A Sirens’ Song for the Easily Impressed

I was passing a Woolworths supermarket a few weeks ago. My local federal member, Trent Zimmerman (North Sydney – Joe Hockey’s old seat), was meeting and greeting. I said, ‘Hello, Trent’, in the informal way we conduct ourselves these days. We briefly chatted. I said that I wasn’t with him on climate and did not intend to put him first on my ballot paper. However, I said I would preference him because I was fearful of a Climate 200 activist getting in. He grinned and said, so I’m better than the alternative, or something to that effect.

I had a similar exchange, albeit by email, a little over five years ago (tempus fugit) after I’d written a post for Quadrant Online (“The Listing Liberals”) prompted by a pamphlet he’d put out. I was very critical of its content and sent him a copy of my post. He replied, apropos of his pamphlet, “Well at least you read it.”

Why mention these two interactions? Well, they both earned him brownie points in my estimation. He might have the wrong views on climate and on other things but he clearly has a sense of humour. Normally, this might not be quite enough on its own to swing my second preference but, to echo his words, he is better than the alternative; much better. And herein hangs a tale which might be writ large for the coming general election.

In the 2019 election, Zimmermann scored 59.3 percent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis. In 2016 he scored 63.6 percent. Hockey scored 65.9 and 64.1 percent in the 2013 and 2010 elections. It’s a Lower North Shore, blue-ribbon Liberal seat. Hold on, so was adjoining Warringah, formerly held by Tony Abbott.

In 2016, Abbott’s two-party preferred vote was 61.1 percent. Instructively, his two-candidate preferred vote (versus the Greens candidate) was 61.6 percent. As we know, enter Zali Steggall in 2019. Abbott’s two-candidate preferred vote plummeted to 42.8 percent. Steggall in, Abbott out.

In North Sydney we have, Steggall-minded, Ms Kylea Tink. Backed by Climate 200; she is one of a cohort. And, together, they represent clear and present danger to the Coalition. Of that, Steggall provides stark evidence.

Leaving aside existing federal lower-house members Andrew Wilkie (Clark) and Rebekha Sharkie (Mayo) and three senate candidates, two of whom are women; Climate 200, according to its website, is supporting 13 candidates for lower-house federal seats.

Of these 13 candidates, all are women. No men and, so far as I can tell, no transwomen. Can’t guess their ages, wouldn’t do to speculate. But the overall impression is of a cohort of pleasant looking professional and business women; in fine fettle, shall we say. I make no comment on their ethnicity but they appear to be a homogeneous lot. Have a look yourself on the link above. Diversity is not particularly evident.

In fact, as has been well remarked on, the lack of diversity goes much further. All of the thirteen seats being contested are held by the Libs (9) or the Nats (3). The only exception, which isn’t an exception at all, is the seat of Hughes held by Craig Kelly (formerly a Lib now UAP).

You might think me superficial for focussing on the sex, appearance, and background of the candidates. I just don’t think it’s an accident. First on the supply side, it’s much likelier to get professional and business women, as represented by the Climate-200 candidates, believing in climate faery tales, than it is people of either sex working at the coalface. Second, on the selling side, such women present a non-threatening facade.

If you’re going to promote unworkable policies which will threaten the nation’s security and competitiveness, disadvantage working-class Australians, put people out of work and put the lights out, it’s best to look pleasant; angelic even. After all, the Sirens didn’t lure sailors to destruction by having ugly voices. Irving Berlin nailed it. “A pretty girl is like a melody … She’ll start upon a marathon and run around your brain.”

As Ms Steggall has shown, 57 per cent of well-to-do people in Warringah can have their brains addled. They’ll vote for a chimera, provided it is attractively packaged and feeds a desperate need to feel virtuous. And there is nothing more virtuous, secure in your comfortable lounge room, than saving the planet and one’s grandchildren from a fiery end.

