UPDATE : The Liberal Party have voted in former defence minister Brendan "We Went To Iraq For The Oil" Nelson as their new leader. Nelson defeated Turnbull by only three votes. More here.
The Liberal Party meltdown must, by now, be one of the most spectacular and entertaining in Australian political history. The election defeat was devastating, but the fallout has been absolutely nuclear.
And it continues.
Malcolm Turnbull will be the new leader of the Liberal Party by the weekend. I know this because the Murdoch media keeps telling me it will be so. And who in the Liberal Party would be brave enough to defy Rupert? The price paid for such insolence will be heavy. Newspoll derived headlines will shred any choice other than Turnbull.
The federal Liberals will move fast to distance themselves from WorkChoices and will repeatedly blame John Howard's decision to stay on as leader as the main reason for their shattering election loss.
If they don't do these things, they will draw too much attention to the other horrors of the Howard Liberals era that so many of those remaining so heartily, enthusiastically backed all year, and in some cases all decade, long.
As we mentioned here yesterday, Tony "Too Honest" Abbott has decided to offer up some comedy for the rest of the week, as he challenges Turnbull and the other contender, Brendan Nelson, for "the worst job in Australian politics", as the position of leader of the opposition is more commonly known in Canberra.
Tony Abbott kicks off the laughs by claiming he has much to offer the Liberal leadership, not the least his "people skills". Yes, really :
He admitted did not have the best of campaigns, but said he had demonstrated "reasonably good people skills"...
Here's but one example of Abbott's people skills.
"I had some tough times on the campaign trail and I would be the last to say that I was prince perfect,'' he said.
"We badly mishandled the politics of the fourth term [but] I’m not going to be repudiating the Howard government," he said.
That's why he won't get the job.
The Liberals are heading to the centre, and will rebrand themselves as far more tolerant understanding of the tough economic times faced by the millions of Australians who live in poverty, and the millions more who will be facing a fairly new kind of Australian poverty - they'll live in nice houses, have good jobs, but will have trouble paying for rising mortages, petrol and food bills.
Abbott was still singing the praises of John Howard :
Very great? What happened to the Greatest Prime Minister In Australian History? Or at the very least, the Greatest Prime Minister Since Robert Menzies?
"[He] will go down in history as a very great prime minister."
Here's Paul Keating explaining why Abbott won't be the new opposition leader :
"Well I don't know who should lead the Liberals, but I mean, I know who I wouldn't be going for. If they take Tony Abbott they're just going to go back down hill to wherever they've been. He's the one most like Howard ideologically....he's what I call a young fogey.
"Howard was the old fogey. He's the young fogey."
You can bet the Malcolm Turnbull backers are already calling Tony Abbott "The Young Fogey" behind his back as they try to scuttle the former health minister's support.
"I Want To Lead The Liberal Death March Into Greater Political Oblivion"
Tony Abbott : What A Scumbag
Tony Abbott : What A Scumbag Part Two