Episode 64

VOICE OVER:   Trigger warning! This podcast contains more common sense than most people can cope with. If you can't handle the truth, stop listening now. The Conservative Revolution starts here. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense with Cory Bernardi.

CORY BERNARDI:   Hello everyone, it’s Cory Bernardi here, and welcome to another Weekly Dose of Common Sense podcast – great to have you tuning in, particularly just after a critical federal election.

You might think, “Hey, Cory. You’re sounding a bit chipper even though you had a terrible result for your party: the Australian Conservatives.” I’ll get to that in a second.

But I am a bit chipper because Australia has been saved from a path of socialism by a better way and that is full credit to Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister. I’m absolutely delighted that the Coalition was re-elected last Saturday but I am disappointed the Australian Conservatives barely troubled the electoral scorers. You know you’re not on to something – or you’ve got some issues – when the stoners and the vegans and the crackpots and the conspiracy theorists and the flat-out liars all poll better than you do. You’ve got a lesson in there, somewhere.

Anyway, the lack of success was not due to an absence of hard work. Our candidates and our volunteers, they worked tirelessly to get the message out and I want to thank them for it. They represented our party well, they showed dignity and respect at every turn and they adhered to the principles that are so important. This hard work, these good men and women, it wasn’t recognised at the ballot box but I simply cannot praise them enough. Their enthusiasm and their commitment to the principles of policy that we sought to build and the refusal to compromise their integrity are something that I can only admire.

Now, of course, there are going to be a myriad of different thoughts about the result but after some reflection, I’ve drawn the following conclusions:

First and foremost, the campaign performance of the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, was unbelievable - it was simply phenomenal. His candour, his humility, his enthusiasm for our country was actually in stark contrast to his opponent and, I’ve got to say, in stark contrast to his predecessor Prime Minister. I don’t have any doubt at all that many of the people who celebrated the formation of the Australian Conservatives back two-and-a-bit years ago when Malcolm Turnbull was sinking the Liberal Party ship, went back and voted for Scott Morrison as Prime Minister ... and who could blame them?

To be frank, they didn’t want a Labor government. A lot of people don’t differentiate between the Senate and the House of Representatives and Scott Morrison espoused the values and many of the policy principles that we do – that we’ve been leading the way on.

And his rhetoric – his rhetoric in his interviews have been almost lifted from where we are. “Let’s burst the Canberra Bubble. Let’s leave more people with their own money in their own pocket. Let’s provide support for small business and stronger families.” So, I don’t doubt that he drew many disillusioned conservative voters back to the Liberal Party. One party member wrote to me today. He said, “With Turnbull lurching to the Left, we were a great alternative, but with Morrison – deeply socially conservative and an Evangelical Christian – it robbed us of our ability to differentiate.” I have to agree with that; it did rob us. We wanted to make a Liberal government a better government and we can still do that through the Senate.

We have to remind them there’s got to be external forces that are positive to remind them to be their better selves. If it wasn’t for those external forces, if it wasn’t for the threat of electoral annihilation and the deserting of their base, they probably would have gone to a cruisy defeat with the urbane Malcolm Turnbull. That said, it was a good result; it was a win for common sense and democracy and decency. Australia emphatically rejected the class warfare and identity politics that Labor sought to make the battle ground of this campaign.

To their credit, the Libs mostly rejected that mantra – mostly, because they slipped in a couple of dodgy policies – but this provided a refreshing contrast to what has actually been the lack of battle of ideas in recent years.

It can hardly be lost on anybody listening, that when the Coalition presents a genuine alternative to the socialists, they do better than when they simply mirror them. Tony Abbott said something similar all those years ago and he won on the basis of being different to Labor and now, so too has Scott Morrison. Hear that lesson.

With Morrison’s victory, he strengthened his authority and I only hope he will keep the Liberals on their new course. If not – if not, ladies and gentlemen - I will be there for the next three years at least, to remind them of where they should be. I will be pointing out where they go wrong and when they’re on the right course. And, I’m not a cheerleader for anything accept good policy and upholding principles, so if you want to email me and say, “Don’t pick on Pauline,” or, “Don’t pick on Clive Palmer,” or, “Don’t pick on Scott Morrison,” you’re talking to the wrong guy. If they’re right, I’ll praise them. If they’re wrong, I’ll say, “This is wrong.” I’m cheering on Australia, not some tribe, not some sub-species that you want to remain blinkered to. If people are lying, they’re not doing the right thing, we’ve got to call them out.

