Love him or loathe him, Tony Abbott was dead right about one thing on Monday night, just before he was ousted as Prime Minister five days out from the Canning byelection.
“This country needs strong and stable government and that means avoiding, at all costs, Labor’s revolving-door prime ministership,” he said at the press conference where he announced he would fight the challenge by Malcolm Turnbull.
“The prime ministership of this country is not a prize or a plaything to be demanded.
“It should be something which is earned by a vote of the Australian people.”
Now the Australian people have once again been robbed of the right to sack a Prime Minister at a general election, and the people of Mandurah have lost the opportunity to deliver a judgement on Abbott's leadership this Saturday at the byelection.
Before this, Labor’s six miserable years of power (it could barely be called a “government”) reduced the tenor of the national debate to something resembling a squabble between children.
Kevin Rudd bawling when the prime ministership of Australia was taken off him was like listening to a four-year-old pleading to his parents that it was his go on the bike, and how dare he be kicked off it.
And that’s exactly how those who deposed him, especially Julia Gillard, treated it; for Labor the top job was little more than a toy.
Now the Liberals are regurgitating Labor’s sorry performance, once again turning the highest office in the country into a plaything of the rich and powerful.
Malcolm Turnbull’s lines about a return to "consultative" government was almost word-for-word Gillard’s excuse for axe-murdering Kevin Rudd in office.
Maybe they’ve all been gazing too long at themselves in the mirror.
If they don’t think they’ll be punished by the electorate – if the electorate ever gets the chance – then they are terribly mistaken.
Australia had six years of mismanagement under Labor, caused by the astonishing high-wire self-interest of politicians unable to put the national interest before their own venality. Now the Liberal party is taking its turn in that circus.
Dislike, and even loathing, of a Prime Minister is the right of the public. The fate of those in high office should be settled by a vote of the people, not in a back-room of Parliament House, Canberra.
Once again, the people of Western Australia – the people of Mandurah and Canning in particular – have been robbed of the chance to judge a sitting Prime Minister.
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