Justin: A Blot on a Soon to be Forgotten Party.

It is interesting to ponder what Liberal Party founder Robert Menzies would have likely thought of Malcolm Turnbull and his Prime Ministership. Turnbull liked to compare himself to the giant of Australian and Liberal Party politics seeing himself as within the mould of Menzies “progressive Liberalism”. But would Menzies have approved of being equated with Turnbull much less on the basis of a shared anti-conservative, “progressive liberalism”?   

We can get an insight from his famous Forgotten People speech of 1942 in which he outlined the values, political ideology and natural constituency that would later underpin his founding of the Liberal Party.

First, it is fair to say that Menzies would not have regarded Turnbull as a natural member of the Liberal Party. We can adduce this by virtue of Menzies excluding from the Liberal base the “rich and powerful: those who control great funds and enterprises, and are as a rule able to protect themselves”. Malcolm Turnbull certainly fits into this category.

Second, Menzies was deeply sceptical of the political acumen of said “rich and powerful” people, stating: “in a political sense they have shown neither comprehension nor competence”. This seems to pretty much sum up Turnbull’s Prime Ministership to me.

Third, Menzies held with disdain what he termed the “cult of false values, a repeated application of the test of money, notoriety, applause”. Malcolm Turnbull not only epitomes  these “false values”, he relied upon them to seize the leadership of the Liberal Party. 

His appeal to a craven and vacuous party room largely succeeded because they falsely equated Turnbull’s net wealth and the fawning notoriety and applause he received from the ABC and Fairfax crowd with political leadership, judgment, competence and integrity.

Considering that Menzies considered these false values “one of the great blots on our modern living” it would be fair to conclude he would have likewise considered Turnbull to be “one of the great blots” on the Liberal Party.

Fourth, Menzies sensibly believed that to be successful in politics one had to understand the people and conversations inside the “homes” of the middle class. The sanctity of the home and family life in the aspiring middle class was where the sensible centre resided.

Menzies rejected outright “that the real life of this nation [could] be found either in great luxury hotels and the petty gossip of so-called fashionable suburbs”. High on the hill in Point Piper, overlooking the harbour, Turnbull rarely ventured outside the “fashionable” eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Rather than heeding the words of Menzies he instead fortified himself in the “fashionable” eastern suburbs taking his political cues from the trendy, elitist hash tag crusaders, all the while clinging to the delusion that catching the ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay (drivers at either end) gave him the common touch of a public transport user. Menzies would doubtless consider this a fail.

Fifth are the straight policy and political contrasts, just some of which include:

i. Menzies was informed by ideology and hence political and economic theory. Turnbull believed agnostic pragmatism and a transactional approach to politics was a virtue.

ii. Menzies was against bank nationalisation. Turnbull quasi nationalised the banks with special levies and embedded government regulators.

iii. Menzies was a nationalist and unilateralist. Turnbull a globalist and multilateralist.

iv. Menzies represented the “forgotten people”, the over taxed, neglected middle class. Turnbull (also take a bow Textor) campaigned on forgetting them anew. They “had nowhere to go”.

v. Menzies created the “Liberal Party” brand. Turnbull as leader junked it and campaigned under “Team Turnbull”.

vi. Menzies fought for the “thrifty over the thriftless”. Turnbull retrospectively taxed their super and called it “social fairness”.

vii. Menzies established Commonwealth funding for independent and Catholic schools. Turnbull resurrected Gonski redistributing funds to government schools in the name of “social equity”.

viii. Menzies prioritised military defence capability. Turnbull turned defence into a 30 year work for the dole scheme (20th century subs “manufactured” with 17th century windmill powered factories).

ixi. Menzies believed in small government because it better protected freedom. Turnbull believed in big government / global technocracy (a “benign autocracy” as Menzies put it).

x. Menzies promoted the exploitation of our natural resources. Turnbull sought to regulate and tax them out business to save the planet.

xi. Menzies built the US alliance. Turnbull undermined it at every opportunity.

