As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 29th negative Newspoll1 has just come out and it is likely that his 30th will happen in less than a fortnight, Amanda Vanstone has written a tortured justification for ignoring the upcoming 30th Newspoll2. This, despite Turnbull using it as one of the justifications for rolling Tony Abbott from the top job. Turnbull did also maintain that Abbott was not providing the economic leadership the country needs, but Turnbull is hardly providing much in the way of leadership, economic or otherwise.
Vanstone states that Abbott had lost the confidence of the party room and his cabinet, and that it was all his own work, but that he seems to think it was at the instigation of Turnbull that he was rolled. Vanstone is correct in stating that this was not the case. As evidence against Abbott’s belief; he was almost rolled when he was opposed only by an empty chair3. The Abbott prime ministership was an unmitigated disaster for the nation and also for the Liberal Party, from which it may never recover (one can hope).
Despite Vanstone’s efforts to legitimise Turnbull’s poor performance by trying to knock the ‘30 Newspolls’ parrot off its perch, it was largely because Abbott had lost so many Newspolls that he was rolled. If his popularity had remained intact, there is no chance that the Liberal Party would have given him the boot, lack of economic leadership or not.
Vanstone then sticks the boot into Peta Credlin, Abbott’s chief of staff, indicating that the Prime Minister’s Office was dysfunctional and that Credlin’s abrasiveness was a major part of that problem. Then, hilariously, Vanstone states that “we see now a government with an economic narrative” and that “the team works well together and the runs are on the board” and even more laughably “does anyone think a party room would throw that away just because its effects haven’t washed through into public opinion polls.”2 Vanstone doesn’t seem to understand that it is precisely because the government’s economic narrative and the few runs it has on the board have washed through to the public opinion polls, that its popularity is awaiting the last rites in the next fortnight. Rumour has it that Tony Abbott is already booking press conferences.