Bury the survivors
If you can't stop an inquiry, put your own people in charge and then nobble it. This is what's happened to the Liberal Party's hasty inquiry into itself - which nobody will read and from which no change will flow. This is one of the few news articles which tells you everything you need to know about the issue, as long as you know where to look.
... by appointing the former ministers Philip Ruddock and Andrew Robb to overhaul the party's rules and structures.
They will be joined by Scott Morrison, the former NSW Liberal state director and now the member for Cook.
Ruddock, the professional wet blanket; Robb, the high-level machine operator who doesn't understand why people join party branches; and Morrison, who ignored the last of the cries that if he didn't act the NSW Liberals would end up where they are now.
These clowns will get around and tell Liberals with sense and perspective to shut up, and if they don't they'll be ignored.
Party sources said Dr Nelson had commissioned the review over the weekend and that he was keen for root-and-branch renewal of the party at state and federal level. The review, expected to take several months, would examine problems ranging from raising funds to diminishing the roles of factions by giving the parliamentary leader more power in choosing candidates.
This would bring the Liberal Party in line with Labor, which has rules allowing the parliamentary leader and the federal executive to parachute candidates into specific seats, which Kevin Rudd did this year to good effect.
Several months. When they're not busy botching Senate tactics, that is. The most significant "finding" of this report will be this reform, the selection and parachuting. I doubt Nelson's ability to pick talent, let alone convince and then announce their candidacy. This will be a disaster for Nelson and the Liberal Party. At a time when the Liberals don't know what they believe, bringing them into line with Labor will go less well than a press gallery journalist might imagine.
"We are now in opposition at every level, state and federal," Liberal source said. "It's an opportunity to seize the moment and make some significant changes."
In other words:
1. We must do something.
2. This is something.
3. Let's do this.
Scared little bunnies win nothing.
The former foreign minister Alexander Downer, who is sympathetic with the need for reform, is being encouraged by colleagues to become the Liberal Party's next federal president and oversee the structural changes. The party is planning a federal council meeting early next year to elevate Mr Downer should he accept the role.
The next Liberal government will not feature Alexander Downer, and recognising this opens possibilities for structural change that make the Liberal Party electable without regard for the sensitivities of this easily offended relic of the Howard-Peacock era.
"Labor has a history of railroading people; we don't," he said. "It's going to be really touchy. But the party members need to know Brendan's not mucking about."
To be fair, the pinhead who gave this quote obviously wasn't aware of the Bradfield preselection in 1995 and what happened to that nice Mr Connolly. Also, he or she might like to speak to some moderates.
Part of the review will also look at having only one branch in each electorate, rather than a number of sub-branches that are more easily stacked.
Each federal electorate, one assumes; because what the Liberal Party needs right now is less of a focus on the tier of government it is best able to win. Nice one!
Mr Ruddock has decided to move to the back bench and will probably leave Parliament before the next election, but after the review is completed.
A man with no stake in the future and a thick crust of sentimentality. Brilliant! Well, what passes for brilliance in the Liberal Party.
Dr Nelson is finalising his team, but the announcement is being held up because some candidates, including the former assistant treasurer Peter Dutton, do not know whether they have kept their seats.
If this is the quality of Dutton's thinking, it would be best if he were kept as far away as possible from policy development and sent instead to audition for Spamalot to lead the singing of this.