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Liberals future? (Read 3378 times)
Grendel
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Liberals future?
Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:26pm
 
Howard for PM: How Lazarus with a triple bypass could save the day

The Australian
12:00AM November 11, 2017
Peter Van Onselen

Let’s not bury the lead: this opinion piece argues for a John Howard comeback, explaining how and why it’s a viable idea. Do I think it’s going to happen? Of course not. Is the piece a lighthearted game of fantasy football applied to the political class? Yes, it is. However, I’d invite readers to try to identify the downside to any of the implications that follow.

John Alexander looks certain to fall foul of section 44 of the Constitution, meaning a by-­election in his northwest Sydney seat of Bennelong is in the offing. On a margin of less than 8 per cent in the present political climate, it will be a tough hold for the government. Lose the seat and Malcolm Turnbull loses his majority, and that’s before we even consider other ­potential by-elections that may ensue from the citizenship fiasco.

It has been speculated that Alexander may retire at the next election, which means he may be inclined not to recontest his seat at a by-election. Bennelong is Howard’s old seat. He lost it at the 2007 election, having represented the area for more than 30 years.

Fast forward 10 years and Australians more broadly lament the loss of good governance by all political parties since the end of the Howard era. It’s hard to imagine him losing the seat at a by-­election, especially if the comeback were step one in a two-step process: a return to the prime ministership. Australians are crying out for stability in Canberra.

When Howard lost office the “it’s time” factor brought him down. His net satisfaction rating was still positive. (For context, Turnbull and Bill Shorten have ratings worse than minus 20.) The economy was humming along nicely. We were in surplus, with no net debt. The unemployment rate had a four in front of it and economic growth was strong.

In short, Australians felt comfortable moving on from Howard because they took prosperity for granted, but what we as a nation have experienced since then has been nothing short of chaotic. While events have contributed to the changed economic landscape, that doesn’t account for the political volatility in Canberra that has beset both major parties during their time in office. Howard was a safe pair of hands and even a new generation of voters would likely embrace him, having been told by older Australians how much more stable politics was under his watch.

Howard was the last quality leader following on a golden run from Bob Hawke to Paul Keating to Howard. He reformed the tax system, gun laws and industrial relations. Labor might try for an IR scare campaign but that would be a marginal concern paralleled with the positive offerings a Howard comeback would provide.

The simple fact is that even if ideological opponents of Howard would despise his return, swinging voters and traditional Liberals would embrace him en masse.

The elephant in the room is Howard’s age: he’s 78. While I’ve long argued that ageing MPs should be put out to pasture to be replaced by new blood, such reasoning doesn’t extend to leadership. We live in an ageing ­society. The retirement age is going up and Howard is certainly a young 78, as sharp and quick as he always has been. Politics is his passion. I bet if approached he’d be willing to again serve.

The transition would need to be on agreed terms. Resistance by Turnbull or anyone else would kill off this idea, for the same reasons the coup reactionaries keep spruiking isn’t viable. Does anyone think the lion’s share of the Liberal partyroom wouldn’t ­embrace a Howard comeback?

And who better to get right-wing conservatives under control? To placate right-wing shock jocks without giving in to their more populist demands? Howard would need to accept generational change in this country. He would need to understand his role wouldn’t be as a handbrake on progress, whatever his personal views. His comeback would be to take advantage of his competent management. Howard argued against same-sex marriage, for example, but he would need to embrace a plebiscite result that fav­oured changing the Marriage Act.

Turnbull and Peter Dutton are holding the line on Manus Island and New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 asylum-seekers. It’s worth ­reminding Australians that while Howard presided over the Tampa affair and the tough border policies that followed, he quietly settled most asylum-seekers here when the glare of the cameras receded. No one could call Howard a soft touch on border protection.

How would the frontbench be recalibrated? If Turnbull didn’t ­retire, he could take up the treasurership, a role he’s perfectly suited to. If not, give it to Mathias Cormann. If anyone has the conservative credentials to break convention and make a senator treasurer, it’s Howard.

pt 1.
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Grendel
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #1 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:27pm
 
pt 2.

How would the frontbench be recalibrated? If Turnbull didn’t ¬retire, he could take up the treasurership, a role he’s perfectly suited to. If not, give it to Mathias Cormann. If anyone has the conservative credentials to break convention and make a senator treasurer, it’s Howard.
Move Morrison into social security or defence, and give him the leader of the house role to compensate for the lost Treasury portfolio. Leave Julie Bishop as foreign minister and party deputy. Leave Dutton in immigration, perhaps accelerating his move into the new homeland security super portfolio.
Bring Tony Abbott back on to the frontbench with indigenous affairs. Abbott has proven interest in the portfolio and Howard needs to show he takes such issues seriously. The internal wars within the Liberal Party would be over. Howard could dump or politely retire MPs and senators he never much rated, thus freeing up positions and titles for new blood.
Promotions could include more women, such as Sarah Henderson and Melissa Price. Howard could use his authority to demand women replace outgoing MPs in parliament. To be sure Howard is no gender warrior, but female representation under his watch never dipped as low as it is now.
Howard is just one man so he would need to use his authority to help reform the party. This was a blind spot during his first stint as prime minister, but since retiring Howard has embraced the democratisation of the Liberal Party.
Does anyone seriously think Howard wouldn’t have Shorten’s number? He would immediately lift the credibility of the government, wouldn’t need to fear an early election in place of the drip feed of citizenship crisis induced by-election after by-election.
Problem states electorally such as Western Australia and Queensland would quickly rebound; Howard was popular in both. His home state, NSW, would see the Liberals re-energised in “Howard battler” outer metropolitan electorates such as Lindsay.
Robert Menzies served into his 70s as prime minister when Australians lived and worked for a shorter time than today. Britain re-elected Winston Churchill when he was one month shy of his 77th birthday, just a year younger than Howard is now. And that was 1951. Americans have a long and proud history of presidents and senators serving into their 70s.
It’s fantasy football to think about how improved this government would be were Howard to return to the leadership, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It’s nigh impossible to think of a downside for the Liberal Party.
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #2 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:31pm
 
Turnbull has lost his way but Coalition has a fallback in Tony Abbott

Chris Kenny

It is more than a prime ministerial meltdown, parliamentary showdown, internal breakdown and constitutional shakedown. We seem to be suffering the sum of all our mistakes. Christmas always looked a long way off for Malcolm Turnbull and now the nation must long for a festive season reboot in the hope of more order and purpose in the new year.
Politics, as a rule, is never as good or as bad as it seems but coming months could bring a series of by-elections, a change in prime minister, a minority government, a general election or all of the above. Prospects for good governance seem remote. Even the tortuous path to same-sex marriage is more perilous as opponents seek to exploit the disarray. It is 10 years this month since Australia voluntarily, but not knowingly, departed from good government. Kevin Rudd promised continuity of economic conservatism and sober administra¬tion, tempting voters to punt on change without consequence.
It triggered a dismal decade; major parties betrayed constituents and values while institutions, minor parties and media all contributed to the parlous situation.
We approach the end of 2017 seemingly ungoverned and ¬al¬most ungovernable. The Prime Minister is paralysed by indecision and surrounded by obstacles. The parliament is frag¬mented and intransigent. Labor is obstructive and ascendant. The media is Balkanised and superficial. Universities, bureaucracies and public broad¬casters are activist and misleading.
Thankfully, the asinine national debate does not hobble the country; while the disarray undermines confidence and delays pro¬gress our economy, services and civil society function largely unhindered. Still, left unaddressed, this malaise will hurt us all. Imagine another decade such as this.
A reckoning has long been inevitable. We expected a fiscal recalibration managed sensibly by government or something more dramatic imposed by economic calamity. Perhaps we hadn’t considered another option: political dysfunction conspiring to take us deeper into the self-harm of denial, more spending, deeper debt, increased taxes, higher energy ¬prices and less reform. Strap yourselves in because that is what Bill Shorten is promising.
If the Opposition Leader’s economic prescription isn’t worrying enough, look at his political strategy: blocking, destroying or undermining virtually everything an elected government attempts. Mandate is not in his lexicon. (Critics often argue this was Tony Abbott’s approach in opposition but all the Coalition was able to block, with the Greens, was Rudd’s emissions trading scheme and Julia Gillard’s so-called Malaysia solution).
On Wednesday, Turnbull had a 90-minute meeting with Shorten to discuss the eligibility crisis threatening the legitimacy of the parliament and the survival of the government, yet they emerged with no consensus, no solution and with the Opposition Leader holding the upper hand.
Shorten extended the Prime Minister’s purgatory, forcing Turnbull to stew without a clear way out. In ¬actions rather than words it was a partisan play reminiscent of Paul Keating’s famous taunt to John Hewson: “Mate, I want to do you slowly.”
That an opposition leader can lord it over a prime minister like this says it all — especially when Shorten’s own duplicity is obvious as he stands by four of his own MPs whose eligibility is dubious. The citizenship imbroglio is not one of Turnbull’s making but he has handled it badly. It was clear at least three months ago that decisive action was required but he stalled and hoped. He was too optimistic and emphatic about what the High Court would find, too slow to examine forensically the status of his own MPs and too reluctant to force an audit of some kind.
His hand was eventually forced not just by Labor but by conservative Liberal MPs loyal to Abbott and then, tellingly, by the former prime minister himself, just hours before Turnbull relented.
The Prime Minister increasingly is captive to events rather than shaping them. Weighed down by his own Newspoll ballast, Turnbull’s inability to create a sense of purpose or define a narrative means he has hit this unforeseen citizenship crisis without the momentum and authority to carry him through. He seems stuck, with survival the only imperative.

