Saturday, 7 March 2009
Watching Costello handle the leadership question on Q&A was a reminder of the step change that has happened to Turnbull’s control of the party since the week Bishop was sacked. Costello didn’t even bother making a show of supporting Turnbull. Reports seem to suggest that there is an almost casual acceptance in the party that Turnbull’s tenure now has limited shelf-life. It is a view summed up by Abbott who, after the interview where he called the Labor leader a toxic bore, had equally unflattering things to say about his own leader and the new manager of opposition business in front of a government MP. Abbott, of course, had a particular axe to grind because Turnbull had the nerve to want to put someone in that position who actually agreed with his policy.
Something that could not be claimed for Abbott. On Lateline last Friday, Abbott pretty well ignored his leader’s position on climate change as have most others in the party. Turnbull has posed his latest climate change policy as ‘more Green’ than Labor’s, while the rest of the party has generally been too polite to notice.
Yet while the events of two weeks ago have probably dealt a mortal blow to Turnbull’s grip on the party it also had a salutary lesson for those wanting to get rid of him. It showed that the lack of direction is starting to dissolve any clear political lines in the party and open up the threat of fragmentation. As usual, the consequences of this political vacuum are best summed up by the pretensions of Costello. The media portrays him as deeply hostile to Turnbull, especially after Bishop’s sacking, but can anyone think of a single policy difference between them? The ‘chasm’ between these two political supremos neatly summed up by the ease with which Pyne has flitted between both. With Turnbull’s leadership having loss credibility, a leadership only possible because the old guard lost control in the first place, we have a vacuum in which even bubbles like Costello and Hockey can bob up to the surface.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Saturday, 7 March 2009.Filed under Political figures