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The Base

By 2353NM

Everyone in the building industry will tell you the maxim to ‘measure twice and cut once’. Given the events of August 2018 in the Liberal Party, it is clearly something that failed challenger Peter Dutton and his henchmen, apparently including Finance Minister Cormann, should remember next time. Dutton lost the first ‘spill motion’ 35 to 48 early in the week; you’d have to question his judgement in thinking that he could turn it around so fast to try it again on Thursday. After all, it took Turnbull months to dispose of Abbott!

Regardless of how he got there, Scott Morrison is now Prime Minister, with Josh Frydenberg as Deputy Liberal Leader and Treasurer. They claim to be a generational change and while Morrison is younger than Turnbull (and Abbott), a number of Turnbull’s Ministers either kept their jobs or played musical chairs around the Cabinet Table. While the usual players are promising ‘no wrecking’ and ‘no backstabbing’, to be honest, you wouldn’t be the only one who thought there isn’t a great deal of belief that the promises will be kept.

When Senator Fierravanti-Wells resigned from the Turnbull Ministry in late August, she accused Turnbull of ignoring ‘the conservative base’. So who is this ‘base’?

According to The Conversation, there are about 50,000 members of the Liberal Party in Australia. While 50,000 people scattered across Australia sounds like a lot — really it isn’t. The AFL Grand Final is a few weeks away and there is usually a capacity crowd at the MCG to witness the contest. According to this report, the MCG has a capacity of 100,024 people. So, the entire membership of the Liberal Party is around half the crowd at the AFL Grand Final.

Given that around 50% of the Liberal Party seemed to support Turnbull before Dutton and his conspirators started working the phones, and the same-sex marriage plebiscite thingy showed (like the opinion polls) that around 61% of those that took the time to vote supported the progressive position, it’s easy to suggest for the purposes of discussion that a little over half of the Liberal Party membership would identify as supporting ‘some measures’ in accordance with Turnbull’s publicly stated positions. The rest wouldn’t. Again, to visualise it, half the crowd at the AFL final is a member of the Liberal Party and slightly under half of those members are apparently conservative, so a little under a quarter of the crowd at the MCG in late September would represent ‘the conservative Liberal Party base’ that doesn’t support managing emissions and if the truth be known, doesn’t see the imminent danger of unfettered climate change.

Turnbull clearly (and some would say cynically) delayed the inevitable by insisting on the Solicitor-General investigating if Dutton was eligible to sit in Parliament as he has interests in Childcare Centres that receive government benefits, as well as asking his Parliamentary Whip to contact each Party Member to confirm they did sign the petition to call a spill. Obviously, Turnbull was giving Morrison some time to ‘work the phones’ as well as Dutton. You would have to ask why Turnbull would have concocted any of these plans if he didn’t think that Morrison would be the least-worst option for a change of leadership.

So Morrison has a problem. 2GB’s Ray Hadley fired a broadside across the newly minted PM the day after he was elected to the position by giving ‘free’ advice on how to remain in favour — broadly follow an ultra-conservative agenda that appeals to the conservative base of his political party. So much for the remaining 24,975,000 of us that new PM Morrison claims he is working for as if the entire population of Australia was considered, the leadership challenges in 2018 would not have occurred.

As discussed on The Conversation’s website, the right-wing media has given a megaphone to the reactionary end of the Liberal Party to the complete disregard of those that don’t have the ultra-conservative beliefs of people like Ray Hadley.

Inside Story discusses the successes of the past 18 political leadership challenges across Australia — click through for the gory detail. Let’s just say that there are few ‘successful’ outcomes here. Given that two of Turnbull’s antagonists, Abbott and Joyce, are fervently against anything that could be remotely considered as measuring or managing carbon emissions, and given that people such as Malcolm Turnbull’s son are claiming they couldn’t in all conscience vote for the Liberal Party that won’t help Morrison either.

Even more, ironically, the battle for the hearts and minds of Australia mounted by the ultra-conservatives since Abbott overthrew Turnbull in 2009 have been about the politics of reducing carbon emissions from the generation of electricity. The claim is that any reduction through the use of alternatives to coal will make electricity too expensive for ‘the average Australian’. The fact is that power prices don’t even make the top 10 items in the household budget although the price has been increasing at a rate greater than inflation. As far back as 2012, there were media reports that ‘environmental factors’ were not the main contributor to the rising power prices for domestic consumers; it was the excessive expenditure on the ‘poles and wires’ — the infrastructure that moves the electricity from the generating plant to our homes. In other words, the ultra-conservatives have been drawing attention to the increasing price of power, drawing attention to the increasing use of renewables and making the conclusion that renewables have increased the price. The ultra-conservatives’ campaign for the past 10 years has been built on a lie.

Morrison has seen at first hand the damage that Abbott and his bunch of sycophants can do to his political party and the Australian Government. If Morrison’s pitch is about being there for all of us he could start on the right foot by acknowledging the 24,975,000 (or thereabouts) of us not in the Liberal Party’s conservative faction also have a voice. He could demonstrate this by passing legislation and regulation that do care about the economy and environment we are leaving for our kids and telling Abbott and Co to pull their heads in. Then and only then can Morrison start to rebuild democracy in Australia to some semblance of what it should be, rather than assisting to wreck it.

Unfortunately, Morrison’s choices so far demonstrate he doesn’t have the capability to do so, and the minority of the crowd win again.

What do you think?

This article by 2353NM was originally published on The Political Sword.

