Leadership spill: Turnbull is not out of the woods
Everyone knew there was something off on Monday. Despite the smiles and assurances of support for the Prime Minister, it was clear something was bubbling inside the Liberal Party. And so, here we are — Dutton tried and failed, and Turnbull comes out victorious. But does he really? Sure the PM came out on top, but a closer look at the results reveals Turnbull is anything but out of the woods.
It is no secret the Liberal Party has been fairly divided since Tony Abbott lost the leadership to Malcolm Turnbull back in 2015. From a staunch conservative to a staunch moderate — of course there would be tension. This tension has not been helped by the further polarisation of positions within the party on issues such as energy policy and same-sex marriage. It also hasn’t been helped by Abbott’s constant attempts to undermine Turnbull’s authority.
With the conservative and moderate factions constantly at loggerheads over key policy issues, the leadership spill really isn’t that surprising. However, what it has done is driven a wedge through the splitting log that is the Liberal Party, clearly defining the two factions. The Liberal Party will need to confront and resolve its identity crisis if it hopes to win the next election. At this point, it doesn’t matter who leads the party, because the fact that there is such internal polarisation means that both factions will undermine each other.
In a nutshell, the Liberal Party (and the Coalition generally) looks divided, and the only policy that appears to unify it is the company tax cuts, which is proving highly controversial among Australian voters. Australians will remember this as they head to the polls in 2019, and unless public perception is miraculously changed they will vote in Labor. But that’s what happens to governments which focus on themselves more than the people they are elected to serve.
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