Jul 13: Liberal Party Transformed
I have watched with utter dismay as the Federal Liberal Party - the party shaped by the decency of people like Menzies, Holt, Gorton, McMahon and Fraser - became completely unrecognisable from the party that I joined in 1970. The party that I supported loyally for forty years is no more.
I felt safe under John Howard, who was probably the last political leader able to demonstrate a complete grasp of everything that his Government was doing. Howard's ministers were a mix of progressive liberals and conservatives but I don't see that mix under Abbott.
I see ruthless liars, small-minded far right wing ideological zealots, who achieved their aim of gaining power by "fair means or foul" and are now doing "whatever it takes" to retain power.
I see a Government fighting a rearguard action against modern technology, scientific endeavour and general progress - and I see it promoting coal power in preference to new cleaner technologies.
I see a leadership paralysis, the likes of which I have never observed before and I see unwarranted secrecy and vindictiveness in enforcing border protection.
I see a Prime Minister with no principles and no political substance, who builds his Putin-like image with pre-arranged tv opportunities: packing pies, moving cartons, trying products, cycling here, swimming there.
I see dangerous ultra-nationalism, with the Prime Minister wrapping himself in ten Australian flags at a press conference and arrogantly demanding to know whose side we are all on.
I see unwarranted attacks on pensioners & other vulnerable social groups, public broadcasters, Climate Change & Renewable Energy authorities, the Human Rights Commissioner and I see an Attorney-General supporting bigots and a Treasurer despising wind-turbines so much that he cuts off their financial backing.
I see a PM calling for ABC "heads to roll" because the Government was "offended" by a question from the audience of a tv show and I see Ministers petulantly banned from accepting invitations to appear on tv.
I see policies shaped in direct contradiction of Liberal Party principles.
I see a ministry promising it will start listening to its own backbench and immediately vetoing the clear desire of the backbench to change the leader. I also now see a very muted backbench.
I see a mysogenistic Prime Minister, who is totally incapable of explaining his own policies, is a captive to talk-back host Alan Jones and who gets confused, talks in cliches and constantly repeats himself to use up time. I see a PM who deflects everything and explains nothing.
I see a Government that lacks compassion, leadership, credibility, common sense and secularity. I somehow knew we were in trouble the day I watched the Ministry rock up to be sworn in, all clasping their bibles.
I see the ramping up of scare tactics over foreign policy and ISIS - "They're coming to get you!" - in contrast to John Howard's commonsense approach of being "alert but not alarmed".
I see a Government trying to destroy its enemies instead of engaging them in debate and I see vindictive Royal Commissions pursuing former Labor Prime Ministers and the current Labor Opposition Leader.
What's the alternative?
I have never liked the Labor Party because they have too many expensive ideas, they are too close to militant Trade Unions and they can't stop sending us into debt - but it took the strength of Julia Gillard to overcome entrenched institutional opposition and introduce a Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse by Institutions. This was something that Abbott (as Opposition Leader) was opposed to until the day it was announced, because of his strong ties to the Catholic Church. I suspect that he still sees it as an attack on his mates and the unprecedented idea of subjecting Labor leaders to multiple Royal Commissions was probably born that day. (I also fear a biased response from Abbott if the final reports are presented during his tenure).
Labor's leader, Bill Shorten, is not much better than Abbott, leaving Australia in the grip of a leadership crisis.
Worse still, Australia now lacks a moderate party of the common sense centre, because Labor can't go there and the current Liberal Party has abandoned it.
Greens Party? No. Palmer United Party? No.
Liberal Democrats? No. Family First? Not on your *%$# Nelly!
In the Federal sphere of politics, I am now officially disenfranchised. There is no party that represents the middle ground, no party that I can support or vote for, until the hopeful day that the Liberal Party resumes being a Liberal Party and when Abbott is finally gone.
EDIT (18th July 2015): I forgot to mention the Liberal Party's unbelievable attempts to blatantly gerrymander my local seat of Macarthur!