That’ll spark a few emails. Send them in, cory@corybernardi.com .

Anyway, this election: It was all the more remarkable by some of the other political players.

Clive Palmer spent 50, 60, 70, $80m – I don’t know how much, but it was a huge amount of money - and he didn’t get the result that he wanted.

We had angry parties carving each other up, competing for the conspiracy theory vote and the grand standers suffered a massive fall in fortunes.

Now, I can’t gloss over the lack of success of the Australian Conservatives at this election but I’m proud of the fact that we said what we meant and we did what we said we would. Of that, our supporters, our candidates and our party, can be proud.

Any election, of course, gives the government of the day the opportunity to reset the clock, having a go at delivering the policies that the country desperately needs. It also gives the rest of us a chance to regroup and refresh to prepare for the battles ahead. I will be doing that; learning the lessons of defeat and supporting the ideas that have so clearly won a miraculous victory for the Coalition.

Big government and the tribalism of the Left has been put back in its box right now, but never believe that they have been vanquished. Just when you think you got them beat, up they pop again. And, they’re not always in the lefty parties; there’s plenty of white-anters, plenty of conservatives-in-drag – or drags in conservative-drag, I suppose – within the Coalition. We have to be ever vigilant. Our job is to remind them to be their better selves.

We have to stop the leftism from taking hold - this rot, this poison - from taking hold once again. The country - the future of the country is at stake and I’m so pleased the Australian people recognised that and voted against it.

I only hope the Coalition will learn the lessons of this victory, invest in their Prime Minister, back their Prime Minister and encourage him to do the right thing at every turn. And, the right thing at every turn is the conservative thing – because it will conserve and protect our way of life and our very future. We should never surrender that to socialism under any guise.

Let me know what you think: cory@corybernardi.com .

VOICE OVER:   This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense.

CORY BERNARDI:   Thanks for staying with us, this is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense, I’m Cory Bernardi.

You know I love history. Normally, I talk to you about Australian history but I found this great new website called onthisday.com . You can put in any day, so I put in today’s date: 22 May. It takes you back through a whole timeline of history. For example:

In 334BC, the Macedonian Army of Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in a battle of Granicus. Yeah. The Greeks crossed the Granicus - which closed the entrance to Asia - despite the trunks of trees gathered on the banks of the river.

In 1176, there was a murder attempt by assassin on Saladin near Aleppo. Now, Saladin of course, which you all know, was the first Sultan of Egypt in Syria.

In 1370, Jews are expelled and massacred in Brussels, Belgium. It just goes to show how deep-rooted and long-standing anti-Semitism is.

1377, Pope Gregory XI issued five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of English theologian, John Wycliffe. 

You could go on.

1746, Russia and Austria signed a treaty of co-operation.

1761, the first life insurance policy in North America was issued in Philadelphia. We take these things for granted, now.

On and on it goes.

1807, former US Vice President, Aaron Burr – never heard of him, maybe you have – was tried for treason in Richmond, Virginia. He was acquitted. He was the third Vice President of the United States.

We could keep going.

1840, the transporting of British convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished. So, no more convicts coming! 1840, 22 May – I knew we’d get to something Australian.

What about in 1849? Abraham Lincoln receives a patent – the only US President to do so – for a device to lift a boat over shoals and obstructions. Well, there you go.

Ulysses S Grant – you may have heard of him – in 1863 he was a General. He begins the siege on Vicksburg.

I can keep going. There’s so many things, it’s a lot of American-centric stuff but nonetheless it really is fascinating to recognise and just catch up with a whole bunch of stuff that is part of history. It might win you a couple of Trivial Pursuit games ... do people still play that? I know I do with my kids but I don’t know how many other people do.

In 1906 the Wright Brothers were granted a patent for their flying machine, having applied for one three years earlier. For anyone interested, it was Patent No 821393.

For cricket fans: 1907, Albert Trott takes two hat tricks in an innings. It was Middlesex versus Somerset.