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  1. Bronte ALLAN

    So Sco Mo is our new PM! So what! He is yet just another of those inept, lying, obscenely over-paid, so-called “liberals” & also a charismatic church zealot to boot! He “cares” about his own children (of course), but does not care or consider the plight of all those children currently in all the overseas jails, just because their parents are breaking some law. It does not mean the children are too! And as for his “new” (sic!) Cabinet, what job has bloody Rabbott got? And what about his old mate Duston? Nothing will change regarding the libs position on climate change, energy prices, jailing would be immigrants (& their children), NOT ensuring that the huge number of overseas companies etc not paying enough or any tax. And so the list just goes on! Nothing changes, everything stays the same. Well except he has made the retiring age officially now at 67, not going on up to 70, as Talkbull etc were going to do.
    Another great article AIMN Network!

  2. Peter F

    ” the main contributor to the rising power prices for domestic consumers; it was the excessive expenditure on the ‘poles and wires’ ” . . . . . . . By the time the Coalition realise that the general population is switching, slowly but surely , to being independent of the ‘poles and wires’ it will be too late for them and their Coal based support. It might not happen next week, but it will happen before they wake up to it.

  3. Geoff Andrews

    Peter F,
    Are the Australian made solar panels cheaper or more efficient than, say, the Chinese, German, Canadian or Swiss ones?

  4. The AIM Network

    Good article Bronte. The status quo. The Liberals with their born to rule attitude. It all seams so depressing. I wonder if the list of a million or so Aussies living overseas will now increase. With the asylum seekers and refugees issue alone, I am so ashamed and have trouble explaining the situation to family and friends in The Netherlands. I sometimes wish my family never came to this country.

  5. New England Cocky

    “The ultra-conservatives’ campaign for the past 10 years has been built on a lie.” Indeed, the Morriscum mantra of “for all Australians” is another duplicitous lie.

    There is only one credible resolution for the Australian people; that is an election ASAP so that the people may decide the fate of who should control the Treasury benches an national POLICIES.

  6. Kaye Lee

    “Dutton lost the first ‘spill motion’ 38 to 45”.

    Correction: the vote was 48-35 in favour of Turnbull remaining PM.

    When our less than illustrious accidental leader took to twitter in reaction to something he read in the Telegraph, I sent off what I suspect will be the first of many complaints to him. I can’t comment on his facebook page because he banned me back when he was a lowly Immigration Minister so, instead, I will keep phoning his office and sending emails. I would encourage others to do likewise. Keep those phones ringing.

    This was today’s correspondence with Mr Morrison.

    “As a teacher with decades of experience, I cried when I read your tweet about gender whispering. My son used to think it was affectation too…until it was one of his friends. Perhaps you don’t understand the origins of the Safe Schools program. We teachers were desperate for some help on how to deal with kids who were struggling with their sexuality. We have had too many kids destroyed by intolerance and judgement. We do not “teach” kids to be gay. We try to teach kids that they are valued regardless of their sexuality, race, religion, beliefs. We try to teach kids to be accepting of diversity. You said that you don’t want other people’s values pushed onto your children. I so agree. So please don’t push your values onto our children. Where is your love and compassion? Is it only for people who pray like you?”

  7. Kaye Lee

    And he also needs a lesson on hat etiquette.

    You don’t emerge from the air force jet wearing the baseball cap. You don’t wear it when injecting yourself into kids’ football training. And you don’t wear it in a classroom.

  8. Kronomex

    He’s a silk and satin purse pretending to be a sow’s ear.

  9. Patagonian

    The idiot thinks the baseball cap gives him the ‘common touch’. All part of the make-over. Unfortunately he looks like Billy Bunter.

  10. johno

    Why then, do us aussies vote these morons in. We voted abbott in ffs.

  11. helvityni

    ….yes johno, but Scottie is sooo nice, he’s urging us all to love each other…I hope he doesn’t get angry with me because I’m also concerned about of those suffering little children on Nauru and Manus….

    I’m confused again ; I don’t know if I should listen to Jesus or Scottie….

    Blessed be, love ya all….

  12. 2353NM

    @Kaye Lee – Oops, your right – it was 48-35 to Turnbull. The rest of your post is very accurate as well.

    @helvityni – you’re loved too!

  13. jimhaz

    [According to The Conversation, there are about 50,000 members of the Liberal Party in Australia. While 50,000 people scattered across Australia sounds like a lot — really it isn’t]

    It is and is not. It is something that needs to be considered in relation to other power groups (ALP membership aint too crash hot either). The thing is that those who still remain attached to parties are the most rusted on and one can expect them to be the most alt-right. There are also moves in play to democratise the party for pre-selection which means these rusted on will seek people who hold the same views as them – far off to the right.

    Within 10 years the party could be as bad as the US Republican party – not just full of alpha idiots and self servers, but complete nutters as a majority.

  14. jimhaz

    [Scottie is sooo nice, he’s urging us all to love each other]

    Notice how reluctant he was in saying that.

    It seemed to be a case of “I really really dislike non-straight people, but I have to play the game, and my church group says it is not wise to go too much against the changing social contract, so I’ll have to pretend to accept them while grinding my teeth”

  15. helvityni

    jimhaz, it was all embarrassingly corny…hardly prime- ministerial…

    2353NM, and a big smile for you…

  16. Zathras


    It’s exactly like the US Evangelicals and Trump. They claim things like the California bushfires and various tornados were God’s judgement on anti-Trump voters, that opposition to Trump is like opposition to God and that Hillary was Satan incarnate.

    They realise Trump is not a “real” Christian but are convinced he has been appointed by God to do “His work” and Trump knows how much he needs their support.

    These people are simply the American Taliban and our local evangelicals are not far behind in using their political influence.

  17. Kronomex

    So the NEG is “dead” according to Pastor Morrison. Wonder what his plan to lower power prices is going…oh, I just realised that maybe…prayer? The electrifying power of praying to to the great big multiple personality afflicted invisible “I only like the human race so sod the rest of the universe” all-powerful being who lives in the sky will keep the country going for ever and ever and…

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