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Panic in Kooyong: The Threat to the Australian Liberal Party

He has been seen, not always accurately, as the more moderate in an otherwise conservative Liberal Party, which has governed Australia since 2013 in an at times troubled alliance with the Nationals. He has served as party deputy to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and proudly promotes his role as the country’s treasurer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Josh Frydenberg is nervous. There is also reason to suggest that he might even be panicking. The electorate he represents – that of Kooyong – is not quite so warm towards the sitting member as it has been in the past. The sitting MP has resorted to his home party base for comfort. “Incredible sea of Liberal blue at our Kooyong Campaign Launch, with more than 1,000 people present,” he tweeted on May 1. “So much energy in the room.”

The sitting member was certainly correct about the energy, in so far as it went to the head of one of his supporters in attendance. After voicing public approval for Frydenberg (“Liberals will win because of Josh”), volunteer Phil Elwood proceeded to become an impromptu “birdman”, imitating the sound of a Kookaburra and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo with gusto. Many political candidates have feared the distractions of the eccentric, dedicated supporter.

The seat has also been given licks and lashings of Liberal blue, with posters, placards and paraphernalia saturating the suburb. But all this extravagant expense of reminder in a seat traditionally held by the Liberals, there is a nagging feeling that a rude shock awaits on May 21.

That rude shock comes in the form of independent candidate Monique Ryan. “A vote for Dr Monique Ryan,” runs the standard line, “is a vote for climate action, integrity and a strong economy.” From her perspective, and those of similar candidates in other safe Liberal Party seats – Goldstein, Wentworth, North Sydney – the first two priorities, which have tended to find their way at the bottom end of the government’s list, stand out.

The Morrison government has made a name for itself in the field of corruption and a lack of accountability verging on the grotesque. Its members have shown little contrition on being exposed. In December 2020, when it was revealed that Morrison and Frydenberg had run up a bill of almost $5,000 for using the PM’s jet to attend Lachlan Murdoch’s 2018 Christmas party, it barely stirred a murmur.

Writing with some disgust about the episode, Nick Feik asked the relevant question: “How did we get to the point where the misuse of public money by our two most senior politicians provoked neither contrition nor embarrassment, and it scarcely even registered as a scandal?”

This is certainly not the case for the “teal independents”, who are insisting that the Liberal Party account for its sins and call out scandals and sleaze. They also support the establishment of an integrity commission with fangs, something which, according to a poll conducted by The Australia Institute, is endorsed by three in four Australians.

The momentum of such candidates has caused an outbreak of sweat among the sitting members. Frydenberg, for one, has resorted to attacking Ryan in a coarse, personal way. A central strategy, one fabulously juvenile and ill-informed, is to assume that an independent candidate can never, by definition, be independent. She would, for instance, have been incapable of flirting with various sides of politics in the past, to have voted for different and differing parties at different elections. She could not have been a swinging voter, but instead an unwavering member of a tribe from the outset.

This ossified veneration of the unchanging political mind came to the fore in remarks made by Frydenberg about Ryan’s own alleged lack of independence, telling his supporters that he was not “up against a true independent. I’m up against a political party.” Dark forces, he insinuates, lurk, and he risks being a victim of puppetry – the workings of the Climate 200 group created by clean energy advocate Simon Holmes à Court, or the “Voice of” movement.

He has even gone so far as to throw in anecdotes of desperation, including a chance meeting with the independent candidate’s mother-in-law, whom he had apparently bumped into at a “local café”. On receiving the good news that she would be voting for him, he recalled the answer: “Because you know what you’re doing and you’re a nice person.”

This march of the independents has terrified other former politicians such as John Howard, Liberal Prime Minister of Australia between 1996 and 2007. He has made it his personal mission to convince voters that the independent candidates are “anti-Liberal groupies” who do not represent the “middle ground”.

Showing a total lack of understanding as to how reactionary his own party became, largely due to his own demagogic handiwork, Howard could only wonder why the independent movement had not expressed an interest in running candidates against the Labor Party. “The only consequence of a victory for one of these will be to reduce the prospects of the Liberal Party forming the next government. It’s simple as that.” That, you would think, is the point of the matter.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Many political observers and commentators have correctly identified Little Johnnie Howard as arguably among the worst Prim Monsters ever to hold office for too long. His political demise at the strategy of Labor successful LABOR candidate Maxine McCue (?) was a stroke of political genius and despatched Howard and his self-serving Liarbrals to Opposition.

    It is a real shame that Howard should receive all the benefits of post-incumbency given the enormous damage his time in office caused to the nation.

    ” Howard could only wonder why the independent movement had not expressed an interest in running candidates against the Labor Party. “The only consequence of a victory for one of these will be to reduce the prospects of the Liberal Party forming the next government. It’s simple as that.” That, you would think, is the point of the matter.”

    The answer to the above rhetorical question is very straight-forward – STOP THE LIES VOTE LABOR

  2. Phil Pryor

    The author writes of Jack Howard’s total lack of uinderstanding about his party’s reactionary backwardness. Jack was always backward, egofixated, desperate to be noticed, obtuse, ill informed and rather non social. A dud suburban invisible solicitor used every means foul or fair to climb the greasy pole of ambition, desperate to get into the books. He set standards, unknowingly, lower than a bug’s botty, and clear attitudes of diving have ensued, with the current crop of conservatives grabbing, filching, abusing, in between the rorts, drinks, pokes, pukes and party antics. Frydenberg has no clear grasp of his material and fails to convince with easily determined facts. So, he smiles and lies, basic conservative policy. As for the P M, drenched in the suppurating filth of superstition and self deception, he creates a sick world of posing to cover his eternal childish laziness and failure to work or succeed. How this nation got taken over by subnormals, sub-Trumpites, sub-Capones, substitutes for humans, is beyond belief or amusement.

