Monday, September 14, 2015

Breaking - Malcolm Turnbull ousts Tony Abbott and will become Australia's new Prime Minister

Sou | 10:00 PM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment
Australia is about to get a new Prime Minister. Malcolm Turnbull has defeated Tony Abbott in a ballot taken by the Liberal Party just now.

This will, I hope, mean a change in Australia's position on climate action. I've been told that Malcolm may have done a "deal" to keep a low profile on climate, but I know he has strong views on the subject. So let's hope that he adopts a leadership stance and doesn't kow tow to the deniers in the party room.

I'll see if I can dig up some of what he's written on the subject. And contrast this with Tony Abbott's stance.

Meantime, while I don't usually blog on politics, this is potentially big news for climate, so I'll make an exception.

You can read more about this news:


Watch this space!

If you can tolerate talking heads from down under, the ABC NEWS 24 website has removed the geo block for the occasion.


UPDATE: Malcolm Turnbull has said that he supports the current government policy on climate change. Julie Bishop, the (continuing) deputy has said that Australia has already announced the targets for Paris and they won't change.

He also said that his government will be a collaborative, consultative government. So it looks as if it will be up to us to persuade the government to change direction.

Added by Sou at 10:55 pm Monday 14 September 2015


Magma said...

I'll take this as good news. It would be hard to imagine anyone matching Abbott's "coal is good for humanity" level of head in the sand denialism.

Sou said...

Yes, you are right. Malcolm Turnbull accepts climate science and is very concerned about climate. On the downside, see the update I just added above - hot off the press - or hot off the televised speech just now.

numerobis said...

Just saw this on NYT. Great for you all down in oz! Now hopefully we can oust Harper up here...

(Though I really don't understand ousting a sitting prime minister via a leadership struggle at the party level. We don't really do that up here.)

Sou said...

Voters here in Australia don't elect the party leader and we don't elect the Prime Minister as PM. Therefore it's not uncommon for there to be a change of leadership. It's not that long ago when a sitting Prime Minister lost his seat at the election (John Howard).

As Turnbull said, he's not a President, he's the "first among equals". More like a Chairperson than a person the populace elected to "lead". Albeit the face of Australia both locally and abroad in regard to our government.

We elect our own MPs, that's all. It's up to the winning party to appoint the party leader.

Having said that, our Labor Party recently created a rod for their own back by mandating that Labor Party members, not the elected politicians, elect the leader of the Labor Party. I don't know what the Labor Party was thinking. It means that it's not possible for the Parliamentarians to elect their own leader, which from a governance perspective is an appalling way to go.

Matt M said...

While the main policy of Direct Action won't change during this term*, nor the Paris targets, he will not campaign against renewables, be coals cheerleader, continue to dismantle other climate change bodies, try to sabotage Paris talks, etc. That is of course just opinion but he has been the best spokesperson for CC mitigation in the LNP.

This is indeed a good few steps in the right direction.

*He said it won't change under his leadership but I don't take that as an unbreakable promise)

Sou said...

I agree with you Matt. I read an impassioned letter about climate from Malcolm that he wrote a few years ago in the NY Times. I can't find it, unfortunately.

Malcolm's views of and understanding of climate change is better than those of a lot of Labor politicians, too. If he changes direction, he'll win the support of a lot of "green" voters as well as Labor voters IMO.

Matt M said...

Just to disagree with myself, the downside is Labor were much more likely to win the next election with Abbott there. Labor are miles ahead on climate. 50% renewables by 2030 for example.


Matt M said...

> better than those of a lot of Labor politicians too.


Sou said...

Still, the Labor policy will give some incentive to the Libs to move in that direction. California's just passed a bill for 50% renewable electricity by 2030. There'll be pressure from within as well as from other countries to shift direction.

I'll not be too pessimistic just yet :)

numerobis said...

A lot of countries have the same system - wikipedia, of course, has a list:

But I don't hear of leadership changes that oust the PM anywhere other than Australia -- particularly not in between elections. Maybe that's just because I don't hear much of the parliamentary shenanigans in St Kitts.

Sou said...

Yeah, we've still got a touch of the colonial here (wild west?). Five changes of leadership since 2007. It's a lot of change, when you think about it.

2007 sitting PM lost his seat at election, and a change of government (John Howard)
2007 - 2010 Kevin Rudd elected, then ousted by Julie Gillard in a spill
2010 - 2013 Julie Gillard, elected then ousted by Kevin Rudd in a spill
2013 - 2015 Tony Abbott, elected then ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in a spill
2015 - ? Malcolm Turnbull not yet faced election as PM.

