Cut the crap and make Malcolm the NSW Premier
As NSW Labor once again bury and dig up another leader in their pet cemetery of a cabinet to lead its army of walking dead, we see that Malcolm Turnbull has begun a bit of haunting of his own.
Yesterday’s cracking yarn by Annabel Crabb revealing angry emails sent by Malcolm Turnbull to Julie Bishop, accusing the deputy opposition leader of being hypocritical in her support for Tony Abbott, is evidence of the dangers of having an angry Malcolm Turnbull on the backbench. Combined with blogs and newsletters arguing that Abbott’s stand on the ETS is unworkable, one gets the feeling that Malcolm Turnbull could be dropping political cluster bombs from the backbench for a while yet.
So here’s a proposal that some NSW Liberals are seriously beginning to talk about: make Malcolm Turnbull the next Liberal Premier of NSW.
This option is attractive as it is both politically expedient and as the role would be a good fit for the former Liberal leader.
Having a grumpy Malcolm Turnbull on the backbench is inherently destablising for Tony Abbott.
To be fair to Turnbull if had left politics now he would have been accused of causing an unnecessary by-election, and serving on Abbott’s front bench never appeared to be an option.
So Malcolm Turnbull either stays around until after the next election waiting for the inevitable second shot at opposition leader (assuming Abbott doesn’t win the election) or he leaves and his talent is lost to the Liberal Party and Australian politics for good.
By parachuting Turnbull into the seat of Vaucluse, set to be vacated by the former Opposition leader Peter Debnam, you would be assuring Turnbull of a safe seat that is basically the state version of his federal seat of Wentworth.
Ideally he would be in Parliament before the next election for the smoothest transition, but there’s nothing to stop him running for Premier and being elected at the same poll.
And what of current NSW opposition leader Barry O’Farrell? Well, despite being the opposition leader in a state where the Government looks like something governed with the logic of Dr Evil and his cabinet of loons, O’Farrelll is only marginally ahead in the polls as preferred Premier, with people almost equally disatisfied as they are satisfied with his performance.
Yes the Liberals would smash Labor in an election held tomorrow in NSW and probably will in 2011, but why should the Liberals and, more importantly, the people of NSW be content with a B-grade candidate who just needs to sit in his seat and shut up to be elected?
Reading comments relating to NSW politics on The Punch one of the reoccurring themes is the lack of quality candidates within NSW politics. In Turnbull the NSW Liberals would have a quality candidate for premier who is superior to any in the Labor Party, and the Liberal Party for that matter.
While Turnbull no doubt sees his services better suited to the big issues of federal politics rather than the train schedules of state (he turned it down once before), the nature of state government and its accompanying powers could be better suited to Turnbull.
Often accused of running the federal parliamentary Liberal Party like a CEO, it is in fact this style that and skill that NSW is crying out for.
Being a good Premier today means you need someone to get in and effectively and efficiently manage the bloody roads, trains, hospitals, schools and the electricity supply. It’s a role that people view in an increasingly ideologically agnostic sense, they just want to see someone get it done.
Sure it’s not the ETS or the republic, but it is important stuff and Turnbull not only knows Sydney but also has a wife who was a Lord Mayor of the City for a number of years.
While some would no doubt argue the “shadowy” NSW Right would not let Turnbull lead the party, the Dan Brown readers underestimate the extent to which just a well functioning Liberal Government would appeal to everybody in the NSW Liberal Party.
Abbott could even play a role here with a possible Turnbull premiership being an olive branch to the moderates - why not throw the moderates a bone in NSW now that the Right have a man in Canberra?
If the Liberals and Malcolm Turnbull are serious about moving on then maybe Macquarie Street wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
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