Spilling over into farce
Five prime ministers in five years is beginning to look like carelessness, Australia. In the UK, there's been just the one Posh Boy PM during that time, which, trust me, is equally foolhardy.
I feel compelled to write about what happened yesterday evening, even though my heart isn't in it. I felt elated and massively schadenfreudery when the result was announced that Abbott had been trounced. But in the warm light of this morning – hey, Turbo, Queensland's headed for a week of unseasonally high temperatures – the reality hit home. Turnbull has declared how much he supports Abbott's policies, especially since he has to placate right-wingers in exchange for their votes. So, it all comes down to power and ambition after all.
Turnbull had obviously done his numbers, and forced a leadership election within the Liberal Party on a day when Canberra least expected it, five days before a by-election in Canning, WA. The Liberal candidate in Canning, Andrew Hastie, an ex-military Cory Bernardi clone and Abbott-supporting creationist, surely didn't need this, with polls yesterday morning predicting a 10 per cent swing away from his party. Let's hope not.
I've never liked Turnbull much myself. In the days when he appeared on Q&A, I always thought he looked smug and superior. Rumour has it he once supported an ETS, but political expediency won out. Today, climate change is by far his biggest challenge, and all the bigger since idiot Abbott wasted the last two years thwarting renewable energy policy. Had Australia grasped the nettle a decade or so before Rudd and Turnbull were tinkering around the edges, Australia would now be a world leader in renewables technology as well as the moral debate about how to deal with serious climate change globally.
Turnbull is undoubtedly a much less objectionable prospect than Abbott, for the country in the immediate future, if not for Labor at the next election. Before you pop the corks and light the fireworks, however, go to this website and see how Turnbull has voted on legislative matters important to you. You might be surprised, especially if you're normally a Labor supporter or 'swinging voter' who was thinking they might just be tempted next time to vote for this not-so-new Liberal leader (see here).
Some other thoughts…
What has given me enormous pleasure during the last 24 hours is the fact that the Libs have done exactly what they criticised Julian Gillard and Kevin Rudd so harshly for doing, and so earned their hypocrisy badge with flying colours.
You can't blame Australians who are disgruntled that, once again, they don't get to choose their prime minister.
It is hard to imagine Australia being a greater embarrassment internationally under any leader in the foreseeable future than it was under Abbott.
Abbott was supported by Murdoch media outlets to the extent that exacting debate was stifled and democracy compromised. Will Turnbull rise above the megalomaniac's grasp?
Oh, and I nearly forgot, Turnbull is a republican, which hopefully means he can quietly steer Australia towards detaching itself once and for all from the Old Country.
Turnbull can entice voters with the opportunity of what he perceives to be Australia's rapidly globalising economy as opposed to Abbott's old-style austerity measures, but this is not the issue. Climate change is the ultimate challenge, and he has an awful lot of ground to cover. The Australian public is catching on far, far quicker than his party. Let's hope that, since arrogance and ambition are often cited near the top of a list of character traits by detractors, we don't have to rely on his desire to go down in history as the man who woke up this country to its key global responsibility.
With thanks to and enormous admiration for the creator of First Dog on the Moon for The Guardian who has eased the pain of Abbott's leadership and whose image I have stolen (top)
This post was last edited on 16 September 2015