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Dutton: Mutton dressed as ram

By guest columnist Tess Lawrence

Peter Dutton is a dead man talking.

While we’re at it, the Liberal Party is a dead party walking. Like lemmings they plod towards the cliff face, resigned to their fate.

After the Party’s annihilation by Labor at Saturday’s Aston Federal by-election in Victoria, an electorate hitherto superglued to the Liberal Party for longer than an uninterrupted century, if the Party’s dozey apparatchiks don’t finally get it, they will die knowing they not only squandered the Party’s legacy but also betrayed its dwindling followers.

To clarify, the more than a century tag specifically refers to the fact that the government won a seat from the opposition at this by-election.

Mary Doyle soundly defeated the Liberal Party’s hapless sacrificial lamb, Roshena Campbell, to take the marginal seat of Aston in a humiliating 6% plus swing to Labor.


Aston named for heroic blind activist Tilly Aston

Named for the heroic blind activist, Tilly Aston, the seat was still warm from the resignation of self-confessed adulterer Alan Tudge whose ignominy is further sealed after an unedifying appearance before the Royal Commission into Robodebt a few weeks ago.


Little about the Liberal Party is liberal

Little about today’s Liberal Party is liberal. The internal factional cannibilising and philosophical stouches within what Dutton revealingly refers to as ‘The Brand’ confirms this is a Party that has lost its way as well as its voters who have been sacrificed for the sake of preserving the brand alone.

This arcane stupidity manifests almost daily in headlines and was certainly evident in the Aston by-election.


Liberal Shamocracy, by, for and of the Party

Theirs is a party and a would-be government that shamelessly operates a ‘shamocracy,’ that is, a government and governance style for the party, of the party, by the party. Power at all cost. The People, hardly come into it.

The blah-blah, rhubarb,rhubarb excuses and empty rhetoric spilling from Dutton’s mouth in interviews after the fall of Aston about regrouping, taking stock and such nothingness nonsense exposes the extent of the Party’s ungainly dishevelment.

What in gawd’s name has Dutton been doing these past ten months, apart from seemigly saying ‘no’ to everything constructive and desperately trying to put a spanner in the works of the Albanese government’s attempts to rehabilitate not only all that was damaged by Morrison and indeed, the likes of Dutton, Tudge, Christian Porter et cetera, an appalling roll call of dishonour and the dishonourable. Tudge and Porter may be gone from Parliament but they are not gone from discussion about the body politic.


Cartoon by Alan Moir (


Toxic infiltration of far-right subversives within Libs

The toxic infiltration of far-right subversives, in reality neo anarchists who speak in dialects of hate, scar the Liberals.

Their repugnant ideological vocabulary consists of socially corrosive agendas rooted in white supremacy, elitism and privilege.

Dutton’s numerous racist propaganda outbursts, his fanning of hysteria, his derogatory and defamatory remarks fueling suspicion and hatred of black or brown skinned foreigners, even if Australians, is a special Dutton dark art.


Dutton’s racist propaganda, fuelling hysteria

This societal undermining is a skill he has honed for decades and promulgated in his various political roles and portfolios.

Just Google Dutton and ‘African youth gangs‘ or Dutton and ‘Lebanese Muslims.’ You’ll learn much about the man who wants to be our Prime Minister and whom the Liberal Party elected as their leader. It says it all.


Change the Leopard. Not the spots

Has this leopard changed his spots?

Change the Leopard. Not the spots.

When it looks in the mirror there is no reflection of the living but the sepia tinted ghost of inaugural leader Sir Robert Gordon ‘Ming’ Menzies who was born in 1894, the year of the first Sino-Japanese War and who died in May 1978, the year of the Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing whilst we were dancing to the Bee Gees and ‘Stayin’ Alive ’ under Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Liberal Malcolm Fraser, who first gained power after the infamous ‘Dismissal‘ plot by Queen Elizabeth and her Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.

Seemingly, Menzies still rules from the grave, such is the failure of the Party to progress with the times. It has failed to grow; to evolve and develop alongside a multicultural and eclectic Australia.

Indeed, the contemporary Liberal Party adheres to both a parochial and world view that swears allegiance to a mythic past rather than the future or even the present.

It is a spent force, no longer relevant to the majority of Australians.

