A Jason Clare press conference, when he reminded reporters how many lies Abbott has told, struck an iron gong of inevitability an hour ago.
He said it was wrong the ABC should be cut back, ‘an institution far more loved than this government’, and, unusually, prescribed where the money might come from that replenished its bottom line. In the Paid Parental Leave scheme, of course, in the taxes on overseas corporations, in a tax on moneys earned by the interest on superannuation greater than two million dollars, he said hundreds of millions could be found which the ABC and SBS could keep, and one sensed how resonant this was with even Liberal voters; with National voters, even.
It now seems likely Abbott’s fate is sealed; and it is worth asking when the tipping-point came, the moment after which there was, for him, no way back.
Was it the ‘whinge’ to the world’s leaders about his thwarted desire to take sick old women’s money away? Probably not. Was it the threat to ‘shirtfront’ Putin? Was it his attempt to make a sort of joke of this odd word, though it dealt with the wrongful death of 298 people? Probably not. Was it when he asked Putin for blood money in Beijing? Maybe; maybe not.
It’s more likely that it was, I think, when he posed with a cuddly koala with Putin, who cuddled a koala also, beside him. Do you treat an accused mass murderer so affectionately after saying he had killed Australians, and swearing to ‘bring him to justice’?
That was the moment, probably.
He is now seen as a whack-head as well as a sneaking liar, and he can’t, for long, survive in his present position.
And it seems to me Turnbull now has twice the numbers he had a week ago. He can say he was always on the side of an emissions trading scheme, which Xi Linping and Barack Obama have made into a global quest. He can say he is economically numerate, having made his own fortune, in hundreds of millions. He can pose as a friend of the ABC, who was only doing his whack-head master’s bidding and loathing it. He can end, as a millionaire, the millionairesses’ baby fund. He could sell, with plausibility, an alteration to the GST.
It is his moment, probably, and I predict he will move before Christmas.