Stephen Cable: 10,000 Ways That Will Not Work

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

Thomas Edison

The above words attributed to the great inventor Thomas Edison are very applicable to conservative Australia in November 2017.  Although we haven’t tried 10,000 ways that ‘will not work’ with making our weight felt in political and social life, more like a handful of ways at present. However, it’s enough to point very clearly to what definitely won’t win the immense battles we have ahead of us.

This month we saw the culmination of a decade long war waged by the regressive left’s global movement within Australia.

Didn’t know you were in a war?

Those are the best type and the easiest to win, waged through entertainment, media suggestion, educational institutions and constant political pressure.

The latest battle in this war was Senator Dean Smith’s recent bill, which seeks to remove gender from the marriage act, and the postal survey that followed. For many, this was a blindside, as many never expected that the latest attack on our culture would come from the Liberal Party. For those who have been watching events in the Liberal and National Parties it was no surprise. And herein lies the issue that shows more clearly than any other how deeply in trouble our country is. We expect lunatic policies from The Greens and we expect Labor to follow, but the Liberals have been a bulwark against that regressive shift with a steadfastness of (semi) sensible policies. Howard in particular was very adept at blunting moves from the left and resisting the cacophony of pseudo-social pressure brought by the lefts’ power centres.

All of this has gone.

If you find a conservative in the Liberals and Nationals, it’s a happy coincidence. Worse, it gives the impression that the party might actually still represent mainstream Australia when it does not. The left have managed to take over the only institution in the country that had the power to stop them and the problem lies in the power structure that is selecting candidates that are more at home in Labor’s (dwindling) right faction.

There is a vast gulf when it comes to the views and ideological beliefs of candidates and the general membership of the party. Most Liberals are appalled that a man such as Malcolm Turnbull, who is clearly more at home in Labor, should have been given the leadership of the party. They are appalled that the PM could bring down a budget that was clearly written by Wayne Swan. Conservatives are horrified that multiple members of the parliamentary wing are enthusiastic supporters of such reality bending concepts as gay marriage.

It should be crystal-clear to conservatives now that there is no protection coming to society from the Libs or Nats. The key things they could be relied upon to protect, the nation’s finances, the civil institutions of society and national defence have all been abandoned by the coalition. Simply put, they are now the left, Labor’s further left and The Greens are now openly revealing their communist intentions. To put it another way, the ideological positions and practices of both major parties are so close that they are by default a single party. Any divisions and contentions they may have are mere spectacle, theatre and distraction. No matter which is in power, they continue the ongoing leftward march.

This brings me to my initial comments about Edison and learning how not to do it.

If we conservatives want a political party that will represent our true values, we will have to build it ourselves. It is a monumental task but if we care for our children and grandchildren, we must act.

Here’s a list of what doesn’t work:

Political parties led and controlled by popular personalities. This has been tried ad nauseam in Australia for the last thirty years. The power always gets concentrated in the hands of one or two people (normally one), members are ignored and decisions are made on the lam. You only have to look at the performance of third force political parties to see this in action. Idiotic policies are made under pressure, campaigns tanked, and years of member’s work flushed down the toilet.

Trying to convince the major parties to come back to earth to live with us. It would take all day to list out the lobby groups that try this day in and day out, and here we are, exactly where the left wants us to be. So much for that idea as a long term strategy.

Media Campaigns. These can have some effect, but measured against the force of government that spends 36% of GDP, is akin to stopping the tide with a bucket.

The only option to us is the one we should have focused on a decade ago and that is to create a grassroots conservative political party that is truly controlled by the members. A party that sends people to parliaments to implement the policies that we want, not a party controlled by a politicians that implement what they want.

Those in parliament are our servants, we are not theirs.

It is not an easy road that I propose, but an essential one.

Since the 1940’s Australia has been ruled by either the Liberal/National Coalition or the Labor Party. For more than 70 years a virtual two party duopoly has ruled our lives and by logical extension, those who rule those parties.

This situation must change.

Ask yourself the following questions:

How can a nation with such abundant natural resources and human talent, be in such enormous debt?

How can a nation with such abundant energy resources have the highest power prices in the world?

How can it be, that a nation with 30 per cent of the worlds uranium, has virtually no nuclear industry?

How can the world’s largest island nation, with high strategic maritime defence requirements, be relying on overseas powers for our submarine fleet? For that matter, how can such an island nation have virtually no ship building industry?

How could a nation, built on hard work and fierce independence, have such a high welfare bill?

How can a nation with such a proud history, have an education system that systematically teaches our children a black armband view of our past?

The answer to these question rests with the two parties that have led us to this point. They are leading us further out into the wilderness and calling it paradise.

