Malcolm Turnbull bids farewell to politics
MALCOLM Turnbull will bid adieu to politics today and retire to his multimillion-dollar harbourside mansion.
Scott Morrison is settling into his new role as PM and the Liberals are battling to win back the faith of a disenchanted voting public.
The latest Newspoll has declared Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Labor Party a shoo-in, before the next election has even been called.
One of the few options left for the Liberals is to run a seamless campaign replete with polished ads, endless doorknocking and warm letters promising constituents the world.
But the Liberal Party is cash-strapped, fundraising targets haven't been met, its volunteer ranks are empty and its biggest donor - Mr Turnbull - is unlikely to be generous.
Federal election campaigns cost a fortune and major parties spend big in their bids to win.
In the 2016 federal election, Labor and the Liberal Party forked out a combined $60 million, with half of that spent on advertising.
And things are only getting costlier.
Labor campaign strategist and advertising expert Dee Madigan said the Liberals would be worried about their financial position as the next poll looms.
"Elections cost a lot of money," Ms Madigan, director of the firm Campaign Edge, said.
"I'd say you'd want about $40 million to run an election campaign. They're big, expensive businesses."
The government is staring down the battle of a very tough contest with very little money in the bank.
The whole of Australia knows about Mr Turnbull's vast personal wealth, his $50 million Point Piper mansion and his time as a barrister and successful businessman.
But the former PM isn't the only Turnbull that has a knack for business and garnering donations.
His wife Lucy is well-known for her philanthropic work, having served on the board of the New South Wales Cancer Institute, previously chaired the Sydney Children's Hospital Foundation and the Sydney Cancer Centre.
She also serves on boards for the Redfern Foundation and the family's own Turnbull Foundation.
Ms Turnbull's work in the not-for-profit sector earned her an Order of Australia medal in 2011 and its her knack at fundraising that will be an especially painful loss for the Liberal Party.
Meanwhile,a number of future events that touted Mr Turnbull as the star speaker have also been either cancelled or postponed.
A business function which cost $12,500 a head and was supposed to end with a private dinner with Mr Turnbull, was cancelled earlier this week.
Labor has previously raised $1 million with a similar event.
CANDIDATES NOT MEETING TARGETS
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald last week, NSW Liberal president Philip Ruddock said he was getting ready to "name and shame" electorates for their poor fundraising skills.
A number of MPs are well behind on their targets, including senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and former health minister Sussan Ley.
"MPs are meant to fundraise a certain amount, they all have minimums, and from what I gather none of the Libs are coming close to what they should have," Ms Madigan said.
"It's really hard to fundraise. It's especially hard when you're on the nose."
In 2016, on the other side of the country, the Liberal Party's secret weapon Julie Bishop was furiously fundraising for the party.
Since Ms Bishop's first-round defeat in last week's leadership spill, a number of business donors are reportedly furious about the way she was treated.
And a few weeks before Mr Turnbull was ousted, he had attended a dinner in WA which raised more than $250,000 for local electorates.
Ms Bishop's departure from a leadership role deprives the Liberal Party of a critical fundraising champion.
The Liberals also lack the same pulling power as Labor when it comes to enlisting an army of free supporters, Ms Madigan said.
"This isn't just about cash. The other thing the Liberal Party doesn't have is volunteers. People aren't lining up to volunteer to doorknock," she said.
"The Labor Party has a lot of people volunteering their own time and that's very useful and makes a massive difference."
NO MORE TURNBULL MONEY
In February, new disclosures revealed Mr Turnbull was not only his party's biggest donor - he was also the largest donor in the entire country.
They revealed that in October 2016, Mr Turnbull donated $1 million of his own money to the party and in December of the same year, he wrote another cheque for $750,000.
While both donations were formally filed after the July 2016 election, it's clear the $1.75 million was used to bankroll at least some of the hard-fought Liberal campaign.
After the donations went public, Mr Turnbull said he'd made the "substantial donation" because he believed in his party.
"I stand up for my values with the money that I've made, the money I've paid tax on," Mr Turnbull told The Australian.
"I put my money into ensuring that we didn't have a Labor government. I put my money into the Liberal Party's campaign. I am not beholden to the CFMEU like Bill Shorten is. I'm not beholden to left-wing unions who own Bill Shorten."
The Liberal Party scraped through the 2016 federal election, securing a one-seat majority.
It's a majority the party could lose next month when the long list of candidates vying for Mr Turnbull's seat of Wentworth go to the polls.
NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM
During the 2013 federal election, the biggest spender outside of the major parties, unions and the Greens, was the Australian Salary Packing Industry Association.
They had taken issue with then PM Kevin Rudd's plans to change the fringe benefits tax and put considerable money behind a campaign that supported the Liberal Party.
"Businesses tend to campaign for the Liberal Party and they've got a lot of money," Ms Madigan said.
"The Liberal Party will try and cry poor but it's bull s***. You only have to look at who their support base is, and who their policies benefit, to know that.
"The top end of town has always campaigned for them and will continue to do so. We've already seen it this year with the Business Council of Australia's campaign."