12 August 2015

Five points from last night's meeting

Five points from last night's meeting worth remembering:
  • Abbott's authority was diminished;
  • Morrison voted with the winning side;
  • However much they grumble about it, Liberals prefer to be told what the policy is and just go out there and sell it. Thinking is hard. Taking personal responsibility is hard. That's what the leadership is for, and they miss the absence of leadership keenly;
  • The press gallery narrative that this government has suddenly become a policy shambles is bullshit. This government was always a policy shambles and they were always wrong to confuse it with a strong and decisive operation; and
  • Nothing. There is no fifth point. I can so write a short blogpost. Go about your business and look normal.


  1. Thanks for brightening my morning with your mirth.


  2. That's a very succinct summary of the day's events. Thank you, Andrew.

    Abbott was in fine form on RN this morning - shifty, equivocating, umming and ahing hi way through a surprisingly robust interview, and still relying on having stopped the boats, axed the tax, and that other thing I can never remember. Something about fixing the economy? I dunno.

    He wants to keep faith with the Australian people, apparently, which is why he's decided to nuke the same sex marriage bill.

    1. Roads of the 21st Century

  3. The point I take is that the split in the Liberal ranks has burst its band aids.

  4. on point 4, it's worth re-reading this from Mark Kenny:
    Such perspicacity

    1. Anyone with a Twitter account want to tweet that to Kenny and see if he'll react? It was already clear he could not have been more wrong about Abbott, but the marriage equality point really twists the knife on it.

    2. Bahahahahaha, that's hilarious.

      Kenny you dimwit.

    3. Wow. Amazing stuff from Kenny, especially these two paras:

      "It may be one of the larger ironies of Australian politics that on the socially divisive issue of marriage equality, for example, it is the Catholic conservative Abbott, rather than the atheist progressive Julia Gillard, who eventually delivers, by allowing an unfettered conscience vote among his MPs and, perhaps even, by dropping his previous objections.

      "The left's answer to the Abbott challenge so far has been to assume deceit. To posit that Abbott remains every bit the right-wing ideologue but has hidden his real desire to fully deregulate the workplace, wind back advances for women, re-oppress Aborigines and hand over the environment to big oil and big coal."

      No wonder they still want to kid themselves that Abbott is / will be / might just look like being an adequate PM>

  5. Hi Andrew,

    Very interesting on Morrison. I'd thought he was anti SSM but his rat cunning has always triumphed over his very flexible "Christian" faith. Dunno if you saw the incredibly favourable Women's Weekly piece on him this month but it's obvious he's positioning himself in clear view of the leadership.



    1. For the time being, I agree it's clear he is positioning himself for the leadership, and it's clear that the numbers in the parliamentary Liberal Party at the moment support bigotry. Ergo, Morrison stands with them for now. Once he gets into the leadership I think he'd be more populist than Abbott and would allow the conscience vote, whatever he really personally thinks about this issue.

    2. As one who's had work published in the mainstream press, I'm guessing you won't comment on point 4!

      Oh, how I long for diversity of opinion i. The media.

    3. Yes, that was a revealing spread in Women's Weekly. Nauseating, but revealing.
      They love their women in virginal white, too, don't they.

  6. It's the last part of your fifth point that I have trouble with.
    That said, Abbott's manufactured "win" has just bound him (and the rest of his rabble) to a burning stake.

  7. Lots of doom and disaster ahead for the LNP because of this. Possibly, but by no means certain. Those who want SSM were never going to vote LNP so no votes were lost. The clever ploy might have been to accept a conscience vote then watch the left and right in Labor go at each other. All the indications are that a free vote in Parliament would see it defeated.

    1. I think you're wrong on both counts, Mick. A lot of LNP voters back SSM, and a free vote in parliament is likely to see it upheld.

    2. Mick, if >70% of the population support SSM and >30% of the population support the Coalition, someone has their maths wrong. More of an overlap than you might imagine

    3. Labor was in power for six years under Rudd/Gillard. Plenty of time to introduce this 'urgent' legislation. But we didn't hear a peep about it (except Gillard saying she agreed with Obama that marriage was between a man and woman). You would think that with the polls (>70%) showing strong support it was a no brainer. But they wimped out. Why, would you say ?


    4. So you've squibbed the question of pro-gay Liberals and the subtleties of politics not being as clear-cut as you (and others) might like, Mick.

      Labor had the problem that the Liberals have now: a small conservative rump with disproportionate power, whose counterparts in the other party made their fringe views look mainstream and bipartisan.

