NSW Right in factional war: Tim’s Thoughts

By now I’m sure all Liberals in Australia would be aware of the following article on the NSW Division, which appeared in the Australian a few days ago:

“The once dominant right faction is starting to fracture. Its religiously conservative elements, commonly referred to by detractors as the hard Right, are displeased with a group of right-wingers they believe are turning their backs on the social conservatism that has long defined the faction.”

And so on.

This article is unfortunate, but also expected; I think everyone knew it was just a matter of time.  As those of you who know me are aware, I have gleefully retired from the Liberal factional scene, and indeed largely moved on from party politics. Instead, I simply want to be engaged in the battle of ideas – to fight for the values of individual freedom and the free market that have led to unparalleled prosperity. As part of this, I shall support anyone who will advance the battle of ideas. Faction, sub-faction, or even party matters little to me any more (Clinton – you win ALP preselection one day, you’ll have my support!). As the current stoush does, however, impact rather deeply on the political dynamic in NSW, I do feel it appropriate I add some of my own observations, particularly my experiences at a Young Liberal level.

The first thing that struck me about the attack launched upon Alex was the frantic spinning of reality by his detractors. I note the following paragraph:

The view of the former group is that Hawke and his allies are prepared to water down their social conservatism to appeal to Malcolm Turnbull and his new leadership team, which includes Joe Hockey and Christopher Pyne, both well-identified Liberal moderates. In other words, they are being accused of political opportunism: suppressing their hard right tendencies for political preferment by a more moderate new leader and his team.

Which is a rather good effort at spin. Pity it has no link to reality whatsoever. If there was even a shred of truth in allegations Alex has betrayed his principles, I would be the first to join the chorus condemning him. In a heartbeat. My thoughts on Malcolm are well known, as are my repeated refrains for the party to once again reimburse true conservative values. Don’t even get me started on the fact you could count everyone who supports the free market in the NSW Parliamentary wing of the Liberal Party on one hand with several fingers left over.

The problem with this spin, however, is the fact that at no point in the years I have known the people who, at a Young Liberal level, are leading the attack, have they ever expressed even the remotest interest in true conservative values. Not once have they mentioned individual freedom, small government, and free markets. Not once have they condemned the party for embracing economic socialism. Instead, all I have heard is them using the language of conservatism to cloak extremist big-government, socially authoritarian views. One need only look at the recent support of some of these people for Obama-style community service conscription, or censoring the internet – the complete antithesis of conservative thought. This isn’t conservatism – this is big-government socialism in conservative drag. In contrast, Alex has always been a real champion of true conservatism. I remember in my capacity as Vice-President (Policy) of the NSW Young Liberals the anti-free market sentiment emanating from many of the people laughably now attacking Alex. God knows how many times I had to deny the reality of the situation about some of these people to new members, how I had to prevent new members from knowing their extremist-statist agenda for fear of scaring new members away. In fact, I still remember a heated exchange between one of the ringleaders of this attack and Alex, the former denying the virtues of the free market, the latter defending them. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have taken a stronger stance.

I must stress, my comments are not an attack on social conservatism within the party. It is obvious to all that I lean libertarian, (although, it may surprise some to know, on some life issues I have recently shifted somewhat towards the ‘conservative’ position – a topic for a future blog post). In any event, I have always recognised how vital the fusion between small government conservatism and libertarianism is in the Liberal Party – it is this mainstream coalition that makes up the bulk of our members, and of our voters. Many of my closest friends and mentors in the party are socially conservative. I disagree with them on some issues, but I certainly recognise their importance in the Liberal Party. However, these social conservatives were conservatives in the true model of Thatcher and Reagan – they believed in small government. The difference is that these current young liberal self-proclaimed ‘conservatives’ are not conservative in either ideology or mindset. They are little more than big-government statists wishing to impose their agenda upon society.

On reflection (and his loyalty to Malcolm Turnbull as Party Leader notwithstanding, for I understand political reality and how it is appropriate to support the leader in our current political system) I can think of no better advocate for true conservative principles than Alex. From his love of the free market, to his work against censorship – on every issue he has been true to traditional conservative though. In fact, there are few people in the party I have met who share the passionate conviction of freedom that he has. The same goes for Nick, Scott and the others who have recently been so maligned.

It is unfortunate that a small minority of young liberals disgruntled at being marginalised have decided to engage in this grubby attack. It is even more unfortunate that some of them stoop so low as to release private emails to the press. Such gutter attacks smack only of lack of character and desperation. Such treachery is despicable. It clearly demonstrates how they care more about their own power and pursuing their own agenda, rather than creating any workable coalition. Anyone with any scruples whatsoever should shun those who committed the morally reprehensible act of releasing these emails. There is no excuse for such betrayal.

