September 8th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Caution with gender transitioning: children's futures at risk

EDITORIAL Turnbull the architect of his own demise

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coal-Hand ScoMo pulls off an accidental coup

ENERGY Daniel Andrews' sun worship turns delusional

MEDICINE AND POLITICS Sacrificial Virgins: Is Gardasil even necessary?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Turkey-U.S. dispute further destabilises Middle East

GLOBAL BAILOUT Follow those zeroes! U.S. Federal Reserve doled out $US29 trillion to save the world

POLITICS AND SOCIETY Business next to fall to 'progress'

OPINION The Victorian ALP observed from up close

SPECIAL BOOK REVIEW Assault on Kokoda Track heroes fails evidence test

BOOK LAUNCH Live not by lies. An appraisal of Patrick J. Byrne's new book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey

CINEMA In praise of horror: That most visceral of genres

MUSIC Aretha Franklin: A singer of spiritual intensity

BOOK REVIEW A self-defeating experiment?

BOOK REVIEW The four firms that rule the world

LETTERS

EDITORIAL Power companies in clover after closures

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CANBERRA OBSERVED
Coal-Hand ScoMo pulls off an accidental coup


by NW Contributor

News Weekly, September 8, 2018

How is it that the one name omitted from Scott Morrison’s new ministerial line-up was the one politician on the conservative side of politics who would be most effective in taking on Bill Shorten and denying Labor government at the coming election?

The Prime Minister has offered
Tony Abbott a carrot; or, is it a stick?

In a bid to “move to the next generation” of politicians and bury the prolonged feud that has infected the Liberal Party for the past few years, Australia’s accidental Prime Minister Morrison opted to keep Tony Abbott on the backbench.

Mr Abbott has been offered the job of special envoy for Indigenous Affairs instead.

The penultimate week of August 2018 will surely go down in history as the worst week for the Liberal Party in its history: with a Prime Minister toppled, open warfare between the so-called “progressive” wing and the so-called conservative “insurgents”, and in its denouement an unlikely truce that papers over the ideological chasm between the extremes of the party.

Scott Morrison, a politician about whom most voters know very little, and Josh Frydenberg, who voters know even less, have been installed respectively as the new Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Voters, already deeply disillusioned with the self-indulgent political class, watched on in despair as another Prime Minister was ousted mid term.

Malcolm Turnbull helped speed up his own demise by bringing on a spill that precipitated a week of warring during which he worked overtime to thwart the conservatives’ preferred candidate, Peter Dutton, from succeeding him.

Then, at the end emerged Mr Morrison – a conservative Christian who opposed the redefinition of marriage and who stopped the boats when he was Immigration Minister.

However, Mr Morrison only won because all of Mr Turnbull’s supporters and the moderate faction joined forces to give him the numbers.

So, who is to blame for Mr Abbott being kept out in the cold? Some would say it is Mr Abbott himself for being such an aggressive policy advocate on the backbench.

Mr Abbott has successfully prosecuted the case that high electricity prices are a massive issue in the community and that Australia’s full-throttle immigration policy is causing deep disquiet among voters, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

But the more he prosecuted the case on both fronts, the more the Turnbull Government dug in on its National Energy Guarantee (NEG) and on using immigration to drive economic growth.

Others would argue that Mr Abbott’s ability to cut through, to mount a potent but succinct policy argument, and to go for the jugular against Labor, was a sharp contrast to the languid and cerebral Malcolm Turnbull who rarely landed a blow on Bill Shorten.

Mr Morrison has made some clever calls in his new team.

Dan Tehan, a conservative but Turnbull loyalist and underrated talent in the Government, has been given the task of mending the rift with the Catholic schools system.

Alan Tudge has been tasked with fixing the city congestion caused by high immigration, and Angus Taylor with getting electricity prices lower. Neither job will be easy but at least the Morrison team will be seen to be working at issues the electorate actually cares about.

Morrison has tried to inject new life into a governing coalition that has been divided over leadership, policy and ideology. Where it will go to from here is anyone’s guess.

Mr Turnbull’s departure from politics will bring some finality to the fractiousness that has smitten the Liberals more or less since the departure of John Howard.

However, the real problem is that there are two parties inside one. On the one hand, there is a party that represents the affluent inner-city voter with their concerns about combating climate change, redefining marriage, “cruelty” to farm animals and other issues.

On the other hand, there are the MPs who don’t care much at all about the issues above, but are instead interested in policies that run diametrically opposed to the above: using Australia’s bountiful natural resources to provide low-cost electricity, supporting the traditional family unit, and supporting small business and farmers.

The differences on these and many other issues actually amount to a different worldview, yet both groups seek to be elected within the same political party.

In the past the Liberal Party has been able to accommodate a “broad church”, especially under strong leaders, but the ideological gap appears to be widening and its leaders seem unable to command the same authority that they did in the past.

As a consequence, the long-term outlook for the party appears dire.




























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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm