Hopeless Beyond Words or Measure

Despite a raging temperature and hacking cough, there should have been enough operational grey matter between my jet-lagged ears to make a mark against the Liberal candidates hoping to end Daniel Andrews’ reign. Alas, that proved more than difficult. There were questions, starting with the biggest: Vote for what, exactly? Damned if I could say. Spinelessness? Stupidity? Cowardice? Tactical ineptitude? Organisational impotence? A party of lemmings led by a human weather vane pointing always towards the nearest cliff? Here, in Matthew Guy, was a man of such negligible principle that he cut and ran from candidates at the slightest criticism, even when levelled by the likes of ABC and  Age editorialists — the sort of  people, in other words, who will never vote for a conservative, not even a faux conservative, not in a pink fit.

So there I stood at democracy’s cardboard booth, pencil poised above the name of the Liberal candidate for the seat of Williamstown, where the most recent redistribution has re-assigned me, but yet unable to press the pencil and inscribe the how-to-vote’s requested ‘1’.

Six hours earlier, I’d landed at Tullamarine after a 36-hour hell flight via Manila from New York’s sub-zero chill, a journey that began with a bit of a headache and drippy nose and ended in Melbourne with 100-plus degree fever. Common sense prescribed Theraflu, lemon tea with honey and the comfort of clean sheets, but the chance to vote in Victoria comes only once every four years and by 2026 what might be left of this state to save? Other than wheezy self-pity, that thought had been foremost all the way across the Pacific. Andrews & Co had to go, and weak reed that he was and always has been, Opposition Leader Guy seemed, however dubious, the only potential and available remedy.

On the plane it had been a drawn-out grapple with my conscience. Months earlier, when Guy booted upper house right-winger Bernie Finn from the party for his anti-abortion views, I’d vowed he would never get my vote. It wasn’t that abortion is a make-or-break issue with me, but the lack of political nous that underwrote the expulsion certainly was and remains an issue, a very big issue indeed. Over the past 20 years, the polls have been consistent in reporting some 30 per cent oppose abortion across the board, with only single-digit support from both men and women for terminating pregnancies up to the moment of birth, as is permitted in Victoria. Voters with such reservations would once have found a home in the Liberal fold, but no longer. Just who did Matthew Guy see in his mind’s eye as the voters who would install him in the Premier’s Office? Not those being told in effect that they were embarrassments, low sorts whose votes it would be beneath the Victorian Liberals dignity to accept, let alone solicit. Could an opposition leader responsible for such a tactical blunder really have the stuff to set the state right in regard to so many other pressing matters?

There is a heck of a lot that needs fixing in the Garden State, a multitude of abuses at the hands of Labor, whose eight years in office have seen an escalating sequence of outrages that reached their sorry peak (at least for now) in the Andrews government’s response to COVID. Rubber bullets, a praetorian police force encouraged to indulge its inner thug and belt the daylights out of the Premier’s critics. On Altona Beach, at the end of my street, I had watched a posse of cops brutalise a heavily pregnant woman whose ‘crime’ was to have roamed further on a sunny day than the permitted five kilometres from her front gate. It was a sickening spectacle etched stark in memory by the cry of a fellow onlooker. “Look, blood on the sand!” he said as the cops tugged, bundled and dragged the wailing mum-to-be towards a divvie van.


WE ENDURED all that and worse through the world’s longest sequence of lockdowns, and for what gain? Businesses ruined, lives stuffed, traditional liberties curtailed in what common sense should have recognised from the start as a doomed bid to achieve the fabled ‘COVID zero’ the Premier assured us was doable if, and only if, we did exactly as bid. The virus, that spiked lump of DNA and protein, proved smarter than Andrews’ stable of  favoured ‘experts’ and celebrity epidemiologists  who claimed the ability to lock it out. As we know, the Wuhan bat virus bided its time on the front step and waited for the door’s inevitable reopening.

Before that, well, there was the pursuit and framing of George Pell, the Red Shirts rorting, the billions of squandered dollars on unbuilt freeways and the behind-schedule West-East tunnel. Rail links head nowhere but into pools of deepening red ink as the Premier’s union mates dance jigs of delight while the state’s debt soars to match the total of that accumulated by Queensland, NSW, Tasmania and South Australia combined.