  3. Harry Lime

    Isn’t it all a heart warming state of affairs to see the likes of Fraudenburglar flotching his jocks at the prospect of seeing his delusions of the Prime Ministership evaporate in a cloud of his rampant mediocrity.Like Birmingham,he’s more of a forked tongued weasel than anything remotely ‘moderate’The Liar’s government is demonstrably worse than even that of the Lying Rodent,no mean feat.The ‘broad church’ has become a smoldering ruin centred around mendacity Morrison’s bloated ego.

  4. Ken

    Good article Dr Kampmark.
    I’m really enjoying watching Frydenberg panic about loosing his seat.

  5. Regional Elder

    Harry Lime,
    The Lying Rodent was one of Frydenberg’s political mentors, a man who modelled for him the art of political deception, and the finest of machiavellian tactics. Furthermore, in Frydenberg, we see the sheer absence of public spiritedness and a commitment to the wider public good, that so characterised Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in their respective nations, yet two 20th century leaders whom young Joshie has proclaimed he so much admires.

    Yes, and despite the ‘ nice person ‘ plaudit Frydenberg has conveniently applied to himself after reading the Herald Sun glowing recommendations about him this past weekend, I suspect he has learned well from The Lying Rodent.

    The best outcome for Australia on May 21st would be if Frydenberg’s fate is similar to that of The Lying Rodent, whose electorate unceremoniously voted him out of office in 2007.

  6. Consume Less

    Thanks Binoy, good to see a bit of panic in COALition ranks. Touch wood the end is nigh for Scooter and his crew of miscreants.

  7. A Commentator

    Does Binoy live in Kooyong? Because he doesn’t know much about Monique Ryan.
    * Unlike Zoe Daniel, Monique avoids answering questions she finds inconvenient. She deleted/blocks people who ask. She answers tame Dorathy Dixers, not ones about her political orientation.
    * Monique appears disingenuous. She neglected to disclose her past political affiliation, even when asked about organisations and causes she had supported in the past. Instead she talked about her hockey club.
    * She refuses to say anything about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The only people that are silent are marginal anti western democracy, anti NATO types. Those types aren’t numerous in Kooyong.
    * Monique has been asked whether she supports MMT, or whether she considers public debt a problem. That’s another question she declined to answer.
    * People are entitled to understand Monique Ryan’s general political orientation by getting answers, but she doesn’t disclose it.
    Monique Ryan is policy free and disingenuous.
    Don’t bother.

  8. A Commentator

    I hope Frydenberg holds the seat, just as I hope Jim Chalmers, Chris Bowen, Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek all remain in parliament.
    Losing capable potential leaders of either party isn’t in the interests of good government.
    And Binoy, there was no attack, and it wasn’t coarse and personal.
    Monique Ryan’s mother-in-law approached Frydenberg unsolicited.
    If Monique Ryan can’t even persuade her mother-in- law to support her candidacy, why would anyone else?

  9. Phil Pryor

    Our commentator should become a candidate, with his sweet reasonableness, broad minded summations and generous nature. He’d be better than Barnaby Drunken-Roota. We need fresh blood, spilled or flowing.

  10. Kaye Lee

    A C,

    “there was no attack, and it wasn’t coarse and personal.” and there was no need to bring it up for smug political purposes and expose a vulnerable person to the subsequent brouhaha.

  11. A Commentator

    I listened to the ABC interview with Monique Ryan yesterday.
    At no stage did she allege that her mother-in-law objected to Frydenberg disclosing the endorsement. She said she had a “different recollection”
    She didn’t say she was bothered or annoyed. She made the ridiculous point that “he will come after my children next”
    That stupidity was repeated throughout.
    Monique added that her mother-in-law was a “formidable woman” who had practiced law into her 80s
    Monique Ryan hasn’t been transparent throughout the campaign.
    This is no different.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Of course it is. It is pointlessly juvenile.

  13. Harry Lime

    Upon some quiet introspection,I have determined that Josh WOULD be a fitting leader for the detritus that is the current ‘broad church’; useless, self serving,incompetent,entitled and hypocritical…all admired and encouraged characteristics in the new ‘church’ as fashioned by the Liar.The question becomes,what would he be leading other than the rump of a failed ideology? The earthquake hasn’t hit yet, but the tectonic plates are rumbling in the form of the so called’Teal’ independents and the growing support for the Greens.More people appear to be sick of the duopoly,despite Labor being infinitely more desirable than the current pile of ordure.Change is going to upend the current status quo, which has well passed it’s use-by date.Vote early and vote often.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Does Binoy live in Kooyong? Because he doesn’t know much about Monique Ryan.

    Yet here you’ve been advocating against independents in electorates that you don’t live in.

    I live in the Indi electorate and I’ll be voting for my independent, Helen Haines.

  15. A Commentator

    Do you know the comment was made without the approval of Monique Ryan’s mother-in-law?
    As I said, no one has said she was offended or annoyed.
    The key element (in my view) is that the Voices for… have all the funding of a political party, all the branding and marketing, all the same slogans, the same major donor…but without any leadership or coherent policy framework.
    It is vacuous, and that particularly applies to Monique Ryan

  16. Kaye Lee

    I have to say I find AC’s obsession with MMT. Ukraine and who an independent might support should they be elected with a hung parliament surprisingly unimportant. I would have thought, if they were genuinely considering what is important in this election, they might have better priorities and I would certainly hope any candidate did.

  17. Michael Taylor

    The key element (in my view) is that the Voices for… have all the funding of a political party, all the branding and marketing, all the same slogans, the same major donor…

    Who, pray tell, is Helen Haines’ major donor?

  18. Albos Elbow

    Let’s put Commander Potato Head in charge and challenge the Chinese to a ping pong game.
    Li Jin Ping v Penny Wong Pong.
    Winner takes all of the South Pacific, inluding Australia and New Zealand.


  19. Terence Mills

    It was entirely wrong for Frydenberg to use a private conversation with Monique Ryan’s mother-in-law (or anybody else) for political purposes unless the mother-in-law agreed to that : did she ?

