How is the Liberal Party Leadership spill going to affect our industry? Honestly, I don't know.
One of our legend iSeekplant sales guys, Paul, just walked into my office and asked me to write a searing review on last night's political stupidity. It shouldn't be hard, I'm mad as a cut snake and all I have is this keyboard as my sword.
I don't watch Sky News regularly but last night it had rolling coverage of the Liberal party leadership spill, so I watched it while I tried to settle my restless 4-week old daughter. The spill took the country by surprise yesterday, and so too, the Sky News reporters because you could tell they were way off script. There were four people on screen and the anger between all of them was palpable. A fight broke out between two of them, and it wasn't just some polite debate dressed up as argy-bargy for ratings. One guy all but tore his hair out in frustration. It was interesting to see my own exasperation, exhaustion and utter lamentation that our political process is so broken, reflected back at me in such a raw public exchange on TV. Proof that we all feel so powerless to fix what is terribly, terribly broken. It was ironic, however that representatives of the media were tired of a mess they are responsible for creating. Over and over again.
It is supremely disappointing, tiring and stupid to be having another leadership spill. This is our fifth prime minister in five years and three of them weren't democratically elected. It seems that a leadership spill is the way parties manage poor performance. When the country isn't happy with what they're doing; or so the news polls say, they simply pull a switcheroo to save themselves from the chopping block at the next election - a chopping block they deserve to lie their neck on because that is how democracy works. You are democratically elected in, then you meet your maker at election time and your performance is rated, by everyone, fairly and squarely. In my opinion, the parties do not have a mandate, within closed door meetings held in the dark hours of the night that none of us are allowed into or allowed even to watch on TV, to decide the leadership of this country, then waltz out of the room at their convenience and tell us about it. "Hey, P.S. Australia - Turnbull got up. You have a new Prime Minister. Now, if you don't mind, we're heading to the pub for a beer. It's been a mongrel of a day in these marbled halls, doing your job for you."
I opened the Centrebet website last night to see what the odds were for the next election because the betting agencies tend to always have it right. Now, the odds for the Labor party winning the next election were paying $2.65 to $1, whereas the Liberal Party were $1.50 to $1.00. After Malcolm Turnbull won the vote, the odds didn't change very much, they went from $2.65 to $3 for the Labor Party and $1.30 versus $1.50 for the Liberal Party so Centrebet did suggest that Malcolm Turnbull gave them a small edge (but it was only twenty percent edge). News polls be damned, the bookies always get it right.
Now, Malcolm Turnbull is a good looking prime minister, he's handsome, accomplished, well-spoken, he's got leadership qualities, but he has spent his political career, in particular, the last five years, taking political pot shots from the sidelines and stirring up trouble within his party (sound familiar? This was also the favourite pastime of Rudd, and look how that worked out for him in the end). We all forget that Turnbull was rolled in his own leadership spill in 2009 when his support for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme split his party. This coupled with his dealings of the Utegate scandal, meant he was forced out by one vote. So he ain't squeaky clean by any measure, and I reckon he could be the human equivalent of lipstick on a political pig.
A lot of people say that Malcolm Turnbull has similar characteristics to megalomaniac Kevin Rudd in that, from the outside they look like great, charismatic and relate-able leaders but from the inside machinations of their cabinet, they are not very well liked and are impossible to work with. You heard it here first - that Turnbull will get up in the next election and not long after that, everyone is going to have the shits with taking orders from a guy worth $200 million, the press will turn on him as 'out of touch' with the common man, and BOOM, some other muppet will get shuffled into the top job in another one of those close door meetings.
But we're heartened by the fact the Liberal Party might see another political cycle for a couple of reasons, but mostly because they are the best of a very bad bunch. The first is that they will keep the program structure of infrastructure spending and economic development of our heartlands industries happening for another cycle. If the Labor party is voted back in, there is every likelihood all those projects will just get ripped out again and our industry will plunge into even more political uncertainty than it's in now. We also need to lock down that China Free Trade Agreement (you may have caught our thoughts -at iSeekplant- on the subject read out in Question Time in the House of Representatives last week - we are all for anything that gives our flagging mining industry a boost and we don't mind saying that to anyone who listens). Another reason is their continued support for small businesses and those of us fighting every day to grow and develop businesses to employ people.
The Liberal Party has done some great work whilst in power under the leadership of Abbott, but that never gets a run in the media. We seem to be obsessed with pointing out faults, shortcomings and failing of our leader, and all their good work doesn't ever seem to resonate. In defence of Abbott- despite having a strange lack of media skills, poor speech writing and an unfortunate inability to think on his feet (and not put his foot in his mouth), by all reports is a great guy on a 1:1 basis. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a consummate and accomplished business person, a conservative and kind family man who has taken a career long pizzling in the media, but fronts up every time, motivated by changing this country, which you can tell he loves and deeply cares about. Beats the hell out of the self-interested, show ponies or ineffectual idiots now running the senate. Actually, don't get me started on the senate. There isn't enough space in this blog.
I think we haven't had strong leadership in Australia since John Howard, none of the political parties have put forward anybody for leader with the all-around skills necessary to lead this country in a modern world, that can relate to the multitude of attitudes, cultures and agendas of the giant melting pot that is Australia. Turnbull isn't the answer either.
And while these leadership spills sure make for great TV, yet another day of parliamentary time was absorbed in the malarkey of yesterday. Malcolm Turnbull would have spent the last year cooking this up. Doesn't he have NBN to roll out? Imagine how many damn meetings and phone calls it took to lop Abbott's head off in such a stealthy way. What a giant waste of time, all in the pursuit of someone's self-interest. Turnbull reckons he did it for the party and the country - to save us all from Shorten. Be very clear, Turnbull did it for himself.
I'm left with so many questions about Turnbull, that I don't have answers for, but he's my Prime Minister now and I just have to suck it up. What does he stand for, what is he going to do? What is he going to roll out? What is he going to change about the current path we're on? His electorate, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, represents some of the wealthiest people in Australia. What does he know about people in our industry bleeding in Central Queensland? Has he been to Perth lately? Does he understand our hardships? Does he care about mining and infrastructure?
I, like so many Australians am so incredibly disenchanted with our political system. Every single one of the business owners in plant hire, construction and mining out there is exactly like me today; we have no idea what's in store for us for the next year. I'm pretty sure it's just going to be Malcolm Turnbull politicking around town, campaigning for the election. Nothing material will get done, signed-off or planned. This country has ground to a screaming halt.
Tony Abbott was right in his sombre speech last night: that Australia - we are way better than this.
Stop the fighting, the switcheroos, the closed door meetings and get back to work, you giant pile of idiots.
Image Source: The Daily Telegraph
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