But the Liberals don’t get it. Australians just aren’t into them anymore.


Lib’s anal-retentive politics

Politically anal retentive, the Party is archaic and inept. It lives in a past of its own making.

After their catastrophic defeat in the Federal election, a repudiation of everything that Scott Morrison and his political brigands stood for, the party had the chance to take the first step to rehabilitate itself and signal it had heard the thud in the ballot box.

Instead of trying to redeem itself and throw off the shackles of the past along with its atrophied policies, the shell-shocked remnants elected Peter Dutton as Opposition Leader, a choice that ensured they had bought a one-way ticket into the wilderness they so despise.


Lib’s death wish by electing Dutton

They had learned nothing.

Despite their brush with political death, the drongos sought to ensure its inevitability by electing the perceived hard-man, Dutton.

The Liberals must have a death wish. Why else elect Dutton after Morrison the Wrecker?

It would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. How so? Because it is critical for a safer democracy if the Opposition is robust, energetic and muscular in intellect as well as parliamentary performance.


‘Iceman’ Dutton unsafe for robust Opposition

The’ Iceman’ Dutton is none of these and neither is the Party he leads. It is dangerous to entertain a flaccid Opposition and one that has proven that in Opposition as well as Government, it is hellbent on destructive rather than constructive strategies and honest, ethical political conduct.

Unless the Liberal Party sheds its skin – and more than that, sheds Peter Dutton as Leader, it is hardly worth keeping the Party on life support.

It wears the raiments of a loser. Big time.


Hocking: “Liberal Party is broken”

In her incisive and authoritative article, in John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations, historian Jenny Hocking nailed it:

“The Liberal party is broken. Riven by ideological differences, petty personal feuds and bitter factional disputes, the party which once dominated the Australian political landscape so completely, is today uncertain of what it stands for and incapable of working it out.”

Are you listening, Peter Dutton?

No, because he’s in denial about the fact that like his antecedent, the horrid serial liar, Scott Morrison who stole years of growth and happiness from the Australian people and trashed the nation’s reputation at home and abroad, Dutton thinks he’s God’s gift.


Like serial liar Morrison, Dutton thinks he’s God’s gift

The evangelical PM Morrison, patron saint of political liars was indeed like a man possessed of a secretive legion of demons, each holding a cabinet portfolio.

Thus Morrison was a self-contained mobile secret Cabinet. A shadow cabinet of another kind. Perhaps befitting the shadow of an already dismal government. It must have been crowded, with all those voices speaking in political tongues in Morrison’s head.

Little wonder then, at Morrison’s failed attempt to speak in a false tongue before Commissioner Catherine Holmes AC SC at the Robodebt Royal Commission. But the Commissioner wasn’t having any of it. It was as dismal a performance as Dutton’s, post Aston.


Dutton. Mutton dressed as ram

It was gruesomely compelling watching the Iceman being interviewed by host David Speers on the ABC’s Insiders show on Sunday morning. Speers was clearly enjoying himself and let Dutton prove he is simply mutton dressed up as ram. Speers rightly called him out when he was deliberately trying to duck issues and questions. There was the usual irritating obfuscation. No straight answers.

Instinctively, one knew that Dutton would be intransigent about the Aston massacre in the interview but still, I left room for hope, even in Dutton’s wasted spaces. Silly me.




Dutton’s a whiner

He always sounds as if he’s whining. Even when being assertive. He’s a constant complainer. A misanthrope. He had nothing to give to the electorate in the interview. Nothing. There was nothing new, nothing fresh. No warmth. No empathy. Lots of blame. Blaming Labor (they threw mud, diddums. Vice versa?).

Blaming everything and everyone but… ain’t it all we’ve heard from him in the past ten months?


Dutton. No to everything. Voice. Voiceless. No to no.

No to everything. No to the Voice. No to the voiceless. No to no. I think it may be instinctive. The dirge goes on and on.

Including this from the Iceman:

“… We stand for aspiration. We stand for entrepreneurialism, so small businesses, we stand for national security obviously, and we always stand for cleaning up a Labor mess when we get back into government so that people can make their own choices…”

There was nothing remotely aspirational spoken of in this interview. This answer was meaningless, pap. Like so many others. No mention of equal rights of any kind. Of course, maybe it’s just me.

