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November 21st 2016 print

Peter Smith

The Listing Liberals

If my local member's questionnaire to constituents is any guide -- and I fear it is -- the purported conservative party is very good at finding worthwhile endeavours in which to sink taxpayer money. As to cutting taxes, spending and regulation, they don't figure

listingI recently received a “community survey” in the mail from my local federal member, Trent Zimmerman, (occupying Joe Hockey’s old seat for the Liberals). Respondents are asked to number from 1 to 4 the issues most important to them from a list of fourteen. Nowhere on the list is reducing the size of government or reducing regulation or lowering taxes or balancing the budget or enhancing national security or achieving the aspiration to spend 2% of GDP on defence or reducing welfare dependency or protecting free speech.

And it goes without saying that no provision is made for those who want to protect our cultural values by halting Muslim immigration. In fact there is nothing on immigration at all.

Now I don’t want to give the impression that there are no worthwhile issues listed. Securing Australia’s borders is there, as are building better local roads, investing in public transport and supporting seniors and aged care, among a number of others. It is what is missing that is of note and some of those effectively occupying the space in their stead:

  • Building a strong 21st Century economy
  • Creating jobs for the future.
  • Supporting renewable energy
  • A sustainable environment.
  • Investing in innovation and science

What mindset lies behind these issues? First, it is a mindset that sees government at the centre of economic progress. Second, it is a mindset that treats people as idiots by assuming that unless otherwise prompted they might support building a 20th Century economy or creating jobs for the past. Third it is a mindset that is preoccupied with ‘clean’ jobs. There is no invitation to register support for measures to assist mining or farming or heavy manufacturing.

Welcome to the present-day Liberal Party. I could say that it is the party of Malcolm Turnbull but that would be unfair. Turnbull has not made the party in his image. Turnbull is simply a better fit than was Tony Abbott. Mind you, Abbott was hardly a disruptive force. The system does not lend itself to the emergence of disruptive forces. Someone like Donald Trump would not get to first base. In fact, scratch out anyone of stature and principle. Make Australia great again ain’t gonna cut it with pantywaists.

I recall a few years’ ago being introduced to two preselected candidates when I was briefly a member of the Liberal Party. Not trying to be unkind; aspiring they were, inspiring they were distinctly not. Craig Laundy was the electorally successful one of the two.

How on earth were either of them preselected I thought at the time. Both appeared to be devoid of any depth, passion or philosophy. Unsurprisingly, ‘Friend of Palestine’ Mr Laundy went on to oppose changing 18C and to support Turnbull’s elevation. I was wrong. Laundy and the other chap were no doubt selected for good reason. They fitted the Party. I am the one out of step.

I intended to return the survey with some pointed observations. I decided that there was no point. Judging by the content of the survey, the gulf between me and the Liberal Party is becoming unbridgeable. My observations would be filed away in the ‘deplorables’ basket once note was also taken of my opposition to gay marriage – the subject of a separate question.

Of course, I don’t know whether the survey is a creature of Mr Zimmerman, as distinct from the party as a whole. But I suspect that it would pass muster at head office. The Liberal Party is obviously fertile ground for dripping ‘wets’ when the threatening economic and cultural times call for principled conservatives. Abbott’s demise showed how little conservatives hold sway within the party; if any demonstration was needed.

Some conservatives find hope in Cory Bernardi. I don’t. He has the philosophical depth, but from what I have heard from him not the bottle to strike out from the Liberal Party. Pauline Hanson has the bottle and good instincts but perhaps not the philosophical depth. Having said that commonsense goes a long way and she seems to have plenty of that.

When you think about it, commonsense is the defining difference between conservatives and those on the hard left — the Greens and the present-day Labor Party and the soft left — the present-day Liberal Party. Among other things, commonsense tells you that the private sector creates wealth not government; that we can’t go on spending more than we earn: that wind and sun cannot generate base load power; that free speech is a bulwark against despotism; that marriage is between a man and woman; that children should not be confused into believing that their evident gender is a societal construct; that all cultures are not nearly equal; that a religion whose creed preaches supremacism, intolerance and violence is not benign or peaceful; that civilised society cannot exist without borders; and that there are bad people who wish to do us harm and have to be deterred by force of arms.

