Will the right give Mal Brough a chance to hit straps?

IS IT just me or does everyone wonder how far the "billy tea" party will go to take down our new Prime Minister?

The conservative reaction to the axing of Tony Abbott has been brutal.

Local MPs Mal Brough and Wyatt Roy flanked Malcolm Turnbull walking into the party room on Tuesday night, in a very public show of support.

The response on line and on the phones to their offices has been savage. Both have been called "traitorous, backstabbing, dogs" and threatened with physical harm: not very democratic language.

First polling shows the move to install the truly liberal Mr Turnbull in The Lodge has paid dividends. After 30 bad polls, the Liberal Party is on top once again.

The extreme right might not like the Prime Minister but the rest of Australia apparently does.

Australians are inherently moderate. Most of us occupy the sensible centre. We believe in the separation of church and state; we are detached from the monarchy; we think health and education should be available to all; we hate the dole but we know making someone wait months to receive it is fundamentally unfair and we don't buy fear-based politics.

Mr Abbott simply didn't reflect the views of the Australian mainstream.

Some commentators are calling on Malcolm Turnbull to appease the conservatives by sticking to current policy. I completely disagree. If Mr Turnbull has any plans to reach out to the right, it should be to tell them to show some restraint.

The party base might be throwing a tantrum right now but what are they going to do at the next election, vote Labor?

The rusted-on voter is essentially irrelevant. There are just as many on the loony left as there are on the extreme right and they cancel each other out.

It's the voters in the middle who decide elections and if Malcolm Turnbull can engage everyone from the middle right to the centre left, he will be prime minister for a long time and this country will have some longed-for stability.

But that means he can't listen to the crazies. His promise to be "agile" must be embraced by the party.

Without too much delay the Prime Minister needs to allow a vote on marriage equality and address climate change on some level, perhaps by supporting alternative energy industries which over time will reduce our reliance on coal.

But make no mistake, people who think the urbane, public transport-loving progressive they got to know on Q&A is a warm and fuzzy leftie are in for a shock.

Mr Turnbull is a neo-liberal, he is committed to privatisation of the public sector, radical industrial relations policy and higher taxes.

He also believes Australians will be persuaded to accept those changes if they are adequately explained.

The bigger question for me is whether he will get a chance to try this new "open and collaborative" style of politics, or will his own party bring him undone?

Hopefully the Liberals have learned from Labor not to go down that self destructive path. Only time will tell.

Topics:  caroline hutchinson mal brough malcolm turnbull politics wyatt roy

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