My son is about to see in his FOURTH Prime Minister in his two short years of life. He was born when Julia Gillard held the top job. She was ousted by Kevin Rudd, when he was just a few weeks old. A couple of months later Tony Abbott won the 2013 election and now Abbott’s been overthrown by Malcolm Turnbull.
Following me? No? Don’t worry, that’s Australian politics, ladies and gentlemen. Think of all that wasted letterhead paper….
So what happened? Did you miss something? Easy to do. Things move fast in Canberra.
4pm, Monday September 14
Malcolm Turnbull confirms he’s going to challenge for the Liberal Leadership. SPILL SPILL SPILL! (Read here for a bit of background into what a spill is)
Over the next couple of hours, there’s a lot of confusion as to when the challenge will go down (it’s usually a day or two later to give time to rustle up some support), but just after 6pm, Tony Abbott goes all “come at me bro! Let’s do this TONIGHT”. THROW DOWN! None of this messing around trying to win people’s favour type shit for Abbott. He’s running at this thing with his head down, ears out. Confidence? Idiocy? Who knows… 😉
He’s only given himself three hours to drum up support. You see, as soon as a spill is called the contenders get on the actual phone and call people. Proper, old-school, punching in the numbers and speaking to humans with voices and begging for votes.
So imagine Tones and Mal, in their offices, with their best mates all on their phones, frantically trying to get through to everyone and anyone who could throw a vote their way. You know that scene in Jerry Maguire where they’re trying to lock in the athletes? SHOW ME THE MONNNEEEEYYY!
Then they’ve got a mate who’s sitting there with his exercise book, writing down names and doing his little tally and shouting numbers at people. “Yep, we’ve got that one, and him too! Looking good Tones! Everyone LOVES YOU!”
Of course, this is politics and everyone lies through their teeth, so when Tony Abbott walked into that Party Room last night, with about 30 members of his posse, he might have thought he was in with a shot.
Oh Tones 🙁
It wasn’t to be for Old Mate. He got in that room and told his party why he was awesome and why they shouldn’t throw him out like a bag of old lettuce. He asked them not to “be like Labor” because those guys were shit. “Remember guys? Remember how shit we thought they were? Because they kept chopping and changing? REMEMBER? Please don’t throw me out guyyys. I’ll be your best friend!”
And then Malcolm got up and was all “dude, the economy is shithouse, you’re a bit of a numpty and the public doesn’t like you because, you know, THIRTY polls in a row tell us so” and then he smiled with his shiny white teeth and said something charismatic about how he’s just generally better and everyone knows it.
The party agreed with Mal – 54 to 44 – they voted for Turnbull to take over the leadership of the party and therefore take over the leadership of Australia.
And like that, Tony Abbott was out of a job. The 28th Prime Minister. The man who wore a blue tie every single day he ran this country. The man who…. well…. didn’t do much else to be honest.
There’s a lot that can be said about Tony Abbott. But most of all I think the man never moved on from being the Opposition Leader. He was an excellent Opposition Leader. One of the best. He could oppose ANYTHING. He could ridicule and belittle and destroy every little thing the Government put forward. He was a master at making the Government look incompetent.
But he didn’t know how to stop opposing and start leading. He never figured out how to inspire and progress and LEAD. Even in his final moments, he was still beating on Labor, saying he didn’t want a spill because “We are not the Labor Party”. What about “we shouldn’t have a spill because I have a great plan for this country and we need a stable government”??
Tony Abbott. Always the boxer, throwing out the punches.
Now it’s PM Turnbull (as soon as the Governor General swears him in) and the Coalition needs to reform and try to move ahead with running the country. It’s not an easy job after you’ve rolled a sitting Prime Minister. Ask Julia Gillard.
The Libs should find it a bit easier than Labor did after their multiple spills because Tony Abbott is a loyal bloke and it’s believed he won’t try and exact revenge from the backbench a la Kevin Rudd (Jesus that bloke didn’t know how to give up. Seriously Kev!)
BUT, despite the hideous polls and general public sentiment about Tony Abbott, he was still pretty popular among the troops. There could be some who might cause trouble on his behalf….. wait and see.
I’m sorry to say we probably won’t see a huge change to the way this country is run under PM Turnbull. In his first press conference as incoming PM he ruled out any huge policy changes. He’ll stick with the Coalition’s plan to have a plebiscite on same-sex marriage (even though he’s a huge supporter of it). He also ruled out any changes to the party’s climate change policy. It’s the thing that lost him the leadership role in 2009 (he lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott by one vote) and he’s not about to rock the boat on that one.
He’s a completely different person to Tony Abbott in so many ways, but he’s still a member of the same party with the same people and he won’t find it easy to get his own way just because he has a different belief system. Because, you know, when you piss people off, they just vote you out of your job. So it’s best to keep them on side if you can.
We won’t see an election for another year, so he’s got some time to get comfy in the role. In the meantime, he’ll shuffle up that cabinet (first head on the block is Joe Hockey. GONSKI. Scott Morrison is the likely replacement) and promises to be a much more consultative PM rather than making “policy on the run”.
What we will see is a man who is very comfortable in front of the camera. Mal loves giving a press conference. Gone are the days of three-word-slogans. It’ll be more like 68 word slogans…
All we can do now is hope that Malcolm Turnbull is the Prime Minister he should and could be and brings some hope, dignity and progress to this country. Because we’re all so desperately sick of being embarrassed.
What do you think of the change? What are you hoping from our new PM?
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