By Michael Giles
IT WILL take time to see if the Liberal Party has done the right thing in changing its leader, and our Prime Minister, mid-term.
The new PM, Malcolm Turnbull, has at least shown himself to be decisive enough in the early stages, bringing in some sweeping changes to his front bench and it comes as something of a breath of fresh air, after the three-word slogans and negativity which dogged Tony Abbott’s period in office, to see a generational change and more women getting the opportunity to serve.
But it has been a little too tricky of the media and the ALP to launch a campaign against Mr Turnbull for (1.) mounting a challenge in the first place and (2.) not immediately agreeing to a vote on marriage equality and a climate change policy review.
As Mr Turnbull explained on the first day he came to office, Australia does not have a presidential system. We don’t vote for a president and the electoral process in this country has adopted too much of a presidential style in the lead up to elections.
We have a parliamentary system here with the Prime Minister simply being the leader of the government while he has the confidence of his colleagues.
Mr Turnbull explained to the waiting media pack, after his election that he would have a much more collegiate approach to decision making, in other words he wasn’t in a position to make ‘a captain’s call’ about bringing on a vote over same-sex marriage or a review of the government’s climate change settings.
Those changes will have to come from within the cabinet.
But that wasn’t good enough.
The media and the Opposition accused him of not standing by his own beliefs and utterances before becoming PM – you can’t win, apparently.
What the people of Australia are looking for is a government that now gets on with the challenges facing this country at the moment; whether that be tax reform, job creation or revitalising the manufacturing sector.
And we would like to see a change from the media as well where they adopt a much more thoughtful approach to criticism and review, running the ‘is it good for Australia’ rule across issues as they arise.
They might like to start with the first rule of journalism ethics: “Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts”.