Silence Of The Liberal Lambs: A Scathing Critique Of the NSW Liberals

unnamed-1-150x150-150x150 When the media policy becomes the story, perhaps it’s time to change the media policy, writes Alex Butterworth…

A motion at the upcoming New South Wales Young Liberal Council has drawn broad criticism from grass roots members of the Liberal Party across the nation. The motion is not about a controversial issue of policy; it is a censure motion, targeting a member of the Young Liberals for daring to have an opinion on policy, and for challenging Liberal members of parliament on policy, principles and values. It is symptomatic of a culture that seeks to silence robust policy debate. It is a culture that seemingly only exists in the New South Wales Liberal Party, while other states and territories actively encourage rigorous policy debate both inside and outside party forums.

While the party’s media policy is intended to limit negative media attention over internal party matters, it actually generates more negative media attention and stifles policy debate.

In this latest situation, Kerrod Gream, the Australia and New Zealand Chairman of Students for Liberty (ANZSFL), is accused of criticising the NSW Liberal Party’s brand and contravening the NSW Liberal Party’s media policy. Mr Gream leads the regional body of an impressive global organisation, with values and objectives that fit neatly into Sir Robert Menzies’ We Believe statement. As President of ANZSFL, he advocates small government, individualism, and free markets. ANZSFL is strictly non-partisan and welcomes members of all parties that believe in these values. In Mr Gream’s case, he is a member of the Liberal Party, because he sees it as the appropriate fit for his beliefs and values. Like many, he raises concerns when the party’s policy platform, or individual members of parliament, stray from the Menzies principles. However, some would rather that the NSW Liberal Party escape accountability for its failure to stick to the ideological principles which have served the party so well.

It is policy of the NSW Liberal Party that members “consider carefully any comments or statements they make on websites, social networking sites or blogs” so their comments “do not result in damage or cause embarrassment” to the party. While the party’s rules provide for ‘procedural fairness’ in the enforcement of this policy, the NSW Liberal Party Constitution overrides these procedural fairness provisions, and allows the State Director of the party to unilaterally suspend members of the party for a breach of the policy as determined by the State Director. No rights of appeal, no rights of reply, or right to representation: just suspension.

I have personally been targeted by these provisions over an article written for Menzies House earlier this year. In August this year, I called for the Liberal Party to retain its existing leader, Tony Abbott. This was in response to suggestions by other Liberal Party members on social media that we should make Julie Bishop Prime Minister. My article argued that Julie Bishop is an outstanding Foreign Minister and an excellent Deputy Liberal Leader, but that the traits that make her a great performer in these roles are the same traits that would stop her from being a great Prime Minister. My article did not rule out a Julie Bishop Prime Ministership, but simply set out the things that, in my opinion, would need to change for her to become Prime Minister and lead successfully.

Following publication of this article, I received a telephone call from the NSW Liberal Party State Director, Tony Nutt. One might have thought that the State Director of the NSW Liberal Party would have better things to do than monitor Facebook status updates of ordinary branch members, but apparently not. The consequence of that telephone conversation was my resignation from the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party the next day. After 10 years as a member of the Liberal Party, with a Youth Meritorious Service Award medal on my shelf and a history of services across two states, I had to choose between saying what I really think, and being a member of the New South Wales Division. Contrary to the media policy’s intention, I am now free to say whatever I wish publicly. The threat of penalty for ‘overstepping the line’ is gone altogether, because it was used too liberally (pun intended) for a minor issue. Where I might have previously thought twice about writing an article such as this, I am now free to speak openly about matters, whether external or internal.

While other state and territory divisions of the party relish the challenge of policy debate, there is a chilling effect that occurs in New South Wales because of the media policy. The “tall poppies” who express a view are torn down. Others don’t dare to say anything for fear of a similar fate. Those who fight the culture are sidelined and pushed out, no matter how distinguished their past service to the party has been.

If the New South Wales Liberal Party wants to be a political force to be reckoned with, with policies to match, it can’t be an organisation of silent lambs. The party’s media policy must be reformed, if not abolished entirely.

Alex Butterworth is a technology lawyer and former president of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation, the Western Australian Young Liberals, the Western Australian Liberal Students and the Pearce Division of the WA Liberal Party. 

