Last night I was flicking through the channels and came across Malcolm Turnbull giving an address to a crowd of mostly Liberals on the subject of climate change. His ability to speak to his audience and hold their attention was apparent, even with the distance of television. He spoke clearly, eloquently and with passion, all things which the current political field sadly lack.
The entire talk was centred around one thing, science. His belief that this debate should be centred on the policy's presented by each party rather than the science behind climate change was a very interesting argument from a member of the Liberal Party. Not because all members of the party are non-believers, I am sure there are many who are not, but because he has now opened up the Coalition to scrutiny by the nation on it's Direct Action policy. This is a policy that has been referred to in the past but has never really been pulled apart and studied, until now.
In the past week several news sources have looked into it further and all came up wanting. The problem is that those who delved inside were all fringe media and the mass population will have missed the bulk of those reports. Malcolm's statement that we should leave the science up to the scientists (I know, how completely outrageous) and come to the realisation as a nation that we need action on this issue was so rational and sane that you could be forgiven for thinking he was not a politician at all. One person on his Facebook page put it perfectly today; It's a sad day when it takes a representative of the denier's party to make more sense on climate change and action than the party actually doing something.
The problem I have is that the above comment should not be as truthful as it is. For two reasons. Firstly, the Labor Party have been doing an appalling job of selling the tax they have designed with the help of the minor party's and secondly, because it should be BOTH major party's who are 'actually going something'. This particular issue should not be a divisive one. It should offer the best opportunity for the Opposition to be part of the process that came up with this Bill. The entire country should have it's representatives working togerher to ensure the policy that came out at the end was as fair and reasoned as possible. I think that we actually got that but still wish it had been achieved with all party's having the best interests of our nation in mind.
The media has been partly to blame for the attacks on the tax package. There can be no denying that the myopic scope of the News Ltd press has been firmly targeting the Government, in particular Gillard, ever since the minority Government was formed. Crikey did a fabulous piece this week on the difference in the reporting of the GST before it came in and the previous few weeks since the Carbon Tax was released. Some of the headlines were incredible. (see:http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/07/21/taking-up-the-whittaker-challenge-examining-the-daily-teles-gst-coverage/ for the full story)
Since the News Of The World hacking scandal became worldwide news and people started to notice that here in this country we have no competition to the Murdock run press the scrutiny of the headlines and the stories has never been greater. There has been a big change in reporting over the past few days and I know that many other's are noticing it too. Each of Abbott's gaffes has made front page, each of his idiotic rants has been played out in full across all media and Gillard has continued on in her tour of the nation with very little fanfare all of a sudden.
It's been an interesting week in politics to say the very least. Abbott will have to formulate some sort of sane argument against the tax that does not contradict the Coalitions own policy. He'll have to start having continuity in his speeches and that could prove the most difficult thing of all. This week may just be the turning point in this whole political landscape we currently have.
Or maybe not. While the comment on Malcolm's Facebook page I quoted above was very well put and worthy of repeating, most of the comments are extremely vitriolic. The hate on that page directed at Mr Turnbull is frightening in it's acidity and completely unnecessary. I was hopeful that the speech last night would centre debate and get it back where it should be. As an argument for the Carbon Tax, or for Direct Action. Instead what it appears to have done is started a hate campaign against a Liberal member of Parliament, by the Liberal Party members.
Here are just a few of the more interesting comments (please note there is some bad language used in the following quotes, and I don't mean grammatically);
'If Malcolm Turnbull had a brain that the local residents could understand he would take notice of the Australian scientists who know his man made global warming CO2 tax is a scam based on the lefts botched science to fund their pet projects, Mouthing off about the Great Barrier reef and tugging at his green forelock will not change the climate in this winter of his discontent. Malcolm backed the wrong horse for a easy ride, but his fine cotton got caught at the turn as the natural weather cycle returned to spoil his party.'
'You're a bit of a f-ck wit malcolm, you are losing so much credibility, Mount a challenge then F-ck off into obscurity when you don't get the numbers. No other opposition leader has been in such a strong position i.e Tony Abbott and the more you do to keep this kiddies Government in Power the more you are just as useless as Gillard and her mob. Investment Wa-nker.'
'Turnbull you have a chip on your shoulder, remove it. You and Kevin Rudd would make good mates. Could both cry over a few beers. Abbott and Gillard are fools, but you bring down your whole party, this makes you a fool too.'
'Perhaps Turnbull should start supporting his party instead of trying to lift the polling numbers of the labor/green/indie failing experiment we have in office at present.'
'Malcolm has already been Leader once, and couldnt do the job, got ousted and the Liberal Party undxer Tony Abbott grew and grew, and only for the Independents & Greens, would have won, and would have been in government. Under Turnbull that wouldnt have happened. Turnbull is self centred, and arrogant, and whats more he should be supportive of his leader, not stabbing him in the back.'
Interesting isn't it? I was astounded as I had watched the full speech and he never once stated anything other than Liberal Party Policy. Something tells me that Abbott is a lot more powerful than most people would like to admit.
While Howard was very good at creating a fear campaign on divisive issues it appears that the student has begun to outshine the master. Fear is an all encompassing thing and turning the tide would be difficult enough with an effective political leader but with the messy situation we currently have, it will be almost impossible.