Wentworth, the Liberal’s “broad church” and the Party’s demise

My piece in Quadrant concludes

The seat of Wentworth is the latest casualty of these (broad church Liberal) policies.  In the wake of the loss, Trent Zimmerman was not the only NSW politician calling for a more robust attack on fossil fuel-generated electricity.  He would certainly be joined by his patron, Michael Photios, the state powerbroker whose wife, Kristina, is a director of Clean Energy Strategies, which bills itself as “a boutique corporate advisory firm specialising in energy“.  Photios has been trying to replace conservative Liberal MPs, including Craig Kelly, who has converted his seat of Hughes from marginal to safe Liberal. In Kelly’s case the vaunted replacement is a former ALP representative, Kent Johns.

Although Scott Morrison has said there will be no change in the policy, pressures from the Wentworth election outcome, the left of the Party are moving to kill suggestions of a shift to a harder core anti- Paris and pro-low cost energy stance.  This leaves the electorate with little to distinguish the ALP from the Coalition, except the gentler, rosier patina that the ALP will supply.

Could a Liberal leader do a “full Trump” and offer the liberal and conservative policy blend that has proven so successful in North America?  Many would argue that Australia’s mandatory voting system means there is no possibility of energising otherwise non-voting supporters in the way Trump has done. Perhaps so, but the drift to the centre-left that characterises the Liberal Party today makes it difficult to discern a path that will prevent its defeat in a general election.

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45 Responses to Wentworth, the Liberal’s “broad church” and the Party’s demise

  1. stackja

    If money clique exclude critics do they stand as independent?

  2. H B Bear

    Nice to see you sink the boot into The Father of Middle Class Welfare Alan. There should be more of it.

  3. Tom

    Michael Photios, the state powerbroker whose wife, Kristina, is a director of Clean Energy Strategies

    The only shithole on earth where corruption is not only legal, but almost mandatory for the swill of the ruling class. The Liberal Party of Australia is the most corrupt political organisation in the Western world.

  4. stackja

    Muddy – Maybe someone will arise. Otherwise hard labor.

  5. stackja

    Tom – ALP is not without problems. As TURC revealed. MT didn’t pursue unions. Strange? Yes. I know.

  6. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    The center is so far to the left now that we need binoculars to see its original position.

  7. H B Bear

    Tom – ALP is not without problems.

    No corruption with the Liars. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of the unions. The Liars do have a problem with the Chinks though.

  8. stackja

    HBB – ALP also like PLO.

  9. stackja

    ALP Hartley PLO forgotten?

  10. Jessie

    [email protected] 3.28
    Sure, there are plenty of bureaucrats who have been hired on the basis of unwillingness to crack down on abuses, but the buck stops with the politicians. They can’t run fast enough and far enough from the embarrassment of these scandals. The “solution” is always to throw more money at them and kick the can down the road.

    I don’t know Johanna. I really do think it’s the system as a whole. It’s politicians and bureaucrats and funding recipients and those in the recipient pool that may have some special access. You can do basic acquittal and auditing but not much else. Maybe it’s just my own little thesis – but I’m going to stand by it – the public service works under a system of enforced lack of accountability.
    source: one of a few comments 2016 PoliticoNT

  11. Bruce J

    The centre is so far to the left now that we need binoculars to see its original position.

    Just so long as you can see around Karl Marx!

  12. Jessie

    Tom @ 3.28 ….. not Om 🙂

    And little comment on the think tanks: – conservative and non.

  13. W Hogg

    The Liberal Party of Australia is the most corrupt political organisation in the Western world.

    Um, Crimton Foundation? It’s certainly no better than #2.

  14. Mary

    Would it be a fair comment to say Turnbull is Australia’s Hillary Clinton.
    So much baggage has been gathered, shame Goldman Sache saved his hide.

  15. H B Bear

    Michael Photios, the state powerbroker whose wife, Kristina, is a director of Clean Energy Strategies

    His wholly owned homo Zimmerman was certainly singing for his supper on the ALPBC on Saturday night.

  16. Tel

    What word means both “inept” and “corrupt” at the same time? If there isn’t one then it would need to be invented.

