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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a Liberal Party madness « Previous | |Next »
November 10, 2009

I wasn't planning to watch the last Four Corners programme entitled Malcolm and the Malcontents attributed to Sarah Ferguson. Not another account of Liberal Party disunity I thought. We know that the conservative and liberal wings are at war. But I was persuaded by the flow of interesting comments on Twitter.

The Coalition sure is a rabble over climate change despite an ETS scheme being their policy. The Nationals are totally opposed and conducting a fear and loathing campaign in regional NSW and Queensland. It's a no vote, absolutely. They reckon they'd win a double dissolution election on opposing an ETS.

The conservative populist rhetoric is that an ETS is "socialist chardonnay rubbish", a left-wing “conspiracy”. There is no global warming, just natural cycles and the appeal to justify this is to 'sense' and 'impression' and pre-existing sentiment (common sense) of the hard done battler. The Nationals have drawn a line in the sand and put their bodies on the line to fight green fanaticism that is taking over Australia. They look such a rag tag bunch, as does their white populist base. They all looked like the One Nation party of the1990s, sadly haunted by the decay of their wizened provincialism. Death beckons.

In the Liberal Party Minchin, Abbott, Jensen, Kormann, McGauran and Bernardi, climate deniers one and all, were openly opposed to an ETS, quite willing to oppose their leader publicly, and to do so on the lefty ABC. Minchin, in particular, was claiming that a majority of the party did not back Mr Turnbull's acceptance of the science behind climate change, and openly encouraging the backbench to defy their leader on this issue.

All this is at a time when the Coalitions' party room has authorized Ian McFarlane to conduct good faith negotiations with Minister Wong to work through the Liberal Party's proposed amendments to the Government’s CPRS legislation now in the Senate.

McFarlane was the only Liberal who came through with any political nous. He was using political reason to think the issue through---he “is no longer sceptical about humans causing global warming but he is now sceptical about carbon capture and storage”--- and to see the Coalition through a very difficult patch. In the meantime the climate change deniers, one and all, have rejected the scientific enlightenment and, just like the Republicans in the US, fully embraced the contemporary form of the counter Enlightenment tradition.

Minchin knows that the failure to get the Liberal Party on side on an ETS will almost certainly end Turnbull's leadership, and he is nakedly acting to make that happen. But for what goal? The disunity strategy is a pathway to many a long year in opposition. That would provide him with an opportunity to continue with the factional politics within the Liberal Party--to clean out the liberals (wets) and replace them with conservatives so that the Liberal Party is liberal in name only? That has been his strategy with the SA Liberal Party. Is this his game plan?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:20 AM | | Comments (19)


Minchin was unbelievable on the ABC's Four Corners last night. He said:

I frankly strongly object to you know, politicians and others trying to terrify 12 year old girls that their planet's about to melt, you know. I mean really it is appalling some of that sort of behaviour.For the extreme left it provides the opportunity to do what they've always wanted to do, to sort of de-industrialise the western world. You know the collapse of communism was a disaster for the left, and the, and really they embraced environmentalism as their new religion.

Nothing about science at all. It's all faith in a green religion. Nothing about renewable energy either. How does renewable energy de-industrialise the western world? Isn't it modernizing industrial Australia by shifting to a lower carbon economy?

I didn't watch the show but tried reading the transcript today.
I say 'tried' because eventually I just gave up in exasperation after, as the colloquialism goes, 'an overload of stupid Wacky extremists.

I can understand that sentiment. The visuals gave a depth to the words especially with Barnaby Joyce and Bob Carter addressing the regional meetings. A political pathetic quality came across. Watch the early part of the video-it's an eye opener.

But it's totally fine trying to terrify 72 year olds that their country is being swamped with Tamil terrorists????

When it comes to the "politics of fear" the tories doth protest too much, methinks.

Yet... at a time when the govt is stumbling through a border protection "crisis"... the opposition ends up chasing it's own tail.


Didn't 4 Corners say that more Australians believe in Global Warming than believe in God.
Now unless the Global Warmers all live in inner suburbs of the capital cities then the Liberal and National party members are setting themselves up for a resounding defeat. Might be as big a defeat as Whitlam's election in 1972 when former Liberal voters felt it was time to rectify the lack of health care and educational opportunity for poor children. Then again people still read Rupert Murdoch's right wing newspapers

Groupthink is an interesting phenomenon. I wonder if the Lib rabble have convinced themselves that they actually represent the silent majority whose opinions will eventually carry the day. Rather worryingly I suspect there's a chance they might be right if ever they can transform their gibberish into a clear message centred on the two points that (1) it's going to cost people a lot of money and (2) Australia can't make a difference anyway so like always we should just leave it to our great and powerful friends to sort things out.

We can't really expect anything better from the Libs. They demonstrated over and over again during the Howard years that they are entirely without principle. It's the scientists like Carter who are beneath contempt.

I think that the scaring 12 year old girls comment suggests that even Nick Minchin's daughter thinks he's loopy!

your insightful comment re the attempts by the conservatives in the Coalition to build :

a clear message centred on the two points that (1) it's going to cost people a lot of money and (2) Australia can't make a difference anyway so like always we should just leave it to our great and powerful friends to sort things out.

