I have been around for 84 years, none of them ever boring, but 2015 has been a corker.
Happily, the two most incompetent political leaders of my era were removed from power – Tony Abbott in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane.
Abbott was a tragic figure, totally out of his depth, and his demise was hastened by the total non performance of his Treasurer, Joe Hockey, one of the most shallow politicians I have ever encountered who has been awarded for his failure with a job in Washington.
At least, Hockey had the grace to leave the Parliament. Abbott dreams incomprehensibly, of a return to power when there is more chance of the sun not coming up tomorrow morning.
Malcolm Turnbull has achieved his lifetime goal of becoming leader of Australia. He made it to the top despite a stormy career and some unnecessary arrogance but, now that he is there, I reckon he will not make a mess of it. He intends to be Australia’s greatest Prime Minister ever and I am willing to put money on the fact that he may achieve it, so long as he manages his ego well.
He looks like a Prime Minister, acts like one, and can put two sentences together, something that was totally beyond the talents of his predecessor.
It will not surprise me if he serves as long as John Howard.
This is not good news for Bill Shorten who was odds on favourite to beat Abbott. It is sad news for me also as he is a personal friend of long standing. Nevertheless, the situation in which Bill finds himself is starkly simple. The voters of Australia do not want yet another Prime Minister under any circumstances at this point in our history. We have had six in nine years. Most Aussies want a leader who will stay for a long time to provide stability in a troubled world.
Bill could run the greatest campaign of all time, but the voters wont be listening. His only chance of victory is for Turnbull to get himself involved in a massive scandal that spectacularly comes out of left field. Having said this, I am reminded of the fact that Campbell Newman lost despite holding the greatest parliamentary majority in history, but that was the result of a total meltdown of political capital.
The right wing of the Liberals and Nationals won’t stage a coup against Turnbull under an circumstances as they know that the voters won’t tolerate it. Besides which, political ideology dies quickly at the point where seats might be lost.
In reality, Turnbull is so secure, he could bring in a carbon tax and not be rolled. Even so, there are fascinating days ahead for Malcolm.
He can’t ignore Climate Change, Gay Marriage, Indigenous Recognition, the Republic Movement, the drought, wealthy tax evaders, harsh budget cuts or the Ageing Tsunami. It will be fascinating to watch his nifty footwork when these issues hit home hard in the Election Year of 2016. I reckon he will take some carefully calculated political punts, bring them all into play and achieve some revolutionary changes that will prove to be popular.
Added to all of the above is the unavoidable fact that we live in a troubled world from which we cannot divorce ourselves and for which Turnbull must provide leadership.
Terrorism and the Islamic State bear heavily upon our view of the future, as does the huge exodus of refugees worldwide. The possibility of an America governed by Donald Trump scares the hell out of us, as does their gun happy culture. The sheer incompetence of the European Community, which is smothered by bureaucrats, dents our economic confidence even more so than China’s fall from economic grace. In addition, most of us seem to be unable to imagine a future which is not based on minerals.
So, 2016 beckons and it looks challenging. In point of fact, it will be as good a year as we make it ourselves.
A new society is developing around us with astonishing speed. It will bring more change in the next five years than we have seen in the last hundred.
Old fashioned capitalism wont be able to cope with it, nor will any upgraded socialism get anywhere near being useful.
Those who warmly welcome and embrace rapid change, thrive on innovation and accept personal responsibility for the welfare of their neighbours, will prosper mightily and enjoy a mind expanding life of genuine adventure.
Politics wont give us a good life. We must create it ourselves. It will be helpful if Malcolm can be the leader who opens some doors.
Yours at Large
If you are new to my articles and wish to be advised by email of new articles posted, simply register your email address as indicated opposite or on the Everald@Large page of this website