  17. NB

    ‘What word means both “inept” and “corrupt” at the same time? If there isn’t one then it would need to be invented.’
    ‘Liberal’. As used in the USA. Rapidly being adopted throughout the anglophone world.

  18. Speedbox

    The center is so far to the left now that we need binoculars to see its original position.

    Yes. I have always had a conservative outlook but it is clear (to me) that whilst my views have not significantly altered, they are now often characterized as “right wing” or even “hard right”.

    The curious thing is that not many years ago, my opinions/attitude were largely consistent with most of the Liberal Party. There were differences of course, but the general policy thrust of the Party aligned (sufficiently) with my own. I was one of the ‘rusted on’ – but not any more.

    The fact that alternative Parties such as AC, ALA etc are even in existence points to the the Liberal’s having vacated their former policies and voter base in the generalized shift to the Left by both Labor and Liberal. With any luck, the current Liberal party will be decimated at the next general election and largely replaced by the AC (if not in the Reps, in the Senate).

  19. Just Interested

    The rot started with John Howard and his “broad church” approach which welcomed soft socialism into the Liberal Party in an attempt to maroon the ALP with the hard left policies.

    Not 100% correct. there has been a tension between conservatives and liberals (social and classical) who sit in the centre right party (as constituted from time to time over the years) ever since Carruthers united Free Trade and Protectionists in NSW in 1903.

    Over the years it has been a centralist/states rights fight, other times wets/dries. Other times Young Liberals vs. ‘ultras/uglies’.

    The Father of Middle Class Welfare’s ‘broad church’ riff is just modern phraseology to describe this balance, with Howard making decisions as Fraser and Abbott and even Ming Himself had to do.

    That said, and for the avoidance of doubt, like Fraser’s efforts I thought that most of Howards third and fourth term decisions sucked and I have always wondered allowed why there hasn’t been a big expose between the relationships between Liberal Party participants and global warming supplicants.

  20. Iampeter

    The seat of Wentworth is the latest casualty of these (broad church Liberal) policies.

    Is it though? Howard built the green government agencies and middle class welfare and he didn’t suffer any consequences as a result. I think people are reading too much into this or that election.

    Could a Liberal leader do a “full Trump” and offer the liberal and conservative policy blend that has proven so successful in North America?

    But that’s just a “blend” of different types of left wing ideas so why would anyone want that?
    Trump combined modern big spending and regulatory state policies, with old-school anti-immigrant leftism to win the election. Id call that a disaster in North America not “successful”.

    What’s needed is an actual alternative to left wing collectivism, in all its flavors, in mainstream political discourse and that’s not going to come from the clueless conservative movement. No one even theoretically knows what that would even sound like.

  21. Tim Neilson

    That said, and for the avoidance of doubt, like Fraser’s efforts I thought that most of Howards third and fourth term decisions sucked

    A reasonable viewpoint.

    The big difference is that Howard actually achieved some good things (e.g. dealing with the MUA).

    Worthwhile achievements of any of Fraser’s governments are harder to find than trousers in the Admiral Benbow Motel, Memphis.

  22. With any luck, the current Liberal party will be decimated at the next general election …

    Decimated is 1 in 10.

    A pogrom awaits.

  23. Dr Faustus

    Weighed down by its internal contradictions, the Liberal ‘Broad Church’ has struggled for the past 10+ years to present as a party of government and not a factional and personal plaything.

    At the 2016 election the Libs/LNP garnered 29% of first preference vote. Next time around, the polls suggest it can expect something between 20% and 25%. At which point the Coalition agreement will become moot, and low-rent ambition will fragment the non-socialist side of politics.

    Hopefully Australians will stick to past form when voting Shorten/ACTU Government into power and vote against the ALP/Greens in the Senate for balance. There is nothing else.

  24. Squirrel

    Doubtless there are lots of carefully constructed and collected polling results which show a healthy level of support for “real action” on climate change – just as there are regular polls which show quite strong positive responses to questions along the lines of “would you be prepared to pay higher taxes in return for higher government spending on health, education etc.”.

    In both cases, what people really mean is that someone else should pay more – but not them, because they are special, or battlers (as defined by themselves), or whatever – when the financial crunch comes (note the latest grim house auction results) the virtue-signalling will quickly evaporate.

