There are political mistakes, and then there is Dominic Perrottet.
What was tentatively hoped to be a stroke of genius has swiftly descended into disaster for the New South Wales Liberal Party. There are many reasons why Perrottet will struggle to survive in his position as premier, but at the end of the day all roads lead to Kean.
Perrottet’s anointment has confirmed that there are no longer ‘left’ and ‘right’ factions within the party. The ideological struggle for the Liberal soul is over and the winner was a conglomerate of wets, lobbyists, and globalists. This is the only truth that makes sense of Perrottet’s easy ascent to Berejiklian’s throne and the gangrenous look of his cabinet.
The Liberals are playing a dangerous game with their blue-ribbon base.
Minor parties have flourished in the years of Covid mania – growing to fill the void in centre-right politics. It is often forgotten that the political split of civilisation rarely shifts. Parties sit atop bell-curve mounds of public opinion and only remain in power so long as they represent the fundamental ideas of popular philosophy. When a major party vainly wanders too far left or right, the people abandon them for something new.
It is a mistake to assume historical prestige will protect the Liberals from annihilation. They are the product of a previous murder, cobbled together from the bones of forgotten parties.
Every election is a fresh game with no guarantees. The Liberals in Western Australia have driven themselves to extinction, the Victorians remain a threatened species with a genuine dictator on the loose, and New South Welshmen enjoy power with the thinnest of margins. Perrottet was the reprieve needed to survive the wrath of minor parties. Instead of saving themselves, Perrottet’s immediate disembowelment of principle has galvanised their political enemies – a fate they deserve.
Minor parties act like schooling fish. When stirred up in large numbers with ironclad preference deals, they become a thing of beauty marauding through the political reefs.
If Australia is lucky, the Westminster system will work as designed and give a handful of minor parties the balance of power after the next state election. Neither Labor nor Liberal can push through Covid and Climate policy in this scenario. They will have to grovel, backtrack, and potentially reform into something a bit more civilised. Minor parties exist to punish political arrogance, rein in depravity, and put a brake on authoritarianism. Use them.
Until then, Perrottet’s premiership remains awash with questions.
Why were Kmart and JB Hi-Fi classified as ‘essential’ during lockdown only to exclude unvaccinated customers today? Either they weren’t essential before, or Perrottet doesn’t see unvaccinated citizens as deserving of basic services. Corruption or depravity – he can take his pick.
Why did Perrottet punish the unvaccinated for Covid outbreaks in fully vaccinated gyms? His decision to let rumours circulate regarding the December opening date was cruel. A real leader would have confirmed the information immediately, understanding that ordinary people were being forced into binding financial decisions based on the outcome. Perrottet preferred to play politics, using uncertainty to calculate what he could get away with, not what was right.
Why is the Minister for Health bragging about withholding alternate vaccines? If this farce is ‘about our health’ how can Brad Hazzard explain his threat that no one would be able to wait for Novavax because the state is ‘awash with Pfizer’? Novavax has a superior safety record and provides longer-lasting protection. Is Hazzard honouring a contract or serving public health?
Why is the government making long-term preparations for vaccine passports and employment mandates when December 15 is meant to mark the end of medical apartheid? Is it Perrottet’s intention to make discrimination a permanent feature of the state? It certainly sounded that way when Stuart Ayres issued a warning that freedom could only be kept with a regiment of booster shots. Perrottet did not correct him.
Why hasn’t Perrottet followed up on reports that real estate agents and medical facilities are refusing to serve the unvaccinated? Are housing and healthcare no longer considered ‘essential’ in New South Wales?
These questions deserve answers, but the press refuse to ask them.
Australians have never expected much from politicians. In truth, we would rather not hear from them at all. Civilisation can live with unpleasant things inside the walls so long as the infestation keeps itself out of sight. So it is with the bad behaviour of politicians.
We know what they do. We know they misuse our money. We know parliament is a power trip. We know connections mean more than merit. We ‘know’ because there are chewed wires and piles of droppings all over the place.
Covid is not doing politicians any favours.
Premiers have stepped out of the shadows to take on an active role in the lives of ordinary people, forcing themselves into homes, shops, and offices. Big Brother signage defaces every surface, reminding people of the government’s existence. Politics has become a tangible entity. It is a state of hyper-politicisation. As with any strong emotion, it either inspires worship or sparks rebellion.
If premiers imagine this is a sustainable future, they are in for a surprise.
The whole bureaucratic circus has embraced the spotlight, using a touch of apocalypse to make themselves celebrities. They want to emulate the American political system where politicians occupy the social ground somewhere between royalty and Hollywood.
Fame is only useful if you have something with which to entertain the crowd. Good looks, washboard abs, and charisma aren’t a surplus commodity in Australian politics. If Perrottet can’t make the crowds swoon and he hasn’t got any money left in the coffers to throw at them – how will he sustain the limelight?
The only thing Perrottet has to dangle in front of the mob is his word.
What is his ‘word’ worth now?
When Perrottet walked onto the stage as premier, people were expecting a Musketeer to free them from tyranny, but what they got instead was the infamous Borgia Pope.
He has presented himself as either weak or a liar – neither are of any use to a Liberal Party staring down political abyss. Perrottet’s twenty-four hours of public support soured into fury. Where people were angry at Berejiklian’s public health orders – they remain incensed at Perrottet’s whip-lash politics.
After nearly two years of brutal mistreatment by Berejiklian and her posse comitatus, people listened to Perrottet’s passionate words about freedom and believed him.
His premiership was packaged like a bottle of Grange, but arrived as a rancid, nameless wine with bits of cork floating on the surface.
A cheap bottle of Perrottet.
No one can hold a ‘toast’ with poison – it has to be emptied onto the ground.
Alexandra Marshall is an independent writer. If you would like to support her work, shout her a coffee over at Ko-Fi.
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