Yeah, I know I said I was taking the summer off for some overseas research, but I can’t resist commenting on Saturday’s Australian election, which proved to be as big a fiasco as one could concoct for usurper Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: It’s not clear anybody will have a majority in the lower house, while the upper house is awash in independents and fringe parties (including the return of One Nation’s Pauline Hanson) with little incentive other than to devise ever more excruciating ways to make Turnbull’s life hell.
For those non-Aussies who find politics Down Under a bit hard to follow, what with premierships coming and going in less time than it takes Lindsay Graham to launch an exploratory committee to explore whether he should form an exploratory committee to explore attending a pancake breakfast in Iowa, here’s the short version of the last twelve months:
The Oz Liberal Party is liberal in the classical-liberal sense – ie, it’s the right-of-center party. Last year’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, a conservative, was toppled by Malcolm Turnbull, who isn’t in the least bit conservative but rather a modish technocrat know-it-all of consuming personal ambition. I rank him higher than an outright poseur such as David Cameron on the grounds that, when it comes to, say, climate change, Turnbull is a genuine believer whereas Cameron is just going with the flow. At any rate, here’s what I said about Turnbull on the ABC’s Q&A back in February: