Turnbull 45, Nelson 41

As most of you would be aware by now, Malcolm Turnbull has won the Liberal leadership after defeating Brendan Nelson 45 votes to 41. Nelson won the post-election vote 45 votes to 42: not sure where the missing vote went (UPDATE: Kevin Andrews was overseas and didn’t vote – hat-tip to Dovif in comments).


• The latest weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead back at 58-42 after a fortnight at 59-41. Also included are questions on approval of Kevin Rudd, the future of the Coalition and federalism.

Peter Brent asks what became of the government’s green paper on disclosure, funding and expenditure issues, which was due in July.

• The Australian Electoral Commission has published comments on objections to the redistribution of Western Australian electorates.

Bryan’s back.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

793 comments on “Turnbull 45, Nelson 41”

Comments Page 1 of 16
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  1. WB, just love your new “send-off” system. two yellow cards then the red card. It would be great if we can actually the “yellow card” next to the gravatar so we get to know who is the naughty boy or girl. yep, it’s the World Game.

  2. It seems quite clear after the National Press club address that Costello is intent on leaving all options open to him to get drafted into the leadership if conditions prove favourable to a Liberal return to government and a failure of Turnbull to cut through.

    So really, no change in the dynamics of the Liberal Party at all. Fasten the seatbelts, the ride is going to be full of surprises, ie, no change from the status quo.

  3. After watching Peter Costello’s performance at the Press Club today and in particular his surly, defensive and petulant responses to questions regarding his past lack of fortitude and current self indulgence, it has only reinforced my lack of opinion of him.

    Like many others, I suspect, I gave Peter Costello the benefit of the doubt regarding his fortitude for not taking on the position of Prime Minister and taking the fight to John Howard to get it, if required. Despite some obvious indicators to the contrary, I accepted that he was being a team player and didn’t want to destabilise the party. So I thought that maybe there’s more to Costello than meets the eye.

    But alas, I was wrong. Having watched his behaviour this last year and especially this last week leaves only one conclusion – More than meets the eye? No there’s less. Peter Costello is a mirage wrapped in a delusion inside a vacuum.

  4. I noticed that the President of the National press Club was conspicuous by his absence. Probably in mourning draped over the casket of Costello’s leadership aspirations.

  5. Like I said, nothing has changed. Especially after watching Cossie at NPC. PJK was was absolutely right. Cossie is simply lazy. He does not want to do the hard work as the Opp Leader. He wants other to take the hits and pains of an OL. he simply wants to waltz in just before the election, smirk and hope to win the election. It will not happen, the punters are too intelligent for that trick.

    [‘Don’t count Costello out’ – Former prime minister John Howard’s biographer Peter Van Onselen says Malcolm Turnbull will have just 12 months to prove himself in the Liberal leadership, and shouldn’t count out any future challenge by former treasurer Peter Costello.]


  6. [Peter Costello is a mirage wrapped in a delusion inside a vacuum.]

    Aristotle, you got it in one there. The overwhelming majority of people in Australia came to the same conclusion long ago also. The Polls didn’t lie. People weren’t prepared to accept a shallow, inferior, insincere, Keating pretender.

  7. @ 12 The Finneghans

    “……..the punters are too intelligent for that trick.”

    Surely you jest. In general the voting public is so uninformed in regard to political matters that our ‘democracy’ borders on a farce.

  8. Sorry, Rolly, I have to disagree wholeheartedly with that proposition.

    If you look at the Polls from the middle of 2006 right through, there is the lowest percentage of “undecided”, “non-committed” voters for an extremely long time.

    The fact that the Polls have been so consistent for so long, is a clear indication that the general voting public have re-engaged with the political debate to a level not seen for many years.

    John Howard himself said that it would indeed be a foolish person to underestimate the intelligence and engagement of the Australian people.

    They sure were engaged enough to throw his government out and his electorate had no problem in dispatching him to the dustbin of history also.

  9. No 15

    I might remind you that Maxine did not win on primaries. If it wasn’t for the greens, Howard would be on the back bench.

  10. [I might remind you that Maxine did not win on primaries. If it wasn’t for the greens, Howard would be on the back bench.]

    What’s your point? She DID win

  11. No 16,

    And if it wasn’t for the Nationals, Family First and others, there would be a number of current Coalition Members watching proceedings in the Parliament at home on their plasma TV’s at this very moment.