It is not the destiny of Australia to be a beggar state or a welfare case. It is not our destiny to spend our days wringing our hands, anxious about sins past, real or imagined. It is not our destiny to be a nation of barista’s and tour guides. Australia was meant for far greater things on the global stage but it will not be handed to us. The parties that rule us will not surrender it willingly and the media will vilify anyone who attempts to break their stranglehold.

So let us not repeat the mistakes of years past and keep on making the same old light bulb that doesn’t work and let’s start making one that will work.

‘Stephen writes at cablecritique.com and for Liberty Works in Brisbane’.

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73 Responses to Stephen Cable: 10,000 Ways That Will Not Work

  1. PoliticoNT

    Stephen – will we just stand by for Part 2? You know the bit where you lay out in practical and operational terms how to run a party for the members? (I agree 100%, but lest this becomes an echo chamber – you need to pony up the ‘how’ not just the ‘what.’)

  2. stackja

    ALP/unions destroyed shipbuilding. People need to decide if they want old light bulbs.

  3. Excellent.
    Were the meeja in this land not completely surrendered to the forces of darkness, this would be on the front page of every broadsheet, and the first item on the talk shows.

  4. Rebel with cause

    National politics is stuffed. I reckon if it is to be a true grass roots movement then council and state politics should be the start.

  5. Tim Neilson

    Howard in particular was very adept at blunting moves from the left and resisting the cacophony of pseudo-social pressure brought by the lefts’ power centres.

    Hmm, sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I think Howard was as good as this nation could hope for till we come to our collective senses (probably only after a fiscal pineapple, Venezuela style), but think firearms and think the green lunacy of his last year or so in office. He could do only so much, and on firearms in particular he was a willing participant not a hostage.

  6. max

    Australian pollies and policy shapers get their direction from other countries. We follow suit. Like ABC television. It’s what’s going on over there, let’s not fall behind. Same with our universities.

    Singapore looks good.

    We don’t do independence in this country.

  7. Farma

    Yeah ok, but is a single prong approach going to do it. Bannon and Breitbart seem to have had more pushback than the Tea Party ever had, Roy Moore excepted. A news organization has much more flexibility than a party, bouncing from one issue to the next maintaining the pressure on those who supposedly represent us. Ousting those Pynes in the arse who don’t.

    The cultural war is all but lost. There’s nothing wrong with the conservative argument, but it is lost in the establishment swamp. There are bright spots but they remain backwaters. It is intrinsically difficult to co ordinate together independent free thinkers against the collective, but perhaps thats what’s needed.

  8. cohenite

    Sheeple rule. This country is full of sheep.

    Great essay though. But as someone once said: if you’re writing this stuff, or reading it, you’re part of the problem.

  9. FelixKruell

    Sure, you can embrace a pure view of conservatism and start your own party. It will be like the Greens though – beset by internal wrangling (factions based on who is the most conservative, and there’s not much else holding people together), and with limited ability to get anything done (except when fate give you the balance of power).

    Better to exert your influence within the LNP. Which was still strong enough to hold out against social reform like SSM which has been supported by the majority of the country for over a decade, and on which we are one of the last of our peers to make the change. Just because you didn’t ultimately get what you wanted doesn’t mean you didn’t make a difference.

  10. .

    Better to exert your influence within the LNP.

    Felix, you make sparing and good criticism, but (I reckon) this is insane.

    I know people who tried and gave up. John Humphreys. Peter Whelan left the LNP. Most of the LDP members from NW Sydney are ex-LNP.

    Peter Phelps is about the only LNP MP who isn’t taken out by the machine and is a classical liberal, and has ardently stuck to his ideals.

  11. EvilElvis

    Just because you didn’t ultimately get what you wanted doesn’t mean you didn’t make a difference.

    Well that’s ok then. As long as we don’t expect our side to be results driven or anything like that we can just feel good and toddle on over the cliff.

  12. FelixKruell

    EvilElvis:

    This is just one issue amongst many. Getting results on everything (especially when at odds with the majority of people in the country) is unrealistic.

    If you want the power that comes with being in a big party and in Government, you have to compromise at times, especially when your views do not enjoy broad support. Those in the ‘Liberal Left’ have to do it all the time. Same with those on the right or left within the ALP.

  13. Texas Jack

    Perfectly timed this essay as news breaks from Germany that Merkel’s utterly stupid attempt at forming a coalition that workably includes the Greens with AfD has fallen apart. AfD have called it time on Merkel’s impossibly stupid emissions reductions plans and immigration madness. If you want to see how it’s done study AfD. They’ve come from 4.7% of the federal vote to 12.6% and 94 seats in four years. It’s some kind of performance. And let’s see, while everyone seems convinced there’s a small irrelevant conservative “rump” left on the planet Merkel’s favourable polling tally is starting to make Donald Trump look like a world beater (Rasmussen have him at 42% well ahead of May, Macron, and now Merkel). …
    I say it’s time to utterly ditch the Libs and the Nats and back either Cory or your local conservative leaning independent. Oh, and I’m putting my dollars and energy where my keyboard is this weekend driving a thousand clicks to hand out against the Nats in QLD. The candidate is a disaffected former Nat who has a chance of making it to the big smoke as a conservative independent.

