The Foundations of Successful Conservative Policy

Eric-Abetz

Senator The Hon Eric Abetz discusses the underlying principles that lay the foundation for conservative public policy:

‘…the wise man built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundations on the rock…
 
The foolish man … built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash."
 
In that parable given to us in the gospel of Matthew Chapter 7, we are taught a valuable lesson. We were taught that the foundations of a house are vital to its capacity to withstand storms.
 
The parable is equally applicable to those of us involved in politics.
 
A firm foundation is ultimately everything – for a home as well as for our personal lives and political pursuits.
 
A firm foundation as the parable tells us will not allow you to escape the storms and the floods. They will come our way no matter what.
 
The difference is – in the shape you are in after the storm has passed.
 
I hope we can be agreed that foundations are vital.
 
It is the strength of our foundations that has seen conservatism continue despite the on-going onslaughts.
 
The lack of a substantive foundation has seen the demise of national socialism, communism and all sorts of other ‘isms’. In historical terms many a political fad has come along but like with many a fad it succumbs to the letter ‘e’. The fad begins to fade.
 
By its very nature conservatism is not fad driven.
 
Conservative policy is driven by the enduring qualities of amongst other things, logic, objective truth, belief in the rule of law and the inherent value of human life from beginning to end. Well – that is how we argue our case.
 
But on what do our arguments, our advocacy rest?
 
We need to answer that question.
 
We need to grapple and wrestle with it. To fail to do so would in the terms of the parable put us into the ‘foolish’ category – a description from which we all would shy.
 
So let’s get down to what logically are the undisputed building blocks of law making.
 
Albeit, I will deal with them in reverse order.
 
Law-making is largely designed to influence behaviour in society. Laws are deigned to either encourage ‘good’ behaviour or discourage ‘bad’ behaviour.
 
I accept some laws are simply designed to help order our society and have no real moral element to them.
 
Take for example the side of the road on which we drive. I am sure there is no moral superiority in determining Australians will drive on the left hand side of the road in comparison to those countries where they drive on the right hand side.
 
But such examples aside, our laws are largely designed to encourage good and discourage bad behaviours.
 
So what determines what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’? Ultimately those are value judgments which are based on our moral framework.
 
Our moral framework is built on our world view or religious view.
 
And in this context one’s religious view can be devoid of a ‘god’. But make no mistake everyone has a world or religious view on which they base their morality – to which they seek to give expression through law-making.

 
And there is no scientific test per se to prove my world view is superior to anybody else’s world view. Dare I say it – it comes down to a matter of ‘faith’ as to whether you believe in a god – let alone the type of god or categorically reject the notion of a god, or superior being.
 
Depending on your answer to the most fundamental of questions – the meaning of life itself – will ultimately shape your morality and the laws you would wish for your society.
 
In case I need to declare I identify as a Christian. That forms the basis of my world view which in turn provides me with a moral code which in turn informs my approach to law making.
 
The atheist must acknowledge the same for him or herself.
 
As must the Muslim, the Bahai or the agnostic or those that believe in Gaia the earth spirit like Professor Flannery and Senator Brown.
 
The point I seek to make is that there is no such thing as a neutral world view.
 
That is why when the odd journalist seeks to introduce me as someone from the religious right, I ask whether opponents will be classified as being from the godless-Left. Have you noticed – no one ever has been so introduced. Why? Because the thinking – deficient as it is – presumes that godless-Left is the neutral and thus a superior position for public policy making.
 
Our rich Judeo-Christian heritage as a nation should be celebrated and taught as the foundation of our nation’s greatness.
 
Those that deliberately attack and undermine this rich heritage don’t do so from a neutral stand point but do so knowing their end game/purpose.
 
And let me state quite clearly that part of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage is in fact the separation of Church and State. In our thinking is the understanding that we give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We also acknowledge the two cities principles – the City of God and the City of Man.
 
Let’s be absolutely clear the greatness of Western Civilisation is not founded on its economic wealth, superior learning, or military powers. Those qualities all in turn are founded on our Christian heritage – as are the all important personal freedoms which we enjoy.
 
Our society and its well-being – the envy of the world – is firmly rooted in our Judeo-Christian heritage.
 
As might I add is the Conservative approach to politics. And whilst a topic for another day so is the genuine liberal tradition properly understood.
 
As Conservatives we believe in concepts such as logic, objective truth and are more than willing to learn from history.
 
All of which informs us to be on the guard against self-proclaimed earthly messiahs.
 
Whilst we appreciate the values, leadership and attributes of great leaders like Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and here in Australia Robert Menzies and John Howard, we as conservatives don’t succumb to the cult worship of the Fuhrer or Dear Leader.
 
But that tendency while subdued is there in the Greens and the ALP. Their capacity to acknowledge publically they were wrong is, to be kind, limited.
 
We acknowledged WorkChoices was wrong. Have you ever heard Ms Gillard acknowledge her Medicare Gold policy was wrong? Indeed, have you heard the media seek guarantees it won’t be re-introduced?
 
‘But Labor’, to quote the 7th April edition of The Spectator (pi), more so than any other political party, constantly seeks a great leader capable of inspiring the masses.  Whether it be the Light on the Hill or the Tree of Knowledge, the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’ or true believers’ Labor mythology likes to imbue events and personalities with qualities above and beyond those of mere mortals’.
 
Conservatives – through our foundational beliefs acknowledge that humans are fraught, humans are frail and that humans fail.  That is why we seek to limit the size of government.
 
That is why we seek to separate powers in our governance structures
 
That is why we believe in the rule of law.
 
The election for the ‘true believers’ was short-lived.
 
The Rudd phrase/slogan ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’- namely man-made climate change is now used as a joke and a phrase to highlight the silliness of hyperbole.
 
