Turnbull Train Still on Schedule Despite Newspoll Losses

By Varun Bajekal

Varun is a fourth year, studying Business Information Systems/International Relations.

Thirty. The magic number Malcolm Turnbull cited when he ousted Tony Abbott as the leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Australia. “The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost thirty Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership,” Turnbull said at his press conference the day before he won the leadership spill in September 2015. Now, Turnbull is approaching that dreaded figure. He has lost twenty-nine Newspolls in a row and is on track to hit the benchmark thirty that he set on that fateful day, unless a miracle occurs within the next week. Should he be held to the same standard, or should he be given a chance to prove himself and guide the Liberals to the next election?

While it may sound hypocritical to let Turnbull keep his job even if he loses thirty Newspolls, given that this number was used to replace Abbott as Prime Minister, there are many differences between the two situations that need to be taken into account. While Abbott achieved substantial outcomes as Prime Minister, and delivered many of his promises, it seemed like the looming election was unwinnable. As he had promised to do, he stopped the boats and scrapped the carbon and mining taxes, two issues that were important to the voters at the 2013 election. He also negotiated three free trade agreements, including one with China, Australia’s largest trading partner. However, despite succeeding in these areas, there were certain failures of the Abbott government which the public could not ignore. It began when the government lost immense political capital after the 2014 budget was released. Included were several cuts and broken promises, and ultimately the government failed to sell the budget to the people. Fiscally, the 2014 budget measures would have been instrumental in overturning the budget deficit the government had inherited from the previous Labor government. However, then Treasurer Joe Hockey and Abbott failed to explain the budget to the people. The constant gaffes and poor captain’s picks, such as knighting Prince Philip, did not help Abbott either. He seemed out of touch in the eyes of the Australian public.

The media also did not help Abbott’s case; constantly lurking in the grass, waiting for him to make a mistake and pouncing at every opportunity. Unlike some of his predecessors, there was a media bias against him on many occasions. From day one, Abbott was under scrutiny and was held to a different standard, particularly because his conservative views differed from that of the largely leftist mainstream media.

However, despite his successes outlined above, Abbott’s economic management was not exemplary. After he took over as leader, unemployment rose, the economic growth rate slowed, and the Australian Dollar weakened. This was one of Turnbull’s other reasons for ousting Abbott: He believed he could provide better economic administration. Fortunately for Turnbull, he has succeeded on this front. Most economic indicators have shown improvement under his leadership, and job growth is at a record high. In the past year, one of the key economic achievements of the Turnbull government was the approximately 403,000 new jobs that have been created. This is over 1,000 jobs created per day.

Turnbull has also been able to deliver on his other promises, even though some of them faced major obstacles. After Labor and the Greens blocked the same sex marriage plebiscite in the Senate, he still found a way to give the Australian people a say: Through a postal vote. The turnout of approximately 80% gave it legitimacy as well as giving the people a democratic vote. The Turnbull government is also very close to getting its proposed company tax cuts (from 30% to 25%) through a hostile Senate, and his record in getting legislation through has been positive. Going by the forward estimates, the budget is forecast to hit a surplus in the 2020-21 financial year. Turnbull’s vision for the country and economy needs to be lauded as well. His government has heavily invested in innovation, science and technology, and he is leading the country into the modern age with a futuristic mindset.

Yet, it is obvious that the Coalition is losing some of its voter base to fringe minor parties. Considerable work must be done to win them back if Turnbull is to win the next election. It is a worrying sign that an established and sensible party is losing votes to radical parties like One Nation, led by a zealot who is uncharismatic, inane and offers nothing positive to Parliament or the country. Turnbull has his work cut out for him to win back those protest voters who decided to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the government by voting for Pauline Hanson. But it can be done. In the recent Queensland election, votes for One Nation actually assisted Labor in winning the election, as Turnbull pointed out. Hopefully for Turnbull, those voters have learned their lesson.

The final major difference between Turnbull and Abbott is that Turnbull is still leading the polls over Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister. While this victory may not be substantial given the Coalition is still trailing Labor 47-53 in the two-party preferred vote, it represents a glimmer of hope for Turnbull. Shorten is unpopular with the Australian public, and has recently solidified the notion that he will do or say anything to become Prime Minister. Shorten assured coal miners in Queensland that he supported the Adani mine while simultaneously telling inner-city Melbourne voters that he was against it in the lead up to the Batman by-election.

Turnbull is delivering but needs to make some changes if he is to retain power. The next election is not unwinnable for the Coalition, but a lot of hard work needs to be put in to achieve a positive result.


Aunt Pep

Dear Aunt Pep,

It is Week Four. I sit in my compulsory tute, and the voice echoes in the back of my mind: Tute participation is worth 10% of your overall score. The tutor asks a question. There’s a silence. I look at my laptop, at the clock, at anything as to avoid meeting their gaze. The silence continues. The tutor sighs. ‘The answer is “separation of powers”’, they mutter. Every student fervently types this. We are all going to get 0/10. But how can I break this pattern by the end of semester?