I don’t think you have to be terribly clever or learned to get all of this. However, you might have to have a touch of the deplorable about you. I bet Ms Hanson would accept that as do I.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [33]

  1. denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

    Peter, I think that in the medium term it is easier to reclaim/reform the Liberal Party [LNP in Qld] than it would be to form a new party that has any chance of electoral success. A new party may be viable in the long term, but I don’t know if Australia has got the time needed for it to be successful before we motor over the cliff at the end of the Greek/Venezuela highway. It may have been better for you to remain in the local Liberal and fought against the ‘wets’ than to quit and hand power to the Trent Zimmerman’s, Craig Laundy’s and Malcolm Turnbull’s. If you/others do start a new party, please call it the ‘Wealth Producers Party’.
    The US election showed in detail the voting ‘patterns’/areas. The bulk of people who voted for Trump were from the wealth producing areas of the US, i.e. rural areas and the outer suburbs of bigger regional cities. About 83% of individual counties voted for Trump. Clinton won only in the bigger cities, i.e. the wealth consuming areas and areas dominated by bureaucratic ‘elites’ and welfare recipients. These were concentrated on the west coast [known in the US as the 'left' coast] i.e mainly California, and the North-Eastern States such as New York and Massachusetts.
    We have similar patterns here, the rural [wealth producing] areas vote National, LNP or One Nation, the wealth consuming/re-distributing sectors are confined to the Inner Cities and the welfare dependent sections of society are mostly suburban and in poorer rural areas.

  2. Ian MacDougall says:


    When you think about it, commonsense is the defining difference between conservatives and those on the hard left — the Greens and the present-day Labor Party and the soft left — the present-day Liberal Party. Among other things, commonsense tells you that the private sector creates wealth not government
    ; WRONG: THEY BOTH DO; that we can’t go on spending more than we earn WITHOUT GOING INTO DEBT: WHICH AT CERTAIN TIMES IS A SENSIBLE THING TO DO – JUST ASK DONALD TRUMP: that wind and sun cannot generate base load power YET, BUT THINGS ARE HEADING IN THAT DIRECTION; that free speech is a bulwark against despotism TICK; that marriage is between a man and woman TICK; that children should not be confused into believing that their evident gender is a societal construct TICK; that all cultures are not nearly equal TICK; that a religion whose creed preaches supremacism, intolerance and violence is not benign or peaceful TICK; that civilised society cannot exist without borders TICK ; and that there are bad people who wish to do us harm and have to be deterred by force of arms TICK.

    Peter, I am not sure where that leaves me. I assume that to qualify as a ‘conservative’ one must tick all of those, but I am not sure whether that leaves me on the ‘soft left’ with the Liberal Party, or on the ‘hard left’ with the Greens and the ALP: as I don’t agree with or vote for either of them either. Actually, I have once or twice voted Green in my home state elections, as well as for the ALP. Federally these days I vote Liberal.
    I would never vote for One Nation or for a Liberal Party led by some hard right ‘conservative’.

    • whitelaughter says:

      Ian, if a government is creating wealth (obvious examples being creating infrastructure that allows private enterprise to be more profitable) then that government should end up in a very healthy economic position due to the increase in profits and thus tax revenue. That our governments are in such bad financial shape indicates that even if governmental wealth creation is possible in theory, it isn’t an option here and now by our current crop of idiots.

      Going into debt sometimes a sensible thing to do? Certainly: surviving WWII would have to be the least controversial example of this. But that option is only on the table if you haven’t already maxxed out your debt limit. The possibility that we will need to borrow heavily in the future – say to repel invasion, or deal with massive natural disaster – is another reason to ensure that the current budget is balanced.

      Finally, given you’ve voted for several different parties – as have I – consider the importance of *choice*. The current army of identical drones is incapable of solving our problems because they don’t dare have personalities or express unauthorized opinions. Ruling out options out of hand causes this problem. Far better to have a selection of parties that you hope you will never need, than to have no real options and watch our problems get worse. Consider that if you despise a problem, other people will despise them even more; you can use ‘hard right’ options to terrify the Left into lifting their game, and ‘loony left’ options to terrify the Right in the same fashion. So don’t rule any candidate out completely; leave them on the table for their threat value.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Noted. TICK.
        “Going into debt sometimes a sensible thing to do? Certainly: surviving WWII would have to be the least controversial example of this.”
        Sydney Harbour Bridge would have been impossible without debt. But the trouble is that in the spoiling game that is politics, one side takes on debt and leaves it to the other to pay off: always via inevitably unpopular measures.
        THE infrastructure which is and must be government-owned, even if in dodgy PPPs, is the system of trunk and secondary roads. No company or private business (such as my own) could make a cent without them. And ‘privatisation’ of the Australian railways has been a lead balloon: a bit like Gina Rinehart in her play for ownership of Fairfax. Someone eventually told here that it was dead in the water, and she moved on: to cattle properties etc.

    • denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

      Please explain what you mean by ‘hard right’. As I posted on Daniel Johnson’s article on Nov 5 – “I can only add that, thanks to the ‘Orwellian’ distortion of our language, we need to discard/revise our use of terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’, and even rethink about our use of words like conservative and ‘progressive’. I would simplify matters by referring to outlooks/ideologies/philosophies as those in favour of totalitarianism and those opposing totalitarianism.
      The totalitarian approach has numerous manifestations. Secular totalitarianism includes all variations of socialism, ranging from communism and Nazism through to bureaucracy, environmentalism and ‘democratic socialism’, the theocratic variety is best exemplified by Islam. Both varieties are anti-individualist and anti-achievement, more suited to insects than humans.
      The non-totalitarians range from believers in Adam Smith/freedom/capitalism and of rational self interest through to some Christians and conservatives. Most non-totalitarians are individualists and accept that individual freedom can only come with acceptance of individual responsibility.”
      I can only add – Most leftist have only ever seen ‘democracy’ as a means of legitimising/making ‘legal’ their desire to be able to control/confiscate the wealth produced by other people. The free market is the ‘ultimate democracy’ and thus will never be allowed by leftists/totalitarians anywhere.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        denandsel:
        The late and great Christopher Hitchens did us all a service by differentiating between the ‘pro-totalitarian Left’ and the ‘anti-totalitarian Left’ (of which he regarded himself as a member.)
        I am sure Orwell would have approved.

        • Jody says:

          No, having read many of the books of Hitchens, he didn’t regard himself as from the Left in the last decades of his life. Earlier on, when he was naive, certainly. But after 9/11 and his (what I call) American project he came to despise people like Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal who smirked about that catastrophe. He also despised others who felt the same way. It’s all there in “Hitch 22″.

          • Ian MacDougall says:

            Jody: I have my own copy of ‘Hitch-22’ originally published in 2010. Hitchens you will recall died the following year, so I think that autobiography is pretty much his intellectual testament.
            On the biggest political issue of his time, the Vietnam War, he never changed his position: as a glance through the index of that book will show. But on Bush 2’s invasion of Iraq, he like me and many more, parted company from Chomsky, John Pilger and others who were trying to start a mass movement against it. That attempt fell flat on its face: nobody could work up much enthusiasm for supporting Saddam Hussein, one of the bloodiest tyrants in all of human history.
            So as far as I am concerned, the evidence is that Hitch remained in the antitotalitarian Left to the end.
            If I am wrong, then please show how.

    • en passant says:

      Ian,
      The unanswered questions that Ian McD cannot or will not answer. What is so hard about telling us all the Holy Climate Grail you seek:

      1. What is the ideal global average temperature we seek? As we are at 15C and we want to restrict warming to 1.5C it surely must be 16.5C? If so what is the basis for that figure an why is it better than any other figure? Oh, there isn’t any basis? Of course not, as there does not need to be any basis or rational reason as this is not how post-modern science is done. Personal view? 20C would be great, but I am sure Ian McD can tell us why this is not a good idea.

      2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2? We are at 400ppm and at 250ppm plants starve and stop growing, so you would think the post-modern cultists would determine that it must be somewhere in-between these two numbers. Well, you would think …, but this is not how post-modern science is done. Actually, the answer is 2,000ppm+ as the combination of warmth and CO2 fertiliser will green the Earth.

      This will follow every comment you make on any subject until you answer.

    • en passant says:

      Ian McD,
      Here again are the unanswered questions that you cannot or will not answer.

      What is so hard about telling us all the destination of the Holy Climate Grail you seek:

      1. What is the ideal global average temperature we seek? As we are at 15C and we want to restrict warming to 1.5C it surely must be 16.5C? If so what is the basis for that figure an why is it better than any other figure? Oh, there isn’t any basis? Of course not, as there does not need to be any basis or rational reason as this is not how post-modern science is done. Personal view? 20C would be great, but I am sure Ian McD can tell us why this is not a good idea.

      2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2? We are at 400ppm and at 250ppm plants starve and stop growing, so you would think the post-modern cultists would determine that it must be somewhere in-between these two numbers. Well, you would think …, but this is not how post-modern science is done. Actually, the answer is 2,000ppm+ as the combination of warmth and CO2 fertiliser will green the Earth.

