Malcolm Turnbull was desperate to be Prime Minister.
So desperate in fact that he stabbed a sitting leader in the back to get the top job.
Perhaps we should have known then that listening to the people was not going to be his government’s best asset.
After all, Turnbull created turmoil by getting rid of Tony Abbott despite the public’s disdain for parties dumping leaders mid-term. After years of the Rudd/Gillard war, people were sick of it.
Instead of heed that message, Turnbull pushed ahead, turfed Abbott and showed little regard for public opinion.
We shouldn’t be all that surprised then that Turnbull appears to be blocking his ears when it comes to the public’s view on same sex marriage.
What a shame that Turnbull will end up on the wrong side of history on this issue.
Even if he was to do a remarkable backflip, allow a free vote in the Parliament and ultimately be in charge when the sensible decision to legalise same sex marriage is made, it’s all too late to save his damaged reputation.
For supporters of marriage equality, Turnbull is dead and buried.
For those who don’t support the legalisation of same sex marriage, Turnbull is still dead and buried because he’s allowed the issue to become the major talking point in Australian politics and has fumbled his way through trying to sort it out.
It is not only embarrassing for Turnbull, it is fatal to his leadership.
The fact that Turnbull could ultimately be turfed as leader as a result of same sex marriage is quite incredible.
How did it possibly come to this?
It can only come down to the utter incompetence of the current Liberal Party and its lack of ability to listen to the people – and it’s lack of backbone.
They say that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a sign of insanity and trying to push through the plebiscite again was certainly on the verge of madness.
Just plain crazy.
A postal plebiscite? What’s that going to achieve? It can’t be binding nor compulsory which means you might get 30 or 35 per cent of the public voting. If 51 per cent of that number are in favour of changing our marriage laws, can Turnbull really then say he has a mandate?
This is just an absolute mess.
With the world on edge, fearing Islamic State and terrorism, we’re somehow still debating the same issue we were debating years ago and getting nowhere fast.
At the end of the day, we elect our politicians to make decisions on our behalf, that reflect our beliefs and ideals.
As time goes on, more and more polls suggest that most Australians are in favour of marriage equality.
You only have to speak to people in the street, in pubs, at the footy or online to know that public support is with the ‘yes’ campaign.
So why can’t we just get on with it?
What is Malcolm Turnbull so scared of?
Surely it is not alienating the Liberal support base, which are already sick of Turnbull’s handling of this issue.
Turnbull, ego and all, had an incredible opportunity to be part of history by being the Prime Minister when marriage equality was approved in this country.
He had the opportunity to be the Prime Minister who backed love over hate; who backed progression over backwards thinking.
Now he’ll be remembered as the Prime Minister who was in charge when Australia embarrassed itself on the world stage.
And he’ll be remembered for somehow losing his job over it.
Bill Shorten isn’t totally free of blame either – he’s playing plenty of politics himself. But he is indeed on the verge of being the Prime Minister on the day that the Australian Parliament comes to its senses.
And that is incredible to believe given most believed Shorten had no real hope of ever taking the top job. The seat warmer has become the likely next PM.
This whole thing is no longer about marriage equality. It’s about Malcolm Turnbull’s failure as a Prime Minister.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor.