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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Liberals leadership: it changes « Previous | |Next »
September 16, 2008

Brendon Nelson has spilled the Liberal leadership to head off Turnbull. He would stand down at today's 9.30am party meeting and recontest his job. If he was re-elected he said that he would be sacking those who he knew had been plotting against him from the front bench. Tough talk.

LeakLiberals.jpg Leak

Nelson has had a rough trot. He has been subjected to rumour, damaging leaks and character assassination in the media from leaks within his own party whilst he 's gone nowhere in the polls. But he has a minor chance to survive, despite the surprise, given the extensive ongoing destabilisation from within his party and the lack of clear air.

Last time the leadership vote went 45-42 in Nelson's favour with the knights of the right falling behind Nelson. This time it went 45-41 in favour of Turnbull. It had to. The Liberals were on the ropes with the knights of the right in charge. It was only a question of time before Nelson was dumped and a new look Liberal Party is put in place.

The Liberals under Nelson were going nowhere despite Nelson being a good performer in difficult circumstances. He kept the Liberals in play on public issues with his highlighting bread and butter issues such as petrol, cost of living and pensions. "Populist" say the commentators. Trashed the Liberal's image of good economic record in the process say the economic commentators.

With Turnbull in charge the Liberal's will adopt a more rational position on emissions trading. This is the big issue in the first term of the Rudd Government. The gorilla in the policy/political world as it were, and the Liberals were unable to do much with it under Nelson.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:16 AM | | Comments (16)


Isn't it all just very amusing. You have to give him credit for showing some leadership eh.
I don't think Turnbull has the numbers but I have been wrong before.

It's pointless. Either Brendan wins and shoves Malcolm off to the backbench where he can concentrate on a proper challenge, or Turnbull wins and the split becomes a chasm. Either way the internal carryings on will continue.

Reshuffle also means dire things for Abbott I would think, which would have some unfortunate but colourful consequences.

I hope Brendan wins. I look forward to the promised new, more angry, more commanding, no more Mr Nice Guy, ETS-rejecting, gay rights-supporting Dr Nelson.

Turnbull wins with ease. What direction the Liberal party now? What will the climate change sceptics in the Liberal Party do now? Hold their tongue. This will be a more social liberal party.

Turnbull and Bishop. Whatever will the Nationals do?

Costello is to give a National Press Club address to day in Canberra on his "tell all" book. Offer some advice about uniting the party. He is yesterday's man now.

For Turnbull the values of the Liberal party are freedom and fairness. Turnbull's own life story, the spin goes, exemplifies this. It is rag to riches through hard work and enterprise.

Fair means opportunity. It implies to take advantage of the opportunity with individual enterprise, energy and hard work. Australia is the land of opportunity where individuals can exercise their freedom of choice. A Liberal government enables and encourages the exercise of that freedom.

According to Turnbull Labor stands for the government knows best. The Rudd government is one man---Rudd.

Turnbull could do the ALP some real damage if his party lets him.

The 'this country is capable of anything' line is wonderful, he's got two big values rather than 20 little ones and he talks about positives very convincingly. He's very shiny. Rudd's dithering on everything looks dull and unattractive by comparison.

Janet Albrechtson writes in The Australian last week that reports of Costello’s political death may be greatly exaggerated. Those unable to lift their heads from the political myopia of the 24-hour news cycle could do with a few lessons from history if only to predict the unpredictability of politics.

If the political fire still surges through Costello’s veins, he has every reason to sit tight. Indeed, there is no real reason for him to seek the leadership now. But fast forward nine to 12 months. The already fading Rudd shine will lose more of its gloss and the economy may well slow more dramatically. As economic and political circumstances change, so may Costello’s intentions. And the Costello narrative—how he presided over the good old days and “weren’t you better off then, than you are today”—would be a powerful one to take to the electorate.

She says that the time and energy devoted by members of the Rudd Government to attacking Costello in recent weeks confirm that he is the man they fear most.

I would have thought that it was Turnbull myself. He provides them with a chance to be an effective Opposition. He can restore the Liberals reputation as a credible economic manager. He is able to highlight the significance of the credit crunch, the fear in global markets and the collapse in value in Wall Street. Why Costello when there is Turnbull?

you are right.Turnbull won this morning because 45 Liberal parliamentarians saw him as their best option for winning the next election.That's all that really matters.

They all have made one big mistake, ousting their leader before he lost an election. Nelson should have been allowed to go that far. He had his old Labor politics hanging over his head and internal rivalries and was never given a fair go.

Turnbull has one advantage in the Liberal party over the rest of them and that is he is a Liberal not a Conservative like every other one of them, with the possible exception of Costello. His biggest disadvantage is he's an extremely rich man from a rich Sydney suburb that probably doesn't know jack about anything 200km away from the cities. Or what its like to live on 10-20k in current times.

Peter, I would think that some kind of poll bounce is their most urgent requirement. On top of losing they've had almost of year of disastrous poll results that must have been demoralising for them.

Turnbull is likely to perk them up a bit.

Turnbull's direct style, confidence and the times --a global economic crisis--will ensure a much sharper attack on Rudd and Swan. Since Turnbull, like Costello is a liberal not a conservative as Vee points out, the lines of attack will different.

Turnbull covers/counters the rich Sydney boy stuff with his rags to riches story, and he will appeal to some Labor voters because he is more progressive than Rudd. He will be a tough opponent for the ALP. Swan is going to look more of the political operator that he actually is.

Turnbull has a problem.Rudd looks like having a second term---it is a popular government--- and so that means Turnbull loses in 2010. Then he has problems and the knives of the knights of the right will be unsheafed. His problem will be carrying the Liberal Party with him, as the knights of the right have little time for him.

It was a close win. Too close.

Brendan Phelan in New Matilda makes a good point. Hesays:

From Kevin Rudd's point of view, it looks like things are about to get a fair bit harder. The free ride Labor enjoyed at times thanks to the fact that the public had very little respect for Nelson is over.

Against someone who actually agrees climate change is a serious issue, he can't hold himself up as eco-defender. If we're lucky, Turnbull will actually engage with Rudd on this, and the debate may become more about who's doing the most in the face of the crisis, rather than who can make keep the business lobby happiest.

No more lazy spin from Rudd and Wong.

Gary, I agree that he is more progressive in some areas though I don't know where for sure. Besides that's likely to be a problem in the Conservative party.

I do think Turnbull is the only option for the Liberal's leadership but he has made his move too soon. It's the 70s and 80s all over again. More the 80s.

Liberals undermining one another and something akin to the 87 crash is coming.