The Australian prime minister survived the challenge of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dutton, for the leadership of the Liberal Party, the highest ranking formation in the government coalition. The victory by little margin feeds the uncertainty.
Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull maintains, for the moment, the leadership of the center-right government coalition in Australia after beating by 48 votes to 35 the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dutton, who challenged his leadership in the Liberal Party, the most important in the alliance .
The initiative came after Turnbull suffered a sharp drop in opinion polls, which led to raise the possibility of an early election. According to a recent consultation, the opposition Labor Party has 55% support compared to 45% that would be added by the Liberal-National government coalition.
In the closed door voting in Canberra, Julie Bishop was also ratified as Foreign Minister, being the only candidate.
Now, Turnbull will have to face a renewal in his cabinet to alleviate the internal crisis generated by the so-called National Energy Guarantee (NEG) plan, which aims to lower electricity prices.
The crisis that originated everything
That program found resistance in the most conservative wing of the liberals, which supports the commitment to energy-generating coal plants. This situation forced the president to postpone the legislation that provides for a 26% reduction in the emission of polluting gases.
Turnbull will have to return to the polls before May 2019, but some sectors speculate on the possibility of calling early elections, although he should do so before the end of October, taking into account that by the end of November a vote is scheduled in the state of Victoria.
After winning the vote in an adjusted manner, the president asked the party to back him up to avoid risking a future defeat in the elections. “We know that instability undermines any government’s ability to do something. The unit is absolutely critical, “he remarked.
As reported by the Sky News, after losing the motion, Dutton, a conservative who won the backing of the Liberal Party right, resigned from the cabinet after losing the vote, but retained a place as a legislator without portfolio. From that position, he will seek support to raise a possible new challenge against Turnbull.
Political instability threatens Australia again
Beyond having survived the motion of trust, Turnbull’s position is far from relaxed. The background of the last decade has shown how internal struggles -both in governments of the Liberal-National coalition and the Labor Party- gave way to interruptions of leadership.
Political instability is once again a threat in Australia, a country that has had six different leaders since 2009.
For example, in 2010, the Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd – who had taken office in 2007 to replace the Liberal leader John Howard for eleven years – had to leave his post and the leadership of his party after losing a motion of censorship. His replacement was Julia Gillard, who was displaced again by Rudd under the same mechanism.
Rudd relinquished that place after losing the election to Tony Abbott of the Liberal Party in 2013. Two years later, Turnbull won the party leadership over Abbott – who had previously survived a similar challenge – and assumed the government, place that ratified when winning the elections a year later.
Turnbull, from popular support for his resistance in power
On his arrival at the government, Turnbull, a liberal socialist and multi-millionaire who knew how to be a commercial banker, received strong popular support, but that position before the Australian electorate has been considerably defeated.
Far from his progressive image, the Australian prime minister, has turned his government policies to the right with the aim of attracting conservative voters, generating the disappointment of the progressive sectors.
Even so, the shattered Liberal-National alliance managed to win the 2016 elections by narrow margin, although that coalition has a majority of one seat in Parliament, which forces it to negotiate votes in the Senate.
With the crisis unleashed by the possible energy reform, Malcolm Turnbull saw his leadership shake and the narrow victory is not a guarantee of stability for the leader of the Australian government.