Whatever charred remains existed of what the Liberal Party once stood for, Chris Pyne managed to show up and empty his bladder on them last week.
People like me have been calling out the ‘Turnbull Coalition’ for not upholding basic Liberal Party values for some time. I’ve even gone to the length of keeping a running list of Turnbull’s thought bubbles and leftist policies so that we don’t forget them all.
Quick tangent: for some fun at home, I highly recommend going here, hitting Ctrl+F, typing in ‘liberal’ and seeing how many hits you get (!). Then do the same with ‘Turnbull’ (!!) and ‘Malcolm’ (!!!).
(Yes, you really want to do this).
(It’s ok, I’ll wait…).
To more people than ever before, it’s now clear that Turnbull and his team have funneled Australian politics into an unsustainable tailspin where:
- the Liberals continually give their conservative base the middle finger – and keep moving to the left in a cyncial attempt to steal Labor’s customers (hint: it’s not working). Obvious examples of this include: Gonski, renewable energy targets, socialistic regulation of the gas industry, new super taxes, bank taxes and record federal taxation and spending (if you haven’t done so already, go grab yourself a cup of coffee or stiff drink of your choice, sit down, click on that last link, survey the terrible mess that is our federal budget and get informed – and then get a politically apathetic friend to do the same):
- Labor keeps responding the only way it can – by moving further to the left and
raisinglowering the bar (effectively setting the nation’s agenda); and
- the Liberals keep inching further to the left.
It’s obvious that things can’t and won’t keep going this way for much longer.
To be fair to Pyne, if it wasn’t him plopping on the final straw, then it was going to be something or someone else. Anything that can be sustained – whether good or bad – will eventually break through:
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it — but all that had gone before.”
One of the following must happen:
- Turnbull stays on (or is replaced by a similarly leftist leader), the Liberals lose big at the next federal election and rebuild from the ground up;
- Turnbull is replaced within the next 6-12 months by a more conservative and competent leader – with the next election result being more or less up in the air; or
- a major conservative breakaway party will be formed (it’s been done before and could very easily happen again).
Some people fear that a split in the Liberal Party would serve only to hand power to Labor for a very long time. I’m not convinced of this for the following reasons:
- the Liberal Party is already split and well on track to hand power to Labor for a long time;
- the last time something like this was done, it took only three years for the breakaway party to be elected into office in three states – and five years to be elected to office federally; and
- more than 50% of Australian voters (on a two party preferred basis) have wanted centre-right leadership for some time: they voted overwhelmingly for it in 2013, expressed their utter disgust that it was removed without their consent in 2016 and are showing exactly what they think of entrenched centre-left leadership in the current polls.
A split in the Liberal Party wouldn’t change any of this: you can’t simply transform people into leftists (or vice versa) by changing labels. All it would do is label a spade a spade and allow people to make a clearer choice.
‘Black Handers’ like Pyne and Turnbull would then be flanked by Labor and the Greens to the left and the conservatives to the right – and they would then have to choose to either side with:
- Labor and the Greens – and cede the entire centre-right ground to the conservatives (to the point of being eventually swallowed up by the left); or
- the conservatives – and be properly held in check in any government they formed (and vice versa if the conservatives won more seats).
If well over a million voters were prepared to vote for a rag-tag bunch of conservative, centre-right and far right parties in the Senate at the 2016 Federal election, then it begs the question: what would happen if a major, organised centre-right party came along?
If a breakaway party was formed, then as far as the numbers go, my best guess involves applying a loose rule of thirds in predicting how many would leave the Liberals. That is:
- one third would move over (let’s say about 25 out of 76 lower house members and 10 out of 29 upper house members);
- one third would definitely stay with the Liberals; and
- one third would be unsure – with almost all of them probably staying put.
From there, things would become very interesting indeed.
Could it happen?