What else have we got? Oh, here we go:

1926, Chiang Kai-shek replaces communists in Guomindang, China. Chiang Kai-shek – an important part of history, that strait.

1931, they started to sell canned rattle-snake meat in Florida. How about that?

Adolph Hitler and Mussolini signed a Pact of Steel in Berlin, Germany, on this day in 1939. Didn’t end well for them ... or for the world.

In 1940, UK Premier, Winston Churchill, flies to Paris to decide with General Maxime Weygand a strategy to save the city. Great man ... great man.

1953, US President Eisenhower signs the Offshore Oil Bill. Well, that’s good.

1955, the oldest man to drive in the Grand Prix – he was 55 years of age – finishes 6th.

The Bob Hope Show finished its final episode in 1956 on NBC TV.

And it keeps going.

Mickey Mantle – even if you don’t follow baseball, most people have heard of Mickey Mantle – hits a ball of Yankee Stadium’s façade in 1963.

LBJ presents his Great Society ... didn’t really work ... 1964.

Beatles’ Ticket to Ride single goes to Number 1 in 1965.

Oh, you can keep going.

In 1972, over 400 hundred women in Derry attack the officers of the official Sinn Fein in Derry, Northern Ireland, following the shooting of William Best by the Official Irish Republican Army.

’73, President Nixon confesses his role in the Watergate cover-up.

1977, the Final European scheduled run of the famous Orient Express after 94 years.

1979, the Canadians elected a conservative, Joseph Clark, who replaced Pierre Trudeau. Gee, Trudeau left a legacy, didn’t he? Dealing with him, now. Anyway, it’s what it is.

And 1986, Cher calls David Letterman an unpleasant name on late-night TV on the NBC.

And importantly, on this day in 2019, the Weekly Dose of Common Sense podcast is being recorded and going to you. We won’t go down in the annals of history but Scott Morrison will for delivering a victory for the true believers.

VOICE OVER:   If you hate being told what you can and can’t say, you’re going to love this. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense with Cory Bernardi.

CORY BERNARDI:   Alrighty, groovers. Welcome back, this is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense and it is time for Your Say.

Jake kicks us off with, “Thank you for your efforts in the election just passed. It was not the result that I and many other Conservatives had hoped for but at least Labor didn’t form government. It would be very nice if the Coalition would adopt your policies, then there’d be no need for the Australian Conservatives. A government that bases its policies on common sense and none of that cultural-marxist BS, but we are miles away from that ever happening. Keep your chin up. I’ll continue my support for the Conservatives.”

Well, thank you, Jake, I appreciate that. But, I’ve got to make a point there: I think the government have actually adopted a lot of our policies. I hear the Prime Minister the other night talking with Paul Murray – giving an interview – and he was reflecting almost verbatim what we’ve been talking about; that Australian’s should be able to keep more of their own money in their pocket, they should be trusted to do the right thing for themselves, they’ve got to be incentivised, they’ve got to have taxes cut, more self-reliance and personal responsibility. I was really, really impressed. And, I go back to what I’ve said previously:

I started the Australian Conservatives because the Liberal Party had lost their way; the Coalition had no idea which direction they were heading. Malcolm Turnbull was responsible for that - and the other white-anters, as well. I mean, you know, a lot of them are gone now, and it seems that Scott Morrison has a bit of a measure about where the place is at. So, more strength to his arm. I’ll be keeping an eye on him - don’t worry about that, Jake - but I’m not going to be too critical even if they come up with a couple of cockamamy policies.

Lorna says she worked on the election booth. Thank you, Lorna. “I was sad to see no support for Lyle in the Senate.” Me too. “But there was also no support for Clive Palmer for all the money he spent,” and so on. “Many people voted according to the papers they got. I placed the LNP where they placed ACs.” Yeah, okay. Fair enough, Lorna. Thank you for that. You’re right, you know, it was a tricky election. I come back to it: I think our voters supported the Coalition because Scott Morrison was reflecting our values.

But, Clive Palmer: 60, 70, $80m ... doughnuts.

Pauline Hanson didn’t get much, either. She got a Senator up in Queensland. A bloke names Malcolm Roberts. Didn’t know whether he was an Australian citizen or not ... or he did, actually. He said something different.

