The individuals voted into office are the key to ensuring stable government and “for a long time now” Australians have “elected people who can’t do that”, a political scientist based in western NSW contests.
Liberal federal president Nick Greiner has called for the party to adopt new leadership rules to prevent a repeat of last week’s leadership coup that ultimately saw Scott Morrison succeed Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.
It was the second leadership challenge in as many terms in office.
For the nation’s good, I’d urge Liberal Party to adopt a rule change to prevent rolling political chaos. Our 2013 rule change (requiring 50% vote of MPs, 50% of ALL party members) means you can’t just launch a coup at the drop of a hat. It’s helped give Labor 5 years of stability— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) August 24, 2018
A move to introduce a rules would follow Labor’s suit after its leadership turmoil, but Bathurst-based Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan contested the call missed the crux of the matter.
The Charles Sturt University academic said the issue was “bigger than that in that it comes down to the kinds of people that we the voters elect to Parliament” as well as the “kinds of people that parties preselect”.
“The lack of political judgement shown by some of these people in the party room over the past week is just extraordinary,” he said.
“...So I think, you know, it’s a matter for the Liberal Party, whether it needs to change its own rules, but people elect people to Parliament in the hope they’re going to contribute to stable government.
“For a long time now we’ve elected people who can’t do that.”
The associate professor said it was hard to say if voters at Dubbo would have to return to the polls this year - before the end of the term.
He said there was “no advantage to the government in going too early”, but on the other hand the Coalition had a one-seat majority only, with a by-election pending at Malcolm Turnbull’s retirement.
“So I don’t think the government would put itself in a position where it risked losing a confidence vote in the Parliament, but I think ideally from the government’s perspective it wants to give Morrison time to establish himself as prime minister, time to show he can lead a cohesive government,” Associate Professor O’Sullivan said.
“And I think that’s really important.
“People who instigated this move to bring down Turnbull didn’t do it because they wanted Morrison.
“They wanted Dutton and they haven’t got him.
“So there are an awful lot of disaffected people in the Liberal Party room and an awful lot of people… who were willing to put personal aspirations and personal preferences for more of a fringe politics.”