by SEAN BURKE – A FORMER Coalition prime minister and a senior ex-Liberal member have taken the Party to task over its “disastrous” change in direction.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this week that while the Party should be a broad church, it should “not be to the point of being endlessly elastic about its beliefs”.
Meanwhile, former Liberal Party member and branch president Mark White said his old Party was “wallowing in the same mire as the Left”.
In an article in the Weekend Australian newspaper Mr Abbott said the Liberal Party had turned its traditional value statement on its head.
“Liberal-Nationals governments and oppositions – defying the Howard dictum – have lately tried to be economically conservative and socially liberal, only to end up aping the centre-Left, usually disastrously,” he wrote.
“Why would voters go for the fake Left rather than the real one?
“Instead of shifting to the Left, where they can’t credibly compete, centre-Right leaders need to understand the roots of this Leftward drift – often fostered by their own unwillingness to call it out.
“For a centre-Right Party it’s not enough to be slightly less spendthrift, slightly less overbearing and slightly less politically correct than its opponents because it’s impossible to win where there’s hardly any fight.”
“For the centre-Right, a way to win would be refusing to close down any fossil-fuelled power stations until there’s a reliable alternative; and getting to net-zero (if we must) without putting the lights out and killing heavy industry, via emissions-free, proven, reliable nuclear power.
“There are lots of people who have every right to be in public life but no entitlement to identify as centre-Right; yet paradoxically, at least in Australia, the only people conservative Parties ever seem to expel are the conservatives!”
Meanwhile, Mr White – who recently quit the Party in disgust – has publicly criticised attempts by “hard Left” NSW Liberal leader Mark Speakman to “remould” the once centre-Right Party.
“Mr Speakman believes that recruiting more women, young people and candidates from diverse backgrounds ‘will be key’ to the Liberals winning the next State election,” he wrote on a social media.
“He also wants to ‘refresh the Party brand’, and ‘boost respect’, encouraging ‘respect for each other and respect for the volunteer members of our Party’.
“And this would all be fine if Speakman was running a childcare centre, but when does this new ‘respect’ extend to respecting those who were attracted to the Liberal Party because of the Party’s beliefs? When can they expect some respect?
“And since when did ‘respect’ in a centre-Right Party include wallowing in the same mire as Leftists who are unable to spend a day without mentioning diversity?
“Unless some strange new Party rules have been instituted, literally nothing is preventing women or young people or ‘candidates from diverse backgrounds’ being involved in the Liberal Party. Literally nothing!”
Mr White said watching the Party being destroyed by hard-Left “moderates” was heartbreaking.
“Mr Speakman’s remarks are all the more depressing, given he has no better ideas to explain away the Party’s loss of members, loss of advocates and the rolled gold evidence in the form of repeated election losses that moderate leadership has delivered in spades.
“Could it be that ordinary people can see what Mr Speakman can’t? That leadership is not about remoulding the Liberal Party to neatly fit the demands of inner urban identity fantasists.
“It is about loudly and proudly restating what the Party stands for to all Australians, whatever their circumstances.
“But they won’t! RIP the Menzies Party.” PC