Liberal Party

Union slush funds and meddling dominating Victorian elections

The Victoria State Election is underway and already the Liberal party is focussing on the selection of Daniel Andrews and his connections with the CFMEU.

Private global accounting firm Moore Stephens’ costing of Labor’s policies will finally be released today — just two days before the election and after more than half a million voters have already cast their ballot. Labor chose Moore Stephens after refusing to submit its policies for scrutiny by Treasury.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien has hit out at the firm, highlighting how the accountants audited the discredited CFMEU’s WA branch.   Read more »

Victorian election underway and the attack ads flow

I love Australian elections, especially their ads, and the nasty is flowing.

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Can we have a political party that promises to do nothing?

Think about it for a moment, politicians always promise to DO something about some particular issue or cause.

Almost always their promise elicits massive taxpayer spending, a few committees and then a solution that suits no one.

Perhaps we could have a party that promises to do nothing, or at the very least, less than the others.

The in-built urge for state politicians to do something — about anything — is strong. Respected British political journalist Andrew Neil theorised during his visit to Australia in April that the popularity of the powerless royals is a form of anti-politics, because Australians are over-governed, and the thought of another layer of politicians is too much to bear. Because they deliver services, states have become synonymous with action, and state governments see stepping backwards as an existential threat.

The Liberal Party has had 11 of its MPs resign, step down, or move to the crossbench this year due to ICAC investigations, yet it still seems implausible the NSW government will lose the next election.

Winston Churchill noted in 1949 that if you make 10,000 regulations, you destroy all respect for the law. If it wants to be fitting of the Liberal name, and distinguishable from the chaos and corruption scandals of ­recent times, it should reduce the size and scope of state government.   Read more »

Yep, that’s about what the Green party are worth

Nathan Tinkler is being investigated and questioned by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Australia. He is aggressive and dismissive of them.

Nathan Tinkler has always been a man in a hurry. His crash or crash through approach to life, which has seen the 38-year-old make and lose a fortune, was evident during his combative appearance at a corruption inquiry.

“Jeez, I’m starting to see why this has been going on for three weeks,” Mr Tinkler said testily not long after taking the stand at 12.30pm on Friday at the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

As soon as the commission adjourned for lunch, Mr Tinkler was overheard saying, “This is some of the most boring shit I’ve ever seen.”

For someone on the stand that is pretty aggressive, considering he faces criminal charges if the ICAC finds against him.

When asked about donations, he had plenty to say about various donations to political parties, including an apt description of his commitment to Green policies.

The former coal magnate was shown an expletive-laden email in which he complained that he had donated $45,000 to the Nationals and they had done “f— all” to approve his plans for a billion-dollar coal terminal in Newcastle.

“We had a bunch of deadbeats before and now we have a bunch of pricks scared to make a decision,” Mr Tinkler wrote in an email on April 20, 2011, in a reference to the former state Labor government and the newly installed Coalition.

The ICAC is investigating allegations that Mr Tinkler’s property development company Buildev donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Coalition before the last state election, in breach of the ban on political donations from developers introduced in 2009.   Read more »

Trotter on the demise of Labour and the rise of the Greens

Another day – and we have more Chris Trotter musings – this time forecasting the end for Labour and the rise of the Greens.

There is a growing awareness, among politicians and journalists alike, that the only person standing between the Greens and truly effective political power is the NZ First Party’s leader, Winston Peters. This will likely see the old campaigner restored to his role as “kingmaker”.

Labour’s decision to reject the Greens’ offer to campaign jointly under the banner of a “Labour/ Greens government” makes this even more probable.

The neo-liberal Establishment may not care for NZ First and its eccentric boss but, if he is ready to bar the cabinet room door to Russel Norman and Metiria Turei, they will tolerate him.

The pundits are confident that Peters’ presence at the centre of the current political equation has the Greens beaten. Regardless of which major party he decides to back, the Greens will play no part in the resulting coalition government. Yes, they may end up wielding an indispensable number of votes but these will avail them nothing because, in the end, they will not dare use them to force a new election.

Will they not? At some point the Greens will have to step away from the adjunct status they have, to date, been willing to accept.   Read more »

John Howard on parties, membership and ideology

John Howard was interviewed by The Australian in Australia and offers some interesting perspectives on political parties, membership and ideology.