  20. Albos Elbow

    The Far Right Honourable Mr Frydenegg MP has certainly learned well from his corrupt mentor Scummo.
    Since he has become Federal Treasurer he has knocked more than 1.3 billion dollars off the NDIS Budget.
    Yet he continually says to the Australian public that he has not cut NDIS funding and it is “fully funded”.

    He’s no mark on his boss Scummo in the Lying Olympics but is giving Scummo’s Olympic record a fair old go.
    In desperation of trying to retain his seat and corrupt money cashflow, is deploying a torrent of varied “half-truths and no-truths” in quick succession, leaving an opponent helpless when trying to combat any particular point in his argument. How good is that?

    Morrison can serve it up with the best of them and is doing his level best to bring along the next generation of arse licking, fossil fuel billionaires kissing COALition ministers and potential future Australian PMs.

    Whether he wins the election in another Hillsong prayer halo miracle or not, Scummo has vowed to keep training and practicing the COAL-NP trademark penchant for lies, corruption and misinformation, whether you think we need it or not.

  21. A Commentator

    Simon Holmes à Court is the major donor to most of the Voices for candidates. He has that convergence of business and political interests that seems to attract criticism when it occurs with others

    I’m not aware of anyone saying disclosure of the conversation was a surprise to Monique Ryan’s mother-in-law

    #It’s reasonable that a political candidate talk about issues that illustrate their orientation. Monique Ryan assiduously avoids that. Why?

  22. Michael Taylor

    I repeat: “Who, pray tell, is Helen Haines’ major donor?”

  23. Kaye Lee

    What do you mean orientation? What if someone doesn’t have an orientation and, gasp horror, would judge each issue as it arose with the benefit of the expert advice available to MPs. Imagine someone who thought the experts worth listening to in front of the party whip.

    Regardless of whether m-in-law gave permission or not, it is a cheap shot unworthy of anyone of decency. Why mention it? It’s childish and totally irrelevant. It is a great example of the immaturity of the boys the teal candidates are challenging.

  24. Andrew J. Smith

    Re. AC on MMT that many of the centre-right present aka the ‘New Liberal Party’; beware the ‘libertarian trap’ on a vaguely modeled, untested and yet to be tried system of Keynesian economics on steroids.

    The potential outcomes could include unforseen (or planned?) costs and inflation blow outs that can then lead to a (radical right libertarian) need to crash budgets and government?

    From Levy Institute US:

    ‘Critics have argued that MMT is not a theory because there is no mathematical model. Others have argued that there is a theory but that there is nothing new and, even if there is, it is not valid, it is misleading, and it pushes the logic too far.’

    From Intereconomics EU:

    ‘MMT does not address the opportunity costs and distributional consequences of the monetisation of deficits by the central bank, e.g. its impact on asset prices, that may affect both the demand and the supply side of the economy and therefore the inflation constraint, even before full employment is reached.’

    Just another way to try split the electorate and parties on economic policies, while allowing space for more libertarian economics.

  25. A Commentator

    ✓ I see Helen Haines is on the list of candidates supported by Holmes à Court. So I presume he kicks in for her campaign
    ✓ I’m not sure that anyone is suitable for federal parliament if they’re still trying to decide whether or not government debt is a problem.
    ✓ Or whether or not they have a view on the conflict most likely to lead to nuclear war, in about 60 years.
    ✓ Monique Ryan won’t discuss the issues current issues that will give voters a view of her political orientation.
    If her (formidable woman, lawyer into her 80s) mother-in-law, who knows her, doesn’t think she’s up to it, why would anyone else?

  26. peter

    Josh is moderate.
    So moderate.
    Look at his voting record in parliament.
    so moderate it hurts

    Come on man.
    Are you suggesting that should he rise to PM we will all see how moderate he is?
    yeah, nah
    get rid of the candidate on 21 May

  27. Canguro

    “the Voices for… have all the funding of a political party, all the branding and marketing, all the same slogans, the same major donor…but without any leadership or coherent policy framework”

    How’s that ‘leadership & coherent policy framework’ for the LNP working out?

    erk! glug! The bar is set particularly low if you believe that.

  28. Harry Lime

    Albos Elbow,re the NDIS cuts…putting the’ N’ back into cuts.

  29. Kaye Lee

    “Leadership and coherent policy framework” from the LNP has resulted in three different PMs, six ministers for defence, and 20 different climate and energy policies, which have been announced with fanfare before fizzing into the background, or just being trashed altogether.

    Morrison and Joyce are self-confessed retail politicians – not leaders and certainly no coherent plan. In fact, Barnaby and coherence in the same sentence is silly.

  30. Canguro

    Let’s put this illusion that to be competent one has to belong to a major party to bed. The smoke & mirrors illusion that clouds the reality of the incompetence of many politicians – claiming, as they do, competence – has, hopefully, reached its use-by date.

    Laurie Anderson nails it, as she so often does.

  31. A Commentator

    You know what you’re likely to get from a political party, even if you don’t like it.
    Monique Ryan assiduously avoids questions that might illustrate her political orientation.
    Dodgy and disingenuous

  32. Kaye Lee

    You keep insisting that someone has to have a political orientation. I don’t even know what that means. Is it unquestioning allegiance to a party? That is the sort of lazy thinking that has landed us with the dross currently filling the government benches.

    The independents are obviously dissatisfied with what the Liberal Party are offering. So are many of us, including once Liberal voters.

    It amuses me watching the boys try to bully these women into answering their script and I admire the way they are dismissing such attempts at control.

  33. Albos Elbow

    Exactly Harry Lime and with Hillsong putting the Rs back into Souls.


  34. A Commentator

    Whether you have a view that regards government debt as a problem or not is a political orientation
    Whether you consider Russia’s war on Ukraine justified or not is also a political orientation.
    And I think I mentioned previously, the only thing Monique Ryan has said about Ukraine, is criticism of the government over acceptance of Ukrainian refugees.
    If she is capable of forming a view about that, she can also consider and comment on the reason that they are refugees.
    Several of the sites established to support her post pro MMT views, as well as anti NATO and western democracy views
    I think Monique is being careful to not to alienate these types
    Voters are entitled to understand more about her views- beyond climate change and an anti corruption commission

  35. Kaye Lee

    Viewing debt as a problem or not with no context is an ideology, not an orientation. Debt invested in things that bring a greater return is called investment. Debt incurred to stimulate an economy may be necessary to ward off greater evils like recession and unemployment. Debt which results in productivity gains may well be worthwhile. A government doesn’t have to save for their retirement, they have to keep on investing in the future.

    I may not be representative but the war in Ukraine and speculation about NATO does not figure in any way when considering who I would vote for in the Australian federal election.

    Dr Ryan’s comments were about remembering all refugees including those stuck in Afghanistan. She wants the intake number lifted She spoke about the plight of women and girls in war and asked “Please keep the plight of Ukrainian people at the top of our minds in the weeks and months to come.” Men might care about the dick-swinging – women care about the humanitarian crisis.

    Her approach is to listen to issues of concern raised by members of the Kooyong community. I guess Ukraine wasn’t high on their list.

  36. Michael Taylor

    Thanks for that link, Kaye. I like what she stands for.

  37. A Commentator

    I’m not going to get into the semantics about whether it’s a philosophy or an orientation.
    However, I have repeatedly referred to MMT, not simply government debt.
    The Kooyong electors are generally well educated and mainstream in politics.
    I think most people here would be concerned about a politician that didn’t embrace an orthodox economic (philosophy)
    Most regard NATO as an important defensive bulwark, and think western democracy is a flawed system, but superior to that overseen by Putin. They would be suspicious of a politician that didn’t share those views.
    Ukraine and the risk of escalation is a significant topic of conversation around this neighbourhood, and probably every other suburb in the countty
    Monique Ryan has been repeatedly asked about those, and other issues.
    Ignoring legitimate questions is not the behaviour of a community candidate, or of someone who is committed to open dialogue.

  38. Kaye Lee

    I recently attended a large country funeral and spent a few days down on the farm. I also hosted a party at my place on Sunday, guest ages ranging from 28 to 78. At both events, there was a lot of talk about politics and the election with VERY different views expressed. Not one person brought up Ukraine or NATO. I think it may be more important to you than most of us, at least in the context of this election.

    As for MMT, it suggests that inflation occurs when demand outstrips the productive capacity of the economy which is exactly what we are witnessing now. It’s not some big boogy man theory. IMO it is exactly what we do anyway – we just get caught up in arguments about terminology and accounting.

  39. Fred

    AC: While you are, as are the rest of us, entitled to know the political orientation of each of the local candidates vying for our vote at each election, the enduring theme I have noticed is “we will never know up front”. I’ve been unimpressed by my “local” representative at the various levels of government on more than one occasion for being contrary to the position put during election or supporting inappropriate legislation tabled by party loonies.

    Yes, in many electorates the race is to the bottom or all of the candidates are not worth saving should any “catch on fire” or worst of all being in a “blue ribbon” seat where your vote doesn’t count.

    You may be right that Monique Ryan might not be suitable due to “fence sitting” (no declared position), but who is worthy of votes in Kooyong? The known incumbent has a proven track record of lying, cluelessness, poor arithmetic, etc. – do you want more of it?

    If you cannot determine a candidate’s position after reasonable research, don’t vote for them.

  40. Kaye Lee


    I think Monique’s policy priorities succinctly encapsulated the things that matter to me most and I would even venture to suggest to most people. They are sensible.

    “My commitment is to faithfully represent the views and values of the people of Kooyong, and to listen to the experts on the issues that face our community. My policy priorities will not be determined by any donor, lobbyist or party.”

    What a novel idea.

  41. Michael Taylor

    I’m with you on that one, Kaye.

    She’d get my vote.

  42. A Commentator

    I’m not sure where you are Kaye, but I spend about 40% of my time in Kooyong and about 60% on the coast.
    The conversations are different.
    I was out for dinner with friends recently, all live in Kooyong. The only political issues that came up in conversation were the war in Ukraine and some anxiety about public debt.
    On the other hand, on the coast, the town has an abundance of greens. Conversations are all about climate change, or unhappiness about a nearby development.
    So my experience is that different electorates show interest in different issues.
    It’s not as if a condemnation of Russia’s invasion has to be wordy of elaborate. A sentence or two would be enough.
    Similarly, how difficult is it to say- I share people’s concern about the high level of public debt.
    Monique Ryan won’t say it.

  43. Kaye Lee

    I must say, my greatest disappointment and a glaring hole in EVERYONE’S policy priorities, is public education. As teachers in NSW strike today, think about what they have been asked to do during the pandemic. Think about what they are doing now, coping with massive staffing shortages. Perrotet asked them to wait until after the budget to negotiate. They have been waiting since February last year.

    Advocates of public education in NSW might like to consider giving their Senate vote to Jane Caro, who is not a one trick pony but who would definitely be vocal in support of public education.

  44. Kaye Lee


    Thanks for that link. How many Liberals must be thinking the same thing.

    “My concerns today are about Australian democracy. They relate to the lack of accountability in the government; the blatant pork-barrelling; the use of public money for party electoral advantage rather than the public interest; the pursuit of immediate political advantage rather than the long-term interests of the country; the daily focus on politics rather than good government; and the way the government is reactive rather than forward-looking.

    This government appears to be dragged kicking and screaming to policy positions that most sensible Australians would support – including on climate change. Does anyone really think the government is as serious about carbon reduction as the community or the business community? Add to this the cruelty shown to people who have established that they are refugees yet are incarcerated and condemned to hopelessness at great public expense.”


    I live in Robertson in NSW and am currently represented by the nodding head, Lucy Wicks. Being a marginal seat, I am being polled to death. Yesterday’s, oddly, was mainly about gambling. Though that might be coming from Perrotet who is preparing a budget. Who knows. I would like to know who commissions these polls since I am donating my time to take part.

