The citizenship debacle in Federal Parliament has now gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Not only has the High Court been forced to rule on the so-called “Citizenship Seven” leading to findings of ineligibility against the “Foreign Five” as it were, we now have Senate President Stephen Parry out the door and Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg scrambling to free himself of possible Hungarian citizenship.
Yet the Labor opposition is still resisting calls for an audit of all MPs and there can only be one reason for that. Of course, they’re afraid they’ll lose some of their own and with Bill Shorten miraculously on the ascendency through no fault of his own; Labor doesn’t want to slow the momentum.
Such an audit would undoubtedly cause a veritable clean out of Federal Parliament and while that would probably result in some of the better performers being ousted from their seats, it would serve as somewhat of a hard reset for the Government. However, it can’t be under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership or lack thereof.
Turnbull’s position has become untenable. Once touted as the hope of the side, his arrogance and disconnect with the electorate has become terminal. When the completely uninspiring Bill Shorten looms as a real threat then all is lost. Turnbull not only can’t govern, he’s been proven to be a dud campaigner and that’s a recipe for impossible electoral fortunes.
The questions that emanate from the quagmire in which we find ourselves are many. Most notably who if not Turnbull? Tony Abbott stands as the only person with leadership experience and proven campaigning ability, but whilst his policy utterances since losing the leadership to Turnbull have been solid, it could be said the damage has already been done and his political capital spent.
Julie Bishop is said to be sizing up The Lodge but as a decade as a self-described “loyal” deputy to whomever seems to stand before her, can she be trusted by her colleagues or is her obvious disloyalty holding her back?
Kevin Andrews who once served as a stalking horse considers himself a potential leader and while his fair dinkum conservatism appeals to some, it’s just a silly proposition. Equally, Peter Dutton is oft touted by a small group in the media as a leadership contender but with a lack of charisma second only to Shorten, he’s not a real option either.
This brings us to Treasurer Scott Morrison - good parliamentary performer, a solid ministerial operator and relatively charismatic. The only thing is his colleagues don’t trust him and leadership without trust is doomed to failure.
What looms as an opportunity to as Donald Trump would put it, drain our own swamp is scuttled by a lack of fresh water with which to replace it. If only there was a realistic third way. Sadly, only the lunatics seem to want to occupy that space.