As conservatives we genuinely pursue evidence based policy.
 
We use reason, not emotion, to establish our policy positions.
 
We reject the notion of inevitability – remember the Republic – which now has less support that it did a decade ago.
 
Or remember how ANZAC day was denigrated as numbers dwindled. It was a dying institution we were told. Now some 20 plus years later the crowds are at record levels.
 
We should never be intimidated by the sloganeering and the assertion of ‘inevitability’ so often used by the Left to avoid rational argument.
 
It will only become inevitable if we give up.
 
Today that challenge is before us with the definition of marriage.
 
The Left accuse us of being anti-gay and wanting to regulate bedrooms.
 
In this context it is important to understand the conservative approach on social issues.
 
Firstly, we have no intention of making people the objects of social experimentation.
 
Secondly, we are opposed to same sex marriage, not because of the legal implications of marriage but the moral implications
 
You see, morality based upon reality teaches us that marriage is deeply rooted in the nature of the family. And the heterosexual marriage creates a possible natural child rearing and child bearing natural family.
 
The so-called tolerant Left requires society to deny morality a stake or even a claim in the society which in itself is in fact a new morality.
 
The focus of the Left is on the individuals – their feelings – after all love is love.
 
But if we apply logic to that assertion there is no reason why 10 people could not or should not all be married to each other at the same time. That is, if the Left’s new tests were to apply.
 
The logic we conservatives apply make us the adults in the room. We are the ones who apply logic, shun the leader cult and the big statements. In fact we critically test the big statements against objective standards.
 
So it is with abortion on demand. I know – a very sensitive issue. Abortion does not become right because the pregnancy may stifle my lifestyle. Abortion is either right or wrong irrespective of the individual or financial consequences other than in self-defence where the ongoing pregnancy may endanger the mother’s life.
 
In brief – humans are humans. Does the act of birth or being born make something which was not human human? If so, at what stage does the child become human? The child can sue for injuries it sustains in the womb, yet the mother can willfully abort it. No logic there. No consistency.
 
And if we countenance the extinguishment of human life out of convenience, then why not infanticide or euthanasia. Of course both are now accepted by Peter Singer and the Greens.
 
Interestingly during the early abortion debates this slippery slope argument was rejected as being extreme. Extrapolation of the logic of the morality inherent in supporting abortion on demand was dismissed as hysterical.
 
The so-called ‘hysterical advocates’ have now regrettably been proven to be the realists, the prophets.
 
The value we place on human life is based on the Judeo-Christian ethic.
 
Life is unique. It is God given. Therefore any cutting short of its development from conception to death is to be condemned as playing God – a role we should never give ourselves. History also informs us as to the consequences of such behaviour.
 
One’s approach may well be different if one sees humans as being random creatures – of no greater value than the other species we eat. And if you believe that you might begin speeches with ‘Fellow Earthians’.
 
The Conservatives bases all of his views in society by appealing to pure philosophy and principles, logic, morality and the rule of law.
 
 
Just recently, we had the disturbing and regrettable case of the Federal Court ruling in favour of a female worker who whilst on a work trip in her private time after hours engaged in vigorous horizontal activity that resulted in an injury.
 
That according to the judge was worthy of workers compensation.
 
As a result we have another workers compensation statistic! Really?!
 
It is this victim mentality, it is this entitlement mentality, it is this mentality that nothing is ever one’s own individual fault. Somebody else has to be accountable. This thinking lies at the heart of left wing ideology seeking to make everybody dependent upon the state and the laws that the state develops, rather than taking personal responsibility for themselves.
 
That is also why, for example, Labor and the Greens oppose more wide spread support for private health insurance. The concept of encouraging somebody to take responsibility for their own health care is never as good as making everybody dependent on the public system, according to the Left, even if it does cost the community more both in dollar terms and provision of service.
 
We Conservatives welcome and salute success, hard work and self reliance in an individual because we know that that enhances personal self worth and personal happiness. We know it helps the family unit of which they may be a member and imparts good positive values. We know that it helps the community in which they live as the truly needy can therefore be looked after and other people always benefit from success and hard work. That’s why we oppose the concept of a super profits tax.
 
Our opponents on the other hand always welcome and salute victim hood, dependence on Government and the sense of entitlement. We know the logical and corrosive consequences of those behaviours.
 
It is because we are the realists that we end up being the ‘go to’ people in tough times. Regrettably conservatives have often sold themselves short by just asserting their credentials as good economic managers. Conservatives are a lot more than that. They are level headed and commonsense type people.
 
But why are we good economic managers, why are we level headed and commonsense people – because we believe in such concepts as objective truth, we believe in fundamental virtues such as self reliance. That is why we shun grandiose schemes and big Government and prefer thrift and keeping Governments small.
 
The reason we are good managers is because we are conservatives and we need to sell our philosophical roots and the logic and morality of our position in a way that we have failed to do in recent times.
 
You see we don’t believe Government is the answer. Indeed, often it is the problem. That is why we rejected the proposition of the Government being able to save us from the global financial crisis with huge deficit spending underpinned by borrowing.
 
We recognize this as simply dishonest deferred taxation. We see this as betraying the next generation. We know that big Government means big taxes. We know that less tax means smaller Government and therefore more personal freedom. We believe that an individual spending their money personally will on the whole be spending that money a lot more wisely than the Government would if it compulsorily took that money off them via taxes and then spent it on their behalf.
 
We believe, as Sir Robert Menzies said, that rights connote countervailing responsibilities. That is where our logical approach of balancing rights with responsibilities is so different to the jargonizing of the left who always talk about rights without developing the concept of responsibilities.
 
Commonsense dictates that a world simply based on rights will ultimately collapse and crash – just ask the Greeks.
 
