The Pillars of the Liberal Party – Chapter 1

The Pub is proud to present Madame Leone’s cautionary tale for our contemplation.

(Image Credit: Perth Now))

The Pillars of the Liberal Party

Chapter One: The Making of a Liberal Politician

(OK, I stole that from Battlelines, but no-one has ever read that so no-one will notice)

Not so very long ago in a city in the south a baby boy was born to well-to-do, well-educated parents. They named their treasure ‘Joshua’ and a grand celebration was held. Two fairy godfathers attended – Uncle Peter and Uncle Alex. They bestowed great and valuable gifts on the infant. He would receive a lavish education, the gaining of which would take him overseas, then he would, of course, become a Young Liberal and one day, if the spell lasted, he would be Prime Minister. Uncle Alex added a bonus spell, Joshua would always have a beautiful head of thick hair and would also appreciate elegant footwear and fishnet stockings. The baby’s parents were overjoyed with these gifts, although they had their reservations about the fishnet stockings.

Young Joshua grew and flourished, becoming a somewhat chubby young man with, of course, a lovely head of hair. He had been sent to the best schools his faith had to offer. He went on to study law at Monash (although his mother secretly longed for him to study medicine), then, as his fairy godfathers had promised, headed off to Oxford and then Harvard. And, of course, he joined the local branch of the Young Liberals, also as promised. Whenever his travels allowed he handed out how to vote leaflets at elections and engaged in occasional Black Ops forays into the less salubrious, Labor-voting parts of the city. In every way Josh was the perfect young Liberal blue-blood.

(Image Credits: Wallace Wong and Steve Dunwell))

But sadly, all that study did not take and it became evident he would never be a lawyer’s bootstrap. One day his worried Papa took him aside for a man-to-man chat.

“Oh Papa,” said Josh, “I already know all that stuff, I went to Oxford, you know.”

“No, son, that’s not the purpose of this talk,” said his no longer very proud Papa. “I have come to a decision. It’s time you found a job.”

“Me! Work?” said a startled Josh. “But Papa, what about my doctorate and what about my professorship, and what about the next young Liberal BBQ and what about……”

“Enough!” roared Papa. “I’ve spent several fortunes already on your education and you are still as dumb as a box of rocks. And not even the smart rocks either, just the very dumb ones. I have decided. You will become a political advisor – no-one will notice your stupidity among that lot. Uncle Alex and Uncle Peter have already found you a position. You will be working for Darryl Williams.”

“Awwwwwww, Papa, noooooooo!” wailed young Josh.

“There will be no moaning, my boy. Go and pack your bags. you are leaving for Canberra tomorrow. Uncle Alex says he might take you under his wing himself if you do well with Williams, so work hard and keep out of trouble.”

(Image Credit: Project Gutenberg))

And so it came to pass. Young Josh took his first unwilling steps towards his eventual glorious future.

Alas, not all the spells cast by his fairy godfathers worked. Much to Uncle Alex’s dismay Josh began to lose his hair, slowly at first, then more and more, until his hairline looked as though mice had been nibbling it as he slept. And he never did develop a fondness for leopard-skin stilettos or fishnet stockings. Which is probably a good thing.

(Image Credit: The Advertiser))

Next chapter – A True Liberal Princess.

1,050 thoughts on “The Pillars of the Liberal Party – Chapter 1

  1. Happy Mother’s Day to all mums associated with The Pub.

    Thank you, Leone, for permission to republish your delicious story.

