I cannot support this clown because (i) his stance is immoral; (ii) the urgency of climate change issues makes it imperative that we put pressure on other countries to act by not being hypocrites ourselves and (iii) it is unwise to be out of step with the majority of Australians who do support an ETS.
I am unsure whether Peter Costello or Malcolm Turnbull would make a better alternative leader - a leader who would regain power from Labor. Costello has the greater electoral appeal but has the liability of being a strong supporter of labour market reform that went even beyond WorkChoices. These reforms I continue to support. John Howard did too but he always figured they would be electorally unacceptible. The Liberals lost ground here after the election by whimping out like a bunch of beaten dogs when the Labor Party moved towards dismantling policy moves that fostered employment and created a more efficient workforce in Australia.
Its a simple principle. Don't abandon successful policies when opposition to them is backed in the main by a disappearing trade union movement who have zero economic intelligence - witness their stupid insistence on preserving the real wage in the face of food and oil price increases. Believe me - stripping aside party-political allegiances - there is not an economist in Australia who supports this foolish policy in private.
In addition Costello will always be viewed as being a sook because of his unwillingness to take on John Howard for the leadership (in my view, to be fair, he had no choice) and because of his early suggestion he would quit politics after the 2007 loss.
Malcolm Turnbull has lower electoral appeal according to the polls but won the day on retaining a sensible attitude to climate change. He is a mile smarter and much quicker to sense the political winds than Nelson and would make a much better PM than Rudd. He has had lower visibility and less experience than does Costello but that is changing.
Whoever the Liberals do select to replace Nelson they should back this leader through to the next election and ignore the invitation to commit political suicide with continuing leadership debates. The economic downturn and the preospect of a severe contraction of house prices will swing back those 'working families' who believed they could reliably trust the economy to Labor with its trade union debts and fundamental lack of talent.
Whoever wins the current leadership tussle I believe Julie Bishop remains a capable potential Deputy PM with Tony Abbott standing in the wings should Bishop eventually be shifted into a leadership role. Unlike Labor the Liberal Party has plenty of talent to draw on. Brendan Nelson was a 'sacrificial lamb' who probably understands his temporary role - he might be part of a Liberal front bench but not a future PM.