Wentworth Diary

Vote With One Hand, Hold Nose With Other

In a mathematical expression there are two types of values, those that are variable, just a placeholder, and those that are constant, for example the value of Pi or the Pythagoras constant, the square root of 2. Two pieces of mail that arrived in my Wentworth mailbox this week referred to ‘Liberal values’, although which kind they represent, variable or constant, is increasingly difficult to discern.

The first piece of mail, or I should say pieces of mail, came from John Howard OM AC, and included a personal note from the former prime minister, a photo card and a reply-paid envelope to be returned with a donation requested by the Liberal Party’s NSW division. I imagine this was sent owing to our former membership of the Liberal Party, which ended abruptly (along with many others) on the day of the Great Resignation, September 14, 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull succeeded in his long-running campaign to undermine Tony Abbott and remove our elected prime minister from office. Along with many other disgusted Liberals, my wife and I annulled our party memberships immediately, and now watch from the sidelines as interested observers.

In his letter, Mr Howard highlights the challenges we face from “Labor, the Greens, Unions and so-called Independents – all committed to undermining our Liberal values … Your generous donation will allow us to fight for our values, and deliver a government that has the best interest of all Australians at heart.,”

Unfortunately, doing so will require ticking the box for a man who seemingly does not share any of our values, the self-described “modern” Liberal, Wentworth’s sitting member Dave Sharma.

The second piece of mail that arrived last week reminded me of how much our values diverge. It came in the form of a card from the Australian Christian Lobby showing Dave’s face beaming out from the controls of a cartoon crane controlling a wrecking ball in the process of smashing down faith-based schools. ‘The truth about Dave Sharma’ was emblazoned across the front. On the reverse of the card we were asked

In February, Dave Sharma voted to remove a law that protects the values of faith-based schools. Does his attack on faith communities accord with your values?

Well, no, it does not. Not at all.

There were formerly a number of shibboleths that served to unite Liberal voters, among them support for freedom of speech, thought and religion, support for energy independence and our Constitutional Monarchy, along with the concept of a democracy for all, with one vote per citizen. These capital L Liberal values are now under attack from lower-case-l liberals, moderates who pursue a progressive agenda and “can’t articulate a defence of tradition, or their own instincts, and so they fall back on the ideology: I should be able to do what I want, as long as I don’t hurt anyone else.”

That last quote comes from the author of a recent book, Liberal Shock, examining how traditionalists have entered into a disastrous alliance with libertarians, those who prioritise the freedom to choose above all else and look with contempt on those who share an instinctive horror at such iconic progressive views as support for euthanasia.

It has sent traditional Liberal Party members scurrying for the exits and decimated the volunteer ranks. At the most recent NSW council elections in 2021 I took a snap of the empty chair outside my polling booth. A Labor volunteer looked on mockingly at the Liberal How to Vote cards left abandoned in a pile on the chair.

Local Young Liberals of my acquaintance are now working their magic in western Sydney electorates that may represent a path to victory, sensibly abandoning the inner city to the likes of Allegra, Zali and Co.

But I cannot abandon Wentworth as my electorate. Dave Sharma will get my vote. I will place my mark on the ballot box while holding my nose because the alternative is so-called Independent Allegra Spender and a Greens/Blue-Green (Teal)/Labor government.

I don’t know much about Ms Spender’s values, apart from the fact she wants “a better climate for Wentworth.” But I suspect if myself, Allegra and Dave Sharma somehow ended up sitting around a dinner table together, I would be the odd one out in any conversation about values.

At that fictional dinner party, I might also ask Allegra what’s wrong with the current climate in Wentworth? Like many local residents, I reckon the existing climate is exceedingly fine. Mild winters with pleasant autumns and springs. Summers are hot with a bit of extra humidity in February and March, alleviated by the nightly southerly buster which blows in from the sea. If Allegra is fed up with the climate in Wentworth, she can hop in her diesel weekender and be in the southern highlands in less than two hours. It’s not that hard.

Real estate prices in Bowral are quite high, but I think she can handle it.

I went searching for a quote around “values” to finish off this Diary note and came up with some options from Seneca, Shakespeare, and the Gospels, but this one from successful US Romance writer Jennifer Cruise seemed most appropriate:

Values aren’t buses … They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.

