PETA CREDLIN

Sunday Herald Sun - - Opinion -

if no one else wanted the job. A few of them were lib­er­tar­i­ans who hated all rules but most were in­stinc­tive con­ser­va­tives who knew that rules were nec­es­sary if peo­ple were to live to­gether in civil so­ci­ety.

Peo­ple like Rose­mary and Kevin Pendle­bury, who’d spent “long days” cam­paign­ing for the for­mer Lib­eral MP be­cause they were un­der the im­pres­sion that she “rep­re­sented the val­ues we all had, Lib­eral val­ues like tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for your­self, work­ing hard”, and who now feel to­tally ripped off. They feel that “Ju­lia has al­most used us to get where she wanted to go”. “We’re con­ser­va­tive” say the Pendle­burys; “we’re … not Left of cen­tre” but not “hard Right” ei­ther.

As John Howard pointed out in his re­buke of her last week, like all Lib­eral MPs, she was elected much more on the party’s strengths than on her own.

Banks’ claim that she was elected as a Turn­bull MP rather than as a Lib­eral one is as laugh­able as her claim that Turn­bull’s down­fall was en­gi­neered by “the re­ac­tionary Right-wing” trad­ing their votes for “pro­mo­tion”. It was ac­tu­ally Turn­bull who dumped his own en­ergy pol­icy af­ter pre­vi­ously claim­ing it had “over­whelm­ing” party room sup­port. It was Turn­bull who made his lead­er­ship ter­mi­nal by spilling his own po­si­tion when no one had called for it. And what’s “hard Right” about want­ing sovereign bor­ders, lower power prices or be­ing con­cerned about im­mi­gra­tion’s part in stag­nant wages, un­af­ford­able hous­ing and clogged roads?

For all her talk about want­ing to pun­ish Lib­eral MPs for dump­ing Turn­bull, Banks’ de­fec­tion was about jump­ing ship be­fore she was forced to cop a loss in her mar­ginal seat. She won’t run in Chisholm again; it is too much hard work. Last week was pre­sum­ably a chess play to set up a post-pol­i­tics ca­reer as pro­fes­sional vic­tim.

Oth­er­wise, if gen­uine, she would have raised con­cerns about the treat­ment of women long ago when she had the ear of the for­mer PM and could do some­thing about it.

For all the talk about the Lib­eral “Left” and “Right” and the di­vi­sions be­tween “pro­gres­sives” and “con­ser­va­tives”, most party mem­bers just want to be Lib­er­als. They sup­port the party of Bob Men­zies and John Howard.

Men­zies wrote the “We Be­lieve” state­ment that, with a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions, re­mains the party’s ver­sion of the Ten Com­mand­ments. “We be­lieve” said the Lib­eral Party’s founder “… in the in­di­vid­ual … in the rule of law … in the spirit of the vol­un­teer ….in en­cour­ag­ing the strong and pro­tect­ing the weak … in the great hu­man free­doms to wor­ship, to think, to speak, to choose, to be am­bi­tious, to be in­de­pen­dent, to be in­dus­tri­ous, to ac­quire skill … to seek and earn re­ward. … (and) that un­der the bless­ing of di­vine providence … there is no task which Aus­tralia can­not per­form and no dif­fi­culty she can­not over­come”.

All that might sound quaint to Banks. But that’s be­cause she never re­ally un­der­stood the party that she joined just to get her­self into par­lia­ment. PETA CREDLIN IS A SUN­DAY HER­ALD SUN COLUM­NIST

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