Lenore Taylor asks five pertinent questions about the LNPs Direct Action Policy (DAP) in a recent Guardian article, stating:
“Malcolm Turnbull raised a very good question about Tony Abbott’s climate change policy on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night when he said the Direct Action policy wasn’t a long-term one. We’ve asked four more questions of our own…”
Malcolm did raise a good question. And it seems Malcolm has set people talking. All good-natured and innocent I’m sure…
In addition to Turnbull’s public musing about the DAP, The Age reports the return of Kevin Rudd has now firmly placed the spot light on Abbott and his lack of credible policy alternatives.
Long-time Liberal Party scholar Judith Brett, of La Trobe University, says the return of Rudd, who is already well-known to voters, has actually increased the scrutiny of the alternative prime minister.
”Mr Abbott can’t just rely on falling into office, which is what was going on before, and so he’s going to have to start developing and putting forward some policies, which he doesn’t seem very keen to do,” she said.
Brett said Abbott’s refusal to debate Rudd on the very things he had made such articles of faith against Julia Gillard was ”instructive” to voters.
She says the difficulty for Gillard was she never had a full grip on the public agenda because whenever she attempted to seize the initiative, Abbott was able to say ”Yes but what about the boats? What about the carbon tax? What about the surplus?”
Rudd has turned that on its head with his offer to facilitate televised debates on those issues. ”I think it’s actually quite damaging for Abbott … he’s trying to do his normal thing of controlling the agenda by saying ‘oh no, we’re not having a debate until you call an election, my sense is that that is not playing very well because it actually looks like he’s squibbing it.”
There is a great deal of nervousness in the LNP at present.
And for good reason.
How soon before a leadership crisis engulfs the Liberals?
Things are getting interesting – recall Abbott won the leadership ballot by a single ballot to assume the mantle of Opposition Leader.
However Abbott remains a viable Opposition Leader only as long as he can lead the Liberal’s in the polls. His authority stems from that.
The ebbing away of the LNPs once dominant lead in the polls, and the collapse in public support for Abbott as an alternative Prime Minister, will likewise undermine his authority.
Abbott’s authority and ability to impose discipline on the LNP rests upon shaky foundations: the poll figures.
What are seeing are the first cracks in that once impressive discipline the LNP exhibited. Politics is brutal and bloody on both sides, despite each party calling the other a nest of vipers.
How the worm turns.
The relentless focus on Gillard and her standing in the polls by Abbott, the Liberals and News Limited is now a problem Abbott faces.
Like K_Rudd, Turnbull is an ambitious and capable politician.
And like K_Rudd he has been biding his time.
The question is: what will Turnbull do?