Walter Waverley is the pseudonym of a Wentworth resident who prefers anonymity to grief from his woke neighbours

20 comments
  • Rebekah Meredith

    Are a “moderate” liberal and a teal “independent” really the only options in an important seat like Wentworth? Even here in Canning (south of Perth–I live in Mandurah), there are candidates from One Nation, the UAP, the Informed Medical Options Party, the Australian Christians, and the Liberal Democrats, as well as several other minor parties. I do not entirely like the preferential voting system, but it does allow one to “put the majors last,” as some freedom lovers are urging, while still preferencing the Liberals above Labor (or Labor “independents”).

  • Ian MacKenzie

    I can certainly understand supporting almost anyone against a Climate 200 challenger. The renewables subsidy trough is enormous, on a par with the Industry Super trough for the Left, but with added virtue/vanity. Until the Climate 200 financial backer demonstrates that he’s not a rent seeker I’ll be assuming he’s expecting a handsome return on his corrupting investment.
    As for the rest, it is difficult to know who to believe in an election campaign, so that is why I turned to the theyvoteforyou.org website. That gives a breakdown and analysis of voting records for sitting members which is a much better guide than promises pulled out of the hat at the last minute. Fortunately I’m in a Nats electorate, with a sitting member whose voting record accords well with my values, so I’ll continue to support him, but given the Coalition’s recent Labor-lite record, I’ll be voting for a minor party in the Senate who isn’t afraid to stand up for values I can support.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Protest votes are a total waste. This election is like virtually every other Federal election in Australia. There are only two parties that can form a government – the ALP or the Liberal National coalition. Minor parties are hopeless and it is a very rare independent with sufficient gumption to act constructively. Morrison has insufficient power to govern in a way that would entirely satisfy conservatives. But he and his political allies on their very worst days are closer to conservative ideals than any Labor government particularly one that is beholden to the insane Greens..
    A protest vote is a vote for the ALP and a Labor win will be disastrous.

  • ianl

    >”A protest vote is a vote for the ALP …”

    Yet I am told by the lefties that a protest vote is a vote for Morrison. Obviously, both comments are just fatuous. A colleague once pointed out that an irrational argument can only be met effectively with another irrational argument.

    I’m completely bone weary of being constantly lied to, and have been for well over a decade now. It does seem, though, that there are many so lacking in self esteem that they will vote knowingly for whomever tells them the sweeter lies.

    A Morrison minority govt propped up by the LDP or similar together with a stalemated Senate, seems the best one may hope for.

    But that Clark Gable line from Gone With The Wind (itself just a self-indulgent Hollywood romance, in my view) still reverberates.

  • call it out

    I’m with you, Walter. Those wealthy indulgent left liberals and teals are on the nose. I’m not sure how I will vote, but my strategy will be to start with my last choice (the greens) and work my way up to the least undesirable.

  • john2

    @RebekahMeredith,
    Andrew Hastie in Canning is a capital L liberal social conservative in spades. If I resided in the Canning electorate, and was voting for “people not parties”, voting 1 Andrew Hastie would be a no-brainer.
    My problem is with the Liberal Party as a political entity: they have lurched so far left on such a broad range of issues (both economic and social) that they have abandoned the entire right side of the field. They are led by a transactional politician whose strategy is to “follow the culture” rather than to actually lead and inspire from a values-based conservative position. Yet, the alternative option of an ALP-Greens government is a horror not to be contemplated. Where to turn? I may find myself holding my nose with Walter on this one.

  • Botswana O’Hooligan

    Perhaps a “hung” Parliament might ensue and a check with Bunnings finds that they have ample stocks of rope to hand. Labor will take us to the bottom with the speed of a streamlined leaden brick, the LNP slightly slower, the end result the same. Having lived in countries that followed Marxist Leninist policies I sometimes wonder if “our” democracy is much better especially in the last couple of years where the constitution has been ignored by State Governments, so too the Nuremberg outcome of 1947, and all with absolutely no comment by our P M who did his own thing by throwing taxpayers money around to the extent that he made Rudd/Gillard/Rudd look like rank amateurs. Then they wonder why staunch supporters resign and “shudder shudder” place them below One Nation or the UAP on voting day.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Voting effectively is a tricky task made complicated by our ridiculous preferential voting maze. Remember, with the current Hobson’s choice mob, we’re all in it together because they’re all in it together. If you can find your way through the voting maze, vote stragetically, and hope that the nefarious use of counting algorithms does not massage the final count and the result.
    https://sheikyermami.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/image-309-768×957.jpeg

  • Adam J

    The Liberals have openly abandoned my Conservative values so I will abandon them. Just as the workers abandoned Labor. I’m not obliged to vote for a party that openly treats me with contempt. Don’t let yourself be the battered wife.

