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Historic Newcastle Signal Box switches gear to become restaurant, bar

Restaurant, bar plan unveiled for historic Newcastle Signal Box NEW LOOK: Artwork showing how the signal box would look. Image: Derive Architecture & Design


Artwork showing how the signal box would look. Image: Derive Architecture & Design

TweetFacebook Newcastle Signal Box Hunter businessman Andrew Macdonald has unveiled plans for the heritage-listed Newcastle Signal Box, including a restaurant, bar and eye-catching glass and steel-framedannex.

The 1936 signal box sits on the new Market Street Lawn between Queen’s Wharf and thenew light rail stop on Scott Street.

Mr Macdonald, who owns The Little Nel restaurant and Hotel Nelson at Nelson Bay, won the tender for a long-term lease on the building when Hunter Development Corporation called for expressions of interest last year.

He lodged plans for the project last week with Newcastle City Council and will also apply to the state Office of Environment and Heritage to carry out works on the building.

Mr Macdonald said he had long hoped to open a restaurant in Newcastle.

“I saw the signal box and thought it was such an opportunity,” he said.

“It’s a unique site. It’s designed to be an iconic venue with a rooftop terrace and an elevated garden.It’s going to be a central part of the Market Street Lawn.”

He said the restaurant would open from breakfast to dinner and could offer takeaway kits and blankets for customers to take to the nearby lawn.

It will have seating for 150 diners, including 64 indoors and 86 outside on the ground and first floors.

The building contains switching equipment – electro-pneumatic miniature-lever-power interlocking machine gears and relay cases, to be precise –of interest to railway buffs, and these will be on display in part of the restaurant.The gear once controlled the rail lines east of Merewether Street.

“It will be more than just another cafe,” Mr Macdonald said. “It is part attraction with the signal gear restored and on display.”

The Derive Architecture design for the development includes a new single-storey pavilion in steel and glass with a rooftop viewing platform and external spiral staircase.

HDC has been carrying out restoration work on the signal box, and plans for the nearby landscaped area includeawater feature which will light up at night.

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Giants AFL coach cautious over injuries

GWS coach Leon Cameron favours a cautious approach rather than risk rushing key players back for Sunday’s high stakes AFL clash with Melbourne.


Co-captain and key defender Phil Davis was listed to play after dealing with multiple corks in last week’s loss to Sydney, but fellow defender Zac Williams didn’t make the final 23.

Initially named on the Giants extended bench, Williams will play a second NEAFL game after taking almost the full campaign to recover from a serous Achilles injury he suffered in the pre-season.

“He’ll play (NEAFL) again this weekend and then get another good couple of weeks of training and I’ll have no hesitation in bringing him in, if he doesn’t play AFL before the finals,” Cameron said.

Star small forward Toby Greene, veterans Brett Deledio and Matt de Boer and key defenders Aidan Corr and Sam Taylor are all listed to return for week one of the finals.

“Are they going really really well? They are. Would I love to bring one or two of them in this week? Yes I would,” Cameron said.

“But we don’t want to risk it; we’ve had a couple of hamstring (injuries) in the last month or so.

“We’re probably taking a more cautious approach and getting them ready for that first week of finals.”

With finals looming and several Victorian teams qualifying, Cameron viewed the Giants’ second MCG fixture of the season and their first in almost five months as a great opportunity.

“We feel we played a really good brand round two (in the win) against Collingwood there, so we look forward to playing at the MCG,” he said.

“But equally we look forward to playing the Demons because we know they are a quality team, they are number one in a lot of areas.

“We know the ramifications of the game and if we win, then we hopefully secure a home final.”

GWS entered the round in sixth, one spot and two points ahead of Melbourne.

Cameron said Rory Lobb faced a big challenge against Melbourne’s Max Gawn, but declared the 207cm Giant was getting better with every week he played in the ruck.

Cameron understood the speculation over the future of midfield star Dylan Shiel, but stressed he had more immediate concerns.

“You deal with those sort of issues when the season finishes, but we’re really rapt with how Dylan is going,” Cameron said.

