The Liberal Party and Principles: FML

Janet Albrechtsen writes in today’s Oz:

THERE is nothing more disheartening or dishonourable than a party without principles. In that vein, it is time for the NSW Liberal Party to change its name to something more fitting. The Other Mob will do. Last week, under leader Barry O’Farrell, the party showed it has no commitment to core Liberal Party values.

Not only did it oppose the privatisation of lotteries in NSW, just as it voted against the privatisation of electricity last year. Now it has decided to vote against the publication of school rankings, which has long been part of the Liberal Party platform. It was a weird time to side with the far-left agenda of the Greens and the teachers unions when the Labor Party has finally seen the sense of education reforms long pursued by the federal Liberal Party to empower parents and help students.

O’Farrell has shown that under his leadership, the party’s commitment to Liberal Party values is a sham. As Andrew Clennell reported in The Sydney Morning Herald last week, when Howard was in opposition he supported the sale of the Commonwealth Bank and Qantas because it was part of the Liberal Party’s unwavering economic agenda. But O’Farrell is an altogether different creature, choosing to block the sale of the state’s electricity assets – despite the overwhelming economics – because, as he told new Liberal member Mike Baird, “It’s politics, mate.”

What makes O’Farrell’s move even more incomprehensible is that the election of a Liberal government at thenext state election is almost assured, given the disarray and incompetence of the NSW Labor government. But if O’Farrell is so cocky about winning that he is ready to abandon core Liberal Party principles, then he and his Other Mob do not deserve government.

Can any reader here find even 5 believers in, well, fundamental Liberal principles, in the Parliamentary wing of the NSW Liberal Party?

And in other cheery news, I learn on Pimpin’ for Freedom that the Liberal Party – which according to the party platform at least – is meant to be the party of states rights and federalism because, you know, decentralisation is kinda fundamental to conservative ideology,  is calling for a Federal takeover of the health system. Despite having spent it’s entire history fighting this very very policy. I’m sure Menzies is turning in his grave.

Oh – and – hahaha, get this – Turnbull also “indicated the Coalition would support an amended ETS when parliament returned from the winter recess in August“. The ETS – purely and simply – is an energy tax that will hurt all Australians. It will destroy jobs, destroy industry, and destroy lives. Itwill do nothing to address climate change, and is quite probably the most damaging piece of legislation we have seen in the last 30 years: certainly nothing under Hawke/Keating was this disasterous. And it looks like the Liberals will support it. Yay for the Liberals.

Seriously, FML.


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32 Responses to “The Liberal Party and Principles: FML”

  1. Bee Says:



    *double sigh*

    …I can barely even comment on this beyond that.

  2. Daniel Farmilo Says:

    They’re useless.

  3. Jasmine Curcio Says:

    It deserves a good, extended sigh.

  4. Brian Says:

    We may all have to join Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) in Australia soon!

  5. Tim Andrews Says:

    Please don’t tempt me.

  6. Bee Says:

    I’ve got to say, I’ve been tempted at times too…

  7. Peter Phelps Says:

    “Can any reader here find even 5 believers in, well, fundamental Liberal principles, in the Parliamentary wing of the NSW Liberal Party?”

    If you believe that fundamental principles equals small government, low taxes and social conservatism:

    Mike Gallagher; David Clarke; Matthew Mason-Cox; Charlie Lynn; and Anthony Roberts.

  8. Nick Tyrrell Says:

    Was everyone outraged when Howard proposed taking over health before the last Federal election? I’m not saying I agree with every decision made lately by the Libs both federal and (NSW) state, but all of us need to take some responsibility for not pushing harder for regeneration of the party prior to the last federal election.

    On a winning streak, we were all (for the most part) content to cruise to the next victory, not willing to rock the boat. The same thing happened with the ALP before they lost in ’96 and they spent nearly 12 years in the ‘wilderness.’

    I don’t know what the answer is, other than to be actively involved in policy at a branch level. Perhaps part of our concern should be directed at the the impotence of some of our branches these days – rather than being a grass-roots tether to the ground for our parliamentary wing, many have become largely impotent, stacked with people who rather than believing in the ‘core values’ of the Party, are merely called upon to support a particular cause or other when necessary.

    Finally, those calling for Barry’s head lately over perceived lack of ‘cut-through,’ adherence to core Liberal values and other reasons, should consider that of the last 68 years, the Libs have governed for only 17. Whatever problems the NSW division has, they’re much bigger than Barry.

  9. Tim Andrews Says:

    “Was everyone outraged when Howard proposed taking over health before the last Federal election? ” – I certainly was. I agree however that we do need to take responsibility for not pushing harder etc.