      It seems Labor has diminished the power of that conservative rump. It needs a coherent story to tell about a) why it has gotten its act together and b) why it should replace Abbott - and the story they're telling is about The Future. Opposition to same-sex marriage doesn't fi that story, so rather than drop the story or punch a hole in it, they have dropped their opposition to same-sex marriage.

      If you were a committed opponent of same-sex marriage you wouldn't think Labor's stance was wimpy. I don't know where you got the idea that it's urgent. This is one of those issues where proponents seem patient and determined to do it properly - public policy at its best, like the sea-change underway regarding domestic violence. The press gallery cannot and does not handle broad-based, nuanced policy shifts like this. I think they've wound you up, Mick. I think they've played you for a mug. You're not the only one in that predicament, which is why I despise the press gallery.

    5. "proponents seem patient ..... like the sea-change underway regarding domestic violence...... broad-based, nuanced policy shifts ...... I despise the press gallery."

      Egad, Andrew, I think I might be among those you despise !

      'Patient' is hardly the adjective I'd apply to the SSM campaign. "Raucous .. sneering .. intolerant .. bullying .. especially bullying are what I hear. The comparison with DV is hardly apt. More apposite is the last Republic campaign. We'll see. I have no doubt that cogent opposition to SSM crosses party lines and is a lot deeper than you may think.


    6. Mick - cogent opposition to SSM?

      What cogent opposition?

      Every argument seems to be "why change tradition?" (rubbish), "what about the kids of gay parents?" (this doesn't change a thing regarding who can raise kids) or "I have a deep-seated feeling against this" (homophobia).

      The campaign for marriage equality has become impatient because it is quite clear there is no cogent opposition or reason for delaying any longer.

    7. Agree, Mick, Some of the opponents of SSM are truly 'raucous, sneering, intolerant and bullying; especially bullying.'

  8. Any Liberal seats in play for the Greens now?

  9. Mr Kenny was useful on The Chasers media circus

    He really can't think for himself whilst sitting in his chair next to Julian on stage he was squirming and looking very uncomfortable at all times

    It's fascinating television to watch.

    I found his sister looking pathetic and just embarrassing on all levels in yhe interviews she conducted. .....it's beyond hilarious..

    No sense of humor at all...really he's a genuine nasty @##$//^^

  10. Craig Edwards13/8/15 4:29 am

    I'm not so sure, anon, that 'Those who want SSM were never going to vote LNP'. I wouldn't vote for them, but it's dangerously easy to view this through the lens of the small minority who count political tribe as part of their identity.

    There are plenty of people who are economically to the right who also support SSM. The long-standing political divide within the gay community ('community' in its broadest sense, i.e. not a community at all, but the sum total of people who are gay and can vote in Australian elections - as opposed to the actual community of those who are involved, or identify with, gay activism) exists because there is no direct causal relationship between sexuality and wanting to pay less tax.

    I'd go as far as to suggest that the lack of an established left-loyal gay vote is largely a product of the higher average income of gays and lesbians - the old 'yeah, I'd like the symbolic dignity of equal rights, but I also like tax cuts, and only one of them will help me buy a better car' attitude.

    The pre-implosion Democrats used to profit from the disintegration of the liberal faction of the Liberals, with members like Don Chipp, Kernot and Murray holding standard Liberal Party economic views, but conveying community dissatisfaction with the major parties and social conservatism. Even though the Dems were destroyed by accepting the GST, this arose because they shifted their identity (and gained votes in the process) to strongly oppose it, then betrayed their own voterbase, who hadn't been brought up to speed on the whole 'we're about democratic reform, and our policy sheets are only loose guides given that we vote independently on economic and social issues' idea. The portion of the populace who lean right economically and left socially has since grown to the point where single-axis political models aren't particularly useful anymore.

    Even the 'left' is now divided on economic matters, though this manifests less as a 'economic right / social left' than as a 'vocalise loudly about being left on both economic and social matters, but don't actually care about economics enough for the wellbeing of less progressive blue collar workers to affect our votes' phenomenon.

    Plenty of lawyers, advertising execs and other urban professionals who support gay marriage, but will vote LNP for the tax cuts so long as they can hold their nose long enough to do so.

    1. I agree with your analysis Craig. I don't think gay marriage is a vote changer. It seems too that Abbott has isolated Malcolm Turnbull. Other prominent dissenters seem to be toeing the line on the plebiscite proposal.

      I would not have agreed with myself yesterday but in the clear light of morning it seems to me that Abbott has far more power in the party than I would have thought.