“I thought he was fantastic on the weekend.”

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Pay us for developing NRL stars: Bellamy

The Melbourne Storm are under pressure to fend off rival NRL clubs trying to sign Cameron Munster.As rivals circle his star playmaker Cameron Munster, Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has called on the NRL to reward clubs through the salary cap for developing talent.


Seven NRL clubs have already signalled their interest in luring Munster from the Storm for the 2020 season when he comes off contract.

The 23-year-old utility back, who joined the Storm as a teenager five years ago, could command more than $1 million a season.

Bellamy says there’s no financial incentive or compensation for clubs to invest in youngsters when others sit back and just throw big money at them as soon as they’re established first-grade players.

“I’d like to see the NRL reward clubs for developing players and get a percentage (deduction from the salary cap) after they’ve been there a certain number of years,” Bellamy said on Friday

“If you’ve recruited them as young kids and developed them you should be getting a reward but every year we seem to lose players that we’ve recruited and developed as young people.

“They go to clubs who don’t do any development and just recruit.

“It irks me, especially with Cameron, that we got him as a 17-year-old and everyone’s coming in with their chequebooks and he might be going.”

Bellamy said the argument that clubs didn’t have a big enough junior area to source players from didn’t hold water given the small Victorian competition.

Rockhampton-born Munster was playing in the Queensland Cup while another example is winger Suliasi Vunivalu, who was playing rugby union at an Auckland school.

Bellamy said his club obviously would be doing all they could to hold on to Munster.

“He’s shown his worth to us with his consistency this year and also in big rep games so everyone understands and knows what calibre of player you’re going to get with Cameron,” Bellamy said.

“I’d like to think that Cameron considers that we helped develop him here although he’s done a lot of hard work too.

“Whatever we can do to keep him we’ll be doing that.”

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How the internet has reacted to China’s political drama

Via the Aussie As Facebook page


WHEN we got up for work on Monday, who would have predicted where we’d be at the end of the working week?

The Liberal Party is in turmoil. Constituents are furious at the circus in Canberra.

And of course, on the internet, people are taking the opportunity to test their comedy flair.

We’ve collated some of the funny posts being shared across the internet.

Seen any great memes you think we should add? Email [email protected]杭州夜生活m.au.

And follow all the action in Canberra with our live coverage here.

When Julia Bishop stepped into the ring…Julie Bishop has thrown her hat into the ring.Sources expect the hat to land sometime this week, if winds are favourable.#LibSpillpic.twitter杭州夜生活m/jbhFfbYTJo

— Drew Bowie (@Drew_Bowie) August 23, 2018Tom Gleeson helped Paul Denyer win a Gold Logie. Could Prime Ministership really be that far-fetched…?Looking for a new job?Just found this on @Airtasker. #auspol#libspill#libsspillpic.twitter杭州夜生活m/SxtzPoEquO

— Jenn (@MsJennnnR) August 24, 2018Which way? RIGHT!Normie Facebook friends are sharing this and let’s just say – they’re not wrong pic.twitter杭州夜生活m/ZgM3VKz68c

— sectoral productivity leveller (@verybrownguy) August 24, 2018The NT News asking all the hard questionsAPPARENTLY WE’LL HAVE A NEW PRIME MINISTER TODAY. THE REAL QUESTION IS … WHO WILL IT BE TOMORROW? #libspill#auspol

— The NT News (@TheNTNews) August 23, 2018Meanwhile, the hashtag #libspillfilms is trending on Twitter as people try to describe ’s political dramas as something worthy of an Oscar (or at least a Logie).Here’s just a few of the suggestions floating around…The classic

Groundhog Day #LibSpillFilms

— James Spiller (@jamesbspiller) August 23, 2018Finding Leaders #LibSpillFilmspic.twitter杭州夜生活m/KAfDwjpy0a

— Jade (@jadehawk15) August 23, 2018Total Recall #LibSpillFilmspic.twitter杭州夜生活m/4000vxRIPx

