Ex-PM Abbott has stated he wants to stay in Parliament for another six years. Abbott is quoted in an ‘exclusive’ interview with Fairfax:
“…he had no intention of spending less time on the national stage, and predicted Liberal Party forces plotting to oust him from the blue ribbon Sydney seat of Warringah would “struggle” to find a candidate to beat him.”
Maybe Abbott should stop ‘for a nanosecond’ and consider that almost a third of his local pre-selection gathering voted for a vacant chair instead of him a few weeks ago as their representative in the upcoming election. Perhaps the saying that cemeteries around the world are full of indispensable people is somewhat appropriate here as well.
Apparently, in Abbott’s mind, he is going to be drafted back into the leadership ‘to rebuild the party’ after an election loss. The problem with this concept is that it seems that there is a cultural war going on in the Liberal Party within New South Wales. According to Fairfax
“The left and right tug of war that ripped apart the Coalition in Canberra last month is also playing out locally in the branches. In a carefully executed sweep through Sydney’s northern beaches and northern suburbs, moderate forces have spent the last three years overthrowing conservative incumbents.
Backed by kingmaker lobbyist Michael Photios, the march towards Manly has seen Jason Falinski oust Bronwyn Bishop in Mackellar, and Trent Zimmerman defeat the conservatives’ John Hart to replace Joe Hockey in North Sydney. Moderate Felicity Wilson also won preselection for the state seat of North Shore, and James Griffin defeated conservative challengers to replace Baird in Manly. In two of those fights, the moderates fended off a push from Abbott’s ally, Walter Villatora.”
Admittedly, pre-selection battles are what politicians do — after all, they are in politics. However Abbott spent the last few years since he was rolled by Turnbull sniping and backstabbing despite a promise not to; Turnbull is tweeting comments that Abbott is very right wing from his bolt hole overlooking Central Park in New York; someone is leaking damaging, if not incriminating information about Abbott’s stalking horse, Peter Dutton, in the August leadership spill — it’s not all beer and skittles in the Liberal Party.
In 1955, the ALP split over conceptual and religious issues. The 1950’s issue was claimed to be communism. Today the Liberal Party has issues with determining a process around climate change, which is probably a trojan horse to determine which group in the party should have control. The National Museum of Australia describes the events of the ALP split in far more detail than we have space to do so. The result of the split was that the Coalition remained in power until 1972 under a succession of Prime Ministers — some better than others. An overtone to the ALP split was religion, with the largely Catholic conservatives who were caught up in the machinations leaving the ALP to form the DLP, who claim all the heritage of the ALP until 1955 to this day but generally suggest their voters preference the conservative side of politics. And they still blame the ‘communists’ around 1955 ALP Leader ‘Doc’ Evatt for the split!
In the 2018 Liberal Party, it seems that the more conservative members of Parliament claim to be religious, most of them are against any policy position (and haven’t there been a few) on reducing climate change — aka trying to ensure there is a natural environment for our kids and their kids. Abbott wears his Catholic affiliations with pride while current PM Morrison proudly proclaims his membership of a Pentecostal Church. They are both also more conservative than people like Turnbull. As an aside, it beggars belief that both Abbott and Morrison continued to inflict inhumane treatment on refugees while apparently following the teachings of a God that entreats his followers to do unto others as you wish them to do unto you.
Anyway, how does all this relate to Abbott wanting to stay in Parliament and retain his presence on the national stage? It’s simple really — Abbott has signalled he wants to be around for six years. Given his history to date, he will not stop sniping and backstabbing anyone in politics (including his own side) should he feel it necessary.
The left and right tug of war referred to above is not solely a construct of the rarefied air on Capital Hill but is also evident in the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Party at least, and maybe others as well. In times as recent as Howard’s Prime Ministership, internal Liberal Party wars were kept internal. Now the warfare is open and nasty. How much longer can the Federal body keep warring sections of state branches inside the same tent?
If Abbott and his group continue to snipe and backstab their own side for another six years, an election loss for the Coalition is more probable in 2018 or 2019 and a disunited party is hardly likely to be re-elected three years later — just ask Kevin Rudd. The recriminations of losing power will likely commence full out nuclear war between the left and right factions of the Liberal Party — with the probability of more smaller parties starting up similar to Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives. Should the nuclear winter be prolonged and a number of small conservative parties all claiming ‘Liberal Party’ roots and philosophy exist to split the conservative vote, the Liberal Party could be potentially out of power for a generation, just as the ALP was from 1949 until 1972. If it happens, Abbott must take a lot of the ‘credit’.
What do you think?
This article by 2353NM was originally published on The Political Sword.
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