10 March 2016
by Fergus Hunter
Jeff Kennett attacks Malcolm Turnbull for 'self-interest' and lack of courage
Former Liberal Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett
Former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett has savaged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's government for having a gutless approach to policy making and considering an early double-dissolution election, which he says is driven exclusively by self-interest.
Mr Kennett said that Mr Turnbull's stances on gay marriage and negative gearing expose his lack of courage and conviction and are a failure to take advantage of a mandate.
Movement towards a double-D election is 'indication the government does not have a plan,' says former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett. "When they changed leaders, I thought we were in for a period of government, a period of stability, a period in which policy was going to be annunciated," Mr Kennett told Sydney radio station 2UE on Wednesday morning.
"This talk about an early election is an indication, sadly, that the government does not have a plan for the future of the country and they are trying, I think, to use this talk of a double dissolution, an early election, simply to cover up their own failings."
The government is considering a July 2 election and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said on Tuesday they already have the necessary double-dissolution trigger in the form of the registered organisations legislation that has twice failed in the Senate.
Mr Kennett said the Prime Minister "did not have any plan at all" when he took the leadership "for his own self-interest".
He said Mr Turnbull had squandered the opportunity to create a narrative for his government but had burnt all his goodwill at a time when the public are "craving for leadership".
"What they can't stand is vacillation where politicians don't have the courage, in this case in my opinion, to put the interests of the country well before their own and their own party."
Mr Kennett said Mr Turnbull had failed to stand by his beliefs on negative gearing and same-sex marriage.
"We don't need a plebiscite on this. We don't need to waste another $139 million on a vote. If Malcolm had any courage, he would have simply stood up and said 'I'm going to put this through the Parliament." What he's saying now: 'This decision, this policy position was decided by Tony Abbott and we're going to stay with it,'" he said.
"There's a good example of where Malcolm set himself apart from Tony Abbott and yet, when he took on the leadership, he hid behind Tony's clothes and did not have the courage of his conviction and that applies right across the board."
Mr Kennett agreed with hosts John Stanley and Garry Linnell that modern politics suffered from "gutlessness".
This is not the first time he has criticised Mr Turnbull. After the Prime Minister announced his decision to challenge former prime minister Tony Abbott for the leadership on September 14, Mr Kennett called him "selfish" and an "egomaniac".