Turnbull’s last chance for greatness (updated)

Since he first entered the Australian political scene as a leading proponent of republicanism, Malcolm Turnbull’s career has been one long series of disappointments, which involved failing (more or less steadily) upwards.  Barring a miracle, his career is now effectively over. In the unlikely event that he survives as PM to the next election, he is assured of electoral defeat and subsequent oblivion.

But, he has one last chance for greatness. It’s now clear that  many of his Liberal colleagues and, almost certainly, a majority of coalition MPs, want to hand the country over to an overt racist, bigot and climate denialist*. Yet it would only take 75 votes on the floor of the House of Representatives to stop this from happening.  A handful of genuine liberals in the Liberal party would be enough*.*

If Turnbull led such a group, he would be reviled by his own side, most of whom hate and/or despise him anyway, but he would finally justify the hopes of millions of Australians (including me) who actually believed he could change politics for the better.

Even if the requisite handful could not be found, Turnbull could resign his seat and recontest it as an independent, or support someone else pledged to oppose Dutton.  That would give at least some electors a chance to have their say.

Of course, this is all said in bitter jest.  Turnbull has never stood for anything and never will. He will hang on to the last possible moment, then capitulate meekly.

Update: Well, he hasn’t gone meekly. But rather than take a stand against Dutton’s racism, and support Bishop, or even Morrison, he’s made it all about himself. His whole political career has been a vanity project.

*  I mean Dutton, though his puppetmaster Abbott fits the bill also. In his inglorious run as PM, he at least paid lip service to racial equality and climate reality, but that has now gone out the window.

** Somewhere between one and five depending on how the independents and fringe parties went. I assume that any confidence agreements made with Turnbull would lapse.

43 thoughts on “Turnbull’s last chance for greatness (updated)

  1. Now, now – credit where it is due; Mr Turnbull said he would never lead a party that didn’t take climate change seriously, and he didn’t. They led him, but he never led them.

    Could be water under the bridge but I would be interested to know if the claims could be true that back when he took over as PM that there was a secret deal with the Nationals, where Mr Turnbull agreed to step back from the climate and clean energy issue to get their support. ie the climate problem that the LNP worked so hard to fix during his tenure was actually the “problem” that lots of people think there is a climate problem, and they have been sincere and relentless in their efforts to fix it. Dedicated to ‘fixing’ THAT climate problem, yes, but never to fixing global warming.

  2. Ken Fabian, I would say that once he achieved his primary objective ie beome PM, Turnbull has not had sufficient conviction or resolve to develop proper policy and has allowed other groups to have their way.

  3. Dutton will be very lucky to hold his own seat. That’s if he is even eligible to stand, which looks rather doubtful.


    The Liberals are handing Labor so many free kicks that Labor can sweep up the field and keep kicking goals all day. Shorten should be the next PM hands down. I have two hopes. That Labor will deal with our climate change emissions and they will be sensible enough to keep Shorten as leader for the three terms they will win if they keep him.

  4. Smith9

    I don’t know much about how Bill Hayden has shifted position over the years, but I do know that the Bill Hayden of the 1960s and 1970s was just as much a former Queensland cop as the Bill Hayden of now. In fact, if is true that Bill Hayden has changed position a lot, that just goes to prove my point, which is that there is a limit to how much you can tell about somebody solely from the fact that he’s a former Queensland cop.

    Jim Cairns was also a former cop. Admittedly he wasn’t a Queensland one, and he too was no Ludwig Wittgenstein, but still, how much would you have been able to tell about him, reliably, from the fact that he was a former cop?

  5. Pr Q said:

    The central claim is that the Liberals lost votes to One Nation, which more accurately reflected the views of their conservative basis. The corollary is that to win seats in Queensland the LNP needs to become more overtly racist, most obviously by elevating Peter Dutton to the leadership.

    Pr Q also said:

    But, he has one last chance for greatness. It’s now clear that  many of his Liberal colleagues and, almost certainly, a majority of coalition MPs, want to hand the country over to an overt racist, bigot and climate denialist*

    Thats two posts by Pr Q in a row castigating LN/P “racism”, counting the gratuitous his driveby against the deadly duo of Abbott and Dutton.  He is thus on an anti-fa hat-trick for his next post.

