The Saturday Paper gives one free read a week. This is a brilliant summation of the Turnbull years.
The legislative record of the 45th parliament is hidden behind a sideshow of scandal and division – and even then it’s not very impressive. By Mike Seccombe.
Hope springs eternal in the conservative commentator’s breast.
For a few months, beginning near the end of parliament in December and running up to the start of this parliamentary year, the nation was treated to a series of optimistic predictions that things were looking up for the Turnbull government.
In The Australian, Chris Kenny was one of the first out of the box, declaring in mid November, just after same-sex marriage was overwhelmingly endorsed by the Australian people, that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was rightfully “basking in unqualified success”.
Turnbull’s name was “etched in rainbow forever”, Kenny opined. More importantly, the success of the same-sex postal vote had underlined Turnbull’s authority in the government, welded an alliance between him and the more pragmatic elements on the party right, and shown Tony Abbott et al to be on the wrong side of history.
A succession of similar pieces from the usual conservative media boosters appeared over parliament’s two-month Christmas break, suggesting a change of fortune for the government and citing factors such as the forced resignation of Labor senator Sam Dastyari, the fact the citizenship imbroglio had sucked in a number of Labor members, and the health of the economy.
Not all were as cautious as Kenny, who at least had the sense to conclude that, although Turnbull was “on the front foot for the first time in many months”, the question remained: “How long can he stay there?”
We got the answer to that on the very day parliament resumed, February 5: No time at all …