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March 11th 2018 print

Paul Collits

Barnaby’s Greater Infidelity

Before betraying his family, the Nationals' ex-leader did the dirty on all who yearn for good government and a principled PM by failing to use his power as the Coalition's junior partner to foil Malcolm Turnbull's back-stabbing ascent. An heir to Black Jack McEwen he very much was not

barnabyBarnaby has come and gone, apart from his bizarre odd and perhaps further public commentary on the paternity of his lover’s unborn child.  Many keystrokes, pro and con, have been spent on his amorous adventures and  I do not propose to wade any deeper into these morally murky waters.  Nor will I seek to comment on Barnaby’s contribution to Australian politics, arguably thin. Nor is it worth the words to recount in full his brief status as a tongue-in-cheek contender for the title of Kiwi of the Year.

Rather, I wish to lament the departed Nationals leaders’ real infidelity: before he walked out on his wife and family, Joyce walked out on his duly elected Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.  And in doing so, he walked out on the Australian people.

This appalling lapse by one of the few Australians who, at the time, could have halted the back-stabbing rise of Malcolm Turnbull’s drive to confirm his own greatness, helped usher in what many will regard as amongst the worst and lowest of political actions, not just by the reckoning of malcontented conservatives but those of all Australians who hold good government dear.  What we have now is a dilettante Chauncey Gardiner, a Labor-light PM who, let’s face it, wouldn’t be there but for Joyce and the Nats.

Barnaby’s price?  Oh, the usual bunch of vanity projects for the bush, and the standard horse trading over ministerial crumbs (entitlements to ministerial staff, perhaps?).  What the Americans call “log rolling” was, in effect, what determined the choice of our current and for-the-moment Prime Minister.  Betray Abbott, get thirty very small pieces of silver. This is worse than infidelity inspired by a mid-life crisis or whatever. It was a sell-out. Did Turnbull leave the payment on the bedside table as he straightened his tie and headed out to mug and preen for the cameras?

Joyce could have stopped the putsch in its tracks had he evidenced the decency and, lacking most of all, the political nous to foil the usurper’s coup.  Recall 1967, post the disappearance of Harold Holt, when the then-Country Party’s then-leader, John “Black Jack” McEwen, basically vetoed Billy McMahon as Liberal leader and replacement PM.  We got John Gorton as a result, while the much and often wrongly maligned McMahon would get his chance later.  My point is that McEwen had power and used it for what he and his party took to be worthwhile national ends. Whatever McEwen’s judgment – and few analysts, I suspect, would place Turnbull above Gorton as preferred prime minister – he realised the strength of the cards he held and didn’t hesitate to play the ace. Barnaby’s good friend and political benefactor, Tony Abbott, could not count on such support, not when it really mattered.

What is the National Party in the twenty-first century? Traditionally, its main purpose was to “get stuff” for the bush.  It was a farmers’ and graziers’ party, providing political clout for its initial stakeholders back in the 1920s (when “stakeholders” wasn’t even a word).  Then it was “vested interests”, and those interests were those of the custodians of the man on the land and the country towns which serviced him and his needs.

Academic and Labor stalwart Leslie “Fin” Crisp called the Nats the party of “country capital”, more than a little ironic in view of the relative poverty of many farmers and certainly of their service towns. The party was a counterweight to the perceived political hegemony of the growing cities.  One hundred years after its founding, and with capital cities accounting for two-thirds of the population, receiving most of the overseas migrants and garnering much of the infrastructure and capital-investment spend, one might argue the need for the Nats is greater than ever.

The Nats provided in the parliament not just a country voice but also a brake on the Liberals when required, plus a consistently “conservative” voice — until recently at any rate. Avowed conservatism may not have been their purpose, but it has long been in their DNA.  The Nats could be also relied on to stir the possum a little in the parliament, to provide some frisson so as to keep the (yes, often hated) Libs in check on a range of issues, and not just in relation to looking after the country.

