[UPDATED] Media commentator, Labor party marketeer and Gruen Transfer regular Dee Madigan – who wrongly tipped Turnbull to oust Tony Abbott at this morning’s spill – says despite the PM’s victory of sorts he won’t lead the Coalition at the next election.
Madigan, who just finished working as a strategist for the Labor Party’s recent successful Queensland election campaign, believes today’s victory will be a short one for Abbott, who will ultimately make way for Malcolm Turnbull.
“Abbott’s actually quite a decent bloke – I’ve worked for him – he’s just a terrible prime minister,” Madigan told B&T. She believes Abbott’s win this morning “means nothing” and “he won’t be prime minister at the next election”. Madigan added: “Abbott’s like Gillard – popular in the party room – but I think there’s no way all those Liberal backbenchers in a marginal seat will allow him to continue. Eventually your own survival instincts kick in and you will go with whoever you think will save your job.”
And Madigan should know something about Prime Ministers. She famously worked with Kevin Rudd during his failed 2013 federal election, an experience she detailed in her 2014 book The Hard Sell.
“The problem for Turnbull is there is a lot of people in the Liberal party with this very right-wing agenda and that’s why Abbott got there in the first place. The problem for the Libs is that this is not an agenda supported by the general public. There’s this tussle going on with what the voter wants, what the Liberal party wants and I suspect that Malcolm Turnbull will soon find himself in a very precarious position trying to please two very different masters,” she said.
And Madigan agrees that the electorate has become sick of the internal ructions – and leadership woes – of both the major parties.
“Yes, I agree, the electorate is absolutely sick of it and people are seeing through it. The electorate isn’t stupid, they want good leader with good policies. Abbott promised stability and promised a grown-up government and they haven’t delivered.
“Abbott blatantly lied. He came out will all these election promises and reneged on all of them and you can’t treat the public like they’re stupid. They made out like the country is in some terrible financial hardship and then all the budget did was hurt poor people, the people who could least afford it and left the wealthy alone. There has been nothing good about what Abbott has done.”
Madigan predicts that Turnbull will lead the Libs to the next election; however, she says he too may already be “damaged” in voters’ eyes.
“I think he (Turnbull) is going to struggle to sell himself as a conviction politician because the convictions of those who may possibly put him in power (tomorrow) are very different to his own personal convictions to which he has been very open about.
“The public can see it, they can see him lying when he says he supports one thing and goes and says something else. And I think he’s lost massive credibility stock with the public from what he had when he initially entered politics. I personally believe he’s too damaged to be able to do a good job (as Prime Minister),” she said.