I have decided to coin a new verb for Malcolm Turnbull’s political decision-making based on the desert the blancmange which food scholar Terence Scully Suggests is derived from bland mangier, “bland dish”, reflecting its often mild and “dainty” (in this context meaning refined and aristocratic) taste
So the new verb will be “to blancmange” which is a form of vacillating only slightly wobblier and in a beige colour.
The Age reports that “Mr Turnbull has charged Senator Day with stoking crossbench support for the bill – if it does not pass, they would face a double dissolution election in which most crossbenchers would likely lose their seats.”
Having secured a change to Senate voting, purportedly to clear out the un-democratically elected cross bench, Turnbull appears to be blancmanging on the issue of a double dissolution by giving the crossbench some wriggle room.
Senator Michaelia Cash, seen here with ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott and who is emerging as the government spokesperson on everything, appears to be no stranger to the art of blancmanging.
Senator Cash warned the government will only negotiate with the crossbench on the Australian Building and Construction Commission bill as a bloc of at least six, and will not accept any amendments that would “compromise the integrity” of the proposed industry watchdog.
If Turnbull is unable to secure a double dissolution, then the changes to the Senate voting will be of no effect. In fact, they may produce exactly the opposite outcome to the one that was intended.
A normal election will not clear out the existing crossbench and runs the risk of electing another group of senators, democratically elected or otherwise. This will make managing the Senate even more difficult. This will be exacerbated by the Turnbull and Abbott governments’ complete inability to compromise and negotiate with cross bench senators.
Turnbull has prepared the ground for a Senate double dissolution that would allow the Australian electorate an opportunity to have an upper house that really reflects the voting intentions of the people. But now he’s blancmanging and the opportunity for decisive leadership is slipping away as it has on so many other issues.
Have a nice pudding.