The ongoing grassroots Coalition mutiny over the collapse of party standards is reaching fatal proportions.
Leading us off is Malcolm Turnbull who’s critique of his former party is clear-eyed:
Former PM Malcolm Turnbull has voiced his concerns that the rule of law is “under threat” in Australia, claiming parliamentarians have enabled an “normalisation of lies” that is undermining federal politics.
In a wide-ranging address to a public integrity organisation, Mr Turnbull complained the federal parliamentary press gallery and the News Corp media empire was too “compliant” to the Coalition government, and called recent actions of government MP George Christensen and Alex Antic “bizarre”.
“We’re starting to see a political environment which has ethically lost its way,” the former PM told an online event for the Accountability Round Table on Wednesday night.
“At the heart of this is a diminishing adherence to, understanding of, respect for the values of accountability.”
Another “normalisation” is under attack by David Crowe:
This is the normalisation of what used to be dismissed as “pork barrelling” but is now the strategic spending of public funds in the interest of political leaders and their parties. Yes, a community can benefit from a new local pool. But the political benefit decides where it goes.
And the scale has changed. The $250 million state scheme is dwarfed by similar federal funds. Morrison prepared for the last election by stashing $5 billion in a series of war chests in the April 2019 budget, such as the urban congestion fund, the safer communities fund and a plan to pay for sporting facilities.
The spending now flows on an industrial scale.
The Morrison sect of sleaze is corrupt. This we know. What was new over the weekend is more evidence of how corrosive it is now proving at the grassroots level of the Liberal Party itself:
At the heart of it is Scott Morrison’s New South Wales consigliore, Alex Hawke.
…Since 2007, Hawke has been the member for the electorate of Mitchell, part of the outer north-western “Bible Belt” of Sydney. He is currently a member of the Morrison cabinet and minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Like Morrison, he is of Pentecostal faith. More importantly for this story, he is the leader of the Morrison faction in NSW, the centre-right, and is Morrison’s appointed delegate on the party’s state executive.
The other two, larger factions are the right, sometimes called the hard right, which is the faction of Premier Dominic Perrottet, and the moderate or left faction, led by the treasurer and minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean.
Hawke is reviled by both.
As one senior right faction member says, Hawke “has used his time as Morrison’s representative on the state executive in an endeavour to advance their factional position to the detriment of both the conservatives and the moderates – to the point now where the conservatives and the moderates are in an alliance against Hawke. And that means against Morrison.”
The anti-Hawke feeling goes beyond institutional opposition. It is personal. Like his prime ministerial mentor, Hawke is hard-charging and abrasive. While the left and right have in recent years come to a sometimes-uneasy agreement in sharing the spoils of power, Hawke has a winner-takes-all approach. It has come back to bite him, his boss and the party.
…“So then you had the same factional fighting … in the state executive about who should be preselected,” Dwyer says.
Eventually, says Dwyer, the state executive made a curious decision. They said: “It’s all too hard. It’s, it’s just bringing the party into disrepute. We’re not going to preselect anybody.”
The executive instructed potential candidates not to run as independents. But Dwyer, who had already nominated as No. 2 on a ticket with Georgina Valjak, decided to run anyway.
“Anyway, she won. Effectively, on Parramatta council, there is now one unendorsed Liberal conservative person … and that’s it. The rest are Labor, Greens or independents.”
That is, the Liberal Party faithful preferred to have its seats wiped out ahead of promoting the sectarian sleaze faction.
It’s also happening at the executive level where NSW Liberal Premier Dominic Perottet is trying to render redundant the entire Morrison Government:
Perrottet proposes that the states effectively lead Australia with an energised Council for the Australian Federation treating the Commonwealth as an obstructive bystander to progressing key reforms, and speaks of having more in common with his Labor counterparts than with his federal counterparts.
Meanwhile, the moderate’s mutiny and rise of the independents have run so wild that, increasingly, Morrison’s sect of sleaze MPs are forced to address the rebellion instead of the national interest. We had a panicked Dave Sharma haranguing Wentworth voters about indepedents last week. Over the weekend, Barnaby Joyce raised his head from a COVID sickbed to whisper a confession of bucolic doggerel:
“Independents can say what they may but if we all did what they want our nation would fall because government would be inoperable,” he said in Washington.
“If they say they are independent then they must answer which party would they support if theirs is the vote that takes one or the other to 76 members in the House of Representatives.
“If parties are an evil then what is the alternative for Australian foreign policy out my window here in Washington,” he asked, arguing treaties and policy would become impossible without “the unselfish proposition that politicians must bind and stick in politics”.
The sectarian sleaze regime – of which philanderer Joyce is deputy leader – is already inoperable thanks to a cast of hypocritical cultists that appear to believe in their divine right to pillage and plunder Australian civil service.
So much so, that the Liberal Party rank and file are now fighting an internecine counter-reformation to eradicate it.