Wherever you turn, there’s speculation about the future of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Today I thought I’d take a look at the five key issues I believe are plaguing his government and the likelihood of him leading the Liberals to the next election…
Wherever Turnbull goes, the smiling assassin from Warringah isn’t far away.
Tony Abbott has become a major problem for Turnbull, with the former Prime Minister maintaining a high profile presence through the media.
Unlike Kevin Rudd’s attempts to destabilise Julie Gillard, Abbott isn’t coming across as vindictive, in fact he’s managed to sell his ‘care factor’ strongly to the public and elements of the Liberal Party.
While it’s unlikely the door would ever be open for an Abbott return to the top job, there is no doubt that he will cause Turnbull a few more headaches ahead of the next election.
The solution: Turnbull needs to find room for Abbott on the front bench. While it may be an uncomfortable reunion, it would at least force Abbott to fall a little more into line and go some way to stemming the flow of Abbott’s rise back into public popularity.
Same sex marriage
Politicians have a unique knack for making things much more difficult than they should be.
The same sex marriage debate in Australia has gone on for way too long, and has now become a dangerous, highly emotive issue for the Government.
Marriage equality will always evoke strong passion and debate but the whole thing now is just silly and has become too much of a political football.
Turnbull needs to cut this whole thing off at the pass.
He has an opportunity to create a slice of history that nobody can take away from him: the Prime Minister that ticked off on a social change that will be applauded by the history books. We will look back one day and wonder what took us so long.
Turnbull will either be remembered as the Prime Minister who made it happen or the failed leader who fiddled about and eventually sat on his hands.
2GB and News Limited
Turnbull has no support from the key players at Radio 2GB (Alan Jones and Ray Hadley) nor the main political commentator at News Limited (Andrew Bolt).
All three lean to the conservative side of politics so for Turnbull not to have them on board is a disaster.
You can’t win western Sydney without 2GB and the Daily Telegraph on your side and you can’t win an election without winning western Sydney.
Election campaign planners would know that the Liberals face a media disaster if 2GB and News Limited can’t be won over.
Malcolm Turnbull could lead the Panthers out with a meat pie in one hand and a VB in the other and still not convince us that he has the common touch.
Generally all Prime Ministers who eventually come to power have some financial success behind them, but most have managed to ensure it doesn’t plague their leadership.
In Turnbull’s case, he simply can’t escape the Point Piper perception. He doesn’t resonate with ‘real’ people, and the longer his tenure goes, the wider the gap is becoming.
Pollies can tell you the polls don’t matter but rest assured, they do.
This week Turnbull again lost ground to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as the nation’s preferred Prime Minister, according to Newspoll data.
The poll shows Labor leading the Coalition by 53 to 47 on a two-party preferred basis. It is a worrying sign for the PM.
Nervous back benchers will only let it go on for so long. The polls would have them questioning Turnbull’s leadership.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor.