Schoolyard scuffles at Liberal Party College
You know all is not well when simmering playground tensions overflow among the senior boys at the nation’s top private school, aka the federal Liberal Party.
At the centre of the sparring are school captain Tony Abbott and senior prefect Malcolm Turnbull, who is reportedly keen to reclaim his captaincy after losing the previous student election.
The latest incident has been blamed on a roll call tallied by chief classroom monitor Warren Entsch and a tattle tale note passed around the school naming five students who had missed class, including Master Turnbull for being absent on five occasions. In his defence, Turnbull has questioned the record of attendance and says he was only absent for two lessons of any consequence.
Although Master Entsch admits Captain Abbott saw a copy of the note before it was disseminated, he denies his leader had anything to do with the communication that tried to discredit one of the school’s prefects.
It also subsequently emerged that Captain Abbott had missed three of the five classes Master Turnbull had been accused of skipping.
Now, as often happens after schoolyard scuffles, both Abbott and Turnbull are publicly claiming they are still best of friends and no disciplinary action is necessary.
So what does the rest of the community make of this? Online chatter in the past week has shown considerable interest in the battle of wills between the school leaders at Liberal Party College.
Support for Abbott and Turnbull has been divided. Some have been critical of the college for allowing internal bickering to break out ahead of a major sporting competition – ie, the battle over a carbon tax - against arch rivals Labor Party High.
Ethan of Sydney, commenting to The Australian, was critical of Turnbull’s performance in Parliament and accused him of putting his personal ambitions ahead of the party: “If Mr Turnbull missed only three divisions in this parliament he missed three too many. He is not only disrespecting his colleagues but also all the Coalition supporters who don’t want to see the chances of the Coalition winning the next election diminished because of his personal ambitions.”
On the other hand, Alex, writing to ABC Online, thought Abbott’s leadership was a liability to the party: “Abbott’s negativity and policy-free emissions will soon cause his party colleagues to question whether they should have given him that extra vote to toss Turnbull back in 2009. Although Turnbull is a bit of an autocrat, many in his party know deep down that he has a better chance of defeating Gillard than Abbott does.”
Voter of Kalgoorlie, writing to the Sydney Morning Herald, thought the Liberals’ internal tensions would lead to a showdown in the near future: “I predict there will be a leadership challenge within a few months. I sincerely hope that we see the last of Mr Abbott, his negativity, his assault mentality and his lack of policy.”
But LBW believed divisions within the Liberals went deeper than a clash of personalities, commenting to The Courier-Mail: “Abbott has kept the lid on it (tension in the party) until now by running the line that there will be an election soon. The less likely that becomes, the harder it is to paper over their massive personal and philosophical differences.”
A frustrated Robert of Regional Queensland put both leaders on notice in a comment to The Australian: “As soon as the so-called Coalition has the Government on the run, they descend into a bout of self-destructive, ego-fuelled infighting. Wake up and smell the roses people. You’re only three seats from government and you are brawling with yourselves? Either present credible policy options or get out of the way for others who will.”
It might be a lesson worth studying for both Abbott and Turnbull.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
@mooks83 sophisticated response. Think the kids parents saw it differently
More class from 9's footy show, lampooning a baby that allegedly looks like Sterlo with a pic swiped from Facebook http://t.co/BGoYP6Pn68
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