  14. Phil

    Fierce independence- no. We were founded as a prison colony populated by criminals and ruled by, and completely dependent on a military junta. Which explains a few things.

  15. Boambee John

    Tim Neilson at 0952

    on firearms in particular he was a willing participant not a hostage.

    On firearms, JWH had all the instincts of a suburban conveyancing solicitor.

  16. Dr Faustus

    If you want the power that comes with being in a big party and in Government, you have to compromise at times, especially when your views do not enjoy broad support.

    An exact, pragmatic statement.

    The reason that the major policies of the ALP and the Liberals/LNP have converged to the extent they have is that their research shows that is what the Australian voters apparently want. No chance of being elected at the present on a platform of austerity and careful use of resources, or reduced government involvement in the economy, or reduced participation in the global emissions scam.

    These things will have to become an unavoidable necessity before they are politically acceptable to mainstream Australia. It will likely take 10 to 15 years for the object lesson to play out and Australia to start testing the economic bottom.

    The challenge for conservative politics is to keep its organisational shit together during the powerless, winter years and develop authentic, practical solutions to complicated problems that are not yet blindingly obvious. Not easy in the world of the career politician.

    In the meantime we will have Shorten/DiNatale governments hastening the decline.

  17. Peter

    ““I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
    Thomas Edison”

    Are you sure this quote is not attributable to Malcolm Turnbull? It certainly sounds like him.

  18. Peter Castieau

    Stephen,

    Might I suggest you read about the policies of the Australian Conservatives at:

    http://www.conservatives.org.au

  19. Viva

    they are by default a single party

    In the US it’s called the Uniparty in the UK LibLabCon

  20. Rebel with cause

    Unless your platform includes ‘mohr free stuff’ you ain’t getting a seat in Canberra.

  21. Tim Neilson

    The candidate is a disaffected former Nat who has a chance of making it to the big smoke as a conservative independent.

    TJ I hope you know what you’re doing.
    Think Oakeshotte and Windsor. Think egotistical revenge driven psycopath. Think national catastrophe.

  22. Fulcrum

    Edison-there is a name to conjure win.

    As ordinary people are condemned just for being white, the wrong genitalia and the wrong attitude towards shared toilets, let’s celebrate a life less ordinary.
    Without sharing his knowledge of electricity with the rest of the world, the world would be a lesser place.
    I would have no problem kneeling in awe in front of Edison because he gave us a pivital moment in history.
    Transmission in all its forms can be traced back to Edison. household appliances, light bulbs and electricity generators can be added to his inventions, also.
    Anyway as politicians tell us about their latest venture to save the world, I prefer to read about genuine history and people, regardless of their skin or appendages.

  23. Tezza

    I get the sense that you would put the Australian Conservatives in the category of “Political parties led and controlled by popular personalities.”

    If so, I think you’re unfair to the AC, its constitution, its principles, its processes, and how Bernardi is trying to develop the party and its policies. I’m a founding member of the ACs, and have been impressed its processes (including surveys of members on policy development), Bernardi’s attempts to meet with and have substantive discussion with members, and his strategy to develop the party. He is acutely aware of how personality-based parties have failed, and why populist parties fail. To my view, there have only been a few minor policy mis-steps.

    Try it and see.

  24. indigo

    I too am a founding member of the Australian Conservatives. It is our only hope of rolling back the left. The Liberals are history. Most of the members are Liberal members or Liberal voters. The few conservative Liberal MPs that are left will join us after the next election.

  25. Roger

    If you want the power that comes with being in a big party and in Government, you have to compromise at times, especially when your views do not enjoy broad support.

    The art of political persuasion seems to have been lost.

    Politicians now simply follow the culture, unable to muster arguments against the worst aspects of it.

    When the culture is moving ever Left due to the influence of media and an education system that teaches students what to think instead of how to think (subversion by the Left as part of the Long March) that means once mainstream conservative parties sleepwalk to the left bank.

    Interestingly, while the new W. European parties of “the right” (i.e. nationalists like le Pen & AfD) are reactionary in origin, in Australia Bernardi has founded a party based on positive principles derived from the conservative tradition. He will, it is hoped, continue to argue from those principles, which will tether him to the right bank.

  26. .

    Tezza
    #2559324, posted on November 20, 2017 at 1:46 pm
    I get the sense that you would put the Australian Conservatives in the category of “Political parties led and controlled by popular personalities.”

