I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve argued (literally) that the LNP should replace Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull. It’s not because I like Turnbull, but because I dread the thought of Abbott leading this country. I won’t go over my reasons; they’ve been given currency on this site enough over the last three years.
Just recently there has been similar talk all over the social media about replacing Abbott, albeit because the polls have turned pear-shaped for him. There are serious concerns about him leading the Coalition to victory in September and unsurprisingly, Malcolm Turnbull is touted as a genuine replacement. Now the mainstream media, for so long content to guide Abbott into the Lodge, have come to the realisation that they might have been holding the wrong hand. From The Age this morning comes Liberal Party’s best bet: switch to Turnbull. I’ve picked out a few telling sentences:
Tony Abbott now looks an even bet to emulate his former boss John Hewson (Abbott was Hewson’s media adviser), who in 1993 lost what was widely considered an unloseable ballot against Paul Keating.
In their own self-interest, the Liberals would be wise to at least consider replacing Tony Abbott with Malcolm Turnbull. It has long been clear the two leaders Australian voters would like to choose between are Rudd and Turnbull.
But the pivotal assessment is which leader would maximise the Coalition’s prospects of winning office. Many Liberals must be thinking their chances of winning a seat or holding on to one would be better were Turnbull reinstalled in the position he only lost by one vote to Abbott, primarily because Turnbull supported a market-based system to put a price on carbon emissions.
Once the election campaign proper begins, it is hoped there will be increasing focus throughout the community on policy rather than politics, and on ideas rather than ideology. Abbott has excelled in opposing, but has not inspired voters with policy ideas.
So, if Abbott is to win this election, he will need to convince voters he has the policies that will improve their lives. A large part of that will be determined by the substance and detail of the policies. But much, too, will depend on sales skills, and it appears Turnbull cuts through better than Abbott. Outside of the corridors of Canberra, people like Turnbull. There is a lingering, almost intangible, hesitation about Abbott, if the polls are to be given credence.
Elections are won at the margin; they are decided by swinging voters in tight seats. I suspect there are many who will not vote Liberal with Abbott at the helm but who would readily support the party were Turnbull leader.
This prospect might well become increasingly enticing should the Coalition continue to see polls telling it that it may be poised to lose an unloseable election primarily because its leader lacks appeal.
There is an X-factor in political leadership. Turnbull has it. Rudd has it. Julia Gillard lost it. And Abbott probably does not have it.
Well, I certainly agree with most of that. Do you?