Mark Thompson

Dutton’s spill: No use mopping up the mess, there’ll be more

The leadership spill culture in this country has spooled out of control. The fact that Dutton may challenge again is irrelevant, as again we’re left without a say.



A great exhale rippled the landscape this morning, as the leadership spill was on, and then it wasn’t. Malcolm rose to the top of the popularity contest, seeing off the challenge of Peter Dutton by a measure of 48-35. So what? So plenty. The leadership spill is a reality of everyday life in this country. As sure as the gas bill arrives, one party will repackage itself as something slightly different in an effort to dupe us on election day. If it doesn’t work, the knives will again be produced.

It’s a rather bloody text, of which we’re all familiar with, only because it’s dangerously similar to the shows we watch. Except, unlike Game of Thrones, everyone gets fucked, and the characters are usually back next week.

The modern original sin was the entirety of the Kevin Rudd/Julia Gillard double spill, a very personal feud that was elevated into a new plane of thinking by the Coalition.

And yea, As Julia begat Kevin, Kevin begat Julia, In the year of our Lord 2009, Malcolm attempted to begat Abbott, failed, and re-begat him in 2015 (after two attempts), and yea, now prophet Peter attempted to begat Malcolm, as the latter prepared for the second coming of Saint Peter.


The fact that Malcolm survived is not the point. The fact that history is destined to repeat, is. We’re not that far removed from the next election, and we’re a broken table away from seeing the same movie again. With Peter Dutton now banished to the backbench, we may chortle at our balding Icarus, who clutched for the sun, but failed, and released us from his grip on immigration, and we might be fooled in thinking that all the existing problems might be solved. Dutton is gone, and the net plus is a big one. But, much like the party from 2015 onwards, we should remember that we learned that it might have an easier face, but the policies remain.



The problem is the culture that enables it. There’s too much to lose, so the decision is taken out of hands. We all might fawn at the sight of royalty well they visit, and wonder what it’d be like if we were able to live above means, beyond the grip of the populace, and eat brunch in the finest of tailoring. Well, honestly, who we elect is that. Ostensibly, they govern themselves. While today might be seen as a victory for the dude some of us voted for, and our democracy, the fact that it was decided in a nameless room in Canberra should be the issue.

The public is not required. They’ll call on us when they need us. As the new saying goes (that is getting old), spillsmas comes but twice an election year.



While Malcolm survives for now, we don’t. Again we’re passengers in our own fate, guided by those who are exclusively out to save themselves. Call me a cynic, but we’re asked for our vote when it’s already decided. The spill culture has taken root, and permeates both sides of government.

Disappointingly, there is no real solution, other than us identifying our behaviour. This is who we’ve become, a couple arguing amongst itself while the family awkwardly looks on.

Happy Spillsmas.




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