But something else happened as time went on. As the Country Party gave way to the National Country Party, then to the National Party, then the Nationals, much of the party’s former and country-focused purpose slid into the background. The Nats became just another party, the game becoming more important than the goal. Factor in as well that the Senate, where the Nats have often done well, gradually shedding its constitutional raison d’etre as the “states’ house”.  The need for tight party discipline and political “management” has all but seen off the former colour, verve, ideological variances and independence of mainstream-party senators, replacing all that with lockstep, follow-the-leader time-servers for whom the whiff of ministerial perks override the ornery Nat behaviour of old. Power is there to be wielded in the cause of good government.  McEwen knew this.  Joyce merely rolled over and said — pardon the grotesque imagery in light of the former deputy PM’s lusty appetites — a simpered and submissive “Tickle me, master”.

The disenchanted conservatives among us can no longer automatically look to the Nats to help out politically.  No, that mantle has now fallen to Cory Bernardi and his Conservatives, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and maybe (on a good day) Pauline Hanson.  The operating procedure for these folks must be to wield effective, hard power, as did Black Jack McEwen, and for conservative ends.

It is to them we must look if the Coalition is to stand up for its erstwhile conservative principles — at least once in a while at any rate.

Comments [27]

  1. en passant says:

    An excellent analysis, but the past is history (excuse the cliché).

    The value of your article is that it points the way forward for conservatives when (sometime in the distant future, a few elections hence) rationalists are able to regain control of whatever wreckage remains of our devastated country. Presuming, that is, that we still own and control any of it.

    I was a member of the Liberals for 31-years, but active for only 24-years as I became disillusioned even while Howard was in decline and would not hand over to Costello. I then returned for two years of active participation, but with a much more jaundiced and objective view that soon determined that the elite Liberal Royalty believed they had no need for any proletariat conservative base. I resigned.

    I looked long and hard and have joined the ACM, but am not active as I have given up on ‘saving Oz from itself’ and have moved overseas. Great move on my part, but I have occasional twinges of conscience as I think of the non-future I have bequeathed to my children and grand-children. The freedoms, individualism, culture, lifestyle and opportunities I enjoyed are not for them.

    Now that ‘terrorism is something that we have to accept’, going to a show, being in a crowd, having a coffee, or strolling down a mall means being tensely aware of potential threats at all times. There is no relaxing any more.

    Freedom means agreeing with the PC agenda and keeping your views to yourself (at least until ‘thought-crimes’ are outlawed too).

    Opportunity means actively seeking to move back to the level of near poverty where I began and learning to survive with a lower standard of living than I currently enjoy by avoiding the guilt of using the evil electricity and fossil fuels.

    This is the world that most of our pollie-cretins seek for their fellow Australians – and the majority of voters will continue to blindly support them.

    When he was in the Senate, Joyce was outspoken and produced a credible newsletter (sort of like the one Bernardi still produces now), but the siren call of Ministerial Kool-aid Perks was too strong and his true character hacked through the shell of his public persona. The sooner he is gone from public life the better. Heck, I would rather vote for Tony Windsor than Joyce next time around, because at least I would know what I was getting.

    Is the ACM the answer? I think not. When a treacherous ex-politician announced he wanted to join and stand again for parliament under the ACM banner I wrote to Cory saying that the ACM needed new blood, not old, infected people of proven low character who had already stabbed his mentor. I suggested that there should be an entry test of the views of those joining to prevent infiltration by non-conservatives. Also, any candidate wishing to stand should sign a contract that if they defected or were expelled from the ACM for whatever then they agreed that their full salary and pension rights would be paid to the ACM. Alternatively, they could resign from parliament and stand for re-election as an independent. What a pity Clive Palmer did not heed that advice.

    The reply? “Their joining fee is just as good as yours.” Judas would have appreciated that sentiment, along with every other hack ilfil-traitor seeking a vehicle for themselves. The ACM is sowing the seeds of their own demise. Just ask the hacks of the Liberal and Labor parties …


    • jeremy says:

      Your comment is accurate, but misses the answer. The reason we are losing the battle is that our champions are mostly traitors.
      In the Liberal Party, the power to select our champions has been taken away from conservatives and now resides with the political staff who outnumber the dwindling number of conservative Party members who are still willing to pay their membership fee when their Champions (MPs) betray them at every chance.
      The answer is to remove the power of staff to hold party positions, to vote in elections for party positions or to vote in pre-selections. This will disrupt the current career path of uni. political staff, MP. It will also force politicians to cultivate the general population as members rather than relying on their bought and paid for coterie of staff for their pre-selection.
      Staffers have mostly only ever experienced the warm embrace of Government from school days through university and on to their public service employment conditions as political staff. They talk the talk about Liberal principles, but have no understanding of what they say.
      The Conservative Party has made no attempt to prevent this same problem occurring.
      The best thing anyone of any political belief can do individually is join the party so that the votes of normal people can outnumber staff again.

      • ianl says:

        > ” … our champions are mostly traitors …”

        Well, yes, but the true issue:

        > ” … the majority of voters will continue to blindly support them …”

        Without the drip, drip, drip of MSM propaganda, changing that seems not possible to me.

  2. Jody says:

    Barnaby Joyce just isn’t up to it; he doesn’t have the intelligence, commitment or strength as a conviction politician. He saw the honeypot and put everything on the line for it. He failed.

  3. en passant says:

    Based on a more reliable memory than mine I have added the following comment (which is in a small part a direct quote from an email I received).
    There appears to be a major error in your article (which passed you, the Editor and myself by, like a flying pig) as Tony Abbott was sacked in September 2015 and Barnaby Joyce did not become leader of the Nats until February 2016, when Warren Truss (a very decent man) retired.

    Of course, some of the article would still stand up were you to replace Joyce’s name with Truss’s. But….

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but as they say, truth will out.

    I left the Lite-Green Liberals when the Party Royalty imposed their view on the membership with a ‘take it or take it anyway’ attitude. I have retained countless emails analysing the stupidity of their policies as the ship listed to port. I wrote three policy papers and presented them to conferences – and all were ignored. I did the Right thing and Left.

    The problem with parties that value individualism is that they could very quickly become anarchic by having such a wide range of views they cannot formulate, argue and maintain any coherent policies. I believe I have found a possible solution (and began writing it into an Oz Manifesto {a sort of anti-Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’), but when I approached two minor parties to consider it as a means of consolidating the Conservative vote so we do not consistently as a group win the Bronze Medal at the election – and also take 4th – 10th places also, I received no reply. They would rather lose than cooperate with each other as the recent Queensland election proved in spades. ON & the Liberals cut each other’s throats to the Cheers of the Labor Party.

    As for Jello Joyce, let’s get rid of him anyway now that his true character (or lack thereof) has been tested and found wanting.

    • White Dove says:

      Thought the same as I read the article. That Barnaby Joyce was not the Deputy Prime Minister at the time of Turnbull’s backstabbing. Did a bit of checking and found the same as above. However, I have a different take on Barnaby Joyce and one that I took a little while to get to. It took a lot of reading through what was written and what was actually meant. That Barnaby Joyce has had a thorough job done on him is without question and perhaps he brought it all on himself. I did read that he had asked Peta Credlin to be his Chief of Staff around the time of the mid winter ball or whatever it is called. Was this a cry of help by Barnaby as he was being told what to do by Turnbulls (Lucy and Malcolm) re citizenship and Barnaby obviously knew in his heart of hearts that he had to resign and the Turnbulls demanded that he not resign. Also was there a cover-up in place about the affair. Anyway, Barnaby went along and the rest is history.

      Now re the affair and the later reports that it might not be his child. What I took out of all that is that perhaps and I say perhaps Barnaby is the only honourable one in this whole sorry episode. He is prepared to stand by this woman even though the child may not be his. What he should have said was, “Love the mother, love the child”. To stand by someone in that manner can’t be all that bad.

      Turnbull once again has his stamp all over this. The National Party which has been so rock solid always behind their Leader is now a party divided and I don’t blame Barnaby Jouce for that I put the blame on Turnbull. However, I am becoming tired of reading about how bad we all know him to be but nothing changes and he continues to be able to wreck everything he touches.

      Please don’t pile in on me about Barnaby, just give it a little thought and you are welcome to dismiss it out of hand. I just wish we could collectively somehow change the Liberal Party back to the direction it should be taking, but they are all being sung to by Turnbull, “Trust in me”. (Kaa, the Indian Rock Python in Jungle Book with those big yellow eyes). Cheers to you all. Love reading all your thoughts.