    If so, I think you’re unfair to the AC, its constitution, its principles, its processes, and how Bernardi is trying to develop the party and its policies. I’m a founding member of the ACs, and have been impressed its processes (including surveys of members on policy development), Bernardi’s attempts to meet with and have substantive discussion with members, and his strategy to develop the party. He is acutely aware of how personality-based parties have failed, and why populist parties fail. To my view, there have only been a few minor policy mis-steps.

    Try it and see.

    Great stuff. I am a paid member of the LDP and I wish you well.

  27. FelixKruell

    Roger:

    The art of political persuasion seems to have been lost.

    They’ve certainly been trying, but I agree not succeeding.

    I think Dr Faustus has it right – on economic matter, please get complacent about why fiscal discipline is necessary. They need another dose of reality before they come back.

    So many people voted for Rudd because he promised broadly the same economic policies as Howard, so he was seen as a slightly more progressive option between two otherwise identical candidates on economic matters. How wrong that turned out to be.

  28. Vicki

    Mmmmm…the problem, my friend, is that while all you say is absolutely true…..the solution of yet another splinter group is saddled with the same dismal future as similar attempts in other western countries.

    In other words.. what you achieve is a splintering of the conservative vote and the hopelessness of minority governments of dubious negotiating skills. The worst type of “diversity”.

    I’m inclined to the view that this trend of a multiplicity of platforms is just reflective of the disintegration of the values and beliefs that once was the glue of our society. Many today seem to hold conflicting views without any concern for lack of coherence or “big picture” understanding.

    The bloody Left have been very good at this slow whittling down of the national ethos through the education system, media etc.

    Maybe I’m just feeling particularly low about the future. Sorry.

  29. Vicki

    When the culture is moving ever Left due to the influence of media and an education system that teaches students what to think instead of how to think (subversion by the Left as part of the Long March) that means once mainstream conservative parties sleepwalk to the left bank.

    This is absolutely the problem, Roger.

  30. Roger

    In other words.. what you achieve is a splintering of the conservative vote and the hopelessness of minority governments of dubious negotiating skills. The worst type of “diversity”.

    Less pessimistically, what you can achieve is the balance of power in the senate and the ability to influence government policy from that position, something conservatives in the Liberal Party are now finding very difficult to do.

    I think our political future is going to be more fractured than at any time in living memory; may as well get with it!

  31. Snoopy

    Most of the LDP members from NW Sydney are ex-LNP.

    And they are a force to be reckoned with.

  32. entropy

    Howard in particular was very adept at blunting moves from the left and resisting the cacophony of pseudo-social pressure brought by the lefts’ power centres.

    Which of course is why he was hated by liberal rodents such as brandis.

  33. PoliticoNT

    I’m a founding member of the ACs, and have been impressed its processes (including surveys of members on policy development), Bernardi’s attempts to meet with and have substantive discussion with members, and his strategy to develop the party. He is acutely aware of how personality-based parties have failed, and why populist parties fail. To my view, there have only been a few minor policy mis-steps

    .

    Tezza – the process/approach you describe Bernardi taking is the kind of practical ‘how’ I often call for (or work on in my capacity as a member of a party). But…..I’ll believe it when I see it actually coming true. My experience as a member of the Liberals (WA) and the CLP (NT), and as a participant in branch dealings in Victoria (Libs) and the ACT (LDP) has been generally worth my time but identical in the utter lack of influence ordinary members have. And believe me when I say parliamentarians and their staff are utterly, and completely useless at developing and prosecuting good policy. As in ‘good’ for the national interest, ‘good’ at protecting our freedoms etc.

    Have I had dealings with AC? Yes. I expressed sustained and considered interest in the early days. Especially around policy development and communications. I gave up after a couple of months. ACs were interested in my membership/money – but didn’t have the capacity to talk policy. Have I read your policy platform? Yes. It’s an alright base to get started with but do you sell it well? (No) Do you use language that reflects the sentiment of your potential voting base? (I’d argue you don’t – too stuffy, too bureaucratic.) Are you going to get anywhere electorally? (Not at the rate you’re going.)

    Taking into account our side of politics is about as speedy as a tortoise and as effective as a snow flake in hell when it comes to political media comms, you’re light years away from where you need to be. Flagging Cory’s approach to things needs to be your number one priority because it’ll make you the only party in the country who thinks the ordinary members have a serious role to play. (And that really is appealing if you can back up the talk with action.) And the ‘we’re the new right of centre party‘ message has to go nuclear. 100+ years of electoral data makes it pretty clear that no matter what happens in Australian politics (new parties, splits, break aways etc) – the system always resets itself to just two major parties.

    So either the ACs become the new Coalition, or you’ll be gone in three cycles.