This is probably their rhetorical strategy to defend the interests of the coal lobby and ensure no change re global heating. The Minchin-led conservatives appear to be willing to entrench the internal antagonism towards Turnbull by publicly undermining their leader.

No doubt that the coal lobby will continue to try on its blackmail of Rudd, whilst the deniers put the political heat on Turnbull so as to block the GPRS legislation.To all intents and purposes the Liberal Party is split through and through.

Not withstanding that Rudd and Ferguson are in bed with, and married to, Big Carbon, Rudd will fight on climate change as an ideological issue in the next election, if the current negotiations fail, or Turnbull cannot get them past the Coalition party room. The Minchin-led conservative wing of the Liberal Party and the Nationals are willing to fight on this ground. For the ALP climate change is all about the politics of kneecapping the Liberals. My judgement is that the ALP's tactic of polarising the electorate will see majority support behind the Rudd government, and the divided Liberals will remain in opposition for many a long year.

Then what? More subsidies for big polluters, continuing the fiction that "clean coal" can save us, allowing Big Carbon executives to write energy policy, and continuing to fail to earmark any funds for renewable energy research and development?

didn't one Liberal Party backbencher call Minchin a fruit loup?

The rent seeking coal-fired power generators --eg TRUenergyin Victoria--- are quite naked in grabbing as much money as they can in response to the ETS.

TRUenergy says that it will build a gas-fired power plant in the Latrobe Valley only if it gets extra compensation. it would make the switch to cleaner production only if the Federal Government boosted its $3 billion compensation offer to Victorian coal stations under a proposed emissions trading scheme to at least $8 billion.

Lenore Taylor's description in the Australia of the state of play in the Liberal Party is useful.She says that a cap and trade for the Coalition:

has been a wedge that has sealed the fate of one opposition leader and come close to determining the fate of the next. It is being used by the Nationals as a political tool to regain the faith of the bush; it has divided the Liberals into those prepared to cut a deal and non-believers determined to stand in its way whatever the political cost; it is now threatening the Coalition's chances of gaining any political traction before the next election. Little wonder politics is threatening to blow up a deal.

She adds that the mystery for the Liberal majority is why the sceptics want their party to remain wedged all the way to the next election, instead of talking about other things, such as inflation or asylum-seekers.

I puzzle about that too.

re your "Then what"? Once scenario is that Labor wins the next election easily, the Liberals lose seats in the Senate, Family First disappears, and the Greens their seats and have the balance of power.

Then there will have to be new legislation--a new round of negotiations between Rudd Labor and The Greens. That means better legislation and a better ETS scheme.

So I hope that "fruitloup" Minchin continues with his current disunity tactics.

It was a truly astounding 4 Corners: the coalition lives in an ideologically-induced dream world peopled by weird monsters (greens, international communist conspiracy) and a lapsarian nostalgia for a rose-coloured past located in a different era that likely never was.
All the American right-libertarian guff about "contrarians" and an "international conspiracy" remind us that this is not a healthy midset within which to entrust the future of Australians.
I personally regarded the coalition as a sanctuary for opportunists like Graeme Morris the polster (for example).
But if the "realist" element is so overwhelmed by medieval fantasism, the situation is exponentially worse- flat earther/ anti darwinist/ antiscience superstition driven denialism rules the roost, with little hope of answers forthcoming for the real life issues this country will have to face?
Climate change, aborigines and immigration/refugees, judging by the sterile "critiques" offered concerning these examples, all retreat before a hazy rose coloured glasses view where ritual and sloganeering mantras replace the effort of thought and confirm a dangerous dislocation relative to reality.

The line from Minchin about the left wanting to de-industrialise the west was a doozey. All is not well on Planet Minchin.

An ETS was Liberal policy before it was Labor policy. Was Howard one of those mad lefties trying to drive us all back into the caves and the darkness?

What Minchin is doing to the Liberals, Barnaby is doing to coalition. At this rate the next election is going to be some kind of carnage, even if the ETS is passed. Rudd with no opposition is a depressing thought.

Annon, if there's a DD election over this, you're right about the likely result.

Unfortunately, a DD means Rudd gets to push his un-amended scheme through a joint sitting of both houses, and it would get through.

It's worth remembering that Minchin was democratically elected. Doesn't that mean approx 50% of our fellow citizens find his ideas and theories ...acceptable?

mars08, with the vagaries of Senate quotas and the voting behaviour of most people he doesn't need anything like 50% approval, but I agree it's disturbing.

I've been aware of Minchin from the early 70s, when he was a Liberal Party apparatchik. He's always been a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

re your comment:

Unfortunately, a DD means Rudd gets to push his un-amended scheme through a joint sitting of both houses, and it would get through.

You are dead right.They won't do a double dissolution--just an ordinary one --hoping that the Coalition rejects the GPRS bill next week.

is Minchin playing internal factional politics here--conservatives liberals?