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Malcolm Turnbull’s political act of bastardry will deliver the Liberal leadership to the very bloke who took him down

The extraordinary thing about the former Liberal Prime Minister’s endorsement of the campaign to remove Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and at least four other members of the party from office is not that it’s a dog act — there are plenty of those in politics — but that it’s an incredibly dumb one.

“The thing people keep forgetting about Malcolm Turnbull,” a political adviser once told me, “is that he’s really bad at politics. I mean he’s just really, really bad at it.”

Just how bad was caused by the explosive YouGov polling released overnight that shows Josh Frydenberg is set to lose his seat to one of the so-called teal independents by a margin of 53 to 47.

I have heard tell of private polling that shows the result could be even worse.

And this of course comes just days after the former Liberal Prime Minister publicly endorsed the campaign to unseat Frydenberg and at least four other members not just of the Liberal party but of Turnbull’s own moderate faction — an extraordinary level of political bastardry even by the past decade’s low standards.

But the really extraordinary thing about it is not that it’s a dog act — there are plenty of those in politics — but that it’s an incredibly dumb one.

As I have been saying for weeks – and as has been confirmed by the polling overnight – the primary impact of the teal independents will be to eliminate the moderate, pro-climate action Frydenberg from the parliament and hence the Liberal leadership.

The opposition leadership – and thus potential future prime ministership – would instead almost certainly go to Peter Dutton. This is someone urbane progressives like the teals openly despise, yet they are so blinded by spiteful hatred of the Coalition they are doing more for his political ambitions than any other force in the country.

Which of course brings us to Turnbull. The most supreme and stupid irony of his intervention by him is that as things stand it will deliver the Liberal leadership to the very bloke who took him down.

And what was the issue that Turnbull was rolled over? Hmm, let me have a think. Oh yes – climate change. That thing that he and the teals keep saying there needs to be more action on.

And who put together Turnbull’s own climate and energy policy? The one he actually wanted implemented?

Yes, it was Josh Frydenberg. The very bloke he is now helping to eliminate from the parliament and write off as a Liberal leader.

And so in the name of climate change, and in protest at him being rolled over his own climate policy, Turnbull is actively helping to eradicate the one bloke who wrote it and could implement it. And in so doing he is giving the greatest possible leg-up to his arch political enemy.

Even the writers of The Hollowmen could not script a more confused and incompetent play.

Meanwhile the couple of teals who look likely to be elected in Victoria will have precisely zero influence on climate policy because Labor will have a majority in its own right. The prospect of them holding the balance of power in a hung parliament is an undergraduate fantasy.

How do we know this? Well it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that if a government is so unpopular that it can lose eleven impenetrable seats like Kooyong and Goldstein then it’s probably going to get its ass kicked elsewhere as well.

You could train a monkey to learn this stuff and yet it is still apparently beyond the ken of people who consider themselves political geniuses. Amazing.

My only hope is that if the teals’ dreams become a reality and Dutton assumes the Liberal leadership, the first thing he does is pick up the phone to his old mate Malcolm.

After all Turnbull’s help the very least he could do is say thank you.

Watch Joe on The Blame Game — Fridays 8.30pm on Sky News Australia

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