The answer, Miranda, is none.
I was a great admirer of Frank Devine. One of Australia’s greatest newspaper men, a person of imagination and integrity, and a superb writer.
His daughter Miranda is an insightful and intelligent woman, and also a talented writer. I rarely disagree with her. But Miranda Devine has lost the plot here:
“Newspoll revealed Abbott’s usurper Malcolm Turnbull had suffered his first defeat, with the Coalition trailing Labor by two points, 49 to 51 per cent.
The poll was manna from heaven to delusional conservatives. Abbott was circumspect when interviewed on 2GB yesterday morning. But the glee of the delcons knew no bounds.
The Newspoll is a “gamechanger”, they cried excitedly. It’s all over for Turnbull, the great “waffler”. He’s a “dud”! His challenge to state premiers to control their spending was a “humiliation”. He will lose the next election. Yay!
Yes, these are conservatives, willing a Liberal rout.”
No. Nope. There is no glee here. No will for a Liberal rout. There is just appalled despair.
I said at the time of the coup that this could not end well. People in the media and public life who supported Malcolm Turnbull were people who would never vote for him, because he is a Liberal. Ordinary Liberal Party supporters will not vote for him because he is not.
Already it is clear that those who supported Turnbull are being punished in their own electorates.
It is not that we “delcons” (and no we are not deluded, far from it!) want a Shorten victory. Shorten and the Labor Party have nothing to offer except more debt, more illegal immigrants in detention including children, more unemployment because of investment and industry moving overseas, and less credibility in international relations. No one in his or her right mind wants that.
But the social conservatives and economic libertarians who make up the Liberal Party membership do not see a party led by Turnbull as being significantly different in philosophy or outcome. What moves us is what we believe is best for Australia, for Australian society, for ordinary men, women and families, and what will help us to be the best citizens we can be on the world stage. That does not include Mr Turnbull. Nor does it include Mr Shorten and any renewed Green/Labor alliance.
And no, we are not stupid. We know putting Tony Abbott back in the leadership, much as many of us respected him and would like to see him back at some time, will not solve the problem. Nor will any change of leadership prior to the election.
Turnbull will take the party to the next election. It will be a close run thing. None of us will delight in a Labor victory, should that occur.
Our local member, Jamie Briggs, voted for Abbott in the spill, and has done a good job for his electorate. Although there are matters on which he and I disagree (the ridiculous white elephant Kingscote airport project, for example), he has worked hard, and is a person of integrity. I will be happy to vote for him again. The senate, however, gives me an opportunity to send a message to the Liberal Party mandarins, without doing anything to endanger a renewal of sensible, business and family friendly policies. And that is to vote for the ALA, with preferences to the Liberals.