Australian Notes

Australian notes

18 November 2017

9:00 AM

18 November 2017

9:00 AM

The Bennelong bedwetter

Some say that this innovative and agile Team Turnbull government continues to go from strength to strength. For them, Messrs Brandis, Pyne, Turnbull, Ms Payne and the other executive office holders of the Black Hand division of the ‘progressive/Ultimo/moderate’ wing of the GetUp! faction of the Liberal Party awake each morning knowing that this is the best time ever to be a bedwetter, and that they’ve never had more fun in their lives. They have the daily office ‘Pick the Pom’ pool to look forward to in the morning followed by the ‘Guess the Greek’ sweepstakes in the afternoon. At night they never have to appear on Andrew Bolt or Paul Murray or on any mean and nasty talk back radio show, though an ABC gig or two to slag off Tony Abbott with a few volcano references may round off another perfect day under ‘the greatest Prime Minister this country has ever seen’ (copyright Niki Savva). Then the next morning they can GetUp! to plot the downfall of a few more of their reactionary, non-PC, free speech-valuing, Safe Schools loathing and generally yucky party room colleagues. Bueno!

And better still, for them it’s not as though their Dear Leader (Malcolm, not Lucy) is failing to deliver. Sure, their ex-boss, the guy they spent years undermining and then ruthlessly stabbed in the back, may have stopped the boats, scrapped the carbon tax and signed a bunch of free trade deals, but the man they conspired with to put in the top job in his stead isn’t without his own legacy accomplishments as PM. Heck, just this past week Malcolm struck the Machu Picchu trade deal with Peru, the tiny South American country some of you will know from your knowledge of limericks. With Ayer’s Rock (aka Uluru) soon off the climbing circuit, Mr Turnbull has innovatively signed this deal to open up the Inca Trail. And for that segment of the Liberal party vote that is the inner city, latte-sipping, renewable energy certificate-trading crowd, well, there’s not much in life that’s more important than being able to import those fair trade Peruvian dark coffee beans a tad more cheaply to help offset all the bracket creep higher taxes, exorbitant energy bills and now pointless super contributions.

Admittedly, not all of the potential Liberal party vote is comprised of this sort of overly-optimistic Pollyanna. One suspects that there might just possibly be the odd right-of-centre voter out there, possibly at this moment reading this fine publication, who more closely identifies as a different sort of female name – all the Cassandras or Delcon Dawns amongst you. Okay, I confess I’m one of those, too. Some of us have been predicting doom and gloom under Turnbull since the night of the Abbott assassination, some have come to the party – or rather left it – a little more recently. No matter. We Cassandras all now see that Turnbull is, and has been, a disaster as PM. We realise that having one of the most left-wing members of the party room leading a supposedly right-of-centre party is bound to be a disaster as it pushes the whole political spectrum to the left; as it embraces every passing renewable energy pipedream; as it makes lovey-dovey with the thoroughly biased and unbalanced ABC, which has so little respect for this PM who appointed ‘see no bias here’ folk to the public broadcaster’s top positions that it flat out laughs at the government and refuses to release salary details; as it stacks the party room with more and more Black Hands; and as it generally continues on as a big spending, big government, ‘give up on freedom of speech’ outfit.

And that brings me to the by-election in Bennelong. John Alexander has done the honourable thing and resigned, causing a snap by-election. That raises this key question: If you are a right-of-centre voter in Bennelong, do you vote for Alexander or not? Now anyone these past couple of years who has read my views on how to deal with the ‘Turnbull cuckoo in the nest phenomenon’ will know that I think it’s a mistake at present to vote for the Libs even at a general election. In fact, as I’ve said, at the last election for the House I preferenced the Greens last, the Libs second last, Labor third last, and randomly filled things in above that. I thought it would be best to get Shorten over with before Turnbull could wreak yet more damage and when Bill and Labor would have only a small majority. That medicine, I know, is too harsh for many of you, though note that as long as you preference the Libs above Labor in the House you will be acting exactly as Mark Textor said you would and effectively voting for the Libs – regardless of whom you preference Number 1 or 2.

Anyway, for Liberals in Bennelong you now get a chance to punish the Libs (sorry, Team Turnbull) without explicitly opting for a Shorten government – you’ll get to eat your cake with clean hands and have it too.

You see John Alexander was a bedwetter. He voted for stabbing Tony in the back and replacing him with Malcolm. A vote for Alexander is a vote for forgiving that behaviour. A vote for absolution in this context: the Coalition have 76 seats in the House; Labor has 69; and there are 5 others made up of one Green, One Xenophon, One Katter, and two independents. Assuming Joyce wins his contest (a safe bet), you can vote Alexander out and the Coalition still will have 75 out of 150 (with independent support). The government won’t fall, though it’s near on certain Turnbull would be axed.

Think of the message you’d be sending to all those bedwetting Black Hand cuckoos in the Liberal party. Think of the two-finger salute you’d be telegraphing to Mark Textor. Think of how you’d be kicking off the righting of the good ship Liberal party. Of course, as I said, it means you would have to bite the bullet and preference Labor ahead of the Libs. But you won’t have to feel responsible for putting in Electricity Bill.

Liberal voters of Bennelong it’s in your hands. You have nothing to lose but your chains of Turnbull, Pyne, Brandis and the Black Hand brigade if you opt to punish this bedwetter.

P.S. I know the Keneally nomination makes it harder to preference Labor. Lord knows I do. But there’s a cost to getting rid of Malcolm. Cheaper to pay it now.

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