  4. Tezza says:

    Allowing for the timeline issue that en passant notes, this article struck a terrible thought for me. Turnbull is destroying the Liberals – everyone knows that. Joyce has destroyed the Nationals, for the reasons Paul alludes to.
    So all conservatives have left is the Australian Conservatives. Getting that party up to size will take a decade, so the sooner we start, the sooner we’ll get there.

    • Warty says:

      I think you’re entirely right there, Tezza, particularly about supporting the ACs.

    • Jody says:

      I’d like to bet that the AC are a ship passing in the night. The problem is that the Coalition has no political will to take the fight up to so-called progressives – to call them out on the awful society they’ve envisioned and promulgated and the opportunity cost, over time, to all of us. Until that day we will change political parties like our underwear, and ‘leaders’ too.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        So, since when in Australia has infidelity, been a crime or recognisable sin or a reason for failure in anything but personal relationships.

        Hell on the basis that infidelity is a sign of failure I’d say the vast majority of Australians are failures.


        Tony Abbott has the will, steel and nous to absolutely destroy the ‘so called’ progressives.

        But the weaklings and their weak as water current and former supporters either now dominate the liberal party or seek to undermine the real liberals.

        • Jody says:

          That would be an ecumenical matter (you’ll never get the joke!). Tony Abbott lost the plot almost immediately after election; he started listening to his critics and became paralyzed. But I wouldn’t expect you to get any of that – it’s over your head.

          • White Dove says:

            I agree with Keith. Tony Abbott is the only one with the ability to get us back on track. What you say might be right Jody, but I think there was much more going on behind the scenes by Turnbull in his signature style of undermining. Looking back it is now obvious that Tony Abbot didn’t have a chance in hell of ever showing just how good he was destined to be. I have been going back and checking on Turnbull and it amazes me how he hoodwinked the Liberals into accepting him into the party. His past isn’t one to be admired by me anyway.

            You are right I didn’t get the joke, but then my husband has to explain most jokes to me anyway. I have to see whether he gets it. All the best.
            Joy Heath.

  5. The Australian Conservatives remind me of Cardinal Wolsey when he said – Pray by all means, but a practical solution for [Henry VIII] problems is required.
    Until the Conservatives tell Trumble that they are preferencing Shorterm unless he meets their requirements, just like a reverse DLP, they are just taking votes from One Nation, who will effectively preference Labor.

    • en passant says:

      President-in-Waiting Tumbril never ceased to be a Labor Agent. His payoff for his destruction of the conservatives will be ‘Oz President-for-Life’ with all the trappings of Royalty, and no responsibilities.

      The only reason ON (stupidly) preferenced Labor was out of revenge for the LNP not preferencing them. The result was a resound win for Labor. Actually, let me rephrase that: “The result was a resounding loss for both the LNP & ON.” Pauline has her own infil-traitor advisors who will destroy ON just as effectively as Tumbril has destroyed the two parties that favoured him. Yes, Kaa was a good analogy.

      This is why I tried to propose a ‘Conference of Conservatives’ to resolve this self-inflicted wound of divide and lose rathere than cooperate and win. No takers as they are so individualistic and proud that retreat is seen as defeat (with real defeat being the preferred option).

      • White Dove says:

        Dear en passant,
        Where and when did you propose a “Conference of Conservatives?”
        Joy Heath

        • Jody says:

          Last night at Jordan Peterson’s lecture in Sydney there was a small army of young conservatives. A few had “Liberal Democrats: smaller government, less taxes”.

          And now we see Labor plans to scrap imputation credits for people who earn share dividends. At last they’ve given the Coalition something to come after them with. But are the up to it? I fear not. In short, Labor wants to RE-INTRODUCE tax to self-funded retirees.

