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