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Carr’s Column – The Canberra Deadlock

September 6, 2010

Here’s a solution: make Oakeshott or Windsor Minister for Regional Development and recruit a Coalition MP as Speaker.

Offer Malcolm Turnbull a post in cabinet. After all, he’s roiling with ambition and Abbott’s grip on the leadership is now firm. Why not round out a political career with three years in a Gillard cabinet?

15 Comments
  1. Matt permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:13 pm

    Turnbull as an independent minister for climate change with the specific mission of getting an ETS passed? That may be enough to satisfy his ambition, unless he still holds a burning desire to be Prime Minister.

    We’ve seen in recent times, with Rudd and Turnbull, how fluid modern leadership can be. Despite looking very safe now, could Abbott be 4 bad newspolls away from a change?

    I think Phillip Ruddock would be a good speaker. He’s been in parliament since Whitlam and has seen the best and worst of how question time operates. Might be a good victory lap for an almost certain last term in parliament.

    The other alternative is pairing the vote of speaker (govt) with deputy speaker (opp) as Mr Oakeshott has suggested.

  2. Rationalist permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:51 pm

    There is only one office (or maybe two) that Malcolm Turnbull will be satisfied with. The first is Prime Minister and the second is President. In the current situation, only one is plausible since the second office does not exist. Taking an office within a Labor government would essentially neuter his ability to ever retake the Liberal leadership (which is possible if the Abbott experiment ends up failing) therefore eliminating the only possible path for the Prime Ministership (he could still hope to become President Turnbull however). Then again, I personally think the Abbott experiment has done far better than anyone (including Abbott) ever expected. As you say, Abbott’s grip on the leadership is now firm (but for how long?)

    It is difficult to read in terms of what is bluff and what is not but the independents seem very cagey when prompted about Ministries or the Speakership, they all seem to reiterate a similar lack of interest (especially Windsor, Oakeshott too, not sure if anyone has asked Katter).

  3. nutjob permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:52 pm

    The only mistake Malcolm made was joining the Liberal party. That would go some way to ameliorating that mistake. He’s make a great minister.

  4. Argus Tuft permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:08 pm

    Malcom Turnbull as speaker would be a better idea. And don’t compromise the Independants by lumbering them with cabinet positions. Better idea is make (offer) Ian McFarlane position as Minister for regional development.

  5. September 6, 2010 3:10 pm

    I think that would be a great idea actually. Give positions to individuals with big ideas and a willingness to put those ideas forward.

  6. September 6, 2010 3:45 pm

    Brilliant idea.
    There are good people on both sides.
    The idea of a bi-partisan cabinet is a brilliant one – and would scare the crap out of the ideologues on both sides.
    Turnbull is a moderate – who seems to be able to see the sense on both sides of the divide.
    I vote yes.
    Great idea.

  7. Jared Kells permalink
    September 6, 2010 3:48 pm

    That sounds like a pretty good solution to me.

  8. Paul Kennedy permalink
    September 6, 2010 4:08 pm

    If I was the Labor PM I’d do that. The problem is that Mr Turnbull’s ambition extends to the prime ministership. I’m not sure that he is convinced yet of the impossibility of achieving this ambition within the Liberal Party, but I don’t think he can conceive of a path to get him there by allying himself with Labor. He’d have to become a member of the party (at some stage), find himself a safe (Labor) seat, and then convince his (new) colleagues that he was the man for the job.
    Pity. It would probably be good for the country and our democracy. Why can’t we draw our cabinet from talented members of parliament regardless of party?

  9. greg jones permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:00 pm

    On 24 August, 2010 I wrote to Julia Gillard suggesting that she offers Malcolm Turnbull a cabinet post and shortly thereafter suggested that she recruit a coalition MP as speaker.

  10. anthony permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:38 pm

    Is this your Machiavellian side coming to the fore? Or simply a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Either way I would say its a very astute political move. And one that should be acted upon forthwith by the Gillard Labor Government.

  11. Chris Jowett permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:47 pm

    Bloody brilliant (and I’m a Nat voter!) How about putting the Republic back on the agenda with Malcolm in charge? Make one of those 2 Regional Development and give the other one a mini-portfolio etc on parliamentary reform. Whoever gets in won’t be pushing through anything extreme this parliament anyway, so why not get some traction on the middle ground stuff?

  12. Ktoznayet permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:50 pm

    Now that’s a delightfully mischievous suggestion, funny thing is, Malcolm’s ego might be bigger enough to actually consider it.

  13. September 6, 2010 6:57 pm

    Why not indeed? Turnbull’s environmental perspective would be welcomed by Labor and offer a balance with the more radical Greens in a minority Government. His views align more comfortably with Labor’s position than that of his party.

    A regional independent in Cabinet would be welcomed, so long as the move is not perceived to be pork-barreling.

    And a Coalition speaker? A bridge too far methinks.

  14. Stephen Tiplady permalink
    September 6, 2010 7:01 pm

    Bob you are a radical!!! Ha ha! I had to laugh when I saw your comment on the ABC website. This is an idea I am still having difficulty wrapping my head around. You are truly one of Australia’s greatest minds! Talk about thinking outside of the square!

    Thanks!

    Steve

  15. paola totaro permalink
    September 6, 2010 7:46 pm

    A Cameron/Clegg style marriage of convenience perhaps? (or a little mischief from Monsieur Carr!)

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