As Conservatives we reject judicial activism because it denies the people the opportunity to determine policy and to have public debate surrounding the issue at stake. That is why the Left always celebrates judicial activism because it gets them out of having to win the argument in the marketplace. That is why the Left always want officials of all sorts to tell us what we are doing wrong and how we need to change our ways according to their ideology.
 
As Conservatives we have a difficulty with the concept of multiculturalism as expressed by some. I think many people confuse Australia’s multi-ethnic heritage as meaning multicultural.
 
For a society to be successful it needs to have a degree of cultural homogeneity. And by that I don’t mean banning pizzas or sauerkraut.
 
By culture I refer to the true meaning and root of the word culture which basically has its foundation in the word ‘religion’ or ‘world view’.
 
It stands to reason that a successfully functioning society cannot have at its root and at its base half a dozen different world views that are in conflict.
 
That is why Senator Cory Bernardi was so right when he argued against any flirtation with Sharia Law. And let’s be quite clear.
 
Our society either respects females as equals or it does not.
 
Our society either accepts arranged marriages or it does not.
 
Our society either accepts genital mutilation or it does not.
 
Our society either accepts the kidnapping of women for wives or it does not.
 
Our society either accepts that all children should be provided for in a will irrespective of their sex or it does not.
 
Our society either believes in a Caste system or it does not.
 
And these fundamental issues are too often ignored in the name of ‘tolerance’. But tolerance to evil itself can become a crime.
 
Let’s bring all this together.
 
It seems to me that there are some fundamental issues on which all Conservatives agree. The first is respect for the rule of law and as a result our Constitution and its unwritten Conventions. By submitting ourselves to the rule of law, we acknowledge that we are all unique individuals. The rule of law requires the separation of power because we acknowledge the inherent propensity for humans to do evil, which of course has its foundation in, dare I use the term, ‘original sin’. If we were all innately good, conflict of interests surely would not arise. There would be no need for a Register of Parliamentarians’ Interests or a Criminal Code. We would all automatically do the right thing. There would be no hindrance to being prosecutor, jury and judge all at the same time. But because we are Conservatives we have learnt from history and personal experience that that is not a good thing to do.
 
Secondly, Conservatives respect life as a natural inherent and inalienable right for all individuals at all stages. This informs our approach to abortion, and euthanasia. And as Conservatives, tough as it may be, it needs to inform us even in circumstances where it may not necessarily be pleasant. This is where logic and morality needs to overcome one’s own personal circumstances.
 
Thirdly, Conservatives believe in personal responsibility. The concept that the individual is actually accountable for all of his actions and his actions alone.
 
And we also have the view that Government in its most limited format should be insisted upon so it does not come into conflict with each individual’s rights and freedoms and so that it too remains subject to the scrutiny of the law.
 
To fully understand someone’s conclusion or policy setting one must understand the steps leading to the conclusion or policy.
 
For the Conservative logic, morality and history are vital ingredients based in the Judeo-Christian ethic. That approach has served us well. It is tried, true and tested.
 
The Conservative approach will continue to serve us well. But only if there are citizens like you and me willing to be its advocates. So let’s be the wise men and advocate the cause of Conservatism.
 
And remember our success will depend on our foundation.

Senator The Hon Eric Abetz is Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

When Did Fiscal Conservatism Die?

Front

Keith Topolski examines how the world's longest serving conservative government has sold out-or been bought out.

With a provincial election looming by 31 May, Albertans are faced with a unique question: Will the Alberta Government become the longest serving democratically elected government in history?

The ruling Progressive Conservative party has ruled Alberta since 1971, and its predecessor, the conservative Social Credit Party, reigned from 1935.

Not for 77 years has Alberta been faced with a government that is not of a conservative persuasion.

But is that last statement actually true?

Last Thursday, the Progressive-Conservative Government, now led by Alison Redford, handed down its first Redford budget.

Ms Redford came to the leadership on the back of growing restlessness in Alberta with the big government ways of Ed Stelmach.

However, nothing has really changed.

The Toronto Globe and Mail has praised the Alberta budget as predicting 'a rosy future'.

As any true conservative would tell you, when the Globe and Mail starts praising you, your political hue more resembles a tomato than the ocean.

What is most telling about the key features of this budget is the lead paragraph from the Montreal Gazette, which speaks of 'no tax increases while spending a record $41.1 billion and recording the fifth consecutive provincial deficit'.
Note that the $41.1 billion in spending is a provincial record. Also note that this deficit is No. 5 and counting.

Redford claims that the deficit will be wiped out by an injection of funds from 'new energy revenues'.

However, the Gazette headline promised 'no tax increases'.

Now, either the headline is an out and out lie, or Redford is going to kick back and wait for the economy to grow so she can cash in on extra tax revenues, assuming it does continue to grow with the current Keystone pipeline drama playing out.

Now, one might argue that this is good politics, that letting the province grow out of deficit is a good thing.

Maybe, maybe not. However, what is not mentioned in these articles, but is left to the National Post to mention, is that the record $41 billion spend is an increase of 7% on the last Alberta budget, and Alberta now spends more money on each citizen than any other province, and even more than the Federal Government.

If you do the maths on this, if Alberta froze public spending for this financial year, the budget would have returned to surplus. No ifs, ands or buts.

This raises, therefore, the question of the ideas the Alberta Progressive Conservatives are now based on.

Is this really a party committed to conservative economic policies, or have the progressives hijacked the agenda?

This is a curious question because of the presence of primaries in Canada, combined with one of the longest surviving governments in history.

In Alberta, if it is blue, people vote for it. If it is red, people shoot it, politically speaking. Not since 1921, in fact, has Alberta had a Liberal Government (Liberal in the American sense).