  10. Bee Says:

    I would absolutely not consider David Clarke to be a believer in small government, sorry Peter. His policy record does not indicate as much…

  11. Peter Phelps Says:

    Bee, can you point to one example where he has personally supported bigger government? Voting patterns in the Chamber do not count, because we all know that the real debates take place in the Party room, then everyone meticulously follows the Party line (for better or worse).

  12. Bee Says:

    He personally opposed power privatisation and supported Fred Nile’s calls to ban topless bathing. Those are two examples off the top of my head.

    I don’t mind Mr Clarke, but to call him small government is a stretch.

  13. John Humphreys Says:

    What is the point of taking a stand in a party room (where the information does not become public) and then publicly supporting big government?

    What is that supposed to achieve?

    One of Australia’s greatest dry politicians, John Hyde, was a voice for free-markets inside the party room for years. The result was an interventionist Fraser government and a silenced spokesperson for freedom. That is a lose-lose scenario.

    Unfortunately, the LDP isn’t registered in NSW yet. A handful of dedicated free-market activists could really make a difference there by helping to provide a free-market alternative at the next election. I think that would be a small step forward for the freedom movement in this country.

  14. Bee Says:

    Your point above, John, is why I will never become a Member of Parliament – I refuse to publically compromise my principles like that.

    I don’t understand how, if there are so many people who claim to love freedom in the state and federal Liberal parliamentary teams, we so consistently push a big government agenda.

    There shouldn’t be any excuses for this. It is populism, plain and simple.

  15. Nick Tyrrell Says:

    I’d love for comments to be posted by real names rather than pseudonyms…

  16. Bee Says:

    I’m posting under a nickname that most people know and will recognise me by, if you’re referring to me.

  17. Nick Tyrrell Says:

    As an aside, was reminded of a great Howard quote this morning: “the family unit is the best form of social welfare” or something along those lines.

    Does anyone think ‘middle-class welfare,’ or financial support from the government for the family unit has a place in a ‘small government’ policy platform? I’m genuinely interested.

  18. Bee Says:

    I think it’s well-meaning but ultimately ends up undermining it. Government welfare takes the place of personal, family and social responsibility. Michael Tanner’s written a lot on this, it’s very interesting.

  19. Chris Says:

    Nick: I for one think that it doesn’t. It is in every family’s self interest to provide for their children, if they choose to have children. Remember that money that goes to financial support for the family unit has to come from somewhere. It is taxed from everyone, which means that wealth is just redistributed from singles and homosexuals to families.
    And yeah, big sigh. LDP does indeed look tasty now… O’Farrell, Baillieu…

  20. Jake the Muss Says:

    That’s twice Nick that you’ve played the ‘yeah you were all quiet when Howard was in’ card.

    I assure you I was a fucking Banshee.

  21. Nick Says:

    Hey Jake, I’m not laying claim to having been particularly vocal, and I certainly lump myself in with the group of people who may have suppressed their ‘small government’ priorities in the interests of retaining government.

    You’re right though, that’s twice I’ve mentioned it, but I do mention it because I think it’s important. There are a lot of people laying the blame for the current state of the Liberal party at the feet of its current parliamentary leaders, and I’m hoping that being reminded of the fact that the second-longest serving Australian PM did not necessarily make government smaller. There’s (at least) two things one can draw from that – either a true small-govt platform doesn’t win elections (that the Australian electorate likes some level of involvement of Government in their lives greater than you or I) and that we all united behind a leader who wasn’t true to small govt principles.

    I own a small business with my wife, and I’m a new local government councillor. I am constantly battling with the ALP on Council over the spending of small amounts of money on social engineering and other pet projects because I believe the more money government (of all levels) has, the more money it spends, and the more burden it places on the people it levies its income from. I loathe the NSW state government for many reasons, not least of which the way it spends money (think $25m to Lane Cove Tunnel operators to delay opening until after state election) with absolutely no thought for where it’s come from.

    Did the Howard government bastardise its core Liberal (economic) values in order to retain government? And if so, is it ever justified to compromise those core values in the interest of retaining (or assuming) government?

    I thoroughly enjoy the discussion, because we do have too much government in Australia, but I don’t believe the Australian public generally likes dogma or fundamentalism of any persuasion, but prefers pragmatic solutions. So my interest is in finding ways to reconcile our shared beliefs in small government with the public’s desire for government to ‘fix everything.’

  22. ralph Buttigieg Says:


    John Hyde was also a voice for free markets outside the party room for years. At least while in Opposition he had a regular column in one of the papers . The result was the Howard which privatized the CES, sold of Telstra, deregulated labor markets etc.