  34. FelixKruell

    Tezza:

    Can I ask – would you envisage any policy ideas coming from members that don’t align with Bernardi’s existing views becoming party policy?

    To me, this is the real difference between short-lived populist personality parties and sustainable niche parties.

  35. .

    I hate to say it but Politico is right – an example being that currently Mama Merkel is basically beating up AfD in a marathon. Small parties generally get minced this way.

  36. PoliticoNT

    I hate to say it but Politico is right – an example being that currently Mama Merkel is basically beating up AfD in a marathon. Small parties generally get minced this way.

    Yeah Dot, we live in hope but reality is a big kick in the nuts. My party has recently sent round a list of policy ideas for comment. It’s our leader’s effort at better engagement. Bit of a mess though and he’d accidentally included a real dog that our entire base is opposed to, and that he has for some mad reason been supporting the current government on. As for the rest of the list – fuck me – dazed and confused.

    Worse, it turns out it was an initiative of his COS. I wrote a fairly considered response, put everything in portfolio order, researched background on each policy, our current position, outcomes achieved to date etc. That is; all of the info we should have received if the COS had been doing something other than patting his own arse. Well, well, well – hasn’t the results been interesting.

    Apparently for trying to put us on a stronger policy footing I am to be considered the anti-Christ and my membership is now up for discussion by the Management Committee. (Go figure. But I’ve had the same outcome when dealing with the Libs in Melbourne, who should know better.) Personally speaking the mob that look like the best long-term deal are PHON. Although they don’t look like they’ve got the momentum to go above 20%. And you have to wonder at what point Ashby will have to be gotten rid of.
    ACs/LDP – well, I’m hopeful, but I’m not seeing the traction I think they’re seeing of themselves (or at least the ACs, the sense I get with the LDP is that it’s all a lot of fun but you know, we wouldn’t really want to be a force in Parliament, plus you know, we have David…..).

    Funny though, all a party has to do is put together 100 decent candidates, a proper national structure with decent branch ops/guidelines…..wouldn’t take much.

  37. Arnost

    you need to pony up the ‘how’ not just the ‘what.’

    As usual a bit late to the party… And while I too am a founding member of the Aust Conservatives – they are not the answer me thinks.

    Was having a red wine or three with someone the other day and this question came up. What we need is a Breitbart here in Australia. An online journal with a regular daily analysis / opinion pieces that fills the gaps or throws light on the stuff missing in the MSM. Drawing on bits from Quadrant, the Speccy and even the Cat to provide daily content. We can even have cartoons like Tom links each morning to hook people in. I further reckon that Tony Abbott should quit politics and become the editor in chief / chief Bomb Thrower. Peta can be CEO to make sure it stays on track [and keep Mark Latham under control 🙂 ]

    Only this – with feeds into Facebook, Twitter etc can begin to make people think again, question the status quo, and so help get the country back on track.

  38. Dr Faustus

    ..the solution of yet another splinter group is saddled with the same dismal future as similar attempts in other western countries.

    In other words.. what you achieve is a splintering of the conservative vote and the hopelessness of minority governments of dubious negotiating skills. The worst type of “diversity”.

    The splintering of the conservative vote started well before Bernardi. You can trace it back to the Howard era’s embrace of the big state, although it obviously accelerated under Turnbull’s dead hand and the awful failure of the Abbott/Hockey experiment.

    The Liberals are likely to continue to shed members and morph into a 20-MP, soft-centre-left middle-class party, primarily appealing to progressive urban voters turned off by the union ownership of the ALP and the Trotskyite entrists in the Greens. Their ultimate fate is to be marginal and irrelevant milch cows, lowing with dull apprehension as the iceberg approaches.

    As far as I can see, there is no immediate prospect of the AC, PHON, LDP or the nominal conservative independents being more than parliamentary burrs, and perhaps influencing through the Senate.

    As PoliticoNT points out (and there are plenty of examples) politicians and political apparatchiks are crap at policy formulation. Perhaps the best thing that these small conservative parties can do is to provide an operating base for sensible policy development by people who have the intellectual grunt, public interest – but no appetite for the political circus themselves.

    The AC and LDP are potentially up for the challenge; PHON and the Indies emphatically are not.

  39. Vicki

    What we need is a Breitbart here in Australia.

    Now you’re talking!

  40. Tel

    The Liberals are likely to continue to shed members and morph into a 20-MP, soft-centre-left middle-class party, primarily appealing to progressive urban voters turned off by the union ownership of the ALP and the Trotskyite entrists in the Greens. Their ultimate fate is to be marginal and irrelevant milch cows, lowing with dull apprehension as the iceberg approaches.

    In the UK they have a special name for those kinds of people… they call them “Liberal Democrats”.