— LJPSaveSaveSave (@LJPSaveSaveSave) August 23, 2018Malcolm In The Middle. #LibSpillFilms

— @[email protected] (@NewtonMark) August 23, 2018And here’s some live video of how things are going right nowLiberal party RN #libspillpic.twitter杭州夜生活m/dOra9QB4iY

— Jane Gilmore (@JaneTribune) August 24, 2018We couldn’t go through a list of memes without mentioning He Who Must Not Be NamedDutton has resigned as Minister. This is like when Voldemort slunk off to the woods to recharge, yeah? pic.twitter杭州夜生活m/e2jXuUnhPA

— Dom Knight #bebest (@domknight) August 20, 2018And finally, who could predict the final winner in all of this? Could it be…?Victory by default, the sweetest kind #libspill#Libspill2#turnbull#dutton#auspol#Morrison#wtfauspic.twitter杭州夜生活m/CrTfEArVXQ

— Louis Puddy (@LouieKonk) August 23, 2018

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Lions keen to ruin Eagles’ AFL finals path

Brisbane captain Dayne Zorko is confident his club will play finals within the next couple of years.Brisbane can’t make the top eight but skipper Dayne Zorko says they want to shape it by tipping West Coast into a nightmare AFL finals match-up with Richmond.


The Lions close out a season of major improvement on Sunday at the Gabba against the Eagles, who are warm favourites but could drop as low as fourth on the ladder if they lose.

“They will be doing everything I reckon to not have to travel to Melbourne and play Richmond because they’re a powerhouse down there and playing some fantastic football at the right time of the year,” Zorko told reporters on Friday.

“Most teams outside the eight probably set that goal for themselves – if you can’t be in them, you can certainly shape them.

“We’re expecting (West Coast) to come out really hot.

“They’ve got a top two spot and home finals up for grabs, so it’s important we’ve got to rally that early and get our game style going.”

Zorko is confident Brisbane would be ready to meet the challenge, having learned from the mistakes they made in round 23 last year.

He said the team had thoroughly reviewed their 51-point defeat against North Melbourne, which was a limp end to coach Chris Fagan’s first season in charge.

“We had a win maybe two weeks before that, confidence was sky high and our attitude was it was just going to happen,” Zorko said.

Zorko, 29, has never played finals in his career and is probably getting tired of watching from the outside.

But he is confident his time will come after the Lions re-signed Fagan as coach for a further two seasons, tying the popular mentor to the club until the end of the 2021 campaign.

Zorko, like Fagan, isn’t putting a timeline on when they might be able to crack the top eight, but he’s confident it will happen sooner or later.

“We have had those close losses all year and it’s important that we learn from them,” he said.

“I’m sure it’ll come in the next year or two with another pre-season, more composure, blokes feeling like they belong at the level.

“There’s no ceiling on it.”

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Man injured in rooftop fall at Tomago a 19-year-old electrical apprentice who plays soccer for West Wallsend

INJURED: Jaryd Hayter celebrates scoring a goal during a recent soccer match playing for West Wallsend Senior Football Club. Picture: FacebookA 19-year-old apprentice electrician who fell more than 12 metres through acommercial building roof at Tomago on Thursday is in a “critical” condition at John Hunter Hospital.


Jaryd Hayter,an under-19 West Wallsendsoccer player,was installing solar panels when he fell through a skylight, according to Safe Work NSW.

Paramedics were called to 24 Old Punt Road, coating businessWet and Dry Coatings Pty Ltd,at about 11.30am Thursday.

A spokesman for NSW Ambulance said on Friday that the worker had “fallen between 40 to 50 feet” andsuffered significant injuries to his feet and legs.

The spokesman said the worker was wearing a harness at the time of the incident but it had “gave way”.

Policeand three ambulance crews attended, includinga helicopter with two doctors on board. Mr Hayterwas taken to John Hunter Hospital by road.

An update on Mr Hayter’s condition from Hunter New England Health on Friday confirmed he was in a critical condition.

It is unclear who Mr Hayter was working for at the time of the incident.

