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Abbott and Bishop: a team made in heaven?

1 December, 2009

As Malcolm Turnbull followed sumo’s Asashoryu’s lead in hitting the canvas, Tony Abbott’s TIE fighter emerged from the party room the new leader of the Liberal party. Malcolm Turnbull must surely be cursing that one informal vote that possibly made him lose the spill to Abbott 42-41.

At the end of the Howard Era, the talk was of a new Abbott-Costello comedy duo to head the Liberal Party. But now, with the spill that Abbott called over, and the results on Turnbull’s shirt like a blob of mustard after a lunch at The Grill, the new team to beat (NB and not the team to be beaten?) is an Abbott/Bishop combination.

But is it truly a match made in heaven? It certainly sounds like the start of a bad joke: “Abbott says to Bishop:….” Starting with the rejection of the government’s ETS proposal, the move signals a strengthening of the “far right” (as much as I hate such labels) in the Liberals. In contrary to the centripetal trend that most political scientists would observe in a two-party system, where both parties converge on a moderate, centralist policy platform, are we about to see the Liberal party offering social and environmental policy options that echo Howard, and economic policies that echo Menzies?

Of course, I am indulging in a little hyperbole, but Turnbull, as much as I may have criticized him on this blog for his debt truck and the like, had the foresight to realise that Rudd’s team was not a bunch of left-wing wingnuts, but socially and economically were deeply conservative on a number of fronts. So the months ahead will prove interesting indeed. In their struggle for “differentiation” to find an alternative policy platform, I hope for sake of the Abbotts and Bishops of the Liberal party that the path they are taking turns out to either widely shared or accurate.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. ribbet permalink
    1 December, 2009 4:22 pm

    With a 42 – 41 vote for Abbott, the Libs will certainly be unanimous in their decisions now, won’t they?


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