No easy solution to Turnbull dilemma

Mark Textor advised the Turnbull Liberals that “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.”

Political Consultant Mark Textor advised the Turnbull Liberals that “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.”

Voters should not forget how the Liberal Party came to this. Tony Abbott was disliked by the electorate, the Senate was a mess, and the perceived solution to all of these problems was to replace Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull, the “great communicator”. Enjoying much more popularity than Abbott, he would save the party from the oblivion it was heading for under Abbott’s leadership.

Despite warnings that replacing Abbott with the progressive left winger Turnbull would seriously alienate the Conservative wing,  the Liberals pressed on, embracing the words of political consultant Mark Textor “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.”

This was about the worst advice ever given in recent times. Not only was it wrong, it awoke among Conservatives an anger that pressed them to retaliate. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is now running at 10% in the polls. Probably half of this support is down to anti-Turnbull Conservatives, not necessarily supporting Hanson, but angered by the contempt the Liberal party displayed for their support, and determined to somehow make their voice count.

So the Great Communicator (so great he’s afraid to appear on Sky News) and his supporters have a problem to solve. Nothing promised by Turnbull’s ascent to the leadership has eventuated. Their “solution” to Abbott’s perceived failures has only exacerbated the problem. Conservatives have deserted the party. Turnbull is widely viewed as a phony. Last election the Liberals lost 14 seats, reducing their majority to 1. The Senate is more of a minefield than ever.

Labor’s media cohorts have from day one of Turnbull’s takeover determinedly pushed the meme that Abbott was plotting to destabilise Turnbull and take back the leadership. These constant allegations have born fruit and the chattering classes now accept that Abbott wants to replace Turnbull.

Its a meme that is just not believable. Abbott may well want to return to the leadership eventually, but not now. Its doubtful he would want to take the Liberal Party down the same embarrassing and discreditable road as Labor with their Rudd Gillard Rudd situation. Abbott’s recent book is not aimed at restoring him to the leadership. Not immediately anyway. Its merely an attempt to set the Liberals on a better course. To help them save themselves from electoral oblivion.

If Abbott was to return today, even with his claimed political epiphany, he would still be in much the same situation as when he was rolled. He would still be white anted by Turnbull supporters. The Senate is worse. He would have to face increased hostility from Turnbull supporters in the electorate. The electorate reaction in general would probably also be largely negative. (the transactional cost) Abbott is a smart man, and he sees that this would be just a leadership change too far.

Turnbull, along with his deputy, the Canberra Cockroach Julie Bishop, has shown an amazing lack of sensitivity. He signed Australia up to the Paris Climate Change Accord. He continues to endorse large scale immigration. He has no budget solutions and debt continues to spiral out of control. With the Senate too difficult to negotiate, the latest rumours are of tax hikes. Yet we see continued examples of govt largesse and contempt for taxpayer money.

Tony Abbott’s five point plan is an attempt to steer Turnbull in a direction that will bring back the support the Liberals have lost, and it is the best solution. A far better option than a leadership change.

Now the nub. Will Turnbull follow the route Abbott has recommended? He could, but its unlikely. He and Bishop have already demonstrated their intransigence. So the Liberals will most likely lose the next election.

Deep in Conservative hearts, it was known this would be the outcome of Turnbull’s takeover. Given that inevitability, the need is to seek out the positive. The Liberal’s loss will be cathartic. Not only will it see Turnbull’s demise, but it will also see the end of his supporters.

So if Abbott was to resume leadership after the next election, he would not be dealing with the problem of white anting. He will lead a unified party. A party that has learnt a harsh lesson, and will never again think such advice as “the sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters” was worth listening to.

Abbott’s resumption of the leadership at this later stage would also avoid, to a large extent anyway, the stigma that would come with a Liberal party replay of Labor’s Rudd Gillard debacle.

In summary, the Liberals have made their bed and fate decrees they must lie in it at least until the next election. The sensible strategy is long term, and for those who wish to see the Liberal Party return to Conservatism, the solution lies in the next two elections.

The next election, which Turnbull will almost surely lose, is the start of really fixing the Liberal’s problems. After the defeat, Turnbull will go and so will his supporters, those who thought it was a good idea to replace an elected PM.

Many of the 53 have already gone. The 35 who remain are listed here. Use your vote to clear these people from the party at the next election. Sure, even a one term Labor govt is a terrible price to pay for a return to political sanity, but sadly the course was set when Turnbull took the leadership.

The Liberal Party needs to be rebuilt on solid ideological foundations. If Abbott comes back, make Andrew Hastie his deputy with a view to taking over when Abbott finally retires. Or if Abbott isn’t around or doesn’t want the job, or for some other reason doesn’t make it, then make Hastie the leader. Andrew and men and women like him are the future saviours of Australia.

The current Liberal Party, the ideological and political shambles on show today, will not take Australia anywhere it needs to go. No matter who is leader. The only solution is long term, and a virtually new but united party.

The election is two years away. Turnbull should call it early and get it over and done with.


13 thoughts on “No easy solution to Turnbull dilemma

  1. Excellent read, I had no interest in politics till about 3years ago.
    Honestly, I am 58 and up till then had no idea what constituted ” left or right” wing.
    I am see myself as a right wing Christian who support our conservative ways but feel we are headed towards a labor government which will dilute our values and attack our Democratic ways.


    • Hi Tom. Thanks for the comment. Yes, its always a worry when the country falls into the hands of left wing parties, however the problem with that is where are the so called right wing parties?