Wet and Dry Coatings Pty Ltd responded to inquireson Friday but referred the Newcastle Herald to SafeWork NSW.

“Initial inquiries indicate the worker was installing solar panels on the roof of the building when he fell through a skylight and landed on the ground below,”a spokesperson from SafeWork NSW said.

“A SafeWork inspector responded to the site and SafeWork NSW’s investigation is ongoing.”

A post on the West Wallsend SFC Facebook page wasflooded with messages of support for MrHayter, who was due toplayin the under-19 Northern League One semi-finals on Sunday.

Club president Jason Taylor told the Herald on Friday Mr Hayter’s injury had left his teammates “shattered”.

“They’re not just mates,they’re best mates,” Mr Taylor said.“The club’s shattered, not to mention the West Wallsend community.

“What’s been good to see though is the support from the whole football community in Newcastle.”

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No safe limit to alcohol intake: study

A global study has found there is no safe limit to alcohol consumption.Going teetotal is the only way to avoid risking health with alcohol, scientists have claimed.


Previous research suggested that moderate levels of alcohol – around one drink a day for women and two for men – may protect against heart disease.

But the authors of the new study insist any benefits from drinking alcohol are outweighed by the harms.

They estimate that consuming just one drink per day increases the risk of developing one of 23 alcohol-related health problems by 0.5 per cent, compared with not drinking at all.

US lead researcher Dr Max Griswold, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said: “Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol.

“In particular, the strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for ischaemic heart disease in women in our study.

“Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more.”

The scientists pooled together data from 592 studies with a total of 28 million participants to assess the global health risks associated with alcohol.

The team used a new statistical method to estimate the risks of consuming between zero and 15 standard alcohol drinks each day.

Globally, around one in three people – or 2.4 billion – drink alcohol, said the researchers, whose findings are reported in The Lancet medical journal.

Each year, 2.2 per cent of women and 6.8 per cent of men die from alcohol-related health problems including cancer, tuberculosis and liver disease.

Other harmful consequences from drinking alcohol included accidents and violence.

Worldwide, drinking alcohol was the seventh leading risk factor for overall premature death and disease in 2016, the study found.

However among people aged 15 to 49 it was the most important risk factor, accounting for 3.8 of women’s and 12.2 per cent of men’s deaths.

For people over the age of 50, cancers were the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths. They were responsible for 27.1 per cent of alcohol-related deaths of women and 18.9 per cent of men.

The 0.5 per cent increase in risk meant that 918 people per 100,000 who consumed one alcoholic drink a day would develop a health problem compared with 914 who did not drink.

The relative increase in risk rose to 7 per cent for people who consumed two drinks a day and soared to 37 per cent for those who downed five drinks.

Any protection against heart disease, stroke and diabetes offered by alcohol turned out to be “not statistically significant”, said the researchers.

Denmark had the highest proportion of alcohol consumers, 95.3 per cent of women and 97.3 per cent of men, and Pakistan and Bangladesh the lowest. Just 0.8 per cent of Pakistani men and 0.3 per cent of Bangladeshi women drank alcohol.

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Your definitive gift guide for dadTrending

According to independent researchcommissioned by Amazon, grooming products and clothing items rank high on the list of what ns are thinking of buying Dad thisFather’s Day, but what theyreally want are electronics or tools. The most sought after gift? A good oldgift card. Here aresome ideas that fit into all those categories and more.


Quick Groom body groomer, $129.95. Featuring five easy clip-on combs and a detachable handle to trim or remove back hair, this is the gift hairy dads secretly want. Available at Shaver Shop.

iGo dash cam range, from $99.95. Dash cams have become a common car accessory, and if dad doesn’t have one yethe’ll be rapt to receive this neat model. uniden杭州夜生活m.au

The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, $39.95. Nothing beats a great read and this n author never fails to deliver. Winton’s newest novel is a fast-paced tale about solitude, unlikely friendship and survival. penguin杭州夜生活m.au

PowerStep D-handle fibreglass garden spade, $34.98. There’s nothing more satisfying than completing an outdoor project, especially if it involves a gardening session with the kids. Available at Bunnings.

Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor mud mask, $80. You’ve probably never considered visiting Sephora for a Father’s Day present, but many dads secretly love a spot of at-home pampering. sephora杭州夜生活m.au

Gold Class Experience Voucher, $159. Treat dad to a night out. Includes two movie tickets, two glasses of wine and five items from the menu. shop.villagecinemas杭州夜生活m.au

Vintec 40 bottle single zone wine fridge, $1749. For dads who highly rate their wine collection, this fridge will keep his reds and whites at perfect drinking temperature. eands杭州夜生活m.au

Hinterland four-person folding tent, $100. For dads who love the great outdoors, be it escaping to the wilderness or camping with the kids in the backyard. bigw杭州夜生活m.au

Bamboo Tip, $79.95. This stylus is easy to use everyday for dads on the move, allowing them to work across several devices without pairing issues. buywacom杭州夜生活m.au

Elder Scrolls Online: Summerset, $49.95. Indulge your gaming dad with an afternoon of screen time, battling it out in his favourite game. elderscrollsonline杭州夜生活m/en-gb/joinus

Angry Ram trunks, $19.95. While giving socks and jocks is normally a Father’s Day faux pas, you’ll be quickly forgiven if there’s a novelty factor. funkytrunks杭州夜生活m

Tricerataco Double Dinosaur taco holder, $14.95. Thought to be extinct, the prehistoric taco holder is back – a perfect gift for the dad who has everything. gyrofish杭州夜生活m.au

Harley Davidson layered print -Tshirt, $64. If you can’t afford to buy dad a Harley, why not pick out something else from the iconic motorcycle’s merchandise range? h-d杭州夜生活m.au

Greeting card, $4.95. At the very least, a fun card with a witty message can let dad know how much you love him. kikki-k杭州夜生活m

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Scott Morrison: new prime minister, same old disconnected political parties

GRIM: The harsh reality of regional life goes on while the pollies in Canberra indulge their egos. AAP Image/David MariuzDENNIS woke earlier than usual. There was killing to be done.


He dressed in the darkand sat on the bed and put on his boots. He leaned over his wife and kissed her forehead. ‘Sorry,’he said. ‘I didn’t mean to wake you.’

‘It’s okay,’ she said, propping up on her elbows. ‘I’ll make you breakfast.’

‘No need. I’m not hungry. You go back to sleep.’

‘I’m so sorry.’

He took her calloused hand in his calloused hand and gently squeezed it. ‘It’s all right.’

‘No, it’s not.’

The floorboards creaked under foot as he limped along the hallway of a home that had been in his family for three generations. He stopped at the portrait of his late father hanging on the wall. It was like looking in a mirror: bushy black eyebrows,wide set, piercing blue eyes, high cheekbones that ridged across a weather-beaten face, thick hoary hair. ‘It’s not my fault,’ he whispered. ‘I tried my best.’

He went to the kitchen and made a cup of black coffee and he went outside. He placed the coffee on top of the railing of a wide verandah,buttoned up a rugged winter coat,removed worn gloves from its pocket and put them on. He patted the old cattle dog sitting next to him. ‘Good boy,’ he said.

He sipped the coffee as the sun rose, illuminating an undulatingfarm that stretched as far as the eye could see. A mist enveloped the severely parched land. He shook his head slowly. ‘Bloody hell,’ he said. ‘Bloody hell.’

He threw what was left of the coffee on the ground, put the cup on the railing and pulled down the bridge of his worn Akubra. ‘Come on, boy,’ he said. ‘Let’s get this over with.’

The dog shambled beside him as he limped towards a2002 Landcruiser ute parked in front of the house. He opened the vehicle’s door and winced as he bent over and picked up the dog. The dog was placed on the passenger seat. He got in and started the engine and drove down a gravel driveway that joined witha dirt road.

He drove for a few minutes, stopping by a barren, flat field. He removed the rifle from the rifle rack on the ceiling. ‘You stay, old boy,’ he said, patting the dog. He got out and closed the door.