In summary, I think Menzies would have seen the Turnbull experiment as a betrayal of practically everything he stood for in public life. He would have viewed Turnbull as a man lacking ambition –  ambition for the nation that is, and not for oneself – a Prime Minister lacking in political “comprehension or competence”,  a “[slave] to greed, to fear, to newspapers, to public opinion” (good call re. Newspoll!) and “one of the greatest blot’s” in the life of the Liberal Party.

In fact I would go so far to say that if Menzies were alive today he would have resigned from “Team Turnbull” and started up his own party all over again.

After all, a Liberal Party that has forgotten the forgotten people will soon find itself the forgotten party in Australian politics.

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44 Responses to Justin: A Blot on a Soon to be Forgotten Party.

  1. stackja

    Wagga first shot in the war?

  2. We should never, ever, allow the Liberal Party to forget their ‘Turnbull Experiment’. Every member that supported Turnbull, from the very outset to the very end, should be forever pilloried forever for what they have done to the Liberal Party.

  3. stackja

    UAP died. Will Liberal Party? Next election will decide?

  4. AussieMaga

    Missed a big difference: Turnbull on multiculturalism vs Menzies on a homogenous society

    Menzies, of course, was infinitely wiser. Turnbull is just a globalist shill.

  5. Oh come on

    Trumble was considered a popular Liberal PM only by those who would never vote Liberal. Hence the extended bout of garment-rending over at the ABC after Trumble was – quite rightly – dumped as PM. Annabel Crabb in particular is deeply offended by Trumble’s removal and appears to be in the middle of some kind of breakdown. It all seems very, very personal for her. Raises a few questions about the nature of the relationship between Crabb and Trumble, I have to say.

  6. Pyrmonter

    Dear Heavens, where to start. Does ‘Justin’ (what’s the point of a partial nom de internet?) have any knowledge of Australian political history?

    ‘Menzies was a nationalist and unilateralist. Turnbull a globalist and multilateralist.’

    Menzies presided over a slow period of liberalisation; his accommodation of his corrupt coalition partner headed by McEwen, who traded campaign contributions for quotas, meant somewhat greater trade restrictions, but it was under Menzies that trade restrictions were (at the behest of international organisations, above all the GATT) converted from quotas to tariffs. Domestically, his government established the Reserve Bank, separating central banking from the commercial and retail banking of the Commonwealth Bank (without, however, selling it). In its Restrictive Trade Practices legislation, it saw the first, fitful steps taken to reduce the cartelisation to which Australian commerce had succumbed in the previous half century (bolstered by the protectionism of the ‘Australian Settlement’). It sent ministers to the IMF and GATT. It led Australia into its strongest peacetime multi-lateral alliance, the SEATO. It sponsored the Colombo Plan. To use the term ‘globalist’ is anachronistic, but the Menzies government was, by comparison to its opponents, strongly supportive of multi-lateral institutions (above all the Commonwealth), open, resistant to the xenophobia and opposition to ‘Foreign Capital’ which the ALP had fostered since its earliest days, and to which much of the ‘right’ is progressively succumbing.

    Above all, the Liberal Party of Menzies didn’t engage in inverted snobbery: among Menzies’ parliamentary party were men (overwhelmingly men) who’d had the advantage of good education, successful lives before entering politics, and commonly substantial independent means. The contrast with the hackocracy who control the ‘conservative’ faction of the modern Liberals couldn’t be more stark.

    Whatever Turnbull’s many failings – tendencies both to illiberal ‘social liberalism’, and a willingness to bow to the ‘Right’ on issues as diverse as government spending, tax cuts, immigration and social policy (the SSM vote above all), the case presented above identifies none of them.