All this and worse, you might think, would present an opposition leader with what a military man might describe as a target-rich environment. Yet, once again, Matthew Guy and his party were the problem.

How could he address the lockdowns’ madness after pointedly instructing his parliamentary underlings not to speak at or even attend any of the Freedom rallies? How could he speak for those losing their jobs for refusing to get the jab when he led his party in voting with Labor to ban from the parliament any and all elected members who declined to disclose their vaccination status? How could he call for the badly needed and long overdue mucking out of VicPol’s reeking stable when he uttered not a word of rebuke for the bashings, the rubber-bullet barrages, the arrests and incarcerations? How could he demand better appointments to the bench when the stream of Labor hacks installed from magistrate courts to the Supreme Court went uncriticised, including the duo who rejected George Pell’s appeal on grounds the High Court would unanimously dismiss as gross judicial errors.

From Matthew Guy, not a peep about any and all of the above. And when he did seize the initiative, more train wrecks. Take renewable energy, for example, which the Liberals have pledged to see account for a full 50 per cent of the state’s energy budget —  a target even higher than Labor’s.

In the end I couldn’t bring myself to do it, give that first preference to the Liberal upper- and lower-house tickets. They did nothing during the COVID panicdemic except make things worse They didn’t deserve my vote and, on current form, never will again. I stuffed my ballots in their boxes, went home to bed and slept through the TV coverage of a preordained result.


FORMER Premier Ted Baillieu, who knows a thing or two about political failure,  is being quoted in post-election wraps as saying it will be at least eight years, and possibly twelve, before his Liberals can harbour any realistic hope of regaining power.

Well, yes, his species of Liberals. But what if, instead of the usual go-along types, the Liberals found themselves a leader pledged to repudiate the party’s wan commitment to core principles? A week is a long time in politics, as they say, and four years an eternity. Who can predict what might emerge if, you know, the party actually stood for something?

27 thoughts on “Hopeless Beyond Words or Measure

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    Pretty simple, the people voted for the Andrews Labor government knowing full well the shortcomings of his government, their draconian measures, the police brutality, and the destruction of their human rights, the whole nine yards of everything to make their lives a misery over the past couple of years and yet they voted his government back into power. They deserve everything they get so just don’t heap the blame on the conservatives for although they have come across as Labor lite, they are also Victorians and also endured all the above and did bugger all about it.

    • Biggles says:

      And the same brain-dead mob will vote for The Voice. “Aww; ya godda be noice to the Aborigines”. In four or eight years time, Australia’s socialist governments will have destroyed our adequate, reliable energy supplies. Victoria and the mendicant state of South Australia will be in the lead. Who in private enterprise would be fool enough to consider staying on, let alone establishing a new business in the face of this coming catastrophe?

  • Dallas Beaufort says:

    Spineless sycophants, Forgotten people, my arse.

  • March says:

    Know how you feel – I’m in Matt Kean’s electorate

  • lroyjh says:

    It is said
    ‘If You Are Not a Liberal (lefty) When You Are Young, You Have No Heart, and If You Are Not a Conservative When Old, You Have No Brain’.
    Alpert JS.
    Grow up Victoria!

  • wdr says:

    One major problem is the electoral system, with its preferences, rather than the First-Past-the-Post system.
    According to the votes already counted in Vic. as of today, the Lib vote went down very marginally compared with four years ago but the ALP vote went down even more. When all the votes are in, the Lib vote may well have risen compared with the last election. The problem is that the expanded Green and minor party preferences went to the ALP. This was because there is no equivalent right-of-centre party to direct its preferences to the Libs, as there were in the time of the DLP. One is urgently needed- maybe the revived Nationals can put up candidates in Melbourne.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks for your piece Roger, a terrible result all round. I agree with wdr’s comment and have done so for some time. In the absence of any better solution that I can think of, first past the post will not only make the pollies work harder for their vote but will also draw the teeth of the worst minority party in the entire country, if not the western world in general….the greens party. Without their preferences here in Australia they’d become pretty well irrelevant and probably out of business, thereby throwing off the doom and gloom they spread, freeing up our mining, agricultural and manufacturing again and getting the country moving on the road to some real prosperity…………once more.