  45. A Commentator

    And I’m not concerned in the least about an ALP government. The LNP haven’t demonstrated they deserve a further term.
    The ALP front bench is very talented and disciplined.
    My concerns are-
    + I would like an ALP government to have an opportunity to implement their commitments, without having to constantly negotiate with a gaggle of opportunists. This provides too many excuses for failure to implement.
    + I don’t think emasculation of the Liberal party leadership pipeline is in the long term interests of the country.
    + In this electorate, Monique Ryan hasn’t demonstrated the transparency people could expect of a “community candidate”

  46. Kaye Lee

    Would you label Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott as “a gaggle of opportunists”? They negotiated carbon pricing in return for their support in a hung parliament. Labor was not game to do that at that time. It was working well. Andrew Wilkie negotiated for gambling reform (which was sadly later watered down). And then Labor blew themselves up.

    I do not share your high opinion of Frydenberg. The slide shows do not cover the lies. I cannot admire someone I know I can’t trust to be honest. He has enabled the bad behaviour.

    I do not know enough about Ryan to comment other than I like her published stuff.

  47. A Commentator

    A decade ago I was a regular visitor to Port Macquarie. I was there during the 2010 election.
    Oakeshott was the most popular independent candidate I had seen, until now
    About 1 in 10 houses displayed his poster. I was there again exactly a year later, and the electorate had swung strongly against him.
    He campaigned as an independent, but with a rural/National Party orientation.
    That’s what the electorate thought they were getting. It turned out not to be the case and the community antipathy towards him was palpable.
    It wasn’t his opponents undermining him, it was his failure to recognise the character of his electorate.
    There’s a lesson in that for many other independents.
    As I’ve said, I would like an ALP government to be stable and without excuses for their policies.
    The likelihood is that there won’t be the 3 independents the Gillard government dealt with, it is likely to be a dozen or more.
    That’s not the recipe for success government, in my opinion

  48. Kaye Lee

    If they are replacing the rabble that currently warm the government benches, it can only be an improvement.

    Yes, Windsor and Oakeshott were punished electorally. With hindsight, those electorates might be ruing what they got in their place. Although Barnaby sure knows how to hand the cash out.

  49. Phil Pryor

    The commentator does not understand or accept individuality or intellectuality, quite common. He might embrace brainless slogans as “policy”, e g, stone the christians, yellow peril, drown the witches, reds under the beds, infidels, murdering indians, etc, and act accordingly, no decency or considered thought required. Oakshotte’s previous electorate was a proven twisted cheat, i e, a typical country party operative. Independents must be grilled as to policy, perhaps in breadth, but, clear issues arise which the conservative clods and claptrappers avoid,especially essential action of carbon policy and climate change. Frydenberg, if you observe over time, is a dud, a liar, exaggerating and propagandising for ambition, party and donors. His embarrassing defeat would be delightful and assist the recovery of attitudes of decency in politics. He smiles lies and grins misinformation. Stuff that. Alternative??

  50. A Commentator

    If time servers and rabble were the main criteria for removal, there’s about 60% of all MPs that should be replaced. However, in my opinion, Frydenberg isn’t one that requires replacement, because ultimately parliament and government will be stronger and more effective with a capable opposition with an intelligent leader

  51. Michael Taylor

    a gaggle of opportunists.

    Well thank god there’s none of those in the Coalition.

  52. Phil Pryor

    That eliminates Frydenberg, commentator, for he is a vile front for interests and ambition. He boasted of creating a million jobs three budgets ago, not that he could, for only Public service jobs are actually created by a federal government. The true net figure over the last FOUR years is 530,000 ( cf, A Kohler’s summations) and that includes shitwork of one hour per week employment, to allow international comparisons of figures. The true figures of unemployment and underemployment are c. three to four times the announced ones. His farcical lies on debt, gross and net, are unbelievable outside of Disney. We are now beyond a trillion…our exposure as a proportion of debt to GDP rises alarmingly annually. A capable opposition with a strong, intelligent, honest, decent, accountable leader is and would remain highly desirable, so, have a go next time, get in and be someone, the dream of the ambitious politician anyway. Money earned or made by any means is a bonus, hey? However this is under my name though I often reply to a fog, fart or fluff, hiding…

  53. Consume Less

    Crikey, now Monique’s brother has joined the fray. Josh really has made it a family affair. Hopefully it will be goodbye Josh 🙂

  54. A Commentator

    I won’t bother to reply to the weird, verbose, incomprehensible comment(s) It’s another that can be summarised as – “I swallowed a theausus, and I’m now randomly regurgitating it”
    There’s 15 minutes to proof read, a post. Try using it

  55. leefe

    Howard’s “anti-Liberal groupies” comment is disingenuous in the extreme. Most of the Teals are moderate Libs.

  56. Canguro

    The now-deceased former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, speaking at the UN General Assembly the day after GW Bush had appeared, announced, “The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today… ”

    I’m in the electorate of Bennelong, once the political fiefdom of one John Winston Howard. I regularly walk the dog past the local leagues club. JWH made a visit to it several days ago, to stump for the Liberal aspirant vying to replace John Alexander, who’s retiring.

    And each time I tread on the spot where the Rodent so recently stood, Chávez’s words resonate.

    Sad really. For as Hannah Arendt noted: “Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.”

    And John Winston Howard, the epitome of banality, was most certainly a failure at thinking, and, in the final assessment, an arbiter of evil.

  57. Canguro

    Not that it’s entirely, or even marginally necessary, but just to drill the point a little deeper, here’s the clip of Chávez at the UN in New York in September 2006.

    Call it a personal folly if you will, but it seems to me, and I’m certain, countless others, that what we see here is a courageous man, a leader of a ‘third world’ country that is constantly demonised and threatened by the USA – nothing new in that – a most common and unfortunate element of the hegemonistic propensity of the Great Satan nation, a leader who could serve as an example of what real leadership looks like; something that is almost entirely lacking within the shores of this country.