The sheep, 54 in total and dreadfully emaciated, were huddled togetherpathetically in a makeshift pen beside a large hole and an old bulldozer. He winced as he climbed into the pen. And he sighed heavily as he positioned the rifle on the highest point of the animal’s head and fired.‘Bloody hell,’ he said. ‘Bloody hell.’

LATER that day ata nearby location, Debbiepulled up in the driveway of her rented home – lowset, brick and unremarkableon a street lined with unremarkablehomes.‘Pleasebe okay,’ she said to herself.

She always uttered those words when she returned home late at night after finishing her shift as a cleaner. And the words were always accompanied by an anxiety that had found a permanent place in her. Like an unwelcome house guest who won’t leave.She alighted the 2005 Ford Focus station wagon and hurried to the front door.

When she opened the bedroom door she sighed heavily at the sight of her two children sleeping on single beds next to each other. She pulled the sheet over the youngest, Anna, 5, and kissed her lips.

Claire, 8, woke when Debbie kissed her.‘Hi, Mummy.’

‘Hi to you.’

‘How was work?’

‘You know: same old, same old.’ She sat on the bed and brushed the fringe from Claire’s eyes.‘Did you and Anna go to bed on time?’

‘Yes, Mum.’

‘Good girl. I don’t know what I’d do without you.’

Claire hugged her. ‘I love you, Mummy.’

‘And I love you. Now lie down and go back to sleep.’

‘You look tired, Mummy. Are you okay?’

‘Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Now go to sleep. You’ve got school tomorrow.’

‘Dad’s not coming back, is he?’

‘No, sweetie. It’s just us three now.’

‘I missDaddy.’

‘I know you do.’ Debbie kissed Claire and kissed Anna and left.

Debbie tried to reconcile the face staring back at her in the bathroom mirror with the young woman whohad trapped numerous men in big brown eyes –an uncommon beauty from common stock. Unkempt brunette hair framed a make-up-free, blotchy complexion from which crow’s feet sprouted and lines cross-crossed theforehead.She sat on the edge of the bathtub andsobbed.

THE following morningat a home across town, Peter and Mary ate toast at a breakfast table. They were both wrapped in a blanket and mouth steam accompanied Peter’s lament: ‘I’m so sorry I haven’t been able to provide for you properly.’

Mary reached across the table and patted his age-ravaged, frailhand. ‘Now dear, don’t you go beating yourself up again. I won’t have it.’

‘I’m sorry. It’s just …’ He sighed heavily.

‘I know. It’s lousy. But we’ve got to make the most of a bad situation. Besides, it won’t be winter for ever.’

‘Yeah, but we’llbe broke for ever.’

Mary rose slowly, using the table for support. ‘To hell with this,’ she said. ‘I’m going to shout you a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.’

‘We can’t afford that.’

‘I don’t care. We’re going to treat ourselves. Now, go get changed.’

Peter opened the cafe door for Mary to enter. ‘After you, as always, beautiful.’

She framed his worn face with her worn hands and kissed his thin, cracked lips. ‘I love you,’ she said.

‘And I’ve loved you from the moment we met.’

‘Romantic fool,’ she laughed.

They sat on stools at the counter. The cafe’s decor had a 1970s retro look. Debbie served them. ‘What can I get ya?’ she said.

‘Two cappuccinos, thanks,’ Mary said.‘And what sort of cake is that?’


‘Two slices of carrot cake, too.’

‘Full-cream milk and sugar?’ Debbie said.

‘Full-cream milk for both, one sugar for me and none for my husband.’ She touched his elbow with her elbow. ‘He’s sweet enough.’

‘Ha,’ he said.

The doorbell rattled when Dennis entered the cafe. He limped to the counter and sat next to Peter and Mary. ‘How’s it goin’?’ Dennis said.

‘Good, thanks,’ the couple said in unison.

‘What can I get ya?’ Debbie said.

‘Flat-white coffee, thank you,’ he said.