      These questions will follow every comment you make on any subject until you provide your answer.

  3. Jody says:

    I don’t agree that there is a ‘current army of identical drones’ in the parliament. I think standouts are Christian Porter and Josh Frydenberg. But they belong to a political party that is frozen in its tracks because every single move that is made, or idea that is mooted, is howled down by vested interests. So, the cryogenic state of modern politics is a consequence of a never-ending demand from an electorate which has enjoyed the fruits of 25 years of continual growth and cannot be sold on the idea that IT’S OVER, folks!!!!

    Just tonight on “The Drum” I note the Gratten Institute is up to its old tricks again; this time wanting to reverse the ‘Seniors’ Tax Offset” because the treatment of SELF FUNDED RETIREES (Note: this is the only group ever discussed, not Defined Benefits – once again!) is far too generous and they need to pay their way. Here we go again………..

    Meanwhile, it’s OK to double dip maternity leave.

    • ianl says:

      > SELF FUNDED RETIREES

      This phrase was once a summary of the values of work application, deliberate thrift, self-sufficiency, adding to productive effort, pride in not bludging. All valuable attributes, we thought.

      Now it’s code for selfish, greedy, useless old parasitic bludgers. The aging of the baby boom has necessitated this propaganda change as the demographic numbers are scary to public budget planners. When Costello (from memory) published the first Generational Report highlighting this as a then potential issue , my comment to my wife was that the problem would be attacked by reducing pensions and other security benefits.

      And so it has come to pass.

      Superannuation, age home fees, bulk billing for pathology and imaging, asset test thresholds, savings account interest at close to zero. Now tax offsets, private health fees offsets, pushes for land tax (to force older cash-poor people out of their homes) …

      Drearily predictable.

      • Jody says:

        Absolutely correct. We are expected to live on “two times the aged pension” – as though this was some sort of communist state where people were told what to do, think and say. Oh, wait…

        What the boffins and politicians aren’t smart enough to understand is that if you rob the HUGE demographic which is aging or aged Baby Boomers you run the risk of there being a whole swathe of the population who cannot contribute to a growing economy, through:

        Small scale luxury items/entertainment/consumables (eg. my French perfume)
        Travel
        Cars and Caravans
        Furnishings and larger replacement household items
        Home improvement
        Clothing – more than Best and Less!!
        Gardening/landscaping (the man comes once a week now)

        With the diminishing returns on all aspects of our super fund most, if not all, of the things on my list will have to go.

        I dare you to grow an economic pie under those circumstances!!!

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      And pollies’pensions start being paid the day they quit Parliament, and are not means tested. So post-Parliamentary sinecures like the Human Rights Commission are there for favoured ex-pollies, and provide a double-dip with bells on. Pension + HRC salary and eventual HRC pension as well.
      It is not the only thing that stinks, but it still stinks: like a dead cat on top of a pile of dead dogs.

      • Jody says:

        And I would hope the new team of Dean, Latham and Cameron take up those issues on their new Sky program.

      • en passant says:

        The unanswered questions that Ian McD cannot or will not answer. What is so hard about telling us all the Holy Climate Grail you seek:

        1. What is the ideal global average temperature we seek? As we are at 15C and we want to restrict warming to 1.5C it surely must be 16.5C? If so what is the basis for that figure an why is it better than any other figure? Oh, there isn’t any basis? Of course not, as there does not need to be any basis or rational reason as this is not how post-modern science is done. Personal view? 20C would be great, but I am sure Ian McD can tell us why this is not a good idea.

        2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2? We are at 400ppm and at 250ppm plants starve and stop growing, so you would think the post-modern cultists would determine that it must be somewhere in-between these two numbers. Well, you would think …, but this is not how post-modern science is done. Actually, the answer is 2,000ppm+ as the combination of warmth and CO2 fertiliser will green the Earth.

        • John Cook says:

          Once per thread is surely enough, en passant.

          • en passant says:

            Are you the Statistical 97% John Cook from QU?

            Maybe you could help out Ian as he just races ahead without ever substantiating his logic by telling us the destination he seeks. When he does that I will stop asking.