  58. Terence Mills


    I think John Howard was making the point that the so called teal independents were mainly uppity women and as we all know women in the Liberal tradition stick to making cups of tea and baking scones.

    Instead what we have are a group of mainly women who are engaged, intelligent and articulate certainly something that is foreign to the Liberal tradition.

    Incidentally have you noticed how John Howard seems to be regressing to resemble cro magnon man ?

    Click here


  59. leefe

    Thanks Terrence, but I’ve already seen – and heard – enough of the Lying Rodent to do me for several lifetimes.

    I thought the tea and scones was more a National Party thing.

    I have no doubt LJH’s problem is exactly what he’s said – Libs are being targeted rather than Labor or Greens candidates. Plus a certain amount of residual sour grapes over having been ousted by Maxine McKew, which was one of the most gloriously schadenfreudish moments in Australian political history. Howard, like Josh and many other LNP candidates, knows the Teals are a genuine threat.

  60. Terence Mills

    I caught some of the debate between Frydenberg and Independent Monique Ryan today – unfortunately not many will see it as SKY had an exclusive, again – there must be a deal operating between Murdoch and the Liberal party for SKY to be given this sort of exclusive access.

    Dr Ryan is no slouch, she was well prepared and caught Frydenberg on the hop a couple of times – Frydenberg rather nastily mentioned again that Ryan’s mother-in-law would be voting for him. Dr Ryan pointed out that bringing family into the election campaign had meant that her mother-in-law an elderly lady was now receiving abusive phone calls as though she were a candidate. I repeat what I said above, without having her permission [he didn’t] Frydenberg should never have brought the in-law into the election campaign.

    Interestingly, when the Treasurer started on about Jobkeeper and the 700,000 jobs saved, Dr Ryan noted the multi-millions that had gone to private schools under Jobkeeper ($750 million) in circumstances where, as I understand it, none had actually seen a downturn in revenues and most posted record surpluses – seems a classic case of pork barreling particularly as the universities and public schools received Zip ! This needs looking into.

    I wish her well.

  61. Michael Taylor

    Terry, they have form.

    Prior to the 2007 election my department was asked to get as much dirt on Kevin Rudd’s wife we could dig up (Hockey was our minister). She ran job centres – which my department funded – so she was known to the department.

    We refused to comply with the request. It was sleazy and unethical.

  62. margcal

    The full Frydenberg vs Ryan debate can be seen here :

    I am a Ryan volunteer. When knocking on doors (I hate doorknockers!) and people are asked what concerns them most, what government can do better, climate is number one, integrity is high on the list, the economy is down the list and Ukraine has never been mentioned. Perhaps some one or few have mentioned Ukraine to other doorknockers – that will go into the compilation of concerns, but pretty much what Ryan is campaigning on is what does concern people most.

    A Commentator clearly has no time for Monique Ryan in particular if not independents in general. He is looking to criticise and so succeeds. No one is perfect. I speak only for myself but it seems to be a common opinion that in Ryan we have someone who will represent us and be answerable to us, in Kooyong. Her values align with mine in a way Frydenberg’s and the Liberals’ don’t and never will. In addition to that, he and they need to remind themselves that this is still (for the moment) a democracy. No person or party has a right to any seat in the country or position once elected. Voters have no obligation to vote for Frydenberg so he can fulfil his boyhood dream of becoming prime minister.

    Australians being what they are, they wouldn’t be putting any effort into getting rid of anyone who was any good. And a mighty effort “is” being put in to get rid of Frydenberg. It is personal.

    I see this election as a “must win” for sufficient independents to make both major parties sit up and take notice that they can’t keep on as they have been over the past 15 years or so. If not this election, I won’t live long enough to see the next chance Australia will get.

  63. A Commentator

    Margcal- “Her values align with mine…”

    How can you be certain? When we vote for a political party, we have an idea of what they stand for. There are spokespeople on every political issue, there are written policies that they can be held accountable for.
    Parties discuss every issue.
    Monique Ryan limits her issues to less than a handful, and apparently we are expectrd to take her on trust.
    I don’t think that’s good enough.
    …and I’ve only mentioned 2 issues, there are numerous questions that Monique just refuses to answer.
    I could detail more but won’t right now.

    Since you’re a volunteer perhaps you could ask her about MMT and let us know
    And I had Monique volunteers knock on my door recently, I didn’t mention Ukraine or the economy, I just ask why she ignores questions, then deletes them. The volunteers just politely excused themselves.

  64. GL

    Friedeggburger in the lead role of the Kooyong Liberal Playhouse’s latest production of The Miserable Pleader. Hear him sing “I am Pleading, Marge and Tina” (with apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber) and other classics like “I’m Pleading from 9 to 5” (apologies to Dolly Parton) and “Imagine…there’s no Josh/You may say I’m a pleader” (apologies to John Lennon). Don’t miss out on seeing The Miserable Pleader…pplleeaassee…I’m begging you…

  65. GL

    And now a new song has been added. Hear Friedeggburger singing “Pleading” (apologies to Gavin Sutherland/Rod Stewart) with meaningful and heart wrenching lines like:

    I am pleading
    I am pleading
    For my seat

    I am begging
    I am begging
    Like a liberal
    On the edge

  66. Kaye Lee


    I assume you have quizzed Frydenberg about his application of MMT then. He proved you can spend as much as you want, totally unconstrained by taxation receipts.

    The face value of AGS on issue is $886.5 billion with another $3 billion to be issued in the coming week. The RBA bought up $350 billion’s worth.

    Now that the spending has outstripped the productive capacity of the economy, we are seeing inflation occur.

    Sounds a lot like MMT to me no matter what you want to call it.