What a pathetic response to Speersy’s question. about what the Liberal Party stood for.



Dutton’s performance was lame by any measure. It’s almost as if he has already given up. As if he knows his days are numbered. So they are.

If the Liberals don’t do some serious and honest soul searching and haul its party out of the ice age and rewrite its manifesto to acknowledge the 21st Century without Fox, they are doomed.

The harm done to democracy and Australia by the Liberal Party during the ‘lost weekend ‘of their regime, bordered on compromising our national security and certainly our global standing.

The old Legacy parties like Liberals and Labor need to offer us more than platitudes and promissory notes for out vote.

It’s fair to say that Labor is doing a fair job thus far, given the extent of Morrison Inc’s demolition job that wrought such havoc and misery.


Liberal ‘vibe’ joyless

That’s another thing that differentiates the two major parties. The ‘vibe‘ from the Liberal and what is left of its coalition with the Nationals is utterly joyless. Bleak. Negative. Without humanity. Without optimism.

The ‘vibe’ from Albanese’s public brand of Labor on this day, is just the opposite.

None of the above is to be regarded as a love letter to Labor. It is not. But it’s awfully encouraging to feel a government has a heartbeat and seemingly cares.

The notion that one has to be a ‘hard man‘ to lead has always been the protective armour of the bully who craves power for power’s sake.

One senses (and hopes) that Albanese craves power for the sake of the people, for the sake of making Australia a better place with a kinder, collective soul.


People not servants to politicians

Some politicians think that we people are their servants, rather than politicians being the servants of the people.

We have long lost our trust in politicians. And with good reason.

We have so often been treated with contempt by our politicians and as in the egregious Robodebt scandal, as criminals.

It has never been true that people get the government we deserve. At times we have little option but to choose between bad and worse.

Nor is it true that independent politicians are ineffective. The dismantling of power exclusivity is critical to a more effective inclusive democracy, as we have witnessed.

Dutton’s clinging to a Liberal conservative base will continue to stultify the Party. His dour demeanour, both personal and political will continue to impede the Liberal Party. It is time for a new and progressive leader of whatever gender.

The hour has cometh, but Dutton is not the man.


Tess Lawrence is Contributing editor-at-large for Independent Australia and her most recent article is The night Porter and allegation of rape.

For several years, Tess hosted a current affairs show called ‘Talk the Talk with Tess Lawrence‘ on what is now called Vision Australia Radio.



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  1. Phil Pryor

    I said, elsewhere, that Peter Duckwit-Futton was a black hole, inside a vacuum, inside a mystery blank, inside a nothing eternally, inside an invisibility; he has said nothing memorable, intelligent, relevant, of service or use. Get OUT!

  2. Ken Robinson

    As usual Tess you have called as it is, Australian politics is a disgrace under the two major parties and they should be voted out at the next election to make way for those who want to serve the Australian people and not the other way around.

  3. Canguro

    Outstanding essay, Tess! Nailed it on all points. It’s ludicrous, of course, to expect anything else from Dutton than what we’ve seen already. With all due respect to those who choose to become police officers as their default career choice, I’d suggest that intellectuals and deep thinkers are hardly the first rank of aspirants for that profession, and in Dutton’s case, even if his time as a copper is best expressed as hardly conspicuous or characterised as best practice, and even if he got lucky by dint of some fortunate business enterprises, he is, still, best described as a dullard lacking in imagination or insight or the capacity to winkle out better ideas from the pits of morass that currently besets the well-beyond its Use By Date current joke that calls itself the Liberal Party of Australia.

    If it were a business, it ought to go into receivership, giving itself up to the actuarial forensics to dissect and distribute the leftovers, much as the vultures pick over the decaying remains of a recently deceased corpse.

    One can only hope.

  4. Anne Naomi Byam

    It beggars belief that Dutton was given the Leader of the LNP unopposed. From the very moment he inherited that position, it was obvious that he was a fish out of water, and more than uncomfortable in the position he had been handed on a platter.

    Hence, he has not uttered one word of political sense since his ‘elevation’ … and relies on platitudes and negativity. At times he looks downright frightened of his lofty position and the possibility ( probability ) he will be called upon to answer what he no doubt sees as difficult questions – from the media mainly. Many of his answers are actually cringeworthy.

