Politics takes unexpected turns. Last week saw a female NewsCorp journalist publicly regret that she had backed Malcolm Turnbull and say she now regretted her choice.
This writer went even further, sending in her money and signing up to Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives (thank you Senator Bernardi, I enjoyed meeting you.)
Joining a new political party was a gesture of despair, the last resort, a small act of defiance against a Liberal Party that under Malcolm Turnbull seemingly wasn’t interested, didn’t care and was not seemingly diverting from policies teetering alarmingly into Labor-lite.
When the insurgency came, we watched, knowing it wasn’t really, as the media would have it, an ‘insurgency’ but a long-time-coming rectification of a situation heading into complete catastrophe, annihilation at the next election.
And we knew, all us despondent conservatives, that was what would happen, was indeed what did happen, that after that defeat, Malcolm Turnbull would simply walk away in a fit of pique, go home, leaving others to comfort the wounded and count the dead.
Australians tolerate political shenanigans as long as they do not impact our way of life and culture too much. Generations of migrants learned to adopt and adapt and find their place in the broader Australian community, most with much relief and gratitude in finding a country both inclusive and tolerant.
In the time leading up to the dramatic events of the last week, we began to fear that the political culture of the country would change forever, that we were moving too fast into a different culture, one in which we were not comfortable, let alone accepting.
As the child of migrant parents, and like thousands of others, I want to feel at home in my home, the country I choose to live in, Australia. We’re not sentimental, we Aussies, we don’t place our hands on hearts when we hear the national anthem as Americans do. But we know in our bones when something goes awry in our governance and we push back.
The fear that our culture was changing too fast, led by a politician who seemed remote and not really interested in the lives and concerns of his people, compelled many to change their voting preferences to a party they felt had more to say to them than the Liberals.
Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells, on resigning from the Turnbull government, was brave enough to say the politically unsayable, that the Liberal base was eroding, that at the next election there would be no one willing to stand at the booths, hand out flyers, be the foot soldiers every political party needs to achieve victory.
Now a new page has been turned, the Liberal base hopefully will regroup. The Party that my migrant parents admired for its sensible, pragmatic values can move forward again.
In the fight to come, Liberals need every man and woman they can get back. Much has been said and written about Labor’s tribalism but Liberals are tribal too.
Now it’s time to rejoin the tribe. So sorry, Cory. The Australian Conservatives offer an alternative for those still doubtful about the Libs but if a Morrison government can reassure Liberals, (do we really, really need Paris?) they need look no further.
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