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As the smoke clears in Canberra, voters wonder what the next fiasco will be

Crikey readers respond to the great Liberal leadership spill.

Well, the freshly anointed ScoMo prime ministership is still cooling from the oven (with voters responding accordingly). Across the website, on Friday and the weekend, Crikey readers had a few things to say about the scene in Canberra (responding to pieces by Charlie Lewis, Bernard Keane, Emily Watkins, Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, Guy Rundle, and others). They covered the fate and machinations of Turnbull, the implications of Morrison’s leadership, the state of the parliament, and the likelihood of a Labor government, just as a small sample. Take a look, but beware — it’s a deep dive.

On the great Liberal leadership spill

John Undery writes: At least after the next election they can hire one mini bus to take all elected politicians to the Xmas party. 

Greg Poropat writes: Given the Solicitor-General’s failure to unqualifiedly endorse the legitimacy of Peter Dutton’s presence in the federal parliament, will our new Prime Minister show his integrity and demonstrate his firmly stated intention of governing for the country and not his party and himself by promptly agreeing to ask the high court to determine Peter Dutton’s representative eligibility? 

Ruv Draba writes: I agree that there are tectonic forces at work, but what’s the path by which you’d expect a Shorten leadership to be challenged? In Rudd-Gillard-Rudd it was a leader popular with voters but an outsider to his party barn-storming into office, only to find himself unable to pass key legislation and suffering a series of escalating brain-farts that enabled factional forces to oust him — as they certainly would unless he was an insider or remained popular with the electorate.

He was followed by a leader who, while successful legislatively, was never liked, trusted or endorsed by the electorate, whose distrust was whipped into sabayon by influential, right-wing media. And she was followed by Rudd in an effort to save the furniture in an election nobody expected Labor to win. But assuming a government led by Shorten — a union insider who has held the party together in opposition and manages to deliver policy — what’s the pathway by which you expect him to be destablised? How would you know if that pathway were not occurring?

You could certainly argue that centre-right Australian politics is so badly fractured as to be serially unstable, but what are the fracture lines for centre-left?

Denise Marcos writes: Malcolm Turnbull played a clever political game in holding off the challenge by Dutton. However, on Thursday he missed a prime tactical opportunity to delay his ousting for months. When the opposition put a motion to refer Dutton, regarding Section 44(v) eligibility, to the high court Turnbull and a couple supporters should have crossed the floor. The motion was defeated 70-68. Hence there were fewer than a handful of votes in it. If Turnbull had been accused of being vengeful he could have validly argued he was acting in the public interest lest an ineligible MP be mistakenly anointed as prime minister. 

Glen Davis: Yes, Rundle is right. We have mountains of new evidence that MPs care for nothing but personal power. Cormann, Morrison, Bishop were all backing Turnbull two days ago and are all queued up with Dutton’s supporters to tip him out and grab the keys. The ghastly columns in Kings Hall are supposed to represent a eucalypt forest but have never looked more like the columns surrounding Julius Caesar at his assassination.

Gillard has just recorded her reflections, to the effect that this is a global movement, not just about the personalities. No, it is a global movement in which the illegitimate power of parties is increasingly seen to have undermined the institutions of democracies. We need a whole new model because ours no longer works. It as been corrupted beyond recognition. MPs elected to represent the views of their electorates have mostly pre-sold their souls to the party machines and the illegitimate, corrupt power of those who control them. Yes, we know who exercises that corrupt power. Yes, Rundle is right again that the press gallery will not name them. 

Spare little sympathy for Turnbull. He used the same devices to grab the keys. The worm has turned, working its way up to a dizzying spin.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name.

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steven westbrook
steven westbrook
3 years ago

For what it is worth, I think the bigger picture hear is our electoral system, which forces disparate groups together. In a PR system like New Zealand, there might instead be separate conservative and liberal parties.
Not that this sort of electoral change is ever likely to see the light of day in Australia, not least because it would threaten the winner take all model. Pity, because it might reduce the binary adversarialism.