Tony Abbott hits the reset – again

Tony Abbott is a bit like the guy who rings the computer help desk.


He gets the standard answer from the geek at the other end: “Try turning it on and off”.

The only problem is the prime minister has tended to wait for weeks, if not months, before acting on the advice.

The prime minister has had two resets in the past six months.

The first, in February, was the leadership spill when disgruntled backbenchers delivered a near-death experience.

Abbott set about addressing myriad local electorate concerns as well as dropping unpopular government policies.

And the polls picked up.

The second was ending Bronwyn Bishop’s short-lived speakership in the wake of the helicopter charter scandal.

The election of Victorian Tony Smith as Speaker on Monday provides an opportunity to clear the air over the expenses row.

It also gives the prime minister a chance to talk about renewal – a subject he’s expect to return to later in the year with a ministerial reshuffle.

Notably, Smith’s nomination was moved by two Liberal cleanskins from the Class of 2013, Michael Sukkar and Lucy Wicks.

Bishop’s nomination in 2013 was moved by Abbott himself, making him the first prime minister to nominate a Speaker in parliamentary history.

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne came closest to talking about the strategy in describing 48-year-old Smith as “a very young Speaker”.

“It will be an interesting image for the parliament and a refreshing one at that.”

With the Newspoll giving Labor an election-winning 54-46 lead, the government will be hoping this reset works.

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