Strange Politics: Turnbull's crappy birthday party
THE recipe for a terribly depressing birthday has three core ingredients - knowing you are one year closer to the abyss; an enemy reminding you at every turn; and Pauline Hanson gatecrashing the party.
Malcolm Turnbull has passed the one-year mark and his predecessor's prime ministerial half-way point. It is easily forgotten, but Tony Abbott only survived in the country's top political job for one year and 361 days.
There was no fanfare to mark Turnbull's anniversary, just heads down and business as usual - except the day's business coincided with One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson's opening speech to the Senate of the 45th parliament.
"We are in danger of being swamped by Muslims,” she said, echoing her 1996 maiden address but giving Asians and Muslims the ol' switcheroo.
"If you are not prepared to become Australian and give our country your undivided loyalty ... I suggest you go back to where you came from.”
Those sensitive Greens senators all upped and walked out of the room in protest after that comment.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young took to Twitter to assure her followers: "For the record, Pauline is not my mother, aunt or any relation.”
Ms Hanson's speech stole the limelight from our prime minister's day - a welcome event given his past 12 months.
First, for his achievements. Unemployment has dropped, economic growth is up, and the government's $6.3 billion omnibus bill of savings measures looks like passing with bipartisan support. But then there was the online Census ... a trainwreck that rather than showcasing our innovative and agile prime minister's innovation and agility, achieved the opposite.
His has become the first majority government in half a century to lose a vote in the parliament, due to truant MPs nicking off early and missing the count.
The government this week introduced legislation for a same-sex marriage plebiscite into parliament, but it is already dead in the water. With Labor, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team and Derryn Hinch all opposing the bill, it has no chance of passing the Senate.
Already one Liberal senator, Dean Smith, has said he would not vote for a plebiscite - not because he is gay, but because it would set a dangerous precedent of legislators contracting out their responsibilities when facing tough decisions.
No one was calling for a plebiscite on euthanasia, he pointed out, so why same-sex marriage?
Attorney-General George Brandis likes his leader, though, and said history would remember Mr Turnbull as being on par with the likes of John Howard and Sir Robert Menzies.
Howard took issue with that, somewhat snarkily telling ABC's RN the comment was "a bit unfair and premature”.
Turnbull has had to contend with constant "advice” from a "no wrecking, no undermining, no sniping” Tony Abbott since the whole backstabbing affair went down.
Those incessant snipes thinly veiled as helpful tips fool absolutely no one, and only serve to sabotage. Who wants advice from a prime minister who could not even keep his job for two years, anyway?
Even with all of Turnbull's stuff-ups, Australian politics are not nearly as toxic as they were a year ago, and for that he can be proud even if the rest of his world is crashing around him.
- ARM NEWSDESK