John Stuart Mill on free speech

Reprinted from Instapundit.

A MUST-READ FOR POTENTIAL SNOWFLAKES: All Minus One, a beautifully illustrated and smartly abridged version of John Stuart Mill’s arguments for free speech in “On Liberty,” is just out at Heterodox Academy, which hopes it will become required reading for students before they enter college. Here’s a conversation about Mill — and why he’s more relevant than ever — with Richard Reeves, the Mills biographer who edited this book together with Jonathan Haidt.

ALL MINUS ONE
John Stuart Mill’s Ideas on Free Speech Illustrated

Heterodox Academy has produced a new book based on John Stuart Mill’s famous essay On Liberty to make it accessible for the 21st century. Here’s what makes our edition special:

1) It’s just the second chapter (out of 5), because that chapter gives the best arguments ever made for the importance of free speech and viewpoint diversity;

2) We have reduced that chapter by 50% to remove repetitions and historical references that would be obscure today, producing a very readable 7000 word essay;

3) Editors Richard Reeves (a biographer of Mill) and Jon Haidt (a social psychologist) have written a brief introduction to link Mill and his time to the issues of our time, and

4) Artist Dave Cicirelli has created 16 gorgeous original illustrations that amplify the power of Mill’s metaphors and arguments.

If you would like to order a copy you can find out where at the link.

And for what it’s worth, John Stuart Mill also wrote the best economics book ever published, and for which there is a modern version as well if these are the kinds of things that interest you.

 

Posted in Freedom of speech | 2 Comments

Chris Berg: Are Australians ready to embrace libertarianism?

How much influence does libertarianism have on Australian politics? The first thing to know is that the Australian political system has very few libertarians in it.

The only federal member of parliament to self-describe as a libertarian is Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party. Other candidates – like my former colleagues at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), Senator James Paterson and Tim Wilson – describe themselves as classical liberals.

Ideological classifications can get very tedious very quickly, but generally libertarianism is a variety of classical liberalism. Both philosophies believe that public policy should be designed to maximise free markets and civil liberties. That is, governments should get out of both the wallet and the bedroom. Libertarianism is generally seen as inhabiting the more radical end of the classical liberal spectrum.

A 2007 study published by the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) estimated that 3–6% of the Australian electorate were classical liberals. So it is unsurprising they have little electoral influence on Australian politics.

The reason libertarians and classical liberals exercise some degree of influence is that they make up a disproportionate share of Australia’s policy wonks, think tank staff (especially at the IPA and CIS), and political commentators.

An extremely big tent

Australia’s right-of-centre political community is not so large as to have exclusively libertarian or conservative think tanks, as exist in the United States. Everyone works together. This co-mingling hasn’t generally been an issue because Australian political debate has tended to pivot around economic issues (taxation, regulation, privatisation) or basic shared liberty issues (like freedom of speech) rather than the thorny moral debates that might divide the two camps.

Occasionally there have been polarising issues. Same-sex marriage is one. Conservatives were generally opposed, while libertarians tended to be in favour. But there was also broad agreement that any change to marriage laws should also protect religious freedom.

Immigration – particularly asylum seeker policy – is another. Libertarians are inclined towards freer immigration, whereas conservatives want more control over the borders. Here the tiny number of libertarians have been completely ineffective against the policy stalemate.

For the most part, there is much agreement between conservatives and libertarians about the current state of Australian politics. Both think the Turnbull government is a disappointment, for much the same reasons. It failed on the campaign to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which has become an iconic restriction on free speech. It has also repeatedly raised taxes, and been unable to drive any serious economic reform.

This may sound excessively Pollyanna-ish, as if everything is just swell between Australian conservatives and libertarians. Much has been said (almost all by commentators on the left) about a political split between libertarians and classical liberals on the one side and conservatives on the other. But I don’t really see it.

In the US, the fusion movement of the 1950s and 1960s was a deliberate project to build an alliance between these two distinct systems of political thought. The presidency of George W. Bush pushed that alliance to breaking point, and it seems the Trump administration has broken it.

By contrast, Australian politics has never been large enough to maintain such divergent streams. Every Liberal prime minister has for the most part maintained a sort of centre-right middle ground that kept everyone equally disappointed and dissatisfied. People are leaving the Liberal Party under the Turnbull government, not because it is too conservative or libertarian, but because it is too, well, nothing.

Liberal achievements and libertarian growth

The last quarter of the 20th century saw Australian public policy take major strides in a classical liberal direction. The economic reform movement that substantially liberalised the economy was matched with social reforms such as the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the repeal of obscenity laws.

I’ve argued in the past that Australian economic thought has had a distinct – even occasionally dominant – classical liberal tradition. There is no question that this tradition has driven policy debate and reform at a few key historical moments.

Though classical liberal efforts were often focused on economics rather than social policy, it’s worth pointing out that the IPA was one of the key voices against state overreaches such as the Hawke government’s ill-fated Australia Card, and more recently, mandatory internet data retention.

In recent years, there has been some notable growth of libertarianism as a self-aware and distinct group. A large part of that has been the Friedman Conference – named after Milton Friedman, David Friedman and Patri Friedman, who represent nearly the entire spectrum of classical liberal/libertarian thought in one family – which attracts hundreds of libertarians and fellow travellers to Sydney every year.

The Friedman Conference is in its sixth year, thanks to the organisational efforts of Tim Andrews (of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance) and John Humphreys (of the Australian Libertarian Society). The political success of the Liberal Democrats with David Leyonhjelm in the Senate is another factor in libertarianism’s modest gains.

My hope is that this sort of organisational effort fosters the idea in Australia of libertarianism as a distinct political philosophy, not just a quirky sub-category of the Australian right.

There is a need for this. The challenges we face now are not the same as they were in the over-mythologised 1980s. The combination of growth of the regulatory state, radical technological change, and the crisis of democratic trust require new ideas and new policy solutions. Libertarianism offers a framework to understand how these economic and social questions interact.

Chris Berg is a post-doctoral fellow in the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub. This op-ed first appeared at The Conversation. This article is the third in a five-part series on the battle for conservative hearts and minds in Australian politics. Read part one here and part two here.

Posted in Cross Post, Libertarians don't live by argument alone | 45 Comments

We Need the Government to Do What?!

When TMR is not busy being a private lawyer, relishing sledge on a basketball court or tending to his fruit trees, he can be found cooking up culinary delights – such as his ridiculously tasty chicken and prawn curry laksa (using plenty of goodies from the yard such as coriander, Vietnamese mint, Thai chilli, Kaffir lime leaves and Tahitian lime juice).

Regrettably, TMR made the mistake last night of attempting to consume his laksa while resident ‘conservatives’ Peta Credlin and Cory Bernardi attempted to debate the parlous state of Australia’s energy market with resident economic imbecile leftist Nicholas Reece on Sky’s Paul Murray Live.

By now, you may be aware of the small matters of:

  • federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s attempt yesterday to wrap a steaming pile of dung in foil  convince the public that their energy bills were going to magically go down before the end of this year – because he’d given the big bad power companies a good talking to.

Unbelievably, TMR actually heard someone looking and sounding exactly like Cory Bernardi saying words to the effect that:

  • there were too many energy retailers in the market ‘gaming the system’; and
  • the government should consider taking all these players and speculators ‘out’ and becoming the only purchaser in the market – so that we could then watch them all scramble to lower household energy prices.

One can only speculate whether this idea will make it to Bernardi’s ‘weekly dose of common sense‘.

Shortly after, someone looking and sounding exactly like Peta Credlin said that it may be necessary for the government to ‘step in’ and sort things out (when it comes to the AGL and Liddell situation).

After composing himself from what must have been quite a shock, resident leftist Reece had little option but to:

  • applaud Bernardi and Credlin for admitting that the free market has failed (TMR: FMFD);
  • speculate that they must have had a recent moment of enlightenment; and
  • suggest that they should come and join the Labor Party – so that they could continue to work on getting the government to intervene in more things that ‘put people first’.

Excuse me?

What just happened here?

(Hang on a minute while I go and rewind the recording and double check…)

(…)

(…)

(…)

(FMD…)

No Cory, that’s a bad Cory.

No Peta, that’s a bad Peta.

Here’s a tip: if what you’re suggesting satisfies the WWJWD criteria (what would Jay Weatherill do?), then whatever it is you’re suggesting is wrong.

Seriously wrong.

In the worst possible way.

Contrary to the views of Bernardi, Credlin and Reece, the correct answer to this government created energy debacle (and my word is it government created) isn’t for the Federal Government to double down, get more ‘involved’ and try to beat Jay Weatherill (and Daniel Andrews) at the game of ‘what’s the most outrageous and hilarious way we can grind the economy to a halt and wreck people’s everyday lives’. (Yes you want to read this link and, yes, you’ll need a sedative).