Participation Anxiety

Dear Participation Anxiety,

For the shy and/or publicly oratorically challenged amongst us, it can be the worst of times to learn that academic assessment (or 10% of it at least), is predicated upon verbal engagement. However, keep calm and don’t be too alarmed because there is absolutely no rubric that stipulates your participation must be informed, or correct, or anything really—except that it needs to occur. The key takeaway here is quantity over quality. So, say something! Anything! Respond to questions with questions, guess with absolutely no contextual knowledge of any of the prescribed readings for that week, or ever! If it’s the participation marks you’re after, you’re in luck because no actual work or effort needs to go into it. My personal tip? Gulp down a triple shot flat white right before class and you’ll be physically incapable of shutting up!


Aunt Pep


If Oscar Nominated Movies Were People

By Emilio Lanera

Emilio is a second year PPE/Arts student majoring in English and minoring in International Relations. Some of his interests include writing, reading, tennis and keeping up to date with international affairs.


Ladybird is the quintessential girl who is twenty-something but still going through the angsty teenage phase. She tries really hard to fit in, but unfortunately is just too socially awkward. Instead, she ends up hanging out with her best friend, who she has known since kindergarten – the two of them spend their nights drinking cheap wine and bitching about the popular girls from school. Ladybird also has a serious love/hate relationship with her mother and 99% of conversations with her are about how her mum is too overbearing. But, deep down, Ladybird really loves her mum and knows she is just looking out for her. On another note, Ladybird kind of sucks at maths so don’t get her to do your taxes or even let her split the bill.

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water is that person who is into some really weird sex stuff and has a strange obsession with boiled eggs. The Shape of Water isn’t much of a talker so no one really knows much about their past, except that they have gone through some seriously traumatic stuff. However, their silence doesn’t stop them from fighting for what is right and standing up to chauvinistic white men who wash their hands before they pee (seriously, what is up with that?). The Shape of Water is an all-round activist, also campaigning against issues such as homophobia, racism, and animal/amphibian god cruelty. Having said that though, maybe think twice before letting your pet cats near them.

Man handing an Oscar to someone.

Call Me By Your Name

Similar to The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name is into some really weird sex stuff, although they’re ten times gayer. Call Me By Your Name has a super bougie aesthetic and is a bit of an academic snob. If you can’t converse with them about classical music or obscure philosophical theories then quite frankly, don’t bother talking to them at all. Despite their pretentious nature, Call Me By Your Name is a hopeless romantic who is destined for heartbreak, longing for men they know they can never have. They also really love peaches…for use in all kinds of pastimes.

The Post

The Post is the Queen of Drama. They have access to all the gossip, and have no intention of keeping it to themselves. They quite literally will tell anyone willing to listen. Heck, they will even come to your house while you’re hosting a party, just to fill you in on the latest drama. While The Post is a major gossip, there is no one out there that works harder than them. Spending late nights at the office, drinking coffee or overpriced homemade lemonade, The Post will go all out to get the job done. Their hard work is devoted to bringing down any and all establishments, from the US Government to the Patriarchy. For too long they have been told their gender will prevent them from succeeding. But The Post has no time to deal with these narrow minded people as they are too busy breaking the glass ceiling left, right and centre, all through the power of hard work, determination, and a whole lot of drama.   


Dunkirk is an old war veteran with an explosive personality. If you can bear the stench of bourbon on their breath, they will tell you some thrilling war stories. They are a local hero, and so it follows that if you are seen with them in public you too will be treated like royalty.  

Three Billboards Outside Epping Missouri

Three Billboards has a heart of gold, but some serious anger issues. She also has a hard-core dress sense, which adds to her intimidation factor. She’s not afraid to fight you and will probably beat you up if you dare to talk smack about her or her daughter. If you really piss off Three Billboards, she’ll probably burn your house down. Moral of the story: Do not cross her.

Get Out

Get Out has a really dark sense of humour, but you can’t help but laugh at their jokes. He literally has the worst in-laws and his girlfriend is a total psycho. Come on, what kind of person – a racist one to boot – tries to remove their boyfriend’s consciousness to provide a body for their blind grandfather to inhabit? More importantly, who eats cereal and milk separately?

Get Out is definitely tripping on some hallucinogenic drugs, although whether he is intentionally taking them or being roofied by his girlfriend’s family is up for debate.

Phantom Thread

To be honest, no one knew who Phantom Thread was until they showed up, unannounced, to the Oscars, and to be quite honest, I doubt anyone is going to stay in touch with them.


Why I Don’t Celebrate International Women’s Day

By Anonymous