            In the previous article “Derailing the Marrakesh Express” he (is it your nom-de-plume?) shows the degree of his trolling by telling the world I have obviously not travelled (65 countries so far) and that I am racist (the depths Leftoids will plumb is unfathomable), yet I had already pointed out in a previous post that my wonderful wife of 41 years is Asian. Our children are all-Australian, but I cannot deny I am racist …

            Sorry, but Ian McD needs to be exposed at every opportunity (and comment) as a nowhere man without substance.

          • John Cook says:

            I Live in South Australia. The person you are referring to is not THE John Cook but A John Cook.
            I am THE John Cook

      • en passant says:

        Ian McD,
        Here again are the unanswered questions that you cannot or will not answer.

        What is so hard about telling us all the destination of the Holy Climate Grail you seek:

        1. What is the ideal global average temperature we seek? As we are at 15C and we want to restrict warming to 1.5C it surely must be 16.5C? If so what is the basis for that figure an why is it better than any other figure? Oh, there isn’t any basis? Of course not, as there does not need to be any basis or rational reason as this is not how post-modern science is done. Personal view? 20C would be great, but I am sure Ian McD can tell us why this is not a good idea.

        2. What is the ideal concentration of CO2? We are at 400ppm and at 250ppm plants starve and stop growing, so you would think the post-modern cultists would determine that it must be somewhere in-between these two numbers. Well, you would think …, but this is not how post-modern science is done. Actually, the answer is 2,000ppm+ as the combination of warmth and CO2 fertiliser will green the Earth.

        These questions will follow every comment you make on any subject until you provide your answer.

  4. Bran Dee says:

    A somber article this one Peter but spot on as usual. There was mention ‘Abbbott’s demise’, but on that failure I don’t blame the Party but Abbott himself.
    As Miranda Devine put it so well in the Sunday Telegraph 20/11: ‘Abbott is part of the problem that Trumpism is reacting against: conservative politicians who wimp out once they win power’. When in office Abbott ‘surrounded himself with “moderates”,and bent over to the left on everything from 18C to Safe Schools to higher taxes, fouling the nest for budget repair and ultimately losing his job.
    Some people praise Abbott for leading conservatives to victory after only 6 years. The hard evidence is that with better negotiating skills he could have given conservatives victory after 3 years instead of losing it to minority Labor/Greens/Independents.
    Abbott should never imagine he has the qualities to lead again.

    • Jody says:

      Totally agree.

      But, as I said, most politicians live in a state of perpetual fear of being voted out. Ergo, these freeze and cannot make any decisions at all. And it’s doubly worse in the age of social media where people scream their lungs out about the tiniest issue.

  5. Bill Martin says:

    I concur wholeheartedly, Peter. There is not the faintest hope that any member of the coalition parties would “do” a Trump. It is worth noting that while Trump was nominally a Republican nominee, the established hierarchy of the party disowned him all the way to his successful clinching of the presidency. The GOP will be substantially remade by him over the coming years, jettisoning most of the elite which ruled it for decades and was in cahoots with the the democrat variety of elites. As I commented on previous occasions, the combination of the character traits that makes Trump very rarely manifest in one person who is also fabulously successful and wealthy to boot. Compared to him, our politicians are all hopeless pantywaists.

  6. Warty says:

    Your local member? Filling out Zimmerman’s questionnaires? I thought you’d joined the ALA, Peter. The whole point of establishment parties is to keep the momentum going of merry go round. The only response the likes of Zimmerman should be receiving, is ‘go away. I seek a political party that will truly shake things up. Yours won’t’.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    Ian

    And that you vote liberal shows how far the Liberal Party has lost the plot.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Oh, I dunno. Who would you prefer I voted for?
      (cue ‘en passant’ )

      • Warty says:

        The fact that you have wonky ideas about climate change does not necessarily push you into the ‘left’ category, not even the ‘far left’, despite your intransigence (pax Mahathir) on climate change. I for one have bizarre fetishes about water, having come from a chronically drought-affected country, and my having stayed two years with a deeply eccentric grandmother, who used her bath water on the lawn and would relieve herself on the same lawn come evening. Me, well I’m a just a tad more civilised and fill my toilet cisterns with rain water and water the garden from the same two 5000 litre tanks. Granny would probably rather I water the garden with watering cans rather than use a Davey pump. But I digress.
        Your voting for the Liberal Party simply means you are comfortable with the way things are, some call that being part of the establishment. Whether you fall in the Andrew Hastie mould or that of Malcolm Wormpill, depends on your overall world view, after all they say that the Liberal Party is ‘broad church’, more its canker, if you ask me, rather than its strength; but even Howard called it so, if you put any value in that.
        I find Cory Bernardi more interesting, not simply because the left love to rail against him, but because he pointed out in his latest blog post, that he felt he could work more effectively within the Liberal Party than without. Such a statement led me to think he’s spent too much time in close proximity to the UN, because he sounded just a tad unhinged. So, in answer to the question you put to Keith, well, it depends how satisfied with the status quo you are. Few think Turnbull will last the term, so the Liberals are in for very rocky times. Perhaps Cory realises this and is biding his time. Perhaps Tony knows this, which is why he is reminding everyone he is still there . . . talking . . . appearing on TV . . . writing for Spectator, The Australian and our lowly Quadrant. But do you know this, and are you prepared for a dastardly right wing return to the fore? Your answer will help define you.
        But, who am I to say. I am not even an indigenous Australian (a la Andrew Bolt).

