The Liberal’s Own Fracture
As a progressive of sorts, I’m sick of bagging out the ALP. I wish they’d do better but they won’t. They won’t because they’re who they are at this minute in history and more’s the shame. It’s been interesting watching the Libs this year doing their best to keep their noses clean and names out of the paper. Even Tony Abbott has been making himself scarce (as if that’s going to convince undecided progressives to vote for him), but occasionally something bursts to the surface.
This week it was leaked that Alex Hawke doesn’t think much of Abbott’s parental leave scheme. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a sign that the Liberals under Tony Abbott are not a monolithic right. It appears, there’s a sort of spectrum of Wet Malcolm, Soggy-Bottom Joe Hockey, Dry Tony Abbott, Fresh-Wheatbix Julie Bishop, and Bone-Dry Alex Hawke. And we have to remind ourselves that the drier they are the whiter and more private-school they get (unless of course they’re the scion of escaped European Fascists, it won’t matter what their school ties looked like).
Secondly, it is interesting that the reason they don’t like it is because the architecture of the plan so to speak hinges on taking the 3200 top companies to pay for it, and try as they might some people on the right just can’t stand the thought of another tax. Now, it appears to me that this kind of tax the big companies and pay the people dosh mentation is largely of the old DLP mold, so it surprises me none that Tony Abbott thinks this is the way to go, and for Joe Hockey to concur. (“Do you concur?” “Sorry?” “Do you concur!?”)
The other news from the Liberal side is that not only are they likely to repeal the Carbon Tax, some would want to abandon their ‘Direct Action’ policy – which interestingly enough involved taxing the biggest polluters – which is a bit like the gun lobby wanting to repeal gun laws in Australia:
Two Liberal MPs want Tony Abbott to review or consider abandoning parts of his $3.2 billion plan to combat climate change in light of ”dire economic circumstances”.
Mal Washer and Dennis Jensen made the comments about the Coalition’s Direct Action plan in the same week MPs broke ranks to publicly criticise Mr Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme as economically irresponsible.
Western Australian MP Mal Washer said: ”If we are not going to get a big environmental bang for our buck then we ought not to do it. The policy needs to be reviewed and only the valuable parts need to be retained … in light of dire economic circumstances.” Dr Washer added that he agreed with the tree planting initiatives in the scheme.
I guess the point there is that there are some pretty crazy people on the right end of the conservative side of politics and it’s a miracle they don’t all jump ship and join Bob Katter or Clive Palmer. (This has already happened on the Left – and let’s be honest, that’s what the Greens are: the political hidey-hole for old time communists and assorted marxists, Lesbian Separatists, piratical whale-huggers, disorderly tree-huggers, illustrated people with socially unacceptable piercings and consciousness-altered hippies and dope fiends… You know, the people who used to make up the ALP Left faction).
The great irony in all of this is that the current carbon pricing policy is something the coalition came up with way back when and Kevin Rudd co-opted it in order to win the election. Now, that was a famous drubbing, but that shouldn’t mean the Carbon Tax should be against the Liberal Party’s ideological framework of free markets unless of course it is even more important for the Liberal Party to be the party of climate change scepticism. Of course, Tony Abbott himself is famously a climate change sceptic which not only robs him of intellectual credibility, it robs him of having a mandate when he wins this September.
But here’s the thing. This model of taxing the biggest companies and handing out the spoils is classic old school Leftist thinking – like, the splittist Democratic Labour Party of old. After all, Tony Abbott cites B.A Santamaria as his political inspiration. It’s exctly the kind of policy style that B.A would have approved. It’s a bit of a miracle the WASP types in the Liberals have tolerated Tony Abbott and his DLP ways until now. And maybe now that they’re so confident they are about to win, they want to re-stack the policy deck.
I guess all this goes to show it is pretty deplorable that the ALP had to be forced to the table by a hung Parliament to put through the Carbon tax by the aforementioned Greens, and then utterly failed to sell it. Now that they are about to lose badly, it’s all going to get undone and the climate sceptics are going to have their day, which is tragic.
Maybe they can take comfort in the fact that their old time brethren/apostates of the DLP have infiltrated the Liberals and are putting in policy on their behalf. You sort of wonder how the old Masons look at all this. I guess it’s no surprise hyper-WASP Malcolm Fraser walked out on the Liberal Party. What kind of Liberal Party is it with a Jesuit at the helm?