This has not gone unnoticed by many in Alberta's less than sizeable progressive community.

Instead, progressives have now signed up to the Tories, not because they agree, but because they know the only way to be a politician with credibility in Alberta is to wear blue.

This hypothesis is often queried, but the numbers don't lie.

In the 2006 leadership race, the most economically conservative candidate, Ted Morton, polled 15,000 first round votes and 41,000 second round votes before being eliminated as part of the instant run-off.

Last year, the same Mr Morton polled just 7,000 first round votes, and last year featured just one economic conservative.

Credit where it is due to the left, they have infiltrated and succeeded.

However. This raises the question of political apathy on the part of Albertans. Given how strongly the PC party has dominated for the last four decades, what will it take for Albertans to change their government?

History is as important as ideology in this instance.

Throughout its history since 1906, Alberta has elected four governments.

No, that's not a typo. Only four separate governments have controlled Alberta over the last 106 years.

Henceforth, when Albertans decide to change their government, there needs to be a major problem for them to act.

Politically, though, as indicated at the last Federal election, Albertans are still attached to their conservatism.

Of the 28 ridings represented in Ottawa, only one is not blue.

So, what happens in there is no conservative alternative?

Well, one is created.

The Wildrose Alliance, headed by Danielle Smith, has almost moved itself into official opposition status.

It takes much searching through the history books to find a political party in any Canadian election which sat to the right of the PCs.

However, this is now reality in Alberta.

And this reality comes with a 'zero-budget' plan as espoused by the Alberta PCs, which has Smith and her classical liberals seeing red, no pun intended.

This 'zero-budget' system sees a budget built from scratch, each year, without any regard for spending limitations or deficits, although this deficit ignorance is not noted officially in the plan.

This is on top of some incredibly dodgy spending from the PCs.

I will let the article carry the words:

Earlier this month, cabinet ministers went on a taxpayer-funded tour to hear from Albertans at a cost of $100,000.

Tory backbencher Lloyd Snelgrove, long disenchanted with the direction of caucus under Redford, labelled the exercise a cynical photo-op and quit to cross the floor and sit as an independent.

That was followed up last week by a $70,000 taxpayer-funded Tory caucus retreat to a Rocky Mountain resort near the ski-getaway town of Jasper.

Critics, including the Wildrose, noted that Tory election candidates who are not in caucus were in Jasper as well. While those candidates paid their own way, critics said their presence turned the Jasper trip into a publicly-funded Tory party election readiness session.

Whether this PC Party situation speaks more of long-term governments or the merits of the primary process where 'recruitment' (Glorified branch stacking might be a better term) is indicative of a good leader remains to be seen.

However, what cannot be disputed, as written by Kelly McParland, is that 'The richest province in the country, which doesn’t need sales taxes because it has oil and natural gas, is running a deficit and siphoning money from its trust fund to pay for short-term spending bonanzas, with no guarantee the money will still be there down the road.'

Will the mix of social conservatism and economic socialism presented by the PCs triumph, or will the classical liberal, almost libertarian, policies, economic and social, of Danielle Smith win the day?

While most will ignore this election as just a small time provincial election, this could present a valuable case study into what people find more important in their politics: economic security, or social values.

Keith Topolski is a former member of the NSW Young Liberal Executive and is studying Communications.

How Did The Political Left Get It So Wrong?

Cory-BernardiSenator Cory Bernardi discusses how the left have been proven wrong on every single issue:

At some point in the past few decades, the word ‘conservative’ became a pejorative slur. That’s because the few conservatives prepared to identify as such in public refused to bow down to the new orthodoxy of the left.

Now it seems that almost every one of the left’s sacred cows is being slaughtered on the altar of common sense.

Consider some of the hardest fought battles over the past 30 years: climate change, big government, welfare dependency and multiculturalism. Then reflect on the left’s arrogance in dismissing any challenge or warning about the possible negative implications of their world view.

Every passing day provides further evidence of the folly of the left policy agenda and the falsehoods it is built upon.

In respect to climate change, the planet stubbornly refuses to warm, the polar bears are inconveniently (for the eco-zealots) still with us and the green jobs have failed to materialise. The government funded computer models predicting apocalypse are repeatedly wrong. It is clear they have often been based on doctored data and ‘curve fitted’ to suit the preferred political outcome. Despite this, we are still expected to respect the ‘authority’ of these new style snake oil salesmen purporting to be experts.

Perhaps the worst offenders are the political leaders who use enviro-cred as an excuse to get their hands on more taxpayers’ money. We have been told repeatedly that Spain and California are great examples of economies creating green jobs and are a stunning model of what the new world should be. Both are now effectively broke with Spain recording 23 per cent unemployment and businesses fleeing California in record numbers.

The leftists will say it isn’t the green policies that caused this economic calamity but that conveniently ignores the hundreds of billions of dollars in government subsidies wasted on uneconomic utopian green dreams.

Then reality hit (or should I say that green socialism was mugged in the same way that all socialism is);  sooner or later you run out of someone else’s money to spend.

Throughout history it has been demonstrated that any government that becomes too big eventually is forced to accrue a level of debt that cannot be sustained. This is usually a result of their attempts to buy the support of the public by making them increasingly reliant on the largess of the state. Handouts, subsidies and ever increasing social welfare programs are continually introduced to placate almost any hardship or redress some perceived ‘social injustice’.

Naturally this is part of the leftist program to place the state as the primary benevolent institution on which dependence would grow, replacing individual self-determination with ‘bureaucrat knows best’.

Thus the cycle of welfare dependency grows in sync with the growth of government, neither of which are sustainable. As more is given by government, they are also forced to take more from those still striving to make an independent living.

When the taxpayer-filled ATM is empty, the government borrows, thereby mortgaging the future earnings of successive generations until it can no longer stand.