  25. RobK

    Thanks Alan,
    Well written. You are doing a splendid job, trying to get some sanity in the discourse. Cheers.

  26. None

    Just Interested

    #2846690, posted on October 22, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    +1

    Howard started the Liberal Party off on this whole big global warming fraud train even allowing Turnbull to ban incandescent light bulbs.

  27. Art Vandelay

    What word means both “inept” and “corrupt” at the same time? If there isn’t one then it would need to be invented.

    Here you go:

    Kakistocracy

    A kakistocracy (/ˌkækɪsˈtɒkrəsi, -ˈstɒk-/) is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.

  28. DB

    It’s time for a new party, one that is socially conservative and economically liberal.
    The Liberal Party doesn’t stand for anything anymore, and has been overtaken by hand-wringing Leftists – who could just as easily be in the ALP — who think higher taxes and more government is the answer to every question.
    Where is the party for small business owners? Where is the party for aspirational middle class families? Where is the party for self-funded retirees?
    In short, where is the party for people looking to make their own way in life and not looking for a handout?

  29. Barry Bones

    Agree with most of it except energy.

    You guys gotta get away from this coal = good, renewables = bad logic.

    It’s not a left v right issue.

    The reality is that coal is dead. As a fuel source, it is both dirty and more expensive – so why support it?

    If you want to say, no more subsidies, then yes I would agree.

    But note that renewables plus firming with no subsidies still beats new coal.

    Save your arguments for something that matter – like tax reduction.

    Otherwise, perhaps build these coal plants yourself

    *crickets*

  30. .

    The reality is that coal is dead. As a fuel source, it is both dirty and more expensive – so why support it?

    ???

    Black coal burns cleanly.

    It is also the cheapest source of electricity.

    We can have tax reduction Barry. There is no binary choice between tax cuts or coal-fired power.

  31. Iampeter

    It’s time for a new party, one that is socially conservative and economically liberal.

    The thing is, that’s a contradiction and I think is why the Liberal party is failing.
    Politics is about individualism (right wing) vs collectivism (left wing) and social conservatives are collectivists while economic liberals are individualists.
    The two movements don’t belong in one party.

    To provide an alternative to the left, conservatives will have to abandon their religious/traditionalist collectivism, but that will mean abandoning conservatism.

    In other words, what’s needed is an actual individualist movement in mainstream politics and that can only happen when social conservatives are out of the way.

  32. NuThink

    Barry Bones, what will replace the 60 odd billion dollars of income lost if we don’t sell coal? Basket weaving, or basket case weaving?

    Coal is projected to emerge as Australia’s largest export earner, generating $58.1 billion for the 2018-19 financial year.

    It has been forecast to overtake iron ore, which has been estimated to register $57.7 billion in 2018-19.

    Coal is expected to hit its highest annual level ever in 2017-18, where it is forecast to take home an earning of $60.2 billion, made up of $37.5 billion (or 182 million tonnes) worth of metallurgical coal, and $22.7 billion (or 200.5Mt) worth of thermal coal.

    Australia’s high-grade metallurgical coal is amongst the world’s best for modern steel making, while Australia’s high-energy, low-ash coal matches the needs of Asia’s high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) coal-fired power plants.

    By 2023, Asia’s import demand for thermal coal alone is projected to shoot up by 400Mt more than current levels.

  33. 2dogs

    what people really mean is that someone else should pay more

    Yes, it is the case the median voter want action on climate change but not pay for it. This position is not entirely hypocritical, and the median voter is quite open to nuclear.

    Morrison just needs to call a nuclear vs renewables plebiscite to coincide with the next election, and he will win it.

    Decimated is 1 in 10.

    Actually both the Libs and the ALP lost 1/3 of their primary vote in Wentworth (ALP slightly more than 1/3, Libs slightly less)

    There has been an ongoing trend of erosion of major parties primary votes at elections for quite some time now. We can expect more independents and middle parties to break through.

    I am expecting a minority ALP government supported by independents at the next election. Shorten will be PM, but he won’t be a happy PM.

