Leading article Australia

All trick, no treat

27 October 2018

9:00 AM

27 October 2018

9:00 AM

The election to parliament of the ghoulish political figure of Dr Kerryn Phelps on the eve of Hallowe’en seems, alas, all trick and not much treat. Dr Phelps is a hardcore climate change activist lesbian refugee-enthusiast whose primary ambition is to see our resource-rich and prosperous nation plunged into a fantasy twilight economic world where energy is magically derived from Sister Sun and Brother Wind. Yet the good doctor now potentially wields far more earthly powers than the greediest witch or warlock could possibly covet thanks to her role as a crossbench dealmaker. That Wentworth’s luvvies were wooed by her heady potion of tackling climate change and whisking the Nauru children off their island whilst guaranteeing political stability is testament as much to their gullibility as to her mojo.

Indeed, only thirty per cent of voters actually fell under the Phelps spell, despite the hysterical caterwauling in her favour from the ABC, Fairfax and the usual ‘progressive’ media acolytes, whereas over 40 per cent of voters stuck with the uncharmed Dave Sharma. Mr Sharma must be ruing the day he agreed to sip from the poisoned Turnbull chalice. His should have been an easy win, but he and his team managed to snatch defeat from victory’s jaws through a concoction of their own flawed ‘small target’ strategy and the extraordinarily malign machinations of the former prime minister and his Singapore-based, renewables investor son.

The chicanery of the Turnbulls was something to behold. It goes without saying that Malcolm and Lucy must feel aggrieved at their abrupt loss of political omnipotence. But those who live by the wizardry of the polls will of course be destined to die by them. Equally, those for whom the dark arts of politics are a preferable pathway to power than honest toil and hard yakka should not be surprised when they themselves fall victim to rival ambitions.

The trick now is for Mr Morrison to work wonders within the confines of his Turnbull-gifted minority government status – an unholy alliance with Dr Phelps and the other independents. The temptation will be to pander to the siren calls of the Left. That way, however, lie demons and certain electoral disaster.

Between now and the end of the year are two events of monumental importance to the sovereignty and prosperity of this nation. The meeting in Poland (3-14 December) of Contracting Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will focus on ramping up global financial commitments to the Paris Agreement, whilst in Morocco (10 – 11 December) delegates will be pressed to adopt the insidious commitments of the Global Compact on Migration.

Mr Morrison has a magic wand all of his own, should he be brave enough to wave it. Avoid both UN summits like the plague. Indeed, Mr Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg should make a virtue of abstinence. Australians (outside the climate covens of the inner cities) have lost all appetite for virtue-signalling and futile gesturing to the international community. Mr Morrison’s finest two moments as Prime Minister are his (stated) determination to bring down energy prices and flirtation with the idea of moving our embassy to Jerusalem. Both moves that fill the Left with dread. Good.

Only by fighting the climate hoax head on can the Liberals hope to galvanise a jaded public and hold government at next year’s (this year’s?) federal election. Playing tootsies with the Left will only deliver a Shorten-led Labor government, which really would be the stuff of nightmares.

The next great hashtag

In this week’s issue you’ll find another piece by Tom Grein, the young writer who came to prominence by winning last year’s Thawley Essay Prize of $5,000 and a slap-up dinner with the judges, including John Howard and Michael Thawley. Now it could be your turn. The theme for this year’s Spectator Thawley Essay Prize is ‘The next great hashtag’. For all the entry details go to spectator.com.au/thawley18

And get cracking!

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