Game on in Australia

September 16th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

A few days ago announced he will contnue with his plans to retire from politics, and not take up the Liberal Party leadership which would has been his for the taking.

Now Liberal Leader Brendan Nelson has called for a leadership ballot, to force to challenge or pledge loyalty. Turnbull has confirmed he will challenge. Nelson beat Turnbull in an upset victory last year.

In theory Nelson should be toast as he has massively low approval ratings, and his colleagues have little confidence in him.

But Turnbull, while talented, is very unpopular with many of his colleagues. It is likely Nelson will retain the leadership. A pity to some degree, as I think Turnbull has many good ideas and policies in terms of economic reform.

Also Labor’s one year reign of total government is over. Since they won the federal election they were uniqely in government in all eight states and territories as well as federally. That has ended in Western Australia though.

The Liberal Party got 38.5% and Labor 35.8%, plus Nationals 4.9% (and Greens 11.9%). The Nationals only contested a few seats and won four seats giving the balance of power.

Now you might think this means an automatic victory for the Libs, but WA is the one state where the Libs and Nats are not formally aligned, so just like in NZ in 1996 the major parties bidded for the Nats affection and they negotiated deals with each party. They finally opted to go with the Liberal Party.

UPDATE: Turnbull won 45-41. This is good.

12 Responses to “Game on in Australia”

  1. slightlyrighty (2,423 comments) says:

    I’ve heard on ZB that Turnball is in, and Nelson is history, all done and dusted.

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  2. lloydois (261 comments) says:

    Turnbull has won 45 – 41. At last the Liberals have made a sensible decision though it will be interesting to see how Turnbull handles the hardliners in his party especially the politics of climate change.

    Poor emo man. He was even worse than Dolly Downer. Whoever would have thought that was possible.

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  3. redeye (730 comments) says:

    Whoever leads is irrelevant. They’ll be in opposition for this and the next term at least. Opposition leaders rarely last a term. They should of left Nelson to hold the fort.

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  4. Ross Miller (1,762 comments) says:

    redeye … that’s what Carpenter said in Western Australia when the Liberals ousted their leader just five weeks ago.

    And now …………..

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  5. pushmepullu (686 comments) says:

    This means Australia is a lot closer to becoming a Republic… bugger…

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  6. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    Interesting. Malcolm Turnbull has a lot in common with John Key. I’m not sure he has what it takes to get the Libs back into power at the end of this term, but I’m pretty sure Nelson didn’t – the man was a noddy. I think the trick in Aus is what Rudd does – basically the next election is Rudd’s to lose. I think his performance in power is suggesting that he may be capable of losing it – it will be nice to have a Liberal leader capable of offering an alternative.

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  7. redeye (730 comments) says:

    Ross, no comparison. They (WA) changed leaders running into an election. The Feds have changed essentially just running out.

    It’s a poison challis I tell ya.

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  8. Neil (598 comments) says:

    Turnbull always wanted this position, after only four years in parliament. One year sooner than Key.
    One cannot compare Key and Turnbull.Key mixes with people from all social scales. Merchant banker and Republican Turnbull is a man that I don’t think will connect with ordinary Aussies.
    Turnbull smells anyone on a lower social level than himself. Full of puffery and self righteous admiration of himself. Certainly not been truly tested. If he falls, there’s still Peter Costello(I hope)
    Turnbull was desperate to get into Parliament and rolled a fellow Liberal, Peter King in 2003. It was the blue ribbon Sydney seat of Wentworth. There were distinct rumours of branch stacking, common in urban Australian Liberal and Labour politics.
    He has the same confidence of Auntie Helen !!!!!!!! Not for me but I don’t get a vote !!

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  9. NX (583 comments) says:

    I liked Nelson. Anyone who makes the journey from union activist to Liberal Party leader deserves respect.

    He wasn’t afraid to take on Rudd over aspects of stupidity surrounding the climate change legislation (he even had to fight with his own caucus).

    He also came across as far more genuine than Rudd who has an inconsistent leadership style (Churchillian one day, clown the next).

    From what I know about Turnball I don’t like. He’s obsessed with an Aussie republic, rides the climate change band-wagon, & is disliked by many of his colleagues. A 45-41 victory is hardly an earth shattering mandate given Nelson’s unpopularity.

    Nelson should’ve been given a chance to fight the general election.

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  10. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    NX: he should have been given a chance out of pity? We should inflict Australians with one extra term of Labour government because you think it is fair to give Nelson a go despite the fact that Australians clearly didn’t like him (based on all the polls)? I mean, I know they are Australians so it should be OK to experiment on them, but really, would we go that far?

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  11. NX (583 comments) says:

    PaulL: Yes Nelson had a low ‘preferred PM’ rating, but the Liberal party vote was holding up, the Liberals had won a couple of surprise by-elections, and not to mention WA & a very close race in NT.

    I dunno how much emphasis should be put on preferred PM ratings because both Clark & Bolger had dismal ratings at various times of their leaderships.

    Not sure why you’re having a go at me because I prefer Nelson over Turnball – it’s my opinion after all. I just think if given more time the Aussies may find things they like in him just as I have.

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  12. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    I’m not sure where you got your information from DPF?
    Anyone who was following Aussie politics knew Nelson was toast. He called it early to surprise & give himself a half decent shot as otherwise it would have been a month of torture before the final execution.
    In any event, Turnbull is not that unpopular having only lost the last vote post Howard’s defeat by 2 votes. The latest vote was almost a formality (despite a close 45-41 count).
    Turnbull is the best the liberals have and will be a great foil to Rudd. It is now Rudd’s kind of boring managerial style v Turnbull’s character & energy. The economic turmoil in the US & elsewhere is a good setting for Turnbull’s opening salvos at Rudd.
    Contrary to your post, Costello has not given it away just yet, he is still waiting in the wings. He would not give reporters a straight answer. He would be a step back though. Unfortunately, Howard has already cut Costello’s lunch and ate it.

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