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Why I Support Liberal Values…

In the wash-up after the Aston by-election, Peter Dutton asserted that there was nothing wrong with Liberal values and that he saw no need for any basic change. This is not to say that he didn’t heed the lessons from the loss which apparently are that Labor ran a nasty campaign by reminding voters that he was leader of the Liberal Party.

Now I’d just like to say that I do support Liberal values. All right I did have to look them up on a website because it’s one of those things that everyone talks about as though we all know what they are because everyone must know or else they’d have to be clearly defined.

Once I looked them up, I found that there were heaps and heaps of them and that they were slightly different in each state but, here in Victoria, they were contained under three subheadings: People, Families and Communities, Free Enterprise and Reward for Effort, and Parliamentary Democracy and Rule of Law. Under each subheading was a list of things such as: “We believe in the inherent dignity, responsibility and potential of all people” and “We believe in conserving, protecting and sustaining our natural environment and national heritage”.

Even the potentially more contentious Free Enterprise and Reward For Effort subheading had things that were hard to argue with. Take this one, for example: “We believe that where the private sector can deliver a service efficiently and fairly, an unnecessary burden should not be imposed on the taxpayer.” While it’s possible to argue about the relative success of privatisation, it’s very hard to suggest that one thinks that “an unnecessary burden” should be imposed. Ok, we may get bogged down in semantics about whether it’s necessary for those who are providing jobs for people out of some sort of altruism should have to pay tax just because they’re making several million a year from their philanthropy.

So, I can certainly see where Mr Dutton is coming from, even if it’s hard to see where he’s going to. But then I guess that’s been the whole problem of the Liberals ever since Tony Abbott was so effective in stopping Labor from achieving anything in government…

Well nothing apart from the NDIS, beginning a National Broadband Network, the Gonski blueprint for reducing inequality in education, a carbon pricing scheme and avoiding a recession during the GFC.

Once Tony replaced Labor he set to work on his agenda for government which basically consisted of the following:

  1. The adults are back in charge and we’re open for business so the economy should be all right now.
  2. Women can have a rolled gold maternity leave scheme so what more do they need? (Later scrapped because it cost too much)
  3. More Knights and Dames will give Australians the sort of rewards they need for their work. However, before we’ve given them to more than a handful of Aussies, we need to give one to Sir Prince Philip… or should that be Prince Sir Philip.
  4. Handing down a Budget that rewarded the lifters and punished the leaners, making the leaners even leaner.

Abbott was considered so bad that the Liberal Party replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull who they’d dumped just a few years earlier. Turnbull, as a millionaire from Point Piper, was a bit too left but after he promised that he wouldn’t do anything as PM apart from tell everyone that things were ok now that they’d removed that Abbott character who didn’t do anything wrong but just didn’t sell his message, the conservatives and the extremists buried the hatchet and made Turnbull leader. Unfortunately, they didn’t bury far enough away from Tony Abbott who once again showed his determination to outdo Labor by becoming even more destabilising than the deposed Kevin Rudd.

Of course, not doing anything wasn’t enough for some in the Liberal Party who felt that even though Turnbull was sticking to his word, he didn’t really want to do nothing and that he probably even harboured impure thoughts about doing something to prevent climate change and, while impure thoughts aren’t enough to convict you in a court of law, Peter Dutton announced a challenge which he lost. After the loss he pledged to be loyal but not so loyal that he wouldn’t rule out another challenge.

When it became clear that simply doing nothing as PM was no longer an option for Turnbull, he did the only thing that he could do which was resign. While this seemed to open the door for Dutton, Scott Morrison had been quietly telling colleagues that when it came to doing nothing as PM, he could make Malcolm look like someone who had a full agenda.

And so it came to pass that those who knew him best, rejected Peter Dutton as leader because they found Scott Morrison a more appealing candidate.

I think that I should probably repeat that: Dutton was rejected by his colleagues in favour of Scotty from Marketing.

Yes, when it comes to Liberal values, I must say that now that I’ve looked, I find that there’s a number that I’d find it hard to disagree with… It just makes me wonder why on earth the Federal Liberal Party ignores most of them, most of the time.


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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    You know when you see a headline like ‘why I support liberal values’ in the AIMN you are going to get a bit of satire from Rossleigh and today’s offering didn’t disappoint.

    Like him I think it should be repeated again, ad nauseum “Dutton was rejected by his colleagues in favour of Scotty from marketing”.

    Now it looks like Scotty from Marketing, probably the laggard in terms of obtaining a post-govt sinecure, has got himself some sort of gig, probably with a non-taxpaying fossil fuel climate destroyer, it looks like Dutton might have another opportunity to demonstrate just how little the voters like him, though apparently Cook falls very heavily on the conservative side of politics.

    If the good voters of Cook can lift their eyes from re-runs of Sylvania Waters long enough to do their civic duty having first weighed up the alternatives, and give ‘the Scummo effect’ its trifecta — NSW, Aston and Cook — we will finally be able to truly consign the worst government in Australia’s history to the garbage bin of, yes, history.

    And in the process ensure that Dutto and the illiberals remain unelectable for decades to come.