Before that there were others, like Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

I notice someone's already updated Wiki :)


Harry Twinotter said...

Our "potty peer" thinks Malcolm Turnbill is a UN stooge.


Anonymous said...

Quote from the video at 3:30:

"... he can't do anything about it because Tony Abbott is in office until after the December 2015 conference"

Chortle, chortle ...

Anonymous said...

Correction. At 1:12.

Harry Twinotter said...


Never underestimate the Curse of the Black Jellybean... :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh no, recursive fury.

Do you mean my Black Jelly Bean or Monckton's? Is Abbott going to get back in as leader before December?

numerobis said...

In Canada, occasionally a sitting leader retires after some internal pressure, but even that is rare. More likely they quit after losing an election -- normally they resign in their concession speech.

In Alberta this spring, the premier lost and decided not to sit in parliament despite winning his own seat. That was seen as mildly scandalous.

Magma said...

@ Sou: found nothing in the NYT. Perhaps you were thinking of the SMH.


MikeH said...

There is still scope for Turnbull to have an impact within the framework of the Direct Action policy. Beef up the CCA and the CEFC, make sure that the 26-28% target is actually met by toughening penalties and forcing the closure of the brown coal generators in Victoria for example. At the moment, Greg Hunt & Abbott appeared to have ruled out anything that may work relying instead on magic "soil carbon".

Sou said...

I've wondered how much of Greg Hunt's policies were Greg's and how much were Abbott's. I don't think he's beyond salvation, though I could be wrong.

john byatt said...

85% of coalition members do not accept the science, a big hurdle

Sou said...

I didn't know it was nearly as bad as that. Is that from the survey done a couple of years ago, John? Time to introduce some mandatory science education for political candidates.

Randy Pickard said...

While there are lots of reasons Abbott was ousted, this is the first time I can recall a politician taking this big a hit for being a climate science denier.

Sou said...

PM Abbott is our first genuine full blown climate science denying Prime Minister. John Howard wasn't (or not openly and I don't think he was in any case) and none of the Labor leaders were, though I suspect some of the backbenchers are on both sides of the floor..

There have always been one or two cranks who get elected, who boast about it. Like the chap who believes that the planet is only a couple of thousand years old. The rest, who might or might not be deniers, knew to keep their mouths shut.

It's only now as mitigation is ramping up all around the world, that the cranks are being revealed. They are easy to pick. They quote denier memes as if they only read conspiracy blogs. Real nutters.

Some even have degrees. From real universities. They've been "edjukated". In the same manner as some children make it all the way to their senior year in high school without being able to read or write a word.

MWS said...

Just a laugh for everybody - it's my understanding that in order to receive the benefits available to ex-Prime Ministers (pension, office etc.), they have to be in office for a minimum of two years. Abbott was sworn in on 18th September 2013, and ousted 14 September 2015 ... So even though his Government is assumed to start from 7th September 2013 (the date of the election), he is _just_ under the cut-off.

I wonder if he will do a Kevin Rudd and destabilise from the back bench in the hope he can manage a few more days as PM? There's a lot of money at stake!

john byatt said...

we followed up on that survey with new members using hansard and media statements, the 15% acceptance includes non committal so could be even worse sou, they even have a member with guest post at WUWT

MikeH said...

Don't forget Howard's speech to the GWPF. He was a closet denier.


Some argue that climate change. was a big factor in his 2007 election loss to Rudd. Howard and Abbott were forced to take an ETS to the election because Rudd had made climate a major issue in his campaign.


All history now and we will not see another denier PM.

john byatt said...



So @TurnbullMalcolm can't be sworn in because no one has heard from Tony Abbott about his plans. Curious stuff #auspol
11:31 AM - 15 Sep 2015

bill said...

The problem is structural - to get in Turnbull will have done a deal with the devil, being the party's Right and the IPA. He's not a denier and is not as stupid as Abbott, but he wants to be PM forever, sees that as his destiny, and the global climate (and Barrier Reef!) is a price he's probably going to be prepared to pay.

My concern is that we're going to see pretty-much the same reactionary policies pursued across the board, but with a much more clever and articulate spokesman.

bill said...

Hunt has been a very bad Environment Minister, rather rounding off the set of the current cabinet (Worst Ever... PM, Treasurer, Education Minister etc.)

The fact that he had to turn himself in ethical knots to take on the position - witness his 1990 thesis on the necessity of a Carbon Tax - will, I believe only make him more wedded to the LNP's deliberately ineffective policy.

