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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

A case for a Lib-Nats reformation  

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Catherine Cusack is a former Liberal NSW MLC. Photo Tree Faerie

Trump Fatigue Syndrome (TFS) has been defined by American Professor, John Rennie Short, as ‘a depressing sense of watching the same drama over and over again. And just like being stuck in a movie theatre watching a badly scripted and poorly produced B movie, it begins with feelings of exhaustion, then panic, with the realisation that it may never end.’

So I audibly groaned when a friend sent me one of Donald Trump’s latest pearlers:

‘…if you don’t love your children so much, and there are some people that don’t — and maybe deservedly so — it won’t matter, because, frankly, you don’t have to leave them anything. Thank you very much. Have fun.’

Trump addressed these comments to Iowa farmers, in a speech reminding them of his initiative to abolish death taxes on the family farm. Sure, it’s a legitimate policy for any conservative politician to oppose death taxes – but the way it is expressed highlights Trump’s indefatigable knack for making a credible message divisive and hateful. 

Some children are unloved

The Washington Post speculated his claim that some children are ‘deservedly’ unloved by their parents, is a ‘dog whistle’ to older conservative white Americans. It resonates with those who fear increasing diversity in America, and blame the younger generation of voters for caring about climate change and voting for Democrats, like Barrack Obama and Joe Biden.

Whatever the logic, it is clear a toxic and rampant Trump is back and the hijacked Republican Party can’t control or stop him. 

Being found to be a ‘sexual abuser’ only seems to have energised his base. Trump’s angry brand –denying facts, deriding minorities and bullying opponents – is likely to invade at least the next 18 months of newsfeeds, through to the November 2024 presidential election. 

Emboldened fringe right wing groups

The impact in Australia has been to embolden fringe right wing groups, including neo-Nazis and evangelical Christians who, for years, have backed minor religious parties like Fred Nile’s old ‘Call to Australia’ Party. That strategy has been replaced with a clandestine USA tactic of infiltrating the major conservative parties.

For example, here in the federal seat of Richmond, where we were looking for local leadership after the floods, the Nationals selected a Pentecostal Christian candidate whose stated mission was to ‘bring God’s Kingdom to politics’.  

The past week has seen extraordinary disarray and increasingly selfish behaviour derailing conservative politics. In Victoria, a religious right Liberals MP, Moira Deeming, was expelled from the Parliamentary wing of the Liberal Party after threatening to sue her own leader. 

In Tasmania, two right wing Liberals resigned, putting the last Liberal government into minority, because they disagreed with a decision to fund an AFL stadium.

And here in NSW, Nationals MLC, Ben Franklin, betrayed his parliamentary colleagues, who wanted to keep pressure on Labor in the hung Upper House. In order to reduce the number of LNP votes, Labor offered Ben the highly paid, prestigious office of Upper House presidency. 

By accepting, Mr Franklin has rendered the entire Liberals-National coalition irrelevant in opposition for four years. 

The moral decay of conservative politics

Instead of learning from multiple election defeats, the moral decay of conservative politics in Australia seems to be accelerating.

I am one of many long time Liberals who have left in recent years, owing to a lurch to the right in policy and the unethical LNP deals, which have handed portfolios, including education, most of environment, Aboriginal Affairs, the Women’s portfolio, and even Sydney Water, to the NSW Nationals – a party so backwards they are still voting against daylight savings and in favour of subsidies to turn koala habitat into woodchips.  

In Sydney, thousands of moderate Liberal voters have rejected these policies, turning instead to the Teals as representing their views better than the LNP. In regional NSW, many have turned to the Independents as an alternative to the Nationals. 

Electing independent MPs is, in my view, a temporary fix for the problem. What is required is a full-scale reformation of Australian centre right politics – a reformed, or new, party that seeks to return to the patrician values of virtuous politics; cleansing itself of religious extremists and political bigots.  

Dissolving the LNP Coalition agreement

Step one on the journey to reform conservative politics has got to be dissolving the LNP Coalition agreement, thus freeing both the Liberals and National Party to be true to their roots, and authentically represent their communities. 

The current arrangement amounts to mutual suffocation of each other’s policies and activism via a secret, stultifying deal to act as one. It needs a reset.

They can always negotiate a new coalition agreement. I am just saying, take a break from each other, so you can work with your own members to recalibrate and be better.

The LNP has lost a lot of MPs this past week, but all of them defected for self-serving reasons. If this means they have removed themselves as hurdles to reform of their parties, then it could turn out to be a good thing. 

The next year will tell if Australian Liberals have the depth and fortitude to detach from the Nationals, to choose their own path, or whether they are doomed like American Republicans to keep repeating the same Trumpian drama. 


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48 COMMENTS

  1. Catherine ..all your expert views & opinions
    and absolute dislike for Trump.. !! could you
    Please give your loyal readers a insight into
    The biden administration’s first two years
    In office … i guess a health check ..?

    • Well the Biden administration has probably kept Ukraine in the fight longer than a Trump one would. I imagine Mr Trump would as likely have handed Ukraine to Russia on a silver platter, since he’s managed to gaslight himself into thinking he has a relationship with Putin. (Putin has no friends, only people who haven’t fallen out of a window, yet)

      • Absolutely ridiculous comment displaying the full gammit of latter day corporate neolib talking points. I do despair at the former left’s transformation into a cult of angry war mongers.
        For the love of God (or Krishna or whatever) please educate yourself about the history of the Ukraine conflict before regurgitating the corporate mainstream’s Russia/Trump narrative that has been proven to be completely false and before regurgitating tUS military industrial complex talking points.
        Have you read the Durham report? No, I thought not. And no, I do not particulsrly like Trump but I do worship the truth.

        • Absolutely Mac ..the FBI & the Justice
          Department hijacked by the Left ..
          300 page report that was scathing
          Of the Biden administration and the
          Clinton’s .. not one scred of factual evidence
          This Russian Collusion/ Delusion…
          Yet the ABC Sarah Ferguson “story of the
          Century.” Millions of taxpayers money
          Wasted circumnavigating the globe
          only to chase fresh air.. !! Talk about
          Trump derangement syndrome…
          Will you here about report findings on the ABC or Nine or ten ? No chance ..
          Hypocrites in the first order!!

        • Here’s the history of the Ukraine Russian war.

          Russia had an empire that included Ukraine. Russia wants that empire back, Ukrainians would rather be in the ground than under Russian rule again. Rather simple but the motivation for war is always simple; we want your stuff.

          Everything else is meaningless noise.

          • Just showing you haven’t been following the 8 year long Ukrainian civil war started by the CIA led coup in 2014 to remove the pro-Russian government. For 8 years NATO was militarising Ukraine, and Poland, for a war with Russia. Notice how the US is surrounding China? Russia is China’s northern border, and it is full of oil and other natural resources. Figure it out Seb.

          • Trump hates war.

            I can’t stand Trump or Biden.

            I can completely handle a buffoon, an egotistical goose as a leader who is not a war-monger.

            Many prefer a super smooth talking career politician…….one that sounds oh so re-assuring, says all the right things, a real statesman/woman……..that will do grubby deals behind closed doors and order your loved ones to war in far away places, to have their arms, legs, heads blown off in a jiffy, to please those who are really pulling the strings.

            Time for some more donations to Ukraine as the USA teeters on default.

        • My God Mac any sane person would not mention that a*hole Trump and truth in the same sentence, great article Catherine as usual

          • Trump would simply enforce the Minsk agreements, and Russia would be happy. That’s why he says he could end the war in 24hrs. A monkey could end the war in 24 hrs. A media believer would cause WWIII within 24 hrs.

    • Mr Barrow, if you haven’t seen through that lying piece of s4!t Trump by now, you obviously are never going to; as for the first two years of the Biden Administration, whatever it achieved was streets ahead of the insane chaos of Trumpty dumpty’s entire time in the White house.

