“The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory. We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership,” Mr Turnbull said after the leadership spill of 2015.
The awkward reality is that Turnbull himself is expected to achieve the same unenviable milestone when a new poll comes out in The Australian on Monday, likely losing his 30th Newspoll in a row.
Despite this, conservatives and moderate Liberals alike say there is no threat to his leadership. As much as Tony Abbott might not like to hear it, even his conservative friends say the prime minister should cop the loss on the chin and move on.
“Sure there might be a bad Newspoll on Monday, nobody cares,” Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne said during the week.
“We have a prime minister who will stay the prime minister and lead us to the next election and win.”
Conservative Andrew Hastie, a good friend of Mr Abbott, said Mr Turnbull should be frank and honest about the result.
You can watch Turnbull’s forgettable video below. Post continues.
“Just acknowledging the irony is probably a good way forward … take it on the chin. That’s all he can do,” Mr Hastie told AAP.
“I don’t think anyone’s entertaining the prospect of Tony returning.”
Other Liberals told AAP there was no chatter about Mr Turnbull’s leadership, and the party room believes there is time to turn the polling around.
Mr Abbott and his small group of allies have been pressuring the prime minister on energy policy, a return to the tactic that brought Mr Turnbull down as opposition leader in 2009.
The former prime minister on Saturday called on his colleagues to explain why he was booted from office after losing 30 consecutive opinion polls to Labor in 2015.
“As for that particular metric, that was not my metric and it is for others to explain the rhyme or the reason in it, ” Mr Abbott said.
“Life is not fair. We know that.”
Mia Freedman talks to Malcolm Turnbull about all facets of his leadership. Post continues after audio.
When the Newspoll is published, Mr Abbott is expected to be riding a bike on his ‘Pollie Pedal’ through Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, the heart of coal mining country.
But Mr Turnbull has been emphasising to the many other reasons he cited when challenging Mr Abbott as evidence of his success.
“The strongest jobs growth in the nation’s history surely is a demonstration that our economic policies are working,” he says.
Former prime minister John Howard urged Liberal MPs to bury their differences.
“I don’t find any evidence in the party that people want a change of leader,” Mr Howard told ABC TV.
Mr Turnbull also pointed to his track record of restoring a Howard-style cabinet government, after Mr Abbott centralised decision-making in his office.
Under Mr Turnbull, the Liberals won a tight election in 2016, but have lost the two-party preferred vote since.
But while Bill Shorten was ahead of Mr Abbott in the preferred prime minister rankings before the spill, Mr Turnbull has maintained a solid personal lead over the Labor leader.
Regardless, it’s an unfortunate turn of events, that’s for sure.