In Defence of the Establishment

971753_10151574401276107_283040900_nChristopher Rath outlines why the establishment of the Liberal Party exists, and why change from within is the obvious choice for Classical Liberals, Libertarians, and Small Government Conservatives.

The Liberal Party of Australia today is still the John Howard party. The majority of Federal Liberal MPs and Senators served in his Government, most advisers and apparatchiks worked for his Government, and most Young Liberals were inspired to join the Party because of his Government.

 

I joined the Young Liberals in 2006 at the very young age of 16 because I believed in the economic reform being pursued by the Howard/Costello era. I was a “dry” before I knew what the term meant. I was also a “dry” before I knew that there were “wets” in the Party. I thought that “dry” was the only game in town and Party divisions only existed on social issues.

 

This is because by the time the 2000s came along the Liberal Party establishment had become “dry”, with the “wets” a minority of outsiders. The “wets” had been the establishment in the 1970s under Fraser but they lost the long bitter war that was waged in the 1980s and 90s. In fact you could say that Fightback! was the final nail in the “wets” coffin; certainly Howard led a thoroughly “dry” government for over eleven years. If the Party establishment was not “dry” perhaps I would have never joined. After all it was Hawke and Keating rather than Fraser who reduced tariff protection, floated the dollar, and began privatising government assets.

 

I love the Liberal Party establishment because I am bone dry, not in spite of it. My critics in the Young Liberals may call me an “establicon” or establishment conservative as a pejorative, but I wear it as a badge of honour. Being an “establicon” means being “dry”, it means supporting the Premier and Prime Minister, campaigning, raising money, supporting branches to grow, pre-selecting talented men and women, and fostering our best future leaders. It means loving the Liberal Party and our greatest living Australian, John Howard.

 

Howard was also an “establicon”, from being NSW Young Liberal President in the 1960s to seeking a parliamentary career as quickly as possible. He loved the Party and the establishment more than anyone, perhaps even more than his mentor John Carrick. When he lost the 2007 election and his seat of Bennelong he could have blamed his Treasurer, Cabinet, Parliamentary colleagues or Party machine. Instead, even after he had given 40 years of his life to the Party, 16 years as leader and over eleven years as Prime Minister, he humbly took complete blame for the election loss. In fact he defended and praised the Party on election night 2007- “I owe more to the Liberal Party than the Liberal Party owes to me”.

 

The people I’ll never understand are those who attack the Party or threaten to resign or somehow think that they’re above the Party. They are not. Not even a Prime Minister of eleven and a half years is above the Party. Similarly I’ll never understand those who claim ideological purity as a reason for preventing their party membership. If you don’t like the Party leadership or policies, you should join the party and make a difference or contribution towards promoting your deeply held beliefs. You’re going to have more influence inside the Party than from the sidelines. You’re not going to change the fact that the Liberal Party is the natural Party of government, being in power two thirds of the time since WWII.

 

The Liberal Party establishment is not perfect. Not every Liberal Party policy is perfect. But isn’t it better to get 80% of something than 100% of nothing? Isn’t it better to be pragmatic and win an election than being a purist and let Bill Shorten and the trade unions run the nation? All great right-wing leaders understand the importance of pragmatism and the broad church, but again Howard is the master:

“The Liberal Party of Australia is not a party of the hard Right, nor does it occupy the soft centre of Australian politics. It is a party of the centre Right. It is the custodian of two great traditions in Australia’s political experience. It represents both the classical liberal tradition and the conservative tradition.”

 

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher understood this and similarly they turned their parties into “dry” pragmatic parties built in their own image. Even Turnbull understands the importance of pragmatism and has neutralised the issues of climate change and same sex marriage early on. But he also understands that the establishment today, unlike the establishment under the other Malcolm in the 1970s, is inherently “dry”. This is why he went out of his way in his victory speech to prove his “dry” credentials, careful not to scare away people like me- “This will be a thoroughly liberal government. It will be a thoroughly liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market.”

 

Turnbull’s Ministry is also packed to the rafters with establishment dries, including Mathias Cormann, Paul Fletcher, Arthur Sinodinos, Andrew Robb and Josh Frydenberg. Andrew Robb, the archetypical establishment dry, was an economist, staffer, government relations professional, and the federal director of the Liberal Party responsible for the 1996 campaign that brought the Howard Government to power. As Minister for Trade and Investment he has successfully negotiated three free trade agreements. Similarly Josh Frydenberg is an establishment dry, securing the safe seat of Kooyong after being an adviser to Alexander Downer and John Howard and a Director of Global Banking with Deutsche Bank.

