So, the Prime Minister has called a leadership spill for for 4.30pm.
It is difficult to find an international policy angle to all of this, except to say what an international laughing stock this makes Australia. The only major OECD economy to emerge from the GFC without going into recession; unemployment at 5.4%; economic growth for 21 straight years; a free and happy people; a relatively benign international security environment. Yet despite the fact that governments around the world would kill for the kind of problems Australia has, our government can't seem to run itself or even decide who should lead it. It must all be very puzzling to outside observers.
If there's a silver lining in all of this it is that the process will play out peacefully within the rules of our democracy. No troops on the streets and probably not even a demonstration. Still, this constant leadership instability (which both sides of politics suffer from) must be corrosive to our democracy and our economy.
I'm in Singapore just now to attend a workshop on Chinese national security policy, and this morning I picked up my copy of the Straits Times to find (knock me down with a feather) a favourable article about Lee Kuan Yew. He's talking about what makes Singapore an attractive investment destination (my emphasis):
We have got institutions, we have rule of law, and not the vagaries of change with every ruler.
I'm starting to see what he means.
Photo by Flickr user Senator Kate Lundy.