Lorna says she’s “... happy to see Peter Dutton get back but if the suburb of North Lakes is in his seat he can likely thank the Sappers. Ah, there you go. I won’t mention anyone’s names, but thank you, Lorna.

Gill says, “Thanks for this week’s podcast, really enjoyed your interview with Latham. Further to your comments about early voting, I think there’s a more sinister reason for the postal voting / early voting. For example, in the marginal Corangamite electorate, a lot of left-leaning, university-age of politically savvy, hipster/surfer types who live in Melbourne but visit the surf coast over summer, have claimed the Corangamite addresses of friends or relatives and submitted early postal votes. Thanks for your hard work with the Aus Conservatives. Really grateful you’re there battling for us.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a bit of salting of the roll. But, as long as people get to vote once and if they’re prepared to sign a Statutory Declaration, well, they should be held to account for that if they’re doing the wrong thing.

Kevin says, “Thanks for your weekly updates and podcast. Like what you say and do on most issues. Disappointed on your rant about Clive Palmer. Yes, he is buying votes, also taking huge risks with his own money. This is democracy.” Well, Kevin, it is. And, it was hardly a rant. I mean, just because you disagree with me doesn’t mean it’s a rant. Clive Palmer is someone who I don’t believe is fit to be in the parliament. He owes a lot of people a lot of money up there in Queensland and he hasn’t got a good track record of his performance in the parliament. It’s not a rant, it’s a fact. And yes, he’s allowed to spend his own money how he likes but I’m glad the Australian people rejected it – rejected his overtures. So, thanks, Kevin.

Wendy: “People should have to vote to support democracy,” ahh, you’re picking me up on my voluntary voting, “... otherwise only those with a vested interest, vote. The way we, as Australians, are apathetic, nobody would vote. That’s how Maggie Thatcher stayed in power; have elections in winter when no one would vote unless they were die-hard.” Okay.

“Do you know why compulsory voting was introduced,” Wendy asks, “because so few people ever wanted a national federation. If you have to vote then you don’t get to change the government by assassinations as in the US.”

All right, I don’t know where to start with that. Firstly, I’m glad Maggie Thatcher stayed in power. If people don’t want to turn up in the winter, well, so be it. You can have elections whenever you like. And, “... otherwise only those with a vested interest, vote.” Well, you know what? The problem is, Wendy, that people with vested interests vote now. All the people who are looking for handouts, the people who are saying, “What’s in it for me? I’m voting because I’m going to get more welfare or more tax cuts or this.” Everyone is voting out of their own interest. If, actually, it was voluntary voting, the apathetic wouldn’t turn up; it would be those who are involved or educated or informed. I don’t know if we would get a better result than we got last time, actually, but I still support it.

Keith says he has “... found something [he] disagrees with me on.” Well, you’re joining my wife there, Keith; she disagrees with me on a whole bunch ... but not on this.

“You write about your opposition to compulsory voting, saying that, ‘Once again, this would impact the major parties who would have to actually inspire more people to get out to vote.’ I can’t disagree with that conclusion. Unfortunately, removing compulsory voting would also provide a further and very dangerous platform for minority activist groups to get control of our parliament. I sincerely hope that voting forever remains compulsory – an important way to keep common sense in Australian politics.”

Well, Keith, that’s a reasonable argument, actually, because the organised collectivists would probably try and corral and use a substantial minority voice, as they are already trying to do but by forcing people out they actually have to make a choice, themselves - so, it’s a reasonable position. I’m not sure I agree with you 100% but I still support voluntary voting.

Paul says, “I’d love to vote for you, Cory. I’ve lived here for 14 years along with lots of other Kiwis that can’t vote because we’re not Aussies. Perhaps you could fix this?” No, Paul. I can’t fix it, mate. You can – you can become an Aussie. “If we’d lived the same in New Zealand as Aussies, we could vote,” but we’re not in New Zealand, we’re in Australia. “Wish you well and like what you’re doing and stand up for.” Thank you very much, Paul. I’d like you to become an Australian citizen. Please think about it!