  2. Florence Howarth

    There is one issue that Abbott did manage to sabotage during Rudd/Gillard’s years. Manage to prevent Labor from bringing in any action to slow the boats. While doing so, Abbott & his mates stood on the back of a truck, in front of a billboard, announcing the boat arrivals each day. Challenging the boats to keep coming. The Malaysian solution was too cruel!!! Abbott eventually let through the Housten Solution because it reopened the Islands, which Housten meant as a stopgap measure. Stopgap until a regional solution was found. Manus &Nauru become perfect punishment holes for Abbott. No action was taken for a regional solution, and they were Trapped on the Islands for a decade. What Gillard & Albanese had managed to do was get Indonesia to block the passage through the country for refugees. This stopped most. Only a few boats were coming before Abbott became PM.

  3. Ingtid

    YES, but Labor aren’t doing much for the refugees! Or are they?

  4. andy56

    So much of liberal values are based on assumptions. For a start, they are the only ones that have some of them. The second assumption is that they will follow through on their values, no? In a world that has changed radically, does any one else think some of those assumptoions are based on misinformation with an assumed subset of humans to be the focus, ie families.
    As I have said previously, their ideology is riddled with BS. The fact they believe their own BS scares me more than the nut jobs in the party. And lets face it, their BS has caused a lot of damage to our country’s social fabric.
    Parliamentary democracy and rule of law, bah humbug. They threw that out with whitlam. If they were truly the party of rules, they would hammer the multinational tax cheats.
    Reward for effort? At everyone else’s expense. Hypocrisy and a blind eye to the rapacious nature of let it rip.
    The libs wont change until their ideology changes. For that, they need a wipe out.

  5. New England Cocky

    Now, now Rossleigh …. I must defend the honour of the now glorious Loyal Opposition of His Majesty’s Australian Commonwealth LABOR government. You appear to imply that the Holy Trinity of RAbbott, Tirdball & Scummo were political genii at doing absolutely nothing for Australian voters, which any Australian voter in regional & remote Australia will advise is the tightly held title owned by the NOtional$.
    There is immense evidence that successive NOtional$ politicians exist in a sinecure only because the voters have no aspirations to improve the community in which they live, because ”It was OK for grandad, so it’s OK for me”. Naturally such attitudes encourage economic stagnation because the local market is too small to provide employment opportunities for their off-spring, and their vision only extends to their navel rather than over the horizon.
    Now add political sabotage by having elected supporters and overpaid senior underwhelming officers on local councils to deter economic investment in employment producing projects like abattoirs or manufacturing.
    Maintain this policy for 75+ years and the only future option appears to be a19th century theme park celebrating timber cutting with a small exhibition covering the 1950s wool boom.
    @ andy56: A sterling contribution that reminds me of the book I once purchased from the remainder bin of a secondhand bookshop. The title was ”Liberal Thinking”, a 196pp tome of A5 size containing only blank pages.

  6. TwainandHume

    Extremely well put. Pointed and exact in the extreme.

  7. Gangey1959

    I don’t think that Labor will win Cook, but a greener shade of blue is teal, so when scottyfrommarketting’s seat goes to “Not the liberals” the demolision of nsw ex-pm’s will be complete, and Australia will just move on.
    Last time I went through the drive-through at my local maccas I heard the staff saying that there was an opening for a mop-boy at the engadine outlet, and I’d hate too think that an ex-pm was a “leaner”………

  8. Steve Davis

    The word “liberal” has a hypnotic quality that’s almost impossible to dislodge or counter.

    There is a powerful tendency to confuse liberalism with generosity and decency when in fact it’s a deliberate abuse of the word “liberty” whereby individual rights over-ride community rights and the social good. Liberalism (in theory) upholds the liberty of individuals to act contrary to the social good, and so cannot have an ethical foundation, ethics being social glue – the standards that protect society from disintegration. In practice, liberalism is constrained by electoral realities, being forced to give the appearance of balancing community needs and individual needs.

    There was an interesting article on the ABC site 9.4.23 about the history of liberalism, particularly in Australia. It quoted Menzies’ explanation of his choice of Liberal for the name of his new party, and you’ll note that he used the word in its hypnotic sense. Does this mean that even Menzies was unaware of the nuances involved in liberalism? I suspect so, as Jim Cairns tells of having to explain economic fundamentals and history to Menzies. Menzies was possibly one of the many who are drawn to liberal politics simply out of an irrational fear of unionism.

    But there was another interesting snippet in the article. “Fascinatingly, the British economist John Maynard Keynes also felt himself philosophically inclined towards liberalism, but in the British tradition. In his famous essay Am I A Liberal?, he listed all of the problems he had with the Conservative and Labour parties in the UK at that time. He said the British Labour Party was superficially more attractive, but on closer inspection it had severe problems, particularly with its aggressive Left flank. “It is a class party, and the class is not my class,” he wrote. “If I am going to pursue sectional interests at all, I shall pursue my own … the class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie.”

    That attitude epitomises the class distinction that is ever-present in liberal thinking.

    The class-consciousness of Keynes, the fear behind the perception of “them-and-us” over-rode the merits he knew were associated with the Labour platform and so he took refuge in the natural home of those who cling to what they have in excess, who refuse to share that which they have in excess. That home is liberalism

  9. andy56

    Gl, you got the wrong part of the dog here. They dont tolerate Dutton, they voted for him!! Whats left of the Libs is on his side of the ledger. Any semblance of ” moderate” liberals got washed away. All thats left is the rump. They are not going to waste the opportunity to become Liberals “after dark”, lol.

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