They say a week is a long time in politics, but holy mother of fuck, what a goddamned week.
Apologies for the language, but Jesus Christ, this roller coaster of spills, rumours, leaks, and arithmetic seemed like it would never end.
Scott Morrison is the new Prime Minister. Not to toot my own horn, but I did predict this on the eve of the 2016 Federal Election, though, at the time I thought it was satire. C’est la vie.
Peter Dutton remains an embarrassing failure of a potato-faced fascist, though, as some have pointed out, if there was any MP unable to count to 43, it would be Dutton.
Julie Bishop, the only Liberal MP, other than Malcolm Turnbull, who could have led the Coalition to victory, is rumoured to be leaving Australian politics for good. Her history as a lawyer for CSR, fighting against the victims of the asbestos mine at Wittenoom is a good reason to despise her, but it is difficult to fault her tenure as Australia’s Foreign Minister. In the end, her gender was her downfall, and for that the Liberal Party should be shamed, condemned and forced to pay a much higher price than they are likely to. I am disgusted, as should be all Australians.
And Tony Abbott has now been twice bested by two men he considered traitors and turncoats, so, as he runs back home to Warringah licking his wounds, we can all go to sleep with a smile on our faces tonight.
I’ll have more on what Scott Morrison will mean for Australia in the coming weeks, but for now, I’ll say this. He is the architect of the cruel, inhumane Immigration Department that Peter Dutton came to oversee. I mean, if you’re going to put Peter Dutton in charge of anything, you want to make sure it can run autonomously. He refused to provide any information to the media about what was happening within Operation Sovereign Borders, and locked up almost as many children as Donald Trump.
Along with Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce, ScoMo abstained from the vote on Marriage Equality; he has repeatedly defended those who have described homosexuality in incredibly ugly terms that I will not repeat here; and is well remembered as the MP who, just this year, brought a lump of coal onto the floor of the House of Representatives to claim that Labor was “scared” of coal power.
For the record, all of NSW is in a drought brought on by man-made climate change.
As the dust settles on the ugly brawl that was the Liberal party room this week, one hard question need to be asked. Did the left invent Malcolm Turnbull?
Since 2009, progressive voters had been patiently waiting for his return as Liberal leader, hoping that the Malcolm they got would be the Malcolm they remembered.
Only, he wasn’t.
After two years of Tony Abbott blundering his way through the Prime Ministership, Turnbull seized power and hope was restored… for about five minutes. Nothing changed. All this time, the left acted as apologists for Turnbull backing Abbott’s policies – when the Communications Minister neutered the National Broadband Network, he was excused for it.
After all, Malcolm Turnbull was doing what he had to, biding his time until he could reclaim the leadership. If that meant following Abbott’s lead, so be it, because when he becomes PM, he will finally go back to the Malcolm that everyone was sure they remembered.
And then Prime Minister Turnbull continued all of Abbott’s policies, going even further than Abbott on some points, and still, we blamed the Faustian pact he made with the extremists within his own party and in the Nationals for pulling his strings. Malcolm Turnbull would never believe those horrible things he was saying and doing.
He wasn’t a racist before so there really must be a problem in Melbourne with African Gangs, and maybe One Nation are more sophisticated than they used to be; he was the head of the Australian Republican Movement, so maybe Australia is actually better of with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State now; he believes in climate change, so maybe coal really is good for humanity, after all the Great Barrier Reef is far too big to actually die, right?
His exit from Australian politics can only be seen as a good thing. The irrational love affair that too many Australian voters had with Turnbull has been detrimental to the economy; Indigenous Australia; social welfare; Medicare; the Great Barrier Reef; those working and living in rural and regional areas; the health and safety of LGBTIQA people; women; Millennials; those trying to enter the housing market; and so much more.
Even as support for the Liberal Party collapsed, with Labor surging in all polls for over a year, Malcolm Turnbull remained preferred Prime Minister by a wide margin, his presence alone buoyed support for the party.
He was bulletproof, and with a Newspoll due this weekend, no one should doubt the effect of removing Turnbull from the leadership on the two-party preferred vote. I won’t be surprised if Labor hits 60%.
Anyway, the real winner of this week was Josh Frydenberg, going from failed Energy Minister, after Turnbull dumped all of his hard work on the NEG in a desperate attempt to save his own neck, to Deputy Leader and Treasurer in less than a week. When the Labor dynasty ends, he’ll probably be the next Liberal Prime Minister, if the Coalition can ever manage to sort their shit out.
I’ll leave you with this, the tweet of the week, from BuzzFeed journalist and my personal hero Alice Workman: