Thursday, October 01, 2009

Turnbull's Ultimatum

Malcolm Turnbull has publicly put his job on the line. The Federal Liberal Party, and Opposition leader, has indicated that he might "walk away" from the leadership if the Party does not show some discipline (over Climate Change) and support his policy of negotiation with the Government on an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

The Opposition, and the Liberal Party in particular, has been under significant pressure to negotiate, while significant numbers of backbenchers run like media tarts to speak against it. Frankly, it is time the Liberal Party tapped a few MP's and Senators on the shoulder - "it's time to go". Wilson Tuckey springs to mind. The Australian newspaper reports that up to 2/3 of Liberal backbenchers do not want to negotiate with the Government over an ETS.

I think it was politically dangerous for Mr Turnbull to make his ultimatum publicly, outside the party room, and without a henchman. (John Howard had Senator Bill Heffernan, among others, and ruled the Party Room with an iron fist.) Without having a decision made by all members, in a closed party room, Turnbull risks having no decision, no discipline, and a continued procession of media tarts denying climate change. Meanwhile, Deputy Leader Julie Bishop has been polling those same backbenchers, trying to shore up her own position. She is certainly being prepared if Turnbull has tripped himself.