So, unlike Dyson Heydon, it is not always easy to guess my view on a political issue. Our Prime Minister himself has been a good example. Having been vocally critical of his awful predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull earnt some goodwill with me just by not being Tony Abbott. I have commented previously that I am not expecting him to reverse the policies he has inherited overnight, but I have been at least temporarily satisfied with the more subtle changes that have occurred since his ascension. But don’t confuse me with a Turnbull cheerleader.
My patience over his continuation of Abbott-era policies will not last forever. I am already disappointed he has not used Eric Abetz’s threat to ignore the result of a costly plebiscite over marriage equality as justification for bypassing the plebiscite and bringing the vote directly to the parliament. I also strongly disagree with our policy of unaccountable offshore detention.
So with the eventual resignation of Mal Brough and now Stuart Robert, Mr Turnbull has had to reshuffle his cabinet again. His political opponents and some media analysts will speak of this as reflecting badly on his judgement that cabinet ministers keep being forced to resign as if he should know every skeleton that all of his fellow MPs are hiding. I disagree with this interpretation and in fact am quite heartened that the prime minister is actually willing to sack ministers for unacceptable behaviour or (hopefully) incompetence.
An underlying tenet of the Westminster system used to be the fact that the buck stopped with the minister and that he or she would take responsibility for the performance of their department, even if this meant resigning when their ministry was hit by big enough scandal. It would certainly save a lot of money on spin doctors and media advisors if this was still the case, but since it isn’t, I am glad to see Malcolm Turnbull is willing to insist on it from time to time.
So Mr Turnbull, the next time one of your ministers shows themselves to be unfit for your cabinet please don't hesitate to fire them. You will hear no criticism from me.