At least 10 Coalition MPs were publicly threatening to destroy Turnbull’s NEG by voting against it in parliament. Picture: AAP.
At least 10 Coalition MPs were publicly threatening to destroy Turnbull’s NEG by voting against it in parliament. Picture: AAP.

Is this the end for Prime Minister Turnbull?

MALCOLM Turnbull faces the sack as Prime Minister just one week after his Canberra media mates crowed he'd had a "critical" and "decisive" win over predecessor Tony Abbott.

Nothing better shows that Turnbull was a fool to listen to these Baghdad Bobs rather than to his party.

True, these Leftist commentators helped Turnbull become Prime Minister by tearing down the conservative Abbott.

At least 10 Coalition MPs were publicly threatening to destroy Turnbull’s NEG by voting against it in parliament. Picture: File.
At least 10 Coalition MPs were publicly threatening to destroy Turnbull’s NEG by voting against it in parliament. Picture: File.

But then they helped Turnbull to destroy the Liberals, too, cheering him as he ripped the party from its conservative roots.

And now Liberal MPs have only one question left: do they replace him with Abbott or Peter Dutton?

This crash has stunned Canberra's biggest political pundits who, blinded by global warming fervour and their hatred of the conservative Abbott, cheered when Turnbull at last Tuesday's party meeting rammed his National Energy Guarantee down the throats of his gagging MPs.

"Turnbull has secured a decisive party room victory over Tony Abbott," declared veteran pundit Michelle Grattan.

The Australian's Niki Savva also saw the contest over Turnbull's NEG as just a proxy war with Abbott, jeering that "precious few colleagues were prepared to join (Abbott) in a base jump over a cliff, sans parachute".

Laura Tingle, of the "unbiased" ABC, hailed this as not just a defeat for Abbott but a triumph for warmists: "The latest attempt to solve the climate wars was not just a victory for the Prime Minister but a sign of the former prime minister's waning influence."

The Australian's Paul Kelly, doyen of the pack, summed up: "The victory of Turnbull … was decisive."

So "decisive" was it that by week's end at least 10 Coalition MPs were publicly threatening to destroy Turnbull's NEG by voting against it in parliament, and one minister, Keith Pitt, was considering resigning in principle. Once again, Turnbull and his media backers had misread the politics.

It was always a mistake to see Liberal opposition to Turnbull's NEG as merely Abbott making trouble, given the Liberals had nine years earlier sacked Turnbull as Opposition Leader for exactly this: foisting on a conservative party the warming faith of the Left.

Worse, every poll shows voters are sick of soaring electricity bills after years of no wage rises. Yet Turnbull was giving them a scheme with targets for cutting emissions but none for cutting power prices.

And for what? Even the Chief Scientist admits Turnbull's schemes won't cut the world's temperature.

They are all pain for no gain.

The futility was bad enough. But now Turnbull was demanding Australia, alone in the world, make it law for us to honour the non-binding Paris Agreement by cutting our emissions, when this same agreement lets giants like China and India increase their own.

None of it made sense, and rebels like rising young star Andrew Hastie last week had had enough.

Some even asked Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to stand against Turnbull, but Dutton refused. For now.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was asked to stand against Turnbull, but Dutton refused. For now. Picture: AAP.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was asked to stand against Turnbull, but Dutton refused. For now. Picture: AAP.

Onto this fire Turnbull threw petrol by showing Labor the draft legislation for his NEG when he hadn't even shown it to his own Liberal MPs.

How symbolic. The internal fury increased, and by Friday Turnbull knew he was in severe danger. Panicked, he offered a compromise: to drop from his legislation any reference to making the Energy Minister cut our emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

He'd now let the minister set targets with the stroke of a pen, albeit only if government agencies told him electricity prices would not rise.

But Turnbull had just turned bad to worse. Until last Friday, he'd promised his MPs he would not let any minister, especially a future Labor one, change the targets like this without giving parliament a vote. Unlike Labor "we believe the parliament should have a say", he declared last Tuesday.

But now he says the opposite.

What a joke. As one angry minister told me, the next Labor government would just appoint tame experts to tell it exactly what it wanted.

It could appoint, say, the experts who in 2007 had Labor leader Kevin Rudd promise that Labor's global warming policies would cost us just "$1 per person per year".

How did that work out?

This is why many Liberal MPs now have no confidence in Turnbull's judgment, word, or ability to make voters believe a thing he says.

So Monday's party meeting should be another "victory" for Turnbull, just like last week's, as despairing MPs let Turnbull's tumbrel keep rolling towards the scaffold while they privately work out how the hell to save themselves.

andrew.bolt@news.com.au



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