Our friends in Australia play politics as a blood sport. Tony Abbott, Prime Minister for less than two years, was dumped in what the Aussies delightfully call a “party room spill” which is basically a vote of the party MPs. He will be replaced by the guy who he stabbed a few years previously, Malcolm Turnbull. I say will be, in fact, the replacement has already taken place. Turnbull will be the fifth Prime Minister Australia has had in five years.
Abbott was a profoundly conservative man. But, unfortunately, he felt he had to hedge his conservatism much like Harper has hedged his. He refused to follow the logic of his positions allowing the idea of governing moderately to displace the idea of governing well. For example, he campaigned against the carbon tax introduced by Labour (after promises not to) knowing full well that the science behind CO2 hysteria was deeply flawed. However, instead of just scrapping the tax he replaced it with a system of payments to large carbon dioxide emitters which cost a great deal of money and which would not have made the slightest difference to world temperature. He repeated this sort of behaviour on a number of other files.
Not that it did him the slightest good. Abbott was reviled in the Australian media – especially the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – and some of the newspapers. If you think Harper Derangement Syndrome is bad in the Canadian Media Party you simply would not believe the levels of vitriol Abbott attracted down under.
I suspect he could have survived all that had he, instead of trimming to placate his critics, driven his conservative agenda much harder. And that would have included dumping Turnbull from the Communications portfolio where he was notionally in charge of the ABC. He could have done much better by scrapping the whole idea of carbon dioxide reduction and appointing a serious, and properly sceptical, Royal Commission to look into both the science and economics of climate alarmism.
Conservative politicians need to realize that there is nothing to be gained trying to placate the media and the left. The media party is never going to like you or give you a fair shake. You will be just as hated pursuing a forthright conservative agenda as you will if you tip toe in the direction of the right.
I am sorry to see Abbott go. Turnbull is a proven skunk and a wet when it comes to everything from climate to the boats which Howard and later Abbott succeeded in stopping. But the sort of cocktail circuit compromises Abbott felt he had to make to keep the jackals in the press at bay, doomed this very decent man.
(Andrew Bolt is the Oz go-to guy and the comments are worth reading. The conservative interest in Australia is not a happy camp. Not happy at all.)