 

So to all of the libertarians, classical liberals and small government conservatives out there, my plea to you is to join the Liberal Party, support the inherently “dry” establishment which now exists, try to make a difference by pushing for your agenda and philosophy within the natural party of government, and understand that in politics a level of pragmatism is required.

 

“Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.” (Otto Von Bismarck)

Christopher Rath is a Young Liberal Branch President and currently works in the private sector. He previously worked as an adviser to state and federal Liberal Parliamentarians and has degrees in economics and management.

A modern day witch hunt: how unexplained wealth laws victimise the innocent

Pictured: how unexplained wealth laws combat organised crime

Pictured: how unexplained wealth laws combat organised crime

We like to think of ourselves as superior to our ancestors, but as I look at Australia’s unexplained wealth laws I venture to disagree.  The laws have empowered police to confiscate the property of the innocent without a trial, and they have been introduced in every State, every Territory and federally. Indeed, in New South Wales, the Coalition is promising to increase their scope in the run up to the election. Punishment without a trial is a process that is equivalent to a medieval witch hunt.

All of your property—gone. Unexplained wealth laws empower law enforcement officials to permanently confiscate your property without being convicted of a crime. If you’re suspected of committing a minor criminal offence, the police are empowered to confiscate everything you own. In Queensland, it can be as trivial as recreational marijuana possession. There is no need to even accuse you of having committed a crime in obtaining the property; no need to charge you with a crime; no need to bring your trial; and no need to prove you guilty. Punishment without a trial or due process is the agenda. It’s up to you to defend yourself in Court against the allegation that you obtained the property unlawfully.

Absurd law, absurd results. In one instance, recreational marijuana possession was in fact used as the pretext for the confiscation by police of almost $600,000.00 of cash belonging to one man, Mr Henderson, and his siblings in 2002. [1] Mr Henderson proved in Court that he obtained that money legitimately from the sale of a family heirloom belonging to himself and his siblings. But the money was confiscated anyway, for the absurd reason that he could not prove that the family heirloom was legally acquired by his now-dead parents. Police did not offer any other explanation as to how the property was acquired. They did not produce a victim claiming the heirloom was his, or even a police report. They did not allege that Mr Henderson or his property acquired the property illegally. They weren’t required to. Mr Henderson was a member of the vulnerable underclass which unexplained wealth laws seem to target and victimise.

That money sure looks suspicious. Unexplained wealth laws also empower the police to permanently confiscate specific items of your property on the suspicion that it was acquired illegally. Again, the onus is on you to get it back.

Carrying cash is a crime? Thus in another case in Western Australia, police targeted a man, Mr Morris, for carrying around his life savings of over $100,000.00 in cash in a plastic bag.[2] It was suspicious. So when police pulled him over while he was driving back in 2011, they took the cash. He kept his savings in cash because he was suspicious of banks; he had lost his meagre savings due to a bank failure in the 80’s. He was planning to use the money purchase and open a fitness training centre. Police did not allege that the man had committed a crime of any kind. They simply suggested that he had obtained the bag of money from a friend. This single suggestion was the entirety of the prosecution case. Mind, they had no proof of it. No witness came to the stand in their favour. Nor did they offer any evidence the man’s friend had gotten the money illegally.  Mr Morris got his money back, but the case took two years to be disposed of—a punishment in time and money in and of itself. If Mr Morris had been subjected to the traditional process of criminal procedure, this would never have happened at all. The police could not and did not charge him with the “crime” of carrying around a bag of money. But with unexplained wealth laws, they confiscated it anyway. This is not justice.

No evidence of effectiveness. Witch hunters could only practise their trade because witchcraft was popularly thought to be real and dangerous. Similarly, our modern day law enforcement officials confiscate on the premise that they are combating organised crime. The dangers of organised crime are no superstition, of course. But then again, neither were the diseases witches pretended to cure. And much as peasants never asked witch hunters for evidence, few people seem to ask for any evidence that these laws do anything to combat organised crime. There’s a reason for that. There is none. Unexplained wealth laws are designed to catch people who haven’t been proven guilty of a crime. That does nothing to assist police in their investigation of actual crimes.

A wider net catches more innocent people. It is more likely than not that some of the people caught by police will be innocent. Some indeed might be guilty of something, but if they are subject to unexplained wealth laws then we often cannot be sure what they are guilty of, if anything. With unexplained wealth orders, there need be no convictions or sentences, nor even any reported crimes to justify a confiscation. The accused and the prosecution can simply consent to an order being made against the accused for his property to be confiscated. Nobody knows what they are accused of or whether the punishment is in proportion to the crime.

Disproportionate, draconian punishments. We should not assume that the punishment is just simply because the accused did not contest it. The accused may not have had the funds or the time to contest the accusations against him. While he may have been guilty of some offence that might justify confiscating the proceeds of crime, it does not follow that law enforcement officials should be empowered to take everything that person owns. The punishment has to match the crime. The typical punishment for a marijuana user is a counselling session or a small fine—not the confiscation of all of their property.

A pointless, hysterical distraction from punishing real criminals. Finger pointing hysteria may sweep up a lot of innocent people together with the guilty. But there’s no evidence that organised crime is likely to suffer as a result. Indeed, unexplained wealth proceedings will distract police from the actual task of investigating real crimes and real criminals. They will be too busy investigating loosely hypothetical possibilities that might warrant a confiscation order to worry about any real criminals. Therein, I suspect, lies the appeal. Police and politicians can look like they are doing something about crime without doing much at all.

Reversing the presumption of innocence undermines our liberal society. The Coalition like to market themselves as tough on crime, but unexplained wealth laws punish suspects, not proven criminals. Punishing suspects means punishing more innocent people. The traditional, conservative view of law enforcement sees the presumption of innocence as the cornerstone and a distinguishing feature of the English legal system. It is as old as the English Treaty of Magna Carta:

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.

Or as famous English jurist Sir William Blackstone put it:

“It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

People must have confidence that the legal system will not unfairly target or persecute them. With the introduction of unexplained wealth laws, the Coalition, the ALP and the Greens have renounced their commitment to this fundamental principle of liberal society. They have undermined a core, embedded principle of our legal system and our society. This is a remarkable and troubling tri-partisan consensus indeed. The only politician to have spoken against these laws to date is David Leyonjhelm of the Liberal Democrats. Leyonjhelm has separately pointed out that reversing the presumption of innocence is tantamount to accepting the “just world fallacy”:

The just-world fallacy holds that a person’s actions always result in fair and fit consequences, and it exists because people are uncomfortable accepting [that] suffering is random and that sometimes bad things happen for no reason at all. It is common to believe people must have done something to deserve what they get, including being accused of a crime. The argument goes: if bad things only happen to those who deserve them and I am a good person, then I can be sure nothing bad will ever happen to me.”

Unfortunately, the world is not fair, and law enforcement officials are not perfect. They are fallible human beings. They are capable of making mistakes. They are capable of persecution, not merely prosecution. Judging people guilty before proven innocent is tantamount to a sacrilegious worship of law enforcement officials as nigh-infallible human beings. Unexplained wealth laws turn them into the witch finders of our modern day witch hunts.

Revenue raising gone mad. Add to the mix the fact that confiscations generate revenue for the government and you will see a dangerous combination at work. Police who return more money towards government coffers than they put in will naturally be in line for more funding. Politicians will be more inclined to give it to them. It is not hard to see how law enforcement officials might be more inclined to prosecute law abiding citizens when their pay packet is on the line. That’s the experience in the United States, at any rate, where law enforcement officials get every penny they confiscate back into their own local police department. Then they spend it on holidays, nice cars and other like perks, as the Institute for Justice, an American civil liberties law firm, has recorded. If law enforcement officials get their way we could witness much the same here. It is a comfortable revenue stream indeed.

Would you do it to your neighbour? A final thought. If you took your neighbour’s property and refused to return it to him, without even telling him why or caring to prove that he acquired the property illegally, what would that make you? A thief. It’s one thing to confiscate the proven proceeds of crime, but unexplained wealth laws are something else entirely.

Vladimir Vinokurov is a solicitor and a deputy Victorian State director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The views expressed here are his own.

Vladimir Vinokurov is a solicitor and a deputy Victorian State director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The views expressed here are his own.

[1] See Henderson v Queensland [2014] HCA 52.

