December 23 marks 100 full days as Prime Minister for Malcolm Turnbull. How has he fared? Lisa Cox looks at his successes and the headaches.
Perhaps Malcolm Turnbull's biggest success since becoming Prime Minister is restoring the government to a position where it is competitive in the polls. Before the ousting of Tony Abbott, the government was regularly trailing Labor in opinion polls by between six and 10 points. A December Newspoll had the government now leading the opposition 53-47 on a two party preferred basis.
The innovation package reversed the Abbott government's threat to science and research funding, providing certainty for the CSIRO and collaborative research. It also promised new entrepreneurs visas to bring international talent to Australia.
Turnbull has used a series of world summits to hold one-on-one talks with all of the world's key leaders including US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
One of the first unpopular Abbott policies to be parked after the change of leadership was a plan to allow universities to set their own fees. Mr Turnbull has also begun a genuine dialogue about tax, which includes the possibility of raising the GST in exchange for income tax cuts.
Under former prime minister Tony Abbott the relationship with the crossbench had broken down. Turnbull has reached out and established promising links resulting in early dividends.
Arguably a mistake, at the moment of his appointment, the Special Minister of State was already under investigation for his involvement in the Peter Slipper affair and has since become a major political liability.
Publicly known for his strong position in favour of tough action on climate change, Turnbull agreed to trade away any policy change in exchange for party room votes.
The inner-city Turnbull had favoured a change in the law by the Parliament, but has agreed to a mid-term plebiscite – if the government wins the next election – to appease the right in his party.
Turnbull has been unable to contain dissenters threatening to worsen and destabilise his leadership heading into the 2016 election. The challenge for Turnbull is finding a way to deal with Tony Abbott if he stays in the Parliament.
With the deficit worsening and economic growth downgraded, Turnbull faces a political Rubik's Cube in budget 2016, finding a way to keep sweet with voters in a pre-election budget starved of funds.
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