  7. min

    On an earlier thread I queried the notion of loyalty in politics , allegiance to the leader or to the Party? How then could anyone who knew of Turnbull’s treatment of people ,that his first preference was Labor , choose loyalty to him?
    Someone replied Self Interest well if they had followed MT ‘s career surely being thrown under a bus like he did to many should be avoided. Why would it not be you even though you had pledged loyalty.?
    ScoMo’s speech spoke of the forgotten people or the losers because too many were now hitching a ride on their hard work, a variation on Thomas Sowell theme., but now the forgotten .

  8. .

    ‘Menzies was a nationalist and unilateralist. Turnbull a globalist and multilateralist.’

    Menzies presided over a slow period of liberalisation

    I had Don Brash’s Ph D thesis where it was turned into a book at one stage. One of the cartoons (from the papers of the time) of Menzies had him with Australia as a large beast, reduced to a skeleton by foreign interests drawn as vultures.

    It is good you pointed this out Pyrmonter. These new guest bloggers bat about 0.100 before they start hitting 0.300.

  9. Wile E. Trumble.

    Remember this: Trumble does not matter.

  10. Leo G

    Every member that supported Turnbull, from the very outset to the very end, should be forever pilloried forever for what they have done to the Liberal Party.

    Sounds like Turnbull lubbers ducking stools.

  11. egg_

    Raises a few questions about the nature of the relationship between Crabb and Trumble, I have to say.

    She had a rep as political groupie with the Insiders panel, apparently.

  12. miltonf

    Having observed Trumble since the Spycatcher days, he struck me as very unpleasant and abrasive to put it mildly. But I never thought he would be able to inflict damage to the extent that he has succeeded in doing. It says a lot about the current state of the Liberal Party that this has been allowed to happen. Remember that people like Payne and Photios has been around for what seems like ages.

  13. Squirrel

    and….
    xii. Menzies would not have outlawed incandescent light bulbs.

    A trivial point, perhaps, but also a very practical, day-to-day reminder of the triumph of virtue-signalling tokenism in contemporary politics.

  14. old bloke

    and xiii.

    Compare Menzie’s personal loyalty to the British crown to Turnbull’s republicanism.

  15. DaveR

    For those that dont know the genre, Turnbull has behaved almost exactly as an arrogant, super wealthy, alloof merchant banker would. A party of one with occasional allies. I dont put as much stock as others in Turnbull’s early attemp to join Labor, its just part of the vehicle he needed for his goal. But Graham Richardson was on the money from day one – Turnbull had no political intelligence; almost none at all. Just raw survival motivation, and the ability to step on anyone to get where he wanted. And he would turn and damage the party he was in if it rejected him. Pure Wall (Macquarie) Street.
    In terms of similarities with Menzies, or even Howard (excluding the last year) – the different eras cloud the comparison – but he was nothing like either of them.

  16. C.L.

    Santamaria always said (with inside knowledge) that Menzies had ceased voting for the Liberals in the years prior to his death in 1978.

  17. Gab

    Menzies would have thought turnbull a traitor and a queer.

  18. jupes

    Missed a big difference: Turnbull on multiculturalism vs Menzies on a homogenous society

    Indeed. Menzies as a supporter of the White Australia Policy would be appalled at the insanity of our current non-discriminatory immigration policy.

    Australia wasn’t importing our Russian and Chinese enemies back in the day, so there were no bollards required and you could park your car at the MCG.

  19. billie

    The ABC is offended by Turbull’s demise ..

    I have no words ..

  20. Pyrmonter

    @ jupes – among the members of his government who’d achieved something before entering parliament was Hubert Opperman (against whom, in passing, I’ll mention that my grandfather raced). Opperman began the process of dismantling the WAP; that process was one of the LPA’s proudest achievements, something done in the face of opposition from both the ALP and DLP.

    @ Gab – Menzies’ cabinet included McMahon.

  21. Crossie

    bemused
    #2812752, posted on September 9, 2018 at 4:28 pm
    We should never, ever, allow the Liberal Party to forget their ‘Turnbull Experiment’. Every member that supported Turnbull, from the very outset to the very end, should be forever pilloried forever for what they have done to the Liberal Party.

