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Plan B

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How will the Liberal Party brand itself philosophically under Peter Dutton’s leadership?

The LNP went down without so much as a whimper on May 21 2022. It was a defeat one could blame on many factors; race, misogyny and right-wing MPs of the Liberal and National parties. And those same people are still around today. You know who I mean – yesterday’s men who still believe it’s their right to rule.

The Liberal’s defeat could also be blamed on factors such as a lack of policies, flawed leadership, consistent failures while in power, and poor economic management. However, the main reason was that the public had finally caught up with the Americanisation of our politics. Its leader Scott Morrison played a lone hand in a presidential-style campaign.

A Liberal Party review of their defeat:

“… concluded that the Coalition campaign failed to make policy central to the pitch for re-election, allowing a presidential campaign focusing on Scott Morrison.”

By the time the campaign commenced, Morrison had been holding a mythical hose for so long that he was drowning in his own slime.

Now my interest shifts to where the party will end up philosophically after such a terrible defeat and who is currently under Peter Dutton’s leadership. Thus far, Dutton has not fully revealed his hand in total. There have been vague murmurings about what political identity they might adopt, but it may be one they don’t want.

“We aren’t the Moderate party. We aren’t the Conservative party. We are Liberals. We are the Liberal party. We believe in families – whatever their composition,” Dutton said.

After comments from Liberal moderates including Simon Birmingham, Dave Sharma and Matt Kean that the party had lurched too far to the right, Dutton said he wasn’t going to be radically shifting the Coalition – but also said he wasn’t “some extreme rightwing person.

We can’t be Labor-lite and we won’t be if I’m elected leader,” he said. “We’re a centre-right party.”

If he wasn’t some “some extreme right-wing person,” what is he, and who does he represent?

If last week’s superannuation kerfuffle was anything to go by, one could only conclude that the Liberal party is a party for the rich, the top end of town, and the privileged. Duttons “in-your-face anger” at Labor’s policy change that would wedge Dutton by moving the Liberals to the far right was poorly sold but still had the desired effect.

What else could one conclude when a party supports individuals placing $400 million in superannuation for no other reason than receiving a 30% tax discount? Doing so is more like saving for the kid’s inheritance.

The punters out there in average land are not economists; they don’t argue all the ramifications of such decisions. All they do is, with open eyes, see some mega-rich dudes taking advantage of a tax-saving scheme. And remember, a tiny number of people have hundreds of millions of dollars in the system. That 0.05% of Australia’s population is taking advantage of yet another tax break.

Since he has said he would repeal the legislation in support of a few filthy rich people, Peter Dutton fell for the Albanese wedge hook, line and sinker. When asked who he supports on this matter at the next election, he must answer the 0.05%.

They have lost solid blue-ribbon seats to the Labor, which were once on the moderate left faction of the Liberal Party.

Factional infighting is now controlled by the far-right of the party. Candidate selection will also be under their control in both State and Federal elections. In several states, the organisation is conflicted by the faction fighting over the management of candidate selection. Particularly women.

The party is ageing, and it was reflected in the election result and will further do so. The last census also confirmed it. Those who have stubbornly supported the conservative side of politics are rapidly dying off, and the young progressives are replacing them.

The success of the “Teal” independents raises the question of what the party might have looked like had it been 50% of women MPs. They might have changed their culture and become truly right of centre.

It will be a mighty big ask of the remaining moderates to rebuild their base and regain their safe seats.

As it is now, Labor and Teals control that space, and it will be challenging for a far-right conservative party to win it back. If, indeed, that’s what Dutton has in mind.

In an excellent piece for The Canberra Times Mark Kenny wrote:

“Still, Anthony Albanese and his treasure Jim Chalmers were careful to sidestep the broken promise charge, first by making the change small in scale and, more importantly, by delaying its commencement to July 1, 2025. This means it is not so much a broken promise from the last election as a whole new promise for the next one, Labors unspoken dare is, if you don’t like it, don’t vote for it.

But handing voters this yea-or-nay hasn’t stopped Peter Dutton’s Opposition from proclaiming a gotcha moment and pledging to repeal the change if elected.

‘They said they wouldn’t do it, they just did it, enthused frontbencher Paul Fletcher in a statement which must have had Labor thinking ‘Come in spinner!’ “

Dutton showed how desperate he is to pin a broken promise on Albanese, but Albo’s experience won the day.

