Turnbull, Jones throw bombs
Malcolm Turnbull and Alan Jones have clashed on breakfast radio with each suggesting the other is undermining the Liberal Party while the Communications Minister accused the 2GB radio host of being a "bomb thrower".PT2M13S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-39kl0 620 349 June 5, 2014
Alan Jones’ old trick of berating MPs has worked well for decades. But Jones met his match when he took on Malcolm Turnbull.
Jones went too far in their fiery fight on Thursday morning’s 2GB. Jones could never get on top of Turnbull, because not only is Turnbull smart, he will have the ongoing support of his colleagues unless and until he really does position himself for the top job.
The truth is that that is a long way away and most likely will never happen. Despite what conspiracy might be in Alan’s mind, Turnbull has been a pretty reliable team player ever since he lost the leadership to Tony Abbott. It is true that Turnbull is his own man but he has done a very good job on the NBN and whilst he comes across as too content with the ABC, the concept of a party that includes a broad church has wide appeal in the electorate.
Broadcaster Alan Jones.
It’s no surprise that Joe Hockey has already publicly backed Turnbull. It would not be a surprise if Abbott has spoken to Hockey, and that they have confirmed the line that Abbott used in Parliament this week that he first supports his front bench against all others.
Of course a bit of destabilisation is not new. I don't use the term as necessarily a negative. A good bit of destabilising can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered.
One of my most spectacular examples came when in 1994 I announced in a newspaper article what everyone knew to be true but what no one could say and that was that Fightback! was not dead. It hit the mark - exposing the fact its architect had walked away from his policy - and lead to the end of John Hewson's leadership.
The Bolt question to Abbott on leadership may have been deliberately aggressive but I don't think there was some conspiracy behind the question. It was just one of those questions that are asked because Bolt had nothing else with enough punch. Of course, never forget columnists are in the business of making news and I don't blame them too much for doing so.
Jones is this week’s destabiliser par excellence. Radio commentators are primarily interested in ratings and Jones is top of the charts. He got Turnbull on because it was newsworthy and it was good copy so he kept it going. Turnbull was a bit cheeky in dining with Clive Palmer. I wonder who organised the camera man as they left the Wild Duck? But then again, maybe he should get a medal for having to endure the boredom of dinner with Clive.
Peter Reith was a minister in the Howard government and is a Fairfax columnist.