[2] See Director of Public Prosecutions v Morris [2010] WADC 148. (Note: you will need access to a subscription service such as LexisNexis to access this decision).

LABOR 2013: THE AFTERMATH

After what can be aptly described as the most self-destructive episode in the history of the Australian Labor Party – and yes, I say this even considering the splits of 1917, the 1930s, and 1950s – Labor is now electing its new parliamentary leader writes Michael Smyth  

However for the first time in its history it is allowing its rank-and-file members a direct vote. 50% of the vote will be comprised of the caucus, and the other 50% will be comprised of rank-and-file members. The reforms that led to this may be referred to as a parting shot at the ALP, or mischief, by a nihilistic Kevin Rudd, intent on making them pay for his humiliation at the hands of Julia Gillard.

This may also be cynically called for what it is; window dressing designed to shield the fact that the ALP rank-and-file do not have direct preselections, and are still beholden to the factions. It does provide the ALP with a rare chance to return to its roots and begin being a party that stands for something other than professional hacks with little or no real life experience outside a staffer’s office, or the union movement.

For too long, many would say since the 1990s, the rank-and-file have been neglected, and that Labor had turned its back on its values after the 1996 federal election.  Some might even say that they did so at an earlier juncture, but whatever the case, the fact stands that the ALP is no longer a party of mass appeal, but a catch-all machine designed to win at all costs.

To promise whatever it needs to promise in order to win power, and then maintain it, without letting those promises get in the way of governing.  However, it seems that despite Rudd’s mischief, the bloodletting in the aftermath of the 2013 federal election has been relatively civilised.  

Rudd stepped down with a grace that was absent after his removal by Gillard, albeit after gloating that the ALP had not been utterly destroyed in a Coalition landslide. The men most likely to contest, duly put their hands up to nominate for the leadership.

What is relatively civilised about this is that neither of the men has attacked the other, although the same cannot be said about certain supporters of each nominee, both inside caucus and among the community at large.  Let’s look at each of the nominees for the ALP leadership.

Bill Shorten, a former Secretary of the AWU holds a BA/LLB, came to prominence during the Beaconsfield mine collapse and upon election to Parliament in 2007, was immediately appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services and subsequently pushed for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.  

In 2010, he urged Julia Gillard to replace Rudd as Prime Minister, and shortly after he was promoted to the Ministry, further cementing his power base within the caucus and the ALP at large.

Anthony Albanese, a former staffer to Tom Uren (a one-time deputy leader of the ALP), who holds an Economics degree from Sydney University, professed a devout commitment to progressivism in his maiden speech. He has enjoyed a gradual rise to prominence, eventually becoming Leader of the House after Labor’s victory in 2007.  

Due to his relentless attacks on Tony Abbott, and his admission in 2012 that he likes “… fighting Tories.  That’s what I do”, he became popular within the ALP as a headkicker.

There is plenty more written about these two nominees elsewhere online and in print, but what is important to note is that both of these nominees are strong performers, and whoever wins the leadership will probably provide a strong challenge to the Coalition government.  However, the dangers for each are as follows.

If Shorten is elected as Leader, he will have to overcome the perception that he is dishonest, untrustworthy, and – in the words of a Left-wing friend – “poison”.  If Albanese is elected as Leader, he could face the same relentless negativity that he directed towards Abbott, ironically while referring to Abbott as nothing but negative.

Shorten has the ALP establishment behind him, but Albanese has the rank-and-file backing him.  For this reason, some on the Right have dismissed Albanese as a credible leader for the ALP, but they forget that Abbott was also once dismissed as ever being a potential party leader. This was despite the fact he was appointed by John Howard as Leader of the House.  

Albanese and Abbott are, in a perverse way, similar in terms of their pugilism in regards to political opposition, and in a mature way, similar in terms of their passion and beliefs.  The differences between the two are about values first, ideology second.  Were they outside politics they’d probably be good friends, but politics is a battle of ideas that leaves no quarter in terms of its engagement.

Shorten is a machine man, lacking the passion to invigorate a demoralised and dysfunctional Labor Party, but he knows how to manipulate the media.  Albanese is a vulgar man, who prefers brawl to brainstorm, but he has a passion and genuine belief in his causes, and should be noted and respected as a credible threat to the prospective hegemony of the Centre-Right in Australia for the next decade.  