    Wagga Wagga is an indication of where the electorate is heading. The sad part is that the treacherous scum are in safe seats and likely to survive.

  22. jupes

    Opperman began the process of dismantling the WAP; that process was one of the LPA’s proudest achievements, something done in the face of opposition from both the ALP and DLP.

    Where as in the fullness of time it can be clearly seen to be their greatest mistake.

    Just like gay ‘marriage’ is the Turnbull team’s ‘proudest’ achievement.

  23. stackja

    Crossie
    #2812952, posted on September 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Both my NSW/Fed supposedly safe. Non ALP Independents can create problems. NSW/Fed election ‘soon’.

  24. stackja

    NewsPoll ALP ahead. ScoMo ahead of BS.

  25. Beachcomber

    xii. Menzies would not have outlawed incandescent light bulbs.

    A trivial point, perhaps, ………..

    Not so trivial and more than just a symbol of the triumph of tokenisitic virtue signalling.

    If a patronising totalitarian like Turnbull can decree what type of light bulb we are permitted to use in our own homes, without a murmur of protest or dissent, then there is nothing that the Green Marxist ruling elites can’t control if they choose.

  26. Tim Neilson

    Pyrmonter
    #2812759, posted on September 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    You’re making the mistake of thinking in purely binary terms.

    For example, to say (rightly) that Menzies was less unilateralist than the xenophobic ALP of the 1950’s and ’60’s tells us nothing about how his attitudes compare with Trumble’s.

    I for one refuse to believe that Menzies would have destroyed Australia’s electricity grid as a means of fellating transnational bureaucrats.

  27. Tim Neilson

    Opperman began the process of dismantling the WAP; that process was one of the LPA’s proudest achievements, something done in the face of opposition from both the ALP and DLP.

    Where as in the fullness of time it can be clearly seen to be their greatest mistake.

    No. The mistake was made later. Gorton said that he had no problem with a multiracial society but he was opposed to a ‘multicultural’ society. That was perfectly sensible.

    The rot set in when politicians started importing voteherds, deliberately setting up non-assimilated ghetto communities in order to harvest the votes. Especially when the ghettos became multigenerational welfare sumps.
    That wasn’t what Menzies, Opperman or Gorton were doing.

  28. Tim Neilson

    [Sorry – formatting fail – this s the reply part]

    No. The mistake was made later. Gorton said that he had no problem with a multiracial society but he was opposed to a ‘multicultural’ society. That was perfectly sensible.

    The rot set in when politicians started importing voteherds, deliberately setting up non-assimilated ghetto communities in order to harvest the votes. Especially when the ghettos became multigenerational welfare sumps.
    That wasn’t what Menzies, Opperman or Gorton were doing.

  29. GD

    Oh come on
    #2812757, posted on September 9, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Annabel Crabb is deeply offended by Trumble’s removal. It all seems very, very personal for her. Raises a few questions about the nature of the relationship between Crabb and Trumble, I have to say.

    She does have that same wooky-dooky look as Lucy.

  30. miltonf

    Interesting comments. I didn’t know what Gorton said about multiracial vs. multicultural. Always thought Gorton was pretty good. I was thinking about when the rot set in- probably Whitlam-Fraser. More Fraser than Whitlam I suspect.

  31. Iampeter

    If you think Menzies viewed Turnbull as a betrayal of everything then what on earth would he think of Abbott who gave us Direct Action and agreed to the Paris Agreement or Howard who actully built the green bureaucracy and middle class welfare?
    All this hatred of Turnbull makes no sense without the much more deseving hatred of leftists like Howard and Abbott.

  32. anonandon

    Peter

    Are you saying that both Howard and Abbott are to the left of Turnbull?

  33. candy

    In the scheme of things, knifing the leader to climb on the back of their policies and success at winning many seats in a election without working for it, is going to invite payback. Gillard began the trend.