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    wdr and Peter Marriott:
    As I recall, the preferential system (which I consider to be faaaaar superior to first-past-the-post (FPTP) was introduced by the conservative side of politics in the 1920s. The conservative vote was split on rural-urban lines, and the bush vote was a very important part of it to all conservatives, while the ALP vote was mainly urban. But FPTP enables a minority to win and rule, and for some ‘conservatives,’ winning is all that matters, and for them it clearly trumps democracy.
    NB: This comment probably will not gain the approval of an editor committed to the ‘freedom’ to spray Covid virons over all and sundry; which to date has killed 6.63 million people worldwide, and debilitated one helluva lot more with the long covid variant.

    • lbloveday says:

      Quote: This comment probably will not gain the approval of an editor
      Wrong as usual. Quadrant is unlike other sites, media and Internet providers that will not brook opposing views, even obviously false ones.
      This morning I opened an email from a doctor friend in Australia who, being retired and therefore not concerned about being deregistered is outspoken about, particularly, Covid lies and associated vaccine corruption.
      He contacted me via an old email (we have been communicating for 25+ years and have been known to share a beer or 6) because Internode have blocked his out messages.
      If they are doing that to an old man expressing his own opinions based in good part on training and experience, acting alone and not part of any group, no hidden agenda, imagine what other information is being blocked.


    • john mac says:

      I guess you’re fully masked up driving your Tesla , Imac and are on your 5th booster shot ?

  • Sindri says:

    That a vindictive incompetent like Dan Andrews can cruise to such an easy victory says something, at least to my mind, profoundly depressing about the changing nature of the electorate. Increasingly, “conservatives” are not merely wrong, but morally disgraceful in a preposterously overblown way, Nazis-lite. A kind of cold moral vanity is at work here that is different from the merely adversarial attitudes of the past. It’s a bit like when the Who sang, 60-odd years ago, “hope I die before I get old”. They were being brash and contemptuous, but the Zeitgeist now is “hope the old die soon”. The same sort of intolerant mindset is gaining ground in politics.
    (Get well soon, Roger).

  • Mark says:

    If you look at the numbers, I actually think the “vindication” of Dan Andrews, it’s anything but – Labor only got 37.5% of the primary vote compared to 35.5% of liberals. Unfortunately, the liberal party looks like it could it be headed to the dustbin of history if it doesn’t acknowledge something it brought on itself -: demographic change. Relativity recently, the various electorates were redrawn in Victoria in north and west Melbourne, which basically gave Labor automatic new seats and no hope ever of liberals getting those seats. Also, strongholds of Eastern Melbourne have changed due to high levels of immigration and they consistently vote left. The liberal party and conservative media pundits can scratch their heads all they want about why Daniel Andrews won, but the truth, although uncomfortable is very, very simple…

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    I read that the Liberals did quite well in the outer working class areas of Melbourne with the people most affected by the lockdowns, people whose work meant they had to turn up and who couldn’t work from home. In other words, not the trendy public servant types, who have increased in numbers in the inner cities as Dan has expanded public sector employment. As in Sydney, the Libs will continue to lose out in the richer electorates due to their perceived ‘insufficiencies’ on tackling ‘climate change’ because these voters can afford to ride the climate belt tightening without personal hardship and they are also committed to the climate ideology via higher ‘education’ and corporate influences, unlike the workers elsewhere. Going harder on climate and other so-called progressive policies to attract back these voters was and still is a mistake for the Libs: the Libs need to offer a genuine alternative for currently disaffected voters. Thus the Libs have a new constituency to woo, which they can’t do with their current Labor lite policies, such as spending on useless infrastructure, including ‘renewables’ and net zero targets.
    It has been noted that the Vic Libs offered not one policy that differed in any way to Dan’s polices, except in a few instances, such as net zero, to go even higher on the insanity gauge.
    What a homecoming, areff. We are still chuffed by a recent visit to Florida, where sanity reigns.
    Get well soon, Roger – the current URTI lurgie going around the flight paths is a nasty, not Covid, but the cough is very unpleasant. We both picked it up on our way home from the US too. It shouldn’t put anyone off international travel though (do it before your social credit score prohibits it). My sister picked this lurgie up on a trip to Melbourne a couple of months ago, so it’s already everywhere.
    Nature of the beast.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    “A kind of cold moral vanity is at work here that is different from the merely adversarial attitudes of the past.”
    Well said, Sindri. But it can be countered by a strong leadership pointing out how wrong this moral vanity is. Turn it back on them, as De Santis does in Florida. Call out the hypocrisy and wastefulness and moral turpitude of the left rather than letting them constantly get away with it. All it takes is political will.
    The Nationals have just belatedly found a bit of that re The Voice. That’s at least a start – and note that the Nationals have done well in recent elections. Maybe they should break free from the Lib coalition agreement. They could surge ahead on their own as the true Oppositon Party and garner preferences from the smaller Parties of the right.

