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Who gives a stuff about what I think. Others have views, too.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Yesterday the keys on my keyboard were craving the familiar attention of my fingers wanting to write of daily happenings in the body politic. However, I was drawn to words not of my own creation, that were not words that fall from the tongue like raindrops on dehydrated and burnt eucalyptus leaves delivered in a fashion that stirs the mind and unlocks the emotions.

These were words of members of a Government that has no eye to the future, no narrative to guide us through a complex, rapidly changing future. They, after four years in power seemingly are unable to make decisions because each one determines the future of our Prime Minister, or dissatisfies some extreme interests.

They are not words of vibrancy, of a well-led disciplined Government whose eyes looked forward with cohesion and optimism. But they will be words familiar to you.

Of late I have written copiously about the shenanigans of Barnaby Joyce and the difficulties facing Malcolm Turnbull and his government. My criticism has been harsh and merited. I cannot recall a worse governance than that which the Abbott/Turnbull governments have provided.

Of course, my thoughts are my views that are tinged with the criticism of a leftish perspective so I thought it might be refreshing to collectively read the thoughts of people from the Coalition parties. I’m not sure exactly at what time I gathered these provocative quotations (it was around July 2 2016) but they do provide us with snippets of how the conservative mind works. Let me know what you think.

1 About the disruptive elements within the party.

“There are some people who are ambitious and want to use their influence for promotion. There are some people who have scores to settle and want to use their influence for that purpose. There are some that have legitimate policy issues and are entitled to use their influence for that.”

“But the point is this: on a very slim majority, you can’t afford to have too many people in any of those camps. In a situation like this, your first preoccupation becomes the internal management. If you can’t get that right, then none of these other things will be of relevance.” (Peter Costello, former federal Treasurer).

2 The PM said they didn’t have factions, but.

“They spend half their life on the telephone ringing people up, suggesting to them that if they do this, certain benefits and rewards in terms of party advancement or preferment might come their way’’

“There’s no doubt that there are people not on state executive who caucus regularly on the phone and face to face with people who are on the state executive to try to get pre-cooked outcomes.”

“I think there are genuine concerns in the policy as it was presented, and I think the Government has acknowledged that it will have to look at it, and it will. And, of course, it will have to legislate it.” (Peter Costello).

3 A majority of almost nothing.

“The crossbenchers don’t have any responsibility for the overall outcome. All they’re concerned about is cherry-picking advantages for themselves and their constituencies. And so you have to woo them, you have to dine with them, you have to talk to them, you have to be attentive to them, you have to flatter them, you have to stroke their egos.
“Now, you’ll have different ones on different issues, but, when a big vote is coming up, they are your greatest friend. There is no-one else in the world except that Senate crossbencher.” (Peter Costello).

4 A majority of one.

“If you think you can govern Australia with 76 members of Parliament, I wish you well. No one can go to the bathroom. Don’t have your grandmother die, because you won’t be able to go to the funeral.” (Bob Katter, independent MP).

5 Wafer thin.

“Clearly, a wafer-thin majority requires the Prime Minister and the leadership not only to reach out to the crossbenchers, but also all elements within the Liberal National Party Coalition, because I’m sure they must realise it will only take one person or two in the House of Representatives to cross the floor to defeat government legislation.” (Eric Abetz).

6 Staying afloat.

“It will be difficult, but I wouldn’t exaggerate the level of difficulty. It is always difficult … This is what I have been dealing with as Senate leader since I’ve been in the position; that is the nature of the Senate and it’s the nature of the task of a Senate leader.”

7 Can a moderate leader lead a bunch of right wing extremists?

“Our demise — if there’s such a thing — can only be brought about by ourselves. Are we saying to people that, ‘you prefer to put the nation at risk than to continue with the process of building it to a stronger position’. I can’t think of any of my colleagues who’d say, ‘no, I’d prefer to put the nation at risk’.” (Barnaby Joyce).

8 Hanging on.

“The narrowness of its majority in the House of Representatives will impose a discipline upon all of my colleagues.

“And I can tell you, regardless of what their views might be on particular issues, every last man and woman in the Coalition partyroom is united by a desire to win the 2019 election. And they have all been in politics or around politics for long enough to know that disunity is death.” (George Brandis).

9 Economics of unfairness.

“The agencies are saying Australia’s debt has climbed alarmingly, it’s not the AAA lending proposition that it used to be … And they’re looking at the political situation and they’re saying this: The political situation is so wafer-thin, that the chances of Government doing much about this have declined.

“Now, they’ll wait to see what happens. Will we make any progress on our budget deficit? Will we be able to reduce debt? If we’re not able to do that, if the political situation stops us from doing that, that’s the time we’ll get a downgrade.” (Peter Costello).

10 The economics of it all.

“It should be clearly seen by the Senate, by the Lower House, that we have to try and get the books of our nation under control, and we intend to do that. Because that is the ultimate … statement of healthcare, it’s the ultimate statement of education, it’s ultimate statement of people’s pensions and their social security — that we have to balance the books, otherwise there is no money there for it. We must do it.” (Barnaby Joyce).

11 Does Tony Abbott have any future?

“The point I’ve made again and again … is that the Abbott era is over and the Liberal Party rightly wants to look forward, not back.

“Now, I certainly want to be a constructive contributor to that process … and I think there’s a lot that I can do over the next three years to try to crystallise and clarify where centre-right politics in this country goes from here.

“But in terms of the top job, the Abbott era, as I’ve said before, is well and truly over.” (Tony Abbott).

12 Sack them all.

“I think it would have been gracious of the Prime Minister to reach out to his predecessor and say ‘of course somebody that led us out of opposition into government has something to offer the Liberal Party and the nation’. Somebody with that sort of experience clearly is worthy of inclusion in the Cabinet.

“The fact that the Prime Minister did not think that that was the case is for him to explain, but much as I would like to see a rapprochement, I have seen no signs of it.

“I think it was a strategic error by the Prime Minister not to restore one of us to the Cabinet to run a good ship. But having said that, Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews and myself never got into politics to see a Labor government installed.

“So we will do whatever we possibly can, albeit from the backbench, to ensure that good Liberal Party principles are upheld… and to ensure that Labor does not win the next election.” (Eric Abetz, Liberal senator from Tasmania).

13 Backbenchers are upset about superannuation policy.

“A lot of us held our noses, sold it during the election campaign, but then tried to tell the Government there was a problem here and it needs to be re-addressed.

“And regrettably there was a lot of stonewalling at first, which then led to the inevitable reaction, which was, ‘well, if you’re not gonna listen to me, I’m gonna cross the floor”.

“I would like to think that common sense will prevail. I’m still hopeful that it will, and therefore we can come to a resolution that says to our base, ‘we have heard you, we’ve listened to you, and here are the changes, and yes we get the message from the election’.

“If we keep going full steam ahead and pretend that nothing happened on July 2 other than a huge mandate for us, we will be going to an electoral disaster in 2019.” (Eric Abetz).

My thought for the day

“What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you for doing it?”

PS: On one of the Facebook sites I was inundated with questions about why I had it in for Barnaby Joyce – why I hated him. None of my answers seemed to satisfy the feral-right. What I was trying to convey was that it is not within my nature to hate anyone – it was just that I felt that he was simply unqualified for what is a serious position in Australian politics. More shortly.


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  1. Terry2

    In his rambling and mysterious weatherboard Nine resignation speech, Barnaby managed on two occasions to remind the Liberals that they could not have regained government after the last election without Nationals’ support.

    It’s a bit worrying that what he said is correct and they only managed a one seat majority at that. On one hand it means that Labor have always got a hard slog to achieve majority government having to overcome this sloppy marriage of convenience that the conservatives call a coalition. On the other hand, it shows just how fragile this coalition government is and if Barnaby’s bedroom antics diminish their vote even marginally they are gone.

    Meanwhile in Washington the joint Trump/Turnbull press conference was excruciating, not because of anything Turnbull had to say, he was quite balanced and coherent and certainly wasn’t fawning. Trump was his usual blustering self talking about how bad former administrations had been, how good he was and how his bloody family were unpaid emissories of the American people : son-in-law Kushner is evidently is going to solve the middle east problems and daughter Ivanka is representing the US at the Winter Olympics closing ceremony while her father turns the sanctions screws on North Korea…………..How can the good people of the US live with this !

  2. ajogrady

    The worse thing is the Media will feel vindicated In that they have done their job because he has resigned. If the Media were doing there job they would have brought up Joyce’s wreched performance a long time before the New England by election. What would have been the outcome of the vote if Joyce recigned then? We will never know because the Media did not do its very privilaged job. Is the Media going to do their job and not fall for the pathetic “he has made a great personnal sacrifice” and do some investigative journalism into the theft of water under his watch, the properties he has bought that the inland rail runs through and mining leases and fracking is now deffinatly on the agenda, the deals and the resulting backhanders he gets from Greg and Gina, let alone the benefits his “partner” obtained from a privilaged position.
    The court is out on the professionalism and integrity of journalists and the Media in general. The Media has failed miserably in its privilaged position of the Fourth Estate. They are the gatekeepers who are there to inform us, the people, factually and without biased to protect our Democracy.