pt1
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #3 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:32pm
 
pt 2/

He has started to crack under the glare. His shrill invocation of the Holocaust to defend Josh Frydenberg’s citizenship status was over the top. Turnbull also snapped back at provocations on breakfast television. His self-assessment that he was a “good man in a crisis” was redolent of Margaret Thatcher’s line that being powerful is like being a lady: if you have to tell people you are then you aren’t.
The figurehead of the Liberal “moderate” faction, Turnbull faces a toxic media environment that he has never mastered. As a foil to Abbott he was always lured by the flattery of progressive media such as the ABC and Fairfax Media. Now, as Prime Minister, he sees how these journalists will barrack for Liberals against conservative colleagues but not against the Labor-Greens alliance. When the going gets tough, his media allies see him only as a wounded Tory.
Yet he gets pain from the other side, too. Much of the mainstream media, from Sydney radio station 2GB’s Alan Jones and Ray Hadley to Sky News hosts Andrew Bolt and Paul Murray — along with a raft of newspaper columnists — have been antipathetic to Turnbull since the day he felled Abbott. Rather than attempting to engage with these critics and their audi¬ences, Turnbull has avoided them and deepened the enmity.
So instead of communicating with the Liberal base he seeks clear air on breakfast TV, FM radio and the Ten Network’s The Project, talking to people who may be likelier to seek a selfie with Turnbull than vote for him.
For all its political failings and electoral self-harm, the Coalition has been far better for the nation than the disastrous six years under Labor. Rudd and Gillard wrecked the budget with panicked and wasteful spending, cemented permanent expenditure growth such as the Gonski education funding and National Disability Insurance Scheme, started ill-conceived and unsustainable boondoggles such as the National Broadband Network, and jumped headlong into reckless carbon pricing and renewable energy targets. Under Abbott and Turnbull the Coalition has stanched the damage.
Abbott axed the mining and carbon taxes and stopped the boats, but his first budget broke promises, set up inevitable roadblocks and created the climate for Turnbull to pounce. Turnbull’s budget approach has been more about the possible, dodging serious repair but lowering Labor’s trajectory of expenditure growth, starting to reduce taxes and beginning to tackle the energy mess.
The disharmony, dishevelment and ineptitude of the Abbott and Turnbull governments has made them seem worse than the sum of their achievements. Just as Democrats must concede Donald Trump’s rise is an indictment of Barack Obama’s presidency, the prospect of a Shorten prime ¬ministership is surely the most damning demonstration of squandered Coalition opportunities.
With just two sitting weeks left this year, Turnbull needs a process to deal with the citizenship crisis without robbing him of his majority. As this column foreshadowed four weeks ago, he is preoccupied with surviving until Christmas. Along the way he will also want to make history by delivering gay marriage. This would give him a small temporary boost and, in the midst of contemporary trauma, perhaps provide the enduring high point of his prime ministership. Labor’s demands to fast-track and strengthen Turnbull’s citizenship tests are difficult for the Prime Minister to refuse and challenging to implement. More cases will be flushed out. Shorten was taunted by Turnbull into revealing his own British citizenship renunciation papers in September. Now he is glowing in schadenfreude.
While ever a government is alive there is Micawber’s hope that something will show up. But the forecast looks torrid for the Coalition. Some of the wisest heads in parliament and punditry point out that the modern habit of leadership switching is fatal. To dump another prime minister, like another swipe on political Tinder, runs the risk of confirming the shallowness of the enterprise.
But there is a large counterpoint to this assessment and that is that the person who created this scenario was Turnbull. The Coalition should have learned all the lessons about stability, weathering difficult times and avoiding leadership convulsions. But Turnbull took them down this path in 2015, inviting intense pressure to perform and a hellish denouement for failure. Voters know this. It is why the ¬Coalition has lost standing in the polls, not to Labor but to break¬aways on the right.
This is why one leadership ¬alternative will always remain for the Coalition: not another unexplained contortion but a reversion. Yes, just like Rudd. Not in the midst of this citizenship crisis, to be sure, but a return to Abbott cannot be ruled out because it would reinstall someone elected in a landslide in 2013 and robbed of a chance at re-election. Marginal MPs know Abbott would fight Shorten on core issues dividing the major parties. He is not popular but he has legitimacy and known campaigning skills. As has been the case since 2009, Turnbull and Abbott remain the only Coalition options this side of an election.
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Grendel
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #4 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:32pm
 