          • White Dove says:

            Wonderful to be able to get to attend a Jordan Peterson lecture. What did you think?
            Joy Heath

        • en passant says:

          White Dove,
          When I joined the ACM I sent them extracts of my (incomplete) draft Oz Manifesto which contained a section on organisation. I pointed out that two dangers they faced were that hacks and infil-traitors would join to promote themselves on the back of the ACM and the splitting of the conservative vote. On the first point, think Tumbril, the near immediate PUP disintegration, Windsor, Oakshott, Cheryl Kernott, Slipper, etc. I suggested that the contract referred to above and a checklist of member’s views to ensure the applicant really was a conservative were necessary before full-membership was granted.

          Sadly, ACM is growing through defections rather than electoral success (as the Bennelong result showed). However, in some cases that is (unfortunately) acceptable as it can be shown that the Liberal Party is no longer a conservative party. However, a (highly unlikely) defection by Hunt, Frydenberg, Payne or Morrison should be rejected, but a move across by Hastie, Molan, Abbott, Dutton, etc should be welcomed.

          I watched with interest the success of ‘the election-whisperer’ in registering dozens of minor (in reality ‘non-’) parties as a means of rolling up the donkey vote by statistically securing the No.1 spot on the state Senate Elections and sharing preferences. This resulted in Ricky Muir, Leyonhjem & Hinch being elected. Hence the need to consolidate the conservative vote.

          I also suggested that beginning now (rather than just before an election is called) all minor parties (and some select real conservatives) should be invited to gather and discuss adopting a united front. I sent this to three ‘conservative’ parties, but the nearest I received to a reply was the terse note from the ACM on the related matter of accepting failed hacks into the party without vetting them (as a means of their regaining their ticket on the gravy train) that “… their (joining fee) money was as good as mine”. I had also volunteered to help organise ACM in Victoria and the Federal Party, but thankfully received no reply as it meant I could become an Oz exile with a clear conscience.

          I received my ACM renewal invoice last month but am still considering whether or not it is worth paying, if only so I can keep up to date.

          I have thoroughly examined four minor parties, but (in my opinion) all have major flaws, not just in organisation, but in both their policies and the people they have fronting them.

          As I am thoroughly enjoying my exile, Oz is a declining concern, but it is no fun watching the Oz I loved slowly wither and die of political cancer. It is now more than a month since I watched any ‘news’ on the ABC, MSN, CNN or BBC. It is getting harder every day to care about the terminally ill sustainable, renewable, unintegratable immigrant invasion, social justice, non-lethal ADF, doomed Oz as it is no longer the land I once loved.

          • White Dove says:

            En passant,
            Thank you for answering my question in such detail. I appreciate your sharing with me your experiences to explain how you arrived at this moment in time. All the best with your exile from Oz. However don’t be a stranger to Quadrant as I appreciate the way everyone gives their views and bounce ideas off each other.
            Joy Heath

    • Bwana Neusi says:

      Turdball has achieved two of his three objectives, aided and abetted to some considerable extent by the Nationals (who used to be able to run a chook raffle in days of old).

      Objective number one – Become Prime Minister (it doesn’t matter which party) objective number two – destroy the Liberal Party for thwarting his ambitions when in opposition.

      And Objective number three – Become the first President of Australia (work in progress).

      It matters not how many casualties or how much it destroys Australia, as Richardson said “Whatever it takes”.

  6. Jody says:

    @White Dove: Firstly, you are right about Talkbull. He was vacuous on “Q&A” long before he got the top job. I blame John Howard for suggesting Turnbull NOT leave politics and for NOT leaving a succession plan in place for Peter Costello. I disagree about Abbott; he broke several election promises and yet traded on his ‘honesty’ – that and listening to his critics which disabled him and forced him into impotence. We never want him back again; his track record was appalling. A leader WILL emerge from the Coalition ranks, in time. Remember how improbable a leader John Howard was, way back then?

    Secondly: Dr. Jordan Peterson. What a night; what a performance. Without script or notes he talked for nearly 90 minutes to a captivated CONSERVATIVE young crowd of mostly males. I spoke to some of them on the night and they were well spoken, highly educated and desperate to hear what the Professor had to say. We loved it and the cheering, whistling, standing ovation and applause overwhelmed the good Professor. He sat in his chair on the stage for Q&A part of the evening, listening intently to questions and giving long answers (too long!). We left there feeling that there IS a strong place for conservatives in the polity and a desperate need for young people to fill the values vacuum offered for over 2 decades by the Left. They’ve abandoned values and there is a swathe of young people desperate to have them back (just like young people I taught who were desperate to know who the adults are).

