JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Turnbull is still tops but Abbott will stay leader

Date

Sydney Morning Herald political and international editor

View more articles from Peter Hartcher

Malcolm Turnbull: won't replace Tony Abbott.

Malcolm Turnbull: won't replace Tony Abbott. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Malcolm Turnbull has no prospect of leading the Liberal Party to the election, despite a recent surge in media speculation and public interest.

The reason is a simple one: there is no venue for a party meeting to even consider a change of leaders.

The Rudd government has decided that it will call an election before the date that Parliament was due to return, according to authoritative sources.

In the absence of the scheduled return on August 20, the parliamentary Liberal Party will not be gathered in one place before polling day.

Tony Abbott is assured to remain leader although he is not the people's choice, according to polling.

In an Essential Media poll published on Monday, Mr Turnbull was nominated as preferred Liberal leader by 37 per cent to Tony Abbott's 17 per cent.

Talkback radio and the media alike have been ''salivating over the notion of a Turnbull v Rudd election'', says John Chalmers, of iSentia, formerly known as Media Monitors. But Mr Turnbull's earliest realistic prospect of being considered for the leadership would be in the event that Mr Abbott loses.

Mr Rudd is expected to call an election for September and two dates are in play - the 7th and 21st.

If he chooses September 21 Mr Rudd need not call the election until August 19, the day before Parliament's scheduled return.

To go beyond this date Mr Rudd would either have to face the Parliament again or cancel the planned sitting, which is the government's prerogative.

The government has no incentive to allow Parliament to return, for three reasons. First, it would put Mr Rudd back amid the sort of angry exchanges he has condemned as the ''old politics of negativity''.

Second, it would revive memories of the bitter Labor leadership schism as it returned to public view the vanquished former prime minister Julia Gillard and her loyalists on the back bench.

Third, it would allow the opposition to demand that Mr Rudd put his carbon legislation to the Parliament for a vote.

The government would prefer to avoid this because it would be likely to lose in the Senate. Mr Rudd could cancel the planned sitting of Parliament but the opposition would be sure to accuse the government of running from scrutiny.

Mr Chalmers said there had been a surge of interest in Mr Turnbull: ''In the past week Mr Turnbull was the eleventh most mentioned politician across the mainstream mediums of print, TV, radio and online news but the fourth most mentioned on Twitter and talkback radio, where in both cases he was only mentioned less than Mr Rudd, Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott.''

422 comments

  • Malcolm might adopt the catchy slogan, "Stop the (Ab) boat."

    Commenter
    springwoodman
    Date and time
    July 30, 2013, 6:58AM
    • Funny one springwoodman. It seems like Rudd now agrees that he also wants to stop them.

      All this talk about a September election is as rubbery as the talk about an August one. Rudd is so desperate to get back on the world stage and to govern for as long as possible, it's going to be October at the earliest.

      One of the places where he'll get unstuck is that he'll have to cancel the sitting of parliament, mainly because he'd be too scared his carbon tax legislation would be forced. The voters won't like the election delay nor the parliamentary cancellation.

      Impersonator out early today at 7:46 and 7:51.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:16AM
    • Yes. I've noticed a few impersonators lately.. How childish to come on SMH and post as someone else who is well known on these forums (ie, Hacka, sarajane, J.Fraser etc). Talk about being a coward. Here's a tip, it's not funny, its completely obvious, and it shows your real "intellect".

      Commenter
      homeless penguin
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:34AM
    • Although now that I've had time to think about it, it does show how little research and due diligence goes into moderating inane commentary.

      Commenter
      homeless penguins
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:41AM
    • That's weird Hacka, a few minutes ago there was a reply here from one "Hacka" (I am guessing not you) that said "Bring on Ju-lie" but now it has completely disappeared along with another reply to J Fraser’s comment. I have been impersonated twice before on Fairfax commentary but Fairfax did not remove them. What's going on here between you and Fairfax that the rest of us don't know about??

      Commenter
      Skuze Me
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:44AM
    • @homeless penguin. Speaking of lacking intelligence, don't you realize that comments on this article and all articles are published by Fairfax media in general and are not limited to your Sydney-centric SMH?

      Commenter
      Peter
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:51AM
    • Sorry I should nbot have said that.

      Commenter
      homeless penguin
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 8:53AM
    • If the Englishman boat refugee, Tony Abbott, handed the job to Malcolm Turnbull, the LNP would have the sort of win to effect all their policies without consideration of other parties. So why don't they help themselves and save us from a man who has trouble formulating an opinion and expressing himself in a coherent way. On the other hand, Mr Abbott is the best thing to happen to Kevin Rudd and Labor in a very long while.

      Commenter
      Tin
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 9:05AM
    • Hacka, just how much do the Libs pay you to be first cab off the rank everyday ? Must be making a nice little quid there ol son, spinning the Party line first off. LOL

      Commenter
      Piesnchess
      Location
      Mt Evelyn
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 9:11AM
    • Have you noticed how Hacka is too terrified to talk about his side of politics and turns the comment immediately to Rudd for fear that Abbott will come under scrutiny.

      Commenter
      whyalla Wipeout
      Date and time
      July 30, 2013, 9:35AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Follow Us

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo