Malcolm Turnbull’s justification for replacing Tony Abbott was that he could provide better economic leadership. Six months on, how much longer should we have to wait for the evidence?
Ultimately, the prime minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs. He has not been capable of providing the economic confidence that business needs.
We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities … and how to seize the opportunities. A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it.
We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.
Don’t get too wet
For the last five months, the following manual could easily have been crafted for Turnbull:
- Step 2 – let it sit for months without giving any specifics of what you would actually do or what you actually believe in. Don’t say crazy things like ‘raising the GST’, let other people do that. Instead, repeat words like ‘exciting’, ‘agile’, ‘opportunity’ and ‘reform’. It’s not a slogan if it’s only one word.
- Step 3 – see how much of your piddle lands back in your face.
- Step 4 – if it all gets too hairy with the focus groups, loosely abandon ship with words like ‘yet to be convinced‘ and and then jingle your keys in another direction (like negative gearing). 99.9% of society’s total collective memory of the issue will be erased within about 48-72 hours.
- Step 5 – if people notice that nothing worthwhile is getting done, you can always say that you’re being ‘measured’ and ‘consultative’. Political writers like Malcolm Farr will eat this kind of stuff up and lick the bowl for you.
- Step 6 – go back to step 1 and repeat.
So where does he stand?
For all the GST talk over the last 3-6 months, could anyone honestly say that they ever knew what Turnbull’s position was or what ‘course of action’ he believed in? Of course not.
How about where he stands on our debt and spending generally? Does he think they’re too high, too low, about right, or structurally fornicated wrecks that need immediate attention? Who would know?
Does anyone have even the faintest idea of what is coming next?
You would have to be intellectually amputated to think that Turnbull is simply being ‘measured’ in his policy approach. He’s not some run of the mill new employee. To the contrary, he’s:
- already spent many years in his current workplace;
- clearly spent significant time in recent years considering why he would make a better Prime Minister than Abbott; and
- spent a lifetime aspiring to be Prime Minister.
He’s had plenty of time to ‘measure’ the ‘course of action’ he thinks Australia needs and it’s not asking too much to be clearly told what it is.
Turnbull’s very own words used to attack Abbott five months ago have now become ironically prophetic:
What we have not succeeded in doing is translating those values into the policies and the ideas that will excite the Australian people and encourage them to believe and understand that we have a vision for their future.
There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls.
It all about the numbers
When you consider the numbers, it all becomes clear:
- Turnbull’s only job until the next election is too fool enough leftists and politically apathetic people to vote for him.
- Strong conservatives already hate Turnbull and won’t vote for him any way (he needn’t worry, most of their preferences will come his way anyway).
- Pragmatic conservatives will still vote for Turnbull no matter what.
This is what happens when your only competition is an incompetent buffoon like Bill Shorten.