Australian Notes

Australian notes

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

25 May 2019

9:00 AM

Eleven random thoughts

Let me start with a bow to those who thought it best to vote for Malcolm Turnbull in 2016 and in the hope that down the road, like Micawber (look it up all you millennials schooled in Australia), ‘something would come up’.

In other words, the party room would be able to ditch the cuckoo Malcolm and still be able to pull off an unlikely win when the stakes were even higher. You were right.

In the warm glow of the post-election Morrison win, here are a few random thoughts I have.

  1. All readers not living in Queensland who hoped for a Morrison win should get down on their knees and pay homage to my home state. Without Queensland’s drubbing of the Shorten Labor party Morrison could not have prevailed. It’s not the inner-city seats that won this election. It’s the outer-suburb and regional ones, many in Queensland. This reinforces my now oft-stated claim that over time, as in Canada, Britain and the US, the inner-city seats will mostly be lost to any right-of-centre party as the political spectrum around the Anglosphere reorganises itself into a new spectrum where more wealth does not correlate to ‘more likely to vote right’. Remember, Hillary Clinton won the hundred wealthiest counties in the US and virtually all the richest parts of the UK voted ‘Remain’. This willingness to virtue-signal on a big pay package is coming to Australia. (Heck, in a less virulent form it’s already here.)  So back to Queensland’s massive kicking of Labor. It was not because the Coalition signalled its attachment to the stupid (as in ‘won’t do anything at all for the planet when China builds a new coal-fired power plant each week or so’) global warming ‘consequences don’t matter, we’re saving the planet’ religion. It was because the Libs were not as crazy on these wealth-killing policies as Labor. Full stop.
  1. Shorten blew this election. It was his to win. If the he had opted to look even remotely centrist, à la Hawke, then Labor would have won and it could have won big. Instead, Shorten donned a sort of Michael Foot-like big socialism agenda of more tax, more spending, more government, more help to unions and drove disaffected conservatives back into the arms of the Coalition. This was the stupidest political plan since, well, Malcolm Turnbull and his heartfelt campaign to drive conservatives out of a conservative party. At any rate, if you happen to bump into any of the Team Shorten brains trust offer to buy them a coffee. Or better yet a few beers.
  2. Let’s admit it: watching the upcoming fight for the Labor leadership is going to be great fun. It’s going to boil down to a fight between the three horsemen of the big spending, big taxing and big renewables rent-seeking apocalypse, namely Bowen the tax man, Albanese the spending king and Plibersek the even bigger-spending queen. (Oops! She’s just dropped out! Make that two horsemen). I’m hoping that Labor really believes they lost because voters only care about the personality of the leaders and that they didn’t like Shorten. If Labor thinks its package of policies were good ones that just needed a prettier face to sell them to the voters then I’m already liking another Coalition win in 2022.
  3. My God, won’t it be helpful to Mr Morrison to be running a partyroom devoid of the likes of Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne, Craig Laundy, George Brandis, Malcolm Turnbull and Julia Banks? Who would have thought that the heart of the Black Hand gang would defenestrate itself, thinking that without Malcolm Labor was a shoo-in?
  4. Speaking of Malcolm, does anyone not on the ABC payroll now want to argue that the Liberal party made a mistake in getting rid of Malcolm? Turnbull could never, ever have won the Queensland regions that swept the Coalition to victory. Team Turnbull would have been beaten by Shorten. So let’s hear all those myopic moaners who wailed and shed crocodile tears when Malcolm was removed as leader now say they were wrong. Come on. Just do it. The man was a disaster for the Liberal party and it is only by the skin of its teeth that the Libs survived him.
  5. Tony Abbott has been treated terribly. I speak not just about the whole multi-million dollar targeting of him by the GetUp! crowd (although I do wonder how the Australian Electoral Commission comes to the view that GetUp! is not a political party given they wouldn’t be seen dead supporting the Libs, the Nats, or any right-leaning small party – form over substance here guys!). I speak too about his treatment by his own party. If Morrison had put him in Cabinet he might not have won his seat but he’d have had a better chance. And Tony was obviously and clearly much more committed to the Liberal party, in good times and in bad, than Turnbull ever was.
  6. Speaking of Tony, give him the Washington ambassadorship Scott. Abbott would be perfect. He’d understand Trump and be respected by Trump in just the way Australia needs right now. He’s a perfect fit for the job. Or coming at this from another direction, if Scott Morrison gives the backstabber Julie Bishop any big appointment I’m going to be sick to my stomach. The Libs have been useless at appointments. As I’ve said repeatedly, George Brandis’s judicial picks could largely have been made by Labor. Some of his Human Rights Commission picks could have been made by the Greens. The Libs need to put like-minded people in all big jobs, the way Labor does. So watch to see what Team Morrison does on this front.
  7. Spare a thought for the people smugglers. Their whole business plan just went out the window.
  8. Lord, I wish I could have been in Australia to watch the ABC election night presenters blanch and squirm and exhibit despair as the results came in.
  9. The record is intact. Yet another Peter van Onselen prediction, wrong. It’s uncanny how wrong the man is about all things political.
  10. Last thought. Please, please, please Mr Morrison, do something about the horrible left-leaning bias and lack of intellectual diversity of our universities. Long-term the Libs will live or die by this.

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