As rogue Liberal senators push their own agenda on hate speech laws, it couldn’t be clearer that one year after becoming Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has no authority.
Malcolm Turnbull’s previous opposition to changes to Section 18C has been roundly ignored by his colleagues, with almost his entire senate backbench backing an amendment bill. Mr Turnbull’s inability to bring the extreme right elements of his party into line not only shows his impotence as a leader, but could also result in a legacy of dangerous hate speech.
Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull has taken one of the most high profile supporters of allowing hate speech and put him in charge of Multicultural Affairs. Zed Seselja was previously willing to cross the floor to weaken race hate laws. It speaks volumes on Malcolm Turnbull’s weakness that Senator Seselja is now in charge of this portfolio.
In Environment and Water, the government is set to take the biggest backwards step on conservation in this country’s history, as it considers winding back protections to 100,000 square kilometres of the Coral Sea.
The Great Barrier Reef is under threat at every angle, with a government refusing to act on land clearing, climate change, and the Coral Sea.
Our oceans are in jeopardy under Malcolm Turnbull, whose inability to act on climate change has set a dangerous precedent for environmental protection.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister has failed to provide security for the Indigenous Rangers program. Indigenous Protected Areas make an essential contribution to conservation – making up over a third of Australia's National Reserve System. Under the Turnbull Government, this program is mired in uncertainty.
Malcolm Turnbull has backed in Tony Abbott’s cuts to the Arts with his own new cuts, letting funding drop off a cliff for the Office of Live Music and for community radio. The Prime Minister also followed in his predecessor’s footsteps by cutting funding to Screen Australia for the third time in 18 months.
On so many issues, in so many portfolio areas, Malcolm Turnbull is no better than Tony Abbott.