If Shorten wins, and in the first term that is highly unlikely, barring a Great Depression style event, he will be burned by defeat at the next federal election, and forced to step down.  If Albanese wins, however, he could end up going the same way as Beazley in 1998; winning the popular vote, but not enough seats in the House of Representatives.  

Who will win the contest for the leadership? The prize of which is to drink from Labor’s cup of sorrows, a poisoned chalice the likes of which are rarely seen in the democratic world. It must be noted that neither of the nominees should be underestimated, whoever wins.

For the Coalition to take for granted the idea that they have at least six years in power would be extremely unwise. Labor did that in 2007, and they failed to win the election in their own right in 2010. The following three years of minority government were amongst the most polarising in living memory and looked back on with bitterness by the majority of Australians.  

The next three years, for both Labor and the Coalition, must be years of healing, but the task for Labor is much greater, as they are yet to start.

Michael F Smyth writes from Brisbane, Queensland 

Abbott’s new broom is a wire brush

New MH2

In August last year I attended a talk by Tony Abbott in Sydney. Aside from the snappy sound bite for the evening news, Abbott settles from an evasive and indecisive stutterer to a rather smooth orator certainly on top of his game. That surprised me and prompted the column: Abbott—more than a 10-second news clip.

Abbott’s deliberation was a likely safeguard to avoid the relentless and spiteful attacks upon his character in parliament by an orchestrated chorus of shrill fishwives and other rusted-on Laborites. Even the Coalition’s resounding victory has done nothing to stop the new opposition’s dog-tired assault upon the man who caused them to haemorrhage so profusely at the polling booth.

Just a day or two after the election, Labor resumed blame upon Abbott for more illegal boat arrivals and has continued to do so confirming an inability to recognise the failed tactic that damaged them so badly. The matter that those boats were already en route during Rudd’s reign exemplifies Labor’s disconnect from reality.

Handbag-hitsquadHowever, Abbott’s announcement revealing few women in his government caused predictable hysterics among the Opposition’s inquisitors of misogyny who scattered like headless chooks crying foul. The new Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is one of six women in the 42-strong ministry but the only woman in Cabinet.

Unexpected by many has been copycat bleating from some on the government team. “I think it’s shocking and I think it’s embarrassing, and it’s not just embarrassing nationally but I think it’s embarrassing internationally,” said Senator Sue Boyce. The Senator was a fool to play the “embarrassing internationally” card because nobody in other countries of any consequence could give a damn how many women our parliament has, they have enough problems of their own to worry about. Besides, too many confuse Australia with Austria.

Furthermore, the Coalition will remember Boyce’s defiance of policy when she sided with the Greens, crossed the floor, and voted for their gay marriage bill. Labor Senator Penny Wong says Tony Abbott’s new frontbench sends the message that female Coalition MPs are inferior to their male colleagues. But the fearless Amanda Vanstone, an ex minister of the Howard era, says more women on the frontbench does not equal a good government. Look no further than Labor’s former selection of frontbencher females for that.

Has Tony Abbott been underestimated?

A vignette of Abbott’s past contains clues that form the building blocks of his character. They are there for those who want to look.

Abbott adheres to habit. Fit, he is and seriously competitive. That he is now prime minister will inject confidence into an already ambitious man. He is surrounded with experienced ministers and has already moved to address a number of election promises. Dumping Tim Flannery, Labor’s climate change guru was a good move.

Just hours after his swearing in as PM, sackings of Labor’s padded appointees began and you can bet it is just the beginning of what will become a vendetta against his political enemies.

For a person abused throughout every parliamentary sitting by the gaggle of Labor shrews spitting venom across the despatch-box, Abbott always remained calm, perhaps plotting an electoral judgement-day. That dream has come and now it’s payback time.

For those who can remember, the once seminary aspirant, Rhodes Scholar, and decorous family man showed ambitious capabilities through his role in the damaging of One Nation that ultimately saw the imprisonment of Pauline Hansen and David Ettridge. He wanted to please his boss, a court was told—proof that politics supersedes piousness in his good book.

With unprecedented national debt to be repaid and interest accruing at $24,600 each minute in every day, the government will have to make many unpopular choices. And, the loudest objectors will be from the arsonists whose accountability was ignored for six expensive years.

In the weeks leading to the Coalition victory, Fairfax media seemed resigned to a change of government with a few conciliatory bouquets toward the Coalition. That brief offering now seems an aberration as the left media has mounted renewed attack of blaming Abbott for further boat arrivals never mentioning that those boats set sail during Rudd’s watch.  Watch Fairfax shares further drop as readers tire of the same old.

Nevertheless, the Abbott haters can squawk all they want because the majority of Australians view him as the doctor who knows best how to cure “profligacy” the eternal Labor disease.

Abbott has three years in which to pull that rabbit from the hat. He can and will ignore his raucous detractors before campaigning on what may well be his record of success that wins a second term. If that happens, it would be goodbye Labor for a very long time, I should think as the door will be ajar for a third party to gain a foothold.

Abbott’s new broom is indeed a rough wire brush that easily dislodges rusted-on ideology.

 

The joker is wild

In the few short days since Kevin Rudd became Prime Minister for a second time, it has become clear that nothing has changed.

Once again Kevin Rudd is announcing grandiose plans, but without setting out any details – and he is again obsessing with political games and machinations, rather than getting on and governing in the interests of the Australian people.

If Mr Rudd is serious about fixing up Labor’s failures before the election, then he needs to do the following:

Release the briefings he and the new Treasurer Mr Bowen have now received from Treasury about the true state of the economy and the true state of the books.  Mr Rudd needs to be frank with the Australian people about the true state of the Budget, the deficit, and the debt.

  1. Admit he got it wrong when, five years ago, he dismantled the Coalition’s proven border protection policies – and return Australia to the proven policies that work.
  2. Scrap the Carbon Tax – which is a bad tax and an unnecessary burden on every Australian household and business.
  3. Be frank with the Australian people by naming the election date and ending the uncertainty.
  4. Stop playing political games.  We all know that 30 years of Labor corruption in NSW cannot be ended in 30 days.  There’s no way Labor’s problems can be fixed by a Labor leader who owes his comeback to the faceless men.

Australians need a government that is focused on the Australian people.  Only the Coalition has a Plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.

 

Kevin Rudd proved last time that a ‘one-man-band’ cannot run a strong, stable and competent government.  In contrast to Mr Rudd, the Coalition’s team includes 16 people in the Shadow Cabinet who were Ministers in the last Coalition Government.  The Coalition, led by Tony Abbott, offers Australia the only truly united team.

There is no doubt that after years of civil war Labor remain deeply divided and are merely papering over their differences to get them through the election. 

The next election is the clearest choice in a generation: between the Coalition and our Real Solutions Plan to build a stronger Australia and a better future, or a divided and dysfunctional Labor Party that is making it up as it goes along.

Regards,

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Brian Loughnane. Liberal Party Australia.

K.Rudd, public enema number-one

Opinion:

You can give it a slick paint-job, put a fake foxtail on the antenna, but beneath the dazzle remains the same old oil-burning, rusted-out, un-roadworthy clunker destined to inflict cost and heartbreak. A wreck is a wreck.

We must be the silliest country in the Western World. Kevin Rudd, the worst prime minister in Australia’s political history who was ousted by his deputy Julia Gillard and more than half the cabinet having caused “Labor to lose its way” has been reinstalled by ousting the absolute worst prime minister in the nation’s political history. Isn’t there supposed to be a lesson learned? Don’t we go to school to learn what is smart and what it dumb?

This mess will occupy government all the way to the election, whenever that may be. I, like many concerned Australians, want to know who in hell is running the country while this rabble called government is totally embroiled in self destruction?

Meanwhile, illegal immigrants step up their rush, the debt mounts uncontrollably and the unions are the recipients of unprecedented legislation giving them rights to intrude into any business house, factory or private entity at will.

Too many people believe Tony Abbott is a wishy-washy leader. Now, is his chance to show himself as a forceful contender who means business. Only lefties and bludgers will whine.

Mr. Abbott, for God's sake give us a sign!

GC.Ed.@L.

Turnbull—square peg in round hole

New MH2Perhaps Malcolm Turnbull’s self-appraisal sets him distant, if not at odds with his Party colleagues? Maybe he views them as less sharp and less accomplished in commerce by comparison? Undeniable, however, is his unrelenting quest for success—Turnbull style.

