7.30 smackdown a warmup bout for Coalition party room
Update 1pm: Ashleigh Gillon on Sky just said the MP who got up in party room and spoke in Turnbull’s defence got a standing ovation. That should make Malcolm feel a bit better.
Malcolm Turnbull had a particularly trying 13 or so minutes on the 7.30 Report last night. If you didn’t see it you can watch it here.
It started pretty badly for the Opposition leader and it was all down hill from there.
But it was just a light pre-game sparring session compared to what he’s likely to face in the joint Liberal/National party room meeting today. You could forgive Mr Turnbull for actually looking forward to Question Time, if only because if he makes it there he’s survived the meeting this morning.
(By the way, The Punch will be covering Question Time live - check back at the home page at 2pm to join in).
The Oz this morning predicted the mood in the party room meeting would be “boisterous”, which is kind of like saying Hannibal Lecter is “a bit peckish”.
It was always going to be tense, considering many of those who occupy the Opposition benches have no wish to do a deal with the Government on a emissions trading scheme.
Yesterday, however, Mr Turnbull, who’s public approval rating is languishing about ankle level, made the highly provocative move of holding a press conference to announce his rival carbon trading plan, before consulting his already fractious troops.
Wilson Tuckey has already labelled his leader arrogant over his handling of the matter. He’s not the only one on the Liberal benches who thinks so. And the Nationals are point blank refusing to support an ETS at all.
When Kerry O’Brien last night opened his Turnbull interview by asking why he didn’t wait the pair ended up in a long, confusing discussion about whether the model Mr Turnbull was proposing had been put up before.
At one point, during an argument over whether the Government’s legislation had been available for scrutiny for long enough Mr Turnbull provided this analogy:
“The legislation is like a coat hanger, and the regulations, the design of the scheme, which the government creates itself, is like the coat.” Well, that clears up that then.
When the conversation finally turned to his leadership Mr Turnbull, who by this time was looking a little grey around the gills, said to O’Brien:
“What you are doing is focusing on gossip. It might be very entertaining, but the fact of the matter is, we should be sitting here discussing the design of the emissions trading scheme.”
The rest of the interview was punctuated with stubborn silences from the Opposition Leader and ended with the pair of them spitting “thanks for that” at each other.
It was a decent warm up for today’s big shows. What a shame there’s no TV cameras in the party room.
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