    If there are any free marketeers in State parliament one or two might like to publicly show their true colors.

  23. Sick of the Howard-haters Says:

    How can anyone compare Howard with O’Farrell and turnbull. Howard supported the privitisation of Qantas and CBA, even when in opposition when it was more popular to oppose it. He sold off Telstra and introduced a consumption tax when the polls told him not to, and deregulated the labour markets, and the polls said he would be defeated.

    What would Turnbull have done? What would have o’Farrell done? Probably the most cowardly, poll-driven choice, because I know and you know they stand for nothing but their own ego-driven careers.

    And then we have Turnbull’s hand puppet Alex Hawke, and O’Farrell’s hand-puppet Scott Farlow backing them up. Both more interested in purging conservatives like Howard who actually believed in something. When will we hear from them?!

    Turnbull is a Liberal because of convinience, no wonder he doesn’t follow our principles – everyone knows of his meetings with Sussex St (Labor HQ).

  24. Nick Says:

    I’m not sure you’ll find any Howard-haters here, but you make some decent observations…

  25. Bee Says:

    You might have had a point, Mr Sick, until your second last paragraph, where you go completely and utterly off the rails.

    I’m not going to dignify that with a response except to say that Alex and Scott have more integrity, intelligence, moral fibre and competence in their pinkies than you will ever have in your entire life. If you would like to claim they are handpuppets or lacking in any of the aforementioned qualities in order to assuage your own ego and justify your idiotic potshots, go right ahead. Just remember that I know – and so does anyone else who is even half awake or paying attention – that you’re spouting lies in a desperate attempt to smear these two fine Liberal Party men to push your own agenda.

    In short, shut your mouth. You might be perceived as less of a buffoon if you do.

  26. Political Shenanigans « Catholicism and Liberty Says:

    […] Liberal Party shenanigans on a large scale, unfortunately. Tim said it best when he summarised it as Liberal Party and Principles: FML, while Jake over at Pimpin’ for Freedom notes Joe Hockey’s true colours and the […]

  27. Jake the Muss Says:

    Nick, it shits me greatly that when I clearly (you do know what a banshee is right?) say that I did not fall in behind Howard, you make the claim that we all fell in behind Howard.

    Now if you were to make the claim that everyone who mattered fell in behind Howard, well I would have no problem with that because I don’t matter.

  28. John Humphreys Says:

    Ralph… the success of John Hyde came from his writing when he wasn’t in power. When he was a part of the government we got Fraser. So what is the point of electing the Liberals?

    As for the success of Hyde’s ideas, he clearly admits in his book “Dry” that the success was mostly via the Hawke/Keating government. So, yet again, what is the point of the Liberal party being in power?

    It seems the best way for meaningful liberal reform is to have a smart right-Labor government with a principled Liberal opposition.

    The problem is that too many people worry about getting their PARTY into power, instead of worrying about getting their IDEAS into policy. It’s the ideas that matter, not the badge you wear.

    Bee — I eagerly await the time when one of the major parties accepts some diversity and allows people to stand on their principles. When that happens, I’ll drop my cynicism and do everything I can to help. The media always call diversity “disunity” which discourages parties from doing it. That is why I concentrated on the LDP. But if the system changes, I’ll be happy to adjust.

  29. Bob of Stanmore Says:

    “Alex and Scott have more integrity, intelligence, moral fibre…” haha. They are not monsters, but they are sneaky, branch-stacking, double-crossing politicans.
    I won’t complain about O’Farrell and Turnbull like others have before me, because we breed each generation of ‘leaders’ within the YLs – and the quality is the same.

  30. Brian Says:

    I read somewhere about the Ambition Faction of Alex Hawke, Nick Campbell and Scott Farlow. The Goon, the Bad and the Ugly! LOL

  31. Mervyn Jacobi Says:

    When anybody goes to join a political party, they have to sign a form/promise that they will agree with the majority. This virtually means that they are advetising that they have no integrity,and suspect intelligence. And this is the standard of members we get into our Parliaments, State and Federal. If you disagree with me, please explain why, after the recession/depression in the 1930’s, why didn’t these politicians in power steer away from the low top tax which the politicians in the 1930’s found they had to increase to pull the country up out of the gutter. A better look at the way the countries of the world are in recession, Look up “Taxation around the world “, “Tax history of the US” and “Tax history of Australia”.

  32. Tim Andrews Says:

    “When anybody goes to join a political party, they have to sign a form/promise that they will agree with the majority”
    This is not the case in the Liberal Party in NSW at least.

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