At least it’s not PM Dutton

By Vijay Badhwar

The Indian community, as will other migrant communities in Australia, breathe a sigh of relief on the unsuccessful putsch by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, whom former Media Watch presenter David Marr described as ”˜cruel, not intelligent and not a vote catcher’. He did, however, succeed to unseat then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, allegedly by bullying and intimidating, cunning and manipulation, to secure the minimum 43 signatures required to proceed through the spill motion.

It was a week of high drama as the Liberal Party tore itself apart with two challenges to the leadership in three days after ritualistic denials of further attempts at destabilisation and swearings for continuing support to Mr. Turnbull. The prime mover of the challenges, political pundits speculated, was none other than ”˜vengeful’ Tony Abbott, who they opined was using Peter Dutton as cannon fodder to be unseated at a later date by himself.

Two most popular leaders in the Liberal Party – Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop – were eliminated in the attempt, leaving incoming Prime Minister Scott Morrison – controversial for his clarion call from 2GB grounds ”˜Stop the Boats’ – to a challenging task ahead to unite the fractured party. It will not be easy, not while wrecker Tony Abbott remains (make him the High Commissioner in London to look after the Knights and Dames!) and not at least until losing the next election, as the polls predict a massive lead for the Labor Party.

Liberal party’s most divisive issue remains Energy, the portfolio now separated from Environment, the hardliners from both sides still not learning from the imbroglio. The party right’s call to curb immigration, however, appeals to voters (according to recent Guardian Essential Poll, 62 per cent of voters subscribe to reduction), although not supported by rational analysis.

Peter Dutton is silenced temporarily for precipitating the recent implosion in the Liberal Party, and hopefully for a longer time for the extreme views he holds. His indifference to human suffering is legendary, unless, of course, it is for au pairs of mates or South African farmers.

Malcolm Turnbull, although celebrated his many achievements in his parting speech, leaves a legacy of an ineffectual prime minister from whom much was expected.

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