It's time to let the people pick the PM

It's time to let the people pick the PM

Given the decision makers within the Liberal Party appear to have no idea who the Prime Minister should be, it is time to let the people decide.


It is now obvious, regardless of the outcome of the next leadership challenge or spill, there is a very real possibility of a change of government at the next election.

The disunity within the party, which has been simmering ever since Turnbull rolled Abbott for the top job three years ago next month, has all but rendered the Coalition unelectable.

The latest divisions are too raw and too deep to allow the government to remain effective in the short term or in office in the long term.


Yes, there is no doubt either a Turnbull or a Dutton led government would be opposed to going to the polls in the near future. The Liberals have dragged the chain on pre-selections, are desperately short of funds and are unlikely to be rushed by willing donors in light of recent events.

But, and here's the rub, the decision might not be up to the victors.

If one or two disgruntled MPs move to the cross benches or if, in the wake of a defeat, Turnbull and some of his supporters resign their seats it's going to be "early election, ready or not".

Why should the people of Australia have to endure a lame duck government engaged in a bloody civil war to save as much of the furniture as possible for a day, or even an hour, longer than necessary?

While the parallels with the collapse of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government in 2013 are striking, the most apt comparison is with Oliver Cromwell's dissolution of the Long Parliament in 1653.

His words on that occasion, that: "Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government... In the name of God, go!" would be just as appropriate now as then.

Australia neither needs, nor can afford, another six to eight months of policy paralysis, indecision and chaos just so a handful of politicians can cling to their ministerial entitlements for as long as possible.

There is also an urgent need for a raft of rebel MPs and Senators, including Canberra's Zed Seselja, to explain why they felt Dutton, whose views on immigration and social policy are anathema to many ACT residents, would be a better Prime Minister than the more moderate Turnbull.

The great irony is that if the government had been able to get its act together it should have been in a strong position going to an election in April or May next year.

It is the lack of unity, not any failure to deliver a strong economy, near record jobs growth and a well-nuanced foreign policy in what are very challenging times, that is bringing it down.

The narrative, despite the policy sacrifices of the last week, is potentially strong. The problem was always going to be finding somebody to sell it who the whole party could rally behind.