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The Game of de-Throning a PM

Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons, possibly a LNP backbencher.

Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons, possibly a LNP backbencher.

I'm pretty sure Malcolm Turnbull had a good solid rush of blood to his nether-regions last Wednesday night.

As the Labor Party leadership coup unfolded in Canberra, Sydney ABC radio host Richard Glover rather wittily borrowed from A Game of Thrones' character Daenerys Targaryen tweeting "Breaking. Rudd. 'A fortnight ago I had no army. A year ago I had no dragons.'"

For you non-Game of Throners, Daenerys is an exiled princess in the fantasy fiction TV series, who's been slowly putting together the pieces of her return to claim the Iron Throne and the seven kingdoms of Westeros.

First she was gifted dragons (it's fantasy), then she stole an army. It's awesome stuff if you're into a bit of bloody escapism, which pretty much describes Australian parliament at the moment.

Extending that metaphor just a little further, I reckon Malcolm Turnbull is our Daenerys and he just got himself some dragons in a battle that will be as ugly as any we've ever seen in Australian politics: Who Will Be Our Next King?

As much as I admired many of Queen Gillard's qualities, it seems obvious she was leading her party to an electoral defeat that might have locked Labor out of power for at least three, perhaps as long as nine years.

So she, too, has now been exiled. At least she kept her head.

Tony Abbott was going to walk into the Lodge and the ALP knew it.

It's totally possible once in office, the fickle Australian voting public would go off Abbott as Prime Minister as quickly as it did both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and he might also be dispatched mid-term.

However, it's fair to say he'll be much harder to pry out of the Liberal National Party throne as PM than as Opposition leader.

Malcolm Turnbull knows this as well as anybody, so as much as he might enjoy the thought of being Australia's next Minister for Communications and delivering us all faster porn and illegal Game of Thrones downloads, his big-picture ambitions of being PM are weakened, the stronger Abbott is.

And without any credible opposition, Abbott was King bar the crown. Now he has to face Rudd again, I'd say he's feeling a little more princely and much less cocky about the election outcome.

On Friday, at a news conference Abbott went out of his way to flatter Turnbull saying "he virtually invented the internet in this country".

While some news outlets painted this as a gaffe, it was an obvious gag.

At first blush, it also looks like a legitimate contender for PM shoring up the credentials of his team, but something tells me Abbott was also sending his rival and others in the LNP a subtle message: "This is his little castle and he stays in it. I will win us this war and rule."

Abbott knows better than anyone if Rudd stretches out the date until the election (he has until November 30) and his own polling starts to plummet, he could follow Julia Gillard into the dungeons, replaced by Turnbull, his dragons and army.

Pure fantasy fiction?

All I'll say is "Winter is coming, Tony." 

Feel free to share any other Game of Thrones/Australian politics similarities.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

0 comment

  • Shamelessly stolen from a forum I frequent:

    In the last desperate moment Wayne Swan, still wounded, grabs the harmless simpleton Crean by the neck and shouts "LORD RUDD! LET IT END. LET THE PRIME MINISTER WALK OUT AND I SWEAR TO YOU WE WILL SEEK NO REVENGE. SHE IS MY PRIME MINISTER, THE ONLY FEMALE PRIME MINISTER" Lord Rudd sips some wine from his goblet "heh, and why would I let you do that?" "ON MY HONOUR AS A RIGHT FACTION POWERBROKER, ON MY HONOUR AS TREASURER OF THE YEAR, LET THE PRIME MINISTER GO OR I WILL SLIT YOUR BACKBENCHER'S THROAT" "Heh...I'll just get another one" Gillard climbs up from the floor, all hope gone from her eyes "...lord treasurer" she whispered. Bill Shorten strides into the room, and sticks the final ballot in the PM's heart with a knife. "The AWU sends their regards" he whispers...

    Commenter
    Cryxian
    Date and time
    July 01, 2013, 6:42PM
    • Meanwhile, Abbott makes his plans for Work Choices Mark II

      Commenter
      Master Blaster
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 12:15AM
    • Master Blaster you are aware TA was the only cabinet minister to speak up about work choices. He told Howard it was a bad idea and exceeded their mandate. The only way you will get work choices mark II is under Turnbull. He is an economic rationalist. TA is not.

      Commenter
      mh
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 8:57AM
    • mh .. are you kidding?
      You are acting as if the leader of the Liberal Conservative party actually decides their own policies. That is the sole reason why Abbott is in that job to start with. He makes a far better puppet & is easier for the party masterminds to control.
      Besides if Abbott actual spoke his mind he would get crucified ... we have seen it time & time again. That's why he is only reading scripts, speaking slogans or laying low.
      I look forward to some policies .... I just hope for the sake of the country they get in power & then we find out how bad their policies really are... we have already seen how bad the policies have been that they have been proposed (with no thorough plan) ie paid maternity leave.
      Its a bit hard to be negative once your in the top job ... what tactic is employed after blaming the previous government for everything has worn thin?

      Commenter
      Yuppy
      Location
      Yuppy Ville
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 12:18PM
    • Yuppy I have been a member of the Liberal Party for 25 years. I know how my party works. Policy comes from the members. We vote on it at our local branch meetings and if it gets up it is sent to state conference for a vote and so on up the chain. We are a members based party. However when in government a Liberal PM is very powerful. Much more powerful than an ALP PM who must answer to the factions. The way the party is structured a Liberal PM is more like a President with veto power. A Liberal PM picks his/her own Cabinet. If TA doesn't want to bring back work choices it wont happen.

      Commenter
      mh
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 2:56PM
    • If that's the way the LNP works, then have your hands got pins and needles? Because, by god, look like you LNP grassrooters have been sitting on your hands for a good three years.

      Commenter
      Troglodyte
      Location
      Getting a blow wave from Tim
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 5:43PM
    • mh ... well where are all these policies you speak so eloquently about?
      I somehow doubt that member would be privy to insider party factional politics.... Many thing happen behind doors that no one will ever find out.
      You over rate the way leadership works in the Liberal Party. If you are implying that there aren't factional bosses behind the Liberal party .. I believe you are very mistaken.
      Beside .. isn't every political party member based .. what are you trying to say.
      Beside if the party brains wanted something to go through & Abbott didn't want that then he would be shafted for the next leader who will implement what is put forward.
      Who started the movement to get rid of Turnbull if you have so much insider information mh?
      It had to come from somewhere .. the members don't just hatch grand plans.
      I do doubt what I say will get through to a passionate Liberal party member of 25 years .... I find that hard to believe. Are you really that conservative?
      I am just interested as to how someone without seeing some direct benefit to themselves, could be a member of the Liberal party for 25 years....

      Commenter
      Yuppy
      Location
      Yuppy Ville
      Date and time
      July 02, 2013, 9:20PM
  • Recent surges of support for rudd will be short-lived. People will remember his leadership and all his failures pretty quickly. Even his colleagues had little good to say about him in 2010 when he was deposed and Abbott will only have to dredge that up. Now with most senior Labor figures abandoning the party like rats leaving a sinking ship the party is left with even less capability than before. They're drafting people from the reserve bench to win the final game of the series instead of leading with their best.

    If Abbott is smart he'll also play on the instability of the Labor party as contrasted with the Libs. This will both paint Labor in a bad light with an electorate sick of the shenanigans of Labor but paint Abbott's rivals in his own party into a corner. If they change leaders after Abbott makes a fuss over the changing Labor leadership they'll look like hypocrites so they'll have to stick with Abbott.

    Commenter
    Bender
    Date and time
    July 01, 2013, 7:58PM
    • The best thing that can happen to both LNP and the nation would be to have Turnbull as leader.

      Commenter
      sensible
      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 8:42PM
    • Bender, nothing in politics is linear.... Events, events, events....luck and ring there make the difference.
      You can wipe the slate clean. This is starting out as a close race. Rudds team has all the work to do and prove, while the LNP need to make careful pot shots to score.
      However, whoever controls the agenda will win. Gillards failure was ring reactive to Abbott whilst Rudd will aim to be proactive and aim to flush him out of his well dug in position.
      Interesting.....

      Commenter
      Tadd
      Location
      NSW
      Date and time
      July 01, 2013, 9:32PM
Comments are now closed
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