Homelessness. Cornelia: “Love your passion for Australians everywhere and in general ... that you have a real burden to bring common sense and value to the people. How would you tackle homelessness?” Hmm. “What’s the best possible solution/outcome for those down-and-outcast? We have thousands of men and women and children everywhere in our country, living in secluded and isolated placed in our cities.”

Yeah, it breaks your heart to see homeless people who are there through no choice of their own - and I say that because there are people who choose to live on the streets - but there are people who simply can’t afford it and they slip into the down-and-outs.

We’ve got to have services catering to them and I understand there are plenty of those services out there but perhaps not enough of them. And ultimately, we’ve got to incentivise people; you’ve got to give them the opportunity to make the most of their own circumstances and that means having a roof over their heads, clean, fed, the ability to get out and get a job. They’re the sorts of things that we ... you can’t hope to solve every person’s needs. We have to factor them on a course of priority. I’d be interested in what you think how we could solve homelessness because it is one of those issues that you’ll never, ever solve; like ‘no child living in poverty by 1990’ according to the late Bob Hawke.

Ibrahim says, “I saw your interview on Sky News defending freedom of speech and freedom of expression, particularly that which is linked to religion. I am from the Muslim faith. Just thought I’d send a ‘thank you’ for standing strong for these traditional values that Australians want.” Thank you, Ibrahim. I will defend freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of thought, even for those that I disagree with. I appreciate you sending your thoughts my way.

Emma; first half of this speech she says, “We believe in letting people spend their own money on things that are important to them. We will not engage in intergenerational theft by condemning future generations to foot the bill for irresponsible fiscal policy, today.”

Second half of speech, “Just kidding. We will deliver the utopia by throwing money at special interests.” Err. Oh, sorry, it goes on over the page, “But Cory, can it be any other way? It seems that democracy demands that parties gain majority of support by making promises to a multitude of special interests. To discourage this trend, Milton Friedman – an economist, by the way, for those who don’t know, Milton Friedman wrote a great book called Free to Choose, I encourage you all to get it – proposed that people be asked to vote on how much the government can spend in total, which would dissolve the myth of the ‘free lunch’ and encourage voters to acknowledge the genuine scarcity of government resources.”

All right. Emma, it’s hard enough to tell people how to vote or to explain the voting system, let alone asking them to vote for how much money the government should spend. You ask if this reform has been tried anywhere; not that I’m aware of. And you say, “Thank you for speaking common sense”. You’re “...a musician in Sydney,” and you’re “... a bit lonely having to burst out of the leftist bubble in the music industry, but podcasts like yours are a nice reminder there are people out there who share my concerns about the current political climate.” Well, good on you, Emma. Thank you for bursting out of the bubble, and I don’t know that Milton Friedman’s idea – as you put it to me – has been tried anywhere in the country or anywhere in the world, for that matter.

Paul says, “Thank you, Cory. Love your common sense.” There’s a reoccurring theme - people say ‘thank you’ at the start. I’m enjoying that. Thank you very much. Anyway, “Money is fairly tight at the moment but getting a few jobs so I’ll help when I can.” Well, that’s good, Paul. Look after yourself and your family, first.

“What is anyone’s - including yourself - party doing about foreign ownership of heavy infrastructure: the big runway up north, the Darwin Port? Why isn’t the federal government stepping in say, ‘No, that is not allowed,’ and so on?” Well, Paul. We’ve spoken about this a lot on the podcast and in emails and we have a policy about the ethic of reciprocity. If we can’t buy infrastructure in another country, why should their citizens be able to buy it here? We’ve spoken ad nauseum about the Darwin Port and how inappropriate that is. I’m not sure about the runway; I’m not buying the whole Clive Palmer conspiracy theories it’s going to be used for invasions. But, that’s out policy; it’s on the website: conservatives.org.au .

Andre, he’s got various issues. Oh, there’s a lot of them here, Andre. Carbon tax: “What about the following? Carbon tax will come back; interfering with Super money; death taxes to be returned ...” Oh, these are all things that Labor are doing ... and on and on and on. Yeah, they’re all Labor. We don’t have a Labor government, now ... fortunately. I thought we were going to have one. Most of the country thought we were going to have one. But the country – the innate common sense of the Australian people, prevailed. Bravo, Scott Morrison.

