Doomed Planet

‘Unity of Lemmings’: How a Party Dies

abbott thoughtfulI’m not going to release my own comments to the party room, because they were along the lines of my remarks to media on the way into the parliament, but the rampant hostile briefing of journalists while the meeting was underway does require a response.

Leaking and briefing seem to have become the norm but I’d prefer to say what I think on the record and under my own name.

Yes, as the PM said at its close, there was party room support for the minister’s position. Much of it though, was of the “yes…but” variety: congratulating him for the work he’d done in difficult circumstances and saying that the NEG was the best way through a bad situation.

This statement was released after the Liberal Party this morning voted for Paris, careerist climateers, rent-seekers, bird-mincers, even higher electricity prices and electoral oblivion

But most then added that what really mattered was actually getting prices down – not just talking about modelling – and actually getting more despatchable power into the system via ACCC recommendation 4.


Unfortunately, most explanations of how the NEG (as it stands without price targets) might theoretically get prices down sound like merchant bankers’ gobbledigook.

It was a real pity that the meeting broke up before the chairman of the backbench committee, Craig Kelly, was able to finish his contribution.

Yes, there were lots of pleas for unity, but as one MP said, we’ve got to be loyal to our electorates and to party members too, and not show the “unity of lemmings”.

Yes, there was lots of regard for the “experts” and for “business leaders” but as one MP said “I’m not here for the technocrats”.

I heard at least four lower house MPs formally reserve their position on the legislation and at least a dozen express serious concerns about the NEG or about turning the non-binding Paris targets into law with massive penalties attached.

This is the big question that the party room didn’t really grapple with: when the big emitters are not meeting Paris, why should we? Especially, as even the Chief Scientist said, the difference meeting our target would make is “virtually nothing”.

Tony Abbott was the elected Prime Minister of Australia until replaced by Malcolm Turnbull, who reduced the majority he inherited to a single seat.

35 thoughts on “‘Unity of Lemmings’: How a Party Dies

  • BJAS1961 says:

    The Liberal Party, as most of us knew it, is dead; and Turnbull is leading the party to a crushing defeat. The NEG is not a solution, and will be rightly interpreted by much of the lost base as the final confirmation that we must again vote elsewhere, as many of us did at the last election. Someone needs to topple Turnbull, right now, if there is to be any hope of recovering even a small part of the lost base.

  • Peter OBrien says:


    I hope you read this. You have talked the talk. Now you must walk the walk – to the other side of the chamber. You owe these gutless bastards nothing. Your loyalty now should be to the national interest.

  • Homer Sapien says:

    “A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.”

    Tuchman, Barbara. The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (Kindle Locations 88-89). Crux Publishing Ltd. Kindle Edition.
    That says it all….

  • Egil Nordang says:

    Chairman of Backbench Committee, Craig Kelly, was not able to finish his contribution.
    Strict time frame?
    Did attendees just walk out on him?
    Was he clubbed to silence by PM Turnbull, for having incorrect ideas?
    I think John Howard must wake up in a cold sweat at times.
    Without his input, Australia could have had Malcolm Turnbull doing harmless work.

  • says:

    Follow the money .
    AGW. What a ridiculous farce it is, UNLESS you happen to be one of the beneficiaries outlined in red, and especially if your first loyalty is still to Goldman Sachs

  • Rob Brighton says:

    ” Unfortunately, most explanations of how the NEG (as it stands without price targets) might theoretically get prices down sound like merchant bankers’ gobbledigook.”

    Nice one.

  • Warty says:

    Tony Abbott, Craig Kelly, Daniel Andrews and a handful of conservatives are like the proverbial voices in the wilderness, though there is a resonance to their collective voice, no muted echo there.
    It is said we deserve the government we get, but I would like to pass that particular baton onto the rather more ignorant amongst us, those with the ear plugs, the same ones who wear padded cotton sleep masks in broad daylight. Because how stupid can you be to invite two or more terms of a Shorten government, before you begin to stir. It seems that is what it will take to return the Liberal Party to its senses.
    My feeling is that the conservative base will never return, despite the efforts of the Tony Abbotts, Craig Kellys and Andrew Hasties: Cory and Pauline will be the beneficiaries.

  • Jody says:

    Abbott is a neanderthal who thinks he’s still going to be PM again one day. Quite the contrary; I don’t ever see him returning to even a shadow cabinet job. And the other 1950s dwellers like Andrews and (not the sharpest tool in the shed) Kelly might as well be wearing the “If I can’t have it neither can you” T-shirt. Andrew Hastie is squandering his career; too bad for him. My husband thinks he hasn’t got what it takes anyway. I tend to agree. None of these people has the remotest kind of influence in the party anymore. The more intelligent players will soon find out where the centre is and this disruptive rabble, fuelled by an aggrieved Abbott, will soon be forced to learn the hard way. We all will. And when the Coalition does lose they’re going to be looking for the horse/s which started the stampede.

    Completely agree that we deserve the governments we get. That’s why Whitlam and Rudd arrived on the scene only to crash and burn. Democracy never guarantees to get it right, merely to give everybody a vote. Politicians are not from mars; they come from amongst us and what’s wrong with them is what’s wrong with us.

  • en passant says:

    Stop embarrassing yourself with blind hatred an tell us your brilliant solution.

    No, didn’t think you could …

  • Jody says:

    I realize that the concept of mutual faults is beyond your IQ but your god Abbott isn’t the answer either. He not only has a lizard’s tongue but the fork makes it possible for him to continue to tell lies – and then go to confession afterwards to rid himself of his perfidy. Uh oh; I don’t think so.

  • White Dove says:

    Dear Tony,
    I thank you once again for standing up for me – someone who has no voice in the parliament on matters of Energy. You are my voice and I agree with everything you have written and voiced via the radio and TV interviews. May I add that the interview with Leigh Sales was brilliant on your part.

    Without your voice explaining the madness, I would have no hope for this Country. But there you are saying what I need you to say only to to be piled upon and leaked against. It must be so hard for you to keep going but please know that you have my total support and that of many Australians for without you we would be lost. You are the hope I have for the future. Joy Heath

  • Maic says:

    “Give us all a break?” Who is the “all” besides yourself? Tony Abbott and a very few others are the only politicians sticking up for the non left citizens who see the Coalition ignoring their concerns and as a consequence heading for the electoral cliff.
    I for one am not embarrassed by messages of support for Tony. What he says (although out of favour with the elite and special interests) makes perfect sense to many citizens who are sick of the slick and false talk about climate change and how power prices are certain to come down if we just trust them a little longer.
    Well I say their ration of trust ran out long ago. Not a bright look for the economy and citizens living conditions. (Read your power accounts lately?)

  • Les Kovari says:

    Just reading these comments makes me cringe. I wonder how painful it is going to be when I hit the bottom of the abyss. I might be lucky and fall on the softness of other dead lemmings who fell before me.

  • Tallaijohn says:

    How strange politics has become. Even though so many comments support free Australian decisions regarding energy and agree with the dumping of the Paris agreement, the only argument put forward against that is one which bags Tony Abbott. He didn’t invent this solution which the electorate has shown they support. Maybe there is just too much dislike of Tony. The same policy from a new leader might be the solution. Or would the hatred just move to the new leader?

  • Les Kovari says:

    I cry for you Australia.

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