    In all my years ( and that is many ) I have never seen a more uncertain, wavering, inept leader of anything – politically – of party or Department within a Government. It is long time gone that he should be replaced, but as is often the case in a dysfunctional grouping, no one else wants to take the responsibility for ‘fixing things’….

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article Tess, and look forward very much to your next contribution.

  5. Andrew Smith

    That Turnbull Tweet rings true while the Libs & LNP have allowed themselves to be hollowed out, no grounded policies vs. perpetual dog whistling of sociocultural issues (see US & UK), think tanks &/or NGOs doing economic &/or sociocultural talking points & lobbying and media platforming for adoption.

    When these other external factors start losing traction &/or are not sensible, the Libs are left on the outer floundering and complaining, but it’s of their own making, since the ’80s…. when they deserted their own Victorian or Melbourne heartland for US white Christian nationalism and oligarchy via NSW & QLD especially.

  6. New England Cocky

    Now Tess, you have joined our erudite Phil Pryor in accurately describing and assessing the current state of LIARBRAL$ politics and politicians, but I suggest that Boofhead Duddo & $us$san Leyzee are the ideal couple to lead the COALition where adultery, alcoholism and infidelity are the preferred occupations of elected incumbents.

    I demur and suggest that Duddo will best serve Australian voters by remaining Life misLeader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition from now until his passing so that successive competent LABOR governments can get on with the job of rebuilding Australia as the egalitarian society destroyed by alleged war criminal Little Johnnie Howard & Murdick Media-crity lies.

  7. Kerri

    Peter Dutton….
    “I have a leadership style, which I believe [my colleagues] appreciate, which is why people very strongly are expressing their support to me,” he said.

    Note; his colleagues appreciate. Not, the voters appreciate, and that is how he will remain and why the Liberals are cooked or will be also Cooked after a by election when Scummo finally does us all the solid favour and leaves the country.

  8. Stephengb

    Great article Tess

    Imagine, there is ‘snotty’, still a House of Representarive member of Parliament, I wonder what he is ‘hanging on’ for ?


  9. Barry

    What if Dutton is the Murdoch Empire preferred pick to keep the LNP in Opposition? Dutton as leader means no real change in the Party. Why would the ME do that? Possibly the agenda of shaping Aust into a kind of digital neo-feudal slave society is better served by having Labor in power under leadership of Prime Clerk, Albo. Labor has always unable to make hard decisions. MSM says jump, Labor jumps, like an automaton. They’ll be allowed some freedom to make changes but only changes approved of by ME & associated lobby groups.

  10. andy56

    Kerri, if all thats left is what we hear, then in truth there is nothing more they can offer as a party. Who have they got on the back bench that can articulate new policies and hold them all together? Its clear that the afterdark people hold the majority of votes. my name is NOBODY.

  11. Kathryn

    Peter Dutton really is a “dead man walking”! The huge majority of Australians have soundly pressed the REJECT button on the lying, conniving and callously inhumane LNP at the federal election and each and every bi-election. Dutton’s callous maltreatment of defenceless asylum seekers; his constant negativity; his whining, moaning, baseless complaints about the ALP, the Greens, the Independents and, indeed, anyone who isn’t dumb enough or heartless enough to cheer on, support and/or vote for the worst, most corrupt, inept and self-serving pack of political psychopaths in the LNP, is testament to Dutton’s total lack of insight and narcissistic megalomania. It is evident that the huge majority of “middle-of-the-road” LNP voters don’t even recognise the LNP any more! The recent and current versions of the LNP (whilst under the mismanagement of the nauseating bible-thumping hypocrites: Abbott and Morrison and the unspeakable callousness and undemocratic autocracy of Dutton) has proven that there is absolutely NOTHING compassionate, democratic or “liberal” about the Liberal National Party.