  67. A Commentator

    The problem with MMT, is the same as with fossil fuels.
    You can get away with burning the resource (funds) for a generation, maybe 2.
    Just like fossil fuels, it will be the next generation(s) that have to repair the damage and cop the consequences – and have their policy options limited by a mountain of public debt
    No advocate of MMT will provide a guarantee that there will be no unintended or adverse consequences
    A question about MMT is entirely reasonable to put to a candidate who has no history of political advocacy, and who is not in a party that has economic policies that we can discuss and scrutinise.
    The stonewalling is duplicitous

  68. Kaye Lee

    As an Independent, Dr Ryan will not be bringing down budgets.

    As Treasurer, Frydenberg is completely responsible for the decisions that have led to this mountain of debt.

    As for duplicitous, how do you feel about Frydenberg claiming credit for a $100 billion turnaround in the budget when all that happened was his predictions for the future a few months ago were $100 billion different to his predictions for the future now showing he actually has no idea what the future holds. The turnaround came purely from deliberately underestimating commodity prices, and from the biggest deficit year (21-22) dropping out of the four year forward estimates period, not from any great economic policy. THAT’S what I would call duplicitous.

  69. A Commentator

    As a political candidate, without the backing of a party, should take every opportunity to engage with people and discuss issues of interest or concern.
    A “community candidate” should double up on this
    In the event of a hung parliament, Monique Ryan will be critical in determining outcomes in a range of policy areas. Including budget, taxation, economic development.
    She hopes to have a share in the balance of power.
    Given this is one of her campaign points, it is reasonable to expect her to deal with the questions that arise
    The fact that she doesn’t, is political duplicity

  70. Kaye Lee

    I am noting your avoidance of talking about the actual (as opposed to hypothetical) debt run up by this Treasurer.

  71. Michael Taylor

    I am noting your avoidance of talking about the actual (as opposed to hypothetical) debt run up by this Treasurer.

    Kaye, colour me surprised.

  72. A Commentator

    Do you notice that I’m critical of all excess public debt? And that certainly applies to the level we currently have.
    The question I have put to Monique Ryan, on several occasions was – “do you consider the level of public debt to be a problem, or are you an advocate of MMT?”
    It’s a straight forward question, but she doesn’t want to deal with it

  73. Phil Pryor

    The commentator, with every right to comment, to enquire, to fixate, has had double figure goes here, and failed to strike a blow or score a point. The longest running duck here… so, why doesn’t the precious peanut just vote for Frydenberg’s chronic lying, miscalculation, lack of skill, numeracy or talent, and ignore all others? Policy does not matter, nor questions and answers, because the conservative shit just lie, cheat, deny, coverup and parade their inadequacy, hypocrisy, evil greed and triumphal posing, under a lazy lying turd P M who has never ever worked or succeeded. What stupidity and shit. Frydenberg is a clear lying, cheating, boasting, whining, whingeing, incompetent failure, while other candidates have at least potential.

  74. Kaye Lee

    Would you ask that same question to Frydenberg?

  75. A Commentator

    Why do I need to ask that? I know exactly what he would reply, because he repeats his public debt statement on most days
    But I have no idea what Monique Ryan would say.
    I think people in the electorate are entitled to receive a reply, if they make a polite inquiry, as I have

  76. Michael Taylor

    AC, you’re being very trusting of Frydenberg to speak with truth.

    I lack that trust.

  77. Canguro

    A random thought perhaps, AC, but I’m guessing most people aren’t as fixated on the Public debt/MMT issue as you seem to be. Of course you’re absolutely entitled to believe otherwise, but maybe more prosaic issues dominate – you know – like health care, education, treatment of refugees, transparency in politics and the reducing of malfeasance and corruption, and so on.

    I may be totally wrong, I admit, but I’ve known a few academics in my time, they often inhabit another universe, out of touch with the common man. Nothing wrong in that, but it’s a limitation, no less.

  78. Kaye Lee

    I have never heard Frydenberg discuss how he plans to deal with the debt. The way things stand at the moment, he is relying on bracket creep for the medium term.. That could be solved be annual indexation of bracket thresholds. but I’m not holding my breath for Josh to do anything actually meaningful.

    If I have missed some sort of plan from Frydenberg, I would like to see it. As far as I can see, he’s got nothing.

  79. A Commentator

    MT, it isn’t trust, it’s simply predictability.
    Don’t you think a community candidate could reply to a reasonable question?

  80. Kaye Lee

    A C,

    This seems to be your own personal gotcha crusade rather than a substantive question.

    You talk about predictability to excuse Frydenberg from scrutiny.. Did you predict that he would oversee the largest debt outside of wartime in the country’s history? Did you predict he would bake in deficits for decades? This is not what he predicted so it would seem far more productive to ask the man who might be Treasurer what his plan is to address this very unpredictable situation. Grow the economy? Is that it? Another three word slogan?

  81. Terence Mills

    It seems that Morrison is so desperate he has even hinted that he would negotiate with independents like Monique Ryan just to keep the top job.

    But peter Dutton is another matter, he will strengthen his quest for leadership with Frydenberg out of the way ; even if he does so from opposition.

    There could be an ambassadorship in waiting for Josh.

    Interesting times !

  82. A Commentator

    As I said, Frydenberg is a known quantity. People can make decisions based their view on his performance and representation
    Someone who is representing a political party is much the same. You know (overall) what they stand for.
    That’s not the case with an independent, and those in the electorate can reasonably expect clarification of their views and political philosophy.
    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  83. Terence Mills


    Frydenberg is a known quantity and many of us don’t like what we are seeing .

    Figures provided to parliament by the Australian Tax Office reveal that 700 private schools, including some of Australia’s wealthiest, raked in $750 million in Jobkeeper handouts, in circumstances where there were no significant losses to revenue.

    Public schools and universities received nothing in Jobkeeper and in the latter case severe reductions is academic staff had to be made.

    This coupled with $39.9 billion of JobKeeper paid to businesses who didn’t experience a 30 per cent turnover decline (as required by the legislation) gives no comfort that Josh is the right man for the job of Treasurer.

    I believe these statistics to be factual, am I wrong ?