    2. Indeed. There are definitely gay Coalition voters. It's not like there's been a clear divide on this issue until recently. Bill Shorten is the first ALP leader to support marriage equality while in office (something for which he gets no credit). There will be voters for whom this turns their vote, and not just gay people but straight people who will decide they can't stand for this kind of discrimination against their gay friends even if they're normally willing to look the other way and vote for who they perceive to be the better economic managers.

    3. Left loyal gay vote....

      Joy F.m in Melbourne attracts that demographic....it's very strong

      Furthermore people like Christine Forster who are gay liberals. ..(whatever that means) exploit their identity politics for selfish reasons

      Let's not even talk sbout Tim Wilson and his greedy intentions to screw human rights and become another dodgy captains call.

    4. At the rate things are going, Tim Wilson will soon become yet another Captain's Nose Pick.

      How sad, too bad.

    5. I don't think that the overlap of the set of gays and the set of Liberals is too important.

      Whilst I'm sure Shorten cares about SSM, I don't think it was his main motive for throwing the SSM grenade in the Abbott tent.

      The scrabbling about within the Libs as a result of it was ample justification and is a wondrous thing to behold.

      Shorten is just (masterfully, I think) letting them show themselves for the bunch of leaderless, ideologically motivated fools they really are.

    6. If you include supporters, the 'set of gays' is much larger than you think. Even its overlap with the set of Liberals is bigger.

    7. Did Shorten really throw this one at Abbott? The matter has come to a head now mostly because Abbott couldn't fob off the moderates in his own rank any longer. An issue of his own making (as was the fact that he felt compelled to be dismissive of the idea of a popular vote after the Irish referendum, without realising he might want to use it as a delaying tactic only months later).

  11. Andrew,

    What role does The National Civic Council and Australian Christian Lobby Group play with this?

    I recall reading (a while ago) The National Civic Council stating they would continue to back Abbott (and keep him in power) as long as he refused to give his party the conscience vote.

    They backed him during the election on the condition he would remove the carbon tax and not allow a party conscience vote for SSM.

    Your thoughts?

    1. Well, the "Marriage Alliance" is a Catholic front.

      Follow the names of its conveners - all from the Catholic fringe and most with direct links to both the Liberal Party (including Abbott personally) and the National Civic Council. When someone posted their names on the MA Facebook page the poster was banned, according to Australian Marriage Equality.

      The MA's sudden high profile, including TV ads, just weeks before Parliament resumed on August 10 was no coincidence. It now looks like a well orchestrated front campaign and I bet that pulling the strings were certain Liberals in the parliamentary party close to Abbott.

    2. Malcolm Turnbull - Catholic - for SSM.
      Christopher Pyne - Catholic - for SSM.

      Edlon, ya gotta get out more.

      Regards, Mick.

  12. Ordinary Barracker13/8/15 4:04 pm

    Obviously plenty of pro-gay Liberals, hardly needs to be stated.
    I don't think I've met a young Lib who wasn't for gay marriage (though their reasoning has usually been along the lines of: "I knew a bi chick in contracts").

    IMHO the issue is similar to how Piping Shrike describes the boats/refugee issue; polling may show strong views, but that doesn't translate into it being a vote decider for most people.

    If anything, I think the people who care the most are the minorities in each case. Christians etc. will crack a huge tantrum when gay marriage passes,and the Greens supporters I know would have a personal existential crisis if that party ever supported the status quo on refugees.

    btw I have a couple of greens voters who don't support gay marriage, one being my mum, but I'm assuming you meant active members.
    Someone mentioned this a few posts back.

    (Her reasoning when asked: "They should get over themselves!").

  13. Just remembering your old slogan Andrew. "Tony Abbott will never be Prime Minister." You deleted it after the election but maybe you should have kept it. Tony Abbott seems more like the leader of a majority Opposition than a Prime Minister and it's beginning to look as if he may never move into the Lodge.
    Rais, Perth.

  14. It just gets crazier by the month - the government is incapable of governing, as apart from zero policies, its entire time is now spent fighting Abbott's own fires. Abbott himself is revealing ever more authoritarianism in his desperation to remain at the helm. He is now constant attacking the rule of law - it started with the proposed (single) citizenship judgement entirely Dutton's hands without evidence or trial, then lurched into paying off the people smugglers with federal cash, now we are apparently up to a proposal to alter environmental laws to ensure preferred projects can skip due process. It would be comic if it wasn't such a sustained attack on the federal constitution. Hmmm...a future reciprocal ALP commissioned royal commission into paying off the people smugglers anyone?

  15. Andrew, Andrew - no new blog entry since the 12th, how am to get my fix? We realise you have to work and live , but more please sir.

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