  • Michael Waugh says:

    Elizabeth Beare, what you say is deeply interesting. I’ve read of DeSantis’ battles in “the culture wars”, they warm your heart. What is his attitude in the “climate wars”?

  • norsaint says:

    Has no one any doubts as to the veracity of the election? Granted Guy is embarrassing but it is remarkable how the jumped up tyrants around the west – all Globalists and all hated – seem to be getting “re-elected”. Blind Freddie realizes that Trump was voted in overwhelmingly and so there’s no reason to suspect the recent mid-terms were any different.
    However add to which Canada, France, Brazil, New Zealand and the farcical UK prime ministerships, and one has to wonder what is going on.
    Not sure how they’re doing it here but it does smell very fishy.
    Despite being an effete nincompoop, Guy’s stupidity was heralded at the last election when his tweeny minions must have persuaded him to run on a “law & order” platform; this in a jurisdiction that has been a not-so-thinly disguised Police State for 20 years at least.
    Last one out, turn off the lights. Oh hang on, they went off long ago. Renewables, doncha know.

  • Charles says:

    I can totally sympathise with you Roger, I am in a regional electorate of VIC where there was only the Liberal to vote for in the lower house. While he was a reasonable person who focuses on local issues and distances himself from the Melbourne claque of Liberals, it was still hard to vote for a party that really stands for nothing.

    No-one does the policy work any more, nobody does any research into the issues so they can mount a counter argument. However, despite all the utter claptrap on climate, energy, gender, education, etc. not one person put forward any argument that countered the accepted dogma. It is like so-one is concerned about the truth any more. It appears the only policy of all parties is to join in the lemming rush for the cliff.

    We do need less public servants and more politicians in the political parties, and we need to find more people who can think for themselves although we are now about a generation and a half into most being trained not to think for themselves by a toxic and dysfunctional education system.

    In the end I voted for the Liberal because all other alternatives were even worse, and he got in back fairly easily which shows that if you stand up for some local issues and don’t join in the city-centric stupidity then most people are happy to vote for you. Maybe there’s a lesson there for us somewhere?

  • MungoMann says:

    After yesterday’s excellent performance by the National Part & CLP regarding their rejection of ‘the Voice’ , maybe it is time to ditch voting Liberal and start voting NP/CLP? Will they be a rising force in Conservative politics? At least they have an existing party structure. I always wanted to be a Collins Street farmer, – here’s my chance !

  • Peter Marriott says:

    I agree with norsaint. I too have recently reflected on this strange phenomena, and have put it down to what I personally see as a sort of ‘reverse gerrymander’, putting aside the smell of fraud for a moment.
    The luvvie lefties don’t seem to really be that caring about where they live, just so long as it’s where they have the numbers to vote a conservative out. They don’t really like the idea of Labour; too much baggage reminding them of hardworking common type shearers and factory workers etc, and instesd they go in for the superior type thinking inherent in parties like the greens, all the while knowing that their preferences will go to labour…… but they’ll not be tainted with that common association.
    They all end up together in these enclaves, 100’s of thousands of’em and they get a whole swag of members, all crammed in close to one another. It seems to me, under these circumstances, that we should not really be in such thrall to equal numbers per representative, not when they’re all crammed in close to one another.
    In my thinking one member for these people, instead of say three or four could serve them just as easily. whereas in the country areas that three or four are needed to cover the area.
    Of course I’m aware of the taint of gerrymander, but everyone still only has one vote, and the interpretation of value can apply both ways.

