Lamest. PM. Ever.

So, we’ve wasted $100 million on a postal survey that won’t decide anything. It’s already evident that, even with a thumping majority for Yes, the bigots on the LNP backbench will fight all the way to protect the right to be a bigot. They are, in my view, playing a dangerous game here. The existing law gives lots of special privileges to religious organizations that are justified only on the basis that we all need to get along tolerantly. If that rationale ceases to apply, all those privileges are open to question.

Meanwhile, all the fine words about letting the people decide have gone out the window when it comes to indigenous recognition. Even though Abbott has gone along with Turnbull on the decision, I think, if he were still PM. he might have done better on this issue.

In any case, this confirms me in the view that Turnbull is the weakest Prime Minister in living memory. I thought that Billy McMahon was a competitor for the title until I discovered that he took the decision to kill off Australia’s foray into nuclear power (they’d actually excavated the site at Jervis Bay) over the opposition of the redoubtable Sir Phillip Baxter who saw the project as a step towards an atomic weapons capability. The cancellation of this project was a bigger achievement than Turnbull can claim in his 20-odd years in public life, encompassing the Republic referendum, the Murray-Darling fiasco, the downgrade of the NBN and his two years as Prime Minister.

43 thoughts on “Lamest. PM. Ever.

  1. @hc Have you read the Uluru Statement From The Heart Harry?

    The application of democratic principles should not be restricted by time.

  2. @Cameron Pidgeon

    Yes ,things converged on the radical center long ago. But change is in the air -however history tells that peaceful redistribution doesnt happen very often. They will hang on.

  3. @hc

    “To accept it would have been anti-democratic. It is a reasonable decision that almost certainly would be supported by a majority in the community.”

    A majority of the community think that aborigines are lazy drunken violent pedophiles with a market value of almost zero who need to be dragged into the 21 st C against their will.

  4. “Turnbull runs a divided Coalition so that he is obviously constrained.”

    McMahon had to wait for McEwen to retire before the Country Party would tolerate him at all. The Coalition was more divided then than now. In fact it was a genuine coalition rather than a single party with subfactions, as it now. For example, IIRC, the coalition ceased to operate when in opposition after 1972 and had to be agreed again in government.

  5. @John Quiggin

    “McMahon had to wait for McEwen to retire before the Country Party would tolerate him at all.”

    That is not quite right. McEwen personally had it in for McMahon, and as leader could and did veto him, but the rest of the Country Party didn’t have such a problem with him at the time.

    “the coalition ceased to operate when in opposition after 1972”

    I don’t think this is true. While the LP and NP and its antecedents routinely review their Coalition agreement after each election, the Country Party held shadow portfolios during the time of the Whitlam government, though they did famously break with the Liberals on occasion, most famously by voting with Labor to increase funding for private schools, a policy opposed by the Liberals, and without whose support the relevant bill would have been defeated in the Senate.

  6. The National/Country Party had rather more talent in those days. The trio of Doug Anthony, Peter Nixon and Ralph Hunt formed Malcolm Fraser’s inner circle of most trusted advisers. The last National leader of any ability was John Anderson, who retired in 2005 while still in his 40s. The super-safety of many Nationals seats used to attract people of some talent. Not any more.

  7. @Hal9000

    It’s a fair point about how the NP doesn’t have the talent it once had. The change of name from Country Party to the National Party diluted their focus from representing farmer interests to being just a more socially conservative version of the Liberal Party and they’ve never recovered.

    One is reminded about the ABC coverage on the night of the 1990 election. Andrew Denton was doing the comedy relief. He bailed up some minor NP official and the conversation went,

    “You’re from the National Party?”
    “And you’re called the Nats for short?”
    “What were you called when you were the Country Party?”

  8. @Smith
    They first changed in Queensland, so I’m guessing that was yet another brilliant, winning strategy from the Bjelke-Petersen/Sparkes team of electoral geniuses. Older voters would have remembered the expedient party of the same name formed for the sole purpose of keeping Billy Hughes in office when the Labor party split.

  9. @Hal9000

    The Bjelke-Petersen/Sparkes strategy was to destroy their mortal enemy, the Liberal Party. It worked, in the short term. In the 1983 Queensland election, the Liberals lost 14 of their 22 seats, including blue ribbon Liberal seats like Aspley, Mt Gravatt and Toowong to the Nationals. One surviving Liberal, the criminal Don Lane, defected to the Nationals after the election.

    It was a massive shock. The Bjelke Petersen hayseeds and hicks had conquered the most prosperous parts of Brisbane. The only event comparable in human history was the Siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Empire in 1529, only they didn’t succeed.

  10. @Hal9000

    Late in his life Hughes was asked why he had never been a member of the Country Party, since he had been a member of every other party. He answered that you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

  11. Nasty situation brewing on Manus, Cash has taken a bullet for him and the Parliament is in chaos.

    But where is the coward?

    Off on an abject photo op in Israel.

  12. @Smith

    Wikipedia says “Since 1946, the Coalition has remained intact with two exceptions, both in opposition. The parties decided not to form a coalition opposition following their defeat in 1972, but went into the 1974 election as a Coalition.[1] The Coalition remained together upon entering opposition in 1983 election. The Coalition suffered another break, related to the “Joh for Canberra” campaign, from April to August 1987, the rift healing after the 1987 federal election.[2]”

  13. @John Quiggin

    So you were right that they ceased to operate as a coalition after the 1972 election, and I was half right that they were in coalition while in opposition during the Whitlam government.

  14. @Smith

    Yes. Abbott didn’t have to look over his shoulder from the beginning. Whatever we thought of Abbott’s (loosely held, in several areas – e.g., the SBS promises right before the election – as we soon found out) policies and ideology, at least he had some. At the time, I thought Abbott was the worse PM ever, but Turnbull is the worse, and weakest.

  15. By interfering in the gas market Turnbull is acting to reduce the currently massive amounts of money coal generators are receiving from high wholesale electricity prices which are currently often being set by gas generators. It’s hard to imagine Abbott making such a move. Of course, I didn’t think he’d eat a raw onion either, so what do I know?

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