A Question for all (Australian) Liberals

In today’s Oz, Michael Costa poses the following question:

“The Howard government lost many ministers but continued to have electoral success because, whether you liked it or not, you knew what the Howard government stood for.

Does anybody know what the Turnbull opposition stands for?”

I suppose with the NSW Liberals decision to oppose privatisation and school league tables, the question at a state level has been answered at least.

So, as a humble expatriate, I ask you – my readers – to fill me in. Tell me, a poor ignorant foreigner, what, exactly, does the Turnbull opposition stand for?


22 Responses to “A Question for all (Australian) Liberals”

  1. Classified Says:

    Simple, get elected

  2. booyah Says:

    Classified, it’s hard to give that argument merit, when we have a Machiavellian, conniving Rudd and his narcassistic mistress of spin Gillard running the country.

    I agree, that at the moment the opposition’s stance on some issues is unclear. However so is the government’s and to commit to a concrete policy platform, to in fact, outline policies which will be taken to the election already, would be to concede any chance of a Liberal victory come election time.

    Turnbull stands for the pragmatism and efficiency. which are often overlooked by the complacent Rudd government. One has to look no further than the cash hand-outs and infrastructure projects to seek evidence of this (including the National Broadband Network and Rebuilding the Education Revolution).

  3. Cathy Says:

    They’re for winning and against someone else winning.

    If he’s still Leader at the next election, unless he picks up his game, I won’t be voting for him. And my electorate was won by a margin of fewer than 20 votes last time around, so it actually means something!

    Hope senior Liberals actually read this.

  4. Jake the Muss Says:

    I read it Cathy and I’m a pretty big cheese down at the cracker factory!

  5. N Says:

    The NSW Coalition opposed school league tables? WTF this is insane.

  6. Bee Says:

    He stands for cheap populism, big government, environmentalism, symbolism, republicanism and political correctness. In other words, he is Labor-lite and this is evident in not only his utter disregard for Liberal values and the people that support them, but also in the fact he promotes Pyne, Hockey et al.

    See: ETS, apology, lack of opposition to Keynesianism, sin taxes, alcopops backflip, etc. etc. etc.

    He’d rather play political games than actually develop policy or rebuild the party into a credible alternative.

    See: Utegate.

    Cathy, if they don’t pick up their game I won’t vote for them either. (Handful of exceptions to that rule, depending where I live at the time and the candidate.)

    Bring back Costello!

  7. John Humphreys Says:

    I think Turnbull does believe in some things, and would run a government based on these principles.

    I think he believes in reducing income taxes. I think he believes in putting in carbon-trading and strong environmental regulations. I think he believes in efficiently running a social-democratic welfare state.

  8. MoT Says:

    Seeing as Turnbull is ex Goldman Sachs big money, That is what he stands for. Any Opposition to the Rudd govt’s civil liberty infringing policies is for show only as he used to be in business with two of Australia’s well known labor people (thus Turnbull has zero integrity). In essence, Rudd needn’t worry about not getting anything passed, the libs tow the Rudd Govt line and have shown they are willing to take a bribe – or I’ll vote for your rudd crudd as long as you slip a few million to my pet cause.

    Alcopops tax? Sure
    Internet filtering? There you go, we tried and failed but don’t worry we’ll support that too despite the overwhelming vast majority of Australians are against it – screw them!
    Work choices? Nice one Kevin 07. Promise to remove it then stall. No argument from us and our big business big $$$ masters.

    This entire UteGate thing comes across more and more like an Act – a charade- to draw attention away from something else. They needn’t worry about that now as Wacko Jacko is now dead and the media will have something else to Present to the masses to distract them for a few more days.

    If Turnbull is leader next election the ALP will win – actually, the ALP will win anyway. The swing was too big and so they will be in for 2 terms. The libs know this and anything in the meantime is just pantomime for the masses. A dog and pony show.

    If Turnbull is leader after the next election and when the ALP goes for a third term the ALP will win – Turnbull just isn’t likable enough for the swing voters (and it is They who determine the outcome in this Mob Rules system we call Democracy). But that won’t bother Turnbull, as the libs and ALP are striving for the same thing – only the difference of their respective paypackets being It.

    Yes, I am cynical – if that’s what you call honest truth.

    Vote one – voluntary voting

  9. John Humphreys Says:

    Bee — I’m not sure Costello would be much better. The problem isn’t the person. The problem is the nature of the game. A major party is always going to try and appeal to the swinging voters in the middle of the spectrum. Even Reagan and Thatcher didn’t cut the size of government… and Howard ran the highest-taxing government in Australia’s history.

    And to give Turnbull some credit, the Liberals did vote against the second stimulus package. That was the right move, and they deserve some credit for it. They also voted against Rudd-bank, and are opposing internet censorship.

  10. Tim Humphries Says:

    The main problem is there is no momentum. I’m certain Costello would have provided the required momentum and been more amenable to a small government approach as Leader.

    My bet is if Turnbull is still leader at the next election, it will be replay of 1999. He’ll probably come out with a concession speech similar in tone to the post referendum “broke Australia’s heart” line.