  41. Jannie

    Some great questions. The answer may be that we have decided to be a holiday idyll for the elites of the industrial world. But we will not stop at deindustrialisation, we will de-pastoralise and de-agriculturalise as well. The only jobs will be in the government and tourist industry. But there will be a lot of police.

  42. Well, that’s mostly obvious. We all know what we oppose. So do the Left. They define themselves in terms of everything they hate.

    What makes Libertarians (and for that matter, Conservatives) better than them is that they are willing to proclaim the first principles they stand for: those things they love, which they are willing, if it comes to it, to die for, or even kill for.

    Try asking a Leftist some time about his first principles. I’ll bet he can’t do it, beyond nebulous third-order values like “equality” and “fairness”. This is why the war the author speaks of can only ultimately be won by one side: the side that truly knows itself.

    So be optimistic.

  43. Jeremy

    The problem in the Liberals, which will occur in any other party, is that there are perverse incentives for Political staffers to reduce the membership base. Political staffers in the main, are there for a cushy job. The ultimate being an MP. They are not there to fix the problems of the country because they simply don’t have the life experience necessary for that. How can a group of Public Servants on public service pay and conditions understand what is needed for a healthy private enterprise system?
    Ordinary members recognize this and will look to pre-select anyone other than a staffer. To pre-select someone else however there must be a reasonable choice. Over the last twenty years, membership numbers have reduced by 75% while staffer numbers (due to pollies giving themselves more staff) have doubled. Staffers, as a matter of course, join the party, attend all the function, and field telephone calls from the membership. They also have access to the membership contact lists which are not available to non-staff members.
    As a result the staffers are able to obtain positions as delegates on pre-selection panels in greater numbers than ordinary members. Naturally, they pre-select other staffers because their opinions and attitudes are reflected back at them.
    Efforts have been made to reduce this imbalance but the staffers and pollies strongly resist.
    Any political party that wishes to remain conservative must establish rules that prevent this takeover by careerist public servants. The Libs can do this or anyone else, but before you get excited by any Party, read it’s constitution and check whether political staff are forbidden to hold organizational positions or stand for pre-selection. This is the problem that is killing the Liberal party!

  44. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Peta can be CEO to make sure it stays on track

    She’s busy right now, on every time you turn on Sky. Largely doing good works.

    Yes, we do need an Australian Breitbart as an aggregator of the dissent that’s around, and putting it out to Twatter, Facefreaks and the rest to counter the current cultural zeitgeist. Something amusing, with a light touch as well as dealing with serious things, and multi-demographic, where thinking people come to not be bored but to brighten the day; maybe taking a few hints from Catallaxy on this.

    I’m a member of AC and I like their approach but it needs better marketing.
    No-one’s heard of them. Time to make conservative sexy.
    Cory was doing well with his penetrating comment on the Pyne Twitter fiasco. 🙂
    More people will recall him for that than for anything else. His delivery was a joy to behold.
    Shows the human, humorous and non-boring face of conservatism. We need more of it.

  45. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Bravo too to Tom on Catallaxy and his morning welcome with a toon round-up.
    A good start to an Aussie Breitbart if copyright issues are OK.

  46. entropy

    Over the last twenty years, membership numbers have reduced by 75% while staffer numbers (due to pollies giving themselves more staff) have doubled. Staffers, as a matter of course, join the party, attend all the function, and field telephone calls from the membership. They also have access to the membership contact lists which are not available to non-staff members.
    As a result the staffers are able to obtain positions as delegates on pre-selection panels in greater numbers than ordinary members. Naturally, they pre-select other staffers because their opinions and attitudes are reflected back at them.
    Efforts have been made to reduce this imbalance but the staffers and pollies strongly resist.
    Any political party that wishes to remain conservative must establish rules that prevent this takeover by careerist public servants. The Libs can do this or anyone else, but before you get excited by any Party, read it’s constitution and check whether political staff are forbidden to hold organizational positions or stand for pre-selection. This is the problem that is killing the Liberal party!

    The most succinct diagnosis I have read for years. For ALP, read union based factions.

  47. PoliticoNT

    She’s busy right now, on every time you turn on Sky. Largely doing good works.

    Lizzie – Credlin was Abbott’s COS. Abbott was largely removed due to his inability to speak clearly and effectively in public, as well the damage he caused by the way he spoke in relation to policy initiatives and changes. (Months of work derailed by Tone in a moment, weeks of repair to follow.) As useless and damaging as Turnbull has proven to be – Abbott’s failure must be shared by Credlin. And Credlin has spent the majority of her career as…..wait for it…..a political staffer. Sorry, but just as disconnected as the rest.

  48. PoliticoNT

    Efforts have been made to reduce this imbalance but the staffers and pollies strongly resist.