      • Keith get off the plonk !! Biden has achieved
        Zero .. about to default on debt..which
        Will flow down to Australia and the world..
        He is the worst sitting President in US history
        His approval rating is a all time low for
        a US President.. the southern border
        Is a disaster.. have lots of American friends
        Who incidentally did not vote for Trump
        are saying right now he would walk in
        against Biden…not to mention the Durham
        Report thats just been released..Russian
        Collusion/ Delusion.. are our ABC going
        To apologise to taxpayers keith ?
        Story of the century !! Millions wasted at chasing fresh air.. reality check keith
        and i do say this with all due respect mate..

        • Barrow, do a little reading on the US debt ceiling – used when the president doesn’t have the numbers in Congress and the Republicans want to play a little brinksman/womanship. It was raised three times without fuss during Trump’s presidency.

          • You can raise the debt ceiling, but if no one will buy the fed bonds issued, ain’t no money, and they will have a sovereign debt default. That is why they are again talking about minting trillion dollar coins, which is a crazy idea that would simply be robbing their own people through instant inflation to keep everything from crashing. 81 countries are meeting in St Petersburg to join BRICS+ and stop using the US dollar for trade. When all those dollar flow back to the US, they are screwed which is why the Fed is eliminating currency as fast as they can, but now the democrats want to print more during this US currency crisis. Both of you need to read up on the bigger global picture at play here.

          • Oh do we Christian? My point was simply that the debt ceiling crisis is nothing new in US politics and says nothing about the Biden admin as compared with Trump. But jump in with your world order theories and your snide references to everybody needing to catch up with your vast knowledge.

            Exactly what is your doctorate in Dr CV – please tell us.

          • The point I was making is that this time it’s different. The Fed chairman is more involved at the moment. There are bigger issues at play than just the normal politicking. This is also going to affect us. Trump would have the same extra issue as Biden is getting at the moment.
            The Econ and Fin guys are freaking out about BRICS+, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the new gold backed global trade currency they are currently launching to replace the US dollar.

            Was Info Tech back in the day, but I think they call it PhD Comp Sci these days. At my age they only care about my CV, but I’m doing very different things now anyway. I’m fundamentally a System Analyst.

        • Mr Barrow, you would have to be the last person in the entire world to be telling anyone to “get off the plonk” seriously?

    • CVS, don’t bother talking about the Minsk agreement when Russia has completely disregard the Budapest Memorandum. And especially not when Russia more than likely has been working the subvert and break the Minsk agreement themselves since it was signed.

      Russia does not want a neutral Ukraine anymore than they want a western aligned Ukraine. What they want is a Ukraine under their thumb, and Bronze aged rulers could see Putin’s ambitions for what they are.

  2. Thanks for that Catherine. You have mentioned the elephant in the room no one dares to mention. The branch stacking religious fundamentalists that now control the LNP, all administration and preselections, every foundation, society and institute associated with the party’s.
    I have read several books, “They’re at your local Library”, about the lack of any policy, any vision. All the party’s really do is spiteful grudges and vendettas against one another in these religious fundamentalist factions, the appalling treatment of “people in their own party’s” especially the women, but not one of these books mentions the religious fundamentalist virus and has now seen the LNP lose Govt in every mainland State and Federally. The rusted on LNP supporters, just refuse to even acknowledge whats happening. Decades of intense 24/7 media brainwashing have made them incapable of seeing the facts and the truth of this failure of the political party’s they are voting for.
    Look at the last NSW State election, the LNP didn’t even have a policy, “Just vote One” they chanted, knowing their optional preference vote was again, the only hope they had to gerrymander yet another election win?

    • Sadly correct. The religious fundamentalists infiltrated the Nationals in the early 80’s and then moved into the Liberals 15 years later.

      They take over branches rather than be spread over the entire membership, where they would be a noisy minority.

      They cannot get seats in their own right so they have to get in under the guise of another party.

