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

Liberals implode « Previous | |Next »
November 26, 2009

I've just found out from Twitter that the Liberal shadow ministry has imploded with mass resignations late this afternoon.Those who have resigned are Abbott, Minchin, Abetz, Parry, Mirabella, Smith, Johnson, Fifield, Mason, and Cormann. They have quit the frontbench over emissions trading scheme with Abbott refusing to rule out a future leadership tilt. So the Minchin conservative campaign continues.

So the Conservatives, who lost the policy debate in the party room, are repudiating the party room agreement and attempting to takeover the Liberal Party and shift the Liberal Party further to the right. Is Malcolm Turnbull toast? Will he agree with the Government to guillotine debate on the CPRS in the Senate and to push the vote through tonight? Or will there be no guillotine of the debate. Does 'hope and change' Turnbull stand and fight the recalcitrant conservatives in his own party?


Another, more remote, possibility is that Turnbull quits, Abbott is installed, the GPRS deal is cancelled, and Rudd calls a double dissolution; or, in another variation, Rudd fights a late 2010 election on global warming, the Greens gain control of the Senate and Rudd cuts deal with Greens. I can hope. Pity about Turnbull's sacrifice for the nation.

The reality is that an Abbott-lead conservative Liberal Party with Minchin in control, and deeply opposed to emissions trading scheme, is a party of global warming denialists and social conservatives. It would lose seats in a 2010 election as the Liberal Party appears as squabbling rabble torn apart by a deep ideological schism. The schism is reminiscent of the ALP in the 1950-60s.

Turnbull stays and fights the recalcitrant, angry conservatives. Resignation is not an option. He is a conviction politician. Is this his last press conference bar one?

What now? (People Skills) Abbott will probably challenge Turnbull early next week. At this stage Minchin and Abetz bizarrely agreed to stay on to shepherd the ETS legislation through the Senate that they'll vote against tomorrow afternoon. So the smoke and mirrors GPRS legislation passes. Pity.

What of the Liberal Party's future direction? Bob Ellis has a go. Turnbull deserved better. So it's back to the Howard past? That is where the soul of the Liberal Party can be found, say the resentful conservatives. Turnbull has broken our hearts. He just has to go. We want anyone but Turnbull.

So they will destroy the Liberal Party to save the Liberal Party? Chris Uhlmann explores the options:

If the Liberal Party chooses him [ Abbott] it risks becoming a political billabong. It might shore up its conservative base but it could lose its moderate supporters and it will struggle to pick up the votes it needs to win from the swinging middle ground.Through the course of the Howard years the young and women increasingly turned away from the party and it is hard to see Tony Abbott winning them back....And, should the party knock off its progressive leader and the emissions trading bill, that very clever politician Mr Rudd will be aim to strand the Liberals in the past as he runs another campaign casting himself as the future.

No doubt the Minchin conservatives know this. Their strategy is to kill off an ETS, avoid a double dissolution, and then protect the base in 2010.

They are now in damage control to patch over the implosion of the Liberal Party they've caused with its desire to return to pre-Howard state of climate change denial. Hence the plan for some sort of unity (conservative+liberal) ticket arranged by Minchin. Hockey + Abbott? What kind of deal? One suggestion. It's a poisoned chalice for unity candidate Hockey as he will be required to bend to Minchin He'll be required to reject the ETS legislation. He'll then lose the 2010 election, the divisions will resurface, he'll be kneecapped by the conservative faction after the election.

The strategy of the Minchin conservatives is to regain control of the Liberal Party and shift it to the right. The claim that a shift to the right means small government, personal responsibility, deregulated labour markets and low taxes is undercut by the Big Government of Howard, social conservatism without the compassion and the tendency towards authoritarianism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:35 PM | | Comments (25)


Sits back, cracks a beer and grabs the popcorn.
This is gunna be more fun than a Klan lynching.