    Jeremy – join a party, and the fight. I’ve rejoined my old party after a few years away. I am currently working on some policy (sent out by staffers in the name of better engagement, although they are now infuriated we have begun working on the policy itself), and some motions for our next central council meeting that go exactly to this. (That former party staffers be barred from seeking pre-selection for office for five years etc etc.)

    Ultimately those who turn up make the decisions.

    Do it.

  49. .

    Simple.

    Libertarian? Join, donate and vote LDP.
    Conservative? Join, donate and vote ACP.
    Nationalist? Join, donate and vote PHON.

    We can squabble later. Let’s wipe out the Greens and banish the LNP and ALP from the Treasury benches.

  50. PoliticoNT

    Simple.

    Exactly. But don’t just join, donate and vote. If 100 branches of these three parties passed motions barring staffers from holding office the impact would be immediate. All of a sudden we’d really have to attract decent candidates.

  51. PoliticoNT

    Dot – here’s (the core elements) of my working draft. Any suggestions?

    Motion
    1. That individuals who have worked as political staffers and advisers be barred from standing for pre-selection for a period for five years following the end of their employment in those roles.

    2. That political staffers and advisers be barred from appointment/membership of pre-selection committees.

    3. That individuals who have been appointed as Party President be barred from standing for pre-selection for a period of five years following the end of their appointment as Party President.

    4. That individuals who have been appointed as Party Director be barred from standing for pre-selection for a period of five years following the end of their appointment as Party President.

    5. That the restrictions apply to any person who has worked as a political staffer/adviser or holder of a political party President or Director position within other states and territories in Australia.

    6. That the restriction not apply to ordinary party members who have served in Branch roles, or other Party Committee roles.

  52. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    Lizzie – Credlin was Abbott’s COS

    I know all this. I was one of those appalled at the first six months of poor communication and refusal to grasp the reform mettle at the start, and also later, in the Abbott government. That is spilt milk now. She has I think learned from this experience and is well able to point out policy problems now. She is also still committed to the idea of a Liberal Party so is not part of the discussion on this thread. Unlike most previous staffers she is not looking (yet anyway) for a parliamentary career herself – although if she did she would romp it in, given the profile she is creating as a girl from the bush who understands the ordinary people well. I note another high media performer, Ross Cameron, has made no moves away from the ‘idea’ of the Liberals (who have currently banned him) even though like Credlin he is highly critical of current policies. Both of them seem to be waiting to see which way the wind blows re the future of the Liberal Party. They are helpful media voices to the conservative cause though, and conservatives wanting to form a new movement need all the help they can get. Maybe sometime if the Lib road collapses they will, to mix metaphors, jump ship and join Cory.

  53. .

    Politico

    All good, very professional, but predicated on large membership numbers.

    It would be a selling point opposed to the majors.

  54. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    1. That individuals who have worked as political staffers and advisers be barred from standing for pre-selection for a period for five years following the end of their employment in those roles.

    I don’t agree with this. It is too restrictive. Good people are good people regardless of background.

    Just keep all functionaries out of the Selection process and let the members speak there.

  55. PoliticoNT

    Dot – it might get up with the LDP. With the ACs – yeah probably, but I don’t know for how much longer. If they start winning seats then almost certainly they’ll go down the normal staffer-to-parliament route. With PHON – Ashby would find a way to kill it off. My party though? Quite likely.

  56. PoliticoNT

    I don’t agree with this. It is too restrictive. Good people are good people regardless of background.

    Lizzie – contemporary politics are heavily weighted towards a tiny cabal of insiders. There is common agreement there needs to be a little more balance between parliamentarians/staffers, and ordinary party members. This is just one practical way of commencing the re-balance.

    Yes, we want good people working in the offices of parliamentarians. The problem is at present too many use it as a stepping stone to Parliament. You got another suggestion then fire away, I’m pretty receptive to any practical ideas.

  57. A Lurker

    As far as I can see, there is no immediate prospect of the AC, PHON, LDP or the nominal conservative independents being more than parliamentary burrs, and perhaps influencing through the Senate.

    How about a formal Coalition of these groups and other small parties (such as the Christian Democrats, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party etc) – supporting and voting for each other in State and Federal Parliament on shared policies, values and ideologies, however retaining their own leadership, structures etc – but with an overall aim of pulling Australian politics back to the Centre-Right.

  58. .

    How about a formal Coalition of these groups and other small parties (such as the Christian Democrats, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party etc) – supporting and voting for each other in State and Federal Parliament on shared policies, values and ideologies, however retaining their own leadership, structures etc – but with an overall aim of pulling Australian politics back to the Centre-Right.

    I’ve been saying this since SCOAMF Trumble rigged the Senate with the Greens in an effort to crush the alt-right.

    It is a beautiful plan you have concocted and it brings tears to my eyes.

  59. PoliticoNT

    What about unpaid advisers?

