Thursday, 2 March 2017

Manic Monday for Malcolm or Lucky Sunday for Bill?

A political singalong to summarise the parliamentary week.

A little repetition - Leadership speculation gives back benchers a taste of importance

Understanding all the leadership speculation - No reason really to change this little item from 9 February 2012

The devil finds mischief for idle hands and for most of their parliamentary life backbench politicians are essentially idle. Their only real role of importance comes when they are called on in the party room to vote on a new leader.
The rest of the time they are treated with disdain by other participants in the political system. They are but little children given their lines to recite when allowed to enter Parliament House through the door where journalists congregate. Juvenile staffers fresh from university debating societies masquerading as political tacticians write out the questions for them to humiliate themselves by the chamber.
And then comes the great day when a journalist treats them as important and asks them for a view on the party leadership. Flatteringly they are even promised that these views will be "in confidence" with their name not published if that's how they want it.
Eureka! I am relevant after-all!
Once they start this process it quickly becomes like a drug. The more interesting the tit-bit of "information", the more constant the phone-calls, the greater the sense of self-importance, the more interesting ...
And so the news cycle feeds on itself.
Until one day, perhaps, we end up with a self fulfilling prophesy that was all built on virtually nothing.

Monkey pod rumours - Turnbull to make his Duke of Edinburgh knighthood mistake

The talk in the pod is more and more about the Cabinet reshuffle that cannot be far away and the departure of Attorney General George Brandis to the court of St James. While there is no love for George there are doubts about the wisdom of sending him to London. The consensus of the pod members is that the mob will not cop such a blatant job for the boy

There is more than one faction in the Liberal Party that can cause trouble for Malcolm Turnbull

The Owl gas got some sympathy for Malcolm Turnbull. It's a difficult job leading a government with a majority of one. Every backbench Tom, Dick and Harriet thinks they have the power of the blackmailer. Huff and puff and threaten to quit, or back someone else to replace you, unless they get their own way on some pet project or other. The threat is constant and the Prime Minister knows it.
In recent times the huffing and puffing has come from some Liberal, and mainly National Party, MPs terrified by the thought they might lose their parliamentary seat next time around to a resurgent One Nation Party. The red haired leader has all those outside the major capital cities terrified. The initial response of the electorally challenged is to pressure PM Turnbull to take policy positions that anything Pauline Hanson can do we can do tougher.
Gleefully encouraging this nervousness is Tony Abbott - the man Turnbull replaced in a leadership coup. The former Prime Minister relishes contrasting himself as a proper hard-line conservative fighting the good fight against a wish-washy small "l" liberal.
The Parliament House based media and the talking heads of radio and television, especially that strange crew on Sky who don't actually have an audience apart from that Parliament House lot who take them seriously, just love it. And the Prime Minister feels obliged to react.
Which The Owl thinks is a mistake. For those small 'l" lot are beginning to get irritated. They are getting sick of Turnbull caving in to the bully boys on things like the mistreatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. The day is not far away when the other part of the broad Liberal church shows that it too can play the irritant.
Watch for it. It is coming.