a better option — Mr Morrison. In his speech (to parliament on Tuesday), he listed some of the Government’s successes, including jobs growth, personal income tax cuts, tax cuts for small business, tackling budget repair and border protection. He has been a central player in each area … As WA Liberals consider who could replace Mr Turnbull, they should see that Mr Morrison is the best bet for the nation, and particularly for WA.
The Australian, August 23, 2018
The former home affairs minister displayed clear political cut-through as he began to outline his agenda … At least this type of thinking immediately differentiates the Coalition from Labor on energy.
The Sydney Morning Herald, August 22, 2018
The Herald has a long record of opposing early elections and backing fixed terms for parliaments but the situation in Canberra is so dire the best option is for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to go to the voters early … The past decade shows how excruciating this screenplay will be. It would be kinder to voters and more in the national interest if Mr Turnbull drove to Yarralumla and called an election a year early.
The Age, August 23, 2018
The party — the membership as well as parliamentarians — is despondent, even desperate … The situation will be properly fixed only by a stable government elected with a clear mandate and working majority. It is reasonable to hold that the Turnbull government has pretty much imploded, and only a general election can end the uncertainty and lack of focus on policy.
The Daily Telegraph, August 22, 2018
For the sake of the government, whatever leadership path it takes must be taken as soon as possible, so as to give the Coalition the greatest amount of time before polling day … The Coalition has no choice but to move quickly and then play as long a game as possible.
The Advertiser, August 22, 2018
In many respects, this has been a lost decade for Australia as reform agendas are put on hold amid an historical political paralysis … If the Liberals do switch leaders, Mr Dutton should put himself in front of the people for their verdict on his prime ministership.
Herald Sun, August 22, 2018
The country is stagnating as a result of the continuing uncertainty over who will be Prime Minister and for how long … Winning (Tuesday’s) vote give Mr Turnbull a window — potentially a very small window — to seize the oppotunity to rise above petty politics and start governing the country … Not that the Herald Sun is advocating for another leadership challenge, far from it, but if there must be one it needs to be sooner rather than later.
Australian Financial Review, August 23, 2018
Mr Dutton might be an authentic ex-copper rather than harbourside millionaire. He might replace waffle, but only with monotone terseness. Unless he can offer better policy answers than Mr Turnbull his backers would simply be electing a brief, pointless reign between Mr Turnbull and the disastrous inevitability of Bill Shorten.