PS: if you’re wondering why the Federal Government’s current energy policy – along with Credlin, Bernardi and Reece’s above thoughts – seem harrowingly familiar, you’ve got very good reason:

Weatherill’s ‘six point plan’ includes:

BUILDING a State Government-owned, fast start gas-fired power station that can come on when the market does not provide enough energy to keep the lights on [TMR: don’t ever forget that this was all ‘the market’s fault’!]. It is expected to cost about $360 million. No site has yet been selected. It would be 250MW, enough to deliver close to 10 percent of SA’S peak demand.

SUPPORTING construction of Australia’s biggest battery as part of a $150 million spend on a new renewable technology fund.

ENCOURAGE the construction of a new privately-owned power station using a Government bulk buy power contract.

INCENTIVISE the extraction of more gas for use in SA power stations, through a taxpayer-backed exploration fund. [TMR: gas isn’t something that you buy off the shelf. At best, the final product might start flowing from this in about 5-10 years].

GIVING the SA energy minister powers to over-ride other regulators and force power stations to fire up in times of need. [TMR: sounds very democratic].

CREATING an “energy security target”, which requires retailers to buy 36 percent of their power from baseload sources in SA.

The only reason AGL is even considering the possibility that wind ‘farms’, solar ‘farms’ and batteries may be more ‘profitable’ is because they are all heavily subsidised by the government (in the name of global communism and Marxismsaving the world from ‘climate change’). Without these subsidies, which have artificially and massively distorted our nation’s energy market, nobody in their right minds would even think about:

  • generating wind or solar energy – because it’s too expensive and unreliable at the moment; or
  • building the world’s largest battery – which is barely capable of storing enough energy to power an Adele concert (for about the same price as a gas station which is capable of generating enough energy to power 5-10% of a whole state).

(PS: don’t you love it how wind and solar plants are called ‘farms’ and not ‘power plants’? Sounds wholesome doesn’t it?)

real-electricity-prices-

But don’t just take my word for it – go and have a look at the insane amount of coal fired power plants being built by China and India.

Or perhaps you’d prefer the ‘research’ of Australia’s favourite left-wing idiotthink tank, the Grattan Institute:

One consequence of these changes must be recognised. Whatever mix of wind, solar and gas power begins to replace our coal-dominated supply sector will cost more. Without a carbon price, electricity is generated from existing sources at less than A$50 per megawatt-hour, while wind, solar and gas all cost at least more than A$80 per megawatt-hour.

Australia’s energy market isn’t an example of a free market failing. It’s an example of a market failing because it wasn’t allowed to be free in the first place.

If you over-fertilise a fruit tree, it will die.

The only answer to the nation’s energy problem is to remove all handouts and arbitrary taxes given to or imposed on energy providers – whether coal, wind, solar or otherwise. Unless and until this is done, our problems will only continue to worsen.

 

Posted in Economics on the left | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Think Prove Speak

Whilst there is some doubt as to who actually wrote it first, one contender was Mark Twain who wrote:

It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt

And stepping into the breach is the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson AC PSM.

In response to an employee of Dr Parkinson’s department facing court on allegations of indecent acts against minors, Dr Parkinson released a brief statement:

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet confirms that an employee of the Department was arrested this week for alleged indecent acts against minors.

The Australian Public Service has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children. These allegations are extremely disturbing and we are cooperating fully with the Northern Territory Police.

The Department has suspended this employee pending court processes.

We remain committed to ensuring appropriate work practices in dealing with all vulnerable people.

While this case is currently under investigation, I will not be making any further comment.

It is pleasing to see that the APS has a zero tolerance for any abuse, particularly abuse of children, but was the really necessary to say?  Is there any kind of abuse that the APS does have a tolerance for?  If such a statement was necessary to be issued, it beggars the question as to why and who was the intended audience?

But that aside, it would be nice also for Dr Parkinson to say the APS has a zero tolerance for the abuse of tax payers or of citizens in general.  But here’s wishing.  Perhaps Dr Parkinson is demonstrating unconscious bias against tax payers and citizens in general.