  • SB

    “”””
    In his letter, Mr Howard highlights the challenges we face from “Labor, the Greens, Unions and so-called Independents …
    “”””
    Well, if ‘conservative’ governments had pushed back against the Left we wouldn’t be facing those challenges.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    john2,
    Before the Present Crisis, I would have rated Andrew Hastie as one of the most conservative members of the government. I believe that he still is–except in this area. As far as I am aware, until very late last year the one and only time that he had publicly criticized any of the tyrannical measure under which we were living was when Chairman Mark brought in a snap lockdown of Perth and Peel that canceled Anzac Day here last year. I imagine that he was genuinely opposed to the move, but his criticism smelt of politics. To my knowledge, he never criticized his own government’s measures that had made official Anzac Day commemorations impossible the year before (although, in that case, the decision was partly the RSL’s–to their everlasting shame). Mr. Hastie only began to speak out against this tyranny (and then to no great extent) late last year, when even the West Australian newspaper was beginning to grumble fairly heavily. Principles of freedom that will not display themselves when they are in the minority are very shoddy principles.
    It is, of course, possible that Mr. Hastie spoke out for freedom in the privacy of the party room; I hope he did. He has not, however, had the integrity of men like Craig Kelly, George Christensen, Alex Antic, and Gerard Rennick to strongly speak against the narrative, no matter what others say.
    When the Prime Minister announced the closure of churches in March last year, my sister wrote to Mr. Morrison and Mr. Hastie expressing her deep disapproval and concern. A few MONTHS later, some other member of the government wrote back a non-answer from the Prime Minister. She never heard a word from Mr. Hastie–her MP. When, a year or two before, she had written him a complimentary letter, he responded with a handwritten note.
    Then, late last year, my sister contacted Mr. Hastie’s office about Chairman Mark’s vaccine mandates, and the likelihood that they violate the Commonwealth Disabillity Discrimination Act. She ended up contacting the office–by phone, e-mail, and in person–multiple times before she finally received the response that this was a state issue, and Mr. McGowan had won a sizeable part of the vote in the election last year (more shame to us; the Nazis won a lot of votes, too).
    When the time arrived to stand up and be counted, Mr. Hastie was AWOL. Such a man, it seems to me, cannot be trusted to guard our freedoms.

  • Greg Buchanan

    “Dave Sharma will get my vote.” – is there no UAP, LibDem in your seat?

  • Brian Boru

    We are blessed in Australia by our preferential system of voting.
    .
    I start by putting the Green and their ilk at the bottom. Then my number 1 and so on goes to the parties or independents I like most. Only then do I hold my nose and number the Lib.
    .
    I still remember though that Green, Adam Bandt was first elected on Lib preferences. How dumb and and against the National interest was that?

  • pgang

    If nobody represents you, then don’t vote for anybody. I don’t understand the need to vote, even for rubbish. Especially with our preferential ballots, which are a travesty of democracy, in which your vote magically ‘doesn’t count’ unless you vote for everybody (to make sure the 2 big parties always win).
    In my electorate I already know who is going to win – the king of Do-nothing-for-my-electorate himself, Pat Conroy. He will win in the usual landslide to Labor. I emailed Pat with a few questions once, and was righteously put in my place with the latest woke-Labor talking points. Top bloke.
    I don’t even know who else is seeking representation thanks to their deathly silence on all matters, so why would I bother voting for them? Our electorate, like most, doesn’t rate a mention on Sky News until it mysteriously comes into existence on election night, at which time suddenly all the pundits know everything about it that there is to know.
    So Walter, don’t vote for Sharma, as that would be ridiculous. It’s like a prisoner voting on which punishment to inflict upon himself- the cat or the gauntlet? Don’t vote for either.
    If we could only cure this voting weakness within ourselves, then at least we would have clear democratic evidence that there is a problem. But like covidiocy, in which we all obliged the most grossly stupid behaviour, I guess we just vote because someone told us to.

