For the second time in 6 months the Prime Minister’s leadership is now under serious threat as a consequence of his aggressively partisan approach and inherent conservatism.
In Friday’s AFR Laura Tingle describes along list of tactical disasters swirling around the Abbott Government, while in the Monthly Sean Kelly describes a Prime Minister lurching from crisis to crisis
The first Parliamentary week started badly with the PM forced to jettison Bronywn Bishop, his ‘captain’s pick’ as Parliamentary Speaker over an entitlements scandal that dragged on for weeks.
Polls released on Monday showed the Abbott Government trailing a struggling ALP by up to ten percentage points on a two party preferred basis
The PM’s handling of the same sex marriage debate divided his Cabinet and alienated many of his Parliamentary supporters. His manoeuvring on same sex marriage was calculated to shore up support from his conservative base by quashing a conscience vote and preventing a private members bill from passing through Parliament.
Abbott roped in the Nationals to a 6 hour party meeting to discuss same sex marriage, prompting Christopher Pyne to label the PM’s action as ‘branch stacking’.
Abbott’s proposal of a ‘people’s vote’ is designed to prevent same sex marriage and created deep Cabinet divisions as Ministers argued in public about whether a referendum or plebiscite was the best strategy.
On Thursday came the devastating revelations that Justice Dyson Heydon- the former High Court judge appointed by the Prime Minister to lead the Royal Commission into trade union corruption and governance and links with Australian Labour Party- was the headline attraction at a Liberal Party fundraiser.
The revelations point to Heydon’s political allegiance that renders him potentially incapable of delivering Royal Commission findings perceived as unbiased.
The revelations have damaged not just the credibility of the Royal Commission, but also the Government.