• Hannah Phillips

The Week in Politics

The political agenda this week has been dominated by the opinion polls.

Views on the Coalition’s prospects at the next election have crystallised since the release on Monday of the latest Newspoll which confirmed the 30th consecutive loss for the government under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.

There were Coalition members going everywhere but one thing was clear: Malcolm Turnbull did not have the unadulterated support of the party.

There’s no doubt that the Liberal Party is fracturing but it has little to do with the conservative versus moderate divide: the principal cause of consternation within the party at the moment is its prospects at the next election.

Malcolm Turnbull and his supporters are a dwindling group who believe they can win the next election whereas the majority of members and senators just want to save the furniture.

According to leaks from the Liberal Party secretariat, voters prefer Malcolm Turnbull to Bill Shorten but they just don’t get him as a political leader.

They can’t work out his message, they believe he doesn’t do anything and that he lacks balls.

Added to this the party is at war with itself in NSW and Victoria and is yet to choose candidates for a large number of seats that could be in play at the next election.

Things may get worse. There will be a redistribution in South Australia, announced on Friday, which may abolish Christopher Pyne’s seat of Sturt.

If this happens he’s indicated that he wants the seat held by conservative member Nicole Flint which will force her to contest the seat of Mayo.

This is likely to cause festering problems for the party in the run up to the election and an anti-Pyne reaction in South Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull has been put on notice that, if he doesn’t achieve an improvement in the polls by Christmas, he should pull the plug.

The indications are that if things don’t improve before September the Prime Minister will call an election and hope that he can turn things around during the campaign.

From the Gallery • It’s rumoured from a source clued into the Government that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will call the next election for August this year.

• A source in government relations who has been butting heads with government Minister’s said a Minister recently said to them he would use state power by “making their life uncomfortable” if this person didn’t back down.

• The Melbourne launch of Mark Butler MP’s ALP National Presidency Campaign took place on Tuesday evening. Mr Butler currently serves at the ALP President which is unlike the Liberal or National parties where a Member of Parliament is generally not also the President of the organisation.

• Minister for Foreign affairs Julie Bishop has delivered the keynote speech at the La Trobe University Lecture and Conversation on Wednesday at 8am at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.

• His Excellency Mr Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr, Ambassador of Brazil will address the ACT branch of the Australian Institute of International Affairs on Wednesday the 18th of April at the AIIA headquarters in Deakin. The theme for the Ambassadors speech will be “Brazil in the World: A time of Renewal and Opportunities”.

• The Australian Cyber Security Conference 2018 was held between Tuesday and Thursday this week at the National Convention Centre.

• President of the Victorian Liberal Party Michael Kroger hosted the PM Malcolm Turnbull for and address to the Victorian Liberal party’s Enterprise Victoria Annual Dinner. He said the party achieved record fundraising from the attendees as they heard from both the PM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop.

• Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne delivered his keynote address at the Gday USA US-Australian Dialogue on Defence Industries in Washington DC on Friday.

• It seems some people don’t like the new name of their electorates after a electoral redistribution. It’s reported Sarah Henderson is none to pleased with the renaming of her seat. The member for the seat of Corangamite which will have it’s name changed to Cox named after swimming icon May Cox has expressed her concern in the possible misinterpretation of the new seats name.

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