Turnbull vs Abbott: DAP a policy mess, time to speculate on LNP leadership?

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?

31 thoughts on “Turnbull vs Abbott: DAP a policy mess, time to speculate on LNP leadership?

  1. I hope he’s there for the election. Although it is a shame the mainstream media failed to pick up the story Margo Kingston uncovered where he rorted the taxpayers for travel expenses to promote his book.

  2. astrostevo says:

    I know what I hope Turnbull will do.

    I’m frankly amazed that Abbott is still in charge – when “Tea Party Tony” took over I thought he’d implode in months if not less.

    “.. recall Abbott won the leadership ballot by a single ballot to assume the mantle of Opposition Leader.”

    I do indeed – and one of those votes was Peter Slipper’s. Which makes the Liberal party hypocrisy about him and the ALP’s internal leadership struggle rather breathtaking.

    • john byatt says:

      I seem to remember that one member was away at the time of the leadership ballot.

      all the deniers at uknowispeaksense election 2013 would have voted for Abbott.

    • astrostevo says:

      Not that I’m a fan of slippery Peter Slipper I hasten to add. But the Libs preselected and supported him for *how* many terms again – three? Four? Something like that? Just like they pre-selected Pauline Hanson and also seem to have borrowed her dog whistle (okay, dog trumpet) in another off topic area.

      The look on Turnbull’s face and tone in his voice when he had to answer the question about his leader’s shallow policy pamphlet was priceless!

      But also rather tragic.

      I hope Turnbull will take over again but I fear and think more realistically that the Libs are determined more than ever, even for them, to avoid change and preserve the bandaged over mummified illusion of party stability as meanwhile the global ice melts, GHG levels soar and our summers go from “angry” to “furious” to “nightmarish.”

  3. Col says:

    Turnball has to challenge. Please email him to challenge before it is to late.
    His email address is:

    What may convince him is a mass rally in every capital city around Australia to sack Abbott and put Turnball in.

    Its all about the polling now and Abbott will sink. Abbott carries that book around with him which makes him look even more pathetic. Aust can’t afford 3 more years of Rudd.

  4. I suspect that there is a high degree of “Machiavellianism” at work in the Liberal Party at present. Turnbull made a very clear distinction on Q&A the other night that the Gillard / Rudd theatrical was rooted in personality, whereas he himself lost the leadership of the Liberal Party because of policy. Turnbull is biding his time in a clever and shrewd manner.

    Greg Hunt seems like a decent person. He’s extremely approachable and is involved in grass roots environmental projects in his hometown. He’s been lumbered with a dud environmental policy. But I doubt the typical Liberal Party voter cares about their environmental policy. At this point that recalcitrance of the traditional Liberal voter to properly equate environmental concerns with future economic well-being is preventing the Liberals from having a more sensible and global approach to what’s happening to the planet.

    It’s fairly obvious that Tony Abbott is basically a puppet of the ultra far-right sections of the Liberal Party. Nick Minchin, the ultimate climate sceptic, was his mentor. Abbott counts Cory Bernadi as a friend. The words ‘intelligent’ ‘innovative’ ‘progressive’ just don’t resonate with these people. Abbott is leader of the Liberals – at the moment – simply because there are forces at work in Australia that don’t want investment in renewable energy. Or, to be more precise, don’t want to lose the dominance of the fossil fuel industry.

    I think Turnbull will be back, but not before the election.

      • john byatt says:

        how did we miss macfarlane?

        IAN MACFARLANE: Well I’m not sure I’m a climate change sceptic. I certainly believe that human habitation has contributed to climate change and to global warming, I guess what I am sceptical about is some of the more exaggerated claims that are being made about the connection between CO2 emissions and climate change. So I’m happy to sit down and consider the arguments, I’m listening carefully to the discussions that are going on in regard to carbon trading. And I think that what we’ve seen though, is an extraordinary claims about sea level rises that are not borne out even by the IPCC report. And some intimation that the world is doomed if we don’t suddenly stop using fossil fuels. There has to be solutions and those solutions will be technical.

        TONY JONES: You’re not a climate change sceptic but you’re sceptical about the critical claim made by the scientists, which is that CO2 emissions lead to climate change, is that right?

