• Hannah Phillips

How Are Our Political Leaders Faring?

Bill Shorten Has Faction Problems

Bill Shorten’s right faction has failed to secure the numbers at the impending national conference.

The right has managed to get 195 delegates to the conference compared with the left’s 193 but there are five non-factional delegates who will in effect control the conference.

As a consequence the numbers at the conference are too tight for any faction to claim it’s in a dominant position and critical issues will be decided on the floor.

This will be a repeat of the 2015 conference where Bill Shorten was able to shore up his position with the support of the left-aligned CFMEU.

The CFMEU will back the leader on some issues at a price but its support is not guaranteed on others.

The Liberal Party Infighting

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is getting on with government as well as fighting three by-elections.

He seems to be a model of confidence and competence.

At his press conference in the Blue Room on Wednesday he calmly fielded questions on the government’s response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse, answered questions about the Foreign Political Interference legislation, and commented on the outcome of the Trump - Kim summit.

However behind him there is turmoil in the Liberal Party which could undermine the government’s chances at the next election.

In NSW the moderate faction’s attempts to unseat Abbott supporters at pre-selections seems to have fizzled out.

In Victoria however the factional battles within the Liberal Party have erupted into civil war, caused by the decision of the Victorian executive, led by Michael Kroger and dominated by the conservatives, that it will decide all pre-selections for the next election.

This has been seen as a move to protect conservatives like Kevin Andrews and recent conservative member Julia Banks.

The Victorian moderates have responded to this move by pushing for all positions in the Victorian Liberal Party, including that of the president, to be put up for re-election.

Under the rules of the party all that is needed to call a special meeting of the state council is the signature of 50 members.

Moderate leader, Ian Quick, claims that he is just an afternoon away from securing the necessary signatures.

John McDonnell

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