My main problem with Malcolm Turnbull’s approach to leading the Opposition is not really that he sends mixed messages, nor that he opposes whatever the Government does just for the sake of opposing, nor even that he focuses on the trivial.
No, my problem is that when you look carefully at any statement Turnbull makes – when you listen to him, then read the transcript, then read the reporting – you realise that he is completely incoherent:
“The key to managing difficult times is discipline and the willingness, the guts, to take tough decisions,” he said.
“All through this year the Prime Minister has made no hard decisions.
“The Prime Minister has mismanaged our response to the global financial crisis. The Prime Minister wants a leave pass for economic laziness.”
I have seen what Kevin Rudd said today about the possibility of running a deficit on infrastructure spending. I understand his reasoning in saying that, and although I tend to agree with it I can understand that some might argue differently or be concerned about it.
But Turnbull doesn’t argue against it. He doesn’t raise concerns about it. The closest he comes to a point is to imply Rudd is a wimp. But even that doesn’t come through clearly.
Even Brendan Nelson articulated an argument better than this.