        IAN MACFARLANE: I’m sceptical about the exaggerated statements by some of the green groups in particular, that we have to end coal mining in Australia, or we are doomed. Quite frankly Australia’s energy resources will need to be managed in a mixed way. That is, we’ll have to have clean coal technology, clean gas technology. We’ll also have to improve the penetration of renewables. As the Prime Minister announced on the weekend, it’s time for a debate on whether or not nuclear power fits into our future of zero emissions and lower emissions.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      That’s was my original thought… however such is the twist and turns predictions are almost meaningless.

      I will stand by my position the DAP and climate change is becoming a real issue for Abbott and the LNP, and they no longer control the conversation.

  5. john byatt says:

    when you read an opinion piece by christopher booker in The Australian.be aware that the man is a creationist of the intelligent design variety,


  6. Stevo says:

    Some good news – Murray Salby has been sacked from Macquarie Uni for not fulfilling his academic duties. http://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2013/07/10/statement-regarding-the-termination-of-professor-murry-salby/

  7. starscream says:

    ew studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile
    July 12, 2013
    Print Version
    Source: Phantom Report

    Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.
    The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.

    The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.

    Perhaps because their supposedly mainstream views no longer represent the majority, the anti-conspiracy commenters often displayed anger and hostility: “The research… showed that people who favoured the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals.”

    Additionally, it turned out that the anti-conspiracy people were not only hostile, but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well. According to them, their own theory of 9/11 – a conspiracy theory holding that 19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan – was indisputably true. The so-called conspiracists, on the other hand, did not pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11: “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account.”

    In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist – a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory – accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.

    Additionally, the study found that so-called conspiracists discuss historical context (such as viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11) more than anti-conspiracists. It also found that the so-called conspiracists to not like to be called “conspiracists” or “conspiracy theorists.”

    Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

    In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination. That campaign, by the way, was completely illegal, and the CIA officers involved were criminals; the CIA is barred from all domestic activities, yet routinely breaks the law to conduct domestic operations ranging from propaganda to assassinations.

    DeHaven-Smith also explains why those who doubt official explanations of high crimes are eager to discuss historical context. He points out that a very large number of conspiracy claims have turned out to be true, and that there appear to be strong relationships between many as-yet-unsolved “state crimes against democracy.” An obvious example is the link between the JFK and RFK assassinations, which both paved the way for presidencies that continued the Vietnam War. According to DeHaven-Smith, we should always discuss the “Kennedy assassinations” in the plural, because the two killings appear to have been aspects of the same larger crime.

    Psychologist Laurie Manwell of the University of Guelph agrees that the CIA-designed “conspiracy theory” label impedes cognitive function. She points out, in an article published in American Behavioral Scientist (2010), that anti-conspiracy people are unable to think clearly about such apparent state crimes against democracy as 9/11 due to their inability to process information that conflicts with pre-existing belief.

    In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.

    The extreme irrationality of those who attack “conspiracy theories” has been ably exposed by Communications professors Ginna Husting and Martin Orr of Boise State University. In a 2007 peer-reviewed article entitled“Dangerous Machinery: ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion,” they wrote:

    “If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur.”

    But now, thanks to the internet, people who doubt official stories are no longer excluded from public conversation; the CIA’s 44-year-old campaign to stifle debate using the “conspiracy theory” smear is nearly worn-out. In academic studies, as in comments on news articles, pro-conspiracy voices are now more numerous – and more rational – than anti-conspiracy ones.

    No wonder the anti-conspiracy people are sounding more and more like a bunch of hostile, paranoid cranks.

  8. starscream says:

    Sorry, first words should be ‘New studies’

  9. James Wight says:

    Let’s not forget when Turnbull was Liberal leader he negotiated to water down Rudd’s (already awful) Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation. And a few months before that he proposed a baseline-and-credit ETS (read: voluntary incentive scheme like the Direct Action Plan), and a few months before that he advocated delaying carbon pricing.

    There are two possible interpretations of Turnbull’s behavior. The first is that his supposed commitment to climate action is a complete sham. The second is that Turnbull is well-meaning but was undermined by his colleagues even in the position of party leader. If the party wouldn’t let Turnbull advocate climate action in 2009, it seems even less likely to do so after spending years campaigning to repeal Gillard’s tentative steps. Either way, it would be foolish to support him.

  10. Tim Goodwill says:

    Real change always takes sacrifice and patience. 9 years of Tony is an option. There is a better way. Lift the tone, defer your Liberal vote. Vote Malcolm Turnbull PM in 2016. http://voteturnbull2016.com

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