    Malcolm Turnbull I think felt it was safer to take TA’s job and not have to do the work for it himself from opposition against a successful Shorten. And that is very hard work. I think he knew he did not have the stamina and so took the knifing way. Well, karma. He cannot complain. He took the risk. He wanted something without working for it, indeed he appeared on Q&A and fraternised with Fairfax and ABC to disparage his leader.

  34. Capitalist

    LOL, yes please tilt further to the extreme right. That will definitely improve the Liberal Party’s parlous reputation with the electorate who, despite every poll indicating that they want more moderate leadership and ideology, obviously are lying and actually want coal power plants and corporate tax cuts and cuts to government services.

    Maybe knife Morrison just before the election – that really improved perceptions of the government, so just go ahead and white-ant a few more leaders and watch as your primary vote ends up in the 60s or something. Also keep banging about Shorten being Hitler or a Marxist or corrupt or the enemy of workers (LOL, coming from the Hard Right of the Liberal Party?!? Suuuuure…), since that’s clearly working and not at all perceived as a distraction from the in-fighting, sexism and general chaos brought about by the troglodytes who can’t get over their grudges and actually support their political ‘team’.

  35. Iampeter

    Anonandon, well yes. Not just to the left of Turnbull, but to the left of everyone in Australian politics.
    If you aren’t against the guys who built the green bureaucracy and expanded welfare into the middle class and many other leftist policies (eg disarmament) then you aren’t against the left and all these criticisms of Turnbull because he’s a “grrrr leftist” don’t make any sense.

  36. Tim Neilson

    If you think Menzies viewed Turnbull as a betrayal of everything then what on earth would he think of Abbott who gave us Direct Action and agreed to the Paris Agreement or Howard who actully built the green bureaucracy and middle class welfare?
    All this hatred of Turnbull makes no sense without the much more deseving hatred of leftists like Howard and Abbott.

    I disagree. I think hatred of Trumble makes perfect sense on any rational criteria.

    I may be wrong but as best I can tell Abbott had nothing to do with the Paris Agreement. Certainly he didn’t commit us to it. Trumble ratified the Paris Agreement. Until that happened we weren’t bound by it.

    Yes, Howard panicked in his last year and did some pandering to the climate hysterics. But to blame him for the green morass we’re drowning in now is a bit revisionist.

  37. jupes

    No. The mistake was made later. Gorton said that he had no problem with a multiracial society but he was opposed to a ‘multicultural’ society. That was perfectly sensible.

    Yeah sure. However the multiracial phase didn’t last too long before morphing into today’s insane policy. In hindsight it would have been in the national interest to keep the WAP.

    The rot set in when politicians started importing voteherds, deliberately setting up non-assimilated ghetto communities in order to harvest the votes. Especially when the ghettos became multigenerational welfare sumps.

    And now we have come to the point where agreeing with Menzies about the benefits of a homogenous society could see you fronting the Human Rights Commission.

  38. Empire 5:5

    xi. Menzies built the US alliance. Turnbull undermined it at every opportunity

    The full extent of his treachery in this regard will be revealed in the fullness of time. Suffice to say it is far worse that most realise.

  39. Neil

    All this hatred of Turnbull makes no sense without the much more deseving hatred of leftists like Howard and Abbott.

    Howard ran surplus budgets. leftists do not do that. Within 12 months of being elected in 1996 Howard was running surplus budgets with unemployment at 8% and identical economic conditions to 1995 when Labor was running deficits

  40. Iampeter

    I disagree. I think hatred of Trumble makes perfect sense on any rational criteria.

    Don’t get me wrong Turnbull is terrible on his own but the reasons he is terrible is because he is a leftist and in terms of policies, no one has implemented more leftist policies on the same scale John Howard.

    I may be wrong but as best I can tell Abbott had nothing to do with the Paris Agreement. Certainly he didn’t commit us to it. Trumble ratified the Paris Agreement.

