Guest Notes

Australian notes

14 April 2016

1:00 PM

14 April 2016

1:00 PM

Del-Cons? Or Hon-Cons?

 
When the conspirators met to approve of Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten knifing their respective leaders, did they undertake some exercise in ‘due diligence’? If they did, neither gang did a very good job. But then, they were not concerned with principle or policy; their plots were always about treachery, ambition and self-interest. And the sort of politician prepared to wallow in the gutter with them is hardly likely to be a great leader. Can you imagine, say, Sir John Monash being involved in such skulduggery? Nevertheless, either Turnbull or Shorten is likely to be PM after the election. Most electors will have today forgotten that Shorten knifed not one but two Labor prime ministers, but everybody remembers what Turnbull’s role was. While this delighted the left, it outraged the conservatives. They should not let this cloud their judgement in choosing a government. The conservatives, who rather than being ‘delusional’ are honourable, saw through Turnbull’s justifications for the coup. The first, based on economic leadership, was spurious; by January this had crumbled with the release of the key MYEFO statement. Putting major economic reforms on the table and then taking them off has become a pantomime which attracted increasing ridicule and alienated the Treasurer. That Turnbull would base his other reason on something so ephemeral as opinion polling demonstrates that he assumed the public were gullible and that he would have the media eating out of his hand in perpetuity. Now that opinion polling has turned out to be the quicksand it always is, Shorten will probably be tempted to let Turnbull have his double dissolution. This will be on the pretence that Labor would never do anything so nasty as to block supply; the truth is Labor tried to do this at least 170 times. The problem is that Labor under Shorten is so seriously tainted it is no position to form a government. It has learnt nothing from the disasters it visited on the nation, which were, just to begin, massive debt, rundown defences and 50,000 uninvited immigrants, including terrorists. Without evidence of genuine contrition and a firm intention of mending their ways, Labor cannot be taken seriously as an alternative government. Indeed, there is every indication that a Shorten government would be guided by three or four completely undesirable principles. First, they will throw money at any problem, even those properly the concern of the states, business or of citizens at large. This will justify the corollary – significantly more taxes on the middle class, small business people and self-funded retirees. Second, to continue increasing the number of welfare dependents in the expectation that, as electors, they will be captured. Third, to protect certain trade union bosses, no matter how delinquent, as well as those crony capitalists who are in alliance with them. The fourth is one Barry Jones once hinted at: the deliberate misuse of immigration powers and abandoning control of the borders, for ‘boats for votes’. So apart from giving their first preferences to well tested independent and small party candidates, the rational course for conservatives is to vote in such a way that the Coalition can still form government. Given that this is not going to be the easy win he assumed, why do Turnbull and the party go out of their way to provoke the conservative heartland? Haven’t they noticed what has happened in the US and Europe? Conservatives here remain outraged by the treachery shown to their leader. It is incomprehensible that the offenders have not moved to assuage their feelings and to bring some sense of unity to the party. For example, by bringing in Abbott as minister for defence, Turnbull would reach out to the heartland while putting the best person in that role. Surely he is not so insecure as to be unable to do this? Meanwhile, the party organisation in NSW is determined to preselect candidates on their allegiance to their favourite powerbroker rather than on merit. They learned nothing from the electoral reaction to the manipulated North Sydney by-election where, from the advertising, you would have thought the candidate was Turnbull himself. That should have taught them that his alleged popularity in the polls was not translated into the vote which counts. More recently they put a candidate of the rolled gold quality of Major General Jim Molan in a next to unwinnable position on the Senate ticket with two lobbyists roped in as preselectors reportedly working the room. Doesn’t anyone realise that this is a public scandal? It is elementary lobbyists must not be involved in the selection of those same politicians.

Now in the selection for Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of McKellar, the ruling faction is seeking to install a candidate best known nationally for his scathing criticism of John Howard when he moved to regain control of our borders. He is Turnbull’s former campaign manager, Jason Falinski. The outstanding candidate, Walter Villatora, is prominent in business, charity and sports. He’s been working for years for the introduction of democracy into the NSW Liberal Party, leading the development of a revised constitution consistent with the report requested from John Howard. The party’s actions will inevitably invite calls for reform of the political oligopoly that’s perverting our democracy. The time is soon coming when all parties will be required by an outraged public to introduce internal democracy as the price for their continuing enjoyment of the enormous taxpayer funded financial benefits and exemptions from the law they have so blatantly rewarded themselves. Perhaps Turnbull and the party organisation are listening only to the left-wing commentariat who, fearing the return of Tony Abbott, seek to silence him and force him out of Parliament. The truth is that the more Abbott speaks in support of the government, the more likely the conservative heartland will put a peg on their nose and rubber gloves on their hands and vote for the Turnbull government.

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