Abbott or Hockey? Two views from The Punch
While today the Liberal MPs are faced with a choice over whether or not they will allow the Government’s emissions trading bill through Parliament, they are faced with a more fundamental choice over the ideological direction the party now chooses to take. Given the unpredicatable nature of the last few days you’d have to be pretty brave to write (or right) off Malcolm Turnbull completely, but the leadership now seems to be a two horse race between Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.
In choosing Tony Abbott as leader the party returns to a true Conservative party of the right making a clear demarcation from the moderate direction of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. Following the disastrous fallout from Utegate in August, Punch editor David Penberthy argued that it was Abbott’s conservative conviction politics that might actually be a bonus for Liberal Party as the next leader, pointing out that Australians are more likely to vote for somebody who they know stands for something.
At the time I argued that Joe Hockey was clearly the only choice for the role given that he was a unifying force between moderates and the right, and who’s avuncular and “average Joe” family man persona could be equally popular with the Australian people who aren’t ready to turn once again to Howard era conservatism. Importantly I argued, and still do, that even though Joe Hockey is very unlikely to win the next election for the Liberal Party he could limit damage while Tony Abbott could make the result worse.
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