  2. Here is BK’s survey of Oz media from the last thread:

    Good morning Dawn Patrollers and especially all you mothers.
    More leakage from Manus Island for Morriscum to refuse to comment on.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/mad-and-missing-from-manus-island-20140510-zr8a4.html
    Medicare changes to prompt ill feeling.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/medicare-changes-prompt-ill-feeling-20140510-382y0.html
    The ambulance crisis in Victoria continues to simmer.
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/ambulance-crisis-plunges-to-new-depths-20140510-zr91w.html
    I can’t wait to see what the cartoonists do with this.
    http://www.theage.com.au/national/joe-hockeys-cigar-smoking-criticised-by-health-expert-20140510-zr8ul.html
    More immigration lawyer blacklists emerge. Will there be blacklists coming for doctors with the DSP crackdown?
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/multiple-blacklists-rate-immigration-agents-20140510-zr8ed.html
    “Reassuring” words from Mr Grecian 2000.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/unemployment-spike-in-elderly-a-risk-for-pension-changes-20140510-zr8lc.html
    Abbott to descend into tokenism.
    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/abbott-to-freeze-mps-pay-20140511-3833y.html
    Some introspection by Rolf Harris.
    http://www.smh.com.au/world/rolf-harris-confession-letter-to-the-father-of-alleged-abuse-victim-20140509-zr8me.html
    Mission accomplished, one would think!
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-budget-to-make-australia-more-unequal-economists-20140510-zr7hy.html

  3. Last night the Young Liberals decided to do their part of the ‘heavy lifing’ by holding an inaugural Budget Week Ball. The event was held at the Boathouse by the Lake, in Canberra. Tickets cost $130 – each – although there was an early bird special price of just $120 available for a limited time.

    And guess who was a guest speaker? Oh, so exciting – Michaelia Cash! Here’s a picture of the Young liberals – and Michaelia – feeling all the pain of budget cuts and, no doubt, rasing their glasses in a toast to raisng the pension age and bunging on a GP tax.

  4. Judging by the reaction, it sounds like Insiders has been its usual partisan fact-free zone. I’m not going anywhere near it.

  5. Somewhere there is a hairdresser who is happy to torture Ms Cash’s hair into that helmet. Hard to believe, I know.

  6. 😀

    I just got a card delivered by a courier (No idea how much this cost from London to very Canberra suburbia on a Sunday morning).

    Inscribed ‘You were both’.

    (I was a single parent from when she was 4 until she could fly alone)

  7. Seeing the unlovely Michaelia was being discussed I looked on youtube for NormanK’s impressive illustration of one of her fire and brimstone episodes. I failed, but did find this

  8. Leone

    That story is so fitting for Mother’s Day. Typical males leaving female perspective out of everything.

    CTar1

    How wonderful, shows you did an excellent job.

  9. How panicky is Abbott? Wage freeze for politicians? I don’t think there’s any clearer indication that their entire budget sell is tanking. If he’d run that line back around the time all the draconian details were starting to come out, so it looked as if they were all going hand-in-hand, he might have got away with it. Still unlikely, but it would have stood a better chance than including it as an afterthought on the back of plummeting poll figures and scathing commentary. It’s government by knee-jerk now.

    Same with the deficit levy. I assume they intended to present it as some kind of measured response, carefully calibrated to raise a certain amount of revenue. First sign of unease in the community and bugger the revenue projections, let’s just shove the threshold around until people stop complaining. I’m not sure they even argued the case for a deficit levy beyond vague ‘tighten the belts’ rhetoric. It’s all, “you don’t like that, then how about this?”

    You can see how PR-oriented they are. That ‘Labor Debt’ pamphlet was obviously commissioned ages ago as a back-up in case the ‘austerity’ argument didn’t stick. I’m not sure when they were intending to release it, but last week wasn’t the best time. Maybe it was supposed to coincide with the Budget itself, so that we were encouraged to look in two directions at once. But in the week before the Budget all people care about is the Budget, and asking people to look backwards is ridiculous. The ‘why’ is irrelevant, it’s all about the ‘how’.

    So, the order of events was: Austerity, Austerity, Austerity! – leaks of bad stuff – softening of bad stuff (to some extent) – more leaks of bad stuff – Pamphlet! – terrible polls and shots of Hockey and Cormann puffing in cigars – Wage Freeze! And this is all before the Budget itself. What a fiasco.

  10. 2gravel

    I lucked out. Melinda got it from an early age that it was a team effort.

    One of my fondest memories is arriving home at around 7 at night to the London flat to find that she’d finished school cleaned the kitchen, both bathrooms, and vacuumed.