I hope Turnbull's going to do something about this, because unless the public show more awareness than hitherto that it's policies, not personnel, that really matter, 'small target' Shorten's got Buckley's chance against Turnbull.

I foresee the Green vote continuing to rise, but at a slower rate if Turnbull actually tackles this one...

bill said...

Remember how the deniers - all over the world - were crowing when he got in? Yesterday's rooster is now one hell of a feather-duster! Obama's got the right of it - in 2015 there's simply no place for denial in public office.

Matt M said...

What survey? Was it Bernardi posting at WUWT?

Matt M said...

An excerpt from "Is climate change a left wing issue?" shows how far backwards we have gone.

> "Does that make climate change a left wing issue? Not if we go back a bit into history. Margaret Thatcher was one of the first world leaders to take the threat of climate change seriously. In 1990 she committed to reversing the rising trend of greenhouse gas emissions and bring emissions back to 1990 levels by 2005. Back in Australia in 1990 Andrew Peacock faced off against Bob Hawke in a general election. The Coalition under Peacock committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2000 if they won office. Peacock lost the election but the commitment was kept under the new Coalition Leader John Hewson who took it to the 1993 election.

Early commitments to reducing emissions came from the conservative side of politics. John Howard promised to introduce an ETS to cut emissions. Brendan Nelson, who followed Howard as Liberal leader also thought that an ETS was the best way to deliver emissions cuts. Next was Malcolm Turnbull, who also thought that an ETS was the best way to go. Even Tony Abbott has previously said the best way to cut emissions is an ETS, as well as supporting a carbon tax."


Randy Pickard said...

And in the U.S., Richard Nixon, a Republivan, had a pretty good environmental record, http://endangeredspecies.about.com/od/endangeredspecieslaws/a/Richard-Nixon-S-Acts-Of-Environmental-Protection.htm

Harry Twinotter said...


Monckton's black jelly bean.

So now Monckton gets to watch Malcolm Turnbull install a socialist government in Australia. And he is a Catholic, Australia will probably me made a Marxist protectorate of the Empire of Rome... :-)

john byatt said...

craig kelly mp, the survey is at uknowispeaksence top of blog 2013 election

john byatt said...

was in email contact with kelly for a while but every paper i sent him he replied with a blog post from WUWT , as for bishop,,,,,
“The Prime Minister and her ministers have repeatedly declared that the “science is settled” and there is no need for further debate on how to respond to the environmental challenges from climate change. A Nobel Prize-winning scientist told me recently that “science is never settled” and that scientific assumptions and conclusions must always be challenged. This eminent Noble Laureate pointed that had he accepted the so-called “settled science”, he would not have undertaken his important research, which challenged orthodox scientific propositions and led to new discoveries, which resulted in a Nobel Prize.” Julie Bishop

bill said...

Love the joke doing the rounds that an Australian change of PM is a good time to check your smoke alarms.

I believe the claim that Australia's national sport is the leadership spill also made it into Wikipedia for a while there.

MikeH said...

The honeymoon with Turnbull did not make it into the second day. Anyone who believes that this merchant banker cares about anything other than himself should read his answer in Question Time today

Now Labor to Turnbull: :Will the PM join Labor in adopting a policy to ensure that 50% of Australia’s energy is sourced from renewables by 2030?"

The answer from Turnbull indicates that he is in lockstep with Greg Hunt and the coal industry’s fake proposals on carbon mitigation.

"The questions from the leader of the opposition get worse and worse. He is highlighting one of the most reckless proposals the Labor party has made. Fancy proposing, without any idea of the cost of the abatement, the cost of proposing that 50% of energy had to come from renewables! What if that reduction in emissions you needed could come more cost-effectively from carbon storage, by planting trees, by soil carbon, by using gas, by using clean coal, by energy efficiency?"

"Turnbull says Shorten is just upset because Greg Hunt has a good policy."

Sou said...

Shame. He might have sealed his fate already. I'd like to see what he does if, for example, Canada turfs it's PM. Even if it doesn't, Australia will soon be left high and dry, while every other country makes a proper effort to cut emissions.

Mal Adapted said...

Is survival a left wing issue?

jmorpuss said...

This was the last thing Turnbull gave to the Australian people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amr_ABY5LWw

numerobis said...

"Even if it doesn't" -- perish the thought!

The polls are very tight, and we still have several weeks to go. Our election could go anywhere. I'm going to lose my hair if the polls don't get a bit less blue.