As I discovered via a leaflet through my letterbox, Ms Tink wants an independent climate-change body set up “to develop an evidenced-based plan to achieve net zero by 2040 [and] a clear and actionable plan to reduce national emissions by at least 50% by 2030.” Of course, there will be “no new coal and gas extraction projects.” And, we’re told, she supports “making the Federal seat of North Sydney one of the first Net Zero Energy Urban Zones in Australia, as we transition to a fully electrified community.” So on into Alcheringa.

Don’t for a minute think that enough people have sufficiently intact brains not to fall for this fanciful spiel. There’s a real risk that Scott Morrison will focus on defeating Albanese while being outflanked by the seductive charms of Climate 200 candidates. If only some of the less-attractive movers and shakers in the backroom; to wit, as examples, Simon Holmes à Court, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, John Hewson, Jim Middleton and Barry Jones were standing, the Libs and Nats at risk would be a shoo-in. As it is, Morrison and Co need to expose the fanaticism behind the facade.

11 thoughts on “A Sirens’ Song for the Easily Impressed

  • Daffy says:

    In my local paper we have smiling Paul (the ABC is OK) Fletcher gloating over his roof full of solar panels (I hope there was no child or slave labour in their manufacture). I thought of the families in his electorate who will look at this an wince. They forego their annual holiday to subsidise the solar roof of a federal minister! Where oh where is the morality in that?
    No, the Libs are full tilt at the Greenaway delusion. If not, they don’t have the wit to be able to campaign against it or even change the subsidies to come from consolidated revenue instead of the vicious regressive tax of electricity bills.
    I look forward to a house that splinters and government relying on fractious minor parties. Would serve them right.

  • tommbell says:

    Kate Chaney is running for Curtin and supported by the climateers . She says she is “independent” but was recently a member of the ALP. She’s the grand-daughter of Red Fred after all. No one with half a brain seriously doubts who she’ll support on matters of supply and confidence. The usual suspects breathlessly talk her up as wonderful. That imbecile Tim Minchin has recently come on board. But she’s nothing more than a grifter relying on her gender and the climate con to win the seat. And win she well may do. Her opponent Celia Hammond is both conservative and Catholic. Sectarianism is never far below the surface. And the “women” factor is very real – maybe I should say the “white women” factor? And no trans amongst the independent gals of climate 200.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    The recent South Australian election is instructive. There a religious conservative Labor candidate, who had opposed same-sex marriage, euthanasia and late-term abortion, won against a Green “Liberal” Premier who had supported all those policies and whose party organization had tried to keep practicing Christians out of the party. Malinauskas also supports nuclear power where Marshall does not. The decimation of the SA “Moderates” is a clear answer to the question “what happens to Green-Liberals who try to be Labor-lite”? Why would anyone vote for faux socialists when you can vote for the real thing?

  • Michael says:

    These so-called independents have sound good, motherhood type ‘platforms’ plus pushing for drastic emissions reductions for which they present no evidence of technical or economic feasibility, nor to they talk about any of the social and lifestyle consequences. It’s all fluffy and seductive, plus completely unrealistic emissions reduction commitments. Sirens is a good analogy.

  • ianl says:

    That the electorates with a majority at the higher end of the income range have gone upper green is a statement of the obvious. This has been growing noticeably for over 20 years, through a combination of vanity (higher incomes, so must be smarter, more clever and oh so able to foresee climatic catastrophe) and the ability to cope financially with the ever-increasing costs of greenery. This trend is not “inner-city lefties”, it’s actually inner-city vanities, and driven mostly by women from this demographic – facts of science are not at all important to these women.

    Such people will vote for exactly the candidate-type that Holmes a Court has selected. After all, it is the reason for such candidate/electorate selection. The Libs have long been emphatically outflanked in broad daylight. This is so obvious that Peter Smith repeating it here time and again is dreary.

    These electorates will not consider the ALP at this point as understandably they cannot bear the unions. A straightout Green vote carries a taint reminiscient of those who insanely lie down on a freeway in traffic to save the planet. But 1. Voices; 2. Libs … ah yes, that’s acceptable and oh so superior. Class warfare again. or rather still.

    The question for party apparatchiks is whether these electorates outnumber the trady electorates such as Parramatta. Middle-class aspirationals will not vote for Voices (they can smell the b/s) but may go UAP or even ALP because the Libs have double-crossed them to fend off the Voices.

