Contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence looks at the parallels between the UK and Aussie Tory parties.
MAY KEEPS CALM whilst her party continues to carry on. Like Tory pork chops.
‘Tis true that Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May emerged from the failed coup with sustained injury but nonetheless, strategically triumphant against enemies within her own tribe. At least for now. Maybe.
For May, that was a Christmas regift, its legacy chimed in the new year with the old year and Santa’s Wellington boot planted firmly on its throat. Much as ours in Oz started with made-in-China R M Williams or Blunnies – boots on the backside – with the same old dysfunctional and regressive Federal Government.
At times, the political scenario between Old Blighty and Oz reflects mirror images.
In a sleep-deprived haze of 24/7 media monitoring, I recall some May detractors describing the results of the no-confidence vote in her leadership as a "close call". Bollocks. It was not. She won the vote 200 to 117. Sorry, but not sorry, that was not a close call. Ask Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, the ham-fisted wannabe. He knows all about failed coups and close calls.
Dutton thought he had the numbers to be elected PM in the coup against then-incumbent Malcolm Turnbull. He did not.
He lost the spill by a mere five votes, 40 to 45 against. Now, that’s what I call a close call. Too close for Australia’s discomfort.
SHREWD MORRISON DILUTED DUTTON’S POWER
The party-preferred last minute usurper, Scott Morrison, shrewdly diluted frenemy Dutton’s formidable political power base by stripping him of the immigration portfolio.
As Home Affairs Minister, Dutton's portfolio still includes:
- Australian Border Force (ABF);
- Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO);
- Australian Federal Police (AFP);
- Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC); and
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
And Dunny continues to administer these with characteristic bureaucratic brutalism.
Of course, we of the great unwashed haven’t taken to either of these politically beached white males.
MORRISON ACTING LIKE A BORN-AGAIN DANIEL ANDREWS
In the post-election annihilation of Victoria’s State Liberals, the panic-stricken Morrison thinks he can woo us into thinking he is a born-again action-man like Victoria’s Premier, Dan "the Infrastructure Man" Andrews. He is not.
He’s donned all manner of hi-vis apparel, blitzing the nation announcing a plethora of projects and inducements designed to secure our vote for the Coalition in the 2019 Federal Election. He's got a damn cheek.
Sure, the Government Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) briefly put a bigger smiley face on things. But hey, the arrow was already pointing upwards.
Post-coup Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and that much diminished burly man, Turnbull turncoat, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann – super-glued both to his portfolio and Dutton – were talking up the economy big time.
"The Australian Government's books are the best in over a decade ... today's update shows the Australian economy is on the right track...”
COALITION AGAIN THWARTED BY WANDERING WILLY
But suddenly, that right track led to a dirt road. Once again, the Coalition’s desperate messaging was thwarted by a wandering willy.
Featuring an interview with sugar baby Sweet Sophia Rose (her online persona), the magazine exposed the National Party’s Member for Mallee Andrew Broad – now an ex-assistant minister, who mercifully will not contest next year’s federal election – as a philandering hypocrite, braggart and clearly fanciful big-noter.
We would be excused for thinking such terms aptly define the contemporary job description for several of our parliamentarians.
What’s not to not vote for?
The article, by Jonica Bray, said that while the married Broad was in Hong Kong on official Australian business he had an assignation with a young woman with whom he’d been corresponding after meeting via a "sugar daddy" arrangements website.
Now, such a tryst might well be none of our business, save for the fact that during the Barnaby Joyce sex scandal, Broad was the first Federal MP to cast the first stone and was vociferous in calling for the then Deputy PM to resign.
Representing the Mallee – Victoria’s largest electorate – Broad, described as a "committed Christian", has thus been forced to fall on a sword of his own forging.
A former president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, Broad equates being an MP with pastoral ministry and presented himself as a politician who espoused "family values" — whatever that phrase now means.
How all this gels with his boasts to Amy (Sweet Sophia Rose’s offline persona) is beyond my ken.
