I thought I would offer some unsolicited advice, which might help you escape from the corner you have backed yourself into.
While you are taking a well-earned break overseas to maintain the illusion that Australia is important in world affairs, the undercurrents of dissatisfaction whirl unabated in Canberra.
Things do not look good. Your party is fractured, undisciplined, arrogant and incompetent. Plotters are plotting against you, stirring up trouble behind the scenes and openly questioning your ability and judgement. Hardly surprising, really, as there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that you have made both a complete pig’s ear and a dog’s breakfast of your Prime Ministership, lurching from one disaster to another with impressive regularity.
Aside from your predecessor, it is hard to think of another leader who has appeared so unsuited to the position and, if you are not careful, your legacy — I use the term loosely — will be unfavourably compared to Tony Abbott’s. Yes, it’s that bad.
You are nominally in charge of a party dominated by a handful of right wing nutters, but in practice, they are controlling you. You have allowed them to force you to defend the mental and (most probably) physical abuse of refugees, climate change denial, anti-gay hysteria, a lack of action on banking rorts and a watered down NBN that reminds me of the cans tied together by long pieces of string of my childhood. Your jaw must ache from clenching your teeth while pretending to support these issues.
You have become a puppet for the mini-Trumps dominating your government and party, and you have seemingly had to abandon most of your principles and morals along the way. Doesn’t sound too good, does it?
The balance has shifted due to your ill-judged and botched election and it is only a matter of time before the sheep behind you turn bleating in fear to Abbott and his cronies for comfort, resulting in your back doubling as a pin cushion and you will be tossed onto the growing pile of recently turfed prime ministers.
Lest I become too negative, there is a way out. A spectacular solution that can redeem you in the eyes of the nation and ensure you do not join Abbott as one of the country’s two most forgettable Prime Ministers. The Liberal Party won’t like it, but they already hate you anyway.
Simply resign as Prime Minister, resign your membership of the Liberal Party and sit on the cross benches as an independent Member of Parliament.
This will have the instant result of making the Libs a minority government, but with you guaranteeing them supply, they will not call an election. They daren’t. The decline in voter support you inspired would be complete and they would be trounced and thrust back into opposition, facing prime minister Shorten, a prospect marginally worse for the right wing rabble than having you in charge. They would rather keep their perks and take their chances.
The perfect irony of this solution is that you would go from having no power as head of the government to being able to actually run the country from the crossbenches for the rest of this term. AND… your lack of leadership ability won’t matter!
Your private members’ bills would sail through the house. Marriage equality. Tick. Royal commission into banking. Tick. Increased funding for environmental agencies. Tick. Almost anything progressive, right and good. Tick, tick, tick.
Not everything will go through, of course, but the opposition and upper house will very much enjoy the spectacle of squirming Liberal and National MPs and be very much inclined to support you.
You would actually run the country, Malcolm. A new experience for you. Think what that would be like. You could do it while grinning at Tony Abbott across the chamber. Wouldn’t that be great? For everyone.
Good luck, all the best, and you’re welcome.
What are your thoughts on the government following the election? Do you have an opinion on what Steve has written about here?
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