Turnbull’s horoscope indicates a horror year ahead for #Fizza

Malcolm Turnbull is a Scorpio. 2017 could be a year of failure and disappointment for the invisible Prime Minister.

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Can #Fizza Turnbull make it to the end of the year?

The signs are not good for PM Malcolm Turnbull as 2017 slowly recovers from its Christmas hang-over and bingeing.

Already the advance guard for the Trump faction of the Coalition is out and about wining and dining and whining with the ready-made racists of the notorious anti-Muslim Q Society.

Cory Bernardi and George Christensen accepted invitations to speak at a Q Society fundraiser months ago, but over the slow-news holiday period a couple of lazy journalists thought they’d revive the story, you know just for the lulz.

Like most such stories, it first got a run in The Australian over a month ago, where it was treated as good news about mates helping a friend who happens to be an anti-Islam bigot.

According to The Oz’ Chip le Grand, Bernardi and Christensen are stepping up to help the Q Society and three office-bearers to fund a defamation defence.

[S]elf-styled conservative warriors Cory Bernardi and George Christensen will ­appear at a fundraising dinner to help an anti-Islam organisation and three members of a rival ­political party defend themselves in defamation ­proceedings.

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Why The Guardian decided that the first day of the new year was a perfect time to publish their own take on this story is a mystery to me. Perhaps it really is the silly season and the editor hoped that we’d forget that we’d actually seen this story somewhere else some time ago.

However, in a textbook case of cascading media coverage, once The Guardian story appeared on 1 January it was repeated (with only minor amendments) for the next 48 hours across Fairfax papers (3 January), on Sky news (3 January) and on the News.com.au website (3 January).

The simple summary of the story is that three leading members of ‘Australia’s premier Muslim-critical organisation’ are being sued by Mohammed El-Mouelhy, the head of the Halal Certification Authority. El Mouelhy claims he was defamed in two videos produced by the Q Society. The case is being heard in the NSW Supreme Court and has been running now for nearly 12 months. It is estimated that the Q Society will run up over one million dollars in legal costs to defend itself and its members.

But this is not a piece about these idiot bigots, it is about Turnbull being wedged on the Islamophobia issue for the benefit of the right wing nut jobs who want to take over the party.

So far the bigots and nutjobs are hiding in plain sight, under the umbrella of Bernardi’s Conservative Leadership Foundation which is the vehicle for his right-wing, Christian, small government and free enterprise values. His natural allies are the likes of the Q Society, which (coincidentally) has its own political ‘party brand’, the Australian Liberty Alliance.

You can read the original version of this piece at Independent Australia.

However, despite claiming he wants to unite conservatives, Bernardi has moved to colonise the party space occupied by the ALA. Late in 2016 he launched Australian Conservatives as an ‘initiative’ associated with his CLF structure. So far, this ‘initiative’ looks like it is a fund-raising vehicle for sucking cash from the pockets of unsuspecting Rubes who like the idea of a red-white-and-blue Australia.

It’s not a good start to the political year for Turnbull to be facing an almost certain challenge at some point, perhaps even by mid-year according to some online betting sites. The Fizza starts 2017 as a lame duck leader, he is beholden to the conservatives in his own party and must contend with almost constant sniping from his predecessor Tony Abbott who is genetically incapable of keeping his trap shut, particularly about thing he knows nothing about – such as the best site for Australia’s embassy in Israel.

This comment, like many other Abbott pronouncements on foreign and domestic policy is not important for the content so much as the target. In this case, Two-Punch is virtue signalling his support for the Trumpist position in Australian politics.

Yep, Turnbull heads into 2017 already grumpy and unhappy. He is unpopular among voters and the majority of his own party is only just tolerating his leadership. An active and growing minority is doing everything it can to unseat him. It’s a matter of when, not if. When your bitter enemy is the one calling for party unity against his own former allies, you know you’re not the one who’s running the show.

Even the PM’s horoscope is not very inspiring. He will certainly have his ‘ups and downs’; his stress levels are likely through the roof already, and his leadership is a ‘one day at a time’ proposition.

Post-script

This post was inspired by a new year tweet from Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who is really not very inspiring at all.

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Seriously Bill, where have you been for the last few weeks? No doubt having seasonal drinks with Kimberly and Bill and the gang, but mate, you are behind the times. The republic is not going to win you any friends in 2017, but standing up to Turnbull and getting a bit of mongrel into your strides will help you look like a fighting Labor politician.

The Fizza is bleeding to death, but the wounds are not from any damage you’ve inflicted, they are cuts from the slings and arrows of critics within his own party.

This year is yours to win or lose Bill, don’t fuck it up. Your destiny awaits you.

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