Nick O’Malley comments in the Brisbane Times (6.1.17) on the political year ahead in Australia, suggesting that the Turnbull federal government will focus only on small, or even small-minded, ideas and not on any areas of significant policy reform or achievement, in an effort to appease the right-wing elements of the Liberal and National parties.
‘If it really is true that people start the year as they intend to go on, there are some solid indications from Canberra that we are in for a long year full of small ideas.
‘Malcolm Turnbull set the tone with a New Year’s Eve address that suggested he no longer believes it to be such an exciting time to be alive in Australia. Rather we should consider ourselves lucky to be alive at all.
‘”Our police and security services have foiled a number of terrorist plots designed to undermine our society and scare us into changing our way of life, which is the envy of the world,” the PM lamented.
‘”We will continue to root out Islamist terrorists and violent extremists and put them behind bars, just as our Defence Force will continue to combat and destroy them in Syria and Iraq”.
‘This was a grim message, especially coming from Turnbull. After he seized the prime ministership from Tony Abbott, Turnbull pointedly toned-down the government’s rhetoric on terrorism. This was not just a tacit rebuke to Abbott, it was a decision made on the advice of Australian security agencies who argued that the use of divisive language by government leaders made their job harder.
‘It was also a decision that left Turnbull open to criticism from his own party, so mid-last year, about the time Turnbull erred for discretion over valour in his battle with the right, it was quietly abandoned.
‘… It doesn’t really matter how much Turnbull concedes to the right, it will never be enough.’