This is the bottom line – as Chris Kenny says:
Supporters of the Coalition government, indeed anyone with an interest in the continued success of this country, must surely hope that he does well — certainly better than his three predecessors.
As it turns out Steve agrees with that point:
As for “time to move on”, I will move on when Turnbull shows me he’s not everything I now assume he is.
So does Andrew:
And this goes to my caveat – that, contra Kenny, conservatives should not be “supporting … the new regime”. They should instead be supporting good policies.
When Turnbull produces them, I’ll cheer.
So we’re all actually in agreement.
But … The problem is that both Andrew and Steve are so angry that they’ll never agree Turnbull has done good. This week, for example, there was an extraordinarily ugly smear against Turnbull and he belted the opposition into next week. If they’re smart (yes, yes, I know) they’ll think twice about playing silly-buggers in future. Also the polls are now showing the Liberals ahead of Labor. So Turnbull has done good already. So let’s hear so cheering.
Then there is this point from Andrew:
Why not be angry at the Turnbull treachery, and judge the new Prime Minister for it? Surely we must impose a transactional cost on bad behaviour, or there will only be more of it. There is a wider moral principle to defend here.
Turnbull has not been treacherous. Political parties are governance mechanisms. Dud prime ministers get dumped. That is how the system is supposed to work.
If there was anyone who was treacherous it was Tony Abbott. Pyrmonter has the list:
– Left 18C unchanged, breaking promises to liberal and conservative voters
– Increased marginal income tax rates, breaking promises to liberal and conservative voters
– Ditched a toothless carbon tax, while retaining the Renewable Energy Target (a worse, hidden carbon tax with teeth) and creating a Direct Action boondoggle
– Did nothing meaningful to dismantle the “opposition within”, the professional activists of the Human Rights Commission.
– Permitted a backbencher to address violent nationalist thugs opposed to everything the mainstream political parties – liberal, conservative and social democratic – expound
– insulted liberal-minded coalition voters who were told the party could make a call on SSM
– made blank cheque promises to South Australia that amount to an abdication of defence procurement policy to the Manufacturing Workers Union
As Andrew points out, quite correctly, “we must impose a transactional cost on bad behaviour, or there will only be more of it”. Abbott has paid the price for his bad behaviour.
Update: Andrew Bolt responds here.
In May, Turnbull wooed libertarians such as Sinclair by backing changes to 18C. But last week, having toppled Abbott, he dumped his support for them, too, at least until after the next election. Yet where’s Sinclair’s anger?
The timing for Andrew’s argument doesn’t work. I’ve been writing that Abbott’s lesdership was in trouble since, at least, mid to late 2014. In February I wrote that I wouldn’t be voting Liberal again if Abbott were still leader (Steve Kates made exactly the same argument if Turnbull were leader) and in August I made the case for Turnbull becoming leader.
1. He can win.
Abbott might win, but it would be a grudging victory. Labor is worse.
2. He can be great.
I was recently at a lunch where John Howard was speaking. Everyone was carrying on about how great a prime minister Howard had been. Well, I suppose so. He grew on me. Not for many of the policies that he pursued that I disagreed with, but because he kept his most important principle; that Australia become relaxed and comfortable. Australia is not relaxed and comfortable now.
3. He will focus on the economy.
Hawke, Keating and Howard all knew that if the economy was working well, then they could pursue all sorts of other interests. I don’t think Rudd, Gillard understood that, or that Abbott understands that. They might say it. but they don’t truly appreciate it.
So the fact is I don’t expect 18c to be repealed, but just like Andrew says, “we must impose a transactional cost on bad behaviour, or there will only be more of it”.