The prospect of constant sniping from Tony Abbott on migration is more proof of the lust for destruction within a federal Coalition that is struggling so badly to offer the “stable government” it promised at the last election.
No issue has the power to divide Australians like a call to turn away migrants. Anxiety about population growth is a force that cannot be contained once it is unleashed. Knowing this, the political leaders of the past agreed on bipartisan policy for decades.
The implications for Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership are plain. Abbott used energy policy to create constant friction within the Coalition last year and is using the population debate to intensify those tactics this year.
This is an irresistible issue for the conservative base but it could break the settled bipartisan approach to migration. What hope is there for an agreement in Canberra when the governing party cannot agree with itself?