So succinctly summed up by elbo grease.
Watching Abbott trying to unctuate on his treachery with media after the dirty deed, I really felt a terrific sense of revulsion.
His faction is the one that prates more incessantly then any other faction or grouping in politics about "morals" and they lined up like so many Judasas to ritually dismember Turnbull for committing the great crime of trying to drag them into the twentieth century, let alone the twenty first.

"Vote for the Liberal Party!!"
"Which one?"

At this point I can only see Hockey as having any chance of giving Rudd a challenge.

Perhaps Rudd has offered Abbott a job as the Ambassador to France.

Smug bastards, your day will come.

Les, Australia has enough trouble dealing with its own South East Asian sphere of influence without sending someone like Abbott to a first world nation state, capable of nuking us should the provocations be severe enough.
There is only one person capable of creating a disaster this unthinkable and its not the comnparatively witty and charming Wilson Tuckey, who has already been benevolently consigned to the mad uncle bin.

I watched Lateline. The Canberra Press Gallery--Hartcher (Fairfax) and Shanahan (News Ltd)--- did not have much to offer in terms of analysis. Nor did they have much idea what was going to happen. That didn't stop them from pretending to know what was going on.

Senator Cory Bernadi, who is committed to Turnbull's political destruction, is living in a fools paradise if he reckons the Liberal Party's turn to the right, to the base, is going to win them the next election.He claimed that the grassroots were so angry over an ETS, but his use of the 'public ' refers to the conservative base.

I thought lateline was complete waste of time.
EXtremely poor choices as to particpants.

Abbott sure is an opportunist. As Annabel Crabbe points out in the SMH about 'people skills' Abbott:

It seems only a matter of moments ago that you were advocating that the Coalition close its eyes, think of John Howard, and pass the emissions trading legislation simply to get it out of the way.
And now, your colleagues having done exactly that (though not without considerable bloodshed) you declare yourself unable to bear it!
Having apologised to the Australian people on Wednesday for the extraordinary farce of the preceding 48 hours, you bounce back yesterday to initiate a return season!ut people skills Abbott:

He intends to destroy the emissions scheme, destroy Turnbull, reverse the LIberal Party's support for emissions trading and then use the conservative insurgency as his vehicle to the Liberal leadership.

How can they destroy the emissions trading scheme? It is due to be voted on today Turnbull and Rudd have the numbers?

All the conservatives say that there is a public meltdown happening in voter land against emissions trading scheme. That goes against what the public opinion polls.It is a backlash in the conservative base

The conservatives also maintain that the Coalition would suffer an electoral rout under Turnbull's policies. However, a resurgent base will not return the Coalition to power. They need to attract extra votes from the ALP. Will that happen?

Barnaby Joyce was on Radio National Breakfast saying that the Senate will not pass the GPRS today as agreed It will take until next week.

They've done 2 amendments only 200 to go. So the 3.45 pm cutoff today seems impossible.

Can Turnbull deliver the GPRS legislation before he is kneecapped by the conservatives who are deeply opposed to an ETS. For them the science is a fraud + hoax.

It's a turning point in the history of the Liberal Party. Is it the party of yesterday or tomorrow?

Rudd versus Abbott? Rudd win easily. So will Abbott hold the conservative base in a 2010 election--limit the damage?

Along with Elbogrease, I won't be getting much done today, or for the next few days it seems.

Watching Gary's the #spill twitter stream has been exhausting.

CU has a great piece on the horrible spot Hockey's in.

Does anybody still believe this is about the ETS?

Does Cory Bernardi honestly believe a bunch of emails from the conservative base represents popular opinion? That's like reading comments on Andrew Bolt's blog to get a feel for the national pulse. You'd be more likely to find it in a morgue.

Lyn, watching parliament, be sure from the times people like Bolt, Milne, Albrechtsen and Ackerman are cited with such reverences as oracles, that the Tories hold these in seemingly great store; their words always afforded the same regard as Holy Writ.
As for the morgue, come back in a few months time- the coalition support base is largely a defacto God's waiting room!!

"The Senate stands adjourned until Monday @ 10am" ---they were still debating the GPRS.Will the possible referral to committee constitute rejection? This is the guide

If the legislation is of such monumental significance to the country why could they not sit over the weekend? Lots of other people work weekends.

It looks as if the denier's strategy is one where the GPRS legislation will be sent to a Senate Committee which does not report back until February --ie., after Copenhagen. The debate before then will continue without being resolved before the Senate finishes. So it is inlimbo because of the filibuster.

The strategy of Minchin's conservatives is delay delay delay until a suitable leader can be found. The conventional narrative from the Canberra Press Gallery is that Turnbull does not have the numbers to remain the leader. So Minchin has possibly removed one obstacle.

It does seem to be the case that Minchin's Munchkins are taking Alan Jones' audience to be representative, despite several Newspolls to the contrary. Odd, given that their jobs depend on majority support, but they understand less about public opinion than Dennis Shanahan. They should spend some time reading Possum.

Speaking of polls, Antony Green has an excellent post on Wentworth, should Malcolm chuck in the towel. Effluent and affluent - no wonder Antony's so well loved.

Andrew Bolt on ABC's PM called it a grass roots revolt/movement of the conservative base.

So, the "conservative base" is "revolting", is it?
Yep. No problems there.

Lyn, how can even the Feudalists understand less about public opinion than Dennis Shanahan?

Turnbull spelt out the issue of the 2010 election very clearly. Referring to the LIberal party he said:

We must retain our credibility of taking action on climate change. We cannot be seen as a party of climate sceptics, of do-nothings on climate change

With Abbott and a fired up conservative base the Liberal Party would run the climate change denialist's political strategy against the ETS, the science of climate change and the idea of climate change itself.

They would retain their seats in regional Australia and lose metropolitan seats. Going backwards is okay because it would be going down fighting for what they believe in.

The now toxic Liberal's conservative base and the rank and file membership is older and more conservative than the middle ground voters in the city that the party needs to attract to win government. On climate change it is way out of step with public opinion which is favour of action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The conservative base does not want to modernize the Liberal Party. Howard's mixture of social conservatism and economic liberalism is good enough.They do not want to address the market failure of global warming. They are prepared to welch on the deal MacFarlane and Turnbull struck with the Rudd government in order to block addressing climate change. Revolt against an ETS in any form is the battle cry.

Changing leaders does not ease the bitter divisions within the divided Liberal Party or the need to find ways to curb emissions.

the conservative base seeks stability and safety in an ever changing world. Currently, they are in flight from the heart of darkness which they understand in terms of the disintegration of society and social collapse.

Oddly enough, their practice within their own party is one of a cleansing catastrophe --after the breakdown of the Liberal Party comes better times with a new social order.

An oldish (September) Newspoll on the CPRS showing support among urban Liberal voters should counter the Bolt/Jones teabagging attempt.

Malcolm is in his element and made a good showing on the 7.30 Report last night. His piece in The Punch today is being flooded with supportive comments from Labor and Liberal supporters, suggesting that he's on Rudd's middle ground.

Gossip suggests that the Minchkins are having trouble recruiting Hockey and it's beginning to dawn on the more sensible Liberals just how awful a choice Abbott would be, so things are looking up for Malcolm.

Malcolm's enemies in print media seem to have gone strangely quiet too. Apart from Bolt.

in conservatism the issues that fired up the populist base almost always took a back seat to the economic concerns of the elite, with the paranoid extremists fobbed off with promises of future promises. Well that's how it was when the conservative governed in Canberra under Howard.

Today, with the weakened Coalition in opposition, it looks as if the power is shifting to media figures, such as Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt. They are more concerned to fire up the base --feeding the base to a frenzy-- than with actual governance. Similarly with Barnaby Joyce.

Rational arguments about market failure and limits to greenhouse gas emissions have no purchase here.

RE GST comment including,
"... a cleansing catastrophe after the breakdown of the liberal party comes better times with a new social order".
Am I Godwinned if I hum a few bars of the "Horst Wessel Lied"?.
I know, many a true word spoken in jest, also..