On Monday, the then communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had a less than subtle dig at treasurer Joe Hockey’s handling of the economy.
By 9.30 that evening Turnbull was prime minister and Hockey (a staunch Abbott backer) was looking decidedly nervous about his immediate future.
However, in a delicious piece of irony there’s now speculation that Hockey will be sacked when Turnbull announces his new cabinet on Monday but will re-emerge in Turnbull’s old digs – as communications minister.
Both Canberra political journalists from Fairfax and News Corp are reporting the whispers this morning. It’s understood Hockey fully expects to lose treasury – to Abbott fan, Scott Morrison – but wants to remain on the front bench.
It has also been reported that Abbott knew Hockey had become a liability and had pondered sacking him for Turnbull. The rest, as they say, is now history.
The Australian is this morning reporting that media bosses would be keen on Hockey as comms minister, many of whom weren’t overly enthusiastic when Turnbull was doing the job. That said, it would be envisaged that the relationship with Fairfax would still be a little frosty after Hockey successfully sued them in May for defamation. Fairfax has also had a long and aggressive editorial stance when Abbott was PM.
Yesterday, media stocks rose sharply on the assumption that new PM Turnbull will relax media ownership laws.
When asked about ownership laws at his first media conference as PM, Turnbull said: “The first time I was involved in discussions about media ownership and regulation was in 1977, which is not quite 40 years ago, and the discussions are very much the same.
“A lot of the names of the players are the same, except sometimes it is a different generation, but it will always be keenly discussed and I look forward to discussing these issues with the cabinet.”
Turnbull has also indicated that he may try and woo TV media bosses – nervous about the rise of SVOD snaring audiences and lackluster ad spends – with a licence fee cut before the next election. That said, TV bosses would certainly welcome a federal election and the massive ad spend that would generate.