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ScoMo’s big win leaves long list of losers in parliament

Scott Morison took the election in May, which the Liberals were told Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott couldn’t.

The authority and power flowing from that triumph against the opinion polled odds undoubtedly are substantial and put Mr Morrison well above the standing of his rivals — within and outside the Liberal Party.

He quite clearly has been the winner of the political contest of the past 12 months.

A measure of that success is the sheer magnitude of the list of losers over that same 12-month period.

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The man replaced as prime minister by Mr Morrison was hobbled by internal Liberal and media critics during his time in office, and they again ganged up on him when he left parliament.

Mr Turnbull was berated for not actively campaigning for the Liberal candidate in the by-election for his old seat of Wentworth, despite the clear potential for his presence highlighting the Liberal turmoil.

He has tweeted some of his resentments over the past year, but the big hits are expected to be in his memoirs to be released next April, when his version of the hostilities will be centre stage.

He might address the argument he had to be removed because under him the Coalition would not win an election, despite independent assessments he was well on the way to victory.


Home Affairs Minister Mr Dutton is arguably the third most powerful executive of government, after Prime Minister Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

But in the leadership ratings he has plummeted down the list.

The ballots of August last year made obvious the Liberal MPs did not want a Dutton prime ministership and didn’t believe he would win an election.

Meanwhile, the spotlight on possible future leaders has travelled away from him to illuminate Mr Frydenberg, Christian Porter and Angus Taylor.

The Dutton bid is now considered over, but not his determination to protect his ministerial sovereignty.


One reason Peter Dutton didn’t succeed last August is the belief of many of his colleagues that he would return Tony Abbott to the ministry.

And that could mean Mr Abbott would be one election loss away from retaking the Liberal leadership.

A significant number of Liberals were horrified by the prospect, and some believed a vote for Mr Dutton would be a reward for Mr Abbott after his brazen destabilisation tactics from the back bench.

Voters in Warringah agreed on May 18.


He will be known for some time as the Finance Minister who couldn’t count.

Senator Cormann’s public switch of support from Malcolm Turnbull to Peter Dutton was a miscalculation of more than the numbers in the Liberal party-room.

It was a major shock in a week in which shocks competed for maximum impact.

And after the final vote it was seen to reflect badly — and unfairly — on Senator Cormann’s integrity and trustworthiness.

He believed he was doing the right thing by the government but he did not seem to be ignorant of the dynamics shaping the leadership contest.


The Liberal turmoil further encouraged the Labor leader into believing the next election was his.

However, the Labor strategy had been based on a showdown with Malcolm Turnbull, with a civil and measured debate over tax policy and climate change.

Instead, Mr Shorten was confronted by a political street brawler in Scott Morrison, who not only had a new scorecard as Prime Minister but knew the innards of the tax issue as a former Treasurer.

And Mr Morrison didn’t shrink from absurd scare campaigns related to climate change measures — remember the warnings about electric vehicles despite the Liberal policy being almost identical to Labor’s?

Mr Turnbull might have been sympathetic to at least the general thrust of the Labor policies on energy and climate change.


As a high-profile Foreign Minister and emblem of the promotion of Liberal women, Julie Bishop expected more love from colleagues.

But all she got were 11 votes, the little package of support amounting to what she saw as an insult.

So Ms Bishop quit parliament and her departure added to the broader accusation that the Liberals had a “women problem”.

She has gained herself a comfortable post-politics life, but not becoming even a close second in the leadership ballot will still hurt.

Malcolm Farr is’s national political editor. Continue the conversation @farrm51

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