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August 21st 2018 print

Quadrant Online Contributors

The Stupid Party

The score after this morning's Liberal party room meeting in Canberra: Malcolm Turnbull 1, Good Sense 0. How does 'Bill Shorten, PM' roll off the tongue? Borders opened to herds of prospective Labor voters. Electricity prices even more ruinous than now. Every fashionable theory about gender fluidity enshrined as law....

ship of foolsMalcolm Turnbull survives as Prime Minister and Liberal leader, re-endorsed by a party room vote 0f 48-35.

So there you have it: an impotent and empty suit of a leader who cannot muster the votes to see his own agenda passed. A leader who tried repeatedly to join the Labor Party, which had the wit to send him packing.

What next? The near certainty of electoral oblivion next year, preceded by months of instability and, if history is any guide, an inevitable further attempt to oust the man who lacks the decency to resign of his own accord.

This is your Liberal Party, conservatives, what’s left of it. Bereft of courage, abjuring principle, a’feared of a harsh word from the ABC and cravenly determined to stay the course that has charted 38 atrocious Newspolls in a row.

Almost three years ago, in September, 2015, I wrote these words at Quadrant Online to mark Turnbull’s ascent to The Lodge. They are more true now than then:

I can’t vote for him, must refuse to reward such treachery with a ballot-box endorsement. No doubt many others feel the same, and perhaps there are even some in Parliament who still believe that honesty is at the core of conservatism, that chicanery born of presumption and ambition is no winning quality.

If so, if members of such an endangered species still exist within the Liberals’ party room, here’s a suggestion: The door is over there. Leave, right now, and leave for good. We need a party that believes in something more substantial than the Turnbull chimera.

I want a new party and I want it now.

– roger franklin

_____________________________

Roger Underwood writes:

It is a tragedy, but a few of us saw it coming. Many years ago I wrote to Malcolm Turnbull, then head of an organisation called The Wentworth Group, who were promoting better management of the Murray River. I pointed out to him the problems for the river stemming from a lack of effective bushfire management in the forested catchments – intense wildfires leading to erosion and sedimentation, and to post-fire regrowth forests that sucked up all the water, leaving the streams at a trickle.  I advocated investment in fuel reduction burning, which would prevent all these problems and others.

Turnbull wrote back rejecting my suggestion on the grounds that burning would destroy the ecosystems …. in other words, trotting out the green line.

Since becoming PM he has done absolutely NOTHING to promote/fund/invest in better bushfire management. I regard him as a failed leader for this alone.

All the other stuff, the global warming stuff and expensive electricity is just another symptom of the fact that Turnbull is our first Greens PM. Like the Greens everywhere, once they get into power, they are bloody hopeless.  Look at Tasmania and Victoria.

Yes, Bill Shorten is now a certainty as next PM, and the mind boggles at what he might do. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that sometimes Labor people are more sensible in government than in opposition.

_____________________________

Tony Abbott’s post-vote statement:

“In today’s party room a number of colleagues denounced leaking, as they should. But even while the party room was continuing, reporters were being briefed that Warren Entsch ‘is getting stuck into Tony Abbott right now in the party room, met with some claps’,” Mr Abbott said.

“Unlike too many of my colleagues, my practice is to take responsibility for what I think and say.

“To put the Entsch intervention into context, I had just said to the partyroom that exhortations from the leadership group about loyalty and unity were all very well but ‘unity has to be created and loyalty has to be earned. They can’t just be demanded’.”

_____________________________

Geoffrey Luck:

Three years ago and a few days after Malcolm Turnbull had seized power, I compared the Canberra scene with the court of Louis XVI. Echoing for a piece for Quadrant Online Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, I wrote:

“Thing move faster in the modern world, so we skipped the bit about lopping the heads of some 17,000 aristocrats (read conservatives), missed the opportunity to televise bath stabbings and spared the churches. The Illuminati prevailed peacefully. We went straight to our very own Napoleon.

The real tests for the new emperor will not be whether he heeds Edmund Burke’s warning that progress is not made by destroying the past. His dilemma will be that, because he will not be able to move as fast in the direction the chattering classes demand, the immediate euphoria surrounding his ascension will quickly dissipate.”