The success of the Right has never been by extreme social conservatism. Indeed, contrary to the Australian article, it was never a defining feature of the coalition that made up the Liberal party mainstream ‘right’ in NSW.  Rather, the ‘right’ was successful rather because of the natural fusion that small government conservatives and libertarians share in standing up for traditional Liberal values: the knowledge that individuals and families – and not the government – know best. This alliance by the so called ‘right’ is what appealed across the spectrum of the party and the voting public. Why? Simplebecause of their association with the values that the majority of Liberal Party members and voters share. The extreme-left of the Liberal Party fell because it lost touch with this, and hoisted their radical views on an unwilling party base – I still look back at the radical left wing social engineering they proposed and shudder with horror. This current breed of extreme social authoritarians in the young liberals unfortunately seek to wish to do the same. Rather than focusing on fighting the real enemy, they instead wish to take down those who have done the most for the Liberal Party. While I focus in this post on Young Liberals only, and am not qualified to speak on the senior party or parliamentary wings, this movement is disturbing to say the least.

The way forward for the Liberal Party is to embrace the true conservative values of small government. As long as Alex & his allies continue to do so, all freedom fighters should support them.

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15 Responses to “NSW Right in factional war: Tim’s Thoughts”

  1. Bee Says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This was an amazing post.

  2. JaketheMuss Says:

    NSW is still doing better than the ACT Division. We fought a four year war based on which jackass was best equipped to lead us to defeat. A war that ended only because all the jackasses but one finally bled to death.

  3. motion29 Says:

    The same could be said of Jake’s comments in regard to the Qld LNP branch heh

  4. Catriona Rafael Says:

    All I have to say is, dear Tim,

    ILY <3<3

  5. RobC Says:

    A good post Tim. But, I think the only way the Liberal party will ever return to power is if it has solid policies. It is not enough to to be engaging in mere ideological battles of ideas. You actually need substantive policies to underpin the principles for which we are fighting.

    Until the party gets its act together and decides to work on policy, we’ll be in the wilderness for some years.

  6. Freedom Fighter Says:

    Tim,

    A question for you to ponder, how can you support a member of parliament who used unethical machiavellian tactics to advance the cause of freedom?

    The two are completely uncompatible. If one believes in economic and political freedom, then their conduct in political matters must also reflect their political convictions. Open and transparent conduct are the hall marks of free democratic processes, not just simply the use of secret ballots.

    I thought you would have seen this! You disappointment me to no end!!!!!!!

  7. Ralph Buttigieg Says:

    G’day,

    Machiavellian tactics? I thought that’s just ordinary politics. If they start using General Pinochet tactics then I’ll be concerned.

    As to policies. Sure, unless we have policies that advance freedom and resonant with the Australian people we are wasting our time. However unless you have the core philosophy and principles we will not get those policies.

    ta

    Ralph

  8. jamesp Says:

    freedom fighter doesn’t know tim very well if they assume he dissaproves of machiavellian politics!

  9. Freedom Fighter Says:

    Ralph,

    This is what is wrong with the right wing of the party. The left wing don’t understand the difference between freedom and socialism. But on the right, they believe that the use of dispictable Machiavellian tactics, then they are justified in their actions. This is just plainly wrong.

    Many theologicans have written on the inconsistency between christainity and governing doctrine outline in the prince. Just because Australian politics is non-violent, doesn’t mean that they are righteous, in fact it destroys the message.

    Those who believe in freedom should conduct their politics in an open, transparent and accountable manner. They should allow the virtues of their argument to convince people, not who ever holds the numbers. We have lost our way as a party for decades now.

    In 1944, the NSW Liberal Party had 50,000 members, now the division has less than 10,000 members even though the population has sky rocketed. Unless the party opens itself through the use of open primaries, open debate, intellectual debate, then we are not going to win favour with the Australian people.

    Most people in Australia are decent and honest. They have such little regard for politics, even though the political establishment makes all the decisions because they have little regard for the sum zero pointless Machiavellian game that people are obessed with. The reality is that a significant majority of those active in the christain right have a one way non-stop ticket to hell irrespective of the public musing about Jesus. That Jesus himself as an example, an influential political figure who didn’t use any of the strategies currently being practised by the party (left or right).

    Its time for people to wake up and start being genuine freedom fighters.

  10. JaketheMuss Says:

    freedomfighter I think you would do well in taking more time with your posts.

  11. Ralph Buttigieg Says:

    G’day,

    Freedom Fighter. I’m all for more democracy in the political process. I think Chris Pyne proposal to have the parliamentary leader elected by all party members , UK Conservative style, is an excellent one. I think primaries are certainly worth experimenting with, councils which have elected mayors would be a good place to start. But call me an old cynic if you want, will it stop Machiavellian dealings ? I don’t think so.

  12. JaketheMuss Says:

    Also freedomfighter, seeing as you are protected with anonymity by a generic username and no blog of your own, can you please outline in crazy detail, the machiavellian and unethical activities you have alluded to, including names.

  13. Original Liberal Says:

    As a ex-YL moderate Liberal who was a the object of one of Hawke’s branch-stacks, it is satisfying seeing the Right tearing itself apart. I assure you, after the next YL Council AGM, we will toast Scott Farlow’s presidency. lol. He makes Andy Constance look like Jesus.

  14. Libertarian Says:

    Alex Hawke hardly supports limited government. He is pro drug laws, pro gun laws, pro abortion laws, pro war etc. Essentially he believes the government should legislate morality. He is merely another big-government conservative. Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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