  • Jackson says:

    The Matthew Guy and Libs’ actions (and more tellingly, inactions) appear irrational. Don’t they even want to win government? They appear to be defeated by Defeatism. And just as captive to the Woke Zeitgeist as their political opponents. While madness (ie irrationality) cannot be formally ruled out, I think there is a shrewd, rational self-interest that governs their thinking as individuals: Being in Opposition may be worse than being in Government, but it’s a helluva lot better than having to shift for oneself in the big wide world. Compared to that, the political “wilderness’ of Opposition looks more like an Eden for the Indolent and Insecure – for those who are happy to settle for life-long security (sinecure?) including a defined benefit pension whose generosity should make the tax-paying punters weep…

    When the main party of the right no longer stands (much less stands up) for socially conservative values in a polity where such values are still widely (albeit diffidently) held, then not only are its days as the “natural party of government” numbered, but so also its viability as HM’s Loyal Opposition. In short, in the absence of a reversion to common-sense (which will necessitate a wholesale cleansing of the Libs from their current “leaders” and power-brokers) it is now past time for a new major party of the right to emerge. Maybe it is the Nats (if they are smart). But if the Nats don’t seize the day, then may another movement step into the breach.

    We are in a period of epochal change, of cultural revolution. Business-as-usual political options no longer avail. Perhaps the needed movement is already afoot in the UK (cf Farage) where the Tories have reached a similar stage of bankruptcy. Bring it on!

  • talldad says:

    To quote:
    “Months earlier, when Guy booted upper house right-winger Bernie Finn from the party for his anti-abortion views, I’d vowed he would never get my vote.”

    Please no! Bernie Finn was booted out because he dared to tell the State exactly what he thought of Daniel Andrews – that he was a Nazi, administering the state with totalitarian zeal.

    For this sin of truthfulness, Bernie incurred the wrath of the establishment/woke brigade.

    This furthers your argument that the pusillanimous parody of a party did not deserve to get anywhere near the treasury benches.

    Bernie’s style of commentary – confronting the destroyers of the State with the truth in an assertive (even aggressive) way, which the media could not ignore – mirrored the tactics of Donald Trump in the USA, and would have resulted in a much better image of the party during the campaign.

    It has been reported elsewhere (in the Speccie, to be exact) that the only difference between the ALP and the Coalition policies was one infrastructure policy – the outer-outer circle rail project. That may have been the perception, but we never heard that the Libs actually intended to repeal the December 2021 pandemic amendments to the Health and Wellbeing Act. However, we heard absolutely nothing during the campaign about that.

    The “wets” of the party, including the administration, are still wet behind the ears.

    It is time for the party to die ignominiously, for its grave to remain unmarked and for something new to come forth – maybe something like the Freedom Party, with stronger policy positions.

  • Carlos says:

    The turkeys have voted for Xmas!

  • BalancedObservation says:

    The LNP lost the election because they needed to campaign with basically one simple message but didn’t. That message was:
    Based on every objective criterion there’s a health system crisis in Victoria which the Andrew’s government created. It’s had eight years to get it right. Why would another four make any difference?
    Criticisms of the handling of covid arguably failed miserably to have any impact in the seats which needed to be won. They were arguably counterproductive in those seats; and they were arguably the sorts of messages which probably cost Josh Freydenberg his seat at the federal election.
    However these messages resonated very well in a number of Labor held electorates, achieving in some cases over 10% swings. But the margins to win those electorates were far too great. They’re not seats which can be won by the LNP.
    There’s no future in a democracy blaming voters. A party is fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of democracy if it blames voters for a poor result.

  • norsaint says:

    And of course there was the last Federal election. The fact that the Independents did so badly just defies logic, given the scamdemic the country had been enduring for god knows how long.
    There was a bit of stuff on the twittersphere (yes I know) claiming that some scrutineers were saying preferences weren’t being distributed correctly.
    As with all of this stuff, including the sodomites “marriage” referendum, the results are just announced and that’s it. You can all go home now.

  • Mike Emery says:

    It is noticeable that the left in America, England and Australia all seem virulent, fanatical, full of hate while the corresponding right wing politicians seem lukewarm at best.
    Is it a result of Antonio Gramsci’s Long March Through The Institutions?

  • brandee says:

    It is a sorry tale Roger and undeniable.
    Of course it is so much more difficult for the State Liberals to stand for something when the Federal Liberals do not.
    The rapid decline started with Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard must soon regret talking up the ‘broad church’ and persuading Malcolm not to leave it. Then Malcolm chose Scott to follow on. Scott expressed no interest in the culture war and sold out to the climate zealots.
    Have the states been any worse than this?

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