Libs must reject Connie's con
This article is the voice of the far-right of the NSW Liberals, known as the Taliban. I have no idea why David Clarke didn't put his own besmirched name to this.
Indeed, this election saw mainstream conservatism take centre stage.
2007 must be the first election in Australian history where the rightwing of the Liberal Party can't blame "trendy" issues and moderates in their own party for the loss.
The challenge for us Liberals now is how to keep the party of Robert Menzies holding its mainstream centre-right base, rather than forfeiting its traditional conservative values to Labor.
One of the great pantomimes of Australian politics is that moderates can and do quote liberally from Menzies in support of their own arguments. If the conservatives have forfeited conservative values to Labor, this is a huge indictment of conservatives - it is like running a pub and letting it run out of beer, or being the captain of the Pasha Bulker. It's an admission of failure, time for someone else to have a go.
It appears OK for Rudd to be socially conservative and go to church on Sunday, but Liberals who do so are painted as "right-wing extremists".
No, they aren't. It is a lie to claim that religious faith ipso facto is the mark of an "extremist". This is a straw man. Christians are not a persecuted minority in Australia.
Indeed, the very fact that Rudd adopted so many of our policies meant that they were good policies which resonated with mainstream Australia.
The very fact that Rudd could repudiate so many of the worst policies (immigration, Iraq, industrial relations) encouraged people to vote for him. The fact that one could do so without sending the economy to the wall explains Labor's consistently high polling. The election result shows that people lost confidence in the Liberals' ability to continue delivering on these policies, and your intransigence offers no way back to government for the Liberals.
Since its introduction in 1997, almost 600,000 unemployed Australians were afforded valuable work experience by participating in almost 35,000 activities nationally to help them re-enter the workforce.
Similar stats were available for the make-work schemes of the Keating government.
Howard often talked about the party as a broad church with its conservative and liberal philosophies.
While this may be the case, it is clear that the party's strength in numbers was by far greater on the conservative side.
This was intended as a "ner ner!" to the moderates in the Liberal Party. What it does, however, is emphasise the conservatives' responsibility for the awful predicament of the Liberal Party today, and their lack of any ability or answers to get the party back into office.
The increase in membership, especially in Howard's home state of NSW
... is due to branch-stacking. It's not any sort of endorsement of conservatism, it's political bulimia. The fact that so few members of the Liberal Party campaigned for "their" party when they were most needed testifies to this.
More voters supported Howard because they felt comfortable with his brand of conservatism.
This worked less and less well as Liberal governments fell from office, and after the 2007 election it is flatly wrong. Pushing nonsense like this might be seen as intellectual staleness or denialism at best, at worst evidence of mental illness.
It is now up to the Coalition in opposition to hold the union-dominated Rudd Government accountable.
So the Liberal Party needs to reflect on the loss, re-engage its voter base, digest where it went wrong and rebuild itself.
Th Liberal Party needs to consider how it might offer a vision for government that is both different from and better than that offered by both Rudd and Howard three years hence. The Rudd government might fall short of expectations but the case is not made that Brendan Nelson (nor anyone else) could do better. Wishin' and hopin' just won't do it.
Let's not forget that millions of Australians voted for the conservative side of politics. They voted for us because they too shared our view of mainstream conservatism.
Let's not forget that if the Liberal Party wins a minority of votes and a minority of seats in the House of Representatives, it will not win the next election nor any future election unless it acknowledges and distances itself from the failure of the conservatives.
The whole tone of the good Senator's article shows the problem in dealing with the Taliban. They do not accommodate, adjust or compromise: they win or they lose. They are happy for the Liberal Party to lose election after election so long as they yield nothing, and shrilly insist in the face of all evidence that the thin stream of piss in which they marinate themselves really is The Main Stream. Howard won in 1996 by promising to be more moderate than he'd ever been (and more moderate than he actually ended up being in government).
The only way to deal with such people is to beat them and beat them again until people like the good Senator realise than associating with them is the way of failure rather than success.
I knew Concetta Fierravanti when I was in the Liberal Party. She was a vivacious, passionate and interesting person. She actually used to proffer herself as evidence of the success of Aussie multiculturalism! Then she became ambitious: she ran for Liberal preselection in 1994 for Warringah, losing to Tony Abbott. She tried to pick off Bronwyn Bishop in Mackellar, and was shunted into the Senate lest she succeed.
In the era of Pauline Hanson, the Taliban demanded she "de-wog" herself: she started wearing heavy make-up to disguise her olive complexion and called herself "Connie Wells". Perhaps the reason that she lost to Bishop is that - like her or loathe her - Bishop was actually more authentic than the "Connie Wells" of that time.
How ironic that a person who struggled with her own identity should preach to her party in its quest for its own identity. How awful that someone would allow themselves to be a catspaw for the Taliban. A party desperate for new answers is told that no new answers are needed (ner ner!). By promulgating a future without a vision she only ensures that she has made herself an obstacle, rather than a contributor, to the future of the Liberal Party.