    She asleep curled up under a rug on the lounge room couch. She was 11 at the time.

  11. Fiona’s speculation on Josh Freydenberg as a possible leader suggests if true the level of desperation currently in the Liberal party, especially Victoria, which once was their power base. And not without reason.

    Victorian Liberals were once of a different stock to the NSW ones currently running the show, and not just in having some vague ideas on how to govern. Multiculturalism took a firmer hold here. Even Kennett was strongly opposed to the Hanson impact. Making a central point of Boat People went down like a lead balloon here. Abbott was neither liked nor trusted because of it. Federal Liberal failed conspicuously in Victoria in 2010 because of those points. It improved marginally in 2013, most of which can be attributed to the Labor Caucus caving in to Rudd.

    GL and others specialising in pseph work can give a more accurate count than me, but there seems little doubt the current government is headed for a belting at the next election, and the furious rolling out of spending programs won’t save it.

    Desperate times lead to desperate measures, but Josh Freydenberg??? I must say, having enjoyed the memorial to Zelman Cowen, that he spoke well on that occasion. But it is the only occasion I can remember when he seemed anything but mediocre. I don’t think they have another. Kelly O’Bigmouth is an empty vessel (and females are still looked on askance). Jamie Briggs is a tosser. Christian Porter from WA has a big reputation but then so did the others. He’d need to be a bit sharper than his Dad, Charles “Chilla” Porter who was an Olympic silver medallist but an undistinguished minister in Joh’s cabinets.

    Strange, I don’t feel a bit of sympathy for them.

  12. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-11/csiro-develop-worlds-first-fish-free-prawn-food/5384678

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/troy-buswell-caught-plagiarising-big-sections-of-report-justifying-travel/story-fnhocxo3-1226912960042

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/10822396/Ukraine-Security-forces-abandon-Mariupol-ahead-of-referendum.html

    Click to access CO-PAYMENT-POLL-STATEMENT.pdf

    http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/environment/2014/05/10/silence-toxic-emissions-mining-towns/1399644000

  13. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/09/fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-commitments-and-executive-actions-a

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/05/have-you-been-possessed-by-spirits/361680/

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/05/07/the_worlds_most_dangerous_water_fight

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-11/disability-advocates-urge-government-to-work-with-big-business/5444650

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/bulkbilling-copayment-would-deter-millions-from-visiting-doctor-20140510-zr86n.html

  14. giglene
    Yes, he was, but I glossed over his First Big Failure. Artisitic licence and all that.

  15. Keep in mind that Victoria is the third-largest source of Coalition MPs, behind NSW and Qld. Under Menzies it was the largest, but times have changed. When you understand the full ramifications of that, the decline of genteel moderation in the Libs becomes easier to understand, however difficult it may be to accept.

    Frydenberg was behind the preselection triumph in Kew that saw a capable woman minister displaced by a drone. He will likely be a senior front bencher when the Coalition next goes into opposition but something tells me he won’t make it.

    He had a regular slot in The Age where he outed himself as a vacuous thinker, but unlike Abbott and others in the Liberal Right he can cut a deal; a quality that will be increasingly important over coming years.

  16. Andrew,

    All good points.

    I know quite a few Victorian Liberals who are not at all happy with him.

  17. If Frydenberg is good at cutting deals then perhaps Abbott should have put him in charge of negotiating with Palmer, rather than giving the job to Pyne.

  18. GL and others specialising in pseph work can give a more accurate count than me, but there seems little doubt the current government is headed for a belting at the next election, and the furious rolling out of spending programs won’t save it.

    Especially if they are as botched as the new rail link to Fishermans Bend/South Melbourne/Crown Casino/Wherever.
    The monorail to the airport plan floated last month seems almost sensible by comparison.

  19. Hockey has announced the politicans pay freeze – sort of.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-11/federal-mps-to-get-pay-freeze-ahead-of-budget/5444744

    Oh the poor, brave, self-sacrificing darlings, how will they cope? Mr Eleventy and the Cormannator won’t be able to afford the best Cuban cigars for much longer, Joe will have to send his wife out to sit on a few more boards just to make ends meet. How will Tony ever be able to pay off his loan now? It looks like Margie will be managing that daycare centre until she turns 70. Brandis might have to flog off some of his books on eBay. Oh the horror! The deprivation! Politicians will be begging on street corners soon.