This is exactly what is eventuating in places like Greece. The entitlement mentality of lifetime pensions, state jobs and inefficient state owned industries have left the entire country in an invidious position. Default on debts means austerity for many years to come. Budget cuts will generate a similar downturn and wholesale societal reform could lead to a revolution. The end result could be the collapse of the Euro and the European Union in their current forms.

Of course, the conservatives warned about the folly of centralising European bureaucracy and the monetary union of disparate economies when they were first proposed. These voices of common sense were condemned as flat-earthers and isolationists by the left theoreticians.

Interestingly, I suspect none of these wreckers will apologise for being so wrong, instead justifying their blind stupidity on a failure to create even greater centralisation of power.

Trust me; that will be their next proposal.

So too are the intellectual elite blind to the failure of their policy of multiculturalism. Any critical examination of Europe confirms this judgement but somehow, here in Australia the result will be different.

How do I know that? Well, the left and the apologists keep telling us how wonderful we have it here in Australia with everyone getting along splendidly. This conveniently ignores the race riots, demands for legal plurality and loss of freedom of speech lest anyone actually be offended by some hard truths.

Sorry, it’s not that no-one can be offended any more because offence only goes one way.  Feel free to say whatever you like about a white Christian man – apparently they have no feelings. A pro-life woman is also fair game for public abuse but anyone supporting the killing of unborn children or noticeably ‘of the left’ is off limits in this new public blood sport.

We should be appalled that recent racial unrest was actually fuelled by government and union staffers linked to the most powerful political office in the land.

These are the same types so captured by political correctness that they are unable or unwilling to see the difference between the policy approach of decades past with the cultural and moral relativism that is practised today. The level of naïveté, fear or downright stupidity attached to broaching the most important issue confronting our future – social cohesiveness – is simply staggering.

The vitriolic abuse and lies directed at those that are prepared to stand up for the national interest and make the case that things are different is nothing short of a disgrace.

None is so offensive as the epithet of racism. It now seems everyone who has an opinion contrary to the left orthodoxy or even believes in upholding the rule of law can be condemned as a racist in an attempt to silence them.

Are you worried about sharia law and hate speech in mosques? Then you are a racist (yes I ask ‘what race’ too!). What about if you are a policeman asking to see the niqab-clad face of an offending driver? Be prepared to be called a racist.

Do you have an opinion on the tent embassy that doesn’t involve praise? You must be a racist. How about flying our national flag? You got it, you’re a racist too.

Even police fining a famous tennis player for road rule transgressions can be subject to accusations that he was a target because they didn’t consider him Australian. I think that’s code for ‘racism’.

In these areas, and many more, the conservative voice of common sense and warning has been proved prophetic. However, the price of being right is that those who are wrong intensify their personal attacks because their policy arguments cannot be credibly sustained.

Unfortunately these voices are given credibility by too much of the mainstream media.

That is the position we now find ourselves in. Speaking up for the truth, based on the experience of previous generations is to become a target of the vituperative left.

Thus the conservative is marginalised, not so much for the beliefs that they share, but for the crime of publicly exposing the hollow and discredited agenda of our new style socialists – and daring to be right.

I believe that will change as more people become aware that they have been misled, deceived and downright lied to by the political left. The only question will be how to redress the damage that has already been done and hope that it won’t be too late.

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.

There is a Better Way

Cory-BernardiSenator Cory Bernardi calls for a return to proven conservative values:

In the face of continued hardship it is easy for individuals to become resigned to their apparent fate. Whether it be financial, familial or career, there are times when the odds of affecting positive change seem insurmountable.

One adage suggests that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the results to be different. That explains why prudent change is the key to altering personal circumstances when the rut sets in.

It isn't very different when it comes to the direction of our nation. When a deep malaise, that stifles optimism and hope within our community, settles over our land due to an incompetent government, we have to be prepared to make changes.

Fortunately, in Australia changing the government is relatively easy, although in the current circumstances many would consider the three years between elections as being far too long.

There is no doubt that there is an expectation of political change at the next election. However, to fully prepare Australia for the long-term challenges we face, it is clear we cannot continue down the same path we are on.

Quite simply, there has to be a better way.

A better way of encouraging enterprise, a better way of managing taxpayers’ money and a better way of building our communities.

The better way is the conservative way. Conservatism takes the experience of the past and applies them to current challenges, prudently adapting the response to achieve contemporary outcomes.

Unfortunately conservatism is the ‘ism’ that dare not currently be spoken about in polite company. In fact, it's probably the only ‘ism’ in such a category. There are many defendants of environmentalism, multiculturalism, humanism and almost every other ‘ism’ that has left the western world in the weakened state it now finds itself.

But mention conservatism and the so-called ‘enlightened’ respond with talk of dinosaurs and white picket fences in a derisory manner.

Of course, such a response ignores the fact that conservatism has proven itself as the philosophical approach that provides the greatest amount of personal freedom consistent with an orderly society. Interestingly, it is the only approach that has stood the test of time and proven itself enduring, consistent and sustainable.

Other political and economic systems like communism, socialism and libertarianism have collapsed under the weight of public debt, societal disorder or the yoke of tyranny. Even capitalism has been demonstrated to be potentially very destructive without the moral framework that conservatism provides.

Conservatism offers the answers for societal stability, sustainable prosperity and social harmony. It is built around respect for the structures and values that have proven their worth over centuries past.

It is time that we once again advocated for the merits of such an approach – to our national accounts, our government policies and our social standards.

It is time for a rejection of the failed experiments that have led to a ballooning welfare state, the growing entitlement mentality and a sense of government dependency.

We need to re-embrace the structures and values that have been the foundation of our civilisation.