    Good point. We’ve had a number of those and it’s variable. Some play almost a pastoral role and do more good than harm. The main problem is when they are appointed to statutory roles, and you get to suffer the electoral impact of party insiders being handed jobs.

    Let me think about it.

  60. .

    Also, before a party gets anywhere, you can get a lack of commitment and prominent, electable people bankroll and do a lot of the heavy lifting.

  61. Combine Dave

    .
    #2560628, posted on November 21, 2017 at 11:14 am
    Simple.

    Libertarian? Join, donate and vote LDP.
    Conservative? Join, donate and vote ACP.
    Nationalist? Join, donate and vote PHON.

    We can squabble later. Let’s wipe out the Greens and banish the LNP and ALP from the Treasury benches.

    I hate to say it.

    But Dot is 100% correct.

    Unfortunately my electorate is currently a choice between LNP, ALP, Greens and a fake independent (ALP spoiler candidate).

    FFS.

  62. PoliticoNT

    But Dot is 100% correct.

    Mind you, I tend to see myself as a Libertarian-Conservative-Nationalist hybrid…..

  63. A Lurker

    It is a beautiful plan you have concocted and it brings tears to my eyes.

    It’s not rocket science. I thought such a plan would have been blindingly obvious. After all, the Greens and Labor operate under a similar arrangement.
    United we stand. Divided we fall.

  64. Combine Dave

    Mind you, I tend to see myself as a Libertarian-Conservative-Nationalist hybrid…..

    Thanks to preferences your vote can flow to all of the above 🙂

  65. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    You got another suggestion then fire away,

    You’ve got my suggestion: don’t be too restrictive, particularly early on with new parties.

    Don’t try to cook a perfect cake when you should be makings scones.

  66. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    It’s not rocket science. I thought such a plan would have been blindingly obvious

    Me too. Coalitions and deals are the stuff of politics. Look at Germany. Italy.
    We are moving in that direction. It’s what the left have always done anyway.

  67. PB

    “as many never expected that the latest attack on our culture would come from the Liberal Party”

    A (((Goldman Sachs))) puppet heads the Party in Government. I expected nothing less.

  68. PoliticoNT

    We are moving in that direction.

    Electoral data I’ve been shown (100 years+) says Australia reverts to two parties over time, no matter what divergent directions it takes at times. But I’ve got an open mind about it. Maybe there will be more minor party representation.

    Don’t try to cook a perfect cake when you should be makings scones.

    Lizzie, mate, you’re looking at this differently to me. I’m not prepared to sit back for another ten years watching a tiny number of individuals (poorly) run my party and its outcomes. I’m over the talking about things bit. Just remember the draft points I made are simply that – a draft. While I’ve got a lot of support in my branch and across my party – I have to argue it at the branch level first, get it voted on and passed through for the next sitting of central council. Then I have to argue it through central council, get it passed (or much more likely an amended version of it passed) and so on. There are a lot of good people in my party…..and quite a few self-interested dickheads who will do their best to cut me down.

    Knife-fighting and gunplay is perhaps a better analogy than baking.

  69. .

    Oh right. Da chews did it.

    Here, have some tinfoil.

  70. PoliticoNT

    Dot – just talking to a mate in a different state. He tried similar reforms – got voted down – his state council is controlled by staffers.

    Interesting days ahead.

  71. Jeremy

    I am pleased to see wide recognition that the problem is professional political operatives (AKA staffers) preventing proper democratic representation.
    The change that is required can only be achieved with greater numbers of ordinary members than staffers.
    Politico NT I am in and working at the problem. We need more members and a wider recognition that the problem must be addressed in the constitutional rules.
    The same problem is more advanced in the Labor Party than the Liberals and will inevitably surface in any other party unless the rules prevent it. Professional staff have too many natural advantages.
    I have friends who have looked at the Australian Conservatives and cannot see rules that will prevent the same thing happening.

  72. PoliticoNT

    Jeremy – let me know how it goes. Reading your post earlier prompted me to draft out the motion above. It’s already getting traction in my circle of political friends. I can’t wait to hear our own batch of weasels scream. Some of the useless tits we have (ex-staffers) who are lining themselves up for cosy parliamentary gigs. Just more of the same. And they really don’t give a fuck about good policy, they just want to get their snouts in the trough. Not that they are able of identifying their awfulness though.

    Re numbers – I think it’s easier to attract people if you can demonstrate you’re prepared to make significant change. People see you work to stop staffers moving into Parliament (a very significant change which a lot of people have trouble grasping the concept of) it makes you a lot more attractive. And I agree re ACs. They have plenty of good people but they are moving to a standard corporate model very quickly. And once they achieve that it won’t matter how many fireside chats Cory indulges in – the membership will be just as irrelevant as every other party.

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