He was never a quiet MP, so why now has Malcolm Turnbull decided to keep tight lipped on the issues he used to care so much about?
This was the question on ABC’s Q&A last night, after parallels were drawn by the PM’s fence-sitting and the latest poll results which show he’s losing popularity.
Audience member Robert Gubbins opened the discussion by asking whether the Prime Minister was taking a big risk by calling the July 2 election.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson, said he believed that Turnbull’s sliding ratings were a reflection of his indecisiveness on a number of issues including tax reform, same-sex marriage and climate change.
“Look, obviously Malcolm did a deal to get there and the deal he did actually compromised some of the basic positions that he’d previously held and held publicly,” said Mr Hewson.
“There’s a fellow running in the seat of Wentworth, my old seat, against Malcolm, who just wants the old Malcolm to come back. The guy that stood for gay marriage… and climate change and tax reform and so on. And I think that’s been a major reason why his popularity has collapsed.”
“It is amazing how badly Malcolm Turnbull’s done,” said Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan. “I think none of us expected that he would have backed himself into such a corner after starting off with such a huge popularity.”
“Everyone understands the compromises that Malcolm Turnbull made about climate change and marriage equality in order to keep the right wing in the cart. I understand that. Not that I approve, but I understand it,” she said.
“But what has absolutely surprised us all is that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t actually have an economic plan, that he’d been sitting there all that time waiting to be leader and he gets the nod and there’s no economic plan. I mean, I would have expected there to be a mini-budget in December or January or February at the latest.”
The Australian’s associate editor Ms Overington said Mr Turnbull had been “disappointing to a number of people” and was “struggling to find his feet”.
“People expected him to be doing a lot of the things he is not doing but there are political realities associated with being the Prime Minister… unfortunately he is caught in the realities of politics and that may well prove to be his downfall”.
Time will tell if the polls are accurate or if Malcolm Turnbull will still be the PM when the dust settles.
Tell us, are you disappointed or happy with Turnbull’s government so far? How could he improve? Do you think the ‘old Malcolm’ was better?