Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Turnbull's pit-bulls off the leash

It is fascinating to see Malcolm Turnbull's emerging style as leader of the Federal Opposition. As fairly progressive on social issues he is defining his leadership through economics as we would expect from a former merchant banker. However, it is the less the content of his policies on the financial crisis than the tactics he is using to gain some traction in the debate which makes him appear to be stakinga claim to pit-bull status. His endorsement of government responses to the crisis, followed by immediate criticism of the detail is what we want from a credible, functioning opposition.

The bitter attack on individuals and organisations who are expected to act independently of government spin is defining the new Liberal guard. Malcolm and his frontline spokespersons, Andrew Robb, Julie Bishop and Helen Coonan are on dangersous grounds at present. By questioning not only the integrity of both the Federal Treasury and the Reserve Bank but also of key people such as the Treasury Secretary Ken Henry, their tactics are undermining those institutions at a critical time.

Public confidence in the economy is at rock bottom. Turnbull seems willing to destroy any public trust in Treasury and the Reserve Bank for short term political point scoring.

They had better back up their accusations with some tangible evidence. Ken Henry's address to the National Press Club in an hour's time is impeccable timing.

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