Thursday 14 July 2011

Liberal colleagues turn on Malcolm Turnbull over his 'bitter' mindset

MALCOLM Turnbull is being urged by colleagues to reconsider his future in politics after his latest attack on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

A senior Liberal told The Australian Online that Mr Turnbull had a strong future in the party, but only if he could shake his “bitter and twisted” mindset.Another Liberal went further, saying it was time for the former Liberal leader to resign.“For the good of the Liberal Party and the country, Malcolm Turnbull has to leave the parliament,” the source said.

Mr Turnbull yesterday said he would back the Coalition's climate policy out of loyalty, but added that that was more than he'd received as Liberal leader. One of Mr Turnbull's frontbench colleagues said the former leader had to move on from the past. “It's almost like, the worse Labor goes, the more frustrated he gets. And then he'll have a little breakout. “If he's not prepared to put it behind him, he shouldn't be there. If he is prepared to put it behind him, well we'd value his contribution.”

The second source said: “This is a guy who has woken up - he's realised he's got it so wrong and so out of touch with the Australian people that he can't cope with it.“He can't cope with the fact that his greatness has been rejected.” Mr Turnbull yesterday failed to endorse Mr Abbott's direct action climate change policy, which he has previously undermined as an expensive approach to tackling climate change. But he said politics was a team sport and “as long as you are a member of the shadow cabinet you stick with the team position”. “So I've given Tony Abbott consistency and loyalty that of course I didn't receive consistently from all of my colleagues while I was leader,” he told ABC radio.

Mr Turnbull, the opposition's communications spokesman, was deposed as Liberal leader in December 2009 over his support for Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme. He crossed the floor to support the scheme, which was rejected by the parliament. Mr Turnbull has committed to voting with the Coalition on Julia Gillard's climate change plan. To do otherwise would mean resigning his shadow cabinet position.

Mr Abbott refused to buy into the issue publicly today, saying every member of his team supported his opposition to the carbon tax, including Mr Turnbull, who “unequivocally" supported the stance. “I think that Malcolm is doing a good job,” Mr Abbott said at Gatton, west of Brisbane. “All of my colleagues are doing a good job and all of my colleagues support the shadow cabinet's position,” he said.

Former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett earlier added his voice to those calling for Mr Turnbull to resign. “He is apparently very bright, from everything I hear. But certainly `team' isn't part of his make-up,” Mr Kennett told radio 3AW. “He lost the leadership of the party. He might have felt strongly about an issue.

“If he still feels so strongly about it, he ought to get out of the party, get out of parliament, be an advocate for what he believes in.” Mr Kennett said Mr Turnbull had been “absolutely disloyal”, and had “no future in terms of leadership”. “(It's a) pity, because he does have a good brain, and he would have made a very good treasurer, I think. “But how can you position yourself to represent the community when one of your party members, consistently, for his own promotion, argues against the team issue?”

Author | Source | Ben Packham |The Australian

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