pt 3

Due to his policies and his cynical approach, we cannot expect a Shorten government to correct the national bearing. Without major adjustment he would most likely ensure this lost period of the post-Howard decade is extended. We need to confront the sobering reality that it might only be the next generation of leadership, on either side of the aisle, that holds our best hopes.
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John Smith
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #5 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 5:36pm
 
another libtard who would rather live in the past


Cheesy Cheesy
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Our esteemed leader:

I hope that bitch who was running their brothels for them gets raped with a cactus.
 
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Grendel
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #6 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 9:05pm
 
Trolling again?

Who are you talking about TROLL?
Personally I think both articles are well worth a read.
PVO hates Abbott.
Kenny thinks Abbott can make a come back.
YOU apparently can't read or stick to commenting on topic.
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Dnarever
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #7 - Nov 11th, 2017 at 9:11pm
 
Why would anyone resuscitate one of the countries worst leader especially to the seat that has already thrown him out once.

I think we have all had more than enough Howard lies for a lifetime.
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Grendel
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #8 - Nov 12th, 2017 at 8:43am
 
Dnarever wrote on Nov 11th, 2017 at 9:11pm:
Why would anyone resuscitate one of the countries worst leader especially to the seat that has already thrown him out once.

I think we have all had more than enough Howard lies for a lifetime.


Oh dear more biased dribble eh DNA...  Howard was/IS our second longest serving PM.  How's that for unpopularity.  Unpopular with you perhaps but not with most Australians for a very long time.  If he became PM again he may become our longest serving PM.
Anyhow its obvious you never read the article and just sprayed in ignorance like most Trolls and LW Progs do here.
Wassup small attention span? Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

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John Smith
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #9 - Nov 12th, 2017 at 9:22am
 
not just a libtard who wants to live in the past, but a moronic goose as well.
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Our esteemed leader:

I hope that bitch who was running their brothels for them gets raped with a cactus.
 
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greggerypeccary
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #10 - Nov 12th, 2017 at 11:17am
 

"Liberals future?"

...
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Grendel
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #11 - Nov 12th, 2017 at 7:11pm
 
Well easy to see who the TROLLS are here.
If you people have no real interest in politics just stay under your bridges.
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.JaSin.
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #12 - Nov 18th, 2017 at 12:06am
 
Their only hope is to bring back Malcolm Fraser.
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Artificial Intelligence brought to you by ASIO.
 
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TheFunPolice
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Re: Liberals future?
Reply #13 - Dec 1st, 2017 at 1:56pm
 
Grendel wrote on Nov 12th, 2017 at 7:11pm:
Well easy to see who the TROLLS are here.
If you people have no real interest in politics just stay under your bridges.

Does grendel even know what troll is?
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......Australia has an illegitimate Government!
 
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