With a probable “No” on the Voice, the Opposition looks very much like it is trying to wedge itself. Either that or it has no place to go. Thinking Australians might also add the findings so far at the Robodebt Royal Commission and conclude that all these acts are of a far-right philosophy and ask; “Do we really need that?”

But the attacks led by Peter Dutton could have a fatal effect on the Voice proposal. He knows that history tells us that without the support of the Opposition, the referendum may not succeed.

I’ll leave the last word to the much-respected George Megalognis, who writing for the SMH said:

“The conservative argument for the Voice understands the consequences of a No vote for social cohesion. The defeat of the referendum, by whatever margin, would split the country and damage the interests of Old Australians just as surely as it would crush the collective spirit of First Australians.”

My thought for the day

With others occupying all the philosophical spaces in our politics, the Liberal Party has no room to fill other than the far-right.


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  1. andy56

    I can tell you already how Dutton will brand himself. ” learn from Abbott”
    Even now there is on going debate in the media about women earning less than men in their lifetimes and so having less in super than men. HELLO DIPSTICKS, a chance to have a decent policy.
    I will tell you straight up, this is bullshit statistics. Its bullshit because its SEXIST. I know lots of people who have less than $60 in super as they come into pension age. AND SURPRISE SURPRISE they are not women.
    Will they come forweard with a policy to help people with lower super get in the game or are they going for the “women’s” vote?
    NO WAY jose, Dutton is going WITH his mates’ super, you know the 1% who dont have to plan a holiday, it just happens.

    A chance for good is thrown overboard, because as i see it, Labor certainly isnt doing anything and Dutton just wants to score points. THis is one reason i always go on about Super being a policy disaster, cause for people who cant amass half a mill and dont have a house, it is. Your retirement consists of sitting in gods waiting room. Pergatory, oh how the christians like that !!!

  2. Michael Taylor

    “Learn from Abbott”.

    Love it, andy. So bloody true.

  3. New England Cocky

    John Lord, can you explain why Australian voters, fully informed of the chronic incapability of the 2022 COALition election team over nine (9) years of submission, simply returned the same chronic representatives to suck on the public purse at enormous expense, rather than despatch them to the WPB?

    “[Y]esterday’s men who still believe it’s their right to rule” were returned to political office …… when will they ever learn!!!!!!!

    Boofhead Duddo will continue his racist polices against Aborigines especially and suntanned immigrants while pandering to the ultra-wealthy with whom he hopes to join after a long career as Life Long Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal opposition. He will become rusted into the position because his deputy, $us$san Leyzee, has less empathy than a week-dead mullet.

    Thankfully we have independent media (like AIMN) to play the role of the little boy in the King’s new clothes.

  4. Ross

    C’mon John, do you really think Dutton will still be opposition leader come the next election?
    Spud isn’t setting the electorate alight with his wit and charm. The mainstream media is not helping with all the puff pieces and the large colourful photos of his darkly menacing bald melon.
    Plus his nightly presence on the TV news frightens the kiddies and usually sends people frantically reaching for the remote.
    Everybody knows Peter Dutton and that is why he rates around the 25% approval rating.
    As much as we hope Spud will be opposition leader far into the future it’s a lay down misere he will be deposed as soon as someone more publicly acceptable hoves into view.

  5. Roswell

    Ross, the danger is that he’ll have a 100% approval rating from the Murdoch media.

  6. Terence Mills

    I’m searching to find a Dutton policy initiative that could make him an attractive alternative leader : there’s nothing, just a vacuum !

    There’s plenty of instances of things he is opposed to – mainly anything the government comes up with – but nothing that displays any vision for this nation.

    Had he dressed up as Tina Turner that at least would demonstrate that he has a sense of humour – but no, there’s just nothing there.

  7. Clakka

    Waiting for the ‘Second Coming’. As the xtian conservatives, evangelists and conspiracists fall over themselves to dominate the Liberal Party, indeed it may well be ‘learning from Abbott’, and certainly the Great Pumpkin (Dutton) will be bound to stand aside for Woland and the Master of the Abyss.

    Then it will certainly be a party to behold.

  8. Harry Lime

    The Liberal Party is dead,and making Dutton leader simply proves they have learned nothing,zilch,zero,nada.To make matters worse,they still have the stench of the few survivors from the May train crash daily reminding us of their unelectability.Dutton is a vacuum, caught between having no ideas and vaguely thinking he had one.With his disturbing visage and his inability to appear anything like personable,we impatiently await the cremation and burial.Dutton philosophical?….don’t think so.Leadership? spare me.

  9. Benjamin

    Abysmally, that’s how.

