Being from New South Wales I don’t (& didn’t) follow the Victorian election campaign closely. After years of good commentary from experts such as the Quadrant Online Victorians (including Roger Franklin), I was all too aware of the wishy washy Victorian Libs from Ted Baillieu onwards, going along with Labor-Lite policies until they surrendered government without a kick in 2014.
So my initial take all along was that voters with any nous would say “why Labor Lite when you can get the real thing” (also the argument against Turnbull even if his lobbyist cabal NSW backers hadn’t been actual Labor types).
But the pile on against supposed “conservative” policies of Morrison and angst about getting rid of the Labor-Lite Turnbull were as ludicrous as they were de rigueur for the times. I smiled to myself when I saw all the usual SkyNews and newspaper columnists such as the one trying to outdo Nikki Savva in their tunnel vision.
The party now had to go left, join Labor/Greens because the “conservative policies” were failing and had failed spectacularly. Yes, you got that right, “conservative policies” they said. That was the received wisdom from the “experts” again. They must have meant their adoption of those (non-existent) conservative policies such as withdrawing from the foolish Paris agreement, backing/guaranteeing new, cheap coal fired energy for business, scrapping mandatory renewable energy targets, removing all subsidies from the supposedly “cheap” solar/wind power scams and so on. It was ludicrous, their shameless dissembling.
The usual Turnbull acolytes/puppets were very prominent. The first laughable one was Senator Scott Ryan from Victoria, gifted the highly paid position as Senate President for supporting the Turnbull coup against PM Abbott in 2015.
Ryan claimed in a TV interview and a newspaper column that ideological debates around social issues such as religious freedom and climate change had isolated that traditional base (?) which apparently wanted “climate change” and other left policies to be swallowed whole. However, Ryan went on to claim that Liberal voters were actually “conservative” in their own lives but “they’re pretty liberal in their political outlook.” He also whined about commentators with other views “I am sick of being lectured to by people who are not members of the party, by people who have never stood on polling booths about what it means to be a real Liberal.” A former conservative, but now representing a seat which is full of the semi-green doctors wives types, Tim Wilson also panicked. In the next breath, just about, Ryan admitted openly: that the Victorian Liberal organisation and campaign was “progressive”. Clear now? What is obvious is that these fair weather friends were merely using their Victorian election disaster as an excuse to publicly attack their factional enemies
Not only was this attack disingenuous – if not blatantly dishonest and pre-planned – it wasn’t as if there wasn’t plenty of evidence to show that the left-leaning Victorian Liberals ran a shocking campaign. In fact this campaign was so bad, according to experts that it is laughable to look around for other scapegoats without a loud mea culpa about it first.
The most clear cut and early expose of a pathetic campaign was given by a “consultant to the party, and former Bendigo candidate, Megan Purcell”. In the article she tore apart the organisation of the campaign. In a litany of woes, she accused it of being a ‘leadership team with “egos as big as houses but not necessarily the brains to match” and was “accusing the campaign team of extreme dysfunction”. It was an embarrassment to the professionalism she had seen elsewhere, the leader and his team were micromanaging, not focussed on the big issues etc. Planning was also terrible, she said, continual rewriting of daily campaign plans and so on.
Never let a crisis go to waste
Rahm Emmanuel made it a household political phrase from the USA when working for Obama in the 2009 administration and the left wing Labor-Lite Turnbull groupers didn’t forget it. One could winder whether it was the abject failure of the “progressive” Victorian Liberals to cut through that led them to this as a Plan B, but it gets us nowhere. Various connected Australian Liberal party members certainly were prepared to go for it big time. It was all so prepared, they were primed and ready.
Ever since Turnbull ruined his chances with a disastrous decision to have an early election in July 2016 (where he lost 14 seats and was left with a one seat majority), he was marking time, limping along on policy and losing poll after poll.