Lindsay has got various issues, too. He/she ... yeah, that’s a question ... anyway, I don’t want to gender specify you, Lindsay, but ...

“Why can’t we have a page where we can put our ideas for politicians to see as recommendations? I also think it’s time we vote online. It would save millions of dollars and get faster results. I think politicians should get a limited amount of pay for a year; when it’s gone ... and it’s for election campaigns as well, so you can’t have Clive Palmer types that spend millions. We need more transparency. We need a website we can find the cost of everything you do and spend it and why. I think they need to have a full, independent report every six months.” Let me deal with those, Lindsay:

You have got a page where you can send your ideas to politicians; it’s called ‘your email client’ and you can email your politicians whenever you want to. You can go to various political websites and blogs, you can go to the politicians’ personal pages and leave comments there – so you can.

“I think it’s time we vote online. It would save millions of dollars and get results faster.” Yes it would, but really, do you trust it? Remember the Census and the debacle that there was with the Census the last time they tried to get people to do things online? The voting system isn’t perfect but it’s actually not that slow – in many respects – and I’m just not sure that we can prevent the Russian hackers or the Chinese hackers of the North Korean hackers or anyone else from gaming the system. But, it might come. In fact, it probably will come, but we’ve got a lot more security to do.

“Also think politicians should get a limited amount of money for a year.” Well, they do for their salary. “... when it’s gone,” and you say $1m each, “... that is for election campaigns as well so you can’t have Clive Palmer types that spend millions.” Okay.

I believe in single-line accounting measures for parliamentarians and that means that if it’s a million dollars a year that goes into their account, it’s got to be disclosed how much they’re going to take as a salary or as wages out of that and how much they’re spending on every other aspect of their operations and their communications. I don’t believe that there should be used for electioneering; that’s a separate thing altogether. They should have to raise funds from individuals for that.

I have no problem with an individual spending their own money on an election campaign. I don’t mind. You know, it’s frustrating to see someone like Clive Palmer because it’s the first time we’ve seen it happen. But, to spend your own money campaigning for your own election or the election of others - meh, that’s what you can do. I’m just glad that people can see through it - that you can’t buy your way into politics ... when you’re Clive Palmer.

“We need more transparency.” I presume you’re talking about funding. I agree with that, absolutely, and that’s why I believe in the Transparency Portal which we’ve got a Bill introduced – or we had a Bill – and it’s part of our policy.

“We need a website where we can find the cost of anything you do and spend and why.” Well, they are there but I agree with you and that’s part of our Transparency Portal where it’s easily searchable. It happened in America; it’s saved billions of dollars a year and it doesn’t cost much to do but the major parties don’t want that because it would expose them too much to the whims and the vagaries of the citizen journalists. But it is – all our expenditure is disclosable online and journalists chase it down every month-or-so as it’s updated.

“I think you need to have a full, independent report every six months.” Well, I tell you what, Lindsay, every month there’s an acquittal of all our funds that gets published online and there’s an independent body that looks through them and holds us to account, plus the press, plus the members of the public. So, it’s all there. Most of what you want is there, just not in the form that you want it.

But, that’s Your Say. Let me know what you think about my responses today plus any other issues you want to raise: cory@corybernardi.com . I’ll be back after this short message:

VOICE OVER:   Welcome to the home of the Conservative Revolution. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense.

CORY BERNARDI:   Well, friends in the Common Sense community, that’s all we’ve got time for in this week’s episode of your Weekly Dose of Common Sense podcast. Thanks for tuning in, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Share it with your family and friends. I hope you’re celebrating the fact that we avoided the tyranny of socialism, and if you’re not, send me an email: cory@corybernardi.com . Let me know why, because I’m interested in how we can convince more people to love freedom, to enjoy civil society and respectful debate, rather than the poison of identity politics and neo-marxism – or marxism by whatever they want to call it.

Let me know your views. Send them to me: cory@corybernardi.com .

I’ll be back next week with some more Common Sense that I hope you’ll tune in to. Speak to you then.

VOICE OVER:   Welcome to the home of the Conservative Revolution. This is your Weekly Dose of Common Sense with Cory Bernardi.