The Wizard of Odd

team turnbullAccording to reports, 32-year-old Andrew Bragg is Malcolm Turnbull’s pick to replace Tony Nutt as the federal director of the Liberal Party. Again according to reports, this seemingly imminent appointment is not going down well with certain sections of the party, where the view is that the position should have been advertised and, were that to happen, being a Wentworth crony of the Prime Minister would not be regarded as as a — make that the — prime qualification for such an august office.

Still, you can see why Mr Bragg, failed candidate for Liberal preselection, might be the apple of the PM’s eye. Here he is in The Huffington Post, of all places, and demonstrating a definite Turnbullian turn of phrase in demanding “cultural change”:

“Australia doesn’t need to adopt [Japanese PM] Abe’s exact language, “womenomics” has provided a framework to usher in cultural change in Japan. Accordingly, once we’ve sized the opportunity and the issue has clear terminology, fostering cultural change should be easier.”

bragg mug And here he is, once again in The Huffington Post, attempting to make the republican case via the innovative debating tactic of directly contradicting himself. His initial contention: Australia is suffering because our Asian neighbours see us as pink and pasty colonial relics beholding to the Mother Country. It’s all about “identity’, you see

“We rarely discuss the symbolic and identity implications of living in the Asia Pacific century. This is a missed opportunity. Identity, belonging and symbolism are important in Asia.”

A “missed opportunity”, eh? Not if the reader can endure the Fitzsimons-esque sentiments and get deep enough into the column to absorb this:

It is true that our constitutional monarchy status has not been a barrier to building strong economic and cultural ties between Australia and most of Asia. In 2014, our government negotiated free trade agreements with three of our four top trading partners — China, Japan and South Korea.

The vestiges of colonialism have not held Australia back. Yet.

These are strange days indeed. When the man likely to be tapped as the organisational antidote to a resurgent Labor Party peppers his thoughts with calls for “cultural change”, “womenomics”, “belonging” “identity implications” and “vestiges of colonialism” you know, as Dorothy told her little dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz, conservatives aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Well their nominal leaders aren’t, anyway.

As to Mr Bragg’s taste for campus buzz words, not all his writing is so affected. In the April edition of Quadrant, for example, he manages a quite sensible and well reasoned  essay, Concealed Protectionism Threatens Australia’s Trade. It can be read in full via the link below.

— roger franklin

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