Last Monday in Canberra, Prime Minister Tony Abbott fell victim to a party room coup that ended his tenure in Australia’s top job after just two years. The man that claimed his job, Malcolm Turnbull, promised to be a more effective and consultative leader of the governing Liberal Party.

Now that the dust has begun to settle on Australia’s latest political coup, many have now started to wonder how such a seemingly stable and well-functioning democracy has reached a point where it is installing its fifth prime minister in just five years.

The political instability began with the toppling of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010 after just two and a half years in power by his deputy Julia Gillard. Gillard was immediately labelled the ‘Lady MacBeth’ of Australian politics, and was promptly disposed of by her own party in favour of Rudd in 2013.

After Rudd’s triumphant return to the top job, he and his Labor Party were belted by Tony Abbott in the general election just two months later. And now, Abbott has been thrown out by his own party in favour of the swarve, former merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull.

Of these multitude of leadership changes, only one of these came at the hands of the Australian people. This ‘new normal’ of political parties removing and installing prime ministers on a whim has rightly infuriated the electorate, and has led to a monumental collapse in faith with the political process.

How has Australia reached point? Well, the main catalyst for each of these internal leadership coups has been opinion polls. It seems that now opinion polls, not the Australian people’s actions at the ballot box, has become the main facilitator in power transitions over the past five years.

Whilst many politicians that have participated in the political carnage of the past five years have stated that the Rudd and Abbott leadership scrapings came after each leader became extremely difficult to work with, one most remain aware that while this could be true, these leaders were not removed until their poll numbers collapsed and the party faced annihilation in an upcoming general election.

The poll driven nature of Australian politics was never more obvious than in the dumping of Julia Gillard. Gillard was by all accounts a very effective and competent leader, and her parliamentary term was the most successful in passing legislation of any government in Australia’s history.

But due to the route she took to power, Gillard never won the hearts of the Australian people, and thus this was communicated in opinion polls that were published weekly.

Gillard earned the labelled of the ‘most unpopular prime minister in Australia’s history’ after the carbon tax debacle and some unfortunate missteps on the treatment of asylum seekers, and therefore her personal approval rating dived below 30%.

Gillard was dumped by her party in June of 2013, with her colleagues openly stating that the primary reason such drastic action was taken was because they feared how her unpopularity would play out at the upcoming general election.

While many Australians are merely passive observers of politics and choose to fervently dismiss any new leader with little to no knowledge of him or her, those of us who do follow the troublesome political process closely are rightly concerned with the ‘new normal’ of politics in our country.

It is concerning that not only has the power of political choice been taken away from the people and transferred to a small group of politicians, but it is the fact that these rapid changes in power have undoubtedly contributed to the economic instability Australia now faces.

Additionally, the fact that most Australians have become so deeply disenfranchised with politics has resulted in very little care or passion being injected into the current political discourse.

There are no advantages to having a political passive population, there are no advantages to continued political and economic instability, and there are no advantages to having a small group of people of any political persuasion ultimately dictating the course that a nation will take.

We can only hope that this dangerous habit of toppling political leaders based on short-term, reactionary ways of thinking will cease, and we are able to return to the stable, forthright and truly democratic political system that Australia enjoyed before this shamefully turbulent period of political musical chairs.