  • john2

    @RebekahMeredith, I repent in dust and ashes. Your testimony re Hastie is revealing, disappointing, and sadly all too familiar. It seems that covid – or rather the responses to it – has exposed the fault lines in our society. I guess extreme circumstances and crises do that – they bring out the best and the worst in people. We in the West have lived such sheltered lives, essentially since WW2, that we have not had to confront the uglier aspects of our social and political selves: when things are going swimmingly, we are a pretty easygoing bunch. But the largely media-hyped, government-abetted and pharma-controlled narrative of covid overreaction has changed all that. And our polity was found wanting, as were those we looked to and up to to provide sober, rational and commonsense leadership. Even Hastie, as you say. The whole episode has shattered my faith (in hindsight so naive!) in the robustness of our democracy, the strength of our institutions, and the integrity of our leaders. The key insight I have gained from this ignominious event is that the post-ww2 West has enjoyed a period of peace, prosperity and security

  • john2

    …oops…
    … which is completely atypical historically. We are now reverting to type, or the norm, where the elites dictate the rules and everyone else more or less falls into line.

  • terenc5

    Get rid of Sharma and his woke mates. 3 years in opposition would be a worthwhile sacrifice. It would get rid of Morrison too. Win win

  • whitelaughter

    ianl – wrote:
    ========================================================
    >”A protest vote is a vote for the ALP …”

    Yet I am told by the lefties that a protest vote is a vote for Morrison. Obviously, both comments are just fatuous.
    ==================================
    Exactly! And the fact that both bunches of scumbags tell the same lie should show that the way to fix the system is to do what they hate.

    Now, for starters, so long as a candidate gets 4% of the vote, they get ~$2.91 per vote in funding from the Federal govt. So by refusing to vote for a major party, you slightly reduce their funds. Your decision should be either 1) vote for someone who will get 4% or more, so they get the money, or someone who will get less than 4%, so that the money isn’t granted.

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Good comments all but I have to agree with SB. If the conservatives including John Howard had pushed back against the forces of evil in the left Australia would be in a much better position. It was Howard who signed on for Kyoto and then had the states take away the land rights of farmers with the Native Vegetation laws, most of which are still crippling family farms. It was Howard who introduced the RET and lumbered us with intermittent, unreliable and ridiculously expensive electricity. It opened the floodgates to the environmental bureaucrats who have managed to shut down Australian industry and outsource it to China. It was a succession of Liberal PMs that refused to rid us of 18c and the ABC. It was the Liberals who have not built dams but talk of developing the North. At least they do talk about the North unlike Labor which does not know it exists. But the icing on this arsenic laced cake must be Morrison’s Net Zero BS and his refusal to contemplate nuclear if coal is so damaging. He and Angus Taylor are frauds of the worst kind and only remain viable because the alternative is too horrific to let loose on an already damaged country.

  • pgang

    Lawrie, all very correct, and it is refreshing to witness conservatives who are not under the thrall of Howard. Unfortunately the situation is what it is, and I still say don’t vote at all if that’s what it takes to voice your opinion. I find that voting for the lesser evil is not in the spirit of democracy, and I heartily despise enforced preferences.
    I find the northern Australia thing really frustrating. Forget about agriculture, the north is ripe for an industrial revolution. It should be the scene for a new wave of automated heavy industry. It has plenty of space, access to energy, water, high grade coking coal and iron ore, aluminium, and most importantly it is away from the soft heart of Australia’s current population centres where such things are no longer tolerated.
    Interestingly I’ve just been able to avoid my own advice about voting. I’ve just done my first ever postal, and the beauty of it is that you can actually spend some time on your vote and research the candidates via the web. I was also pleasantly surprised that UAP, One Nation and the Lib Dems were all running reasonable looking candidates in my electorate, so I did actually have someone to vote for after all. Of course it will come to nought as Conroy cruises to victory, but at least we have a worthy ballot for a change.

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