Like any transition, the rebirth of conservatism could be a painful process but it is a change that is needed to ensure our future societal wellbeing.

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.

The Return of Treacherous Turnbull: Leave the Scientists Alone

Malcolm Turnbull has urged people to speak out loudly on behalf of the science of climate change.

In a strong assault on sceptics such as Lord Christopher Monckton who attack the science, Mr Turnbull declared: ''We cannot afford to allow the science to become a partisan issue as it is in the United States.''

He said that the CSIRO and other science agencies were listened to with respect on most issues. ''Yet on this issue there appears to be a licence to reject our best scientists … and rely instead on much less reliable views.'' he said. ''Those of us who do not believe the CSIRO is part of an international Green conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation should not be afraid to speak out and loudly, on behalf of the science.''

Mr. Turnbull also said the argument that tackling carbon emissions in Australia was pointless until China and India acted was ‘‘incredibly embarrassing’’.

Mr. Abbott this week said that aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 – his party’s own policy – was ‘‘crazy" when China was planning to increase its emissions.

But Mr. Turnbull said Chinese emissions per person were a fifth of Australia's and India's less than a tenth.

"Our regular references to their emissions and 'why should we do anything until the Chinese and the Indians do something' – they find those references incredibly galling," he said.

"How incredibly embarrassing statements like that are when you actually confront representatives of those countries."

Again he has failed to stick to talking about his own portfolio and continues to run down his team’s collective position.

That’s sackable offence, especially for a repeat offender like Malcolm Turnbull.

Why the Liberals coninute to tolerate the member for Goldman Sachs is just mind boggling.

I'll gladly take up your call and speak out aloud on behalf of the 31,487 American scientists who have signed the below petition, including 9,029 with PhDs.

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

If we’re also to respect the Science of climate change Mr. Turnbull, then please stop calling Carbon Dioxide a pollutant.

What is incredibly embarrassing Mr. Turnbull, is the extent of your denial about effects of emissions from China and India.

According to the figures, China is now responsible for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions, followed by the US with 22%. The EU produces 12%, India 8% and the Russian Federation 6%. We produce less than 1.5% – and you parroting on the same pathetic line Ms. Gillard and Mr. Brown about Australia’s per head of population emissions statistic further adds to the argument you’re on the wrong team.

Its absolute terms that matter, Mr. Turnbull and China is the number 1 emitter and from the BBC video below, has got serious pollution problems.


 

When it comes to emissions and pollution, we thankfully are like a pimple on the arse of an ant or in other words, we’re immaterial when compared to China and India.

And today one of Australia's foremost experts on the relationship between climate change and sea levels has written a peer-reviewed paper concluding that rises in sea levels are "decelerating".

Mr Watson's findings, published in the Journal of Coastal Research this year and now attracting broader attention, supports a similar analysis of long-term tide gauges in the US earlier this year. Both raise questions about the CSIRO's sea-level predictions.

Climate change researcher Howard Brady, at Macquarie University, said yesterday the recent research meant sea levels rises accepted by the CSIRO were "already dead in the water as having no sound basis in probability".

"In all cases, it is clear that sea-level rise, although occurring, has been decelerating for at least the last half of the 20th century, and so the present trend would only produce sea level rise of around 15cm for the 21st century."

Dr Brady said the divergence between the sea-level trends from models and sea-level trends from the tide gauge records was now so great "it is clear there is a serious problem with the models".

"In a nutshell, this factual information means the high sea-level rises used as precautionary guidelines by the CSIRO in recent years are in essence ridiculous," he said. During the 20th century, there was a measurable global average rise in mean sea level of about 17cm (plus or minus 5cm).

But scientific projections, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have suggested climate change will deliver a much greater global tide rise in mean sea level this century of 80-100cm.

It seems to me the CSIRO along with those alarmists at the IPCC have got it terribly wrong and maybe you have too, Mr. Turnbull?

And yet you and the Gillard/Brown government are out touting renewable energy as a solution to what may be a non-problem after all.

In May, the UN's International Panel on Climate Change made media waves with a new report on renewable energy. As in the past, the IPCC first issued a short summary; only later would it reveal all of the data.

The IPCC press release declared, "Close to 80 per cent of the world's energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies." That story was repeated by media organisations worldwide.

Last month the IPCC released the full report, together with the data behind this startlingly optimistic claim. Only then did it emerge that it was based solely on the most optimistic of 164 modelling scenarios researchers investigated. And this single scenario stemmed from a single study that was traced back to a report by the environmental organisation Greenpeace. The author of that report, a Greenpeace staff member, was one of the IPCC lead authors.

The claim rested on the assumption of a large reduction in global energy use. Given the number of people climbing out of poverty in China and India, that is a deeply implausible scenario.

A smart politician would note and accept the high level of public disapproval with the Gillard/Brown Carbon Dioxide Tax plan and use their noted intellect to assist their conservative colleagues in assuring this insidious tax never sees the light of day. But instead you continue to grandstand and divert from the solid fearless campaign spearheaded by Mr. Abbott.

Already Ms. Gillard is praising you.

You know that you have a clear responsibility not to undermine the broader opposition position but you continue to do so.

So please for the sake of conservative Australian’s everywhere, stop acting like a closet progressive and back your leader and stop dead Gillard’s devious Carbon Dioxide Tax.

Until you do, you will not be welcome back into the tent with your fellow conservative colleagues.

 

Andy Semple

Follow him on twitter @Bulmkt

Winning the battle from ‘left field’

Paul-McCormackAustralian conservatives must pursue truly unique policy alternatives in order to win government, writes Paul McCormack.

