Just when you think the Liberal Party couldn’t get any worse, it does. To reverse The Beatles, it’s getting worse – it’s getting worse all the time. Take the idiocy of measuring success by how much legislation is passed. By the way, this is how many of the writers on The Australian seem to measure how well the party is doing. You’ll recall that this was the old Julia Gillard line – ‘we’re the greatest government ever because we’ve passed 87 billion pages of new laws’, or sentiments to that effect. Back then conservatives — people who believed in small government, less tax, and that doing nothing is better than doing something bad — would ridicule Ms. Gillard and Labor for such simplistic and wrongheaded measures of supposed success.
But not today. Today’s Team Turnbull Liberal Party trumpets to all and sundry that it is running a successful government. Why? Simply because it is getting things passed into law. But they are truly awful things that are being enacted. You’ll recall the attacks on superannuation. We read in a study this week that under those Turnbull government changes, people who save $400,000 in their super will be no better off than those who save $1,000,000. You see the former will be able to access the aged pension and myriad other forms of welfare while the latter group will not. So the taxpayer, in effect, will make up the difference. These super changes brought in by Morrison and Turnbull are going to undermine thrift and saving. Why bother slaving to save up that extra $600,000 only to be in the same position as those who only accumulated $400,000? There is no answer to that. In the medium term this will hit the budget big time as pension payments skyrocket.
But heck, Team Turnbull got it through the Senate and onto the statute books. Do you count it as a good thing? I mean, they got it through Parliament and they seem to want to use that as the measure of all things.
Or what about the billions piled into Gonski? Here is a supposedly Liberal government throwing billions of dollars at the education sector without asking for better outcomes, without stopping to ask if education outcomes are correlated to ever more taxpayer largesse (hint: it would seem not), without wondering why they are favouring the teachers’ unions over the Catholic and independent sector, and without a concern in the world about how God-awful anti-federalist and pro-centralist it is. Look, this is a joke. No legislation would have been miles better than this legislation.
Or what of the banks’ levy? Is that a good thing for a right-of-centre political party to do? If you say ‘yes’ then you really ought to go and join Labor, unless you happen to think the Liberal Party is Labor in drag. (Can one still say that word, Mr. Former Australian of the Year?)
Let me be blunt. When a right of centre Liberal party starts measuring success solely in terms of getting stuff passed into law it needs to lose an election and lose it badly. Team Turnbull could go tomorrow to Bill Shorten and promise to enact Electricity Bill’s entire wish-list of laws and the Libs would then get all sorts of things through Parliament. (Please, please don’t take me seriously. Please don’t. I don’t want to tempt the lefty morons on the bridge of the Liberals’ sinking ship with another appalling brainstorm.) My point is that no one would think that just enacting what Labor wants is a good idea, no matter how much legislation made it through the Senate as a result. And yet that’s what all the senior ministers are, in effect, saying. They’re trying to brag about it, Gillard-style. And that’s the yardstick half the writers on The Australian are also implicitly using in their sorry attempts to bolster Team Turnbull.
Well, I’m not buying it and nor should you. Doing nothing is miles better than the big government, high taxing, stolen from the Labor playbook crap that Team Turnbull has the effrontery to be boasting about.
And that leads me to this final point. What are the supposed conservatives in the Liberal cabinet doing? I’m talking about Dutton and Corman and (if you’re super-generous and overlook his nasty attacks against Donald Trump) Josh Frydenberg. How are you supposed Big Beast Conservative Ministers letting any of these left-wing bills out of Cabinet? I mean you could finish them off tomorrow simply by saying you don’t support them and you’ll leave Cabinet and go to the backbenches if they proceed. That’s all it would take. But of course none of you is prepared to give up the chauffeur and the big salary on a matter of – what’s that word again? – principle. All the talk of you and the conservatives in the party being able to rein in Turnbull is just platitudinous posturing. It’s rubbish. Grow a backbone gentlemen, you’ll be fighting for the leadership of a devastated party down the road and we will not forget this cravenly pusillanimous behaviour.
I will finish there. The uselessness of the National Party and of Barnaby Joyce in going along with this ever-leftwards drift is worth an article on its own.