  20. Andrew,

    There’s a contradiction in what you say.

    In one sentence you argue that Frydenberg “wont make it” to the front bench of Opposition. In the next sentence he has an important quality that Abbott lacks, one which “will be increasingly important over coming years.”

    I’m slightly confused. Hopefully the Liberal Party will be also .

  21. The cigar imagery is delicious. It has so many meanings to it.

    The obvious one is its mixed health message. This is so bizarre, coming on the heels of a walking and talking Hockey who’s just been media-induced into an attack of heavy wheezing, and then, probably unconsciously provoked by some mid-life compulsion to impress a nearby 25-yr-old cameraman, to accentuate his lack of condition by hilariously running up a hill. Fool! And then to recover by smoking a fat cigar. Double fool!

    But the real message is not in the smoking, but in the implement itself. Did not this fool’s advisors tell him that fat cigar equals fat boardroom CEO with walrus moustache and pinstripe suit?

    Well, we know Hockey wears a pinstripe suit. The cigar merely completes the image we will now have of him.

  22. The cigar imagery is even more delicious for fans of ‘Boston Legal’. For those who have not had the pleasure, every episode ends with lawyers Alan Shore (James Spader) and Denny Crane (William Shatner) on the balcony of their firm’s premises, smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and having a chat. Like this –
    http://www.criticalcommons.org/Members/kellimarshall/clips/Boston%20Legal%20Balcony%20Dude%20Ranch.mov/thumbnailImage

    We can’t see if Sloppy and Cormann have drinks, but I bet they do. Honestly, what were they thinking?

  23. Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums, Grannies, Great + Grannies, Foster Mums, StepMums, Mums In Law, and guys doing both Mum and Dad roles, Mums to fur-babies, featthered, scaley and any other animals, rescue of wildlife and homeless pets foster-Mums. And to Me Olde Ma.

  24. It was so complicated, Joe’s latest excuse, that when I tried to repeat it to someone earlier this morning, I got all tongue-tied with the complexity of it.

    But I’ve just heard it again, so, while it’s still fresh in my my mind, I’ll write it down.

    “Taxes will be lower under the Coalition than they would have been under Labor.”

    In other words: If Labor had been elected, they’d have raised taxes more than we’re raising them, so therefore what we’ve done is actually not a tax increase, but a tax CUT.

    No evidence given, no illustrations, just a Joe Assertion.

    * First they told us you can’t tax your way to prosperity.

    * Then they told us there’d be no pain.

    * Then they told us we’d have to bear some pain.

    * Then they told us their committment was to a better Budget overall, and that was their over-arching promise.

    * Then they told us that we knew they were putting up some taxes, so we should have realized they were putting up lots of taxes.

    * Then they said “Silly youse! It was your fault. You’re too greedy”.

    *Then that we’d THANK them.

    * And now they inform us that a hypothetical Labor government would have been worse, so the Coalition has done us a favour (see: “We should thank them”.)

    I’m sure there are more excuses, convoluted logic, weasel words, surprises, lies, broken promises and verbal gymnastics – all in one week! – but I’m not so sure the Punters will fall for any of them.

  25. Re. Andrew Elder’s comment concerning Victorian Coalition MPs…

    I was at dinner last night in Newport (Northern Beaches, Sydney) and only then realized that the Speaker, Prime Minister and Treasurer were from contiguous electorates, MacKellar, Warringah and North Sydney respectively.

    The NSW Premier was from just up the road in Kuringai (until he self-destructed for lying to ICAC).

    All of them are Catholic, except the Speaker (and I don’t know WHAT she is).

    What MUST those Melbourne Club types think of all these Catholic Sydney boys shitting in the Liberal nest?

