Leading article Australia

Flat White & the NSW Libs

3 August 2019

9:00 AM

3 August 2019

9:00 AM

When a political party ignores its base, it will turn elsewhere. The base, that usually is. But, innovators always, the powers that be in the New South Wales Liberals struck off in new directions this week. They ignored the base, dumping it, without ordinary party members knowing what was going on, and went on a dalliance themselves with Sydney independent MP Alex Greenwich.

What does Mr Greenwich have that ordinary Liberals don’t? He has a draft private members bill to decriminalise abortion and effectively permit open slather operation of the whole ghastly industry on a scale familiar to those who must suffer in Daniel Andrews’ left-wing Victoria.

The tight bright blue suits, brown shoes and buckets of hair product its ministers sport always give the Berejiklian government away. It so wants to be ‘with it’ and trendy. It loves pitching to people who will never vote Liberal. And what better way than to embark on a massive rewriting of abortion laws less than six months after an election where it was silent on the issue?

The Berejiklian brains trust must have thought it had a real winner on its hands; a distraction from the building site once known as George Street and the massive hole in the ground that once used to house a football stadium. Why not dish up a tastily ‘progressive’ social policy for all its fans at the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC? The fact that it was Greenwich’s policy was even better. It gave them plausible deniability. Always better that these sorts of things come from a crossbencher.

And this is where the Liberal base began to wake up. They began to see that the party power brokers had dropped them for an independent. And not just any independent – for Clover Moore’s handpicked successor when she was finally legislated out of the state parliament.

Thoroughly ignored in favour of a chancer, certain Liberals who felt left out  turned elsewhere to express their outrage: to The Spectator Australia’s  popular online magazine Flat White (www.spectator.com.au/2019/07/exclusive-new-nsw-liberal-abortion-push-overrides-checks-and-balances/) and its contributor Mark Powell, to be precise. Those who contacted him weren’t just ordinary party members, either. They included parliamentarians, frontbenchers even, disgusted that their leadership should seize a key left-wing agenda item and try to ram it through the party room and – presumably – the parliament with disregard for the usual checks and balances, let alone for what cause. Mr Powell broke the story Sunday evening on Flat White. The mainstream media woke up Monday. Ms Berejiklian and her inner circle were humiliated by lunchtime Tuesday, such was the backlash when parliamentarians gathered that morning for their regular meeting.

Alastair Campbell, in his most imperious phase, famously interrupted one of his boss’s interviews to declare ‘We don’t do God’. The Speccie does. We do so not because Australians are a nation of wowsers and Bible bashers, but a people with their own quiet morality, a set of beliefs that they have been unusually forced to defend in public over recent years over everything from school funding to same-sex marriage, religious freedom and the accompanying rights to free speech and now this.

Quiet Australians made their views clear on May 18. Hopefully, the trendy bedwetters of the NSW Liberals have discovered that they ignore those voices at their own risk.

Wage thieves

Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter has announced plans to increase criminal penalties for what he terrifyingly labels ‘wage theft’. His outrage appears to have been spurred by the embarrassing workplace travails of celebrity MasterChef George Calombaris, as Rebecca Weisser notes in her terrific column this week. We wholeheartedly support this exciting new initiative. Presumably, Mr Porter intends to see every one of those villainous characters who so wickedly steals the wages of hard-working Aussies packed off to the local nick.

Allow us to dob in a few key suspects. The biggest thieves of our hard-earned wages are of course those politicians, media commentators and academics who have so fraudulently pushed the climate change cult. In doing so they have helped drive up our electricity prices, which affect every aspect of our lives and business profitability, to among the highest in the world when we should of course be enjoying the lowest. Lock ‘em up, we say.

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