Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The ‘NON-EVENT’ Event

If my Aunt Kitty Hurley were alive in this time of the 2016 Double Dissolution federal
election she would describe the whole shebang as a ‘NON-EVENT’. A journalist until
retirement with the old Melbourne daily newspaper: The Argus, she was very much “set in
her ways” OR a “dyed in the wool Conservative”; a rusted-on Liberal, no less. I know for a
fact that she voted for – in succession without variation – in the time I knew her: Robert
Menzies, Harold Holt, John Gorton and William McMahon. I dare say, if alive beyond 1971,
she would have voted for subsequent Liberal Leaders namely: Billie Snedden, Malcolm
Fraser, Andrew Peacock, John Hewson, Alexander Downer, Brendan Nelson, John Howard
and Tony Abbott – three who went on to become Prime Ministers. Today, I believe she
would even categorise herself as a ‘Del-Con’ – a disillusioned/disenchanted Conservative
Liberal who could NOT bring herself to vote for Malcolm Turnbull. To Kitty, Turnbull would
be a ‘NON-EVENT’ – a usurper she could neither respect nor trust let alone consider
favourably. Turnbull would be anathema to Kitty. She would define Turnbull as ‘Labor-Lite’ in my honest opinion.

Alas, this ‘Labor-Lite’ perception is commonplace today in the body politic. Doubtless, there
is profound, general disappointment amidst, primarily, rusted-on contemporary Liberals,
writ large. At the half-way mark in a marathon election campaign, it is apparent even in the
PMs own Seat of Wentworth that a modern-day tragedy is potentially ‘in the-making’. And,
whereas Turnbull has spent $600,000+ to secure his Seat hitherto, the ‘word’ is that he has
budgeted more than double this sum to defend Wentworth this time around. Desperation
and overkill/over-reach is omnipresent with ‘My Dad’ sentimentality-orientated, colour
DVDs being posted to every elector in Wentworth and very far beyond. I readily
acknowledge that I would be very alarmed if I, perchance, was the incumbent Liberal in a
Seat where the qualitative polling was indicating a 10% loss in my primary vote – and this far
out (3 ½ weeks) from election day.

However, ALL the expenditure under the proverbial sun might be ‘for nought’. The Liberal-
headed Coalition might just ‘scrape home’ with a dangerous, working majority of 3-5 or so
Seats in the House of Representatives but with the loss of their Header on the battlefield-
proper. Thus, a 3 rd time loss of an incumbent Liberal/Conservative Prime Minister – in his
own Seat – since Federation: Stanley Bruce in 1929 and John Howard in 2007 being the
other two doubly-defeated, incumbent Prime Ministers. Turnbull has many enemies in the
so-called ‘Blue Ribbon’ electorate of Wentworth and no more conscientious and fierce a
sparring, streetwise warrior than Geoffrey Cousins. In tandem with the likes of the ‘Get-UP’
anarchist organisation, Turnbull might be felled. The ignominy attaching to such an
occurrence would discredit him for ALL time and BIG TIME. At a guess, the Point Piper
mansion might be ‘sold UP’ and the big move would be ON to an aristocratic stronghold in
England, albeit, the ‘Old Dart’ is an hereditary monarchy.

I won’t have been the ONLY interested observer at this election – and this juncture in
Australian political history – to inform Turnbull that he is most probably going to have to
invite 1 to 2 representatives, perhaps 3, from other successful political parties in to the
federal Coalition. Oh Yes, a modern-day tragedy is in-the- making simply because a ‘saving of
the political furniture’ – in his case – won’t do. For starters, his National Party Deputy Prime
Minister, Barnaby Joyce, will fearlessly drive a much harder National Party agenda than his
predecessor, Warren Truss, and Joyce most likely will tighten the 10-point working Coalition
arrangement. In the wash-UP, an entirely UNpredictable future-scenario shall probably
obtain – with another federal election (possibly, even another Double Dissolution) within 18
months or so “on the cards”. The normal key to stable, predictable government in Australia
is the componentry of The Senate. It’s anyone’s guess how that will ‘pan OUT’ this time
around...there are just too many variables – a veritable bookie’s paradise!

In my own safe-Liberal Seat of Mitchell in North-West Sydney I have already notified my
local MHR, Alex Hawke, that I won’t be voting for him. But neither would I give a first
preference vote to whomsoever are the Greens and Labor endorsed candidates for the Seat.
I most likely will “go my own way” and Vote: ‘NONE-of- the-ABOVE’ in the Lower House and
vote preferably below-the- line for 12 candidates in the Upper House, as I invariably always do.

In my role as the National Executive Director of a re-registering political party [The
REPUBLICAN PARTY of AUSTRALIA or RPA for short] I shall be ‘sitting this one OUT’ for the
first time in more than three decades. I shall especially look forward to analysing the end-
outcomes of this DD election post-2 July.

So, it’s a NON-EVENT up until and inclusive of federal election day, 2016. But it will be ‘game ON' in the aftermath.

Malcolm Turnbull was too smart-by- half in forcing through – expediently – the changes to
the Commonwealth Electoral Act this year and more specifically in abolishing the Group
Voting provisions of same apropos The Senate. The cunning-as- rats-Greens and the uber-
populist , stuntpersons of the Nick Xenophon Team connived with Turnbull but both these
minor parties are likely gainers and winners – the Liberals the losers in a pyrrhic victory; the
Senior Coalitionists of the Hung Parliament-of-Sorts.

Then again – from a pragmatic perspective – ALL political parties are and, indeed , must be
vested-interested, Win or Lose. NON-EVENTS are nonetheless Events!

Blog No 2 of 8 June, 2016...Writer: PETER CONSANDINE of The RPA

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