Under threat from Independent candidates, so-called Liberal moderates have chosen a new and rather extraordinary campaign pitch – if we want action on climate change or protection of gay rights or gender equity, we need to send more moderate Liberal MPs to Canberra.
We tried that before and the Liberals themselves booted them out.
Malcolm Turnbull had his leadership rolled in 2009 over action on climate change and again in 2018 for the same reason. Moderate Julie Bishop’s long service as deputy leader meant nothing to the big swinging dicks who apparently hold sway in the party.
Kelly O’Dwyer, Craig Laundy, Jane Prentice, George Brandis, Arthur Sinodinis, Christopher Pyne, Sharman Stone, Judi Moylan, Sue Boyce, Judith Troeth, John Alexander, Scott Ryan and Tony Smith – all gone.
The leaders of the so-called moderates who are left – Simon Birmingham, Marise Payne and Paul Fletcher – all spew the party line and have been silent on the issues the independents are campaigning on. They obviously have no influence, seemingly unwilling or unable to stop the party’s lurch to the right where candidates like the odious Katherine Deves are championed by the PM and climate change denier Jim Molan is chosen as the second-best Senate candidate the party can offer in NSW.
They claim credit for marriage equality when, instead of just legislating it, they dragged the country through a hateful campaign where we publicly debated the legitimacy of people’s very existence. Having soundly lost that argument, we have had homophobic religious culture wars ever since.
They claim credit for the government’s 2050 commitment to net zero, knowing full well that they don’t have a plan to get there or the will to try. I’m not sure exactly how long this latest iteration of a plan lasted before being declared dead – buried along with all the other acronyms. Meanwhile, we stick with Tony Abbott’s 2030 targets.
I’m also not sure that a plea to re-elect moderates is helpful for Josh Frydenberg who has shown himself to be thoroughly dishonest in his last two portfolios. Pork-barrelling and dodgy grants and contracts have flourished under his watch, something he certainly doesn’t want scrutinised by a federal ICAC. Distancing yourself from your leader in the midst of a sinking election campaign smells more rat than moderate.
Here’s a tip for the so-called moderates – if you, like the rest of us, think your party is going in the wrong direction, change parties. Or go teal next time.
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