Conservative thought must be in a bad way indeed when Speccie contributor James Allan advocates that Australian Conservatives must help elect Bill Shorten to smite the Liberal-National Coalition and emerge as the new conservative party of choice.
James might like to ask Pauline Hanson how ‘a pox on both their houses’ turned out for her support base in Queensland – delivering a Labor state government.
The beautiful thing about true conservatives is that wiser heads prevail as the fools rush in.
Believe me, I would love nothing more than to establish Australian Conservatives as the party of government at the next state or federal election. Australian conservatives want a return to conservative leadership so badly that a diminishing few voice the idea of Tony Abbott returning to the Liberal leadership. It’s just not going to happen, and these advocates forget the many conservative initiatives Mr Abbott squashed – and sidelined me for even talking about – when he was Liberal leader.
But enough about the past. A conservative revolution will not happen overnight, much as we might wish it will. Our institutions are now compromised because they have embraced the largesse of government. Many conservatives fail to realise how much we have to do to rebuild the conservative narrative in this country.
Take, for instance, the traditional media. Mr Allan criticises me for ‘virtue signalling’ – yet that’s all the media reports. Whenever conservatives talk about lower taxes and less spending, the media give it no attention. That’s why we need to harness the power of social media – and august publications like The Spectator Australia (and Flat White online) – to broadcast the comprehensive conservative message. History is our best teacher. Installing Labor governments via Allan’s model of sabotage to the centre-right vote is not the answer. Australian voters well understand the power of the Senate. They are so disgusted with the major parties that they are voting for anyone with a loud mouth in the upper house. That, too, must change – and that’s why I formed Australian Conservatives.
We need parties of principle, not of showmen and charlatans. Just look at the ‘Xenophon phenomenon’ in my home state of South Australia as a harbinger of our federal future if we let identity politics go unchecked.
After the disastrous 2016 federal election result – hailed as a ‘success’ by Liberal strategist Mark Textor and Christopher Pyne’s Black Hand movement – I realised there had to be ‘a better way’. I made that the slogan of a new movement, Australian Conservatives and more than a year on it has been a success. I measure success by the way conservative thought and debate is occurring – and the way we are mimicked – all over the country. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Australian Conservatives’ policy positions are being plagiarised by so-called conservatives. The government and even the likes of Mr Abbott are adopting Australian Conservative policies – sometimes verbatim – and this with just one senator in federal parliament. Consider what the balance of power might achieve.
Like all change that conservatives like, it will not occur by bloodshed and electoral shenanigans overnight. Worthy change comes through calm and steady advocacy. Australia needs reorganisation so that we have a truly conservative party to vote for. To see why, you need look no further than the opposite end of the political spectrum – the Australian Greens.
People forget that the Greens began with a single senator. People also forget that it took the Greens more than 20 years from their formation to the election of Adam Bandt in their first House of Representatives seat of Melbourne. The Greens’ participation in inner-city seats drags Labor into awkward ideological tugs of war, such as the present Adani contortions between unionised coal miners and virtue signalling greenies. It is beautiful to watch, but even more beautiful when we see it on the conservative side of politics.
The Left and Green ideologies have been on a long march through the institutions, including our parliaments and the media. The Greens are now reaping rewards in lower houses around the country as the major parties desert their core ideologies to appease them.
Arguably, the conservative long march has only just begun. We assumed too much, left the public to their own devices (like good conservatives) only to see GetUp! and the media get in their heads and convince them that left-wing political positions are the only modern virtues. It’s fine for Mr Allan to throw the toys out of the cot at his ideological parent and suckle at the teat of Mr Shorten, if only to stir jealousy. It’s not a mature or sensible response, but some conservatives feel that way and I understand their frustration. The major parties’ leadership blood-letting and faceless men have decayed their competency and authority to such an extent that we Australian Conservatives might get bigger a lot faster. We are preparing for that.
Nonetheless, the Australian political narrative will be most rapidly re-shaped for the conservative better with success for Australian Conservatives in the Senate. Whether it results from, or causes, a schism in the centre-right of politics is neither here nor there. Conservatives securing the balance of power will force government – however it is cobbled together – to accept conservative positions. Rather than short-term power-plays, wouldn’t it be better – via the Senate – to educate all parties about the merits of truly conservative policy positions? With just six years of the balance of power in the Senate, Australia will see the benefit of the conservative revolution. Leftist fads will be exposed for what they are. The tired, old media will have to acknowledge and explore Australia’s fastest growing grassroots political movement. Even would-be conservative journalists and editors will have to stop ignoring what Australian Conservatives say (or stop waiting for a useful Coalition backbencher to say it). They will have to ride the wave instead of following in the wake. Mr Allan’s revenge politics model – supporting Labor to punish the Coalition – is the very type of short-term thinking that has put our country into such a mess.
It’s time for a better way – the conservative way – the longer game. As we have seen elsewhere in the world, when the grassroots install a conservative government, the left-captured and ignorant institutions will be in a fit of rage.
I can’t wait.
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