By Andrew Bolt ~
The Liberals just aren’t serious about cutting this mad spending if these keep subsidising quack cures:
One thing that Labor did do [on Friday] is announce that they … would halt the private health insurance rebate for natural therapies. Why should taxpayers subsidise things like aromatherapy and pilates?
Well look we have a Budget. We have a clear economic plan, it is all set out in the Budget and we are not going to be making any changes to that now.
Turnbull is privately assuring his team they will make spending cuts after the election, and they must avoid ruling out changes as Tony Abbott did to his cost.
But this means the Liberals are not asking for a mandate for changes, either, which will make them seem sneaky after the election – and will give a hostile Senate good reason to savage them.
Encouraged by the lower vote quota needed to win a Senate seat this election and by record disaffection with the major parties, smaller parties hope to see an increase on the seven independents elected to the Senate in 2013.
The conservative and outspoken Liberal-National MP for the Queensland seat of Dawson, George Christensen, said the Coalition was losing support to groups such as the Australian Liberty Alliance and One Nation.
He said Australia had entered “a danger zone on political correctness” that was feeding radical Right groups… On the progressive side, declarations of “war” against the Catholic Church over same-sex marriage, aims to stifle freedoms of religion and speech, and radical climate-change and immigration policies are reflecting European trends and threatening the ALP…
Of the existing independents, Senator Xenophon is sure to be returned with possibly two or three running mates, Senator Lambie is likely to be returned in Queensland and David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democrats) and Bob Day (Family First) are chances in NSW and South Australia.
This would help form a Senate likely to smash a Turnbull Government for its deceit.
True, Turnbull will count a win as a win, and power will be his ultimate reward. But I wonder how much he will enjoy the next three years, and how quickly his party will lose patience with him.
Once [Turnbull] wins the election – still the most likely result of this eye-glazing, never-ending campaign – things will change. The real Malcolm will emerge from his conservative chrysalis like a beautiful socially progressive butterfly and lead us into a bright, shining future.
This seems to be the hope – or even the assumption – among many left and centre [?] voters who still want to believe in Turnbull. That once he’s won his own mandate at the ballot box, his conservative colleagues will calm down and fall in line; that he’ll finally have the power and authority to lead them, rather than be led by them…
Don’t be so sure. It’s time to consider the very real possibility that this is as good as a Malcolm Turnbull prime ministership gets: cautious, indecisive, uninspiring and unprincipled. Hostage to the right and haunted by Tony Abbott’s ghost…
The best he can really hope for is that he limits his losses to a handful of seats. Most governments go backwards in their second terms … so it would be hard to hold him responsible for a natural correction of four or five seats… But if the polls are correct he’s on track to lose more seats than that. He may scrape back in on a knife-edge. He may even lose his majority and be forced into some sort of deal with the crossbench. This sort of result would not give him the authority he needs to take the party – or the country – in a new direction.
The conservatives would be emboldened, rather than quieted. Abbott’s supporters would claim their guy could have done better. They’ll point to 2013 and say actually, he already did. It wouldn’t take long for Turnbull’s leadership to come under pressure. That’s not to say he’d face a challenge in the near future – the party will not return to Abbott and the other contenders are more long-term propositions – but leaders without internal authority must always watch their back…
In this scenario, Turnbull would be stuck in survival mode. His top priorities would be holding on to his job and keeping his party together. That’s not a recipe for a bold, innovative government – it’s a recipe for inertia.
Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.