Why is Australian politics so unstable

Political crisis in Australia is coming to a head

Political crisis in Australia is coming to a head

On Friday, the Liberal Party is likely to give the shoe to its Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Political instability is causing criticism in the economy.

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is politically at an end. After a turbulent day on which he even lost the support of his closest confidants, he announced a special session of his group in parliament for Friday. This should lead to a battle vote for the post of party chairman and head of government. However, Turnbull made it a condition that a majority of the MPs must request the special session - in writing and with a signature. He said he would not compete again himself. This could result in a by-election: the liberal-national government coalition has a majority of just one seat in the House of Representatives.

The ultra-conservative challenger Peter Dutton had already received 35 votes on Tuesday. Since then, the former policeman has gathered more supporters. The former interior minister needs seven more votes to win the post. But that is not guaranteed for him: The judiciary is feverishly checking whether it is relevant that several daycare centers receive state subsidies that are controlled by Dutton's family investment fund. Such a conflict of interest would disqualify him from sitting in parliament. On Thursday there were reports that the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer Scott Morrison could throw his hat into the ring.

Too liberal for the party comrades

Turnbull suffered the hardest blow on Wednesday morning: Finance Minister Mathias Cormann withdrew his support. The politician, who grew up in the German-speaking enclave of Eupen in Belgium, was considered a loyal Turnbull supporter. He comes from the conservative wing of the party. Dutton and Cormann are best friends.

"What we are currently seeing is a deliberate attempt to move the Liberal Party to the right," Turnbull told the media. He is alluding to the group of ultra-conservative parliamentarians around his predecessor Tony Abbott. This has undermined his successor since Turnbull ousted him from office in 2015. Turnbull was a thorn in the side of Conservatives because of his liberal policies. To this day, they criticize the fact that Australia voted in a referendum last year for the gay marriage advocated by Turnbull.

The biggest bone of contention, however, is energy policy. Abbott and his group of climate skeptics see no reason for Australia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. You have vehemently opposed the promotion of renewable forms of energy. Instead, they are calling for new coal-fired power plants to be built. Turnbull regularly buckled in front of its challengers. In doing so he created further enemies in the more progressive part of the party, but also in the population. The well-known commentator Paddy Manning spoke on Thursday of a “hostage-taking of our democracy by a group of extreme conservatives”.

The "Italy in the Pacific"

With a new law, Turnbull wanted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent below the 2005 level. On Monday, under pressure from the conservatives, he also dropped this modest goal.

The economy warns of a loss of confidence from international investors in the political process. The head of the raw materials company Oil Search, Peter Botton, was relieved this week to be primarily active in neighboring Papua New Guinea. The energy policy in the country plagued by corruption, political scandals and unrest is "substantially more stable" than in Australia. Ian Davies, chairman of Senex Energy gas explorer, said the "death of the energy bill" was "hugely disappointing." Other countries have a “better investment climate”.

Various representatives of foreign companies are now behind closed doors calling Australia "Italy in the Pacific" because of the political instability. The Prime Minister's chair became an ejection seat after Labor Party's Kevin Rudd retired from Conservative Prime Minister John Howard after eleven years in the 2007 elections. Even in his first term in office, Rudd was put into a coup by his deputy Julia Gillard. Three years later it was again replaced by Rudd. In 2013, the conservative Tony Abbott came to power only to be kicked out of office by Turnbull two years later.