Awall-mounted TV relayed a media conference with Prime Minister Morrison. Debbie watched it as she made the coffees. She scoffed.

‘What do you make of all this?’ Peter said to Dennis.

‘Out of touch dickheads, the lot of’em,’ he replied.

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Malcolm Turnbull made a deal with the devil. Now the devil has called time

n Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas CochMalcolm Turnbull won the Liberal leadership by striking a Faustian pact to sell his political soul to the devil. Now the devil has called time on the deal.


The deal with Turnbull’s factional and ideological Satan, the Liberals’ conservative confederacy, was simple.

Turnbull— a moderate who believed in a Republic, climate change and same-sex marriage— would betray all these beliefs in return for high office.

He would be allowed to be prime minister on condition that he implement Tony Abbott’s pre-existing policies. And, it was assumed, win elections.

But, after three years, the conservatives have decided that Turnbull’s time is up.

Tossing aside the moderate mask, they want to rule directly.

Unhappy, Turnbull claims he’s the victim of “a minority in the party room supported by others outside the Parliament [who] have sought to bully, intimidate others into making this change of leadership”.

It was, he said at his Thursday press conference, “a very deliberate effort to pull the Liberal Party further to the right”.

n Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull leaves after speaking at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

It’s unbecoming for a prime minister to play the victim. Yet he’s right that there’s bullying going on in the cause of getting Peter Dutton elected.

Turnbull is now a spent force, but the conservatives were on Thursday trying to bully Scott Morrison out of contention, too.

“My base hate Malcolm Turnbull, but they hate Scott Morrison even more,” said a senior NSW conservative. “Because he plays both sides.”

But isn’t Morrison a conservative? “He may go to church on Sunday,” says the conservative combatant, “but he’s never lifted a finger for the conservatives [faction]”. The people doing the numbers for him for the ballot are prominent moderates, inside and outside the parliament.

“He should make his peace with Dutts and he could hope to stay on as Treasurer. We have not seen factional war in NSW like we will see if Morrison is elected.

“Any NSW member who supports Morrison will have problems”, a clear threat to the preselection of Liberal MPs and senators.

“Alan Jones and Ray Hadley will go feral,” a reference to the hyperaggressive conservative radio jocks at Sydney’s 2GB who’ve dogged Turnbull’s every day as prime minister.

Julie Bishop, a West n, is not quite so directly threatened but she, too, faces the threat of bullying.

“Julie Bishop is clearly the highest profile Liberal,” says a Victorian Liberal, “and she would solve a number of our electoral issues”, a euphemism for making the party more electable.

“But the question people have to ask themselves is, ‘Does this stop if Bishop wins? Or do conservatives just keep throwing bombs?'” Much as Tony Abbott has done sporadically during Turnbull’s entire tenure.

The rampant hostility and unbridled bitterness now on public display is the sort of recrimination that traditionally breaks out after a party loses office and finds itself in opposition.

The Liberal Party today has gone direct to the recrimination phase, heedless of the consequences.

However harsh the treatment, there’s not much sympathy for Turnbull.

He ascended by aggression and cannot reasonably play the victim. To get into parliament he tore down the Liberals’ Peter King to take his seat of Wentworth.

King appeared in the House visitors’ gallery on Wednesday to witness Turnbull’s last days as leader to opposition cries of “Banquo’s ghost!”

And Turnbull is making his own threats. He told a press conference on Thursday that, should he lose the leadership, he would leave Parliament immediately. This would paralyse the government, which holds power by a single seat, with a byelection.

He also sought to damage Dutton by highlighting the constitutional question over his eligibility to sit in Parliament.

“One elector from my electorate suggested that Turnbull could have squashed that bug with a rubber thong,” said Scott Buchholz, an MP for the Queensland LNP who says he is loyal to the Prime Minister.

“Instead he’s used the blowtorch and burnt the village. It’s a hostile environment.”

Hostile indeed. The assessment of Labor’s Jason Clare: “Whoever ends up winning is going to be leader of a bunch of people who hate each other.”

The devil may care.


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