I came across the following post which I wrote about 15 months ago. The real Chris Pyne and the things he stands for were all on show then as much as they are now:
Tony Abbott came out today and labelled the Safe Schools ‘All of Us’ school program as social engineering:
‘It’s not an anti-bullying program … its funding should be terminated,’ Mr Abbott told The Australian…
I found this remark to be very interesting given that it was Abbott’s government which launched the program:
The Safe Schools teaching manual, set up by Labor but launched by the Coalition in 2014, has been under fire in recent weeks from conservative politicians, the ACL and News Corp newspapers.
Sources said this was not the first time the party room had discussed the Safe Schools program, with concerns also raised under Tony Abbott’s leadership.
Given Abbott’s clear views expressed today on the program, how could it possibly have been launched under his watch?
When I wrote about this last week, I speculated that Abbott may have felt like it was a fight he couldn’t afford to have given his popularity issues. Perhaps this is still true, particularly if you believe The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘sources’ (*) that there were party room discussions about the program while Abbott was leader (I wonder if he was present?).
(*) as a general rule, you shouldn’t.
However, if that was the case, then why would Abbott say anything at all now? It’s hardly in his interest to do so – all it would show is that he didn’t have control of the party room as leader.
Perhaps Abbott wasn’t aware of the program until well after it had been launched? After all, the cost was ‘only’ $8 million (and pretty much already spent), so it might not have made his radar. Which then begs the obvious question (which should be asked regardless): which flake was the Education Minister at the time?
Now this is where things get interesting…
I’m not going to get involved with any unsubstantiated rumours regarding Christopher Pyne – you’re more than capable of doing that yourself if you want to. However, I will say that he voted for Turnbull in the leadership spill:
In South Australia, the moderate faction led by Christopher Pyne and Simon Birmingham delivered Mr Turnbull seven of the state’s 11 votes.
Wait a minute, who’s the current Education Minister? Ah, yes. Excellent.
Isn’t it curious how political circles manage to complete themselves so neatly?
So, in a nutshell: he stands for an extreme-left education indoctrination agenda, homosexual marriage without the public’s consent and $50 billion committed to French submarines – the first of which won’t be delivered for another 10-15 years. Oh, and a steady diet of duplicity…
5 thoughts on “Editorial – With Friends Like Chris…”
There’s an unspoken agreement by the luvvie media that they will refrain from shrieking around the clock against the Libs provided the Libs stick with Turnbull. It’s an unholy arrangement which guarantees Posh Left/inner urban values no matter who reigns in Canberra.
The hope is in a new Lib leader who goes immediately and resolutely for the throat of Big Smug (ABC) and Big Green. Ruthless reform of the giant ABC and a firm commitment, openly stated, to exploit and modernise our greatest resource: the superb black coal of the Sydney-Gunnedah-Bowen Basin. Not likely, and not easy, but that’s the vague hope I hold out.
Apart from that, a One Nation/AC bloc holding the balance of power in the upper house?
Anyway, thank you for another thoughtful article.
That’s a great post, Marcus.
Whatever happens and whoever leads the Liberals to the next election, I’m already resigned to 2 terms of Labor, under Shorten or someone worse. That is, in my view, unfortunate but a necessary part of the clean-out of irresponsible incompetents from the major parties.
Just as the Liberals have to be at least harshly punished, and more likely destroyed for betraying their principles and their supporters, so Labor deserves to be in office and held accountable for its irresponsible policies when Australia is brought to the brink of economic crisis (or beyond).
It will be like the Whitlam years all over again.
It will break (for at least another generation) the unsustainable cycle of Labor damaging the economy, the Liberals being elected to partly patch up the damage by damaging its own support, being voted out for Labour, and the cycle repeating again.
I acknowledge this is a dangerous scenario. But the history of serious reforms in the OECD economies teaches that nothing prompts thorough reform except a genuine crisis. Reform will only be supported when things are so bad there is no alternative.
Thanks Tezza. Sadly, I think that what you’ve described is the most likely outcome from here.
Cory Bernardi has already formed the new party we will be voting for. He is truly Conservative – one of very few in reality in Oz.
I think he’s already surprised a few people in terms of who he’s already managed to recruit and how organised he is. His weekly doses of common sense are a pleasure to read. There’s currently a huge target market for him to aim for.