    Today I’ve had an argument on a music forum’s general section about Pope Francis and the recent defense of him by the erstwhile pope Ratzinger. I argued that Ratzinger had resigned from the job and gave us his right to comment any further on the papacy; that he was done and that he needed to be quiet. The lefty who argued with me didn’t like my insinuation that the incumbent Francis is a lefty ideologue who has no idea. You see, the Left hates certainty. Its acolytes hate thinking in black or white; existing for the longest time in the world of grey, vascillating and uncertain is their preferred ideological proximity. As Jordan Peterson says, “grow the hell up”.

    • Jody says:

      TypoS: I meant re Ratzinger “gave UP HIS RIGHT….” AND “a desperate need amongst young people to fill the vacuum void”. More haste, less speed!!

    • White Dove says:

      Dear Jody,
      Thank you for your detailed response. I totally agree about John Howard. The number of times that I have said to whoever would listen,”If only John Howard hadn’t talked Malcolm Turnbull into remaining on”. And yes, agree that Peter Costello should have been able to replace John Howard long before the 2007 election. We would then not need to disagree about Tony Abbott. You see I remember a few things he did which I thought were well deserving of credit. One is the returning the bodies of our soldiers from Vietnam and the second is the expansion of the war memorial in Villers- Bretonneux. To me that was a brilliant move, having been there and witnessed the way in which the people have a great regard for Australia. Also the small museum was in need of a refurbishment. This is the foresight that I felt that Tony Abbott had – to know that this would be a wonderful safe place for Australians to go and continue to celebrate Anzac Day.

      I am getting a little of track. Why I was also annoyed with Turnbull for disposing Abbott, and you may be right he had lost his way, was because that was for me to decide not Turnbull.

      Thank you for sharing the night you experienced with Jordan Peterson. It was like being there as well.

      I am also on the same page re Pope Francis. Also was great to read your experience at the music forum. All the best. Joy Heath.

    • Warty says:

      Both you and White Dove are too hard on Tony Abbott. Until his stabbing in the Forum, we had no idea just how factionalised the Liberals had become, and it’s even worse now with the likes of Julian Leeser and that awful Trent Zimmerman joining the bedwetters like Paine and Pyne (the one being a pain in the neck and the other pining for glory). The list of bedwetters is extraordinarily long, and these are the limps Abbott had to contend with when attempting to present s.18C to an equally hostile senate.
      Pyne revealed the longevity of his pining in his latest gaff (a month or two ago) when he said he’d always supported Wormpill taking over the leadership. And then you have the faux conservative commentators, Peter Van Onselen and that appalling Niki Savva and her road to ruin. What a lying hyena she is. Tony was doomed from the start, and yet we still have people saying Tony ‘broke several election promises’. Give him a break: it was always intended that he should seem to have broken ‘several election promises’, but he was never given a straight hand.

      • White Dove says:

        Dear Warty,
        Everything you say is so true. You explain it better than I could.

        I would welcome Tony Abbott back in a heartbeat. In fact every time Ministers pile in on him after he makes a speech or whatever, they get an email from me telling them to stop. I explain to them that Tony Abbott is just saying what I also believe and when they pile on him they pile on me. My son and I have a laugh about it as he says that my emails would probably end up in their spam basket. Ah well, it makes me feel better.

        Warty, if I could find enough people I would like to storm Canberra with,”Bring back Abbott” signs, but Conservatives don’t do that so I will just have to wait until the next election. Cheers.. Joy Heath

        • Warty says:

          I’d only add one qualification, and that’s my belief Tony is flogging a near fossilised horse, still called (a misnomer of course) the Liberal Party. There’d be major ructions were he to join the Australian Conservatives (a bit of history between he and Cory) but what a difference it would make were he to take over the leadership of the Nationals. Shucks: there are no Nationals in his electorate. As an afterthought, he couldn’t do any worse sitting as an independent.