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‘We’re not on the dancefloor’

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Chris Bowen details how Malcolm Turnbull’s plan has failed spectacularly and he must take responsibility or the Liberal party will make the decision for him. Courtesy: QA

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen on Q A


IF THE Greens thought a hung parliament could help them achieve a power-sharing government, they’ll be sorely disappointed.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen didn’t hold back when asked whether the Labor Party should not be so “bloody-minded” about not forming any kind of Coalition.

During an appearance on QA, Mr Bowen indicated the price would be too high, saying Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale wanted a Greens minister, maybe more.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: “all these things need to be discussed”.

But Mr Bowen interrupted and his remark couldn’t be any clearer: “Not going to happen.”

“Well, maybe it won’t happen Chris, but … you don’t have a majority in your own right,” Senator Hanson-Young hit back.

“I don’t claim that,” Mr Bowen said. “But the fact of the matter is, with respect, Sarah, you won one seat in the House of Representatives. One. That does not give you the right to determine the policies of the government of Australia.

“You can put your case, but it takes two to tango. We’re not on the dance floor.”

Earlier, the first question of the night on QA was from one woman who wanted to know: “Should Malcolm do the honourable thing and admit his gross misjudgment by standing down, like David Cameron did?”

Most of the panellists expressed support for the Prime Minister but Mr Bowen said: “I think that Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is effectively now over.

“He’s lost moral authority in the nation, and he’s lost all authority in the Liberal Party.”

Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said Saturday’s result clearly wasn’t what the Coalition was hoping for, but with one million postal votes still to be counted, “we can get to a majority in our own right”.

Senator Hanson-Young said the Coalition had been dogged by the 2014 Budget.

“They have lost the trust of the Australian people. That was under Tony Abbott’s leadership.”

But she said Malcolm Turnbull thought he could win an election by saying “jobs and growth”.

“The Australian people called him out on it,” she said.

“I think the rest of the Coalition have to take responsibility for that as well, cause it started long before Malcolm was in town.”

WHAT MALCOLM DID WRONG

Much of the debate centred around the drop in support for the two major parties and

The Australian editor-at-large Paul Kelly said society was becoming more fragmented.

“Agreement in society, consensus in society about fundamental ideas and values, is disintegrating in a way we haven’t seen for a long period of time,” he said.

He said this change was partly being driven by technology and economic change.

“Malcolm Turnbull, as Prime Minister, tried to sell a positive message on the economy. He talked about innovation. He talked about corporate tax cuts,” he said.

“He didn’t campaign on the negatives to the normal extent that you would expect.

“Now, what was the result of Turnbull being positive? Well, he didn’t cut through. And he didn’t cut through in the areas in trouble.”

He said the message had failed in areas where there was a lot of economic transition such as Tasmania, northern Queensland, regional Queensland and other areas under economic pressure such as Western Sydney and South Australia.

“They are the areas where Turnbull failed, and his optimistic message there didn’t work.”