The pragmatic obvious strong case for dumping Tony Abbott from the leadership of the Liberal Party and replacing him with Malcolm Turnbull is the fact, that with 60% voter support, Turnbull enjoys twice the popular support of Abbott. Moreover while it is true that much of Turnbull’s support is among Labor voters a majority of Liberal voters now support him as well. The prospects for a Coalition win at the next Federal election are much improved with Abbott gone. The less pragmatic, but more important, case for replacing Abbott is that he displays none of the principled intelligence that Turnbull does. Turnbull is an intelligent, articulate man with sensible views on climate change, the national broadband network and he displays a clear abhorrence for the disgusting shock-jock bigots of this world that Abbott is loathe to express. Turnbull is an egoist who has no doubts about his abilities but he will cogently argue a case based on principles not on opportunistic populism.
The Labor Party does not deserve to be reelected with Turnbull at the helm of the Liberal Party – Labor’s performance has been too weak. This would remain true even if Kevin Rudd – the community’s preferred candidate on Labor’s side – were restored to the Labor Party helm. But with Abbott at the helm Labor should be returned. It is not only that Abbott’s “direct action” policies on climate will inevitably fail and that his anti-tax mantras will continue to cripple our tertiary education sector and our ability to provide the infrastructure necessary to get Australia on a more sustainable development time path. Abbott’s election would mean a further cheapening of the Australian political dialogue in the direction of Tea Party stupidity.
Australians face an appalling lack of practical political alternatives at the next election. Dumping Abbott in favour of Malcolm Turnbull would change this. The position of the Liberal Party would be enhanced and so too would Australia’s future prospects.