From Abbott to Turnbull: A New Direction?

At the 2013 election, many Australians expressed their concern with the chaos that surrounded the Labor minority governments of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. They gave their support to Abbott as a Prime Minister who promised to ‘put the grown-ups back in charge’ with ‘stable and strong government’, and ‘a government with no surprises’. However, his government proved to be anything but stable and was certainly full of surprises! After two years of floundering in public opinion polls, the Coalition replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Promising a new direction, Turnbull committed to a new style of leadership, ‘an end to policy on the run’ and a ‘more open government’.


Alex Ellinghausen, The Sydney Morning Herald

This volume, the twelfth in the Australian Commonwealth Government series, traces the key issues that characterised the Abbott and Turnbull administrations from 2013 to 2016. It comprises 16 essays written by noted academics and political commentators and covers a range of topics, prepared in three sections: first, the institutions of state (the legislature and particularly the role of the independents; the public sector; the media; challenges to the Australian democracy); second, key policy issues which dominated the debates during the period (the economy, asylum seeker policy, education, the environment, health and social policy, urban policy). The third section focuses on the Abbott and Turnbull leadership. The book also contains a special case study of one electorate, Indi, currently being held by an independent. It serves to reflect a number of dimensions of changing attitudes to political engagement in contemporary Australia.

Discussion in the book focuses around issues that invite readers to consider whether or not the change from Abbott to Turnbull did provide a new direction for the government, a matter that occupies many voters as they consider their vote in the July 2016 double dissolution election.

The book is due to be published at the end of July. It is edited by Chris Aulich, and produced by the Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra. Readers are invited to register their interest with the publisher, Echo Books, at:


This piece was first published on The Policy Space