Malcolm Turnbull's Tweets Are Quietly Roasting Scott Morrison On Climate Change
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull has shared tweets blasting "a regrettable lack of leadership" from the man who replaced him, in a Christmas spree of sub-tweeting and shady likes.
It's been nearly a year and a half since Turnbull's spectacular ouster from The Lodge, eventually replaced by his former treasurer Scott Morrison after a challenge from Peter Dutton.
The second #LibSpill in three years triggered a cascading set of monumental political machinations, including Turnbull's resignation from parliament, his seat being won by independent MP Kerryn Phelps, new PM Morrison governing without a clear majority in parliament, and eventually, Morrison's "miracle" election win this May.
Turnbull stayed largely quiet in the immediate aftermath of his swift ejection, but in more recent times, has been getting some stuff off his chest about his time in politics, his party rivals, and climate change.
That hasn't slowed down over the Christmas break, with Turnbull's Twitter feed now pockmarked with some subtle -- and some not-so-subtle -- digs at the party he left behind.
"Prime minister, the kindest thing you could do for us is stop pretending to have a credible climate policy," read a tweet from The Guardian Australia's editor Lenore Taylor.
Turnbull retweeted it on December 22.
In the article, Taylor told Morrison "it's too dangerous to keep pretending you have one", and slammed what she called Australia's "woefully inadequate climate policy".
Morrison famously backed Turnbull publicly just days before winning the Prime Ministership last August, putting his arm around the then-PM and saying "this is my leader and I'm ambitious for him" when asked if he had ambitions to take the top job.
"Thanks ScoMo," Turnbull responded.
Turnbull has long been involved in conversations on climate action, regularly sharing news articles, studies and ideas on his Twitter profile. In recent months, it has been no different, with articles about environment policy, emissions reductions and innovation policy more broadly dotting his page.
But recent days have seen Turnbull sharing and liking tweets more directly critical of the Australian government itself.
Last week, as the debate about bushfires, firefighter resourcing and Australia's climate commitments heated up, Turnbull was warming up his tweeting fingers.
"We have to reduce emissions urgently but we also need to put more resources into the fire fight. Business as usual is not an option," he posted on December 20.
He didn't address the message to anyone in particular, but its message about emissions reduction could be seen as being aimed at the federal government.
The next day, December 21, the former PM retweeted a Sydney Morning Herald article about the head of the International Energy Agency branding "Australia's climate and energy debate among the worst in the world."
With both Turnbull's stints as leader of the Liberal Party, in 2007 and 2018, snuffed out after some in his party lashed out at his stance on energy and climate, it's not hard to see the subtext behind that particular RT.
On December 23, Turnbull reweeted a blistering piece from England's Financial Times newspaper, titled 'Australia’s bushfires have exposed its leaders’ failings', which prominently turned the torch on Morrison himself in saying he "must face up to the challenge of climate change".
"The scale of Australia's wildfire emergency has been exacerbated by a regrettable lack of leadership from the prime minister, Scott Morrison," the FT tweeted, in a post Turnbull then retweeted.
Even the Christmas holiday period didn't slow him down.
On December 24, Turnbull 'liked' a tweet from ABC journalist Louise Milligan, who pointed out his retweet of the Financial Times piece and said the article was another example of Australia "making international headlines for all the wrong reasons".
She cited Morrison's controversial Hawaiian family holiday, calling it a "debacle".
On Christmas Day itself, just hours after he had been at Sydney's Wayside Chapel helping serve lunch to the homeless, Turnbull shared a tweet poking fun at Morrison's Hawaiian holiday, adding a joke of his own.
Batik is a technique for dying fabric in vibrant patterns, originating from Indonesia.
Two hours after that, Turnbull shared praise of Phelps, who defeated Liberal candidate Dave Sharma in the 2018 by-election for Wentworth -- and who would later cause major headaches for the Morrison government.
She spearheaded the refugee medevac legislation, which passed the parliament against the government's wishes in February, and joined a small coalition of independent crossbenchers who would prove a thorn in the government's side for several months.
It would take until December for the government to finally overturn the medevac laws.
Turnbull and his son Alex were criticised for claims they helped Phelps to win the seat, hindering Sharma's campaign. Sharma defeated Phelps at the May election to now sit as the Member for Wentworth.
To be fair, Turnbull has also shared numerous recent tweets in support and praise of Sharma, congratulating him on "a great speech", a "a very eloquent start to your parliamentary career", and wishing him luck in the election.
Turnbull had been kinder to the government in the past, liking a tweet from Morrison announcing more funding for aerial firefighting aircraft on December 12, and earlier saying it was a "good call" for Morrison to give more funding to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
But a few weeks ago, he liked a tweet from Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama -- a recent critic of the Australian government's environmental policy -- which poured scorn on Australia's plans for emissions reduction.
Bainimarama's jibe about "Kyoto credits", as well as hashtagging COP25 -- the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Spain -- was a clear dig at the Australian government's controversial plan to use "carryover credits" to meet its Kyoto protocol obligations.
Turnbull is due to release a memoir, titled 'A Bigger Picture' in April 2020. It promises to give new revelations and insight into the spill that saw his downfall and retirement from politics.