  26. WOW, those tables on the paid parental leave scheme have one big conclusion jumping out at me.
    Males want the limit decreased, and the older the age group the higher the numbers wanting it decreased from $150k.
    The driver seems not to be coming from women, but from men whom I conclude want women to stay home and look after the babies. One glance was enough, that one sticks out like dogs’, erm, hind legs.

    There are cross tables on age+gender but I would be looking at traditional gender views and/or experience in the chores of child-raising to explain the raise in agreement (with lowering the threshold) as age increases.

  27. puffy
    About the age/PPL disapproval thing. A lot of us older people see no need for this payment to be so lavish. A lot see no need for it at all, although I do. We all raised our kids with no government help apart from Child Endowment, which Treasurer Howard turned into Familiy Allowance and then went on to hack away at eligibility, year after year.

    Labor should be out there hammering home the simple truth – we already have a PPL that is affordable, treats everyone equally and is working well. There is no need for anyone to be paid $50,00 to stay at home for six months. The real issue is finding childcare when mum has to go back to work. Abbott won’t talk about that at all.

  28. Re Mother’s Day: I was lucky to get a present from my son.

    My sister, however, won’t receive one from her daughter. Vanessa. She passed away 2 days ago. Cancer is a nasty disease which can see remission and then all of a sudden relapses. Between two relapses she managed to fundraise almost $85K for cancer research. She probably would have thought twice about doing it after her horrid chimio treatment ended up making her more and more sick. My thoughts on modern medecine are not very kind. Vanessa fought till the end. And as her Mum would say: she was a brave and beautiful girl. She was 29.

  29. gigalene,
    My deepest condolences to your sister and yourself.

    Vale, Vanessa. You did more in just 29 years then others put do in eight decades.

    Her legacy of in funding research will be in the people it will help.

    Damn. Sometimes some things are just freaking wrong. Cancer is a b’tard.

  30. Mothers day duties over.
    Even though things seem to going well for labor,not much of what has happened can be claimed to be the result of labor doing well and getting it’s message across,rather the libs doing poorly with a series of blunders,brainfarts and miscalculations.
    This is only Joes ( seriously considering changing my name to just j6p ) First budget, and he is doing what they usually do and get all the bad,hard to sell stuff out of the way first, relieve a bit of the pain at the next one then throw in a heap of sweeteners for a election budget.
    The polls aren’t 60/40,there is only a few points difference between parties and the election is still a few years away.
    All the talk of 1 term Tony may be a bit premature. Labor need to be heard to be effective and should take a play out of Abbott’s opposition playbook, and come up with a few of there own slogans and hammer and repeat them
    ad nauseam.
    Worked for him.

  31. How stupid is Fran. On Insiders this morning that they are starting the RC on the Unions with Ralph Blewett because they were fortunate to have him in the country at the moment and they don’t know when he would be back. Yea right!!!

  32. Stephen koukoulas on government debt and Hockey’s borrowing.-

    Borrowing by the Abbott government just hit $70.95 billion
    Fri, 09 May 2014

    With today’s $700 million borrowing by the Abbott government, the cumulative total of all borrowing since the election stands at $70.95 billion. Not bad for a government that prior to the election was hell bent of paying off debt but to date has only had policies in place to increase borrowing.

    The $70.95 billion of borrowing includes funds to cover maturing bonds and T-Notes, as it always does, as well as covering the Commonwealth government’s budget deficit which at the time of MYEFO was assumed to be $47 billion in 2013-14.

    Allowing for the borrowing to cover maturities, gross government debt has increased by $46.7 billion since the 2013 election to now stand at $319.925 billion.

    http://thekouk.com/blog/borrowing-by-the-abbott-government-just-hit-70-95-billion.html#.U2yGxca26f0

  33. When I heard that a bearded crossdresser won Eurovision my first thought was that Kenny Everett was alive again?

  34. Cliff
    FFS! Blewitt was dragged back with a bribe of immunity from prosecution just for this RC farce. The old bastard knows he can’t come back here unless he has such a guarantee, otherwise he’d be arrested as soon as he got off the plane. I believe he can’t go near Indonesia ever again either, he fled from there to avoid arrest.

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