  3. helvityni

    …and there’s our smiling Ms Julie in Hungary discussing asylum seekers, getting tips from them on how to be even harder,( if that’s possible,..) Orban is fencing them off , like Trump with the Mexicans….

    My very favourite Liberal, Michaelia, did not get a mention in your article….

  4. Ellen

    @ ajogrady, the media are over the moon with their righteous win. It was most ironic watching Fanning grill various Nats last night on an ABC Special about who knew what, when. Does anyone believe she wasn’t aware of the media hiding the real story until after the Nats were reinstalled in the NE election?

    I suppose all of us can be a hypocrite at any time so I’m not bothered by her role-playing, but it does throw up the fact that anything produced by the media is basically aimed at crowd control and maintaining the power of msm to promote a neo-conservatives agenda.

  5. kristapet

    Hoist them all on their own petards!

  6. Terry2

    We’re all out of petards !

  7. Keith


    When I began to read your article the word “nihilism” jumped out.
    There are politicians within the LNP who have a libertarian view of the world fuel by the IPA, Abbott and his followers come to mind. I believe they are practical examples of nihilism in practice.

    Like many I believe an ICAC needs to be created, one with teeth.

  8. Jack Russell

    Off topic, but this is the link to a short video by JuiceMedia made for GetUp!’s campaign against the gag charities bill. I don’t know if it will be a live link as I don’t know how but, anyway, I’m hoping some of you clever people will … then, as I’m not on twitter or facebook … share it far and wide on your social media. 👍

  9. diannaart

    Freedom and equality requires constant vigilance, which is a part of what AIM is doing and our government is out to silence – any of us who do not believe the bull shit and lies we have been and continue to be fed.

    Get Up is another among the voices against fascism and have produced the following Video:

    Please forward – especially to Labor – Bill Shorten what are you going to do?

  10. diannaart

    Jack Russell – Snap!


  11. Wam

    Dear Lord John,
    You are of a vintage where ‘hate’ applied to protestant and catholic bigots(muslims weren’t in the picture), KKK and the Nazis. Some Australians ‘hated’ the Japanese, communists and Aborigines. Children hated broad beans(I was going to say broccoli but I had never seen it) Different concepts then but now total overuse of the word. Similary with bullying for when I was bullied it hurt and the avoidance put an extra couple of miles on my walk home from school. That makes it impossible to be bullied on line with the evidence there for any officer to see and follow up. Sadly further confusion is soon to be released when sexual harassment hits the bottom and every Italian over 65 is gaoled for pinching it.

    Loved your thought, loved your thought and, by they way, loved your thought. It is good enough to think over and over. Wonder if the answer is 42???

    ps terry2 I wrote, to the ‘lazy’ knowall on the ABC who adapted someone’s ‘wheel’, objecting to the fact that the three sections to his wheel had the one seat grins instead of the multi representative nationals or there should be two. The reply pointed out that it was not possible to separate the policies between the nats and the libs. Funny answer when he was able to differentiate by ‘degrees’ the labor/grins! Thereby labelling me a labor/grins

    Pps dianaart it is too difficult for little billy(and torpid tanya) more Di’s style

  12. johno

    Thumbs up for Get Up and juice media !

  13. helvityni

    Wam, I know one kid who likes broccoli, it’s the only vegetable he likes…

    I could easily be a vegetarian but there is one vegetable I do not like: broccoli, yet I LOVE the baby broccoli ,BROCCOLINI…

  14. Matters Not

    Yes George has called for the end of the coalition and for that he ought to be congratulated – and then encouraged.

    “I would rather see a Liberal Prime Minister, Liberal Deputy Prime Minister, and a full cabinet of Liberal Ministers than have to compromise our values and the welfare of the good people we represent,” he said.

    He goes on:

    the “leftward drift” had meant the major parties were deserting blue-collar conservatives and regional Australians.

    The progressive side of politics should take heart with this latest development – given the politically disappointing decision of Barnaby to cut and run – at a time when he was doing so much damage. Now there’s a new champion who has entered the lists – to take up the important challenge of destruction.

    Just clap!

  15. johno

    Well said MN, clap for George.

  16. johno

    Matters Not.. George almost got the top job. Maybe his last stunt with the pistol lost it for him.

  17. Matters Not

    johno, because the Nationals have not released the numbers, George must have received more than his own vote. Did he get Barnaby’s support – I would think so and there’s a few others who might have sided to know that the 8 votes that Barnaby had are still in play.

    If George had been elected it would’ve been a tremendous outcome in the longer term. To have a buffoon as Deputy Prime Minister would simply be a continuation of recent history a la Barnaby. At some stage the electorate (hopefully) will awake from their slumber and confine Turnbull et al to the historical dustbin in great numbers.

  18. johno

    Patience is a virtue.

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