Amy accused Broad of complaining about the prices at the famous Aqua Restaurant where they met in person. It seems to be conduct unbecoming of a legit sugar daddy, especially one who likens himself to James Bond. Hope you have a puke bag handy. True, the Aqua’s menu prices lead one to suppose it doesn’t do Uber Eats. A starter of oysters and half a dozen types of roe will set daddy back US$788 (AUS$1,105).
Broad’s definition of himself is an insight into his self-image.
BROAD A DUD MALLEE ROOT?
New Idea reported that in one of his emails/texts to SSR/Amy, he wrote:
'I’m an Aussie lad, I know how to ride a horse, fly a plane and fuck my woman.'
Actually, New Idea’s version was ‘f… my woman’, but we’re sometimes in the land of grown-ups at Independent Australia.
Of course, we neither confirm his sexual prowess nor wish to, but these words rather imply he’s a "wham, bam and thank me ma’am" type of Aussie lad, wouldn’t you say? Certainly Broad’s a dud Mallee root, politically. Anyhow, SSR is said to have given him the flick. He has tickets on himself.
The man’s a crocodile dunderhead.
Yet he cannot afford to be complacent or evasive. After 12 years of keeping the seat warm, the National Party’s Peter Crisp lost the safe electorate of Mildura (within the Mallee federal boundary) in the State Election to a feisty Independent, former councillor Ali Cupper, who was third time lucky in her attempt get into the arena.
'... losing their credibility in rural areas and could no longer rely on rusted on supporters voting for candidates who were simply “good blokes.”'
As for the image of the National Party “good bloke” – the genuine, salt of the Earth country gentleman – it was fast losing its credibility anyway.
Cupper compiled a cheat sheat, in more ways than one:
National Party donors were busted by 4 Corners for scamming taxpayers and killing the Darling River.
LGBTI Australians were compared to rams mounting each-other in paddocks. The leader of the Federal Nats was caught cheating on his wife with a young staffer.
Free access to the cancer-preventing Gardisil vaccine was opposed on the basis that it would make young women promiscuous.
This is not what “good blokes” think or say in a modern regional community.
STORM IN A TEA CUPPER
Cupper’s uppercut prompted defrocked former Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader, Barnaby Joyce to take umbrage and write a letter to the Weekly Times editor.
The Weekly Times reported:
'In responding to Ms Cupper’s opinion piece in The Weekly Times last week, Mr Joyce accused her of a lack of “graciousness” and engaging in a “lesser political debate” full of “urban myths, slurs and bitterness.”'
'Ms Cupper’s bitter missive masquerading as an op-ed in The Weekly Times on November 28 shows a lack of guile [IA empasis added], which will be essential if she is first to (a) win and (b) get anything from a Laborgovernment [sic] with now a massive majority.'
The fact that Joyce berates Cupper for lacking guile says it all. Talk about the pot calling the kettle red-faced! But Cupper wasn’t having any of it.
She called out Joyce, saying she was surprised by Joyce’s call to take the higher moral ground:
'Barnaby Joyce’s aggressive reaction shows precisely why the National Party is losing support ... People don’t like bullies and hypocrites ... Most importantly, they trust me to hold my ground if powerful party men try to intimidate or silence me. Mr Joyce should keep that in mind.'
This exchange between the female Independent State political rookie and the male career pollie is symptomatic of the great ideological divide of the major parties, including the Greens, from the electorate.
Broad blames parliamentary life rather than his willy for his predicament, as did his one-time nemesis, but now clubmate, Barnaby Joyce.
Testa wrote that Broad:
‘... didn’t want to remain in politics a “diminished figure” and “half-laughing stock” like former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce had in the wake of his own scandal early last year… '
‘… didn’t want to “walk home into an empty house” at the end of his career.’
There are now six National Party candidates vying for pre-selection for the Mallee seat.
Happy Old New Year everyone!
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