    The truth is that the LNP are now widely considered to be a ruthless, power-obsessed and callous collection of condescending elitists who are so far removed from ordinary working- and middle-class Australians (even alienating themselves from moderate LNP voters), so stuck on the extreme right-wing side of the political fence that they make Genghis Khan look moderate, so rigidly misogynistic that their horrific maltreatment and condescending contempt for women (in general) has alienated them from the huge majority of intelligent women in our nation and so regressively conservative they are now incapable of initiating any policy that is remotely progressive! The LNP first started to fall apart under the mismanagement of the brutal war criminal, John Howard; its descent under the shrieking, irrational lunacy of those swaggering inarticulate bible-thumping hypocrites, Tony Abbott and the bone-idle Sloth Morrison was rapid and inevitable. Now we have Dutton leading – or, more likely, misleading – the LNP, it looks like the LNP will wallow in ignominious Opposition indefinitely! There are many reasons why the overwhelming majority of Australians view Dutton as a hateful, disgruntled and dour political sociopath. Dutton is nationally, and internationally, recognised as a brutal white supremacist who maintains an irrational, racist intolerance for anyone who was not born as a WASP, ie White, Anglo Saxon or Protestant “christian”!

    It now seems highly unlikely that the LNP can win another election until such a time that they “drag up” someone in their wretched party who has one iota of foresight or some semblance of compassion for ANYONE outside of their hard-lined supporters in the Top 1% and, considering by the type of judgemental elitists and pompous political psychopaths that hide within every dark corner of the LNP right now, the chances of THAT are remote at best!

  12. GL


    As the duly appointed representative of The Resting in Peace Dead Society I have been charged to tell you that this Dutton thing of which you speak has been unanimously rejected from being buried and allowed to quietly rest amongst us in the dead community. As such, each time he tries to bury, or be interred by others, himself the ground spits him out and so he is cursed to wander the country and annoying the living no end with his ghastly cries of, “Nooo…” as he slowly decays.

  13. tess lawrence

    To Ken.

    G’day Dear Ken !!!!! Thank you so much for your words and support, it’s very uplifting of you.Please share the article Ken
    and encourage others to subscribe. You’ve always been so supportive of independent media and understand it is quite a
    struggle at times. All the very best in your own endeavours and your community work and volunteering – and please keep reading ! xxx

  14. tess lawrence

    To Canguro

    G’day Cangu, thanks for your comment and contribution to this discussion. I was wondering what you thought about him. You put it very succinctly! May I ask you to also share the article and encourage other subscribers, please. It would be such a great help to AIM if we can all help to rustle up more subscribers, and thanks and gratitude to those who already do! And thanks for being such a loyal reader as well Cangu.

  15. Roswell

    Tess, you’re easily living up to the very high standards I’ve come to expect of you.

  16. Max Gross

    Surely the Aston result is the final nail in the LP coffin?

  17. GL


    Nah, Dutty will just go and buy bigger coffins.

  18. Kathryn

    GL, it is likely that neither the ALP or Labor supporters will be the cause of Dutton’s downfall – it is more likely that the political psychopath, Dutton will inevitably be the manipulative architect of his OWN demise. The man is so toxic and bitter he makes a 20 year old lemon look like saccharin! History has proven that Dutton – like the ignominious callously inhumane sociopaths Howard, Abbott and Morrison before him – THRIVES on chaos, dysfunction, xenophobia, misogyny and the hateful targeting of the poorest, most vulnerable people in our society! Dutton is the type of miserable, dour creature who can kill a party, or destroy a happy atmosphere, by just walking into a room. He hasn’t got one iota of compassion, has zero good humour, not a drop of positivity and is completely devoid of authenticity, credibility and courage. To put it bluntly, when God was handing out virtues, political psychopaths like Howard, Morrison, Abbott and Dutton were absent that day attending a Murdoch convention!

    The tragedy is that there’s not much good one can find to say about the LNP, their callous disregard for anyone who is not one of their wealthy donors in the Top 1% or their abysmal, lacklustre performance 🙁 When you ask a rusted-on LNP supporter “Name one single thing that the LNP has EVER achieved to benefit the lives of ordinary working- and middle-class Australians?”, you just get a blank stare and deathly silence. The REAL mystery is WHY WHY WHY do LNP-supporting working- and middle-class Australians continue to vote for a right-wing elitist party that despises them?

    The LNP chooses to forget that Unions are made up of ordinary working-class people who represent ordinary Australians by seeking to improve the wages and conditions in their work place!