And so it came to pass. The only mistake I made was implying the new Prime Minister could be compared with Napoleon I, Bonaparte, whereas he turned out very similar to his son, Napoleon II, Francois Charles Joseph. Franz, as he was known, might have been emperor in title, but he never ruled France.

_____________________________

 Oliver Cromwell:

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place … ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage …

_____________________________

 

 

Comments [13]

  1. padraic says:

    It’s all so sad and frustrating. On one hand the government is under pressure (and apparently giving in to) from unrepresentative “activist” groups and then there appears to be international pressure. I heard a commentator this morning on the ABC saying that if we pulled out of Paris (which we should) the EU would probably not proceed with the Free Trade Agreement that is currently under negotiation. Getting that FTA was critical in lessening our dependence on China for trade.

  2. Andrew Campbell says:

    Oliver Cromwell again …

    ‘You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!’

    • LBLoveday says:

      Thanks; I’d thought Leo Amery was the author, but he, as I now know, was only parroting Cromwell.
      “It’s a wasted day when you don’t learn something significant” – LL.

  3. LBLoveday says:

    “..Bill Shorten is now a certainty as next PM”,
    “How does ‘Bill Shorten, PM’ roll off the tongue?”

    Back in Feb 2002 when Peter Lewis took his pieces of 8 in the form of Lower House Speaker’s salary, car and other lurks, and hence enable the Rann Government in SA, a bro-in-law, an active Liberal member, told me that 3 years wasn’t long enough for Labor to do too much damage and the Liberals would regroup and the 2004 or 2005 election would sweep them back into power.

    16 years on, Labor were still in power and SA gutted – a sorry, mendicant state with the most unreliable electricity in Oz and the most expensive in the world and …..

    It could easily turn out the same with the Federals, but with even worse results – like Greece but without Big Sister Merkel to bail us out = Venezuela?

    • Doubting Thomas says:

      Back as long ago as 1979 I had occasion to visit all the mainland states and territories with the RAAF Staff College on its annual familiarisation tour. Dunstan was then Premier of South Australia. We spent some hours at the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce where various senior business people harangued us for several hours in what was the single most depressing experience in our entire year. The litany of horror stories about the economic situation and business prospects in SA was not relieved by a single spark of optimism. Charles Court Premier of Western Australia. While we were obviously not considered to be worthy of Dunstan’s attention, Court himself, personally, spent an hour or so giving us an overview of what was happening in WA. Referring only to a large map, he gave the most compelling and optimistic presentation that had our undivided attention throughout. The contrast with the SA experience was startling, and a precise image of the the difference between the two states and their Labor versus Liberal governments.

      Nothing has changed in the past 40 years.

  4. Peter OBrien says:

    Once upon a time not too long ago, I was a pretty fair competitive ballroom dancer. My wife and I competed in two forms of the sport – Modern Ballroom and New Vogue Sequence. The first is a freestyle event – every couple choreographs their own routine and frequently have to change it on the fly during the event. New Vogue, on the other hand, is a set series of figures every couple dances the same sequence of steps.

    Watching the MSM slavering over the entrails of today’s leadership spill I’m reminded of my terpsichorial past. There is huge speculation about what will happen next, who will do what to whom and how it all might play out. That’s the Modern Ballroom scenario.

    Reality is the New Vogue scenario. We already know what will happen next. Turnbull will be rolled, sooner rather than later I would think. That’s a given. But first a series of standard steps have to be danced.

    Firstly, the PM gives a doorstop at which he proclaims a victory and claims overwhelming support of all his colleagues ‘going forward’.

    Secondly, the contender gives a doorstop at which he deftly, but not very convincingly, argues that the PM has his total loyalty and his only focus now is on helping his team win the next election.

    Thirdly, the media now examines every issue or debate through the prism of another challenge.

    Fourthly, the contender finally musters the numbers and Turnbull bites the dust – not before time.

    The interesting thing about this particular challenge is that Turnbull ambushed Dutton who still managed to get 35 votes. As the ABC’s Andrew Probyn noted, this is ‘dead man walking territory’.