    References :

  84. margcal

    If the government loses, will Dutton become leader?
    I know he’s the obvious contender, but if the unthinkable (in Liberal minds and hearts) happens, might there be a huge revolt against any/all of the current leaders?
    I merely speculate but you never know. That would be a most welcome surprise.
    Should we take the obvious for granted?

  85. Kaye Lee

    Oh yes, we know what to expect from Josh.

    On integrity, I offer his role in the Angus Taylor Grassgate scandal.

    On leadership, I offer his inability to sell the NEG to his own party.

    On probity, I offer his bribe to Barnaby Joyce of billions for dams that have no business case just so they could announce a net zero target that government members have already declared dead.

    On competence, I offer the billions wasted on profitable companies (and private schools) through the poorly thought out and administered Jobkeeper program – the idea was ok, the execution appalling.

    On loyalty, I offer his current campaign clearly distancing himself from his leader.

    Josh clearly believes he is meant for stardom. The grin breaks through every time he is asked about his aspirations. But I see no sign of strength from him at all. He might be more personable than Morrison but he has not shown any sign of being a capable leader.

  86. A Commentator

    Kaye Lee, vote how you like, but it’s reasonable to understand what you’re voting for.
    Monique Ryan so assiduously avoids answering questions that we have no idea what she stands for

  87. Michael Taylor

    AC, did you watch her debate with Frydenberg?

  88. Harry Lime

    The truth is,Frydenberg,along with the Liberal Party are rooted He’s been happy to coast along. on the lies of Morrison, like all the other incompetent and self serving passengers.Total bullshit on managing the economy,likewise with climate change and nearly everything else.If he’s been doing such a splendid job, why do the good burghers of Kooyong want to see the back of him? The downhill slide started with the advent of Howard,who proceeded to kick the blocks out from under the Liberal Party,replacing the general good with doing anything to retain power,whilst lying his arse off and attempting to install his narrow ,bigoted view of the world.And here we are,with a grotesque thing like Morrison,who’s even worse.It could have been different,but people who cared about good government have been replaced by people who care only for themselves , their lobbyists and their donors..(See Fred Chaney).The fact that Morrison has stacked the government with like minded cultist fools makes the whole farrago worse.They can’t be gone too soon.

  89. A Commentator

    MT, I’ve watched part of the debate on YouTube, I’ll watch the rest soon.
    Monique Ryan is unimpressive, in my opinion.

  90. GL

    All I can say is thank god that Monique Ryan isn’t a Green! I don’t think anyone could stand the tag team of AC and wam going off their collective nuts about her.

  91. A Commentator

    At least you know what a Green candidate stands for. That’s not the case with Monique Ryan

  92. Kaye Lee

    For those who still don’t know what Dr Ryan stands for:

    Reduce emissions by at least 60% by 2030, in line with Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill
    Accelerate electrification and decarbonise our electricity supply
    Speed up the uptake of electric vehicles and strengthen emissions standards
    Empower households to make the shift to clean energy
    Invest in Australian research and development
    Position Australia to harness the massive job and investment opportunities from decarbonisation
    Promote a strong sustainable recovery from COVID for small and medium businesses, universities and the arts
    End taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel industries
    A strong and independent federal anti-corruption commission
    Root and branch reform of political campaign funding
    Truth in political advertising
    Support for media diversity and a well-funded ABC and SBS
    Funding programs to prevent discrimination, harassment and violence against women
    Better pay, training, and career paths for workers in childcare, disability support, and aged care
    Affordable childcare and expanded access to early childhood education
    Humane treatment and speedy processing of refugees
    Promotion of diversity and cohesion in our workplaces and our communities
    Protecting the rights of vulnerable minorities, including the LGBTIQ+ community
    Support for reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations, including acceptance of the reforms called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart
    Urgent implementation of the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations
    Improved access to mental health services for young people
    Improved accountability for service provision in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
    Investment in innovative medical technologies and onshore manufacturing

    Sounds like an admirable list of policy priorities to me. Of course, I’m not sure what curry she prefers or what football team she follows or if she has a dog.

  93. Albos Elbow

    From my experience demonising the Greens is not as effective a weapon as it used to be, especially with young progressive people.
    Old corrupt dinosaurs like Scummo just don’t get it.

    Whats so wrong with establishing a Federal Integrity Commission, properly taxing billionaires & big corporations, paying back jobkeeper millions you were not entitled to, protecting the rights of women, children and the LGBT communities from persecution, respecting indigenous peoples and our Treaty, Replacing coal and gas with 100% renewables. Dental and mental healthcare covered under Medicare. Wiping student debt and free education for all. Affordable housing. De-casualisation of the workforce providing more secure, well paid jobs. An end to all forms of discrimination, welcoming refugees from all countries, listening to our Pacific allies when they raise their concerns with us and so on….

    What sort of Australia do we want people?

  94. Harry Lime

    You’ve got my vote, Albos Elbow…when do I get my $400.000,000 to think about the Reef?

  95. Albos Elbow

    Harry, shoot me your bank account details and password and my trusty Nigerian accountant will organise it for you.

  96. Michael Taylor

    Speaking of seat-warmers in Parliament, in the eight years I’ve lived in northern Victoria I don’t know of one thing – One. Thing. – our Liberal state representative (Bill Tilley) has done.

    I don’t call him ‘Silly Billy Tilley’ for nothin’.

    He was nearly rolled by a young independent at the last state election, which I thought might stir him into action, but I think he’s just still keeping the seat warm.

  97. GL

    “You get to ask the questions, not say what the answer is,” sayeth the Scummo who then almost immediately does what Scummo always does: “Morrison side-stepped actually providing an answer to the press…” and then ducks, dodges and avoids answering and and finally scuttles off into sunset when it becomes too hard for him.

  98. A Commentator

    As I said, those are about 3 important polices- carbon emissions reduction/environment, diversity and inclusion, prevention of political corruption.
    That’s about it.

  99. margcal

    Interesting to read this when it popped up 8 months after the event. I wonder what the Commentator and part-time Kooyong resident thinks now?
    I remain delighted.

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