    They are a rabble without a clue.

  10. B Sullivan

    “the referendum may not succeed”

    May I simply point out that a referendum is judged a success not by the result, but by its accuracy in reflecting the will of the people voting. A yes majority is not a success, a no majority is not a failure. A referendum is a rarely permitted voice from the people to parliament and it is a success if it is heard and heeded by the parliament no matter what it says. It is not a question about what is right and wrong, it is a determination of democratic support for, or opposition against a proposition.

    If you don’t like the result, it is probably your will, your choice, your proposition that didn’t succeed in winning majority support, not the referendum. Though there could be some systematical bias due to differing regional state results that effect a true democratic reflection in the outcome of the referendum.

  11. Harry Lime

    I note that monsignor Perrottet has resiled from having the ghoul Dutton campaign with him…he’s quite capable of losing without any outside help.Maybe Spud should concentrate on Queensland politics,because outside of a small section of the Sunshine State,he’s political poison.Even his own party, brimming with arseholes,rejected him in favour of the contemptible Liar.If only he had the ability to match his ego.His only redeeming quality is that as long as he remains leader,his party is doubly doomed.Come to think of it,long may he reign.

  12. totaram

    B. Sullivan: Thank you for making that very clear. “The referendum may not succeed ” indeed!

  13. totaram

    I forgot to talk about the title of the post: The liberal/National / Coalition branding itself “philosophically” in whatever circumstances. Hilarious dear sirs!!

    These people cannot even spell “philosophically”, notwithstanding the spell-checkers of today! Even if they can spell the word, would they even know what it might mean? No sirs, they will bumble about in the usual manner, which suffices for the majority of their rusted on supporters. These rusted on types seem to be diminishing in number (thank Dog) but we need to be ever vigilant. The scare campaigns waged by them with the aid of the “free press” have always made the difference between defeat and victory for their clan, as we saw in 2019.
    Nothing to do with philosophy I assure you. Just “brutal retail politics” as the redoubtable Peta put it. Let us hope that the voters of today are over that kind of nonsense, but who can tell?

  14. andy56

    its the same petty infatuations with our bedrooms these mongrels have. Thats more important than “principles”. They have poisoned the well of empathy australians used to enjoy. Dole bludgers has been the cry for as long as i remember. Its enabled all sorts of mean spirited policies like raising the age pension age to 67. Treating married couples like shit by paying them less in a pension than singles. Four strangers sharing a house is ok, apparently. 3 gays living together would fry their brains. They instigated robodebt, cause dole bludgers, well they dont deserve anything, lets make life impossible for them. Because by making life miserable for these people they can save money for the rich in their subsidised riches. I didnt see an attack on capital gains or negative gearing, they could have saved billions. Instead they ploughed on for what? lost $1.8b. and ruined countless lives.
    You know, you couldnt write the script. The incompetance and arrogance of ideology. They should be in gaol.
    It begs the question, if these people got into office on merit, what are the others like? Total fuckwits?
    The small L libs lost out big last election, and serves them right. They were all happy to enjoy power but did nothing with it. They allowed themselves to be held hostage to idiots like Abetz.
    The rump that remains is the dregs. To expect them to turn on the intellect is dumb thinking.

  15. wam

    albo no more broke a promise than gillard, by succumbing to the bandit, but she got juliar.
    The bandit is jumping into labor and albo is headed for being an esebeet.
    The teals may be more ‘liberal’ but the are liberal party and are but with some massaging around xmas the aberration of 2021 will quietly abate.?
    When dutton, with his police beliefs, can go from a $million to $30m and an unapposed political leadership, surely, he is in for the long haul?

  16. LambsFry Simplex.

    A really good read.
    And totaram’s comment about the void representing neolib “philosophy” is pretty right, given what the ROBOdebt inquiry showed up.

  17. Phil Pryor

    The picture of Dutton, vomitously vile and potentialy venomous, shows the ex modest ranked Queensland copper at his best, which is grubturd high. With an intellect yet to be found, and a personality like a wrestler’s armpit, this figure of derision keeps a seat warm for an emerging mediocrity who might shine in the absence of honest competition. There is no philosophical comeback for the conservatives. Real philosophy concerning liberalism includes the Mills, Gladstone, Asquith, T H Green. Flubber and froth like Peter Duckwit-Futton lack essentials, of life, talent, skills, honesty, charm, sense, decencies. He remains a cadaverous, clapped out, clunking claptrap conveyance permanently punctured. Is there a true liberal left, anywhere?

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