Now that pre-polling has opened for the 2016 federal election, The Marcus Review considers how small government and conservative voters can go about getting the job done at the ballot box.
Not as easy as just voting Liberal
This quote could come back to haunt Liberal strategist Mark Textor and Malcolm Turnbull:
“The qualitative evidence is they don’t matter,’’ Mr Textor said. “The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.’’
Regardless of what you might think of the strategy itself, it clearly shouldn’t include openly telling a significant section of Liberal voting base to go and stick it – an approach which has largely been mirrored in the Turnbull-led Liberal’s policies to date (e.g. superannuation).
It also appears that Textor and Turnbull have forgotten the golden rule that it’s far more profitable to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. This applies double in the case of long term customers who, in this particular case, have plenty of time and intelligence to plot their revenge.
The question is how they will go about it.
First up – don’t vote for Labor and Bill Shorten
Regrettably, this is a something that needs to be addressed. This is because there is a small, but not insignificant, collection of people who think that it would be better if we had Labor really stink things up for the next three years. Under this strategy, a true conservative/small government hero could then take back the Liberal party and bring back the glory days at the next election in 2019. In this respect, we are told to think of the next 10 years, rather than simply the next three.
Firstly, why stop at 10 years? What about the next 100? All the record would show under this strategy is that Labor would have been given another three years it didn’t deserve (and 9 out of 12 since 2007). Putting Labor back in so early – when it should be reinventing itself – would only encourage it to move even further to the left than it already has. This is something Australia can ill afford.
This then leads to the second point – never underestimate the damage that Labor could do in the next three years. Given the barely punished and unreformed union corruption which we have, combined with Labor’s insane policies regarding the NBN, education and negative gearing (among many others), an already tattered budget could easily become an insurmountable Greek style catastrophe.
Thirdly, there is no guarantee that Labor would be voted out at the 2019 election, particularly if the Liberals fail to pluck Australia’s next national hero out of thin air. Do the people advocating this approach really want to risk six or more years of a Shorten/Plibersek led Labor? To me, it seems that these people have forgotten that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.
So please, no voting for Labor and Bill to teach Malcolm a lesson. Trust me when I say there are better ways.
The principled method
Sites like stopturnbull.com have come up with a very interesting strategy for conservatives, the spirit of which appears to be endorsed by Andrew Bolt and The Spectator’s John Stone.
Essentially, it requires you to take note of all the ‘progressive’ and spineless Liberals who voted for Turnbull in the leadership spill and punish them accordingly:
A) THE SENATE
Ideally, you should avoid a party-based “above-the-line” vote in the Senate, and instead number all the boxes in the following order:
All the dedicated conservative Liberal Senators/candidates.
All the dedicated conservative National Senators/candidates.
All the conservative minor party Senators/candidates.
All the other Liberal-National Senators/candidates.
B) THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Although minor parties are unlikely to win many seats in the House of Representatives, and usually have no influence, it is still useful to give reputable conservative minor parties (eg. Family First) your first preference. Remember, every first preference vote attracts a certain number of dollars from the taxpayer, and better they go to a principled party like Family First, than to the Turnbull-led Liberal Party.
Eliminating left-faction leaders in the Liberal Party
In the normal course of events, you should give the Liberal Party your second preference, below a reputable conservative minor party, but if you’re in a seat with a notorious and influential leftist-‘progressive’ Liberal, who uses their party room influence to push the party to the left, you should put them LAST in your preference list, below Labor.
You need not be squeamish about this. Replacing an influential Liberal leftist-‘progressive’ with a Labor leftist-‘progressive’ is a net gain for conservatives because ‘progressives’ lose influence in the Liberal party room.
While this method is well principled, it does have flaws. Firstly, the time and effort required make it doubtful that it will have enough take-up to make a difference. Secondly, it would also (slightly) improve Bill Shorten’s chances of becoming Prime Minister – something no conservative should ever contribute to (see also above).
An easier, less risky way
You could do a lot worse than using the above method. However, if it is not for you, then there’s also a simple option which will get the job done without increasing the risk of a Shorten government:
- Senate – find several conservative/small government minor parties and candidates to your liking (e.g. Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, Australian Liberty Alliance, Family First) – and vote for them before voting Liberal/National and completing your vote. Try to get in as many as possible before you vote Liberal. By all means, go below the line if you want to get personal. Otherwise, getting in 5 or 6 parties before you vote Liberal should get the job done above the line.
- House of Representatives – do the same. If none of your preferred conservative/small government parties are running in your electorate, then hold your nose and vote Liberal/National first without exception.
Remember, every first preference vote attracts a certain number of dollars from the taxpayer, and better they go to a principled party like Family First, than to the Turnbull-led Liberal Party.
In a perfect world, the minor party/parties of your choice will get Senate seats and hold the balance of power in the Senate, or even the House of Representatives (you never know). This would then force the government to take better account of your views on any piece of legislation (in much the same way that Labor had to with the Greens). If your chosen minor parties don’t go anywhere, then you still have the Liberals as your fall back without unnecessarily increasing the risk of a Shorten Labor government.
Having voted Liberal 1-1 on both tickets my entire voting life, I can safely say that there is a stone-cold, zero percent chance that I’ll do so this election. Something tells me I’m not alone.