  12. 16 GP, pining for a more stable past after this morning’s vote are we? Can’t blame you really the Liberals have built a lot of instability into the system by having such a divided vote in the Party room today.

  13. By the way, if anyone has been watching the committee deliberations about the amendments to the TPA 1974, the Government has absolutely no idea what the hell it is doing. George Brandis SC is murdering them.

  14. Scorpio 19

    Can you name the seats you are talking about?

    I am counting Costello out, just too much baggage

    Scorpio 15

    I think when a prime minister was in parliament for so many years -12 years, people make a decision about him and Howard has enough baggage, that everyone had made the decision about him, his use by date was gone

    He just did not know about it

  15. Peter did claim the Liberals helped the Nationals win in Gippsland, I was surprised by that remark for I was under the impression the Nations improved their primary vote and I would image a large amount of the 20% would have gone to the Nationals had the Liberals not stood.

  16. I will always connect Malcolm Turnbull with market slumps. Hi sold firm isn’t faring that well at present.

    The slump should sink the GOP Dukes of Hazzard. The economy being McC’s achilles.

  17. But to be fair Kevin, September/October is always the hurricane season of share markets. The rule has always been to buy shares in February/March and bail out in August.

  18. @ 15 scorpio

    “If you look at the Polls from the middle of 2006 right through, there is the lowest percentage of “undecided”, “non-committed” voters for an extremely long time.”

    That is true but it misses the point: Involvement does not infer that the punters have a sound, informed basis on which they are forming their opinions.
    Rather, the contrary: It infers that rhetoric, deliberate manipulation by disinformation and reliance on popular news media as a foundation on which to form ones opinion, have distorted popular perceptions of ‘reality’ to a point of fantasy.

    In case one should be tempted to accuse me of political bias toward one party or another, I wish to make it quite clear that I am heavily prejudiced against all of them.
    I have a strong allegiance to honesty and the principle of a “fair go”; which puts me into a very small minority grouping.

  19. [I might remind you that Maxine did not win on primaries. If it wasn’t for the greens, Howard would be on the back bench.]
    Irrelevant, a loss is a loss. We have PV and that’s that. Most people preferred Maxine over Howard. I wonder how many seats the Libs won in WA on the back of preferences? Do they count?

  20. A couple of easy questions to Rudd and some polite answers.
    That is until Swan brought up “$20 billion spent by Howard in 20 minutes.”

  21. dovif, how about,
    For starters, but you could come up with an even bigger list of Labor seats won on preferences which means that any suggestion that McKew winning Bennelong by default because of a favourable preference flow has as much substance as inferring that the Coalition seats won on preferences is somehow different.

    The seats were won by the incumbent members, end of story. Its like the feeble argument that if 10,000 voters had voted differently, then we would be still referring to PM Howard.

    It didn’t happen similar to 1998 when Labor gained the majority of the 2PP vote. Howard retained Government because Beasley wasn’t able to pick up enough marginal Coalition seats. He got instead, an increased 2PP in safe Labor seats and picked up a considerable number of Lib marginals, but not enough.

    Grasping at straws doesn’t change the end result. As a number of Lib spokespersons have already conceded, they got hammered on November, 24th, 2007.

  22. Anyone know if a new Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs is in the mix? The googler, Andrew Robb has been one of the standout underachievers of the Nelson experiment.

  23. The Googler is being tipped to be shadow treasurer, but given the mile wide grin on Pyne and the look of shock on Robb’s face, who knows.

  24. Rolly @ 30,

    Sorry, but your argument doesn’t make any sense.

    [It infers that rhetoric, deliberate manipulation by disinformation and reliance on popular news media as a foundation on which to form ones opinion, have distorted popular perceptions of ‘reality’ to a point of fantasy.]

    The “deliberate manipulation by disinformation and distortion” that you refer to was endemic throughout the MSM leading up to the last election and was designed to shore up and improve support for the Coalition and undermine Kevin Rudd. Surely you remenber the campaign re Burke, Scores, Rudd’s family history, Julia Gillard being cowardly attacked by numerous lowlifes etc.

    Even with all that support the Coalition still couldn’t win and the Polls show that people made a concious decision to disregard that MSM manipulation and throw their support behind Labor. They are still t6hrowing their support behind Labor and Rudd is continuing to achieve record approval ratings and PPM levels.