    The long, long list of ALP achievements – made by so many great Labor leaders (especially throughout the high-achieving years of Whitlam) – is a remarkable testament to Labor’s foresight, compassion and progressive initiatives – see links below! These achievements – made with the collaboration and assistance of hard-working Unions – so greatly improved the lives of millions of working- and middle-class Australians. The LNP choose to continue their hateful condemnation of Unions because they openly favour the Top 1%.;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fpartypol%2F1052410%22

  19. Steve Davis

    Andrew Smith, good points.

    “When these other external factors start losing traction &/or are not sensible, the Libs are left on the outer floundering and complaining,…”

    The Libs have suffered more than most by the general drop in standards and competency that has hit representative democracies across the globe. You will recall that one of the reasons for Howard’s success was that he was surrounded by a very capable bunch of liars. Political warriors who just loved to fight. That situation no longer exists in the party.

    And because liberalism by definition does not have, and cannot have, a philosophical/ethical foundation, then their malaise might continue indefinitely.

    Howard’s success may well have been just an accident of history.

  20. Roswell

    Kathryn, your comment was caught up for moderation because of the overzealous security system The AIMN uses. Sometimes it randomly grabs a comment if there’s a number of links in it and puts it aside for one of we friendly moderators to approve.

    If it happens again, don’t worry, as one of us will be onto it.

  21. Phil Pryor

    S Davis, liberalism has strong foundations in philosophy. Consider J Morrow, “A history of western political thought.” or J Salwyn Schapiro, or the works of T H Green. (Dutton would know nothing of this.)

  22. tess lawrence

    For Anne,

    It’s so great to read your words Anne, thank you for them. It’s really terrific to get such feedback. Thanks too for your contribution in this discussion. So often I learn much more about what people are feeling, than I do in the writings of other commentators. Of course you are all commentators and as such, we are all citizen journalists ! So often the pundits get it quite wrong.As is obvious.
    Please share the article and encourage others to donate and subscribe too, AIM is such an important and courageous, feisty endeavour, clearly an act of love for all concerned and Michael and Team Aim are certainly worth supporting. It is why I write for AIM.

    Anne, you know, it really lift’s one spirit to read what you said. Merci.

  23. tess lawrence

    For NEC.

    High praise indeed Cocky but I shall have to pull me socks to come anywhere near Phil’s bon mots and by the
    way how can anyone compare with your cheeky word elastics ! Love it. Keep the word evolving. That’s wot it’s there for !

    Thanks so very much and am on a mission to help Michael and crew to increase precious subscribers and donors, so Cocky, please share the article(s) and encourage family and friends to sign up and become part of the AIM Family !

  24. tess lawrence

    For Stephen. Spot on, He’s hardly grunted. His appearance at the Robodebt Royal Commission was a frightful indictment of his arrogance and silly self importance – he was caught out again and again and called out good ad proper by the Royal Commissioner. It’s worth watching to get a handle on how cruel this man was and is. And Stephen, please share the article and also encourage your community to read, donate and subscribe to this wonderfully hardworking AIM Team !

  25. LambsFry Simplex.

    I think the article fits under the ” calling a spade, a spade” category.

  26. Steve Davis

    Phil, there’s no doubt some figures from liberal history were interested in and capable of deep philosophical thought. However, I see no evidence that a political movement based on the economics of individualism could have a philosophical base. Their base is greed.

    Forget all the motherhood statements about the rights of man, all the high-sounding rhetoric about liberty and so on, all of which can be found in the manifestos of the various branches of the Liberal Party in Australia. These all fade into the mist when push comes to shove and the rights of property owners are threatened. Check out the Liberal Party site and see which priority rules the roost.

    There’s plenty of pseudo-philosophical justifications for liberalism, but that hardly amounts to a philosophy. Probably the best known of these justifications goes that if we allow individuals to pursue self-interest then we all benefit from the wealth they accumulate. That’s not a philosophy – that’s a con, a scam, a deliberate deceit.

    The TH Green you mentioned, while a sincere and deep thinker with a regard for social values, justified inequalities of property as mere indications of varying tastes and talents, denied that the accumulation of property within capitalist relations implied by necessity the impoverishment of the wage earning class, and falsely contended that in an ideal free market, property would become available to all. (I gathered this info on Green years ago but cannot recall from where, but it was written down at the time so is most likely accurate.)

