Flat White

Christensen returns, Albo walks out, Bandt is factless

14 April 2022

7:00 AM

14 April 2022

7:00 AM

Ex-Liberal-National George Christensen’s foray into the political wildness of retirement struggled to outlast the average coffee run. His scathing valedictory speech in which he referred to himself as a political mongrel is better read as a campaign launch – a blueprint for a fresh level of ferocity entering the federal election.

Frustrated conservatives have had enough of the ‘broad church’ and they are leaving. It is a crisis of faith that has the Coalition bleeding Blue Ribbon candidates to the trilateral nightmare of minor parties.

George Christensen will run as the third Senator on the One Nation Queensland ticket. Craig Kelly is the Leader of the United Australia Party, re-contesting his long-held seat of Hughes in New South Wales. Ex-Liberal and former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman is the lead Senate candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Queensland. Scattered among these prominent figures is a crowd of ex-Coalition talent giving support (and finance) to their campaigns.

These minor parties run on freedom, fiscal responsibility, and small government – the dead centre of a Howard-style campaign.

Instead of defending the fort, the Coalition has pressed ahead with a suite of United Nations-inspired Net Zero policies, the World Economic Forum’s Digital Identity platform, and the insulting #MeToo female quota system where the party is steadily being populated by suitable women in the name of ‘equality’ rather than merit. It has forced the Coalition to occupy ideological ground to the left of Old Labor, making the voter base eye the conservative minor parties with increasing interest and sincerity.

It’s not all smooth sailing for over-easy Albanese, who has turned out to be the weakest link in the tightly controlled Labor campaign. There’s nothing Labor HQ can do about his youthful ‘I heart socialism’ comments, or Albanese’s – shall we say homage? – to Hollywood presidential speeches, but the gag orders issued last week to micromanage Labor candidates was meant to stem the flow of bad press. Signalling to journalists that you’re afraid to answer questions has predictably incited a flurry from reporters.

Instead of silencing candidates, Labor HQ could have issued them with cheat sheets. The ‘Biden Solution’ might have saved Albanese from his disastrous reply to the entry-level ‘gotcha’. Yes, it does matter that the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t know the unemployment rate and Labor (we proclaim to be the party of the poor and of the worker) know it.

Labor were probably hoping that the press gallery’s doe-eyed affection for Albanese would save him from the mob, but the power of click-bait is stronger than a media crush. Yesterday, they doubled down causing Albanese to walk out of a press conference followed by howls of, ‘Why aren’t you answering questions?!’

Albanese brought the situation upon himself by first taunting, ‘I’m not Scott Morrison, I don’t run away from conferences. Do it in order. Everyone will get one.’ Labor’s safe-space managers foolishly tried to interrupt, fearing that he’d forget something important – like who the Human Rights Commissioner is.

At least he tried. #Googleitmate has been trending on social media after Leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, didn’t bother pretending to know anything, advising reporters to ‘do their own research’ if they want pesky things like basic facts.

‘Google it, mate. I am sick – if you want to know why people are turning off politics, it’s because what happens when you have an election that increasingly becomes this basic fact-checking exercise between a government that deserves to be turfed out and an opposition that’s got no vision, this is what happens. Like – elections should be about a contest of ideas. Politics should be about reaching for the stars and offering a better society,’ insisted Adam Bandt.

Bandt might need a few ‘basic facts’ for that.

The Australian public pay a fortune for their politicians. It’s no surprise they want to see them complete a basic knowledge test before gifting them the keys to the Lodge.

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