“…If Liberals are to heal their increasingly bitter divisions the process must begin with a frank acknowledgment that the split is entirely the work and mischief of Malcolm Turnbull. That applies even more to the columnists who fostered and abetted the rise of a wrecker. Groupthink in the Press & Political Class Never have so few done so little for so many. That more or less sums up our political class in this country, and our media class.
At least that is the case if you are, like me, a small government, Hobbesian, right-of-centre guy (sorry, did I say ‘guy’, Mr. – oops – Australian of the Year? Forgive me, please). Let us leave aside all the incestuous connections within the Labor party, and within the ABC, and, indeed, between the two of them. Instead, let us just look at the Liberal Party and what I think is the best newspaper in the country, The Australian. Now that we have had to live through the last ten months since the defenestration of Mr. Abbott and the rise and precipitous decline of Mr. Turnbull, I think we can say a few things about group think in the media and political class on the right.
Look at how many of them get into university politics, then go and work as dogsbodies for MPs or think tank, then use those connections to get preselected. These are people who spend their lives hanging around other politicos. They don’t put principle ahead of advancement because they have never had to do that – not in any real-world job, that’s for sure. When you are an advisor to an MP, it seems you never quit on a point of principle.
So here is the thing: If Turnbull remains the leader of the party, I will not vote for it, come what may. Turnbull could bring back Tony, I don’t care. He could have Tony run seminars around the country urging Libs to come back home, I don’t care. He could have a cabinet weighted towards conservatives. Well I don’t care! The thing is, for the long-term benefit of the Liberal Party, its MPs need to see what happens to those who defenestrate a first-term PM – and especially to those who white-ant and undermine and snidely deride that same former PM. They have to see that their own party base will not stand for it, because in the long-term the party will be the better for it. Listening to some of the main plotters in the Abbott assassination now ask for loyalty, and preach about the foolhardiness of removing a PM, is vomit inducing. Do Brandis and McGrath and Ryan and others not see the massive hypocrisy involved in such pleas?
By all means let’s see a rule or convention that the party won’t stab a PM in the first few years of his or her leadership.. But let us not bother bringing it in till Turnbull is gone. This, I am quite confident, is a widespread feeling amongst Liberal voters (almost none of whom were swayed to vote Labor because they are stupid fools who didn’t know the Labor line on Medicare was a scare campaign). If the Liberal political class cannot see this, if it really cannot appreciate the need for change, well then let’s get on with the next election so that we can have a big Labor win and change can come that way.
Meantime, why is it that the vast preponderance of the columnists on The Australian can’t see that Turnbull needs to go? Why do they still paint him as a potentially great PM, a saviour (albeit a tad chastened)? The whitewashing goes on and on? I don’t know. But in my opinion the political and media class in this country – and I refer now to those two classes on the right side of politics – need to widen their gene pools….”