Contributed by Joe Montero
So, Peter Dutton challenged Malcolm Turnbull for the prime ministership and party leadership. It is not surprising. Nor is it the Malcolm Turnbull won the vote on the day.
In times like this it is too easy to be side tracked by the personalities. These are relevant, but not as important as the context in which they are operating. More than anything else, the challenge occurred because the party and government are divided. The outcome of the ballot has not changed this.
Division exists, because of the difficulties the government is having trouble applying its program. Here is a government totally at the service of big business, a significant part of which are foreign based multinationals. In the national and global contexts therefore, the Australian government is being pushed to apply an ever more extreme austerity on the nation.
It is causing a backlash. The government’s standing falls. Reconciling service to big business, while pretending to represent all Australians is proving to be a harder act to perform.
An expression of the government’s inability has been, its failure to contain the scandals relating to big business excesses. The banks are a good example. The government trapped itself into having to hold a Royal Commission, after it had repeatedly refused to do any such thing.
The fine mess it has gotten itself into, has angered the government’s benefactors. Big business has a bad name in Australian society and is increasingly becoming impatient with a government, which is failing to turn this around.
There are also divisions within the corporate world along the lines of competing sectional interests. The Coalition is most firmly entrenched with those in finance and mining, which not only exert their influence directly through their people ion the parties, but also through organisations like the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and think tanks like the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). It s ruffling a gew other feathers.
The domineering elements are the source of the push for more extreme policies, which also have a political dimension, in the shape of the drift towards an increasingly big brother style of government and curtailment of democratic rights.
Their efforts are creating and widening cracks within the Coalition, and within the government.
It means that the divisions will persist for as long as the same master is being served.
Peter Dutton has gone to the backbench now. It does not mean he has gone away. He also showed that he had a considerable block on his side. He got 35 votes against his rival’s 48. The fighting will continue.
Malcolm Turnbull will go on to fail to deliver to his masters. This is his Achilles heel. He will fall. It’s just a question of when.
The rest of us are left with the task of doing what can, to turn Australia from the present course.