When Kevin Rudd lost the confidence of the Labor Party and Julia Gillard took his place as Prime Minister, the Coalition began saying silly things.
The tale of the assassination of Rudd and its corrolaries was perfectly predictable and good politics for the time. What was not so predictable and what has now become a millstone around the Liberal Party neck was tony abbott’s vow that the Liberal Party would never do the same.
abbott spent many press conferences telling Australia how the Liberal Party is a stable organisation and would never change its leadership. That his is an adult organisation. That the Liberal Party has a stable front bench.
We saw that stability after the 2013 election and abbott’s selections for his front bench. Virtually every surviving member of Howard’s front bench won a guensey from abbott.
Now, eleven months into the life of the new Government, some are having wild flashbacks to the final term of their glorious leader, John Howard. Flashbacks which are making for some uncomfortable thoughts at 3am in a sleepless night.
John Howard had reached that point in a politician’s life where he had become unelectable. He had a perfectly good replacement, one he had promised to step aside for. And he didn’t! The Costello unrest, assisted by the behind the scenes activities of Chris Pyne, was an unneeded distraction in the ultimately unsuccessful Liberal 2007 election campaign.
Now in the cold light of the 2014 day, the near-superannuated front bench are almost the only Parliamentary supporters left to abbott. Yet no one dares speak the unspeakable.
“If we keep a manifestly unpopular leader we could all lose our seats. But we can’t change our leader because then we would look like the Labor Party.”
Yes! The lessons of the Howard debacle have been noted but not acted upon.