    Despite his demonstrable skills, success and connections, the Australia I know usually goes for someone that speaks to them. Turnbull is no-where near this.

    Howard did that successfully for a long time, regardless of my philosophical disagreements with his approach at times, Howard embodied Australia as P.M.

    If Costello isn’t tapped on the shoulder, either Turnbull or Hockey will be asked to take one for the team.

  11. Brian Says:

    Here is an excerpt from Quarterly Essay – “Malcolm Turnbull stops at nothing” written by Annabel Crabb

    How would Australia be different if he were Prime Minister? What are his most closely held policy convictions? I asked dozens of Malcolm Turnbull’s political colleagues this question, asking them to name three. Many of them had to pause before responding.

    “You’ll have to excuse me. I’m eating some chocolate,” was the best initial response, from a Liberal on the other end of a phone line…. Read More

    Bust most made, as their first answer, mention in some way or other of the word “freedom.” Chief among these was Turnbull himself: “I believe passionately in a free society, in government enabling people to do their best rather than telling them what’s best. It’s really a question of making sure that people have the mximum choice, that we have as muhc competition as possible and that we eliminate obstacles to starting a business and managing a business.”

    John Howard’s assessment of Turnbull’s policy convictions is as follows: “He does believe in market-centred economics. He does believe in as small as role for government as is appropriate given the circumstances – I think he is quite genuine about that. And he does have a real understanding about the financial system. There aren’t too many people … Read Morewho really understand it, and he’s one of them. Peter Costello did, and I did, and I can’t think of to many others. He is a stronger believer, he rests more … I think he genuinely does buy the scientific arguments about the climate. more so than I did. His instincts in what one might call family issues I think are quite conservative. He’s sort of quite a family-man typeperson. Our views on things like gay marriage are not that different, and he had an atypical electorate. He empathised with the gay community, which is fine. They are the three things that have always hit me.”

    Brendan Nelson plumps for: “Creating an environment that’s conducive to business. The Jewish issues: Israel, and the Jewish comminity. And the third thing I’ve heard him talk about is strong views in support of the gay community. Things that are important to his electorate.”

    “He’s very much what I would call a sort of British liberal,” offers … Read MoreAlexander Donwer. “He’s sort of a “live and let be” sort of person. John Howard was much more conservative in that respect. He was more of the view that the state had a special role to paly in protecting people from themselves.” Donwer also mentions the liberal market model and climate change as central policy interests for Turnbull.

  12. Ross Grove Says:

    Malcolm Turnbull believes in a style of leadership which devolves more power and responsibility to his colleagues and the cause in general than any of his predecessors.

    He does this because he realises that after the ’07 defeat the party doesn’t need to be redefined but rather should seek to redefine itself and I suspect he sees his role as leader of the party to facilitate that outcome.

    This whole question of ideology and belief is being answered over time – MPs are crossing the floor on different legislation and this process will sought itself out.

    It is actually the sort of leadership we needed in NSW a few years back. I don’t even see the POLITICAL merit in opposition to school performance tables – and it is something I generally do.

  13. Catriona Rafael Says:

    Bee – why does environmentalism automatically equal leftism?

  14. Mainstream Conservative Says:

    Our leaders Malcolm Turnbull; and Barry O’Farrell simply represent what the Alex Hawke and Scott Farlow Ambition Faction also want. Politics before policy. They both have turned on the conservative underpinnings of our party to curry favours in their state and federal leaders.

    But the problem with all four, because they all don’t believe in anything but themselves, they can’t draw support to themselves except through promises of personal favours.

    The crisis is the success these careerists over ideologues. That is why Alex Hawke got there and not Tim Andrews.

  15. A Liberal Says:


    Here’s the link for the LDP. For Scott Farlow, Catriona Rafael and Alex Hawke’s benefit I had a look through their policy the LDP supports:

    * drug legalisation
    * gay marriage
    * open borders (tentatively)

  16. Tim Andrews Says:

    “A Liberal” – can you please provide a link specifically for these things as none of them are mentioned in the policy section of the website you quote.

  17. Tim Andrews Says:

    I take that as a no.

  18. Chris Says:

    WTF? LDP party policy.


  19. Chris Says:

    Gat Marriage and the LDP


  20. Jake the Muss Says:

    All great policies. I was a bit concerned about gay marriage at first but the LDP supports the abolition of State marriage which is as it should be. Marriage should only be a matter of societal interaction and institutional determination.

  21. Joe Says:

    And the same goes for not wearing a seatbelt in a car. LOL. And this is what Scott Farlow and Alex Hawke want Australia to be?


    It’s gets more disturbing all the time.

    And is the LDP goign to continue preferencing Labour like they did in 2007 Federal election.

  22. Jake the Muss Says:

    Joe, why do you want to force me, a full grown fully minded adult, to wear a seatbelt?

    The LDP preferenced differently in different seats. For example, they preferenced Liberal in the ACT, getting the ACT Liberal Senator over the line on preferences. In Victoria, they preferenced away from Liberal Senate candidate (now Senator) Scott Ryan.

    Apparently, they didn’t realise Scott’s awesomeness at the time.

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