When he started trying to bring in climate and other energy policies which brought conservative opposition from within the party various conservative antennae were on alert but he was still able to ruin the energy economy by bringing in enough renewable energy mandates to leave Australia with a failing energy sector, moving from cheapest energy in the world to one of the most expensive. Luckily his multiple billions of subsidies for renewables and mandatory renewable targets made many green companies rich, just as the ordinary working class citizens were losing their power.
In brief, his “overthrow” was really Turnbull committing political hara kiri. Worried about his one seat majority, the willingness of enough conservative party members to vote against his proposed green energy scheme somehow got him to try and forestall a leadership attempt against him. He moved to catch opponents unaware and call a leadership vote, which led to him having 35 opposing votes, the death sentence for his leadership. Rather than take them on as a real leader would, Turnbull wimped out and dragged it out until there was a petition for a spill of leader position. Then rather than have the courage to bluff it out and face them down, Turnbull dogged it and left it to others to defeat his enemy, Peter Dutton.
Sore Loser? You bet
Turnbull has been the classic sore loser ever since, but, worse, he has been the classic wrecker. He and Kevin Rudd were very “unique” characters as PMs. Their childhoods affected them all their lives and each ones persona seemed forged in their perceptions of the childhood experiences. In Turnbull’s case, he has always been unable to publicly cope with defeats. Someone had to be “to blame”.
When his republic referendum was soundly defeated, John Howard had to be the scapegoat, rigging the choices (false). When his own disastrous decision to go for the election in 2016 led to him nearly losing, he couldn’t face his supporters at first and then when finally being coaxed to appear, he ranted about the opposition acting “illegally” in their election slogans etc.
It was no different this time. Even when he fell on his own sword, someone had to be to blame, someone had to pay. He resigned his seat, even when he had promised prior to the contest to remain in parliament, and thus put the seat at risk. This was doubly sabotaged when he refused to campaign or even to say a word about his successor from within the party which had given him everything in politics. In addition, his son, Alex, who had (fortuitously) made money out of a renewable energy company once Turnbull mandated renewables targets, started going public asking for first money and then a vote for opposing candidates to the Liberal Party in the seat vacated by his father.
The Victorian election in context
What we have witnessed since the Victorian election must be seen in the context of the Turnbull Left, the Labor-Lite wing of the Liberal party going for broke. Splitting the party, turning it into a left party will suit the political proclivities of those pushing this line, the anti-conservative line. Therefore all the interventions, orchestrated as they are, are part of this overall plan, probably with the Turnbull hand in it through his (usual) secret, encrypted message groups).
We had Julie Bishop, suspected of many leaks against Abbott in the undermining days, let alone having her chief of staff actually being at the plotters meeting the night before the Abbott overthrow. She came straight out after the election publicly begging for the Liberals to go with the ALP and fall for the climate scam, enriching friends and fellow travellers alike. Also Bishop now being all for the anti-woman nature of the Liberals when once she wouldn’t even call herself a feminist, and always batted back any suggestions of the party being anti-woman. Kellie O’Dwyer, an incompetent minister but Turnbull stalwart, criticising the Liberals as being anti-woman, climate deniers and homophobic! No evidence ever given of such flaws. And then, on cue, a Turnbull stooge, Julia Banks from Melbourne, happens to tell cross benchers weeks ago she was leaving the party and then it’s timed to cause maximum damage to the Liberal Party. Another Turnbull pet rock Craig Laundy is no doubt lining up to make his timed withdrawal from the party also.
The Victorian election is just another post along the road of the decline and revamp/rebuild or breaking of the Liberal Party of Australia. Intrinsic to it is the Turnbull wrecking crew trying to break what Turnbull couldn’t make work. The bigger overall issue is of the future of the Liberal Party of Australia. It seems obvious it can’t be put back together too easily without wholesale removals of luke-warm MPs and bureaucrats it houses. The destructive Turnbull influence has to be universally recognised and countered or else the field vacated. But that is a narrative for another day.