Without presuming an outcome to the legal case against the APS officer in questions, were such an incident to have occurred within a private sector entity, questions would be validly asked about the CEO’s oversight of the organisation, the board’s role in setting and monitoring culture and the role of the relevant human resources and risk departments.

Anyone wanna bet whether such questions will be asked here or let alone answered?

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Public spending lowers economic growth

Another article for all you Keynesians out there: More Government Spending = Weaker Economic Performance. And the article comes with many other charts and notes this as well:

  • The OECD admitted in one study that “a reduction in the size of the government could increase long-term GDP by about 10%, with much larger effects in some countries.”
  • The OECD admitted in another study that “a cut in the tax-to-GDP ratio by 10 percentage points of GDP (accompanied by a deficit-neutral cut in transfers) may increase annual growth by ½ to 1 percentage points.”
  • The OECD admitted in a different study that “an increase of about one percentage point in the tax pressure (or, equivalently one half of a percentage point in government consumption, taken as a proxy for government size)…could be associated with a direct reduction of about 0.3 per cent in output per capita. If the investment effect is taken into account, the overall reduction would be about 0.6-0.7 per cent.”

Why this might be you will never understand if you start from Y=C+I+G, but that’s all you are going to find in any macro text anywhere in the world.

Posted in Economics and economy | 17 Comments

So John what policies do you propose?

Yesterday John Adams self-nominated a challenge for the PMs position. In doing so, John set out a long list of “failure” that he slated home to current PM Malcolm Turnbull. To my mind many of these “failures” were either state matters, or pre-existing problems, or not government problems, while others were positive benefits (I mean who knew that high property prices are a problem?).

Anyway, I digress.

So what would an Adams government do about:

  • The highest level of household debt in our history (both absolute and relative to disposable income)?
  • The highest level of foreign debt in our history?
  • The lowest level of household savings since the GFC?
  • The biggest financial bubble in our lifetime?
  • The highest real estate prices in our history?
  • The highest electricity prices in our history?
  • The highest level of Commonwealth debt?
  • The highest level of drug crime and drug abuse in our history?
  • The highest levels of net overseas migration and has therefore directly contributed to the worst traffic congestion in our capital cities?
  • The most public money on consultants?
  • The lowest international education attainment rates in over 20 years?
  • The most obese and unhealthiest Australian population ever?

First point – household debt is not necessarily a problem. Yes it is high relative to income, but it is not high relative to wealth. In any event, household debt tends to be private debt and has few, if any, public policy concerns. Australia is a net importer of capital and as such will always have high levels of foreign debt. This in, on balance, a good thing. Less foreign debt would mean that we are capital constrained. It also is a good reason why sabotaging the banks is such a bad idea – every single member of the Coalition who voted for the Royal Commission should be purged from public office.

It is not clear to me that we are in a financial bubble or that high real estate prices are a problem. But in any event, I suspect that interest rates are too low that an increase in  interest rates would simultaneously address both those issues assuming they might be a problem (but I don’t think so). it may also lead to an increase in household savings – why bother save when interest rates are so low and the government intends to steal your Super anyway?

Commonwealth debt is a problem and government spending must be cut and debt reduced.

The high electricity prices are a problem and I would recommend withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and ending subsidies to renewables. I might write about the need (or otherwise) of a government owned power plant generation system ala the Monash ginger group in the next few days if I have time.

Crime and drug abuse are state government problems as is education. In any event  I would abolish the federal department of education, and health too, as a budget saving. I am unconcerned about high levels of immigration given that Australia is very highly skewed towards skilled migration. I am not convinced that the population is unhealthy or that obesity is a federal government problem and even if it was I’m not convinced the government can or should do anything about it.

So where does that leave us? Electricity prices and Commonwealth debt. As far as I can work out the Turnbull government is working on both those issues – not pursuing my first choice policies to be sure, but doing something.  So then what is the basis for a challenge?

Posted in Politics | 38 Comments

Troll gets owned

Here is a magnificent exchange on Twitter:

He had it coming – as Aaron Stonehouse explained to The West:

“I speak in the same manner that the people who voted for me tend to speak. That’s often plain, straight to the point, and, yes, it does involve calling out nonsense,” he said.

“If someone is going to call me a racist without any evidence and resort to attacks, then I’ll call them out for what they are: a deadset …wit.”

Read through Negus’ thread – it appears that online bullies don’t like being called out.

Update: Karma edition

This is just awesome – David Leyonhjelm has been known to tell people to “fuck off” on social media; the LDP even have a form for this.

Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, Libertarians don't live by argument alone | 31 Comments

John Adams: I am ready to challenge

The time has come where we must speak bluntly.

Australia is beset with a series of systemic and chronic public policy problems that continue to worsen by the day.

The Prime Minister has had two and a half years to lead and address these problems and yet the Australian people have been forced to twiddle their thumbs while waiting for action.

Malcolm Turnbull is leading a do-nothing Government, something which I publicly predicted on national TV back in June 2016, weeks before the last federal election.

As a result, the Australian people are suffering under the weight of a range of economic, social, and cultural ills.

They are dissatisfied and frustrated with the most over-compensated, the most self-indulgent, the most self-obsessed political class who have produced very little to justify the generosity of the Australian taxpayer.

Nothing will change with the upcoming federal budget as the political and fiscal strategy has been in train for months.

On the 8th of May, the Prime Minister and Treasurer will deliver personal income tax cuts in the belief that they can effectively bribe the electorate into voting the Coalition back into office.

This budget will perhaps be the most cynical political exercise in recent Australian political history and will end up in failure.

Australians will see right through this attempt and will come to realise that the budget will do nothing to address Australia’s current pressing public policy problems nor resolve our mounting and significant medium to long term challenges.

With the loss of the 30th consecutive Newspoll, leadership speculation is swirling with artificial deadlines being set for December, although there is no guarantee that anyone will summon the courage to offer Australia new leadership and mount a challenge.

I lack no such courage and I am therefore ready to launch a leadership challenge (albeit fictional) against the Prime Minister.

Never has there been a time in the past 35 years where challenging a sitting Prime Minister on public policy grounds has been more justified.

The record speaks for itself and no matter what justifications are offered to excuse the current state of policy paralysis, nothing will relinquish the responsibility of the Prime Minister for the policy failures which he has inflicted on the nation.

Let us remember:

  • Who has given us the highest level of household debt in our history (both absolute and relative to disposable income)? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the highest level of foreign debt in our history? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the lowest level of household savings since the GFC? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the biggest financial bubble in our life time? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the highest real estate prices in our history? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the highest electricity prices in our history? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the highest level of Commonwealth debt? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who have given us the highest level of drug crime and drug abuse in our history? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the highest levels of net overseas migration and has therefore directly contributed to the worst traffic congestion in our capital cities? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has wasted the most public money on consultants? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the lowest international education attainment rates in over 20 years? Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Who has given us the most obese and unhealthiest Australian population ever? Malcolm Turnbull.

To compound this atrocious record is the fact that the Australian economy is suffering from the most chronic macroeconomic structural imbalances in our nation’s history.

For 2 years, I have been warning that Australia is currently trapped in the biggest debt bubble in our national history at the same time when the world is trapped in the biggest globally integrated debt bubble in human history.

When the debt bubble explodes, an Economic Armageddon, that has the potential to rival either German Weimar Republic 1923 hyperinflation or the 1929 Great Depression, will be unleashed on millions of Australians.

Despite the rhetoric of the Government, several members of the Government’s own backbench are aware of the severity of Australia’s structural economic problems and privately acknowledge that Australia, their Government and the Australian people are completely unprepared for the crisis which is to come.

To his credit, Tim Wilson MP, the Member for Goldstein, is the sole parliamentarian to go on the public record in parliament and break ranks with the Prime Minister to warn Australians of the emerging economic crisis.

To add insult to injury is the chilling news, as recently reported by Fairfax Media, that China is seeking to establish a full military base on Vanuatu.

This act of strategic provocation coincides with China’s long-term ambition of replacing the United States as the world’s most powerful hegemon (see Michael Pillsbury’s book – the Hundred Year Marathon).

As I warned last October through a Daily Telegraph column, China is seeking to achieve its global economic and military dominance via breaking the back of the petrodollar system through the launch of its recent petro-yuan oil futures contract which took place on the 26th of March of this year.

This action, coupled with other acts of financial system development undertaken by Beijing, seeks to end the global dominance of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency by eliminating the requirement to acquire US dollars in order to purchase crude oil on the world market.

If these efforts are proven successful, America will lack the monetary strength required to meet its astronomical debt obligations which have exploded under the Trump Administration and the 115th US Congress.

Much like previous empires, an over-extended America will ultimately be economically forced to reduce its global military footprint and be limited in its ability to project military power.

