Like a low budget horror movie featuring B grade actors, Australian politics has entered the realm of the absurd. It’s not as if we haven’t seen this script before either. The Coalition is taking us through a repeat of Labor’s period of dysfunctional government.
Unfortunately the malaise within the Liberal Party is much more serious than that of their opposition. Without the structure to manage internal party disputes, they face a continuing battle to re-establish what they actually stand for.
The Liberal Party were once the party of free enterprise, limited government, civil society, lower taxes and stronger families. It has now become a shell for those who don’t fit into Labor but still want to pursue a political career.
John Howard coined the phrase “a broad church” but every church has a congregation of common belief. Regrettably, the Liberals have allowed too many in, whose only commitment is to attaining positions of power and influence.
By adopting Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson’s approach of “whatever it takes”, these apparatchiks have systematically broken down the conventions, policies and practices that have united successive generations of Liberals.
Among the many who fit this profile, one only needs to consider Malcolm Turnbull’s political career for validation of the thesis.
It is a matter of record that Turnbull originally sought pre-selection with the Labor Party, who wisely weren’t prepared to make him an offer he thought befitting of his own ambition. He then turned his attentions to joining the Liberals.
Defying convention, Turnbull organised a well-funded branch-stacking campaign against a first term sitting member and gained pre-selection.
His election saw him immediately undermine Treasurer Peter Costello with a plethora of tax policies designed to highlight that he is the smartest man in the Party room.
His self-absorption was demonstrated by his request for mention in John Howard’s election night concession speech. This was followed by a failed leadership tilt, the relentless white anting of Brendan Nelson, plotting with Labor to introduce an ETS and the Godwin Grech affair.
When Abbott was elected on the back of Turnbull’s failures, the jilted former leader was ruthless in his determination to tear him down and seize the crown back for himself. His co-conspirators were heedless of the long-term consequences of their actions as they sought personal advancement. As I mentioned at the time, the transaction cost of the coup d’état would be paid by the Liberal Party for many years to come.
Like a viral infection, this political guerrilla warfare has now invaded elements of the Liberal traditionalists who are using the same brutal political techniques against the original host.
The result is a Party at war with itself and with no capacity for reaching a detente between the warring factions. It appears the virus has succeeded in changing the very DNA of the Liberal Party.
This is a gift for Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Shorten has readily embraced a divisive brand of identity politics that has gained traction in leftist parties across the world. He has also adopted the interventionist economic approach, commitment to big government and higher taxes beloved by socialists everywhere. He has been reduced to an Australian version of Jeremy Corbyn without the charisma.
Regrettably, the dysfunction in the Government makes the perceived stability and platitudes of Labor an appealing platform to large sections of the electorate.
The soothing words of new-fashioned socialism warm the fuzzy minds of those embracing the politics of envy. Words are one thing but it will be the actions of a Labor government dominated by a militant caucus that will do the real damage to the country.
Like Turnbull, Shorten is malleable on almost every policy front and it will be the left of his party that will do the hammering. Their agenda will surrender Australian self-determination to international bodies, cleave a united nation into race, creed and colour groups, stifle private enterprise in favour of government “enterprise” and advance the radical social agenda as they continue the long-march through our institutions.
In government, Labor’s final capitulation to Chinese influence will become more evident. Their abandonment of Israel and thinly disguised anti-Semitic rhetoric will increase in shrillness whilst they compound the economic attacks on working Australians.
The Australian people don’t like Bill Shorten and I am not sure they are fully committed to Labor’s policy agenda but regrettably it is the only political game in town right now.
The Liberal Party have squandered a five-year golden opportunity to advance the policy mix that has been a hallmark of their own history. They did so by surrendering principle to the politics of personality and power prima-donnas.
The Australian people have lost faith in politics and politicians. After the ten year political circus we have been exposed to, who can blame them.
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