Machinations within the Conservative Party (they ain’t Liberal by any stretch) never cease to amuse.
Peter Reith is miffed that he missed out on the Liberal Party presidency by one vote, especially so as he knows whose vote it was that denied him his time in the Sun. The same man who encouraged him to run. The very same man who asked him to run a post-election review of party policies and structure. Tony Abbott. Well, naturally you’d be miffed if you thought the Parliamentary leader was on your side, only to discover that he was at your back with a dagger instead.
Reith doesn’t hide his angst in his op-ed today either. Said opinion piece covers itself with a translucent veil of rational critique as Reith admonishes the party in general for fearing an industrial relations policy he was integral in formulating. The same policy which stripped away worker’s entitlements and protections under accepted workplace regulation, was rammed through a government controlled Senate without adequate scrutiny, amended, then amended again as the proof of its pudding came to light and ultimately resulted in loss of government for his side of the divide & the unseating of a Prime Minister. Clearly, Peter Keaston Reith is either a very stubborn individual or utterly blind to the realities of Australia’s two-and-a-half party political system and the sensibilities of the real people in society. The workers.
Of interest is his own observation that even if WorkChoices had never happened, Industrial Relations reform remains a contentious and difficult issue. With such awareness, one wonders why he and his ilk would have ridden pell-mell into the IR fray in 1998 and again in 2005 in the manner they did. Two words come readily to mind. Hubris and Hindsight. Pride always goeth before a fall and isn’t hindsight a wonderful concept? After the dust of an election loss has settled & you’re overseas when it happened anyway?
As I say, this veil of rationality is almost see-through. Reith thought he was a shoe-in, be it by one vote or a few more, and it’s patently clear which direction he would have taken party policy as president. The Liberal Party of Australia faded from the political scene sometime after 1996 and prior to 2001 it breathed it’s last. We’ve seen the rise of party-aligned groups like Menzies House, supported by radicals like Cory Bernardi and Mathias Corman who would have the entire parliamentary wing of the party wearing black, goose-stepping in formation and urging the muzzling of non-conservative voices in media & public life as seditionists. The attitudes are arrogant and dismissive of all other opinion or suggestion, which is most certainly not within the ‘Liberal’ tradition.
There is little to be done to resurrect the true Liberal tradition in this country, even if it was Robert Gordon Menzies who watered down the White Australia policy, sold scrap iron to the Japs and ignored the indigenous vote. Frankly, the crew sitting under that big L banner today is far, far worse.