Friday, 25 September 2015

Turnbull's first policy announcement brings him back to the centre

The domestic violence policy announcement, it's impossible imagining Tony Abbott doing something like that. Abbott would have found the problem too touchy-feely, too human, too expensive (Turnbull has promised $100 million). But already on the same day as the announcement by Turnbull that he would tackle domestic violence head-on, Labor came out on TV in support of the move. The next day the Greens publicly said they agreed with it. It's amazing.

Millions of women in Australia will have breathed a sigh of relief. Already this year, 63 Australian women have been killed by their partners. And it's not an unusual statistic. Rather, it's the norm. Hence the pressing nature of the proposal to do something to make it easier for women to be free of the men who are making their lives miserable. Even under state law in New South Wales, for example, everyone is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes.

It is such a relief to have Abbott gone. It has been almost two weeks now since the party-room spill but this is the first time I have said as much on this blog. The sensation of freedom, of an unaccountable burden removed, of a terrible curse on the fortunes of the country lifted. We shouldn't forget however that the reason why Abbott is gone is because so many of you said for so long that you wished it to be so. Turnbull wasn't making up figures when he said that Abbott had been behind in the opinion polls for 30 weeks. It is because of that sustained negative judgement by so many Australians that Abbott is now history. Everyone who helped should be proud of what they have done. It was a collective decision.

The domestic violence policy that Turnbull announced yesterday is his first major piece of policy since taking the leadership of the Liberal Party. As such, it should give heart to those who wanted Turnbull to be less extreme, less ideological, in short a lot less like Abbott. It looks as though this fellow might, after all, be a keeper. He is bringing the country together in a way that Abbott would have found incomprehensible. Turnbull is unifying us all behind good policy, and not dividing us using ideological measures designed to further the interests of a narrow base among the elites.

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