    This electorate are certainly “NOT” disengaged.

  25. My view is the media can re-enforce a rusted on opinion, but not change opinion. If the reader agrees they think yep that’s correct. If they disagree they say that’s bull butter.

    Never underestimate the basic common sense of the punter. They know if they are being screwed and will react accordingly.

    That is why Howard’s “Never been better off” statement was such a huge gaffe. 😉

  26. Dario, Turnbull asked the first several questions and in relation to the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy. The rest of the questions from their side, I think without exception (?) [I don’t count Joe’s interjections ;-)] came from backbenchers today. From what I’ve seen of previous question times though, Abbott was unusually quiet. Not a peep out of him, most unusual. The last QT I was at, Abbott got booted from the chamber for one hour for backchatting the speaker 😉 ……

  27. I think this change can only improve things for the Liberals and in a weird way will be good for Labor in the long run too. Nobody is helped by a too weak opposition and it just leads to lazy government. Turnbull will keep Rudd on his toes.

    At the same time, this change is good for the nation. Now the conservative forces are on the outer on both sides of politics. Issues like climate change and an Australian republic will get bipartisan support, which means there will be a debate about the substance – how to do them – rather than silly attempts to put off the inevitable. I can at least respect Nelson for bringing it to a head; his best decision as leader.

  28. Scorpio at 36, these are the seats you mentioned

    Swan – Lib 44.3% leads all parties, FF 0.8%, Nats 0%, ALP did better on preferences by 3.4%
    Cowan – Lib 45.8% PV leads all parties, FF 1.7%, Nats 0%, ALP did better on preference by 0.4%
    Stirling – Lib 47.2% leads all parties, FF 0.6%, Nat 0%, ALP did better on preferences by 4.2%
    Wentworth – Lib 50.4% wins out rights, FF 0.3% Nat 0%, ALP did better on preferences by 12.1%
    Mcmillan – Lib 49.9%, FF 2.9% Nats 0% ALP did better on preferences by 2.2%
    Boothby Lib 46.2% leads all parties, FF 2.4% Nat 0%, ALP did better on preferences by 6.3%

    FF + Nat’s vote was less than 0.8% in 3 of the 6 seats and less than 3% in all of them
    Preferences hinders the Liberals in all of those seat you mentioned
    In 2 of the seats you mentioned did not go to preferences,
    The Liberals had a primary vote lead of over 10% in 4 of those seats,

    so I do not know how you can claim that preferences from the Nationals and Family First helped the Liberal “win” those seats

    If you are mentioning every seat that Liberal did not get 50% of the votes, you will need to include about 70 of the ALP seats on the same list. But our electoral system does not work on a 50% rule

  29. [I think this change can only improve things for the Liberals…]

    Big call, Turnbull could easily be worse than Brenda. He has not be a spectacular success in any political sense.

  30. I should add that I am glad that Rudd has hosed down some of the more hyperbolic reporting of the Lehmans crash in the media. Yes they are big failures, yes it is bad management, but while the US economy is headed for recession, ours is probably not, unless people believe all this stuff and panic.

    The rhetoric of financial reporting here is a little over the top. Markets have “plummeted” (-2.4%) been “hammered”, and are “exposed”. The fact is that the bank exposures here are such that even our worst offenders (NAB and ANZ) will still announce profits. Apart from a few small firms (Aussie Home Loans, Centro, perhaps Babcock and Brown) there have been few Australian casualties. Given that most of our trade is with China/India, not the US, we shouldn’t overreact to this. A lot of financiers are having to face much more realistic (lower) salary prospects, but that isn’t a bad thing.

  31. Ruawake

    You may be right; I don’t think Turnbull is a genius, certainly not on economics. But Nelson has been perceived so poorly that his confidence must be shot, so any change is probably an improvement in the short term. I agree there is still a lot of Howard dead wood to sift out before the Liberals are a serious threat.

  32. I think this is going to flow right through every segment of the Australian economy.
    Everyday Aussies with superannuation or rollovers are going to get hammered.

    My rollover lost over $11,000 last financial year and I bet it has lost that much or more since 1st July, 2008 with 9 and a half Months to go till 30th June, 2009.

    Bank and Financial Institution shares are going to cop a big hit which will translate through to super & investments. Not looking very promising at the moment at all.

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