Diversity, respect key to nation: Turnbull
It looks as though the Turnbull government will be reelected on 2nd July. While no Dingo can feel enthusiastic about this prospect, there are ways in which it might be a better outcome than a Labor victory. This is not because of the typical reasons that News Limited pundits would offer – that the Turnbull-led Liberals will be an iota further to the right than the ALP on two or three issues and therefore worthy of support as the ‘lesser of two evils’ – but because of its likelihood to fracture the Liberal Party and open up space for new political organisations to its right.
The early months of 2016 raised Labor’s optimism about being returned to government after a single term in opposition. The honeymoon period Turnbull enjoyed after deposing Abbott as PM had petered out by the end of the summer, as the government dallied with half-hearted reform proposals – such as raising the GST or reforming the federation’s tax powers – that went nowhere. His Newspoll numbers cratered accordingly, as the public concluded that the new PM was a windbag without any direction.
Now, as we approach the end of a campaign as dull as it is long, Labor’s hopes from earlier this year have faded. Though it remains competitive in the national polling it is underperforming in many of the key marginal seats it needs to win to defeat the Coalition. For many voters the memory of the chronic dysfunction of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years remains fresh, and the ALP has not given them any reason to believe it deserves to be returned to the government benches. Though a large proportion of voters – perhaps as high as 20 percent – remain undecided, as pre-poll voting opens it is most likely that the Coalition will be returned. This is reflected in the Sportsbet odds, which at the time of writing are offering $1.13 for a Coalition victory and $6.05 for Labor. It appears that Mark Textor’s infamous comments published in The Australian last September will be vindicated:
the loss of disgruntled conservatives will be outweighed by the appeal of a more moderate party to swinging voters. ‘The qualitative evidence is they don’t matter,’ Mr Textor said. ‘The sum of a more centrist approach outweighs any alleged marginal loss of so-called base voters.’
For anyone who cares about the future of this country, the prospect of three more years of Turnbull is dispiriting. If you think that his decision to invite Islamists to dinner in Kirribilli was bad, consider that he was willing to do this in the middle of an election campaign with the inevitable prospect of disapproval from a large proportion of his party’s supporters. Since assuming office the message from Turnbull has been clear: he has nothing but contempt for the conservative voters that comprise most of his party’s supporters. As a result, things are likely to get much worse before Turnbull is removed from office. There is, however, a potential upside to this. Turnbull’s hostility to his party’s supporter base may present opportunities to reshape the Australian right.
In Australia the underlying conditions for a (metaphorical) civil war on the right of politics already exist. The focal point of this is what we have already seen in the United States over the last year: an estrangement between the great mass of those who hold right-wing views of the world, and those party hacks and managers who purport to lead them. The ‘hostile takeover’ of the Republican Party by Donald Trump would not have been possible if that party did not already have deep fissures between its base and its leaders that have been evident – and escalating – since the rise of the Tea Party in 2010.
In this country, though there has not yet been any open grass-roots rebellion against the Liberal leadership, we can see a similar dynamic emerging between the party managers and the party’s supporters. Turnbull’s continued leadership of the ostensibly right-wing party makes this kind of conflict much more likely because it provides unambiguous evidence of the contempt that the party managers feel towards their supporter base. One does not need to look very hard to find evidence that Liberal supporters feel this contempt and, as a result, are unenthusiastic about working to help the Turnbull government get re-elected. Talk to anyone masochistic enough to involve themselves in this election campaign and they will confirm the widespread Liberal ‘low energy’ and disillusion.
This tension between Liberal leaders and the party’s base will continue to escalate following 2nd July. Having won an election in his own right, rather than inheriting Abbott’s hard-won 2013 majority, Turnbull and the party’s left will be emboldened to move to further consolidate their control of the party machine. With this will come an eager embrace of issues usually the domain of the inner-city left – same-sex marriage, climate change, the ‘immense enrichment’ of diversity – and this will be touted by a supportive media as masterstrokes, moving the Liberal Party towards the ‘centre’ and away from the ‘divisiveness’ of Tony Abbott and other conservatives. Those who aren’t enthusiastically on-board with the latest social engineering fads will be left completely disenfranchised and resentful towards the party they used to support. They will have seen that the new Liberal Party has no place for those sceptical of our new progressive order, except to dutifully shut up, volunteer, and vote every three years.
Many well-educated idiots think that the Liberal Party will be strengthened by a leftward drift. In their view, all the party needs to do is jettison those loathsome, bigoted, non-progressive people attached to it and it will be able to secure a permanent majority on the basis of its superior economic management™. The truth is the opposite. A party cannot afford to alienate its base, and the Liberal Party's base is not willing to go to the barricades for a leftist party with slightly stronger budgetary discipline. As the Liberal machine continues to push the party's agenda leftward, it faces the prospect of a widespread defection of its members. Those who were once its most enthusiastic supporters will be crying out for new leadership, and a political vehicle to represent their interests, as they recognise that Turnbull does not speak for them and, in fact, hates them.
As part of our two-party cartel, the Liberal Party draws in a number of different tendencies. These range from the globalist and degenerate to the patriotic and traditional. Though the former group controls the party apparatus, the latter is a much greater proportion of the party's members and well-wishers. The good people who remain Liberals have yet to realise that the party is a dead-end for the change they want to see, and that it is more interested in serving the interests of transnational capitalism than their own. The further drift leftward under Turnbull will help to drive patriotic people away from the Liberal Party, allowing the more enterprising of them to seek out alternative political avenues.
These patriotic Australians are the key to Dingo-approved progress in this country. If an alternative right is ever going to be a force in Australian politics, it needs to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the alienation of these people from the Liberal leaders who are transforming the party of Menzies into a standard poz party.