There are numerous policy areas which can arouse hesitation and reluctance among conservatives. In my opinion, policies affecting Australia’s engagement with Asia, education and nuclear energy have all been accorded less attention by conservative MPs because of a fear that these are natural areas of strength for the left. Conservatives have sometimes lost battles in these areas but still won elections. However, if these policy areas are embraced by the Coalition, the objective of winning government may be achieved sooner rather than later.

It would be an asset for the Coalition parties to articulate more often the importance of Australia’s links with Asia and the Pacific region.  Julia Gillard’s recent admission that foreign affairs policy is not her strong suit signals an opportunity for the Coalition. Labor and its voters have historically considered themselves as the party most engaged with Asia, largely through figures such as Kevin Rudd. Interestingly enough, this is not the case in the United States where the Foreign Affairs Editor for The Australian, Greg Sheridan, has noted that, broadly speaking, the Republicans tend to be the “Pacific Party” whilst the Democrats are the “Atlantic Party.”

The well regarded Scottish economist, Niall Ferguson, has suggested that the 21st century could turn out to be the Asian century, particularly if the European countries continue to experience economic paralysis and the United States is unable to resolve its growing debt problem. Regardless of whether China will equal or surpass America in power, the fact remains that Asia is the most heavily populated continent and the location of six of our ten largest trade links. Conservative Australian politicians should be more aware of and engaged with Asia in order to encourage future prosperity for our nation. After all, it was during the government of John Howard that East Timor achieved independence and Australia also developed strong ties with Indonesia, the largest of our close neighbours and the other participant in that momentous event.

However, knowing the future opportunities in our geographical region does not blind conservatives to the importance of preserving our tradition. As Professor David Flint has noted, the British brought with them the English language, the Crown, the rule of law, and Judeo-Christian values. It’s a wonderful inheritance and we should always defend our heritage and system of government. Education policy is a key battleground in this battle that has been dominated by the left for too long. Conservatives need to be more engaged with the actual curriculum content, rather than just economic issues relating to public and private school funding or performance pay for teachers. Students in both systems are taught according to the same curriculum so this should be the focus of our attention. Rather than trying to fight battles over voluntary voting, conservatives should place a strong emphasis on the renewal of civics education in order to teach a future generation of people to know the way that our political and legal systems operate and appreciate the importance of voting.

Sir Robert Menzies said that the role of an opposition is to be an alternative. In the battle for the trust of the Australian voters, the Coalition must emphasise its alternative plans equally as strongly as it criticises the incumbent Labor government’s policy agenda. On the issue of emissions reduction, there are currently not enough Coalition MPs prepared to put forward the option of nuclear energy, even though many of them support it. There is too much fear that the trademark ideological opposition that will inevitably come from Labor and The Greens will stymie any success in this area but the weakness of this opposition could be exposed and defeated if a genuine battle, based on reason and evidence, were to be waged in this area.

The Coalition can be the party of Asian engagement at the same time as being the party concerned with the education of students in knowledge of civics and our heritage, and also the party that promotes nuclear energy for a low emissions future. They may not be viewed as the main areas to draw the battle lines and conservatives may be fearful of approaching them from opposition. But if conservatives are prepared to fight these battles and win them, it will make victory far more possible. It is true that “governments lose elections, oppositions don’t win them” but if Tony Abbott is prepared to take a lead in the above policies, his prospects for success will be greatly enhanced. 

Paul McCormack is a high school teacher in Wagga Wagga with a keen interest in Asian studies, civics and nuclear energy.

Tories might yet please conservatives

James-PatersonJames Paterson writes on why the Tories' new direction may bring the conservatives back into the party.

The news this week that Tory Party membership has declined by 30 per cent from over 250,000 to just 177,000 in the five years since Cameron was elected leader suggests many rank-and-file conservatives are not happy with the direction he has taken the party in.

David Cameron as UK opposition leader had no shortage of conservative critics. From his efforts to out-green the Labour Party, to his campaign to rebrand the Conservative Party which resulted in the torch of freedom logo being ditched in favour of a tree, Cameron was derided as left-wing.

Perceptions that he was attempting to distance himself from former prime minister Margaret Thatcher did not assist the cause, nor did an interview with Spectator magazine prior to the election, where he criticised Milton Friedman and pointedly nominated George Orwell’s 1984 over Friedrich Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty as his favourite political text. And when Cameron failed to win a parliamentary majority in his own right, many on the right feared he would be reform shy. Their concerns were hardly abated when he formed a coalition with the left of centre Liberal Democrats.

And yet, Cameron’s new coalition government is proceeding towards a series of major reforms that may redeem his leadership in the eyes of his conservative critics.

This week, Chancellor George Osborne and secretary for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, outlined a radical set of welfare reforms in a bid to save up to 1.25 billion pounds per year. They include a dramatic dismantling of middle-class welfare, with “child benefits” of more than 1,000 pounds per year to families earning over 44,000 pounds being abolished entirely. The reforms also ensure that no welfare recipient is able to access multiple payments, instead, the unemployed will be paid a single universal credit to simplify welfare delivery and encourage job-seeking. In an ironic twist of fate, the reforms have beenlabelled as a “move towards Milton Friedman’s guaranteed annual income proposal” by libertarian economist Tyler Cowen.

Continue reading the full article at The Drum.

Conservatism and Libertarianism: What does Libertarianism have to offer?

Cameron-McLeanCameron McLean responds to Michael Sutcliffe's article by asking what libertarianism can bring to the conservative table.

I was reading an article by Michael Sutcliffe which questioned the compatibility of conservatism and libertarianism given the vast difference in societal concerns on issues such as euthanasia, ‘The Burka’ and gay adoption. Whilst he did eventually draw the conclusion that there was a viable alliance to be made, the overall trend of the argument seemed slanted in favor of conservatism needing libertarians onside – rather than libertarians needing to work with conservatives to achieve their political goals.