    Curiously, the public face of British liberalism took on an almost surreal aspect some little time after Green under the influence of L.T. Hobhouse, who deflated another favourite claim of the business sector, yet another claim still circulating today, the right of entrepreneurs to the exclusive enjoyment of profits. “The prosperous businessman who thinks he has made his fortune entirely by self-help does not pause to consider what single step he could have taken on the road to success but for the ordered tranquillity which has made commercial development possible, the security by road, rail and sea, the masses of skilled labour, and the sum of intelligence which civilisation has placed at his disposal, the very demand for goods which he produces that the progress of the world has created, the inventions he uses as a matter of course that have been built up by the collective effort of generations…as it is society that maintains and guarantees his possessions, so also it is society that is an indispensable partner in its original creation.”
    He concluded; “The basis of property is social” a belief, needless to say, that has been quietly discarded by the liberal mainstream.

    So Phil, liberals had an opportunity to adopt a philosophical stance, but they blew it.

  27. Paul Smith

    There are people whose instinct is to collaborate. Others simply want to get their own way. There is the round table and there is the battering ram. When the round table wins, everyone wins. When the battering ram wins, everyone loses. To mix the metaphors, the battering ram is the scorpion that stings the frog because that is its nature. Can we cross this river and live? Give the frog kevlar and risk the nuclear option kz I can’t tell who I’m seeing. Dutton or Putin?

  28. tess lawrence

    Crikey Dear Roswell, what a mighty thing to say – and a mighty challenge it is as well. I shall try my hardest to live up to your expectations. I know you are part of the small but dedicated AIM team and are also one of the comments moderators. On this subject, so often I read ideas and thoughts from our readers in this forum and think to myself ‘ I wish I’d thought of that.’ I learn so much. Thank you for your wonderful words, Roswell.So uplifting.

  29. Phil Pryor

    Steve, It may be a degree of emphasis, conviction, for your mention of greed as a drive in liberalism is erroneous, for that is conservative territory. Old liberal values, of generous agreement through debate and consideration, were engendered by the Mills, and came to fruition later in a Liberal Party from Gladstone to Asquith, whereby the works of T H Green and Bosanquet, many others of influence at the great universities, developed a romanticised line of thought from classical Greek sources. Dimova-Cookson and Mander open this up in their work on Green, whose fame expanded with his early death at age 45. (his funeral had c. 2,000 devotees in respect.) Influences on his works and the liberal attitude developing in late nineteenth century Britain, included Comte, Darwin, the Mills, Kant, Bradley and other contributors to moral awareness, that the state should be for moralisation of Humans, to promote a common good, anything but greed. Human identity is derived from society, he stated, and “natural rights traditions” as promoted by such as Locke, Hobbes, Spinoza and earlier thinkers were not now justifiable or even relevant. But, the British Liberal movement gained its Lloyd George, naturally inclined to quisling away under war pressures, and the British Liberal party, once high and quite mighty, from c. 1906 to 1916. split, declined, receded and suicided. And so…(I am getting old and dodgy, much of this based on studies long ago.)

  30. Steve Davis

    Phil, all you say is true, but you overlook the significance of the fact that the liberal outlook of the mid-19th Cent was indeed romanticised (i.e., imaginative, falsely heroic) as you said yourself. A romanticised political ideal was never going to survive against the winner-takes-all enthusiasm of those behind liberal economic theory, ie, the economics of individualism, of greed, of regarding working people as a lesser species.

    You said the “natural rights traditions as promoted by such as Locke, Hobbes,etc were now not justifiable or even relevant,” but guess what ? Locke and Hobbes have their grubby fingerprints all over the Liberal Party manifestos of today, and were hugely influential in the debates that gave rise to the US Constitution.

    Not only did the lofty idealism of the Greens and the Mills die a natural death due the cognitive dissonance involved in a regard for society coupled with a regard for individual rights, but Mills himself abandoned that form of liberalism in favour of socialism towards the end of his life.

    The best way to determine if the liberalism of today has a philosophical base is to disregard what they say and look at what they do. What has the politics of individualism given us? A world of chaos and anguish.