“All political parties need reform,” Howard said in an interview with this columnist to mark the 40th anniversary of his election to parliament.

“The greatest problem that my party has, the greatest problem the Labor Party has, is that we no longer pursue with zeal the idea of expanding the membership.”

The problem has become ­particularly acute for Labor.

The party’s terrible result in the West Australian Senate ­election underscores the need for reform.

With its two lead candidates beholden to unions and each representing polar ideological ­extremes, it is not surprising Labor received a dismal 22 per cent of the vote.

Both Labour and National face similar issues here, though I suspect Labour’s issue is more pressing.

When Howard joined the Young Liberals as an 18 year old in the late 1950s, he said it was the “mission” of every member to ­recruit new members.

“We spend too much time arguing about what the existing membership does rather than throwing open the doors to new members.”

However, given the loss of members in both major parties, retaining new members has ­become a life or death matter. At Labor’s peak in the 1930s, it boasted a membership of more than 150,000. The Liberals had a membership of more than 150,000 in the 1950s.

Today, membership of both major parties has declined even though the population has expanded. Labor and the Liberals each have about 45,000 members nationally.

“People don’t join local sporting clubs, local churches, local service clubs and political parties the way they did 50 years ago,” Howard says.  Read more »

The toxicity of the Greens and lessons from Tasmania for Labour

Labour faces a dilemma.

They can’t win the election without some sort of formal accommodation with the Greens. They also can’t win without Winston Peters.

And thus their dilemma is apparent. The Greens are toxic. David Cunliffe knows it, Shane Jones knows it, Winston Peters knows it.

But the problem is Moira Coatsworth is shrieking at Cunliffe that the attitude tot eh Greens must end, that they are the preferred coalition partner and that Labour needs to be nicer.

Russel Norman is exerting pressure behind the scenes as well.  But the fact remains that the Greens are toxic in any support or coalition deal.

This is a position that Tasmanian’s saw only too well and punished both Labor and the Greens over in their state elections last weekend.

Labor and the Greens have blamed each other for the loss of votes in Saturday’s Tasmanian state election, while the South Australian Liberals insisted electoral boundaries prevented them from claiming a “deserved” outright win.

The simultaneous state elections resulted in a decisive Liberal win in Tasmania and a likely hung parliament in South Australia, where the focus is now turning to negotiations with two independents.

The Liberals have raised questions over the South Australian electoral system given the party could miss out on forming government despite securing about 53% of the two-party vote.  Read more »

A ‘grandiose narcissist’

Kevin Rudd has been described as a ‘grandiose narcissist’…now who else do we know who is just like that?

Australia’s Liberal Party had a secret campaign tool in the form of a personality diagnosis of Kevin Rudd which found him suffering from a disorder known as ‘grandiose narcissism’, writes The Australian Financial Review’s Pamela Williams.

Liberal campaign experts had sometimes joked to each other that public antipathy to Gillard meant they needed only to hang her photo on walls around the country and then sit back; but when it came to Rudd, they believed his messianic self-belief and micro-managing style would soon emerge to remind voters of why they too had lost faith in him the first time around.

The ruthless manner in which Rudd had been despatched by his own side in 2010 had laid the seeds. His successor Gillard had never explained why Rudd had been destroyed. Had she done so – invoking the tale of dysfunctional management which seeped out in any case – then Gillard might have at least partially headed off the public traction which Rudd was able to invoke later as a victim, and a prime ministerial victim moreover, unjustly dealt with.

The Liberal strategy to turn the focus to Rudd’s dysfunction was supported by a secret tactical tool.  Read more »

Awesome Attack Ad

One of the main reasons I love Aussie politics, is that when someone is down, almost out, and bleeding in the gutter they still go in for a good kicking just to make sure they are really dead politically.

This is the Liberals latest attack ad.  Read more »

Liberals attack…hard

This is the Liberals latest attack ad…

I love negative campaigning…that video will hurt because it is true.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, outgoing Labor Party boss Sam Dastyari have been linked to corrupt former MPs Eddie Obeid and Ian MacDonald in a new series of Liberal Party attack TV ads due to be rolled out across NSW tonight.  Read more »