A Long Week In Politics Ends With a New, Christian, Liberal Leader - Prime Minister SCOMO - Hope 103.2

A Long Week In Politics Ends With a New, Christian, Liberal Leader – Prime Minister SCOMO

Professor John Warhurst, Emeritus Professor of politics from ANU and regular commentator talks Open House through the change of federal leadership.

By Anne RinaudoSunday 26 Aug 2018Open House InterviewsNewsReading Time: 3 minutes

LISTEN: John Warhurst in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.

It was never truer than this week, that a week is a long time in politics. Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University in Canberra John Warhurst talks to Open House about this week’s chaotic scenes in Canberra.

How it unfolded

On Tuesday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to out plotters in the Liberal party by calling a snap spill of leadership positions.

He won that first battle but lost the war – with a second challenge inevitable after he held on to the Prime ministership – and leadership of his party with a vote of 48 votes to 35 – a result that while a win, was certainly not a ringing endorsement from members and senators.

The rest of the week was a circus of resignation offers and rebuffs and of solidarity with Mr Turnbull crumbling to the point were crucial allies like Senators Corman, Fifield and Cash deserted him.

Delaying tactics

Malcolm Turnbull meanwhile, made the most of doubts about the eligibility of Peter Dutton to sit in the parliament due to income to his family trust from childcare businesses in the form of commonwealth child care payment arrangements.

In an unusual move, Mr Turnbull also insisted there would be no spill until he had a letter with the names and signatures of a majority of parliamentarians wanting a spill. Those delaying tactics gave Scott Morrison time to fashion his own campaign for the top job.

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By Friday morning, the Solicitor General furnished an opinion that Peter Dutton was not another victim of Section 44 of the constitution.

Noon became ‘spill o’clock’

The first spill motion of the week was on Tuesday at noon and the second was at 12.20 pm on Friday. On that second occasion, Malcolm Turnbull did not nominate – having said he would take a second spill motion as a vote of no confidence in his leadership. There was a three-way contest between Peter Dutton, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison. Julie Bishop was knocked out – having received just 11 votes.

Angry electorate

With seven prime ministers in the last 11 years and 5 in the last five years, the game of musical chairs known as being the Australian prime minister has become familiar to an increasingly angry electorate. In the end, the plotter, Peter Dutton – the man who would be king – or at least Prime Minister – got his numbers wrong not once but twice and it was Mr Dutton who was left standing with no chair when the music stopped.

Prime Minister SCOMO

On Friday Mr Morrison won the second round 45-40 to become the party’s leader and Australia’s 30th Prime Minister. On a side note, Scott Morrison is the first since PM since the people pleaser, Bob “Hawkie” Hawke – to have that uniquely Australian affirmation of acceptance as – a widely used nickname – welcome to the leadership Scomo. Josh Frydenberg became the Deputy Liberal Leader and the new team are emphasising generational change and a commitment to working for the electors.

New ministry announced

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced his new ministry with former defence minister Marise Payne replacing Julie Bishop has quit as Foreign Affairs Minister but will stay on as a backbencher.

Peter Dutton remains as Home Affairs Minister but it has been split to separate Immigration, with that job going to David Coleman. Mr Morrison has announced Christopher Pyne will replace Senator Payne as Defence Minister and Steve Ciobo steps into the Defence Industry role.

Former Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, will take over Mr Ciobo’s former job as Trade Minister. Dan Tehan will be the new Education Minister. The Energy and Environment role splits into two separate ministries, Melissa Price has been promoted into Cabinet and becomes Environment Minister. Angus Taylor has been given the Energy role. 

Mr Morrison had already announced his new deputy Josh Frydenberg will be Treasurer. Alan Tudge will have population added to Cities and Urban Infrastructure and Kelly O’Dwyer will be Industrial Relations Minister. Finally, former Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce will be a special envoy for drought assistance and recovery.

To listen to the podcast of this conversation click the red play button at the top of the page, or you can subscribe to Open House podcasts in iTunes and they will appear in your feed.