      The West has for fifty years or more suffered a massive assault by the left and this has changed our societies so much. The success of this onslaught has resulted in a condition where if you were a centrist way back in 1960, and if you still subscribe to those political ideas and values, you would now be classified as extreme right.

      Just like that. Woosh, You’ve moved from a centrist to an extremist, and you don’t even know yourself how it became thus.

      As for left and right, people will talk your leg off on which is which. For my own sanity, I try to think of the battle as two groups, one the left, and the other group is the non-left, rather than the right.

      The left are those seeking constant change, building bigger govts every day, drafting more intrusive legislation every day, and generally fencing us in, incrementally taking away every liberty we may have.

      The non left, or you may call them the right if you wish, are those who are trying to escape and put a halt to the predations of the left. Or even trying to wind them back. Our problem is we are disorganised and fractured when the left is well structured and today controls practically every cultural institution.

      I remember when my father used to ride his motorcycle down the main street of town without a helmet and with a shotgun slung across his back. My Grandmother tells me of her time, when in the small country town she lived in, she would walk down the main street and see cars parked with the windows down, keys in the ignition and sometimes even wallets left in plain sight on the dashboard.

      She never locked her doors. Even went on holiday and left the house unlocked.

      Here’s the point of this story. That society is gone, for reasons I don’t fully understand. We should have conserved it. We should have conserved those ideas and the cultural norms that allowed us to live that way.

      But we did not. We let it gradually slip away under the illusion of progress.

      This is why I call myself a Conservative. We, from European English stock, had ideas on individual freedom and a culture that was really quite wonderful. The left will tell you the opposite of course. Read my posts on Critical Theory and Cultural Marxism.

      Can we overturn the left and return to those days? Maybe, maybe not, but I think at the very least we should be trying when we can.


      • I remember the says when I was child,of unlocked doors, keys left in ignition,a benign society compared with today. Even some of the Labour politicians back then would be considered right wing today. The changing point I believe came about 1954. In that year, the social security act came into being (under a National government, where essentially people were paid for having kids. Also the reformative detention act was repealed. That legislation provided for prison with hard labour for serious offending. The total homicides that year for the country was 8. From there on society has been on a slippery slope.


      • Why do the conservatives always want to go back and live in the past? and i agree with you about Turnbull,and yes Labor will win the next election and will retain power for a very long time.
        The majority of Australians do not want a far right Government,thats why the idiot Abbott was kicked out after only 2 years,that is not the action of a ” smart” man.


  2. Things are changing very rapidly out in voter land over here in Oz. I can’t believe the naive and downright stupid comment of Mark Textor in advising the Turnbull Libs! My God, what planet is the person living on??

    Existing in self imposed thought bubble as a “know it all” about what direction and where the popular vote is heading in I’d say.

    So why is it that according to latest polls, ( not that I take ANY kind of polling seriously after last years massive failure in Brexit and POTUS elections) however they are still a tool, albeit with less credibility than ever. That Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is on the rise like never before?

    Probably because a growing number of Aussies are sick to death literally of same old.. same old… mantra and slogans from both ALP and LNP about how to fix the economy, create jobs etc…. Just about everything they say is done within the confines of being safe and acceptable to the old school of political correctness. It doesn’t work anymore!

    Both major parties need to change tune QUICKLY or else become more and more irrelevant. But then again I suppose that’s what happens when you get the vast majority of currently elected members from both sides bathing in the glory of long time personal career political paths they have each chosen.

    This is why someone like Trump is so refreshing, he has had careers OUTSIDE of politics, hence his world view is somewhat startling at first but one can see the worldly wisdom he has to express.


  3. Redbaiter, a bit off topic but I neglected it in my last comment. This wordpress system is clumsy to say the least, one can’t “like” a comment without having wordpress a/c and I for one do not want my very own website!
    Is there some way this can be alleviated?


    • Hi Rodney,

      Sorry you’re having problems. To try and establish what your problem is exactly I logged out and then left a comment. Everything went OK. I just entered a made up name and a made up email address and the comment went through OK. Naturally it was held in moderation as it was the first comment under that email address.

      Then I left an up down tick on a few of the comments and everything was problem free. Again, I was not logged in at the time, so the site was detecting my presence as just some previously unknown commenter.

      I wish I could solve your problem but I can’t. I suspect there is a problem if you are using an email address that you have used as a login somewhere else. For example if I use a fresh name and try to post using my Redbaiter email, it won’t accept it. This is some kind of an attempt by WordPress to control impersonation, and I think their system links to other systems at blogger etc.

      I don’t know what to advise, but would suggest if it gets too problematic then try you using a different name and a different email. As long as you consistently use the two same IDs (the name and the email) whatever they are it should go through OK after I have approved the first comment.

      If you could tell me what it is that makes commenting “clumsy” I will of course try to fix it. But if I can’t duplicate the circumstances on my own PC then I can’t identify the problem.


  4. Hi Redbaiter, apologise for late reply but when clicking on the Like star at bottom of comments, a popup box appears inviting me to log into wordpress. Don’t have wordpress a/c but attempting to register moves through 5 step process of setting up webpage for wordpress. This is the problem I have, I do not want a webpage with wordpress. Totally useless for me.


      • Yes, I’m quite I.T. savvy.
        It’s not complex problem. Just want to “like” a comment but wordpress keeps getting one to make up own webpage to do that. Kinda crazy and over reacting from worrdpress system imo.


        • I could vote you up one tick without logging in here. I’m probably logged in to Disqus and ZeroHedge, but not WordPress, Twitter,
          FB, or Google.

          To post this reply I can log in with WP, T, or FB, or just fill in the form.


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