  3. Your imaginary centrist party is the ALP. The Greens are growing into a left wing opposition. Give up on the coalition, their days are numbered. Right wing politics is corrupt beyond redemption, they are certainly not ‘conservatives’ any longer.

  4. Ms Deeming was sacked why ?.. for having the
    Hide to protect women’s rights..from radical
    Trans activists who incidentally weld extraordinary
    Influential powers over most government departments and organisations and institutions
    Yet where did the violence come from that day
    at the rally ? Not from the uninvited Neo Nazi
    Groups..that’s for sure..the violence came from
    The Trans activists..yet Deeming sacked ?
    What a farce ..!!

    • That ‘neo n*zi’ group glows in the dark. The founder’s name is supposedly ‘Thomas Sewell’ which is a play on words of the famous Black Phylosopher ‘Thomas Sowell’. ‘They’ like to play tricks like that when ‘They’ create groups. Did you see the Avi Yemini interview with them? Avi asks them the basic questions from 7 years ago, and they don’t know the well thrashed out answers to them. Fed, Fed, Fed!

      • That, like the majority of conspiracy theories, makes zero sense.

        No one seriously engaged in espionage or infiltration would leave such “glowingly” obviously flaws in their cover stories.

        • They did when they ran this in the US, and now it’s a matter of public record since they court cases that resulted.

  5. If you have no idea about Trump or US politics other than the corporate media’s talking points and you are too lazy to delve into the meticulous work of real investigative journalists in the US – such as Greenwood, Hersh, Blumenthal, Maté and Iverson – then perhaps it would better not to introduce your Trump Derangement Syndrome into your argument.
    To be honest, if I were a US citizen I could not vote for either of Trump and Biden but as I am want to tell my US friends on occasions – as a foreigner now residing in Europe – J would take Trump any day of the week simply because he has little intetest in the murderous and hellishly destructive regime change wars of the MIC and the US Democrats, the latest of which, by form of proxy, happens to be Ukraine.
    Have you read the Durham report btw? It finally tells us what mosf of us well educated people long knew – that the Trump/Russiagate allegations were a DNC/FBI hatched conspiracy theory that had two objectives – firstly to excuse Clinton’s electiion loss in 2016 and secondly to ramp up anti Russia hysteria as the MIC plabs for war in Europe needed a boost.
    As for the rest of your article – all good, I have no more sympathy for Austdalian neo cons than I do for Australian or US neolibs – they are all beholden to the corporate dollar.

          • A government who’s biggest crime was bending over for Biden Senior and Junior on command. Have you forgotten Burisma? Ukraine went after Hunter for it – Joe withheld $1bn in US taxpayer money until they fired the prosecutor going after him, and dropped all the charges. Then they got the billion dollar pay off.

  6. By the way if America was about to default
    Financially with Trump as President..
    The ABC and others would go into meltdown
    Not one single question to anyone interviewed
    By the ABC that was interviewed
    As to the real reason Biden was not coming to Australia ..” how did it come to this ” nothing !!
    They are in trouble ..and we will follow ..
    The last of the big spenders.. voting for Biden
    Has consequences.. this will only be the beginning..

  7. Wow I didn’t know there are so many trump lovers here. Fascinating reading considering this is the person who sexually harassers women while sucking up to the religious fundamentalists, loves authoritarians and can’t accept an electoral defeat. Can’t argue a point just calls people names. Can someone find anything positive about him, I can’t despite endless reading of articles about him( sad but not enlightening). Oh well barrow and company keep on rocking in the free world and remember you can’t always get what you want.

    • Can’t accept an electoral defeat Rod ?
      Oh you mean suppressing the hunter
      Biden laptop before the Presidential
      Election..if they had Biden loses..!!
      Rod maybe get yourself familiar with
      The Durham report mate.. all a conspiracy
      Previous to the lastest findings …
      Calls people names Rod..!! CNN are Toxic
      and so was that woman who interviewed Trump !!
      What a rude interrupting socialist…
      Democrats..the double standards they behold
      Is laughable ..the list gos on ..the Twitter files..
      Yeah will keepin rocking in a free world wiil do Rod .
      America will not under Biden..good luck ..

