Rumour has it the backbenchers want Tony Abbott to push Mr Hockey to the curb. Mr Abbott has responded today by insisting that the cabinet has “full confidence” in Hockey. And whether he does or doesn’t isn’t what I want to talk about tonight. I want to talk about the repetitive cycle of elect, sack, rinse, repeat that our country appears to be doing. Sitting back from Australian politics this sounds like another low confidence political scandal in its early rumblings.
The Australian and Fairfax Media reported today that two cabinet ministers have anonymously said Tony Abbott is being urged to dump Mr Hockey and appoint a new Treasurer if the West Australian by-election goes badly for the Liberal Party. We’re several years into the cycle and you can now see an opportunity as it is attempting to erupt through the media. Bronwyn Bishop was last month’s instability target… this month’s is Joe Hockey. Let’s face it, Hockey isn’t doing much different to what he has done for the last 18 months. Sure his budgets have copped a lot of flack, but where’s the new news in that? Surely the fact that there is no news is the news itself that everyone is clutching at. And the cycle begins again… backbenchers are usually the first to grumble, with the media picking up on it and applying polling, pressure and scrutiny that can only make everyone more uncomfortable before they force a watershed moment. Kevin Rudd had a moment like this. 18 months later Julia Gillard had one too. 18 months again, and it was Rudd again. Then, 18 months along we’ve seen Tony Abbott, not long followed by Bronwyn Bishop, and now Joe Hockey. Could someone in the media enjoy the headlines for government instability in this country? Do you think this attack on Hockey is warranted?