This has direct implications as to the strength of our alliance with the Americans, our ability to rely on American military protection and therefore the risks to our national security.

Under a nightmare scenario, Australia could face a similar existential threat as experienced in 1942 when, after the fall of Singapore, the myth of British invincibility was shattered and Japan subsequently attacked Darwin.

Australians must be mentally, physically and materially prepared for all possible future geo-political situations, something which this Prime Minister has utterly failed to do.

In summary, Australia is stuck in neutral, beset with pressing problems, unprepared for medium term strategic challenges, and by all objective measures is in decline.

We are on the verge of potentially suffering our greatest economic crisis in 90 years and in the medium term, if urgent action is not taken, our greatest national security crisis since 1942.

I am not prepared to allow Australians to go down with the ship.

I am ready to challenge. I am ready to lead.

John Adams is a former Coalition Advisor. This op-ed was first published at The Spectator Australia. Read the original here

Posted in Guest Post | 32 Comments

Peter O’Brien: van Onselin on Abbott

Is Peter van Onselen the most inveterate Abbott hater on the supposedly centre ground of political debate?  (OK , it’s a dead heat with Niki Savva but she’s been strangely quiet of late.)  And has there been anyone more obsessed with the 30 negative Newspoll issue?  For at least the last eighteen months, he’s been anticipating it on almost a fortnightly basis, road testing various justifications for Turnbull to hold himself to a lesser standard than he applied to his predecessor.

Here’s a good example, in which PvO postulates that things were worse for Gillard:

The 2013 election victory was enormous, and Abbott’s prime ministership started with strong personal and two-party figures, but quickly collapsed and never ­recovered. In contrast, Turnbull’s 2016 win was only narrow, off the back of prolonged poor polling under Abbott, and the data reveals that while Turnbull’s numbers have fallen, they haven’t collapsed nearly as dramatically as Abbott’s did.

Is there no disaster that cannot be sheeted home to Abbott?  By the beginning of November 2016 the Coalition was in front, according to Newspoll,  53 to 47 and stayed there until 22 Feb 2016 – almost 4 months.   Words fail me!

Writing in Monday’s Australian, van Onselen has this to say:

I recall ahead of the 2015 removal of Abbott writing in this newspaper that Abbott should be left in the leadership despite his poor performance. Let him lose and become a one-term PM, because if he was removed the Coalition would fall victim to the same cultural quagmire that Labor suffered from when it replaced Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard.

Very prescient of him and, of course, it gives him cover to recommend the same pragmatic stay of execution be extended to Turnbull.

But could his memory be playing him false?

I have not been able to track down that article.  The Australian’s online archive has eluded me and a Google search yields only two articles that van Onselen wrote in 2015.  Perhaps it was in another journal.

What he said in those articles, at least, does not gel with his ‘recollection’ of yesterday.

Some of the things van Onselen did say were, in February 2015:

Recovery will be difficult, if not impossible, given Abbott’s own colleagues are openly briefing against him, with a growing number prepared to go public and use a microphone to question their leader’s credentials.

That more and more Liberal MPs are willing to risk the unthinkable — sooner or later — speaks volumes for their lost confidence in the Prime Minister. Abbott has no one to blame but himself.

Here, clearly, is an acknowledgement that the knives were out for Abbott, from among his own tribe.  Sort of puts paid to the idea, promulgated most assiduously by van Onselen himself, that Turnbull has had a rougher ride in this respect than his predecessor.

And the second paragraph is hardly a clarion call for unity in the best long term interests of the Party.

And here in September 2015, on the eve of Abbott’s ouster, referring to a possible loss of the seat of Canning:

The transaction costs of changing leader wouldn’t continue to be the barrier they are now because such a result would confirm in the minds of government MPs that the next election was unwinnable under Abbott’s leadership, so they might as well risk a change at the top. Whether this is the right call would cease to matter: Abbott’s failures in policy and strategy would convince colleagues that he couldn’t turn around the result at a general election.

Again, rather at odds with what van Onselen now claims he said back then.

Van Onselen regularly derides Abbott supporters as delusional.  That is clinging to a dream that will never eventuate.  He may be right.   But, on a delusion scale, I can’t help thinking that van Onselen’s dream that Turnbull will bounce back puts him in LSD territory.

Posted in Guest Post | 22 Comments

Wednesday Forum: April 11, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 1,656 Comments