    Abbott agreed to it and was going to sign before he was turfed out as leader.

    Yes, Howard panicked in his last year and did some pandering to the climate hysterics. But to blame him for the green morass we’re drowning in now is a bit revisionist.

    Howard created the climate office back in 1998, almost a decade before “climate alarmism” was even a mainstream issue. These were the days before newspapers all had “environment” sections in them. He also first proposed a carbon trading scheme and the RET well in advance of Australian mainstream politics catching up with this.
    So not only did he not as you put it “panicked in his last year and did some pandering to the climate hysterics” but he proactively led the way throughout his time in government.

    And no one stopped him. This is why all the “grrr Turnbull” stuff makes no sense. Where were you all during the disastrous Howard years?

  41. Justin

    A reply to some of the comments from my post.

    First, happy next time to engage with a sexier nom de plume if that adds to the insight! Glad you are focused on the big issues!!

    Second, be careful placing today’s view / reality of the world on generations past when the world was a vastly different place.

    Moreover, I made general “in principle” type observations which I stand by and not a PhD thesis detailing Menzies and Turnbull on every single policy issue. So a contradictory event here and there proves nothing.

    Was Menzies perfect? God no!! But guess what snowflakes – that is politics and life in general! Just because Menzies did things we today (or even at the time) consider imperfect or wrong, with the benefit of hindsight, or simply because he screwed up here and there, does not detract from his overall legacy. He was human. He had to deal with same trades through the Senate and balance political interest as every politician always has always will do. If you want “purity” set up a hash tag virtue signalling twitter account free from responsibility!

    If pompous nitpickers want to have a crack at unilateralist versus multilateralist and so forth I could just as easily (and perhaps would have been better) to have described Menzies as a political realist and not a neoliberal “utopian”. Feel free to read E.H Carr! and expand your knowledge from there!

    Here is a tip: Menzies was extremely cautious (at best), and outright sceptical (worse) of the UN and its predecessor the League of Nations, which was a spectacular failure from a collective security standpoint, and because Menzies saw the UN as contrary to western interests, national sovereignty, democracy, and socialist redistribution to boot. Gee . . . . boy was he wrong on that one!! As we pay our share of $100bn climate fund con to Third World dictators, butchers, mass murders, genocidal (you get the drift) and insanely corrupt people on earth. And we call it “foreign aid”.

    Third, justifying Turnbull against Howard proves nothing. You assume Menzies and Howard are interchangeable or somehow I believe so. Nothing is further from the truth.

    A lot of the Coalitions problems in my view stem from the Howard era by either action or inaction.

    The more things play out and the legacy of Howard is better evaluated I doubt Menzies would much have rated Howard that high(at least in terms of Green appeasement / Climate Change, hence the National Energy Market, Commonwealth centralisation (of everything), Ponzi scheme immigration, aspects of ” middle class welfare”, UN appeasement, superannuation, big government / grant spending and so on).

    I love intelligent debate and am happy to change my mind when a better argument and better evidence is presented. So present it!!!

    Brainless point scoring, cheap shots and put downs adds nothing!!

    Be constructive!!

  42. .

    Be constructive!!

    This is not that sort of blog.

  43. Behind Enemy Lines

    I rarely share this sort of think-piece with family and friends, because I don’t want to be tiresome about injecting politics into everyday life. But for some this really resonated with me, so I passed it along to a few family members. People who (so far as I could ever tell) were generally apolitical. Traditional Australians. Country-born, but sophisticated and relatively well-off after lifetimes of hard work, travel and (of course) a staggering tax burden. To my surprise, this post generated quite a response. Anecdotal, sure, but everyone involved is deeply worried about Australia and angry that Turnbull (and the present Liberal Party) are not on their side. It’s not enough data to draw firm conclusions. But I think — I think — we’re in for some dramatic changes. Don’t know what. But if traditional Australia’s as angry as I’m beginning to hear, then dramatic changes.

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