    The electorate as a whole have voted NO to greenery 3 times – 2013, 2016, 2019 – yet now it is back with no choice. There are Libs straightjacketed by Voices, or ALP straightjacketed by Greens. The Senate may stalemate this, as a last hope.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Right on Peter.
    I had a quick look at the climate 200 website and I was particularly amused to read; “We strongly believe a growing lack of accountability and integrity has damaged our democratic institutions and needs to be urgently addressed”. Followed on by; “…. a suite of integrity measures — political donation reform”.
    I then did a quick search for the details of Zali Stegall’s rorting the political donation rules and came up with this https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-14/zali-steggall-defends-john-kinghorn-family-donations/100827784
    I hope the Libs are smart enough to link all these smiling women and their climate 200 backers to the Stegall rort. I won’t be holding my breath though.
    By the way, does the outstanding win by Peter Malinauskas in S.A. show that a man of principle with traditional Labor views can beat a trendy green Lib? He has been quoted as saying; ” I believe in the fair go but I get frustrated with left-wing ideology that focuses more on imposing equality than providing for equality of opportunity”.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Sadly, the electorate is stupid enough, and invested enough in renewables, in wealthy areas to do this suicidal thing. They did it in Wentworth with Kerryn Phelps, a local naturopathic-leaning medico, and they are trying it now with Allegra Spender, daughter of a scion of the electorate and assisted by a sympathy vote for the tragic death of her mother, Carla Zampatti (many of us own a Zampatti jacket or other item).
    These electorates are easily led, especially the women (sad to say). Yes, we did see this sort of give-the-girl-a-go win in Warringah and it could happen in any of the Liberal electorates being targeted.
    To which I can only say: the girl is not going to be any good. She will be a puppet for investors.
    People on the right of politics who read widely know that for sure about the climatic hoax.
    But you are right, Peter. it seems the Liberals haven’t learned yet and the hard way is now coming up.
    One view is that they have written off wealthy electorates in favour of more suburban electorates rates
    That may be so, but at this stage they can’t afford to lose eleven seats. Nor should they be joining the hoax about year zero. The suburbs can sniff a fraud.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    “By the way, does the outstanding win by Peter Malinauskas in S.A. show that a man of principle with traditional Labor views can beat a trendy green Lib?”
    There is no hope that Labor will throw off the inner-city trendies in favour of anything that is more traditionally Labor. The SA win is simply that old triumph of hope over experience.
    As Peter Garrett said: ‘When we get in we will just change it’. They lie and drown out any more sensible voices in their Party; they forge ahead with wish-lists that will break us. Remember Rudd and his fiscal conservatism? I never believed that for a minute and wonder that so many were taken in by it.

  • Alice Thermopolis says:

    PS: “Morrison and Co need to expose the fanaticism behind the facade.”
    Yes, indeed, They also need to expose the folly behind the facade. Given recent events in Europe, surely energy security should be at the top of the list of national concerns, up there with the trillion dollar debt. Yet here we are with no strategic stockpiles, domestic refining capacity, diesel, big supply chain vulnerabilities, and so on. Instead we have bogeyman CC in a danse macabre with Ms Virtue Signaller, to great applause from Climate 200 promoters and their supporters.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    We need a Royal Commission into ‘Climate Change and Climate Policies’, with a special focus on Australia’s military and economic security; a Commission that will show up the foolishness of the ‘stop CO2’ brigade and the profiteers reaping in climate subsidies.
    Hard to see how we are ever going to get one that is not already in the bag for the scam though, with judges already handing down ‘climate’ judgements in favour of the green-left.

  • Louis Cook says:

    There is a fresh wind blowing on the sails so we should change tack by looking at this lot … To invite, send your friends to https://makingpoliticalhistory.com/
    This is an initiative by two competent ladies starting tonight. The coming election MUST be fought tooth and nail because the opportunity will not come around again for another three years and by then the ‘Ship of State’ may have foundered beyond redemption. Go get ’em Fido!

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