    • Yes I can say something positive. Trump held out the hope that the corporate kleptocracy sustained by the Republican and Democrat parties could be broken. He talked about things that they didn’t want to talk about; immigration, the cost of globalisation, the CCP etc. He was a genuine political outsider who offered a possible end to the endless wars promoted by the Wall St/ military industrial complex backed politicians like the Bushes, the Clintons, Obama, Biden etc. going back 70 years. He proved an imperfect vessel to achive most of this in his inability to take himself out of the equation. Hey ho!

  8. Catherine from most of the comments posted already this country might be in a spot of bother. It appears and as I have long suspected that there has been a real attempt by the religious right and other zealots to infiltrate the major conservative parties. (Always a worry to our security organisations that our political parties are infiltrated by extremists no matter their particular flavour).

    And Trump has his supporters in this country. There is little doubt that since 2016 America is slowly looking like a failed state. I correspond directly with a journalist in North Dakota who is a lone Democrat voice in a deeply red state. He writes in his columns in his local newspaper about the dangers his country faces if there is a repeat in a Trump Presidency. However as with this country the voters are not completely blind to what is going on with the Democrats in America having electoral success including recently in the Mayoral race in Jacksonville,
    Florida. Ms Donna Deegan saw off her Republican opponent becoming the first woman to be elected to the office in Jacksonville’s history and this in De Santis country.

    The ballot box has a habit of proving to the extremists and Trumpers that they do not hold the power. The people do.

    • Sounds like you enjoy seeing the American
      Nation suffer Alan..did i like Trump not really !!
      But this guy in the first two years of his
      Presidency has America rolling along just fine ..
      Unfortunately who could say the same for Biden
      Alan ? His administration is enept at best ..
      about to read the Durham report ..as a democrats
      Supporter maybe you should do the same Alan ..
      Reality check ✔️ .. “if you dont vote Democrat
      You ain’t Black ” “white kids in this country can
      do well just as poor kids can ” that is only a sample
      Of Mr Biden.. yes Alan America is in a spot of bother..

  9. The only party in Australia that got Covid right was Clive Palmers United Australia others all made a horrible mess no sane person could ever vote for any of them again. Horrible times ahead when we have to repay the Japanese Pensioners the billions we borrowed. Palmers cure worked the vaccines failed killing some healthy young men. Trump got Covid took the now illegal cheap medicine recovrting quickly he is far smarter miracouusly surviveng the ghastly FBI CIA Biden Democrat Police state. Biden mouths Green policies had huge American Jet transports fly his car to Sydney What a waste what a con man? Where are the screams from the Greens?

    • Barron like it..impeachments are coming jail
      Timeis a coming for Obama & Clinton..
      and all this time the Echo and multiple others
      Screaming blue murder regarding Jan 6th ..
      You watch the Echo will be very silent on this ..
      Not to impartial is it Michael?

    • I see Sujay ..Trump Fatigue ?
      Well surely you would have been subjected
      To the ABCs story of the century.. or most
      Stations Relentless pursuit of Trump
      Since the 2016 election ..this bloke could
      Not as much as walk the wrong way
      and the Pile-on starts.. !! The hypocrisy
      Is overwhelming.. so yeah what gos around comes around..

      • Craig you’re so lucky to have The Echo.
        Every other news outlet requires contributors to make sense, AND be relevant to the article, AND present or argue a point, AND stay on track without turning into an emotional raving lunatic.
        But I agree with you on one point – we shouldn’t be paying any attention to award-winning investigative career journalists when we can get such a factual balanced view of US politics & World Affairs direct from our local Ocean Shores angry old man bunker (BTW have your mates at Sky & the Daily Murdoch ever won any Walkleys? Nar thought as much)

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