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Howard's Broad Church Self-Immolates

When you hear John Howard lament about the Liberal Party losing its way, you know things aren’t right in Tallarook. If there’s one thing you can say about the Prime Minister who lost his seat, it’s he has the uncanny ability to read the Liberal Party’s political tea leaves. What he’s seen lately makes him apprehensive, if not ill. The Liberal Party’s base has grown smaller and smaller as the Institute of Public Affairs financed by the born to rule crowd has been targeting “soft” Liberal politicians – those who believe in human rights, inclusiveness and a broad church base for the Liberal Party by financing pre-selection battles for IPA Members.

In every seat they have targeted, they have been able to squeeze their kin in by making the ALP’s branch stacking machinations seem like amateur hour. They now hold over 25% of the Liberal Federal seats and have a stranglehold on Liberal Party policy.

Malcolm Turnbull’s inability to deal with the entrenched reactionary elements in his party is a direct consequence of the Institute of Private (commonly known as Public) Affairs siding with the more reactionary elements of the Liberal Party to make Malcolm Turnbull nothing more than a lame duck figure head.

Power in the Federal Liberal Party has been centralised in the hands of branch stackers and parliamentary representatives who owe their political survival to the IPA. Howard, unlike his modern counterparts, understands the success of the Liberal Party has been due to its ability to have people of diverse backgrounds within the party. Narrowing the membership base and spitting out IPA Liberal Party clones at each pre-selection battle is a recipe for political irrelevance.

The Liberal Party has become so narrow it has lost its broad base appeal. On every major political question, the Federal Liberal Party has sided with the 1% of Australians who own the means of production, distribution, exchange and communication. Even when it came to the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reduce penalty rates for this country’s poorest workers, Turnbull doesn’t have the support of his Party to oppose this decision.

Turnbull’s tough guy rhetoric on terrorists doesn’t wash with the 700,000 Australians who are going to lose penalty rates they relied on to pay their bills. When Tasmanian Senator Jacki Lambie is considered to be a radical, you know things are not quite right in Federal Parliament.

I’ve been a political activist since John Howard has been one. This is the first time in nearly 50 years I’ve agreed with the man. If the Liberal Party continues on the same political tangent it’s on, it is highly likely they will become politically irrelevant during the next decade. The only difference of opinion we have on this topic is that I encourage the Liberal Party to self-immolate while Howard wants to put the fire out before the Liberal Party is destroyed.

Dr. Joseph Toscano

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