Pyne’s blunder gives Turnbull a chance to regain trust

Pyne’s blunder gives Turnbull a chance to regain trust, by Miranda Devine.

TONY Abbott spoke truth on Monday: “One of the problems when you have the political execution of a first-term, democratically elected PM is there is long-term bad blood created, and it takes time for those wounds to heal,” he told 2GB’s Ray Hadley.

No kidding.

The Liberal Party should never have toppled Abbott. It doesn’t matter that it was his fault that he lost the faith of the majority of his colleagues — both conservative and left-wing — barely two years in.

The coup was a breach of trust with the electorate, an ­admission of catastrophic failure where none existed. It vindicated the disastrous Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era, destroyed the Liberals’ reputational ­advantage over Labor and cemented the idea that our major political parties are run like oligarchies. …

Christopher Pyne:

You only had to listen to Pyne in his favourite milieu, ABC’s QandA, on Monday night, to understand the disdain he has for the electorate.

He said Australia’s system of compulsory preferential voting protects treacherous, unrepresentative Liberals like him from being punished by disaffected voters.

“The unhappy Liberal voter still has to vote,” he bragged. “Do they put Labor ahead of me if they’re unhappy with me? My experience in nine elections is they don’t.”

Over to you, Liberal voters of Adelaide.

Pyne represents everything that is wrong with the Liberal party. “He’s a cancer”, says one of his conservative colleagues.

Senator Cory Bernardi, who quit the Liberals this year to start his own party, Australian Conservatives, says his fellow South Australian is “the most untrustworthy person I’ve ever met in this business”.

Gay marriage:

But with his careless boasting, now Pyne has forced Malcolm Turnbull decisively to close the door on alternative options: “We will not support a vote on gay marriage in the parliament until there has been a plebiscite at which every Australian gets an opportunity to vote and that plebiscite has voted yes for gay marriage,” the PM told Melbourne radio yesterday. …

“The PM knows that same sex marriage is the ETS of 2017 for him,” says one MP. “If he were to plough ahead, we’d have a spill motion that day ready to roll and whether we won or not it would be death by a thousand cuts.” …

If Turnbull stares down the sly agitators and vicious bullies of the gay marriage cause, that will be a sign of good faith to conservatives, who have put up with a lot.