'Transaction costs' of deposing Abbott coming back to haunt PM: Grattan

Friday, 30 June 2017, 10:42:17 AM. As this year ebbs away, Malcolm Turnbull's hold on the leadership will become more precarious if there is no lift in those relentless Newspolls, writes Michelle Grattan.
Photo: The "transaction costs" of deposing Tony Abbott may come back to haunt Malcolm Turnbull. (AAP: Lukas Coch) An admission: when I heard people raising the "transaction costs" after Tony Abbott was deposed by Malcolm Turnbull, I thought they were exaggerating. Surely these couldn't be too high, given the relative popularity levels of the two. Nearly two years on, when the Coalition is lagging badly in the polls and many Liberals — albeit way out from an election — already see opposition looming, those costs are there in spades, in the form of a deeply vengeful Mr Abbott, bent on wrecking his successor; a party at war internally, and speculation being fanned about whether its leader will last to the election. It's just a year on Sunday since Mr Turnbull narrowly won the election, but the fear of defeat is strong. Video: Barrie Cassidy: Abbott causing Liberals a world of pain (ABC News) Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman, who spectacularly lost office in one term from a massive majority, has a credibility problem in commenting on what leaders should do. Nevertheless, his call this week for Mr Turnbull to stand down is just another unhelpful piece of flotsam for the Liberals. "He can't be deposed — we can't have another execution," Mr Newman said. But Mr Turnbull was "dividing the Liberal Party", what he'd tried wasn't working, and he should "do the right thing" and quit. Like most other people in the community, politicians are more impatient than they used to...Read more
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