Do you suppose that sometimes Malcolm Turnbull unleashes the odd primal scream on what the hard right of his party keeps doing to him and all of their electoral chances?
He came in as the progressive anti-Abbott, the antidote to the Abbott policies which were so on the nose the population was rising as one against them. He was such an obvious progressive, a whole chunk of swing voters looked likely to vote for him, and his and the Liberal Party's polls soared accordingly.
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Abbott, Turnbull tensions on show
Tensions between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former prime minister Tony Abbott is on full display for all to see.
And yet now, it seems, to appease the Abbott rump, the nation has to go through the nonsense of a plebiscite on gay marriage? Really? WHY? There is no issue. The latest polling shows 72 per cent of the population are with it! And Parliament can do what they were elected to do and pass the legislation. So why not bloody get on with it? Bill Shorten meantime, promises to put such legislation before Parliament within 100 days of being elected, cornering in turn huge chunks of the progressive swing voters.
Meantime, this week – and I checked, and it really is 2016 – the NSW Liberals formally called on the Turnbull government to conduct public debates about climate change, and even cover whether the science really is settled! I repeat: in 2016! Fairfax Media reported that the motion was passed with 70 per cent of the delegates. Completely gobsmacking, and if you can hear a primal scream, I reckon it's the PM.
GOOD STUFF ON THE SLY
How good is it when, very occasionally, you hear of major public figures doing good stuff on the sly, with no cameras trailing behind, and no PR people working out the angles on how to get maximum exposure.
Such was the case last Friday, when, with little notice and on the sole promise that no cameras or media be there, the Prime Minister quietly turned up at "The Glen", a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre on the Central Coast which attempts to get to troubled young Indigenous men early, and keep them out of the prison system. Malcolm Turnbull stayed for 90 minutes, was given a complete tour of the facility and and then sat with the young men around the fire, talking to them about their lives – as they talked to him about theirs, and how much The Glen had helped them. It is a wonderful, if underfunded, facility that accomplishes extraordinary things which I have become aware of through a very tangential relationship.
In recent times federal Health Minister Sussan Ley has taken an interest in them, and also quietly visited, as has NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward. Whether, between them, they can get more funding, I know not, but it is a wonderful start that all of them have taken the time, and made the effort to see for themselves what it does – and all the more impressive when they arrive without cameras, and in the PM's case well outside work hours. Bravo.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Four drovers are sitting around a campfire discussing what they'd want if they were lost in the outback and were only allowed one thing. The first says, "I couldn't do without my trusty old horse. She could probably lead me to a homestead from the back o' Bourke."
The second says, "You can have your horse but I'd want my swag. If you're gunna be lost, you may as well sleep warm at night."
The third says, "There's no question. I'd want my old Queensland Heeler Blue. He's my best mate, and if I was gunna die out there I'd want him beside me."
The last old bushie says, "Only one thing I'd need – a pack of cards.
"See, I'd start playing patience and before long some bastard would be looking over my shoulder saying, 'Red jack on black queen'."
Thank you, thank you all! TFF is constantly asked where I will be speaking next on the matter of our coming republic. The next time will be at the Southern Cross Club in Canberra's Jamison next Tuesday at 7.30. All are welcome to attend and there is no charge.
THEY SAID IT
"Look, I did give him advice on two personnel matters, and that was one of them."
John Howard jumping on the bandwagon and claiming he, too, told Tony Abbott to fire Peta Credlin.
"It's just wrong, mate – you don't touch a man's wallet, you don't touch his wife."
Billy Brownless explaining to Footy Show viewers the seriousness of his mate, and AFL legend Garry Lyon, having an affair with his wife Nicky.
"Trump has managed to hijack the whole political party, and the pilots are asking why no one is on their side – the passengers are cheering for the guy who took over the plane."
Political biographer Jon Meacham on MSNBC:
"Sometimes the only thing that can alert a bushwalker [to hunters] in state forests is the sound of gun shots."
Greens MLC David Shoebridge, after the NSW government opened gun silencer permit application forms to hunters and sporting shooters.
"[It was] the best wedding I've been to beside my own."
Barry Humphries about Rupert Murdoch's wedding to Jerry Hall, who is nigh on three decades his junior.
"David Beckham, and some jumper leads . . ."
Barry Humphries on what he is giving as a wedding present to Murdoch and Hall.
"The world is run by those who turn up.'"
Tony Windsor announcing he will stand against Barnaby Joyce and try to get back into federal politics.
"On the basis of, if not, why not."
Premier Mike Baird announcing on International Women's Day that all state public service positions will have flexible conditions by 2019.
'It's political gossip – it'll last a day or two, I think, and then it'll move on.'
John Hewson about the Abbott/Credlin book.
"Completely false, utterly untrue, unfounded and wrong. I can't be any clearer – it is about as low as it gets."
Peta Credlin strongly rejecting the rumours of her having had an affair with Tony Abbott.