Looking at the results of the 2010 election seems to highlight this point. Assuming that people who are passionate about a particular issue will vote for a party that best meets their own ideology, the Senate results indicate a very telling statistic in regards to the position of libertarians in the minds of the Australian people: its slightly more popular than the Sex Party and slightly less popular than the Shooters and Fishers Party. With an overall percentage of the Senate vote of 2.31%, it scarcely has the authority from the people of Australia to demand that conservatism surrender on its core principles in order to ensure that libertarian principles reign supreme over the Liberal Party. The majority of Australians did not vote for parties which espoused a distinct set of libertarian principles, but rather for parties which best matched their interests and ideologies.

This is not to say that libertarian principles are necessarily bad: I am a conservative, yet I espouse many libertarian ideas. It was Ron Paul, a man with libertarian principles mixed with social conservatism who ran for the Republican nomination before the 2008 US presidential election, who provided me with the framework for my own political beliefs and ideas on economics. There is no reason why libertarians and conservatives cannot find common ground together in an economic sense. In my discussions with fellow conservatives at university, there is a deep respect for libertarian principles in an economic sense in regards to the free market and taxation, whilst there is deep division over social issues such as drugs, euthanasia and abortion.

The message is simple though. We shouldn’t be in conflict with our ideological neighbors. There shouldn’t be a need for one political ideology to curtail all their policies in favor of another. Politics is based on compromise: as a conservative, I am happy to support deregulation and the opening up of a freer marketplace, even though this is not necessarily a particularly conservative ideal. Are libertarians willing to follow a more conservative take on societal issues? At the end of the day, as bitter as the intellectual battles can be between libertarians and conservatives, there is no reason we can’t work together in developing policy that both meets our own ideological goals as well as providing a benefit to the Australian taxpayer.

Cameron McLean is currently in his third year at Macquarie University, studying B. Commerce (Marketing) with B. Arts. He is passionate about all things related to history and politics.

Five Core Values of Australian Conservatism

Paul-McCormack Paul McCormack discusses the key conservative values in modern Australia.

Conservatism is both an attitude and a philosophy. Within the realm of political ideas, it is probably the least understood yet most valuable political tradition. Conservatism utilises many of the best aspects of liberalism and moderates it for the social context within which individuals live and work. To truly understand conservatism is to appreciate both its past and its future; what it has already given and what it always has to offer. Conservatism entails a healthy respect for the past and a positive outlook for the future.

These are my beliefs about the five distinct values of Australian conservatism. In detailing them, albeit briefly, it is acknowledged that not all of them are exclusively the preserve of conservatives. It is also acknowledged that those values of a liberal democratic society such as private property, freedom and equality before the law, which are not specifically outlined below, have naturally been embraced within the Australian conservative tradition.

Pragmatism: It is often said that politics is “the art of compromise.” To be a conservative is to understand this truth of political life. Our two longest serving and most effective Prime Ministers, Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard, were both recognised conservative leaders. Their achievements in governing the nation were largely due to their practical approach to political issues. Pragmatism, when guided by a principled approach to policy making, enables solutions to problems and improvements to people’s lives. This is the essence of good government.

Wisdom: Sir Robert Menzies asked the rhetorical question: “What are schools for? To train people for examinations, to enable people to comply with the law, or to produce developed men and women?”  The conservative approach, as Menzies insinuated, understands that the value of education is not solely in its ability to make people law-abiding but to foster the maturity of the whole person. The emphasis of knowledge is too often specific and detailed: one can be knowledgeable with computers but not with cars. In contrast, wisdom encompasses all things: one usually talks about a person being wise in general, not limiting the virtue to a specific area of their life. Wisdom is the most important asset for any Australian conservative because it leads to good judgment and good judgment leads to success.

Patriotism:  “There is a land where, floating free,
                       From mountain top to girdling sea,
                       A proud flag waves exultingly,
                       And freedom's sons the banner bear,
                       No shackled slave can breathe the air,
                       Fairest of Britain's daughters fair –
                       Australia!”

                                        (Song of Australia)

Australian conservatives believe that this great southern land is not just “the lucky country” but also the best country in the world. The Australian conservative recognises the first Australians, is a defender of our British heritage and the Constitutional Monarchy, supports Australia’s sportspeople and teams and loves to travel around the world but always feels proud to call Australia home.

Religion: Australian conservatives derive much of their moral insight from a faith perspective, especially an awareness of the dignity of the human person who is made in the image of God. The particular significance of Christianity and Christian charity organisations (eg. Salvos, Vinnies, Anglicare) in Australian society are held in high regard, not least because it reduces the welfare demands upon the government to care for the marginalised. Conservatives appreciate that there is objective moral truth which should guide their decision making, and that “man does not live on bread alone.”  Conservatives acknowledge that religion also teaches people the value of self-reliance and responsibility. Self-reliance, as Sir Robert Menzies explained, enables people to be “lifters” rather than ”leaners” whilst responsibility encourages people to realise that duties are equally as important as rights. 

Family: The traditional family occupies a special place in the heart of the Australian conservative. The family is regarded as the foundation stone upon which civic society is built. As John Howard stated, “marriage is the bedrock of our society.” Australian conservatives know that healthy, stable families actually reduce the pressure on the government because it results in less need for counsellors, mental health workers, reduced court cases and improved social cohesion and harmony. The stability and wellbeing of children is directly linked to their family relationships and conservatives therefore know that if the family unit is weak, then the social fabric of our nation will also be weak. This respect for the family has led Australian conservative governments to enact taxation measures (eg. Family Tax Benefits) which reflect the importance of families to our true prosperity as a nation.

Paul McCormack is a high school teacher in Wagga Wagga. He is often viewed as an Angry Conservative but he is actually quite a cheerful person.