All eyes are on the future of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
All eyes are on the future of Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

Truth about Turnbull’s 30th loss

ALL eyes are on the future of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership.

But despite the Prime Minister's 30th consecutive Newspoll loss, a leadership spill isn't as likely as you may think, no matter how many times you've seen the #LibSpill hashtag.

READ MORE: Why everyone's talking about a #LibSpill

Over the weekend, Tony Abbott said he wants his colleagues to explain why he was ousted from the prime ministership over his 30 Newspoll losses.

"That was not my metric and it is for others to explain the rhyme or the reason in it," Mr Abbott told the Sunday Telegraph.

But there are several key differences to consider between today's Newspoll result and the rolling of Mr Abbott.

For one thing, Mr Abbott had a host of other issues working against him, including the economy, poor decisions and stunts, and his "captain's picks" - decisions he made without consulting his colleagues.

Let's not forget the former leader's decision to bestow an Australian knighthood on the Duke of Edinburgh, which attracted worldwide ridicule and triggered harsh criticism over Mr Abbott's political judgment.

The decision was slammed unanimously across the Australian media as out-of-touch, self-indulgent and tone deaf.

Mr Abbott also broke a series of promises he'd foolishly delivered into a television camera on the eve of the 2013 election. His three-word slogans - "scrap the tax", "stop the boats", "end the waste" - fast grew stale.

In an analysis this morning, The Australian 's economics editor David Uren argues that Malcolm Turnbull has achieved his predecessor's 2013 victory promise to generate a million jobs over five years.

He said rising unemployment, the decision by carmakers to close their doors and spending cuts in the 2014-15 budget all contributed to a growing pessimism for the Abbott Government.

Mr Turnbull, in turn, generated 670,000 jobs after taking the leadership, adding to the 340,000 in the previous two years. The unemployment rate dropped below six per cent in Mr Turnbull's first month in office.

Does Mr Turnbull regret citing 30 Newspolls as a reason for challenging Mr Abbott?

Of course. He himself admitted it was a stupid move - one which would give his enemies a clear metric with which to quantify his success, and take focus away from more substantial means of evaluation.

Over the weekend, Tony Abbott said he wants his colleagues to explain why he was ousted in 2015.
Over the weekend, Tony Abbott said he wants his colleagues to explain why he was ousted in 2015.

Most importantly, there are no suggestions anyone in the cabinet is looking to spark a leadership spill - nor is there evidence of an alternative who could significantly boost the Coalition's chances of winning the next election.

Not to mention emulating the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd saga would be political suicide.

Mr Turnbull's colleagues have been unanimous in dismissing the results of today's Newspoll.

"That's not the test for the leadership of the Liberal Party," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sunrise today. "The test is who retains the confidence of the majority of the members of the Liberal Party room, and that's Malcolm Turnbull."

Senator Eric Abetz told the ABC overnight he's "not aware of any leadership challenge".

"The leadership is safe with Malcolm Turnbull," Josh Frydenberg likewise said on Insiders yesterday. "I believe he is doing a really important job in some challenging circumstances, but if you look at his record and if you look at the alternative, it is a clear-cut choice."

On Friday, Christopher Pyne dismissed claims of an impending spill as "rubbish", including suggestions that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton could be out to take over the top job.

"It's just an irrelevance. Sure there might be a bad Newspoll on Monday - nobody cares," he told Today.

Even conservative MP Andrew Hastie, a good friend of Mr Abbott, said no one was entertaining the prospect of an Abbott return.

On Turnbull's Newspoll loss, he told AAP: "Just acknowledging the irony is probably a good way forward ... take it on the chin. That's all he can do.

"I don't think anyone's entertaining the prospect of Tony returning."

Even Mr Abbott downplayed his own role in the leader's woes today, saying it's "not about him".

"It is not about me, it has got to be about what is best for our country and hoe the government can best deliver that," he told Seven News from Melbourne this morning.

"Government is hard, Malcolm Turnbull and I know this better than anyone, but the best way to be a good government is to have clear policies, it's to have a united team, and it is to be obviously distinct from your opponents and that is what I tried to be and do in government and I'm sure that is what is what the prime minister is trying to be and do now.

"The point I would make is that we shouldn't obsesses over polls, I never did, I don't think others should, what we should be focused on is being the best possible government and winning an election."

If anything, 30 consecutive Newspoll losses should serve as a wake-up call to the Prime Minister. Voters aren't happy with him and want more from his government.

But for the foreseeable future, at least, it's unlikely he's going anywhere.

@gavindfernando | gavin.fernando@news.com.au



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