  34. Tator

    Barry Bones is probably unaware that the costings for renewables v fossil fuels is always at nameplate level and not at capacity factor for which in Australia has Wind at 29% and Solar at 15% whilst coal has a capacity factor of over 90% when not shackled by the LSRET regulations. So in effect, you need more than three times more windpower and firming at nameplate capacity to get the equivilent output as a coal fired station as wind power in Australia spends 80% of the time producing less than 50% of its nameplate capacity. Plus Windpower has never exceeded generating more than 75% of its nameplate capacity at any one time.
    Then there is the issue with sequences of low wind days where there has been 8 counts of 5 days or more with less than 20% of nameplate capacity which would screw up any storage plans.
    The capacity factor of wind

  35. Tator

    Plus the assumptions made are things like fossil fuels capital cost being at 15% compared to winds 9% and also does not include the costs of transmission lines to windfarms which are generally in remote locations far from major population centres and also includes that a price on carbon in inevitable and prices that in at $20 a megawatt hour.
    Quite a few dodgy assumptions being made there.

  36. RobK

    BarryB,
    m.economictimes.com/industry/energy/power/coal-fired-power-plants-set-to-get-renewed-

    Currently, India has 196-GW coal capacity and about 50 Gw of hydro and nuclear plants. About 51Gw thermal plants are stranded or stressed because of non-availability of fuel, lack of PPAs or under-recovery. While another 23 Gw of under-construction projects are likely to be online in the coming five years. R K Singh, minister for power and renewable energy, on Monday said the share of renewables in India’s installed capacity is set to increase to around 55% by 2030.
    India had committed in the Paris convention to shift 40% of its electricity generation capacity to green energy by 2030. It is expected to achieve the target by 2022-23. Besides 227 Gw estimated renewable energy generation by 2022, the renewable energy ministry has prepared a trajectory to tender renewable energy projects—30 Gw of solar and 10 Gw of wind each year till 2028.

    Analysts agree. As renewable energy is not firm in nature, demand from renewable energy has to be viewed in the context of balancing the grid and providing reliable 24×7 power to consumers, said Vinay Rustagi, managing director at Bridge to India. Having seen the consequences of mismatch due to explosive growth of thermal in the last decade, we cannot afford another mismatch, said Association of Power Producers director general Ashok Khurana said.

    “Looking at the quantum of under-utilised/idling and under construction thermal capacity in system, we need to recalibrate our renewable capacity addition programme pace on grounds of absorption capacity of base/peak power, impact on financial health of distribution utilities and power transmission capability up to last mile,” he said.

    Kameswara Rao, leader-energy and utilities at PwC India said, “Not only new base-load capacity is needed, but as the mix shifts to renewable energy, we need to invest in flexible generation such as gas and pumpedstorage hydro to manage variability. In a sense, the power system needs a balanced diet and skimping on any of these can be expensive.”

    The mandatory renewables purchase obligations on states, transmission and duty exemptions, the companies have shifted focus to renewable energy but consumers may have to shell a higher price. “The tariffs of renewable energy projects with storage cannot match that of coal plants close to coal source,” an expert said on condition of anonymity. “The power distribution companies and consumers will have to bear the cost.”

  37. Tel

    The reality is that coal is dead. As a fuel source, it is both dirty and more expensive – so why support it?

    I don’t support coal, I support the removal of the RET.

    After that, coal will very quickly win, simply on the economics. But if something else wins I don’t care so long as RET is removed. Do you get it that RET is the problem?

    You don’t want to talk about RET do you?

  38. Tel

    If you want to say, no more subsidies, then yes I would agree.

    But you don’t want RET removed, even though that’s the biggest subsidy. There’s the difference.

  39. Tel

    But note that renewables plus firming with no subsidies still beats new coal.

    Only if you are a small power user in a remote area far from the grid where the capital costs of grid connection are infeasible. Yes, some applications fall into that category but the capital cities along the Australian coast do not.

  40. win

    Whats happening in Queensland when Ian McDonald is replaced on theSenate ticket with an unknow pro high immigration person and Andrew Lamming whi I thought was a pro Turnbullite was challenged for pre selection.

  41. win

    With the entrepreneurial Photios Zimmerman renewable energy interests now well documented would there be any of these new age politico / business entrepreneurs with interests in the disability industry and the lucrative NDIS.
    I paid yesterday $5217.00 for a child’s disability walker and that was $2000.00 cheaper than from another supplier.

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