Perhaps the clearest (and most embarrassing) sign that Australia is changing prime ministers as casually as we might swap hairdressers came at the G20 meeting. That’s where Germany’s Angela Merkel needed a cue card to read up on Scott Morrison, Australia’s sixth prime minister in less than eight years.
Now the Liberal party has taken steps to put an end to that.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann insists Australian voters are sick of the endless ‘coup culture’ within the party that has led to the ousting of consecutive PMs Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott.
‘We can’t change the past but we can certainly change the future,’ Senator Cormann said on Tuesday.
New rules will see PMs serve their full term
AAP reports that under the new rules, Liberal party PMs are far more likely to serve their full term as two-thirds of the federal Liberal party room will need to support a change.
Looking to the next election, Cormann added that, ‘What we are making sure here is [ensuring] that people across Australia can have confidence if they elect Scott Morrison as prime minister at the next election, he will continue to be the prime minister all the way through the next term of parliament.’
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull greeted the reform saying, ‘I think people will welcome the prospect of there being less of the revolving door prime minister-ship. So it’s a welcome reform.’
Current Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted that both sides of the political spectrum had failed Aussie voters — ‘They’re sick of it and we’re sick of it and it has to stop. That’s why we’ve put this rule in place,’ he said.
After the farcical Rudd–Gillard–Rudd leadership merry-go-round, Labor addressed the issue by requiring Labor leadership contenders gain a majority of votes in the caucus and in a grassroots party ballot.
Liberals had to change with the times
Nick Greiner, the federal president of the Liberal Party, conceded the Liberals had to change with the times saying, ‘This is a clear admission we got it wrong … it’s not about the individuals, it’s about the process… I just think it’s common sense’ he told ABC radio.
Mr Greiner was also asked about Mr Turnbull’s post-political career antics.
On Monday, Mr Turnbull attempted to stop Liberal party executives from saving conservative Sydney MP Craig Kelly a preselection battle. Turnbull also called for the federal government to go to the polls early to aid the NSW Liberal government in their bid to retain control of the state
Mr Grainer responded, saying ‘I do think the intervention was obviously not helpful, that’s totally self-evident.’
Adding that Mr Turnbull should have an eye on post-office dignity, he said, ‘I’d like to think that he will remember those responsibilities when he exercises his right to speak.’
That being said, Grainer would not be drawn on the tricky matter of whether Turnbull should be expelled from the party, concluding that, ‘Malcolm is a private citizen and he is entitled to express his views and I wish him well.’
So there you have it, no more (hopefully) frustratingly pointless leadership changes. Going forward, it also appears that one thing that also won’t change is Turnbull sniping from the sidelines.
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