  5. Jody says:

    Ok. Abbott is finished. That’s the first thing. Now listen up you neophytes because this is what will happen. Dutton will go to the election, lose his seat and the government will go down. Scott Morrison will take over as PM but instability will continue under BS because nobody yet gets it – the politics of climate change was always going to cause titanic instability in an energy-rich nation like Australia. Shorten will inherit the same Senate, a Coalition bent on revenge and not a huge majority since both parties are at critical mass in the low primary voting stakes. Al Gore started this crisis and what we need is a strong leader to put an end to it. Otherwise, another wasted decade of turbulence. Go ScoMo.

    • ianl says:

      > ” … nobody yet gets it – the politics of climate change was always going to cause titanic instability in an energy-rich nation like Australia”

      Nobody gets it ?

      Oh so many have said it outright for well over 20 years. Why do you keep avoiding that self-evident fact ?

      For politicians perhaps, saving the planet is the equivalent of the American “3rd rail” and so, stupidly, they cannot let go, but this untrammelled, irreversible chaos was predicted decades ago by those of us who did and do get it – and I’m not suggesting there was any great difficulty making that prediction.

      But perhaps 50% of the electorate still believes they can have their cake and eat it too. Works well … peak stupidity is here.

    • en passant says:

      Jody,
      Increase the dosage of whatever you are taking as the current dose is not working.

      So you think the treacherous ScoMo is the man of your dreams? You need help – and lots of it. Make an appointment with Jordan.

      I cannot find anything in your comment that makes enough sense to comment on specifically. If and when Dutton loses his seat the Lazarus Abbott will return just to spite your derangement

  6. Jimbob says:

    Dear Mr Abbott

    What do you have to lose? Next Newspoll….please…..the current incumbent will sacrifice an entire nation to his vanity!

  7. Alice Thermopolis says:

    Hobgoblin, n., 1. An impish and mischievous sprite. 2. Pej., any phenomenon, natural or imaginary, attributed to climate change or global warming without evidence. 3. Origin (US): Offspring of a hobo and a female goblin.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” (H Mencken, March, 1922)

    Reference: The Devil’s Dictionary of Climate Change (2018)

    T’was ever thus.

    So I suppose it will all come down – sooner or later – to which hobgoblin the punters are persuaded to vote for on the day in the hope it will deliver endless good weather and/or RE subsidies at their expense and oh..cheap power of course: Big Stick (26% RE); Hot Stuff (50% RE); Green Machine (75+% RE).

    “Engineering and Economics” should outrun “Ideology and Idiocy” if it’s not a heavy track, but don’t bet on it.

  8. oldsailor says:

    Gee, there’s a lot gloom and doom around at the moment. Let me try to raise your spirits. Firstly, whilst the QLD copper was beaten, he only needs seven of his colleagues to change their minds. A long life in the Navy taught me that time is always the factor, so lets look at that. Parliament rises on Thursday, sits again Monday 10 Sep, the first possible date for a challenge. Mr Trumble I understand is O/S next week; is it possible this might strengthen Mr Dutton’s hand in negotiation? So, he wins by say nine votes and is sworn in. He does, however, need time to win over a polity that is sick to bloody death of bloody politics. May 18 is the given last date for a half-Senate election. This would allow eight months for the electorate to appreciate their new PM’s many fine qualities.
    And by the way, could there be more than a year to the next election? Wiki, never a totally reliable source, tells us:
    “The next election must be held by 18 May 2019 for half of the Senators and on or before 2 November 2019 for the House of Representatives and the Senators from the territories.” The new PM might have more than a year to settle in.
    This old fool for once is optimistic about the future.

    • whitelaughter says:

      and traditionally it has taken two rumbles to displace a leader.

      I can’t help thinking that the smart thing Labor should do (or have done years ago) would be to offer Trumble the Labor party leadership, and accept any defectors who came with him. They’d have had a far better chance of winning an election – might not even have to fight one – and by sucking the chardonnay socialists out of the Libs, benefit the entire country.