Liberal Party

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 »

From ”unelectable” as prime minister to the brink of becoming prime minister-elect?

No this post is not about any one in the Labour party it is about how Tony Abbott has made a remarkable turn around.

It shows that Tony Abbott has something that David Shearer lacked…something that Helen Clark alluded to the other day in the Nelson Mail.

It is also something Labour should remember if they think they are going to walk into power in 2014.

As a democratic nation decides to change government, there are two thresholds it must cross. First, it has to conclude that the incumbent should go. Next it has to decide that it can accept the alternative.

At the last election, Australia crossed the first threshold but not the second. The result was a hung parliament.

Has Australian crossed the second threshold?

There are three other telling facts. First, most voters already thought that the Coalition was likely to win, and today even more think so. Yet support for the Coalition continues to firm.

In other words, the electorate is growing accustomed to the idea of a Coalition win. Seven out of 10 expect it; only two out of 10 expect a Labor win. Yet this thought isn’t producing any sign of revulsion but only a clearer Coalition lead.

Another telling fact is that Abbott himself is being re-rated. ”Tony Abbott’s approval rating continues to improve, while Kevin Rudd’s continues to deteriorate,” says the Fairfax pollster, Nielsen’s John Stirton.

Abbott leads Rudd on the question of trustworthiness.   Read more »

Libs banned from talking to gooks, lebs, wogs & chinks

The Liberal party has issued a nationwide ban on its candidates speaking at multi-cultural events after this disastrous interview:

THE LIBERAL party has banned candidates from speaking at events in multi-cultural communities across the country in the wake of Jaymes Diaz’s gaffe about asylum seeker policy.

Liberal candidate for Fowler Andrew Nguyen was refused permission to speak at an event for the Vietnamese community, run by SBS radio in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta, but has not been given a reason why.  Read more »

The cheek of some people, especially those bloody boat people!

John Nguygen is causing some problems for the Liberals.

Firstly Joe Hockey thought he was Chinese, when he is in fact Vietnamese.

The Opposition’s treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, has had to correct himself about the ethnic background of Liberal candidate John Nguyen.

While campaigning in Sydney today, Mr Hockey was asked about candidates from an Asian or Chinese background.

“There are a number of Chinese candidates, including in Victoria, who I was just campaigning with a few days ago in Chisholm, John Nguyen,” he said.

“So we have a number of Chinese candidates right across the country.”

Shortly afterwards, Mr Hockey spoke briefly to his media adviser and then corrected himself about the candidate, who has the common Vietnamese surname Nguyen.  Read more »

Liberals attack

The Liberal party is on the attack against Kevin Rudd. Here is their latest ad:

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Headless Chooks

The Liberals are on fire with their ads:

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