Mark Bahnisch at his finest in PollieGraph (New Matilda) yesterday.
The Libs don’t seem to have any capacity for a disciplined approach to opposition. Despite the claims from Nick Minchin and others that Nelson would bring a “consultative” style to the leadership - in contrast to Howard’s - it appears clear that in the absence of the prize of government they’re incapable of turning their fire on Labor as opposed to scattering it among themselves. Just as some of the shine had rubbed off Swan’s budget, they’ve handed the government two devastating lines of attack - the disunity angle and the fact that they themselves know that their centrepiece budget reply “measure” is a piece of populist garbage and that they were concerned it would tear up their mythical but much cherished “economic management” brand.
Nelson sacking Turnbull would be an absolute disaster for them, for reasons that ought to be obvious. On the other hand, Nelson keeping Turnbull would be an absolute disaster for them, for reasons that ought to be obvious.
A lot of this can be traced back to their continuing failure to adapt to opposition. They need to make the government the story, not contend - in undignified and risible ways - with each other for their 15 minutes of fame in the public eye. Turnbull’s under-reported attempt at a censure on the budget after Question Time last week is a more revelatory moment than has been written up - it shows his own lack of discipline and overweening egotism in trying to shove himself into the spotlight on a day that should have been Nelson’s. Even from the point of view of a leadership contender, it’s a thousand types of dumb.
* Alternative portrait of Malcolm Turnbull (above) found at ABC News.