The peculiar madness of Aug 2018 in the LNP was sold as forming...

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    The peculiar madness of Aug 2018 in the LNP was sold as forming the best team to win the 2019 election.
    The polls then were 51-49 ALP-LNP. Now they have blown out 53-47.
    The LNP then decided to kill, bury, and cremate Climate Change and its bill, NEG.

    Scott Morrison has settled on his best chance to arrest the havoc

    David Crowe
    By David Crowe
    March 14, 2019 — 11.45pm

    Scott Morrison has a favourite way to urge Australians to scoff at everything they hear from Labor, but his warning about his enemies now applies just as much to his friends.

    “You’ve always got to look at what people do, not just what they say,” the Prime Minister has said in the past.

    Almost everything possible went wrong for Scott Morrison this week.

    Almost everything possible went wrong for Scott Morrison this week.CREDIT:AAP

    Morrison’s government has just had a horror week by that measure. Forget the assurances about being able to win the May election. Judged by their actions, not their words, many of the Liberals and Nationals have given up on victory and decided their only hope is to save their own skins.

    The argument about coal pitted Nationals against Liberals over whether to put taxpayer money into building a coal-fired power station in Queensland, then Nationals against Nationals and Liberals against Liberals. It was a free-for-all.


    If this was a spaceship heading into the sun, the crew would be running out of panic buttons to push.

    While Barnaby Joyce and some of his colleagues see the proposal as a killer idea for Nationals seats in central Queensland, it is also an easy way to wipe out votes in northern NSW, where Labor has made inroads into Nationals territory.

    While Craig Kelly keeps arguing for coal-fired power, the idea is political poison to fellow Liberals like Tim Wilson in Goldstein, Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney and Trevor Evans in Brisbane. What was curious this week was the dog that did not bark: Tony Abbott, under pressure in Warringah from Zali Steggall and her message on climate change, did not call in for his usual Wednesday appearance on 2GB.

    In the same way that last year’s leadership spill was about careerist politicians putting their personal status ahead of the government’s fortunes at the election, this week was all about the Barnaby faction putting its advancement ahead of everyone else – the rest of the Nationals, most of the Liberals and, in particular, Morrison himself.

    Anything that damages Morrison will only help the conservative side of the Liberal Party in the event the government loses and the party searches for a new direction. Andrew Bolt wrote on Monday that Abbott could be the party’s next leader because a heavy defeat would make Morrison “seem a loser who failed to inspire”.

    The wild agitation from Joyce makes the scenario more likely. Abbott might have passed up the chance to talk about coal this week but he can be relied upon to resume the crusade if he keeps his seat.

    In the meantime, Joyce made it easy for Bill Shorten to shrug off questions about whether Labor would use carry-over credits from the Kyoto agreement to reach its 45 per cent target to cut carbon emissions by 2030.

    None of this is Morrison’s fault. The Prime Minister tried to end the Coalition’s civil war over the National Energy Guarantee by declaring “the NEG is dead” but now finds himself in Malcolm Turnbull’s predicament, unable to pacify the fossil fuel lobby within his own government. They seem unlikely to stop unless they gain unconditional surrender from the moderate wing of their party.

    Almost everything went wrong for Morrison this week, thanks to this desperation and disunity, but one thing went right. The iron ore price stayed high enough to keep the federal budget in shape for personal tax cuts.

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