    And it’s pointless to object that losers like Howard Abbott and Morrison are not representative of liberal values – they are the epitome of liberal thought.

    Phil, the liberal school of thought that you have a high regard for is but a relic of history. It could not survive due to its internal contradictions.

  31. Phil Pryor

    Steve, how could I overlook something “I said myself”? You’re fairly correct, in that an idealised position could not survive hard realities and liberalism as a sweet ideal crunched into war, and Lloyd George alone internally was enough to puncture it all. I could have said more, including areas you touch, but it does not mean I do not know, have not discarded or assessed, am unaware. But, there was sufficient liberal sentiment in our early Australian parties of moderates to left and right, so that consensus was often achieved on essentials.., rare today. Do not confuse, you or anyone, Liberal (a party) with liberal, ( a sentiment). (Snores…)

  32. Steve Davis

    Phil, yes, the liberals in Australia prior to Federation were of the school for which you have an understandable regard; they were impressively progressive, even having an interest in land reform, which today is a mark of aspiring socialist groups in exploited US domains.

    But your final sentence exposed the very problem we face in Australia today as we deal with fools like Dutton.

    You said “Do not confuse, you or anyone, Liberal (a party) with liberal, ( a sentiment).”

    The problem as I see it Phil, is that when good folk like yourself identify with a liberalism that no longer exists, that was a candle in the wind, that was to put it bluntly, unrealistic and unsustainable, then those good folk give life to the rotten corpse that is liberalism today.

  33. Phil Pryor

    I must de-confuse you, as I am a person with some liberal feelings, but have not ever supported conservative parties here with not a shred of those sentiments. I am a relentless fighter, with words mostly, for progressive, agreed, socially democratic concepts. I get banned and censored commonly for my abrasive, direct, “liberal” counterpunching to those who are so often ignorantly self fixated. (who, me? ) Having shared classes with the obnoxious Jack Howard, I can see the world’s problems, my way. Perhaps you are like me, occasionally in a majority of one…there is little of the old values of Asquith liberalism today, perhaps regrettable, but inevitable. Finally, Peter Duckwit-Futton would have to study hard to become a fool. It is, mostly, a historical unimportance now.

  34. Steve Davis

    “Perhaps you are like me, occasionally in a majority of one…”

    Exactly so Phil, and I get the sense that you are, like me, here to learn.

    And one thing we learn Phil, is to punch above our weight, and you do it well, my friend.

  35. Terence Mills

    So, Dutton has cut his cloth and decided to take a dive down the racist rabbit hole in his ideologically driven opposition to the ‘Canberra Voice’ as he has labelled it.

    Clearly he couldn’t sit on the fence for ever and his worst inclinations were telling him to oppose anything that the Labor Party supported, so he settled on obfuscation, half truths and outright lies.

    He would only have taken this path if he knew that Newscorp and Sky would follow him in his wrecking game to sink the referendum.

    I refuse to pay to see what Newscorp are publishing but from what I saw on Sky-after-Dark last night it seems that Paul Murray is on the Dutton band wagon but others (Bolt) are a bit more wary of outright support : are they awaiting one of Rupert’s cryptic emails ?

  36. andy56

    Terence, Duttons new “policy” was predictable as sunrise. This leopard is not for changing spots. Besides, he only has his “base” to appeal to.
    Its the zenith of “liberal” phylosophy. We need to have a counter policy that isnt the same, just make it smell the same. We can fool enough people to vote for us. To hell with the consequences. “This is a yes policy………….but we say no to that”. Really, you have to be drinking from your own piss to think people are buying it now.
    They have played this game so often. You cant beat a fool at his own game, he has played it for so long he is a master. But i sense people no longer want to play………the libs are no longer setting the agenda. Its heartening to see so much of the media treating Dutton with bemusement.
    Just standby and wait for the details to come. Dutton railroaded this policy through his party meeting. More rats to jump ship. Really, what does the Lib party stand for now Archer? I predict she will leave at the next lib brain fart policy vote. What i dont understand is why this woman of “high caliber” cant see it coming.

  37. leefe

    Only one point on which I would disagree: Menzies would not recognise what the LNP has become. LJH and his successors have turned it into something very different from Menzies “broad church”.

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