  8. Don A. Veitch says:

    If you have no ideas, have a survey.
    If you wish to manufacture opinion, have a survey.
    If you want to appear as a Leader, have a survey

    M/s Clinton spend $200 million on ‘surveys’/polls/human terrain mapping etc.

  9. bts says:

    Much as I have enjoyed reading through this thread, may I venture that much of it rather strays from the point made in the principal article, with the contents of which I wholeheartedly agree. May I add an anecdotal footnote and then some more general comments?

    Like Mr Smith, my Federal Member is Mr Zimmerman. My State Member is Mrs Skinner.

    Some months ago I found in my letter box a glossy brochure from Mrs Skinner. It, too, was replete with self-praise, of which my late mother would have said: “Self praise is no recommendation”. It built upon that unpromising material by tabulating a number of possible initiatives that were seemingly under active consideration by the State Government. We electors, whose input was, we were assured, valuable and solicited, were invited to rank the tabulated proposals in order of our individual preferences.

    I wrote a letter in reply and sent it to Mrs Skinner’s electoral office. I said that I disapproved of every one of the proposals upon the basis that, one and all, they entailed ever increasing Government expenditure, rather than ever more restrained and discriminating such expenditure; and ever bigger and more intrusive Government rather than ever more prudently slimmed down and less intrusive Government.

    I finished my letter by observing that I, as an aged and lifelong Liberal supporter for whom Sir Robert Menzies remains the gold standard, found myself increasingly wondering whether I would live to see again a real Liberal Party and Government which I could be proud to support, rather than the corrupt and socialist-light Party and Government currently on offer. (As I write, I do not have at hand my actual letter, but the foregoing is, I believe, a fair paraphrase).

    To this very day I have received neither bare and formal acknowledgment, nor a clearly reasoned reply.

    The foregoing experience came immediately to mind as I read through Mr Smith’s article. If that kind of off-handed attitude is typical of current members of the Parliamentary Liberal Party, then the Liberal Party is not listing: it is badly, perhaps even fatally, holed below the waterline. Add in the recent scandalous high-handedness of the proposed greyhound racing industry suppression; and then add in the truly scandalous reported observation of Mr Perrotet that “you have” old people living alone in five bedroom houses that are too large for them and so maybe the Government will have to use land tax as a weapon of social engineering to get them into more contained and suitable accommodation so that their large homes can be steered by the Government in the direction of deserving families with several young children. I was so outraged by the sheer, arrogant presumption of the reported statements of Mr Perrotet that I wrote a letter, (admittedly a rather indignant letter), to The Australian. I cannot say that I was really surprised that it was not published.

    The Liberal Party should take heed of what happened to the Canadian Progressive Conservative Party in the election that followed the elevation of Mrs/Miss Kim Campbell to the Prime Ministership. That Party went from some 169 seats out of 295 seats in the Canadian House of Commons to TWO seats. If the Liberal Party does not get its act together at both the Federal and the NSW levels, it will find itself in just that situation. After the Orange by-election result, the current Federal and NSW Governments cannot say that they haven’t been warned.

    • ianl says:

      > “old people living alone in five bedroom houses that are too large for them and so maybe the Government will have to use land tax as a weapon of social engineering to get them into more contained and suitable accommodation so that their large homes can be steered by the Government in the direction of deserving families with several young children”

      Yes, this cynicism is absolute.

      But you may have noticed that there were a series of similar questions in the recent, mismanaged census, along the lines of your age, number of people in the household, number of bedrooms. The purpose behind these intrusive, offensive questions was obvious – one may have been, possibly, almost tempted to gild the lily, as it were.