With the result of the Canning bi-election hotly tipped to decide the fate of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, it appears Joe Hockey has been suggested as an alternative sacrifice.
According to reports by Fairfax Media, some cabinet ministers have urged the Prime Minister to dump Joe Hockey as Treasurer should the Liberal Party not see the desired outcome in Canning. The calling of an early federal election in March 2016 is also said to be a possibility.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison is hotly tipped to be the likely candidate for the post of Treasurer, while Mr Hockey would be offered another portfolio.
While the Liberals currently hold a margin of 11.8 per cent in the seat of Canning, a swing to Labor by as much as 10 per cent has been forecast by polls. And although this would see the Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie win the seat, it is considered by some cabinet ministers that even a swing of six per cent would be bad news for the Coalition Government.
One cabinet minister is reported to have told Fairfax that “They are considering dumping Hockey post-Canning and believe that will get them to Christmas,” with any move dependent on the result.
The removal of Mr Hockey as Treasurer would give the government the opportunity to reset its economic message, but could also prove risky. Despite a mixed performance over the last 15 months in the role, Mr Hockey is known to have a loyal group of supporters in the party room.
Would removing Joe Hockey as Treasurer make the Coalition Government a better option for voters? Has Mr Hockey performed badly enough to warrant such treatment? Is a swing in the Canning bi-election an accurate indication of nationwide sentiment towards the Government?
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