If there is one piece of knowledge we’ve painfully acquired during the last few years in Australian politics, it’s that a leader of both major parties can be brought down by colleagues at any moment.
Voters may be witness to the stormy trajectory of a leader’s demise, as we were with Tony Abbott. Then again, it might come entirely out of nowhere as happened with Kevin Rudd, when we woke one sunny morning to find him slaughtered, and Julia Gillard dancing on his grave.
In a paradoxical correlation, the more insecure leadership in the ALP and LNP becomes, the more our elections assume a presidential quality in which public focus is steered towards leaders rather than policies. Logic would argue against this focus, given the proven temporary nature of leadership, together with the factions within both parties struggling for control. The leader and faction you voted for today may not be the leader and faction you end up with for three years, because unlike in a presidential system, the parties have been at liberty to oust a leader at any time.
Since the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd debacle, the ALP has put in place certain measures that make it more difficult for their leaders to be chucked out, and it’s astonishing to me that they aren’t making more of this thrust for stability in their election campaign. If you aren’t united how can you govern a nation, asked Mr Shorten before Abbott’s demise, a question all of us ought to ask before we vote.
If you vote ALP, you have the reassurance that their time and energy is less likely to be squandered on internal leadership battles. They are freed from those concerns to concentrate on actually governing, which is far more than can be said for the LNP.
As opposition leader Bill Shorten pointed out in the Leaders’ Debate last night, Turnbull is controlled by his party while Shorten is in control of his. This may well be the best zinger we ever hear from Shorten, and it zings with truth.
You are a leader in nothing but name if your every move is orchestrated by those you ostensibly lead, and there is no doubt that Turnbull has compromised himself almost beyond recognition in order to soothe the slavering right-wing in his party and retain their support.
Turnbull demonstrates few, if any, political leadership qualities. He’s a man who wanted to be Prime Minister at any cost not because he wanted to steer a country wisely into its future, but because he wanted to be Prime Minister. In this, he is no different from the man he ousted.
Shorten is the leader of his party in every sense. He won’t be thrown out. He doesn’t have to submit to factional demands in order to maintain his leadership. He is at liberty to focus on good governance in ways that Turnbull is not.
If you’re voting for the man and not the policies, it makes no sense at all to vote for Turnbull. He could be gone, even if he wins, and your vote is down the dunny.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m over the leadership dramatics. We’ve been badly served by the major parties’ internal strife for long enough.
There is only one leader in the debate, and it isn’t Turnbull. There’s only one major party in the debate that comes anywhere near allowing real leadership, and it isn’t the LNP.
That being said, we should still weep for our lack of decent choice.