    The commenter fielders are crowded around the pitch and an excited buzz in the stands as we await the appearance of the next right-wing batsman to face this hostile spell of Quiggin fast bowling.  And we are now moving into the conservative tail, with Fraser Anning  waiting in the pavilion, already padded up but yet to take the crease.  Surely a bunny, if ever there was one, and therefore a chance to make anti-fa blogging history.

    Seriously, Orwell, a human lifetime ago, noted that “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies something not desirable”. The word “racism” is now so overused it has suffered the same fate, essentially debased into troll bait.

    Is there any evidence that the Lefts constant regurgitation of ideological swearwords, such as “racist”, “bigot” etc, as all-purpose defamers of conservative opponents, does anything but turn-off moderates as well as entrench the targets?  The Left just lost an unlosable US election (and me $300) with “basket of deplorables”.

    Intellectually, Alt-Right sociobiologists have won the Culture War on the scientific front, as the Lefts leading intellectual lights have more or less grudgingly conceded (Robert Putnam is a conservative Durkheimian on sociology.  And David Reich is a conservative Darwinian on biology.)

    The Left has been using cultural theory to dig itself into an agnotological hole for more than a generation.  With the result that the EU and US are now hosting insurgent nationalist parties claiming 20-30% of the vote.  It continues to tether its fortunes to a discredited anthropology and a failed carbon emission policy.

    I am suggesting that scientific conservatives on both sides of politics should perhaps concentrate less on trolling and more on constructive solutions to the clear and present danger to the Three Horseman of Apocalypse riding our way. I mean

    Global Warming threat to ecologic sustainability,
    Multiculturalisms threat to ethnic solidarity and
    Artificial Intelligence threat to economic prosperity.

    But the adrenaline buzz of trolling is catnip to partisans.

  6. jackstrocchi:

    ‘Seriously, Orwell, a human lifetime ago, noted that “the word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies something not desirable”.’
    Seriously, Orwell was wrong about that. And …

    ‘The word “racism” is now so overused it has suffered the same fate, essentially debased into troll bait.’
    … seriously, so are you.

  7. 1. Treasurer Scott Morrison devises corporate tax cuts.
    2. PM Malcolm Turnbull fails to get corporate tax cuts into law.
    3. Scott Morrison becomes PM.

    “There is absolutely no doubt that global financial markets want the Liberal Party to select Scott Morrison as prime minister.” – Christopher Joye writing in the Fin Review yesterday.

    Capital rules the world and gets what it wants. Nothing’s changed.

  8. Not, everybody, just capitalists with an interest in the 13th largest economy in the world and its significant resource and agricultural production. That’s still enough capitalists to take notice, pull strings and promise party donations, through subsidiaries if necessary.

  9. Strocchi asserts that Orwell considered fascism an otherwise meaningless assertion that something is undesirable. Not so.

    Orwell, in his short piece What is Fascism? (Tribune, 1944) certainly deprecated the misuse of fascism as an epithet to apply to someone to malign them regardless of their actual views. But he makes clear here (and elsewhere) that fascism has a real meaning: and deprecates misuse of the term. Nowhere does Orwell treat fascism as actually meaningless – his concern is precisely that indiscriminate misuse of the term prevents understanding and applying it.

    When Strocchi asserts that all use of the terms ‘racism’ or ‘fascism’ in Australian debate is merely all-purpose defamation, he assumes what he needs to prove. When he expresses concern that identifying racist positions as racist will turn off moderates and entrench the targets, this is about as absurd as an argument can get. Someone complaining that increasing diversity in a suburb deprives the former racial or religious majority of their power is insisting on racial or religious power contrary to popular numbers. That’s identifiably a racist, and only a racist, position.

    A ‘moderate’ uncomfortable with pointing this out is no moderate. A ‘target’ entrenched in this position was always a racist and is glad to be identified as one: their position has been understood correctly and they are open in confirming it.

    If a position is racist, identifying it as such is a real observation. If racism is absurd and evil, then a particular racist position is properly deprecated when its racism is exposed.

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