Malcolm’s form has a repeating factor—what he wants and who he wants to be is variable. The goal posts are movable. Hardly the cohesiveness and consistency suited for political policy and the Me, before Us presents as a constant in the man’s character.

Where would Malcolm be today had Kerry Packer not leapfrogged his legal career to various boardrooms of mercantile moguls? Turnbull showed his appreciation by dumping on Packer over a business deal in 1991. Acrimony between the two was palpable.

Turnbull later told Sydney newspapers that, “He [Packer] did threaten to kill me. And I said to him: ‘Well, you'd better make sure that your assassin gets me first because if he misses, you better know I won't miss you.’ He could be a complete pig, you know. He could charm the birds out of the tree, but he could be a brute.”

ElpresidenteAfter years of trying to replace the Aussie flag, Turnbull was appointed by the Keating government to lead the Republican Advisory Committee. The campaign flopped in the 1999 referendum and thus went Malcolm’s dream of becoming a big fish in a small pond. King Malcolm of the Antipodes. He’d love that.

Then in 2007 as John Howard's environment minister, Turnbull vowed to outlaw the incandescent light bulb. He said by 2015 they will only be found in a museum. His extrapolation reckoned Australia would emit 4 million tonnes less of carbon dioxide than it otherwise would. So, we were forced to pay many times more for light bulbs. Many brands were junk—dim and expensive. And it reduced nothing, because the generators produced just as much power as before.

With every knee-jerk reaction, especially in the climate business, there comes a reaction. Engineer John Buckeridge blew the whistle. It's a neuro-toxin, warned John, and what it does is it disrupts the ends of the neurons, our nerve system, and prevents them functioning effectively. So our nerves simply breakdown, disintegrate.

When Malcolm became leader of the Opposition in September 2008 he was a dedicated proponent of the carbon tax and seemed likely to become Prime Minister at the next elections. Mal was also rather chummy with Goldman Sachs because they referred to him as a “political friend.” Whatever that means. Investment houses around the world must have been mighty miffed when Tony Abbott rolled Turnbull as Party leader. Australia was supposed to lead the world by carbon tax example. Remember?


With ego on the rocks and international banking guru reputation under question, Mal spat the dummy—quit politics. Not quite, even though Abbott refused him a place on the front bench saying it would be “impractical, given Mr Turnbull's stance on the ETS,” Malcolm was already eyeing the resignation of Senator Nick Minchin.

Meanwhile, Malcolm continued to beaver away pushing his personal issues, change the flag, carbon trading, and the republic, all being contrary to party politics. The common trademark of self-made people.

In October 2011 Turnbull was invited to speak at The London School of Economics. His subject was the rise of China in the world of commerce. His mandate to represent Australia appears to have been his own. Ignored as the LSE speechmaker was Tony Abbott and the Opposition’s foreign affairs shadow Julie Bishop. China chose Turnbull.

The Australian reported: “This nonsense from Turnbull does not constitute serious strategic thinking. But politically it suggests a lot of Turnbull-centred turbulence may well lie ahead for the Liberal Party.”

Turnbull wasted no time in proffering his personal views that were at odds with Liberal policy. He offered China’s revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s quote, “The Chinese people have stood up.” As expected, the acquiescing toadies at The London School of Leninomics were mute on Mao’s murderous record.

Mao ruled from 1949 to 1975 and began his handiwork with affluent landlords who were liquidated and their assets claimed by the state. 20th Century mass murderers like Pol Pot who killed about 1.7 million was a mere trifler compared to Mao who holds the body count record with around 70 million—nearly three times Australia’s population.

But Turnbull is not the first Australian politician to placate China. Upon Mao’s death in 1976, Malcolm Fraser breasted the parliamentary dispatch box and honoured him for policies that “secured the basic necessities of life to China’s people.” Fraser said Mao had “achieved peace internally” for China. Sydney’s Chinese restaurant clique rewards such political sycophants with hero status and the old windbag Fraser was often “guest of honour” and hailed clamorously as “Comrade Fraser.”

Turnbull’s résumé is substantial: journalist, author, barrister, grazier, investor, multimillionaire, chairman of Goldman Sachs and once leader of the Liberal Party.

Author Tom Keneally once said of Turnbull: “I always felt that he was, particularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a minority among the new rich in that he had the feelings of noblesse oblige.”

My column "Gillard's scorched earth policy" of April 12 is more apparent today.